November 16, 2011

GNOME Outreach Program for Women Participants Continue to Impress

Groton, MA, November 16 2011: In each of the previous six years, at most one female student participated in Google Summer of Code in GNOME. This year, there were seven. The GNOME Outreach Program for Women attracted these applicants and connected them with mentors, who helped them with their first contribution. While creating and landing the required contribution, the applicants learned first-hand the steps and technology involved in the project’s development and how gratifying and even addictive it is to contribute to Free Software. Once the internships started, they had the knowledge and eagerness to dive in into their work.

The accomplishments of the women who participated in Google Summer of Code this year are impressive. For example, Nohemi Fernandez implemented a full-featured on-screen keyboard for GNOME Shell, which makes it possible to use GNOME 3.2 on tablets. Raluca Elena Podiuc added the ability to create an avatar in Empathy with a webcam. Srishti Sethi created six activities for children to discover Braille for the GCompris educational software.

There were also eight women who participated in the GNOME Outreach Program for Women internships during the same time period as Google Summer of Code. Five of them worked on documentation, creating new topic-based help for the core desktop, as well as for the Accerciser accessibility tool, Vinagre remote desktop viewer, Brasero CD/DVD burner, Cheese webcam application, and GNOME System Monitor. In addition to her work documenting Accerciser, Aline Duarte Bessa examined its entire bug list, provided feedback on all the bugs, and created patches for many of them. She also wrote developer documentation for the Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface (AT-SPI), which is used to provide a description of an application to accessibility tools.

Meg Ford completed the High Contrast and High Contrast inverse themes for GNOME by creating 81 new icons and editing 241 existing icons. Yu Liansu created a comprehensive GNOME Visual Identity portfolio, including original art work, posters, brochures, presentation and web page templates. Priscilla Mahlangu added a Zulu translation for GNOME, translating over 35 core modules. The detailed accomplishments of all the women who worked on GNOME as interns this summer can be found at http://live.gnome.org/GnomeWomen/OutreachProgram2011/MayAugust/Accomplishments .

Ekaterina Gerasimova, who was one of the documentation interns working on Vinagre and Brasero help and a key organizer of the Deskop Summit, is continuing a great tradition of a participant from one round of the program becoming a mentor in the next round. In the new round, she will be mentoring Marta Bogdanowicz in GNOME documentation work. “The program gives women a unique opportunity to work with dedicated mentors on their first contributions to GNOME,” says Gerasimova. “Participating in the program as an intern has helped me become a contributor and inspired me to be a mentor for this round.”

Thanks to generous sponsors, Collabora, Google, Mozilla, Red Hat and the GNOME Foundation, GNOME was able to accept twelve strong candidates for the new round. These twelve women from North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia will be working on GNOME technology, documentation, marketing and localization from December 12, 2011 to March 12, 2012.

“We’re really happy to be supporting the Outreach Program for Women again this year”, says Robert McQueen, CTO and Co-Founder at Free and Open Source Software consultancy Collabora. “We’ve always seen really great results working with the interns from the program both when mentoring their work on our projects, and more widely as new contributors to the GNOME community.”

“Mentoring programs are a great way to involve students in Free and Open Source Software development,” says Cat Allman, Program Manager at the Open Source Programs Office at Google. “We are thrilled to continue our support of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women, which provides important encouragement for technical women to venture into Open Source.”

“Open Source technology is shaping our future and must reflect all people. It’s critical to involve more women in its development,” says Mitchell Baker, Chair of Mozilla. “We are proud to have sponsored and co-mentored Aline Duarte Bessa and Meg Ford’s accessibility work in the previous round, and are happy to continue our support of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women.”

Red Hat joins as a corporate sponsor of the program this round. “Red Hat is all about community, and given that women represent half the population, it is important to foster opportunities that welcome and encourage their participation”, says Tim Burke, Vice President of Linux Engineering at Red Hat. “Our desktop team in cooperation with the GNOME community have consistently led technology advancement as well as diversity building. Red Hat is proud to join in the GNOME community effort to organize a successful women’s development initiative.”

All of the accepted participants have used GNOME before, are avid Free Software users and contributors, have a strong background in the area they applied for, and made a substantive contribution to GNOME as part of the application process. The participants will work remotely from home, guided by a mentor and communicating with other contributors over Internet Relay Chat (IRC). The community will be able to learn more about the participants and follow their work through their blog updates on Planet GNOME. The participants, as well as their location, project, and mentor(s), are:

  • Marta Bogdanowicz, Berlin, Germany – Documentation – Ekaterina Gerasimova
  • Kasia Bondarava, Minsk, Belarus – Localization – Ihar Hrachyshka
  • Christy Eller, Paonia, Colorado, USA – Web Development and Marketing – Allan Day
  • Emily Gonyer, Carrollton, Ohio, USA – Marketing – Karen Sandler
  • Jovanka Gulicoska, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia – Empathy – Danielle Madeley
  • Susanna Huhtanen, Helsinki, Finland – JavaScripter’s Guide to GNOME – Cosimo Cecchi and Johannes Schmid
  • Laura Lazzati, Buenos Aires, Argentina – gedit – Paolo Borelli
  • Mendy Meng, Sydney, Australia – GTG – Luca Invernizzi
  • Andiswa Mvanyashe, Pretoria, South Africa – Localization – Friedel Wolff
  • Antigoni Papantoni, Lausanne, Switzerland – Pitivi – Jeff Fortin
  • Patricia Santana Cruz, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain – Cheese – David King
  • Sophia Yu, Xi’an, China – Games – Jason Clinton

The Outreach Program for Women is organized by Marina Zhurakhinskaya, with help and support from Karen Sandler, Rosanna Yuen and the GNOME Board of Directors. The essential work is done by the program’s mentors in helping the applicants and eventual participants contribute to their projects. Out of the twelve participants of the new round, four are being sponsored by the GNOME Foundation, four by Google, two by Mozilla, one by Collabora, and one by Red Hat. For more information about the Outreach Program for Women, visit http://projects.gnome.org/outreach/women .

The GNOME Project was started in 1997 by two then-university students, Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena Quintero. Their aim: to produce a free (as in freedom) desktop environment. Since then, GNOME has grown into a hugely successful enterprise. Used by millions of people across the world, it is a popular desktop environment for GNU/Linux and UNIX-type operating systems. The desktop has been utilised in successful, large-scale enterprise and public deployments, and the project’s developer technologies are utilized in a large number of popular mobile devices.

The GNOME Foundation is an organization committed to supporting the advancement of GNOME, comprised of hundreds of volunteer developers and industry-leading companies. The Foundation is a member directed, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial, organizational and legal support to the GNOME project. The GNOME Foundation is supporting the pursuit of software freedom through the innovative, accessible, and beautiful user experience created by GNOME contributors around the world. More information about GNOME and the GNOME Foundation can be found at www.gnome.org and foundation.gnome.org. Become a Friend of GNOME at http://www.gnome.org/friends .

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