Every once in a while, I fall into a trap that causes me to care about a specific topic. Last week, this happened for the Google Summer of Code 2011.
I'm apparently going to be a GSoC co-admin for both GNOME and openSUSE, assuming the two organizations get accepted. But I'm not unhappy about that, since GSoC is one really amazing opportunity for free software projects to get useful contributions, but more importantly, to introduce new people to the projects. People who will stay as contributors later on, if we do a good job at making them feel welcome.
GNOME has participated to all GSoC, and that's something we're very proud of. The best part is that past students have become highly involved in GSoC in later years, with some of them being the main admins for GNOME. We usually have a team of several admins (at least four), and everybody has experience of GSoC, so organizing our participation is probably easier than for many projects. We've put all of our GSoC documentation online, and that's really the place to visit if you want to be a mentor or student for GSoC on a GNOME-related project.
We've just started collecting project ideas. If you work on something GNOME-related (or a cross-desktop technology), don't hesitate to add your project ideas there. The admin team will triage the list of ideas later on, so don't worry if your idea seems to be lost in a big list of ideas :-) Christophe will send a proper request for ideas in the next few days (if he hasn't already, I haven't read all my mails).
With GNOME 3 just around the corner, there is without a doubt a good opportunity to attract students: those are exciting times for GNOME where a student could make a big difference for 3.2/3.4 with a single project, and become a core actor of the GNOME 3 development, and therefore of the GNOME community!
For openSUSE, things are different: we participated three times (2006, 2008 and 2009), and our application was unfortunately rejected last year. So a few people worked hard in the past few weeks to increase our chances to participate this year (special thanks to Manu who did a good part of the job).
We gathered all the relevant information on the wiki and our community already offered many different project ideas (roughly 40, as of right now). What's exciting is with openSUSE, we offer topics ranging from low-level C code to Ruby on Rails, from infrastructure tools to end-user features, from openSUSE-specific topics to cross-distribution ones, etc. Our list of ideas is extremely broad, and we believe the technologies we cover are exciting for students. Thanks to this preliminary work, we've already got several students contacting us about the projects. Isn't that cool?
As the openSUSE Foundation might not be setup in time to receive GSoC money, we're considering various options as to what to do with the money. The two main contenders are leaving the money to Google for future similar initiatives (GSoC or Code-In, for example), and giving the money to another non-profit organization that we believe is important. We welcome feedback on this, so raise your voice if you have an opinion :-)