You’ve heard people talking about it, you’ve seen flyers and blog posts on it and now you want to know more! So here we go…
Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global, online program that brings new contributors into open source software organizations. The program began in 2005 and until 2021 was focused on bringing university students into open source. Starting in 2022, we have expanded the program to welcome students and all beginner contributors to open source who are 18 years and older to apply to the program as GSoC Contributors. These GSoC Contributors will write code and become part of these open source communities while making some money along the way. The organizations provide mentors who act as guides through the entire process, from learning about the community, to helping GSoC Contributors become familiar with the code base and testing practices, to finally releasing their code for the world to use! The ultimate goal is that these GSoC Contributors will become excited about the communities they are involved with during the program and will continue to actively contribute to the communities long after their GSoC program ends - or maybe start their own open source project!
Accepted GSoC Contributors gain exposure to real-world software development while having their mentor(s) ready to help integrate them into the community and help them become stronger developers. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all; all code produced as part of the program is released under an open source license. The fact that you get to write code that people from all over the world can use - how cool is that!
Since 2005, GSoC has brought together 38,000 GSoC contributors and mentors from over 146 countries. As of December 2023, over 850 open source projects, from areas as diverse as operating systems and community services, have participated as mentoring organizations for the program. Successful students have widely reported that their participation in GSoC made them more attractive to potential employers and that the program has helped greatly when embarking on their technical careers. Many past students and GSoC Contributors continue to be involved in GSoC by becoming mentors themselves and helping new contributors learn about the exciting things their community is working on and the satisfaction that comes with being a part of a community of dedicated developers in open source.
Goals of the Program
The GSoC program has several goals:
- Inspire developers to begin participating in open source development.
- Help open source projects identify and bring in new developers.
- Get more open source code written and released for the benefit of all.
- Give newer developers more exposure to real-world software development (for example, distributed development and version control, software licensing issues, testing, and communication best practices).
A Brief History of Google Summer of Code
Google Summer of Code began in 2005 as a complex experiment with a simple goal: helping students find work related to their academic pursuits during their school holidays. In GSoC’s first year, 40 projects and 400 students participated. By the conclusion of the 18th Google Summer of Code in 2023, over 19,000 GSoC contributors from 116 countries have been accepted into the program. Best of all, most of the organizations participating over the past 18 years reported that the program helped them find new community members and active committers.
GSoC has grown immensely over the last 19 years and in the process helped students make the most of their summer by working on exciting open source projects.
You can take a look at the appendix if you’re interested in a more extensive history of the program.