Google Summer of Code 2009 Application

Here is a list of questions we're expected to answer as a part of the application for Google Summer of Code 2009.

The list of ideas for 2009.

The FAQ for the Google Summer of Code 2009 is here.

Original list of questions

Describe your organization.

Sage is an open-source mathematical software system. It combines numerous software libraries under one umbrella. It's main user interface, besides the command-line, is a dynamic web-interface where worksheets are stored for each user. Python is the main programming language and also the language of choice for all interactions with the built in objects and functions. The goal of Sage is to create an open-source alternative to all other major proprietary mathematical software systems.

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

Did your organization participate in past GSoCs? If so, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation.

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

What license(s) does your project use?

GPLv2+, GPLv3, Apache 2.0

What is the URL for your ideas page?

What is the main development mailing list or forum for your organization?

What is the main IRC channel for your organization?

The official IRC channel of the Sage project is #sage-devel on There are usually more than 20 people logged in to the channel at any time. Since Sage developers are distributed around the world, it is possible to get answers to questions any time of day. Support from developers on IRC have received praise on many occasions, and led to many new comers choosing to use Sage instead of the propriety alternatives.

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

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?

After committing to work on a well defined project with a mentor, there are few reasons for a student to disappear. We can't do anything about personal matters, such as family or health problems. Other possible reasons to give up on a project are lack of feedback from a mentor when one is struggling with technical problems and not being able to move on, or general communication problems between the student and the mentor.

We plan to avoid running into these problems, first by carefully evaluating the applications and making sure that the student assigned to a task is capable of completing it, then by keeping in close contact with the mentor and the student so that communication problems can be noted and handled promptly.

We will also encourage students to post their progress reports and questions to the development lists and spend some time hanging out on IRC. Since Sage has a very lively community, and the topics suggested for the Google Summer of Code project are features requested by many developers and users, they will be sure to get feedback and support for their work.

It should also be noted that due to the nature of the Sage project, many developers and likely mentors are related to academia, and have extensive experience tutoring and advising students.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?

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

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