Panic. Confusion. Bewilderment.
Scrolling down the infinite list of tasks, my face shifted from a merely quizzical expression to one of befuddlement as I saw task after task involving C, Perl, or some other knowledge that I did not understand.
And then I saw SymPy. Hey, that's written in Python, right?
For me, Google Code-in was an easy way to get involved in real programming - in writing code that other people would use - as a high school student. The competitive nature of the program naturally held my interest, and the mentors were perfect for novices like me, as I began knowing barely git commit and git status. And even though I still couldn't handle many of the tasks - "Implement ODE solvers", with my two months of calculus was rather intimidating to see listed - I found a niche that I could contribute to.
My first tasks were not that exciting: formatting docstrings and cleaning up warnings and then I moved on to Sympy's website. I felt much more confident with HTML than with Python and found that I enjoyed these tasks the most. Other students and I fixed bugs, implemented a mobile website, and most noticeably, redesigned the theme of the site. I was proud of our contributions.
After the competition concluded I felt that we had unfinished work left. SymPy Live had bugs and the mobile interface we wrote was rather unpolished. Naturally, I couldn't let those bugs stand, especially after having put in so much effort implementing some of those features in the first place...and so I submitted another pull request. And then another. SymPy's developers didn't have the time to focus on their websites, so I began to maintain them, fixing bugs and adding features.
While digging through SymPy's repositories, I found an abandoned website - SymPy Gamma. The site had had no updates in years. But its premise interested me - an open source Wolfram|Alpha competitor - and I began to dream up and implement new features: basic plotting, a new design, steps for differentiation. By now open source had become my hobby, more so than just programming for its own sake had been; I could contribute to and work with a community, and that was rewarding beyond the task of simply writing code.
I am glad Google offered this opportunity to get involved in open source. I learned more about software development than any school could have taught, and I was introduced to a welcoming community, one that appreciated any contribution made. I hope that the users of the myriad projects of Google Code-in enjoyed the improvements that we, the students, made, and I hope other students take the opportunity to involve themselves with open source communities.
By David Li, former Google Code-in 2011 student and current Sympy contributor
"The reason you are here is because you deserve to be. The whole point of GSoC is to introduce new developers to FOSS, create more FOSS code, and support projects we think are great. We look at reviews, and the aftermath and say 'did it work?'
You are here because it did.
Thank you for being there for Open Source Software. Thank you for being there for Free Software, and for being there for Google. Open source matters to us. The future of Open Source matters to us. This room--and the people you bring in--without you, it wouldn't be as wonderful in 5-10 years as it is today."
Operating Systems Summit
When else do you see core developers from Gentoo, Debian, Fedora, NetBSD, FreeBSD, DragonFlyBSD, and others, all politicking in one place?
Gamification in FOSS Session
Tales of developer incentivization were shared by projects such as Joomla, Battle For Wesnoth, and the Fedora Community.
HFOSS.org founders and members, met with representatives from other projects such as OpenMRS, Sigmah, PostgreSQL, The Sahana Software Foundation, The Tsunami Information Project, Mifos, NetBSD, SugarLabs, BRL-CAD, and a handful of others, to discuss our role as hackers to improve the conditions of our planet, and our species.
Outreach Program For Women
Led by Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the Gnome Foundation, who introduced the OPW, and discussed ways to bring more diversity to your FOSS project.