Apr 23, 2009 (02:04 PM EDT)
How iPhone 3.0 May Revolutionize The Smartphone Industry

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InformationWeek Daily - Monday, March 23, 2009


Editor's Note

Google's Summer Of Code '09: FOSS, The Next Generation

Despite the negative press Google gets from time to time, they do more things right than wrong. One of the things they do right every year is their Summer of Code initiative, where they offer stipends to students who want to contribute code to some of the best and brightest open source projects out there. It's a happy collaboration, and one worth doing outside of Google's aegis.

This year's list of projects accepted into GSOC '09 is up, and a great many of the names there should be household-familiar: Apache, Asterisk, Debian, Eclipse, MySQL, and Google itself. The quality of the mentoring can vary from project to project, but the basic idea -- get people exposed to writing code for open source projects in a managed way -- is terrific.

I see mentoring programs like GSOC becoming more important as time goes on -- not just to encourage participation in a given project, but to provide young programmers with a sense of what it's like to work with an open source project in the first place. It's a markedly different environment (and process) than working for a proprietary software outfit, and the more opportunities there are to get exposed to that feeling, the better. That way the whole OSS development cycle doesn't seem as peculiar -- in much the same way any cultural exchange program is meant to give people on-the-ground exposure to things that would otherwise look forbidding.

The idea of "code mentoring" in general could use some broader adoption. It's great that Google does it, but why wait for them to say yes to you when you could do something of the same thing independently?

It's almost enough to make me wish I was a student again. Almost. That horrible excuse for cafeteria pizza nearly killed me. But it was cheap!

Click here to leave me a comment about Google's Summer Of Code, or mentoring programs in general.

Serdar Yegulalp
syegulalp@techweb.com
www.informationweek.com

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