Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is software that gives the user the freedom to use, copy, study, change, and improve it. FOSS contributors believe that this is the best way to develop software because it benefits society, creates a fun collaborative community around a project, and allows anyone to make innovative changes that reach many people.
Google Summer of Code is a global program that offers students stipends to write code for FOSS projects. Participants work remotely from home, while getting guidance from an assigned mentor and collaborating within their project’s community. The application deadline for Google Summer of Code is May 3 and the program dates are June 17 to September 23. The stipend for the program is $5,000 (USD). The organizations that will participate in Google Summer of Code this year were announced on April 8. Starting to work with an organization as early as possible and making a few code contributions to the project you want to work on is essential for a successful proposal.
In an effort to get more women involved in FOSS, a number of organizations are offering Outreach Program for Women internships through a program organized by the GNOME Foundation. The internships have the same structure, the same stipend and similar program dates. The application deadline for the Outreach Program for Women is May 1 and the program dates are June 17 to September 23. Unlike in Google Summer of Code, participants do not need to be students and non-coding projects are available. In addition to coding, projects include such tasks as graphic design, documentation, bug triage and marketing. To apply, you need to connect with an organization early and make a few contributions relevant to the project you want to work on.
The mentorship opportunities are also available throughout the year for anyone interested in getting started contributing to FOSS outside of the formal internship program. In addition to the organizations participating in the Outreach Program for Women, more organizations that offer informal mentorship to all newcomers are listed here: http://code.google.com/p/google-summer-of-code/wiki/Mentors
Please consider applying for Google Summer of Code or FOSS Outreach Program for Women, encourage someone else to apply, or help spread the word by forwarding this message to any interested university and community groups. Julie Pichon, who talked to us about
open-source in January was a mentor
for the winter round of the Outreach Program this year and would be
happy to help answer questions about it. Feel free to get in touch
with her or leave a comment here.