More Than Code, It's a Community Too!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Google Summer of Code alums John Britton and Robin Anil at Google's Bangalore office

My name is
John Britton, and in 2008 I was a participant in the Google Summer of Code™ program where I worked on a web based localization server for Gallery. In addition to marking my first commit to an open source project, Google Summer of Code helped steer me down a path of Openness. Since my completion of the program, I've gone on to organize two Open Everything events (Hong Kong and New York) and started a career in Open Education. Thanks Google!

Open source software communities are global, and Google Summer of Code is no exception. I'll be frank, I'm addicted to travel. I've been to 30+ countries in the past three years and have no intention of slowing down. This is a story of the cross between my love of travel and the global reach of the Google Summer of Code community.

In February I took a trip to India, and prior to my departure I sent an email announcing my travel to the Google-SOC-Meetups mailing list. The Meetups mailing list is usually reserved for announcing and planning FLOSS events. In my case, I just wanted some travel recommendations and the possibility of meeting a few Google Summer of Code alums in India. To my surprise the response I received was overwhelmingly positive. Former participants from all around the country (and neighboring countries) invited me with open arms to their cities, campuses, and homes. Unfortunately I didn't have time to visit everyone who offered to meet, but I did get a chance to visit a few.

In Bangalore, I met two fellow Google Summer of Code alums: Robin Anil (2008 & 2009, Apache Mahout) and Rajan Vaish (2009, Open Street Map). They both welcomed me to their city and were happy to share tips on how to get around and what I should do. Both Robin and Rajan are still active contributors to the projects they worked on during Google Summer of Code and were very passionate about sharing. Needless to say, we geeked out quite a bit as we talked about the intricate details of our respective projects. They brought me up to speed on upcoming cultural events like Holi. I shared my recent work at Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) and got feedback and input on my totally open and free course Mashing Up the Open Web. Robin is now an engineer at Google's Bangalore office working on Google Map Maker. He was kind enough to invite me to the office for a tour, free lunch, and a chance to talk tech with some other Googlers.

I don't know what I was expecting when I sent that email to the Meetups list, but I'm happy I did. I plan to continue meeting Google Summer of Code participants as I travel around the world and hope to welcome fellow participants traveling to New York City. We're a very strong community and I proud to be a part of it.

Editor’s Note: Reminder! The deadline for 2010 Google Summer of Code Student Applications is this Friday, April 9th.