Humanitarian projects bring more students to open source software

I learned about an interesting project at the Grace Hopper conference: the Humanitarian FOSS Project.

The Humanitarian FOSS project is attracting new students to software development by appealing to them with open source humanitarian projects. They’ve had a lot of success over the past two years. They bring all the students together on a university campus, house them, pay them and give them open source software projects to work on. The students have access to each other, professors and remote mentors from the project. Past projects have included working on disaster recovery software, volunteer scheduling software and medical imaging software. Their project is 100% funded by an NFS grant right now although they’d like to have companies fund additional interns in the future.  A huge additional benefit from my perspective is that the humanitarian aspect brings in people that might not traditionally
have been drawn to open source. (They were at the Grace Hopper conference because last summer’s group included quite a few women.)

I had a follow-up phone call with Trishan de Lanerolle, the project director, as well as Professor Ralph Morelli from Trinity College, and they proposed having two students work on GNOME projects next summer! They would find, house and fund the students. GNOME would provide (humanitarian) projects and mentors.

It’s a great offer and I’m thinking GNOME has a lot of great projects that would fit the humanitarian aspect, especially accessibility related projects.

2 Replies to “Humanitarian projects bring more students to open source software”

  1. Hi Stormy, we’re doing something rather similar at Project:Possibility though with a focus on getting students creating Open Source accessibility and Assistive Technology software for people with disabilities.
    I’m involved with the GNOME a11y community and we’re currently looking for project ideas for the upcoming SS12 weekend hackathon.

  2. hello stormy and steve lee !!
    im lavanya from INDIA.. im a BE final year student doing my stream in COMPUTER SCIENCE and ENGINEERING . now only open source is started spreading over india .we are the second batch who got FOSS as our one SUBJECT in my career.. im VERY MUCH INTRESTED in doing OPEN SOURCE PROJECT but i need a guidence to let me do my project !!!
    please hope you people guide me in any way!!
    i got ideas to do in R OPEN SOURCE and now im gonna learn APACHE n PHP so is that better to do project in R tool or APACHE???

Comments are closed.