GSoC Mentor App - 2009

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Revision as of 23:02, 9 March 2009 by Vaughan (talk | contribs) (Organization)
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This is a draft of the text to send to Google to apply for mentoring status in 2009.


1. Organization's Name: Audacity

2. Organization's Homepage:

3. Describe your organization.

Audacity® is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and other operating systems.

Audacity is widely used:

  • Around 18 million downloads in the past year, and a total of more than 56 million, from Sourceforge ( Consistently in the top 10 downloads on Sourceforge, which hosts more than 100,000 projects.

Audacity won Best Project for Multimedia in the Sourceforge 2007 Community Choice Awards (, and Project of the Month for July 2004. Audacity was chosen as Audio Authoring Application of the Year ( in the 2007 Members Choice poll. Audacity has been featured widely in the media, including (, and a reference in a New York Times article.

Audacity is a flagship application of the wxWidgets ( cross-platform toolkit and it is widely admired as one of the only multimedia applications that runs beautifully on all three major platforms. Care has been taken to make Audacity work with screen readers for visually impaired users. Audacity has been translated into almost 30 languages, and nearly half of Audacity users use it in a language other than English.

Perhaps most importantly, Audacity has a well established developer community. There are no full-time developers, but about a dozen team members who have been with the project for several years act as the leaders of the community, setting the direction and coordinating releases, but many contributions come from the dozens of other developers who have contributed small features, bug fixes, or other patches, and hundreds of other developers who participate on the mailing lists and help test and track down bugs. In addition, dozens of volunteers help with documentation, technical support, language translation, community support, and more.

The Audacity developer team has been one of the most welcoming open-source projects, and in fact we attribute much of our success to that attitude. Some of our best contributions have come from young developers with very little prior experience. Even though the quality of their code might not be up to our standards at first, we've found that it's better to accept patches and let the code improve over time, each time gaining us a new developer who will grow and mature, rather than trying to keep it an exclusive club.

Because of participation in 2008, students have already begun approaching us for 2009.

4. Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2009? What do you hope to gain by participating?

We hope to gain another team member who will want to stay with us. We also hope to get some more energy into getting a stable release out.

Participation in GSoC 2008 seemed to also have indirectly brought us more other new academic/graduate involvement in 2008, though we're not quite sure why yet. That's good because of the skill levels of graduate students. We hope this continues through participation in 2009.

5. Did your organization participate in GSoC 2005, 2006, 2007 or 2008? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and failures of your student projects.

Yes. 2008.

<the planned answer shows we have reflected on the reasons too it is not included in this public-readable version>

6. If your organization has not previously participated in GSoC, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)?

7. What license does your project use?

GPL V2 (select this from a drop down this year).

8. URL for your ideas page

9. What is the main development mailing list for your organization?

[email protected]

10. Where is the main IRC channel for your organization?

#audacity on

?? will we be active on IRC this year??

11. Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now.

Yes. See "" for the draft template.

12. Who will be your backup organization administrator? Please include Google Account information.



1. What criteria did you use to select these individuals as mentors? Please be as specific as possible.

See: "".

Motivation to be mentors was the primary criterion. Both were active in ensuring we did GSoC. Of course we took active participation in Audacity coding as a must-have requirement. As it happens both were involved in GSoC in 2008, one as mentor, one as student.

2. Who will your mentors be? Please include Google Account Information.

note mentors will NOT be listed this year!

About the Program

1. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?

Certainly repeated pinging is the first response.

2. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?

3. What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?

  • Simply ask them, i.e. "please post to audacity-devel mostly, you'll get better feedback there". With our community it seems to be enough! The after bit is the most difficult of course. Being a welcoming community with software that is high kudos helps.

4. What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after GSoC concludes?

At student selection stage, we look for evidence that the student has a real interest in our project, 'Do they actually use it?' rather than just choosing some project that is part of GSoC. Are they passionate hobby programmers, or just looking for a summer job? These should be somewhat predictive. Also, our past experience has been that Audacity is a very popular and interesting project, with endless opportunities for new features and directions. There's such a large user base and so many ideas get discussed on the mailing list that losing interest is not a big problem!