2010 Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The 2010 Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit was held Saturday and Sunday, October 23rd and 24th, 2010 at Google’s headquarters (the “Googleplex”) in Mountain View, California. 230 Mentors and Organization Admins from over 120 open source projects attended the summit, once again demonstrating how productive, vibrant, and creative our community is.

The conference was organized as an "unconference," where attendees were responsible for deciding on and providing content for sessions on site. This format works very well because FOSS community members naturally seem to enjoy taking initiative to effect positive change. From organizing conference sessions, to solving logistical issues, to cleaning up conference rooms after the event, everyone helped to efficiently get things done.

The major activities of the conference can be summed up in three words: fellowship, food, and fun.

Attendees began arriving on Friday evening to the meet-and-greet party by the hotel pool, where old friendships were renewed and new ones were formed. Guests turned in relatively early though, as two very full days lay ahead...

Saturday Highlights

• Saturday morning breakfast and lunch at Charlie's Cafe at the Googleplex. Great fuel!
Saturday unconference session selection process - A surprisingly efficient way to schedule conference sessions very quickly, and with good humor.
• 56 scheduled conference sessions were interesting and well-attended. Notes from many sessions are on the Mentor Summit wiki.
• Although it was a rainy Saturday night, you would never have known it from the amount of fun we had at the hotel. Massive amounts of pizza (and quite a bit of beer) was consumed while equally impressive amounts of social and technical networking was happening at tables in the lounge, in the hot tub, and in the covered tents around the pool.
• Live musical entertainment was provided by Bart Massey, David Percy, myself, and lots of people who sat in on guitar, bass, and keyboards. Thank you all!

Sunday Highlights:

• More great sessions!
• The Google on-site store was open for business and many summit attendees loaded up with top quality swag. Android figurines proved to be extremely popular this year.
• A guided tour of the Googleplex.
• We received our 2010 Mentor Summit t-shirts!
• The summit wrap-up session was built around the question "How can we make the Mentor Summit better?" Many interesting suggestions were discussed during this introspective, conversational talk, and will no doubt be incorporated into future mentor summits.

Some unusual, but very popular summit sessions:

• A chocolate session was presented by Robert Kaye of MusicBrainz. This mouth-watering session included massive amounts of chocolate combined with stimulating discussion of the many merits and uses of this wonderful confection.
• An Advanced Trolling Session, presented by Bart Massey, Jonathan "Duke" Leto, and Selena Deckelmann, explored the fine art of trolling, complete with live examples, and demonstrations of how to deflect, defeat, or subvert trolls, while protecting the host venue. This session was great fun with a serious message.

Some things we learned about ourselves:

• We are part of an incredibly energetic and self-motivated community.
• Given minimal structure we are able to create a productive and enjoyable event.
• There is magic in getting together so many passionate, productive FOSS community members in one place, and allowing them the space to network and create together.
• We can squeeze a lot of practical work and good fun into just two days.
• We are always looking to improve, and given the opportunity we can create solutions and invent better ways of doing things.
• One attendee described the mentor summit as "a rare place where pretty much everybody understands what you're talking about when you discuss code and community."

Major Thanks:

• To the Google Open Source Programs Office for providing the venue, meals, travel reimbursements, and local transportation for the weekend. Special thanks go out to Carol Smith and Cat Allman for all the energy and care they put into the event.
• To OSUOSL for for ongoing hosting of the Google Summer of Code Wiki and setting up an EtherPad instance for note taking use during the conference!
• To the organization Mentors and Admins who attended for making this another productive Mentor Summit!
• To everyone who has supported Google Summer of Code through the years -- you have made a big difference countless ways!

We’re already looking forward to next year!

By Marty Connor, Corporate Operations Engineering team