Google Summer of Code Meetup Episode 5: Graz, Austria

Monday, April 15, 2013

In the last eight weeks, over 18 Google Summer of Code meetups have been organized by students, mentors and open source enthusiasts in locales as diverse as Turkey, Sri Lanka, France, Italy, Macedonia, Canada, and Austria. A handful of meetups will be held in the next couple of weeks all leading up to to the start of the student application period for Google Summer of Code on April 22nd. Below is a summary of a recent meetup in Austria held by members of the Catroid Project.
The Catroid Project has been lucky to be a part of Google Summer of Code for the past two years (we were just chosen for a third year). During that time we have noticed that European students are less likely to apply for the Google Summer of Code program, or at least for our project. We believe that there is a lack of information about Google Summer of Code and Free and open source software (FOSS) in general here in Europe and we feel there is great potential for FOSS projects to acquire more contributors if students only knew about initiatives like Google Summer of Code. Our goal with these meetups is to inform university students about Google Summer of Code and to spark interest in FOSS. 
We held a Google Summer of Code information session at the University of Technology in Graz, Austria on the 13th of March 2013 where there were over 50 students from various information technology fields. We held a second session at the Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey on the 11th of April with 10 students in attendance.
 Meetup at University of Technology in Graz, Austria
Our information sessions are designed as a general introduction into Google Summer of Code including what the program is, who can participate, a short overview of projects that participated in previous years, how to apply, and who should apply. Next Sercan Akpolat did a presentation on the Catroid Project and Peter Grasch presented on KDE. They discussed their projects, the mentoring process and the way they go about choosing students from their many applications. We then ended with a question and answer (Q&A) session. 
We had very positive feedback and realized that none of the students had ever heard of Google Summer of Code before walking into the room. During the Q&A, the students expressed their concerns about the workload necessary for Google Summer of Code. Most questions regarded the expertise and working hours required for successful participation in the program.  
Based on his experience in previous Google Summer of Code years, Sercan explained that the typical workload is challenging but achievable. Regarding the expertise level required for the program, Sercan and Peter explained that intermediate knowledge is sufficient. The Google Summer of Code is designed to inspire young developers to begin participating in open source development, to learn and to broaden their minds. 
By Annemarie Harzl and Sercan Akpolat, The Catroid Project 
You can visit the Google Summer of Code website for more information on the 177 mentoring organizations that students will be working with this summer.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Team