openSUSE participates again in Google Summer of Code (GSoC), a program that awards stipends to university students who contribute to real-world open source projects during three months in summer. With this article, I will provide my experience as a former GSoC student and mentor, give you more details about the program and try to encourage students to get involved in openSUSE development through GSoC.
Why open source and openSUSE?
First of all, you may wonder why you should want to get involved in open source development. Everybody has their own reasons, but for me there are three main ones:
- I have fun: The most important reason is that it is fun. At openSUSE, we have great conferences, geekos everywhere, geeko cookies, openSUSE beer, fun stickers,… and the most important part: we have fun when working!
- I learn a lot: In most of the projects, every single line of code is reviewed. That means not only that the code quality is better, but also that every time you write something wrong or that can be improved, someone will tell you. In open source, we think that making mistakes is perfectly fine. That people correct you is the best way to learn.
- People: I have the chance to work with really skilled people all around the world, who are interested in the same things as me.
Starting is always difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone! In openSUSE, you will always find people to help you, and with GSoC this is even easier. The best feature of the program is that you will always have at least one mentor (most likely two) who will lead you through it. In addition, you will work in a project used in the real world by many users and all your code will be released under an open source license, so everybody can access, use, study, change and share it. Last, you will receive a stipend between 2,400 and 6,600 dollars depending on the country.
But we also have simpler projects such as Trollolo, where any computer science university student could get started with Ruby. The desire to learn is much more important than the previous experience and knowledge.