Tag Archives: gsoc

Open source needs you!

While there are probably as many avenues into open source as there are open source contributors, two interesting programs are gearing up in March 2016 and I want to draw your attention to them. These both offer routes for new contributors who’d like to be paid, as well as opportunities for people and communities interested in mentoring.


Outreachy helps people from groups underrepresented in free and open source software get involved. We provide a supportive community for beginning to contribute any time throughout the year and offer focused internship opportunities twice a year with a number of free software organizations.

Currently, internships are open internationally to women (cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer people. Additionally, they are open to residents and nationals of the United States of any gender who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander. We are planning to expand the program to more participants from underrepresented backgrounds in the future.

Applications for the program are now open and the deadline for applying is March 22, 2016. Free and open source software organizations and supporting companies are invited to express interest in sponsoring the program this round by March 22.

Read more about Outreachy and get application/sponsoship information on the Outreachy website. One thing that I think is really nice about Outreachy is that it is an internship that is not limited to students and recent graduates but instead focuses on underrepresented communities. I’ve never participated, but students and mentors alike have told me that it is a great program that fosters a deeper mentoring connection than many similar programs. I particularly love how communities around Outreachy really go out of their way to help the interns network and get access to job opportunities.

On a personal note, the Python Software Foundation currently has money that could be earmarked for Outreachy but insufficient mentorship available to sponsor an Outreachy intern. If you’re an experienced mentor and Python contributor, or willing to volunteer as an administrator who could try to entice and coordinate such people, please drop me a line at terri(at)toybox.ca and I’ll try to get you connected to the right folk.

Google Summer of Code

GSoC2016Logo: a sun containing the characters "</>" with the words "Google Summer of Code" beside it

11 years, 103 countries, 515 open source organizations, 11,000 students.
Over 50 million lines of code.

Spend your summer break writing code and learning about open source development while earning money! Accepted students work with a mentor and become a part of the open source community. Many become lifetime open source developers! The 2016 student application window is March 14th to 25th.

Google Summer of Code is open to post-secondary students, age 18 and older in most countries.

You can read more about it on the Google Summer of Code website. It’s a pretty neat program: Google chooses a set of open source organizations to participate each year (2016’s orgs should be chosen by the time this post goes up!), then those organizations in turn get slots and choose students who they’re willing to mentor. Google pays the students, the open source groups provide the mentoring, and the students provide code and fresh ideas.

I’ve been involved with GSoC for a number of years, as a mentor for GNU Mailman, I did a few years as a mentor and administrator for Systers (a women in computing organization; I no longer mentor for them because the time commitment wasn’t possible), and the past few years I’ve been the organization administrator for the Python Software Foundation. It’s a great program that has really had a huge impact on the open source communities who participate — I’m particularly proud of one of my students with Mailman who went on to become one of our more active core contributors.

Interested in participating as a student?

If you haven’t participated in the program, you may not know that the largest group of applicants are young men from India, in part because many Indian colleges actively encourage their students to apply. So if you’re someone who is not a young man from India, you’ll be a minority in this context! Many open source projects are especially eager to talk to students in other time zones (sometimes there are mentors who go idle because no students are available to work to their schedules!) and with different academic backgrounds, so this can be a chance to really stand out.

Here on the Geek Feminism Blog, we’ve talked about GSoC quite a few times. Here’s two posts that might be useful to you:

In my role as Python org admin, there are two questions I hear more than any others, so they’re part of our FAQ. Since they might be useful to others, here are some links:

We need mentors too!

Both Outreachy and GSoC groups are actively recruiting mentors right now. If you’re involved with a open source project that’s participating and willing to spend some mentoring time, these are both structured programs that can be great ways to give back to your open source community.

If your project isn’t contributing, there’s still time to sign yourselves up for Outreachy! And although GSoC mentoring organization applications have closed, there may still be opportunities for new mentors who are willing to learn a new project or participate as a “sub org” under the umbrella of a larger organization.

Not in a position to mentor? Cheer on the students, advertise the program, or use this as an excuse to learn a new project and follow along with the incoming students as they learn!


Upcoming open source opportunities: Google Summer of Code and the Outreach Program for Women

Right now, there are two big initiatives going on for those interested in getting involved in Free and Open Source Software:


Google Summer of Code (deadline: May 3)

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program that offers students stipends to write code for open source projects. Students work from home, paired up with at least one mentor who can guide them through the process of collaborating with their project’s community. There are a huge number of projects suggestions available, and many projects also accept new ideas from students if you think you’ve got an idea that would be great.

The stipend is $5,000 (USD) for approximately 40h/week of work from June 17 to September 23, so this is a pretty decent short-term job.

The deadline to apply is May 3rd, but if you’re interested it’s worth getting involved now because it takes time to find an organization you want to work with, meet the developers, and get help from them in producing a really terrific application.

