Google's Summer of Code is one reason why Google keeps Microsoft executives awake at night.
Summer of Code is one of Google's most active hosted sites for open source development. Google's strategy is clear -- give students a stipend and in return they'll code their tails off and contribute to the open source community.
Now in its fourth year, the project has attracted open source heavyweights like Mozilla, MySQL, PHP and GNU. The list of cool projects goes on and on. Many of the projects are hosted at Sourceforge and other sites. Sourceforge is one of the largest open source sites in the world but it is also passive as far as attracting open source developers. By offering money for coding, Google's strategy is more aggressive and might convince many developers to move their projects into its hosted code Website.
According to Mountain View, Calif.-based Google, the project has attracted about 1,500 developers and almost an equal number of mentors over the last four years. Many tiny projects might survive because of this giant effort by Google. Some not so hot projects are also grabbing on and taking advantage of this opportunity.
One of the Test Center's favorites is the natural user interface project, or NUI for short. The original code for NUI was borrowed from the NYU project on multi-touch. The NUI project is attempting to develop a decoupled touch driver service that works separately from multi-touch ready applications.
The projects cover more than just software. Students can work on game libraries, protocols, cluster computing, codecs and many other exotic development specialties. At its present course, the project will certainly attract many more thousands of new developers. This development model might create a new generation of dedicated developers to write solely for Web 3.0 technologies and even kneecap Microsoft's hold on corporate development.
Google might not know how many new lines of code will be generated this year but one thing is certain, the number of projects and students is growing by leaps and bounds.