The page with the information about the latest internship opportunities is here. This is a page with planning notes.

This page contains notes on planning an Outreach Program for Women, which will include having several students being sponsored by the GNOME Foundation to work on GNOME projects in 2010 and on.

Here is a more concise page that contains motivation, goals, ways to get involved, and asks for sponsorship of the program.


GNOME is an innovative desktop using free software, is easy to use, and is the most popular desktop distributed with free operating systems. GNOME has an exciting and motivated community of people working on projects they feel passionate about and a wide community of users. The GNOME community strives to provide a free desktop for everyone, which certainly includes women users and contributors. An effort to involve more women in GNOME stems from a desire to manifest this value of inclusiveness, as well as from the following benefits to both groups:

What are the benefits to women of getting involved in GNOME?

  • Being part of a great community, transparent way of getting things done, and a powerful inclusive movement
  • Opportunity to affect development in areas such as education, science, usability, accessibility, and access to computers in poor countries and communities
  • Rewarding and flexible jobs

What are the benefits to GNOME of getting more women involved?

  • Input from all segments of population will result in products that appeal to wider markets “The power and capacity of an open source community is determined by the quantity and quality of its social capital. If a community fails to invest in either – if it turns off or away qualified people because its culture (however unintentionally) discriminates against a gender, race or group – then it limits its growth and potential.” From Women in Open Source – the canary in the coal mine by David Eaves

  • Bigger community – addressing some of the issues that result in fewer women in GNOME will also improve the experience for all newcomers
  • More gender-balanced environment

In 2006, the GNOME Foundation ran the Women's Summer Outreach Program. The intention of the program was to promote involvement of women in the GNOME project and Free Software development. With 6 participants the program was successful in gathering interest of students and media and the participants achieved good results.

Recently, the broader Free Software community has restarted the discussion about women participation and is finding ways for the projects to participate in this effort. In this context, the FSF and the GNOME Foundation have agreed to work together in an Outreach Program for Women with the goal of generating interest and attracting more participants.

Participating projects and format

  • The roles that people can play in GNOME are:
    • Software development
    • System administration
    • User interface design
    • Graphic design
    • Documentation
    • Community management
    • Marketing
    • Identifying issues and reporting bugs
    • Helping users
    • Event organization
    • Translations

The individual proposals can be centred around any of these roles for a particular project. We are open to women proposing their own projects, but we should also make available a list of projects and mentors that are interested in participating in the program.

Projects interested in participating

  • GNOME Shell; mentors: Marina Zhurakhinskaya; possible roles: software development, graphic and interactions design, usability, documentation

  • GnomeGames: mentors: JasonClinton

  • Empathy: mentors: DanielleMadeley, GuillaumeDesmottes; possible roles: software development, usability, documentation, new default theme

  • Documentation; mentors: PaulCutler; possible roles: help with re-write of the GNOME User Guide and / or Accessibility Guide for GNOME 3.0; re-write any GNOME application(s) help to be topic based and written in Mallard

  • Anjuta: mentors: Johannes Schmid:possible roles: software developement, usability, documentation. Also willing to mentor other GNOME-related ideas, just contact me.

  • Marketing: mentors: Stormy Peters possible roles: analyzing and improving web site metrics, developing and executing fundraising campaigns, developing presentation materials, working on GNOME 3.0 marketing campaign with the marketing team and partners

Other project ideas:

  • Educational software, such as Sugar for OLPC

Application process format ideas for the GNOME Shell that can be used for other projects as well:

  • Have an introductory hack-week when all applicants can get familiar with GNOME Shell, tools for its development, basics of the code behind it, and get started on fixing a bug from the GNOME Shell bugzilla or offer design for some feature.
    • Can have a session at MIT during IAP (IAP is an Independent Activities Period at MIT for four weeks in January when we can offer a session about GNOME Shell development/design. We can offer such session at any other time/place too.)
  • Have a period when applicants are encouraged to participate in the GNOME Shell community on IRC and fix bugs or offer designs.
  • Select applicants that have contributed the most to date and are most promising.
  • Have 2-3 months internships with the project, assign mentors, create a dedicated IRC channel for the participants.
  • The program would be internship-style, where the person just works on anything related to the team project, rather than GSoC-style where the person picks up a pre-defined individual project that she is supposed to complete. That way it would be both easier for the GNOME Shell team to define and help with the assignments, and for the participants to not feel stuck or overwhelmed when faced with a large project.
  • It would be great if we can get some university to sponsor co-locating the participants during the time of the program (e.g. MIT or some other university in the Boston area).

Target audience

Any woman with the skills and interest to get involved with the GNOME community should consider participating. In particular, this program will give them a valuable work experience and knowledge for finding a full-time employment in the free software industry. Free software industry offers exciting jobs, top-notch environment where people are passionate about their work, and good work/life balance due to flexible schedules and ability to work from home.

One of the key reasons that women are under-represented in the free software is that free software companies usually hire people who have already participated in the free software community in their spare time and often have the detailed knowledge of the project they are being hired to work on. However, women do not typically volunteer with technical projects in their spare time. This internship program is a great way of bridging this gap, by making women aware of the great employment opportunities in the free software world and providing them with the free software background that will make them more qualified in the eyes of the free software employers.

Promotion ideas

  • Initiate GNOME Foundation/GNOME companies women initiative where GNOME companies commit to include successful participants in the interview process for full-time jobs or internships.
  • Offer to sponsor one or several women who did the best job to attend GUADEC where they will have opportunities to meet employers and network.
  • Make arrangements with a professional technology magazine (or magazines) to write up a story about the outreach program and highlight the work the women did.
  • Write recommendations on program completion on professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn or offer future references.

  • Create a Women in GNOME Facebook group.

  • Write blog entries or communications about what women should expect when working in free software.

Program details

Participants: 2006 had 6 participants. 5 participants might makes sense this time.

Duration: 2006 was 2 months, but maybe 3 months like SoC, it would mean spending a bit more money though. 2 months would be ok if we have the interim period before we select the participants when we'll actually get the people involved and ready to start working.

Projects: If it's as far out as spring or summer, we can't define particular GNOME Shell topics now, but we can list GNOME Shell coding and design work, giving examples of current projects and open questions, and then see how many people we want to accept in each area (coding or design) based on the applications.

Stipend amount: In 2006 it was 3000 USD, if we ask for an extra month this time we don't know if we can promise 4500, but 2 months might be little time to get people in love with the project. Though given the context of being part of GNOME 3, maybe 2 months is enough. Depends on how much money we have.

Dates: Summer 2010? Spring 2010? Spring is better because it's sooner, but it's unclear how many people will be free in the spring. It depends on whether we'll look for people who are able to work full-time and whether we'll look for people who are in college or are college-aged. Summer 2010 might be a more natural time to have this planned for, and we can start the preparatory work with a hack-week/Facebook Group/blog posts/sessions at colleges far in advance.


GnomeWomen/OutreachProgram/PlanningNotes (last edited 2013-03-15 05:17:32 by MarinaZ)