Google Summer of Code 2012 Kicks Off

google-socFrom the ‘Summer Already?’

For the last eight years, I’ve been amazed and awed at Google’s Summer of Code. The effort started back in 2005 with some 200 participants and it has grown every year since.

In 2011, 1,116 students were accepted into the program, which pays the students as well as the open source mentoring organizations.

For 2012, Google is paying $5,000 to each student and an additional $500 to the organizations that mentors the student.  So that means that if Google holds to the same numbers as 2011, they will be pumping at least $6.1 million into open source development over the summer months this year.

While the program has now just been announced, we won’t know until the end of August how successful it is for this year. Mentoring organizations have until March 9th to apply for the program and students have until April 6th. The final ‘pens down’ date for the project coding is August 20th.

Managing the whole Summer of Code effort is an amazing technical back-end known as the Melange platform (as in Melange/Spice from SciFi Classic ‘Dune’). The Melange system was introduced back in 2008 and this year, the system (from my layperson’s naked eyes) look pretty sharp.

Melange is also an open source project available on Google Code. At this point, it looks like Google is looking at expanding Melange beyond being just a system to manage the Summer of Code.

In any event, over the last eight years, I have seen no other effort come even close to what Google does with Summer of Code. It is an engine of innovation and involvement that could well be the single biggest effort on Earth focussed on getting students actively engaged in a meaningful way with the open source community. Congrats to Google on keeping this effort up after all this years and on pushing it forward for 2012 (and beyond!).


Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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