Getting involved with Xapian
We're always keen to see more people get involved in Xapian, whether users feeding back on what's important, people helping to improve the documentation, or developers contributing code and helping make Xapian a better library for search systems.
Discussion about Xapian goes on in two main areas: on the mailing lists and also on IRC, on #xapian on Freenode. Both are good places to ask questions; because the Xapian team is scattered around the world, questions in IRC may take a while for one of us to respond to, but we will get there once someone who can respond is awake and has time to look into things properly.
What to work on
If you're looking for some things to do that don't require intimate knowledge of Xapian already, check out HelpWanted, which lists a number of projects that can be tackled with limited background in either Xapian or IR. Of course more experienced members of the team will be on hand to answer questions.
If you're a student, but aren't able to participate in GSoC (either because you're not accepted one year, because you're not available at the right time, or indeed for any other reason), we're still happy to provide mentoring support to anyone wanting to get involved in Xapian. The best thing to do is to talk to us, either on IRC or via the mailing lists, about what you're interested in, and we'll do our best to help you out in going from project idea through to committed code. We're strongly of the opinion that participation in Open Source projects is a great thing for students, exposing you to technologies and team working that you're unlikely to be able to experience during your degree. Additionally, many potential employers look favourably on active involvement in the Open Source world.