There are 177 accepted mentoring organizations, but let me take a minute to plug the two I’m involved with:

  1. I’m the org admin for the Python Software Foundation this year. As well as sponsoring development on the Python programming language itself, we’re an umbrella organization for a large number of projects that use Python, including my own favourite open source project GNU Mailman, a variety of scientific tools, development toolkits, and more. The whole list is here. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of the mentors in person at PyCon this year, and I’m really excited to be working with them, and I think you will be too!
  2. I’m also involved with Systers, which as you may know is an organization for technical women. As one might expect, working with Systers is a great opportunity to work with technical women on an open source project! More information can be found on their wiki.

I know lots of other folk here are involved with GSoC: please feel free to advertise your projects in the comments!

Outreach program for Women (deadline: May 1)

If you’re a woman who’s interested in getting involved in open source, you may also want to check out the Outreach Program for Women which is similar to GSoC but not limited to students:

Outreach Program for Women (OPW) internships were inspired in many ways by Google Summer of Code and by how few women applied for it in the past. This was reflective of a generally low number of women participating in the FOSS development.

By having a program targeted specifically towards women, we found that we reached talented and passionate participants, who were uncertain about how to start otherwise. We hope this effort will help many women learn how exciting, varied and valuable work on FOSS projects can be and how inclusive the community really is. This program is a welcoming link that will connect you with people working on individual projects in various FOSS organizations and guide you through your first contribution.

Here’s the poster:

Not a student or a woman but want to get involved?

For those of you who are experienced open source contributors:

Many projects are still signing up mentors for GSoC. I usually tell people that this is a 0-10h/week volunteer job (although you do get a t-shirt!) where you get a chance to work with a protégé for the summer and show them the ropes. It can be very busy at times (especially right now when students are just starting and have lots of questions) but it’s very rewarding. Even if your project isn’t one of the ones participating this year, you can still help other projects by doing things like hanging out on IRC to help students set up their development environments.

For those of you not in open source but would like to be:

While these programs are only open to students and women, now is actually a pretty decent time to get involved with a new project because mentors are available to answer questions and students are asking lots of the questions so you don’t have to. Go join a mailing list or irc channel and see if you can follow along!

For everyone:

Please advertise these programs to students and women who might not otherwise see them! Put up posters where minorities not usually represented in open source will see them, help encourage people who might be too nervous to submit an application, and help connect these folk directly to projects whenever you can.

Got questions?

Feel free to ask in the comments below. I believe we have plenty of folk here involved with both programs who’d be happy to help you get involved!

Google Summer of Code 2012

GF Classifieds: Google Summer of Code 2012 edition

Google Summer of Code applications are open for students starting today (March 26) and closing April 6th which means now is a great time for students and mentoring organizations to find each other!

Picking an open source project is a daunting task at the best of times, and may be extra scary for students in the GF community because we’ve heard the stories about various geek groups. But there are lots of great projects out there with excellent mentors, and many mentors are also part of the GF community. So this thread is to help you get in touch with each other. If you’re a mentor, post about who you’re looking for and why your project is awesome. If you’re a student, feel free to ask questions or ask if anyone knows a project that would perfectly suit you!

Google Summer of Code 2012

Google Summer of Code 2012 logo

I’m mentoring for two projects this year, so I’ll get the ball rolling by describing them here. The rest of you, please feel free to pitch your projects or ask questions in the comments below.


Systers is a international email community for technical women; many geek feminism readers and writers are already members. The core of Systers is the reasonably high-signal low-noise mailing list, which relies on some customizations of GNU Mailman (see below), and we’re looking for students to help us maintain and extend those customizations, as well as prepare new ones. We have suggested projects requiring a range of experience levels, from beginner-friendly to those for students with some years of experience already, from backend work to front-end usability. Our mentors are drawn from the Systers community, so it’s a great chance for students to work with other technical women! You can get in touch with us via the systers-dev(at)syster.org mailing list and we can be found at #systers-dev on irc.freenode.net.

GNU Mailman

GNU Mailman is free software for managing email discussion lists. It’s incredibly popular among open source projects as a way to build communities and allow developers to communicate, and I like to feel that I’m contributing to more than one project by making Mailman better! We’re looking for students to help with a variety of projects, including work on the archives and new web ui (Postorius), so if you know python or django you’ve already got a head start! And if you’d like to really own your own little feature, from start to finish, there’s some intriguing project ideas there too. Our previous GSoC students really pushed the project forwards and you can see their work in the new web UI. I’ll probably be mentoring Postorius-related projects if you’d like to work with me, and I can personally vouch for my fellow mentors being awesome people. You can get in touch with us via the mailman-developers(at)python.org mailing list or find us on #mailman on irc.freenode.net.

And you are, of course, welcome to ask me any questions you’d like about these projects in the comments below or by email at terri(at)zone12.com.

Google Summer of Code 2012

My goal: inform women’s colleges about Google Summer of Code

Google Summer of Code 2012

Google Summer of Code 2012 - help me publicize this to college women!

If you have contacts at women’s colleges, let’s work to get a GSoC presentation there before March 20th. I’ll help.

