Orgs Get Ready: Preparing for GSoC 2015 with Freifunk

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

We’re getting ready for Google Summer of Code 2015 and the first step is selecting the mentoring organizations that will take part. Organization applications will open next week on Feb 9th, so we encourage you to think about how your open source project could benefit from participation. Today, we welcome GSoC veteran Federico Capoano from Freifunk to share his enthusiasm with other orgs.

It may be the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere, but we at Freifunk are already fired up about the summer. Organization applications for Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2015 will open soon, and we’ve been urging other open source projects to take part. We’ve participated in GSoC six times, but last year left us with a new level of passion and enthusiasm for the FOSS movement.

Freifunk is a decentralized organization which is building community networks in Germany. Community networks bring a FOSS-inspired approach to the computing networks we use every day: an open network built, owned and managed by private citizens who decide how they use it and which services to run on it. Our community has been participating in GSoC with other communities like Guifi (Catalunya and Spain), Ninux (Italy), and Wlan Slovenia (Slovenia). Together we are making great strides toward the realization of our dream networks.

In GSoC 2014, we had eight successful projects completed by students and mentors from many different parts of the world: Europe, South America and Asia. We don't think about it so often since our contributors are so busy and concentrated on their own projects, but I think it’s amazing that we had volunteers from all over the globe collaborating on open source software applied to open networks!

After the summer, I had the opportunity to attend the GSoC 2014 Tenth Year Reunion which was an incredible experience. I met my Freifunk friends and so many other talented and skilled people working in the FOSS field with many famous organizations from all over the world! Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm!

We had a chance to meet the people of Google Open Source (Chris DiBona, Carol Smith, Cat Allman and Stephanie Taylor) and had the honour of meeting Linus Torvalds, Alfred Spector, Peter Norvig and Dirk Hohndel. Their talks at the event were incredibly inspiring and encouraging. The unconference sessions were very educational and we had an opportunity to discuss improving our GSoC experiences and even the program itself.

It’s difficult for me to describe the whole Reunion experience in words alone, but I can tell you something that might be valuable for you too: this experience ENFLAMED me. If there is something vital to the FOSS movement, it’s enthusiasm. Without enthusiasm and excitement, we wouldn't go anywhere. Coming home to Europe afterward, we brought all that excitement from our community back with us.

Since then, we’ve been conveying our experience to our friends and motivating people to start new exciting projects and prepare for 2015. I personally talked about GSoC and the #reunion14 at:

  • meetups and mailing lists
  • Roma JS (Javascript devs meetup in Rome)
  • PyRoma (Python devs meetup in Rome)
  • Cineca, an IT consortium for universities that also works with FOSS (the place where I work)
  • Fablab Roma Makers

We’ll also be attending several events this year if you’d like to meet up with us: FOSSASIA (Singapore, March 2015), Wireless Community Weekend (Germany, May 2015), OpenTech Summit (Germany, May 2015), Wireless Battle of the Mesh v8 (Slovenia, August 2015), and Chaos Communication Camp (Germany, August 2015).

Similarly, my German friends have talked and written a lot about our last GSoC experience in the different Freifunk meetups, mailing lists, and the main Freifunk blog.

I would like to use this opportunity to encourage everyone in the FOSS community to participate in Google Summer of Code in 2015 because we all need enthusiasm and excitement in our communities. What are you waiting for? Participate and make the best out of it, you won't regret it.

by Federico Capoano, Freifunk mentor