If you follow the open source community, you might be familiar with the Google Summer of Code (GSoC). GSoC, which has been an annual event since 2005, pairs computer science students with open source projects for a summer of software development. If students successfully complete the task they’ve chosen to the satisfaction of their open source project sponsor and Google, they receive a substantial monetary stipend for their efforts. This simultaneously gives CS students solid, real-world experience (and money ;-)) while contributing to the success of various open source projects.
One of my favorite open source projects, the Haiku OS, is an effort to create a modern, reliable, user-friendly operating system inspired by the defunct BeOS (which was, indeed, a reliable, user-friendly operating system but failed in the marketplace). Haiku has been awarded five slots in this year’s GSoC, which is awesome, but in their drive for reaching a final ‘1.0’ product release they wanted to go a step further.
That’s the driving force behind the Haiku Code Drive 2008. Independent of the GSoC (but along the same lines), the project is raising money to fund up-to five students who wanted to participate in the GSoC but were not offered slots by Google. So far, they have raised enough to fund two additional goals beyond those in the GSoC. The fund-raising continues through approx. May 29, and (if there isn’t enough money to fund all five slots) the goals will be prioritized by a community poll held from May 22-29. If you want to see a free, user-friendly, desktop-oriented OS in the marketplace to compete with the triumvirate of Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, please send these folks a few dollars.