Google taps student developers for OSS

The search giant kicks off fifth year of its Summer of Code project, hoping to build on its successes in Singapore last year with more contributions this year.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Google has opened applications for its Summer of Code open source coding program, and is reaching out to university students in the country to participate.

This is the fifth year the search giant is running the global program, which offers students stipends to write code for various open source software projects over a three-month period. Google said 150 open source organizations including The Linux Foundation, PHP and the Fedora Project are participating as mentors.

According to a Google spokesperson, Singapore contributed four completed projects last year, from none in 2006 or 2007. Google did not say how many participants in total applied, nor how many it is expecting this year.

Local developer Eugene Tan, who last year contributed code to the Thousand Parsec project--an open source framework computer game--was invited by the project's lead developer to mentor this year's participants for the project.

Tan told ZDNet Asia: "Returning as a mentor is important to me because this is in keeping with the spirit of the open source community, where I am sharing my knowledge and contributing my expertise to collaborate with other programmers to develop better, more innovative applications."

He added that the experience in coding for a "real-world" project "forces" programmers to apply their skills to "real-world" applications.

Leslie Hawthorn, Google open source team and Google Summer of Code program manager, said the program hopes to help discover open source programming talent in Singapore.

Contributions to the Summer of Code event have brought final products to the open source world. A project that originated in 2007's event contributed Mousetweaks, an accessibility feature for mouse control, to the Gnome project. Gnome is one of the two major Linux desktop environments, along with KDE.

Google said the past four years of Summer of Code have given US$15 million in funding to some 2,500 students from 100 countries, with "millions of lines" of source code produced.

Some 1,000 student projects are expected to be funded globally this year. The application deadline is Apr. 3.

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