The list of mentoring organizations for this year's Google Summer of Code has been posted and there's a record number of them. The list includes large and well known projects together with smaller and less familiar ones.
Google Summer of Code, which is a global program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development, was initiated in 2005. Using a completely online method of working, it is targeted at university students aged 18 and over who want to spend their 3-month summer break on a programming project for the organization they are paired with through the program.
To date over 12,000 students from 127 countries have spent their summer break writing code and learning about open source development while getting paid a stipend funded by Google. Over 568 open source organizations have been involved and Google Summer of Code has produced over 30 million lines of code.
According to the Google Source blog this year there were more than 400 applications from open source organizations and projects and 201 were chosen, 18% of them new to the program.
At the end of last year's GSoC Mary Radomile, Open Source Programs posted some facts and figures about the mentors, writing:
Mentors are the lifeblood of our program. Without their hard work and dedication to the success of our students, there would be no GSoC. A merry band of volunteers, mentors work with students for more than 12 weeks — remotely, across multiple time zones, giving their time, expertise and guidance in addition to a regular full-time job for an average of 7.45 hours a week.
From a total of 2,524 mentors more than 1,500 were assigned to an active project, The youngest was 14, the oldest 78 and the average age was 32. While they came from 66 countries the US was the top mentoring country with 442. Germany was second with 190, India third with 98 and UK and France in joint fourth place with 89.
All of the mentoring organizations that took part in the recent Google Code-In, Google's contest for students between 13 and 17 are also accepting students for GSoC. This also broke record with 1,340 students from 62 countries completing 6,418 tasks for 17 open source organizations. The 34 Grand Prize Winners, two students from each organisation came from 16 different countries. India, with 9 student; United States with 5; and Indonesia and Russian Federation with 3 each were the best represented. The list of winners was also noteworthy for including an African student for the first time.
Having learned to code over the previous two years through books and online sources,17-year old Niji Collins Gbah from Cameroon completed 20 tasks for Open MRS, which develops software to support the delivery of health care in developing countries. One of the tasks took a whole week to complete. The day after the submission period closed, the Internet in his home town of Bamenda in the English-speaking North-West of the country was cut-off. Niji has mounted a #BringBackOurInternet campaign but as this action seems to be part of the Cameroonian gorvernment's campaign of discrimination against the English-speaking regions of the country this might be a long struggle.
Students who are interested in participating in GSoC should now start to research the organizations and their lists of ideas. Unlike Google Code-In where all tasks are handed out by the organizations, for GSoC students can come up with their own suggestions. The Student Applications Period is from March 20 to April 3 with the pairing of accepted students and mentors announced at the beginning of May. Students then have a period of Community Bonding in which they get to know more about their organization's community before Coding commences at the end of May and continues until August 21st.
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