General expectations

  1. Time and effort: we’d like you to treat this as a full-time job. Do not involve yourself in another professional activity during the project. Tell us about your situation if there are moments of unavailability. Consider the time frame as a rigid one.

  2. Integration: this is as important as the technical work. Concretely, this means:

    • communicate on public channels: IRC, mailing lists. This has several advantages:
      • efficiency: it directly reaches the maximum number of people that can react
      • it lets everyone know about what you are working on, reduces redundancy and enables spontaneous discussions
      • it shows that the project is active :-)
    • ask for help efficiently (see How to ask questions the smart way)
    • document your work (comments, haddocks, high-level developer documentation on the wiki)
    • blog weekly: tell what you did and worked on every week. Even if it is unfinished.
    • weekly meetings with your mentors (typically on IRC)
  3. Autonomy: we expect you to use the bonding time to learn about the project, and then to be autonomous and proactive from the start of the project. Keep in mind that the rest of us may not have a lot of time to dedicate to assist you.


By midterms evaluation, we will evaluate you on:

  • Integration: you should behave and communicate as do typical contributors of open-source projects. See the book Producing open source software
  • Proactivity: there is always something you can do. Be available, help others. Improve documentation.
  • Code: this consists in following the project plan of the GSoC program.

In particular if you are not autonomous and do not communicate enough, we will probably fail you at midterm. Otherwise, you will cost us too much effort to help you to finish the project.


You’ll be working like any other Darcs developer: write some patches, send and them to the tracker via darcs send.

Hacking tips

  • Check out the Developer’s Getting Started guide on this wiki. It could make your patch submissions go smoother.


Depending on the mentor, we may ask you to have regular meetings with us on the IRC channel. Every week, the mentor would talk to you and see how you’re doing and if there’s anything you need help with. The mentor also helps you to form your own concrete, achievable goals for the week and to track them. If the mentor is unavailable, you should be autonomous and ask for help publicly (IRC, mailing lists).

Meeting tips

  • Did you know that you can access the wiki with Darcs, not just the web interface?

    darcs get --lazy

    It could be useful to updating meeting notes and what not.


We’ll be asking that you write a short blog post every week to let us know what you’ve been working on.

Blogging is an extremely useful tool for thinking about your work. It also lets us know that you’re still alive, keeps the community in touch, lets your mentors get up to speed faster and subtly advertises Darcs hacking as excellent way to spend your summer :-)

Blogging tips

  • If you find yourself getting stuck, try this template

    1. brief reminder of your project (could be half a sentence)
    2. what you worked on this week (maybe bullet points)
    3. elaboration on what you did this week (one paragraph per bullet point)
    4. problems/difficulties you encountered
    5. what you plan to work on next week.
  • when you find out your application has been accepted, please contact the administrators of and so that they can add your feed
  • if do not already have a blog, you may want to think of registering it as a general hacking blog for your personal use after GSoC is up. You might end up liking to blog after all! Just make sure to use some sort of Darcs tag on your posts.