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Description The Mentors project acts as a matchmaking service between prospective developers and volunteer mentors.
Project email
IRC channel #gentoo-mentors
Lead(s) none
No lead election date set
(and inherited member(s))
Parent Project Community Resources
Project listing

The Mentors project acts as a matchmaking service between prospective developers and volunteer mentors. It provides general support for candidates who are working on the recruitment quizzes and preparing for interviews. It also offers guidance to those who are interested in applying to become a Gentoo developer but not exactly sure where to begin.

There is an appeal for developers who are interested in becoming mentors as well. Mentoring is of both social and technical in nature. Even though the technical topics are well documented, the social aspect of mentoring is usually kept between mentor and mentoree, and not shared between mentors. We hope to attract senior developers with strong mentoring experience who are willing to pass down their knowledge, assist, and advise prospective mentors.

We seek to maintain healthy collaborations with other community facing project such as Recruiters and Proxy Maintainers. We do not intend to be a replacement for developer help resources and channels, but rather an addition that focuses more on the recruitment and quiz side of things.

Information for prospective developers

What is a Gentoo developer

A large distro such as Gentoo consists of many diverse components. While software packaging and writing ebuilds is the main focus, sustainability demands proper infrastructure, documentation and healthy relations with the community.

Some developers work on the wiki, forums, infrastructure, GLSAs and other non-ebuild related areas of Gentoo. Other developers write code for various projects such as Portage package manager or package software by writing ebuilds and committing to the official package repository.

Perks of being a Gentoo developer

By becoming a Gentoo developer, you will be granted the following privileges:

  • A email address
  • Developer status in Gentoo Bugzilla (adds a shiny badge under your name and allows editing of all bugs)
  • Developer status in Gentoo Wiki (allows article deletion and editing of protected Project and Handbook articles)
  • A developer cloak (gentoo/developer/username) on freenode IRC
  • Developer status in Gentoo Forums (adds a shiny badge under your name)
  • A personal blog and listing on Planet Gentoo

Additionally, there are numerous role-specific privileges that can be granted depending on which areas you are working in. Some examples:

  • Commit access to the main package repository
  • Commit access to project-specific repositories
  • Additional site-specific accesses (forums, wiki, planet, ...)

A brief overview of the recruitment process

The Recruiters project determines the details of the recruitment process and its requirements. We only provide a brief overview here. The recruitment consists of mainly these steps:

  • Finding a mentor
  • Answering the developer quizzes, which are: (more information can be found on the Recruiters page)
    • Developer quiz: The initial quiz that all developer candidates must answer
    • Ebuild quiz: The quiz for candidates who will be doing ebuild development for the official Gentoo repository
    • End quiz: The final quiz for the developer candidates who will be doing ebuild development for the official Gentoo repository
  • Interviewing with a recruiter

Finding a mentor is one of the most essential elements of recruitment. The mentor is responsible for helping the candidate out the quizzes, making sure that the candidate gains sufficient knowledge and practice, and is ready for the interviews with the recruiters. The mentor also assists the candidate with working in a multi-national multi-disciplinary environment such as Gentoo and makes sure that the candidate develops the necessary social skills for it. No candidate may become a developer without the approval of their mentor.

Where to begin?

Mentoring is volunteer work, an arrangement between a developer and a user seeking recruitment. There is no authority (including this project) that will assign you a mentor upon request. Instead, you need to get yourself noticed with your contributions. Note that not having an official mentor doesn't mean you can't reach out to developers and ask questions; on the contrary, that's a good way to find yourself a mentor.

A good way to begin the journey is by looking for areas to contribute. The wiki has a list of all the projects in Gentoo, including this one. If you spot a project that you can contribute to, get in touch with them through the contact information listed on the project's wiki page. If you are interested in writing ebuilds and maintaining packages, the Proxy Maintainers project can help you get started. There is also a list of staffing needs for various projects.

In summary, instead of looking for a mentor to contribute to Gentoo, look for contribution opportunities to find a mentor.