Google’s open source team has now announced that Google Summer of Code 2012 will happen. Undergraduate and grad students at accredited colleges/universities around the world can get paid USD 5000 to work on open source projects as a full-time three-month internship.

Upcoming deadlines: 9 March, mentoring organizations need to submit their applications to participate. 6 April, student application deadline.

Open source software development is a rewarding and educational way for students to learn real-world software engineering skills, build portfolios, and network with industry and academe. Women coders especially find GSoC a good entry point because they can work from home with flexible hours, they get guaranteed personal mentorship, and the stipend lets them focus on their project for three solid months.

The best way to get in good applications is for organizers and students to start early, like, now. Students who download source code, learn how to hang out in IRC and submit patches in early March, and apply in late March are way more likely to get in (and to have a good experience) than those who start on April 2nd. So I want students to hear about GSoC (and hopefully about MediaWiki, my project) now. I’m willing to work to publicize GSoC this year and even if my project doesn’t get accepted, the other projects will benefit.

I successfully got multiple good proposals from women for my project last year, and this year I’d like to double that number. To that aim, I want to ensure that every women’s college in North America that has a CS department or a computer club gets informed about GSoC between now and March 20th, preferably with an in-person presentation. I started this effort in February and have already gotten some momentum; I spoke at Wellesley last week to much interest, and Scripps College held an info session today. But I need your help.

If your college isn’t on the list I set up, add it. If you can find contact information for one college listed on the wiki page, send them a note, and update the wiki page, that would be a huge help.

If you want goodies to hand out at a meetup, you can contact Google’s team. Let them know when you decide on a date, time, and location for a meetup so they can put it on the calendar. People have already prepared resources you can use: flyers, sample presentations, an email template, a list of projects that already have mentors listed, and more.

And of course, if you’re interested in applying, feel free to ask questions in the comments!

P.S. I’m only concentrating on North America because I figure that’s a limited and achievable goal; there are only about 50 women’s colleges with STEM curricula.  But GSoC caters to students worldwide. If you know of accredited women’s colleges outside North America that have CS curricula or programming clubs, please inform them and add them to the page. Thanks!

Always check behind you for linkspams when out after dark (March 19th, 2011)

  • BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and IBM are pleased to announce a new annual event, the BCS Karen Spärck Jones Lecture honouring women in computing research. Fran Allen will give the first lecture on 24 May 2011 at the BCS London office.
  • The GNOME Outreach Program for Women internships are open for another round, from May 23 through August 22, 2011 with applications closing April 8. That round coincides with Google Summer of Code and GNOME enourages women interested to apply for both programs.
  • [Trigger warning for tokenism] On Being Feminism’s “Ms. Nigga”: Latoya Peterson on tokenism, conferences and feminism. Some folks would call that an attempt at diversity – but it is a nefarious double bind for those of us who get the nod. To refuse to participate may mean that voice is never represented, that the voices are the underrepresented are once again unvoiced, unheard, and perhaps unknown. Unfortunately, absence can be interpreted as a reinforcement of the status quo… However, to accept the position also means to be pressed into the token spot.
  • Luciana Fuji Pontello, a GNOME Women’s Outreach participant and the Cheese webcam application developer responsible for the application’s camerabin port and gobject introspection support was interviewed for International Womens Day.
  • [Trigger Warning for implied violence and disregard for women] Tim Buckley of the ctrl-alt-del gaming comic criticises some of the “padding” quests in Dragon Age 2 which are… insidiously disturbed: […] when I came across a sparkly pile of bones in Darktown labeled “Remains of (some woman whose name I can’t really remember), and upon looting got actual remains instead of treasure, I figured I’d started a quest at least worthy of a small cutscene about how this guy’s poor wife had been kidnapped by the slavers I’d just finished slaughtering, and how happy he was that he could now give her a proper burial. But nope. Instead it turned out to be just another schmuck who acted like he’d misplaced his fucking car keys or something. Maybe customs are different in Kirkwall, I don’t know.
  • [Trigger Warning for implied violence and disregard for women] For bonus failpoints, there are multiple quests that follow this script in the game. Fuck you, Bioware. Really. To quote one gamer friend: Baldur’s Gate II doesn’t mean you get away with this.
  • The Ladycomicsparty is back for another year: If you are a lady who is involved with comics, and you’ll be near NYC around the MoCCA fest, you should come to this!
  • Jeri Ellsworth devised a $10 version of a $5000 safety product and was accused of having set back the progress of women 100 years. Whaaaaat? As Cory Doctorow notes, Misogyny is alive and well in technology circles. An Ellsworth supporter retorts that The only way Jeri Ellsworth could set back women 100 years would be by developing a time machine in her guest room.
  • Ladyada on the front cover of Wired! (And doing it Rosie the Riveter style!) This is the first female engineer to appear WIRED’s cover.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the geekfeminism tag on delicious or the #geekfeminism tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Linkspam vs. The World

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism” to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.