Wrapping up Google Summer of Code 2014
To wrap up this GSoC season, Google traditionally invites 2 mentors per project for a Google Summer of Code Summit in Mountain View. This year, it was the 10th anniversary so it was special. Google invited mentors and students, even organising a lottery to get more people in. The event was not taking place at the Google Headquarters in Mountain View but at the Marriott San José, spanning over 3 days. The reunion schedule was packed.
I attended the event and was looking forward meeting up with Marc Sabatella for the very first time "in real life". Marc and I have been working together online for 4 years now and in the past 2-3 years we have been communicating almost daily on #musescore IRC.
We arrived almost at the same time at the hotel and a couple minutes later, John Pirie joined us. John was one of the 5 GSoC students working on MuseScore this year. He worked on the Guitar Pro import feature. He won the lottery and I was not sure he could make it but it was a great surprise to meet him.
The first day of the reunion was all about having fun and talk with other open source project. For the 10th anniversary, Google did things well. They rented an attraction park just for us, so we discussed about MuseScore and open source development while riding roller coasters during the morning.
We spent the afternoon discussing future development, how to attract more developers etc. In the evening we attended a dressed event at the San José innovation museum listening to great speakers such as Peter Norvig or Linus Torvald. I learnt that next to git and the linux kernel, Linus is also the author of a Qt software for dive logs: SubSurface. Unfortunately, Marc had to leave after this party to play and conduct in his hometown on Saturday. So he was not around for the Saturday night jam session but John and I did our best to rock the place :)
Sharing experience and learning from other projects
Saturday and Sunday were reserved for unconferences about GSoC, open source software and programming at large. Topics were ranging from accessibility in open source and biology, or from crowdsourcing to the Go language. One of the best I attended was about "Making your open source project approachable". The discussion was led by Angie "webchick" Byron from the Drupal project. If you don't know Drupal, it's an awesome CMS powering awesome websites like MuseScore.org, MuseScore.com, or WhiteHouse.gov.
Drupal, being a software for developers by developers, is taking several actions to increase the number of contributors to the core of the software. Some of these actions could be an inspiration for MuseScore, even if the context is different. The outcome of the discussion with Angie is available online.
Another interesting talk, lead by Robert Kaiser from Mozilla, about crash report collection and analysis. Firefox is using Google Breakpad across all their supported platforms to collect crashlogs. The resulting crashes are sent to a Socorro instance. Socorro is developed by Mozilla for this purpose and it's open source. I would love to have this kind of tool for MuseScore.
The reunion was a blast. I enjoyed meeting Marc and John, even if it was just for day with the 3 of us. I hope we will meet again to work together IRL. The GSoC summits are the perfect place to meet and learn from other open source projects. Google has already launched GSoC 2015, let's make sure that MuseScore will be part of it! I just opened a GSoC Ideas 2015 page, feel free to contribute.