GSoC/2013/application

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Contents

Organization id

SMC

Organization Name

Swathanthra Malayalam Computing (http://smc.org.in)

Organization description

SMC is a volunteer community of users and developers who has banded together to create free-software solutions for enabling Malayalam language usage on computers. Essentially, the purpose of the community is to enable a person who knows only Malayalam to be able to effectively use a computer. Malayalam is the native language of the people from the State of Kerala, India.

"എന്റെ കമ്പ്യൂട്ടറിനു് എന്റെ ഭാഷ" is the slogan of the organization, which translates to "My language for/on My Computer". Swathanthra mean "Free/Libre" - SMC strongly believes, supports and follows the Free Software philosophy.

SMC has been active since October 2002 and has been working to provide Malayalam language tools that work on all layers of computing including and not limited to rendering fixes, fonts, input mechanisms, translations (localization), text-to-speech engines, dictionaries, spell checkers and other language computing specific tools across operating systems. We are the upstream for Malayalam fonts and tools for popular GNU/Linux based operating systems such as Fedora and Debian. We also maintain localizations for popular Free Software Desktops (GNOME/KDE), popular applications such as Firefox and Libre Office. SMC's work is based on free software philosophy and for that reason, SMC works to translate the gnu.org website into Malayalam.

SMC is perhaps the largest developer community in India and collaborates very closely with non-profits such as Wikipedia, and serves as an advisory to govermental/semi-govermental organizations that determine the future of Malayalam language on computers. We are not just developers though, we also have linguists, journalists, Wikipedians, writers and all sorts of language users among us.

Over the years, SMC has evolved to accommodate developers focused on other languages such as Kannada and now provides a generic web based language computation framework called SILPA (http://silpa.org.in). This effort aims to provides language computation tools for the spectrum of Indic languages rather than focus solely on Malayalam.

Organization home page url

http://smc.org.in/

Main organization license (Note: this question has a popup selection for answers

GPLv3, Affero

Veteran/New (Note: this question has a popup selection for answers)

Veteran


Backup Admin

<< We need to fill a name here. Anivar/Santhosh/Praveen/Rajeesh >>


If you chose "veteran" in the dropdown above, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation. Please also list your pass/fail rate for each year.

SMC participated in 2007 and had four students in total, and all were succesful.

<< NEED URLS !! >>


If you chose "new" in the dropdown above, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)

N/A

Why is your organization applying to participate in Google Summer of Code 2013? What do you hope to gain by participating?

Even though we have achieved our initial aim of having support enabled on Dekstops, we have run into newer avenues where the language is under utilized solely because of a lack of tools - Android is a primary target and so are advanced language tools for analysis such as SILPA.

GSOC is a way to attract student programmers who often provide brilliant insights - all the major SMC tools were started off when the developers were students. We hope to see more people working on this project and hope to attract talent that can help us expand our work on SILPA, our Indic language framework.

What is the URL for your Ideas page?

http://wiki.smc.org.in/SoC/2013


What is the main development mailing list for your organization?

http://lists.smc.org.in/listinfo.cgi/discuss-smc.org.in

What is the main IRC channel for your organization?

  1. smc-peoject on Freenode (irc://irc.freenode.net/#smc-project)

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

N/A

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

<< NNED THIS >>

What criteria did you use to select your mentors for this year's program? Please be as specific as possible.

Our mentors are chosen on the basis of their work and their commitment to the language - we have been existing for over ten years now, and we have people who have worked tirelessly to provide the tools that we use in our daily lives. They satisfy the following criteria

  • A strong technical ability
  • Proven commitment
  • Walk the walk - have demonstrated ability to hack.
  • Advanced/Expert user of Malayalam (in SILPA project's case, whichever Indic language needs work)

We do not restrict to the members of our community alone - if anyone who satisfies the above criteria volunteers to be a mentor, they are welcome, provided the community approves.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?

We try to pick people that the members of our community can vouch for - but this is not a limiting restriction. For a student to be picked he only has to demonstrate that he is able to code, accept criticism and to just stick around and learn. We examine their ability to code/work and provide not just a mentor, but the whole commmunity to interact with, so that we can help them with any problem that may hamper their GSOC work.

We will require each student to start a page on our wiki about their work and have weekly updations. We will also require that the mentors follow these updates and that they interact with each other at least once in a week, via email/irc/video or whatever mechanism is convinient for them. However, we will also try to get the students to stay in touch with the entire community through the mailing list. We will also require them to push their work to a publicly viewable repository so that the community as a whole can review the work.

If, despite these things, a student disappears, or does not work up to his or her potential, the mentor and the SMC organization admins will try to sit down with the student in an IRC conversation or via some other medium to try to see what is holding him or her back and how he or she can be brought back on track. If necessary, we may need to adjust the goals as originally stated in the student's application, because it is better for a student to do a reduced amount of work than to do nothing at all. If nothing works, we may be forced to fail the student in his midterm or final evaluation, but this will be a last resort, because it will be to everyone's benefit if the student can be brought back on track. If the student stops being responsive, we will require him to report daily on what work he did.

If that doesn't help, then before failing him, we will raise the issue among all the mentors. If there are any doubts, we will also use the main GSoC list for mentors. This is so that we can make sure that the student was not treated/failed unfairly.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?

A mentor is chosen for his abilities and his willingness to deal with a student - the community as a whole is always behind a mentor and we will assign willing backup mentors (we have no dearth of them). We will choose a backup mentor, just in case.

Furthermore, we encourage students to interact with the whole community, and ask the whole community for help (i.e., on the IRC channel or on the mailing list) if they have a problem, rather than asking just one person. This will help them to become better members of the community and will also make it easier for the whole community to monitor their progress. Hopefully, in the unlikely case that a mentor disappears or even if he has to become less available for a little while, it will not be a huge issue for this reason.

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

We require all applicants to demonstrate their work, either via a patch to the project that gets reviewed and pushed in, or via a publicly availbale code repository. We prefer that this is a fix/addition to SILPA or one of our other projects, but this is not a requirement.

In general, we will try to teach the students that it is better to do things publicly. For example, we will encourage them to ask questions on our mailing list or IRC channel rather than over a private email or private IRC chat. Even if the mentor is the only person who responds to the question, the whole community will be involved. This will teach the student good habits about interaction in open source. In the past, we have found that it is those students who have these good habits who tend to stick around.

What will you do to encourage that your accepted students stick with the project after Google Summer of Code concludes?

Since the community is generally welcoming to everyone and students in particular by the time the sudents are finished wih the work, they have built a strong relationship with the community. In the past, whoever has contributed code/work to SMC's efforts have remained in touch and has in fact become key members themselves. GSOC is a process not just to get something done - for us it is something that will expand and sustain our efforts. To this end we generally involve as much as possible with the student's work and this has usually resulted in strong friendships being formed. In spite of being inactive on the mailing list, there are several members who work to facilitate's SMCs work offline - this has been found to be the general nature of people who have worked with us in the past and is not limited to GSOC students.

Are you a new organization who has a Googler or other organization to vouch for you? If so, please list their name(s) here.

No.

Are you an established or larger organization who would like to vouch for a new organization applying this year? If so, please list their name(s) here.

No