GSoD 2020 application

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for Google Season of Docs

Organization name[edit]

GNU Octave


GNU Octave is a high-level interpreted language, primarily intended for numerical computations.

What previous experience has your organization had in documentation or collaborating with technical writers?[edit]

GNU Octave has a considerable amount of existing documentation, including a large manual, which is linked in our ideas page. This documentation was for the most part produced by programmer contributors to the project, rather than dedicated technical writers. However, improving documentation has long been recognized within the project as an area that would benefit from contributions by more people. Maintaining and improving documentation have been part of the code sprints that we hold in conjunction with our annual meeting and periodically. Anyone is also welcome to contribute documentation improvements through our bug and patch trackers, from which they are reviewed and may be added to the Octave code base. Thus, we have experience in managing documentation contributions from both veteran and new contributors.

What previous experience has your organization had mentoring individuals?[edit]

We have a nice trajectory mentoring GSoC projects since 2011 (both as an independent organization and as part of GNU). We have also mentored some ESA Summer of Code in Space projects. This page lists the successful projects that have been executed under our mentoring. The vast majority of these previous mentees finished their projects successfully, making substantive contributions to GNU Octave that have been integrated into our codebase. A number of GSoC alumni have continued making regular contributions to Octave, including volunteering to serve as mentors, and many remain available to help with any problems related to the code they wrote for the project.

This experience has led to the development of a culture of good practices around mentoring. Each project will include at least one core Octave developer as mentor. These are proven, veteran members of the project who are familiar with the code base and with engaging the maintainer and user community. GNU Octave has applications in very diverse domains, so projects should also include a mentor with expertise in the relevant field. We set clear expectations on the minimum frequency of email and blog progress updates. We strive to have everything should be completely open. Almost all interactions should be public, e.g. contacting the mentor should happen in the public IRC channel or copy the maintainers mailing list.

How many technical writers does your organization want to mentor this year?[edit]

(1 or 2)

Organization urls[edit]

General Email: