Happy Hacking, Real-Time

Thursday, May 1, 2008

You might have read the recent Hackontest announcement on Slashdot. We've received a great response, and already 25 open source projects and 50 feature requests are registered.

Nevertheless, we'd like to present briefly the idea behind this new kind of Open Source competition sponsored by Google: starting from now, Open Source communities may register their project on the Hackontest platform. Then developers, as well as users of the software may file feature requests, like adding new functionality, all of which could be implemented during the Hackontest event. These features may be already planned within the roadmap for future releases or they may be completely new ideas for the project. In order to select the most wanted enhancements, features may be rated by registered visitors, or they can add comments to the proposals, e.g. for pointing out the feature is already completed within the development branch.

Subsequently, developers are sought who are willing to implement the features at the Hackontest event. Therefore it's very important that a project submission is not only done by an individual but that it's supported by the community at large. To get invited to the Hackontest event, the level of community support counts. The Hackontest jury will review the number of feature requests, their ranking level and of course the number of signed-up implementers in order to decide which projects and which developers are going to participate in the Hackontest competition.

The jury selects the teams on August 1st, 2008, giving time for everyone to plan vacation and book flights to Zurich, where the hacking goes uninterrupted September 24-25, 2008. However, the Hackontest platform will still be open during this time; new feature ideas as well as rankings and comments can still be submitted shortly before the event starts. The jury will decide which feature(s) the project teams have to implement, which is a great way to keep eager developers from being tempted to do some work beforehand.

Inside a famous etoy.TANK located at OpenExpo 2008 Zurich, the selected Hackontest teams will gather for a 24 hours coding marathon. Of course the teams will be served well with food and drinks and also have the possibility to relax and sleep inside the container - thus contrary to rumors there won't be any dead hackers inside a sarcophagus ;)

During the Hackontest event, visitors of OpenExpo receive the unique chance to see in real-time how open source software is developed and how enthusiastically developers collaborate with each other and their virtual communities. Best yet, it's not only the three participating hackers within the container who make the projects happen; through their internet connections each can draw on the development power of their entire community in order to win the cash prizes. In the end, the jury will evaluate the produced source code and grant awards to the winners. All the participating developers then have the chance to stay some more days in Zurich, relax and do some sightseeing in Switzerland if desired.

Check out the Hackontest site and register your Open Source project as would-be participant or to suggest enhancements to your favorite projects!