A few notes now that things have settled down a bit.

SOC students and their mentors should have discussed things by now,
and be well on their way to working out a plan.  My understanding is
that Google should soon be sending the initial $500 payments to
students.  The next established deadline is June 26, when Google will
want to get mid-program evaluations of student progress.  These need
not be very extensive -- a paragraph or two will usually suffice.  The
main question will be whether the student has done enough to earn the
mid-term payment of $2000.

For students, hopefully your mentor has given you a good idea of what
you should be doing right now.  Probably the first goal for almost
everybody should be to make sure that you can build GIMP from CVS HEAD
-- that's often not a trivial thing, and it is necessary in order to
be able to write usable code.  Also, you should familiarize yourself
with the GIMP coding rules, as described in 

http://developer.gimp.org/HACKING ,

and with the GIMP bug reporting system, as described at

http://developer.gimp.org/bugs.html .

It may be worth your while to look over a few bug reports, to get an
idea what they look like and how they are typically handled.  At some
point, for most of you, your own contributions will give rise to bug
reports that you will need to handle.

Right now GIMP CVS contains two active branches, the stable branch
that produces 2.2, and the development branch that produces 2.3.  In
the near future the 2.3 branch will be stabilized into GIMP 2.4, so it
is not a good place for speculative development at the moment.
Sometime around the middle of June a new branch will be created, which
can be used for SOC-related code.  The plan is to keep it tightly
synchronized with the 2.3 branch, until the next development branch,
presumably 2.5, is spun off, at which point it will hopefully be
merged with the SOC branch.  This is a little bit tricky but we think
it will work if we are careful.

In any case, before committing any code to the main CVS branches, you
should discuss your plans with your mentor.  As a rule, if you are
working on files you have created yourself (for example, a new tool),
you have pretty much a free hand, so long as you follow the GIMP
coding rules and don't break the build.  If you are working on files
that affect other things, the code should probably be reviewed before
you commit it.  In any case, you will need to have permissions to make
changes in Gnome CVS by mid-June -- we will try to get this for you in
the next few days.

For students, even though you have one "official" mentor, we hope that
you will treat every GIMP developer as a secondary mentor, and feel
free to come to #gimp with any difficulties you run into.  All of us
are interested in you and what you are doing, and welcome the chance
to interact with you -- so don't feel shy about coming to the channel
with questions that you think might be naive.  

Finally, please let me know about any questions you have or any issues
that arise.  In particular, if there are any problems in
mentor-student interactions (after all, we are only human), I hope
you will let me know about them and give me a chance to try to smooth
things out.

Good luck!

  -- Bill

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