Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit 2013

Not only was I lucky enough to mentor a great student for this year’s Google Summer of Code, but Mozilla asked me to represent them at the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit!  This was located at Google’s offices in Mountain View, California this past weekend (Friday, Oct. 18th - Sunday, Oct. 20th, 2013).

Before actually heading over to the Summit, Myk Melez and Nick Desaulniers were kind enough to show me around the Mozilla Mountain View office!  (Thanks to Daniel Holbert for setting that up!)

The GSoC Mentor Summit is run as an “unconference”, the open sessions were chosen by conference attendees and run as discussions with no keynote speakers.  This was an interesting experience and how good each session was varied quite a bit by who was taking part in the discussion, but overall it was great to hear the experiences of other projects with their GSoC students, as well as to hear about lots of projects I had never heard of before!  In general the session I attended were about community building and managing GSoC students, I took lots of notes and will digest all of this in further detail at some point.

I was able to meet lots of great people from different projects, just a few of which were: Pidgin, Debian, Buildbot, the Open Lighting Project, the Tor Project, phpBB, etc.  Unfortunately being from Mozilla, most people already know what you do…or they think you do at least!  Many people were surprised when I said I work on Thunderbird and Instantbird.  I heard “Thunderbird is dead” at least twenty times, which was quite disappointing that those in the open source community don’t even understand the current status of Thunderbird.  Many were happy to hear that it is still being maintained and developed by the community, however.  I even had some people thank me (which I don’t really deserve) for helping to continue maintain Thunderbird!  It was great to hear things like this at the Mozilla Summit, but it was really invigorating to hear people outside of the Mozilla community excited that their favorite email client was still being developed.

People were further surprised to hear that Thunderbird now includes instant messaging / chat (since Thunderbird 15 or 17) and that there is a Gecko based instant messaging client: Instantbird.  It seemed like some people were excited by this and hopefully they’ll try it out!

Anyway, I’ve gone a little off-topic, but overall the Mentor Summit was great and I’d like to thank both Mozilla and Google for giving me this opportunity.  If I find any really great gems in my notes I’ll write further blog posts about them.