Googles Summer of Code

It’s June and school is out. Every morning I’m watching the boys not get ready for school and have to admit I’m a little jealous. I think when we were younger we really took for granted the idea of summer vacation and I really miss it a lot.

Now, watching the boys sleep late and watch cartoons in the morning instead of rushing around to get to school apparently isn’t enough. Google also launched their Summer Of Code program at the end of May, an effort in which students on summer vacation can earn money by contributing to Open Source projects.

I think this is a really great thing for Google to do, and boy do I wish there was a Google around when I was a kid and had the whole summer to spend familiarizing myself and contributing to an Open Source project and being able to feel like I made a difference. What a great opportunity to do something great for the summer.

This is yet another example, in my opinion, of what a great company and contributor Google is. They could just be sitting back and doing what they do, but they choose to give back to the community by contributing money and time to help build the next generation of Open Source developers.

Back in the ‘old’ days, I had my pet projects that I did. Shareware programs that I created that I didn’t make money on (and never cared if I did), projects to add functionality to friends bulletin board systems, and things like that. All done for free and with no expectation of being paid. I did it for the sheer satisfaction of being done and knowing that I contributed something if someone happened to send me an email or the program was included in a freeware/shareware catalog or even reviewed by an independent shareware reviewer. Man, that was great.

Sometimes I really miss that. There’s nothing like coding for the sheer pleasure of it and working on something you are passionate about just because you are passionate about it — and being able to release it for others to use.

I hope a lot of kids take advantage of this opportunity. Once programming becomes a job, sometimes you have to work on things you just don’t care about, or you put extra hours in just to get something done that you don’t see the importance in doing. Sometimes you have to put everything you have into something you absolutely don’t believe in.

This is a great time in your life when you actually have the time and the opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small — and its a time you’ll never get back.

And this time you can get paid for it.

As for me, I will just continue to spend my free time trying to plug through Negotiating Skills for Managers and wishing I could join you.