Here Comes Another Google Summer of Code (TM)

It may still be cold and wintery in much of the country, but for Google, summer’s underway — the Summer of Code, that is.

Three years after the launch of the student-focused open source project that offers cash for some coding projects, Google has streamlined the Summer of Code, and slapped a trademark on it, too. All that awaits is another round of eager applications to roll in from students.

Each student who successfully completes a project over the summer will receive $4,500 from Google, while each open source organization that sponsors the student will receive $500 per successful student. Programmers have to apply to the “Google Summer of Code” initiative through a sponsoring open source organization.

The application period runs from March 14 through March 24th, and will likely accept something in the range of last year: 630 projects spread across 102 mentoring organizations.”Right now we’re happy with how many students we had last year and it’s all pretty manageable. So right now we want to manage the perception,” Chris DiBona , open source program manger at Google, told

Google will only accept open source projects that operate under a valid Open Source Initiative (OSI)-approved license. As such, Google does not consider projects such as SugarCRM or Zimbra to be open source because they include attribution clauses in their licenses, which have not yet been formally approved by the OSI. The attribution clauses are add ons to a Mozilla Public License that requires users to include ‘attribution’ on their applications to the vendor (e.g. Powered by SugarCRM).

One project that recently moved from an attribution license to the GPL will however be welcome to apply this year. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) vendor Alfresco recently changed its license to GPL.

“I’d be happy to have them apply,” Di Bona said of Alfresco. As for the trademarking move, Di Bona said it was to protect the program’s name amid some copycat programs that sprouted up.

Students chosen will see a few changes this year. For example, the lead time between when a student is accepted and when the program actually starts is longer. That will give them some “two months where students can get used to the code base and the community and then do the coding,” Di Bona said. “This is a really big deal for us since last year you were accepted and then boom you’re coding.”

“We think that this will be a little wiser where students will have more time to get comfortable with their community.”

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