Jaminy Prabaharan & Debian: the GSoC admin who failed GSoC


Jaminy Prabaharan

In 2016, Jaminy Prabaharan appeared on Debian's list of GSoC students. She does not appear on the list of students who passed.

Here is a quote from Jaminy on 7 September 2016:

Failing and learning is the best experience ever

She couldn't be more right.

Since failing GSoC, virtually nothing has appeared in her Github account. Her Debian Salsa account is equally sparse. Yet Jaminy has been given extensive speaking opportunities funded by free software organizations:

Moreover, in 2019, Chris Lamb appointed Jaminy as an administrator in Debian's GSoC program, alongside his ex-girlfriend Molly de Blanc and Pranav Jain. We looked at Pranav's lack of contributions to Debian in a previous blog. Jaminy has contributed even less, in fact, the contributors report doesn't even include her name.

Below we copied the comments from the Google documentation about the role of an Administrator in GSoC. Is it possible for an intern who failed and made no other technical contributions to the organization to provide this level of leadership?

Jaminy first met Chris Lamb and other Debian Developers at FOSSASIA in early 2016. Jaminy didn't subsequently meet her mentors at any other events. Why did Lamb appoint Jaminy as an administrator? Why did Debian continue to fund her travel for so long?

For most interns, being selected for a travel grant is like winning a lottery. This young woman has won the lottery two or three times each year and she didn't even pass GSoC. The majority of developers and volunteers receive nothing.

Senior developers have been backstabbed and subject to false accusations while the real culprits are people like Lamb running around with young interns.

We feel this is another example of favoritism. People speculate about what is really happening here. Several inappropriate relationships have been documented. It is often undignifying for the woman who received these benefits.


Chris Lamb bastardized the Debian keyring in September 2018. All disclosures of private and personal information are a consequence of Lamb's rudeness to volunteers.

From the Google GSoC manual, the Role of an Organization Administrator:

...to Google

  • Frame org participation, org selection criteria, and org-specific operating procedures
  • Submit the org application and be the org’s representative
  • Serve as communication liaison with Google
    • Respond to any inquiries from Google within 36 hours
    • Report Participant Agreement violations (e.g., harassment, plagiarism, fraud)
    • Report student withdrawal
  • Ensure all deadlines are met (e.g., slot requests, mentor evaluations, org payment account creation)
  • Select and invite trusted, capable, and qualified mentors
  • Provide and maintain an adequate list of project and task ideas
  • Oversee activity of all mentors and students ensuring responsibilities are being met
  • Respond to Google's survey post GSoC (with questions around student retention, etc.)

...to your Mentors

  • Frame org participation, mentor requirements, failure process, and procedure
  • Communicate mentor expectations before the program starts
  • Communicate student selection, continued participation, and dismissal policy
    • Provide selection criteria for slot allocations
    • Describe how Participant Agreement violations and failure will be handled
  • Continuously evaluate mentor interaction with students
    • Recognize conflicts of interest, interpersonal issues, and replace as necessary
  • Let mentors know when more project ideas are needed
  • Maintain regular communication with mentors before and during the program
  • Ensure adequate and appropriate mentoring coverage, particularly near holidays

...to your Students

  • Let students know how, when, and why to contact the org admin
  • Ensure students are introduced and become appropriately integrated
  • Communicate org-specific requirements (e.g., time, coding, communication, licensing)
  • Communicate org-specific expectations (e.g., behavior, best practices, visibility)
  • Communicate deadlines, acceptance criteria, and failure/dismissal policy
  • Monitor communications and ensure inappropriate behavior is addressed
  • Ensure students at risk of failure or dismissal are notified in advance