Google Summer of Code: Application Tips

GSoC Logo

The Honeynet project is participating in the Google Summer of Code 2018. We have a whole bunch exciting project proposals and are open for other ideas as well.

This post is targeted at potential GSoC students to help them getting started and write a strong proposal. If there are any questions, please don’t hesistate to get in touch! 😃

Picking the right students for a Google Summer of Code is hard - we really want to encourage all students to get involved into open source, but how do we determine who’s best suited for a particular project? How can we find out which students have a long-term interest in the technologies surrounding honeypots? Here comes your part: Show us that you’re super enthusiastic, autonomous and good at coding! 🎉

Most importantly, your proposal should demonstrate two things: You have the required technical skills and you think that your project is a super interesting one to work on.

Demonstrate that you are capable of fulfilling the project!

While many of you probably have a good theoretical background from your university, you should show us that you can code as well:

  • Do you have a cool/interesting side project or class project? Show it to us! Even better if it’s open source and we can read the code!
  • Have you ever contributed to an open source project? Show us what you did!
  • No previous projects you could show? Add a feature and/or fix a bug in an existing project!

As long as you have some code to show, please don't stress yourself about this part. We require a certain minimum level of technical proficiency so that GSoC is fun for everyone, but beyond that social components are way more important to us. 😃

Demonstrate that you really want to work on your project!

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people! [1]

Google accepts a variety of mentoring organizations every year, each of them with multiple projects. Now, why do you want to work with Honeynet specifically? We do not just want to hear a chorus of praise here (“Honeynet is a great organization”). Instead, play around with our tools and tell us about your experiences:

  • Set up a Honeypot (e.g., conpot) yourself - how did it go? what were your findings?
  • Check out our tools and start playing with them. There are many hidden treasures/security issues to be found! Show us what you analyzed (screenshots), what you found, where the tool was good/not good etc! :-)
  • Again, a good way to show that you’re a good candidate is to fix a bug, propose or implement a feature, add something that was unclear to you to the docs, etc.

Get in touch!

Please use our Slack channel to get in touch early and discuss your proposal. Some projects also have dedicated IRC channels/mailing lists/forums. Try to ask us good questions! 😃

Make sure to have a plan!

For your GSoC proposal (please use the template!), you need to write down a roadmap/timeline for your project. Think about which features you need to develop to accomplish your goal, split your project into subtasks and make sure that you’ll end up with a viable timeline. Having at least one dedicated task per week would be a good way to track the progress of your project. If you already identified potential issues/caveats for your endeavour, make sure to discuss them in the proposal as well!

Last but not least: GSoC is a lot of fun. Enjoy it! :-) We think we can offer you a a very exciting experience at Honeynet: Our mentors are very experienced developers, we will make sure that you receive continuous feedback on your work and learn a lot. Some of Honeynet’s GSoC projects are now top-notch open source projects on their own, and we’re excited for the next ones to come!


There's a skilled and very motivated student already working hard on a proposal for the project I want to apply for.
Should I even bother to apply?

Yes! First, if we get two convincing proposals for one project idea, we will try to just take both students¹. Second, if we cannot take you for the project you applied to for some reason, we will actively introduce you to other projects that match your skills and interests after the application deadline. We can't stress this enough: Please do not worry about competition! If we see you cooperating with other contributors (students or not), this is a big plus.

¹) This requires that the project can be split (and extended) in a way that there are no critical interdependencies between the students. You will not get a project which depends on another student's work.

Which projects are particularly likely to get accepted?

We have mentors for all listed projects, but we always have more project ideas than student slots from Google. So only the applications with the most likely successful outcome are selected.