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Rough Start For Google's Summer of Code '06

They waited in IRC. They waited by their inboxes. They waited for Google to accept them.

And nearly 1,800 applicants of Google's Summer of Code 2006 finally got word their projects were accepted. Then came the rude awakening.

"We sent about 1,800 e-mails that said that people were accepted who in fact were not," Google's Open Source Program Manager Chris DiBona wrote in a mailing list posting.

"We're very deeply sorry for this. If you received two e-mails, one that said you were accepted and one that you were not, this means you were not."

The Google Summer of Code 2006 e-mails were sent very early this morning, as project applicants had been expecting the official word from Google on May 23.

DiBona posted at 3:13 a.m. today that Google had sent out the first wave of e-mails, and at 3:38 a.m. he posted his apology about the error.

While some project applicants were sympathetic and accepted Google's apology, others were not quite as dismissive.

"To be honest, it is the first time in my life that I have come across such ridiculous incidents," wrote one Google SoC mailing list poster who identified himself as "Alex."

"I have heard about companies sending out the wrong decision, but I have never heard that they just send out the correct decision with a statement of apology but nothing else a few minutes later, least to say a plain e-mail."

As of 10:30 a.m. EST today, Google has not publicly posted a list of winning Projects, though one is expected soon.

Google's Summer of Code initiative sponsors students to work at mentoring open source projects for the summer.

In 2005, Google sponsored 410 open source projects spanning 41 different organizations. The relative success of those projects one year later is a matter of some debate as less than half of the projects remains active today.