User:Alastairp/SOC Getting started

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So you're looking to apply for Google Summer of Code, GSoC, and you find the idea of MusicBrainz or some other project under the MetaBrainz umbrella intriguing. But where do you go now? How do you get started? This document intends to guide you along that path.

So how do I get involved with the project?

Almost the entire MusicBrainz development community grew out of people who were first contributors to the MusicBrainz database. We tend to choose students for SoC who have an established history of editing on MusicBrainz.

Are you not a current MusicBrainz contributor? Don't worry! You can start now. There is an introductory document at How to Contribute. You should check if your favourite band has an entry in MusicBrainz (again, we tend to gather developers who are passionate about music and metadata). If not, add them! If they exist, make sure all their albums are added. There is a great community available to help you make edits to the MusicBrainz database. Check out the forums or the IRC channel if you have any questions.

Contributing to development

The MusicBrainz server is a large application, mostly written in Perl. If you want to help work on it, you should at least try and install it yourself. This can be difficult if you've not worked on a large project before, but our INSTALL document is quite complete. If you have any problems during the installation that you manage to fix yourself, maybe your first contribution to MusicBrainz could be an update to the INSTALL document!

We have a list of tickets at

Our developers are mostly present in mb-devel

We have a development process, including code-review which is described at ...

If you are interested in working on a proposed project that isn't part of the main MusicBrainz server you could install that instead.

Information from previous years and a link to the page with ideas for the current year can be found at Development/Summer of Code.

The application process

Don't apply to become a student without talking to us first. We like to know who you are. Some ways you could do this include:

- Coming into mb-devel and saying hi
- Writing an email to the mb-devel mailing list introducing yourself

If you're interested in working on a project you should seek out a mentor on IRC or the mailing list to discuss the project to discover more about what it entails. We encourage potential students to send drafts of their proposal to the mailing list before they apply on the SoC website.

I have more questions…

Great! The Communication page describes how to reach other MusicBrainz contributors via mailing lists or IRC (musicbrainz-devel@/#musicbrainz-devel respectively for most GSoC related topics).