February 4, 2015
Software Freedom Conservancy and the GNOME Foundation together announce that the Free and Open Source Software Outreach Program is moving from GNOME to Conservancy. As Karen Sandler, Executive Director of Conservancy and co-organizer of the Outreach Program, announced in her keynote at FOSDEM this weekend, the program will be rebranding as part of the transition under the new name “Outreachy”.
Outreachy helps people from groups underrepresented in free and open source software get involved by providing a supportive community for newcomers to contribute to throughout the year, and by offering focused internship opportunities twice a year with many free software organizations. To date, the program has had 214 interns with 35 different free software organizations, including the Linux Kernel, Wikimedia, GNOME, Mozilla, Twisted (a Conservancy member project), and OpenStack. Marina Zhurakhinskaya, Community Engagement Lead at Red Hat and co-organizer of the program said, “It’s amazing that the program we started four years ago with eight GNOME interns has grown to enable hundreds of women become established free software contributors across a broad spectrum of projects. I vividly remember the call in which Karen proposed the idea of inviting other organizations to participate, and I’m excited to continue working closely with her in growing the reach of the program.”
The GNOME Foundation, previous nonprofit home of the program, remains a core partner of Outreachy, providing infrastructure support. “The GNOME board is unified in its enthusiasm for Outreach to join Conservancy,” said Jean-François Fortin Tam, President of the GNOME Foundation. “We’re proud to have launched the program and seen it grow beyond our wildest expectations. We look forward to remaining a partner, supporting and participating in the program in its new home as it continues to grow.”
Over the next few months, Outreachy will complete its transition to Conservancy, the non-profit home of over 30 free and open source software projects. “Outreachy is a natural fit for Conservancy,” said Sandler. “Conservancy is organized to support many free software projects — and to promote software freedom in general. This program has become an essential way for free software projects to improve their communities. I am honored to keep working with Marina, Sarah Sharp and all of the other volunteers who keep Outreachy going.”
The next round of Outreachy internships will have an application deadline on March 24, 2015, and internship dates from May 25 to August 25. Coding, design, documentation and other projects will be available. Applicants will be asked to select a project with one of the participating organizations and collaborate with a mentor listed for that project to make a relevant contribution to the project during the application process. Accepted participants will work remotely, while being guided by their mentor, and will receive a $5,500 stipend.
Outreachy is the successor of the Outreach Program for Women (OPW). OPW was inspired by Google Summer of Code and by how few women applied for it. The GNOME Foundation first started OPW with one round in 2006, and then resumed the effort in 2010 with rounds organized twice a year. In the May 2012 round, Software Freedom Conservancy joined OPW with one internship with the Twisted project. In the January 2013 round, many other free and open source organizations joined the program. For the May 2015 round, the program was renamed to Outreachy with the goal of expanding to engage people from various underrepresented groups and is transitioning to Conservancy as its organizational home.
This program is a welcoming link that connects talented and passionate newcomers with people working in free and open source software and guides them through their first contribution. Through Outreachy, participants learn how exciting and valuable work on software freedom can be, while helping us to build a more inclusive community. The organizational partners of the program are the GNOME Foundation, Red Hat and Software Freedom Conservancy.
GNOME 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 around the world, it is one of the most popular environments for GNU/Linux and UNIX-type operating systems. GNOME’s software has been utilized in successful, large-scale enterprise and public deployments.
The GNOME community is made up of hundreds of contributors from all over the world, many of whom are volunteers. This community is supported by the GNOME Foundation, an independent non-profit organization that provides financial, organizational and legal assistance. The Foundation is a democratic institution that is directed by its members, who are all active GNOME contributors. GNOME and its Foundation work to promote software freedom through the creation of innovative, accessible, and beautiful user experiences.
Software Freedom Conservancy is a public charity that promotes, improves, develops and defends Free, Libre and Open Source software projects. Conservancy is home more than thirty software projects — including Git, Inkscape, Samba, Wine, Selenium, the Linux Compliance project, PyPy, and Sugar Labs — each supported by a dedicated community of volunteers, developers and users. Conservancy’s projects include some of the most widely used software systems in the world across many application areas, including educational software deployed in schools around the globe, embedded software systems deployed in most consumer electronic devices, distributed version control developer tools, integrated library services systems, and widely used graphics and art programs. A full list of Conservancy’s member projects is available. Conservancy provides these projects with the necessary infrastructure and not-for-profit support services to enable each project’s communities to focus on what they do best: creating innovative software and advancing computing for the public’s benefit.