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- Background Information
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This page contains the general information about the Free and Open Source Software Outreachy internships, including important information about the application process and the application form. The application process for the upcoming round opens on February 16, 2017 and application deadline is March 30. Internship dates will be May 30 to August 30.
Page for this round, including the timeline and participating organizations
Information for organizations interested in participating in or sponsoring the program
Application system where applicants should submit their application after they select a project and make the initial contribution
The flyer is CC-BY-SA - artists: Marie Nordin, Máirín Duffy
PDF versions are available.
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is software that gives the user the freedom to use, copy, study, change, and improve it. There are many Free and Open Source Software licenses under which software can be released with these freedoms. FOSS contributors believe that this is the best way to develop software because it ensures user freedom, benefits society, creates a fun collaborative community around a project, and allows anyone to make innovative changes that reach many people. FOSS contributors do various things: software development, system administration, user interface design, graphic design, documentation, community management, marketing, identifying issues and reporting bugs, helping users, event organization, and translations.
Many people work on FOSS as a hobby in their spare time and some are employed by companies and non-profit organizations, including ones that are sponsoring this program! Bloomberg, Codethink, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Mozilla, Rackspace, Red Hat, and Twitter have been some of the corporate sponsors of the program. GNOME Foundation, Linux Foundation, Open Source Robotics Foundation, Open Technology Institute, OpenStack Foundation, The Tor Project, and Wikimedia Foundation have been some of the non-profit organizations sponsoring this program. Hobbyist FOSS experience is highly valuable in the professional world because seeing the publicly available contributions and history of collaboration gives confidence to employers when making hiring decisions.
Outreachy internships were inspired in many ways by Google Summer of Code and by how few women and minorities applied for it in the past. By having a program targeted specifically towards people traditionally underrepresented in tech, we found that we reached talented and passionate participants, who were uncertain about how to start otherwise. We hope this effort will help many people learn how exciting, varied and valuable work on FOSS projects can be and how inclusive the community really is. This program is a welcoming link that will connect you with people working on individual projects in various FOSS organizations and guide you through your first contribution.
If you are not eligible for an Outreachy internship, or the Outreachy application period is closed, you are welcome to contact the mentors at all the organizations that have participated in the program! Please see our list of past participating orgs on the Outreachy history page.
You can find information about the participants from previous rounds, their blog posts, and their accomplishments on the Outreachy history page. The blog posts of participants are aggregated on the Planet Outreach, in addition to being aggregated on the Planet relevant to each participant's organization. It makes for a great read!
Each participating organization, with the help of corporate sponsors, will sponsor several internships each from May 30, 2017 to August 30, 2017. The internships offered are not limited to coding, but include user experience design, graphic design, documentation, web development, marketing, translation and other types of tasks needed to sustain a FOSS project.
The internship is expected to be a full-time effort, meaning that the participants must be able to spend 40 hours a week on their project. Participants will work remotely from home. Because IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is one of the primary means of communication within FOSS projects, participants should be present on their project's IRC channel while working. You will also be expected to communicate electronically with other project members via other means, including bug tracker comments, mailing list discussion, blog posts, and personal e-mail. Participants will be expected to blog at least once every two weeks about their work and their blog posts will be included on the sites that aggregate blog posts of organization contributors, usually called Planets, and on the Planet Outreach.
Both interns and mentors will need to sign the contracts with Software Freedom Conservancy. Software Freedom Conservancy will be administering the payments of the $5,500 (USD) stipends in three installments. In addition, $500 (USD) travel allowance will be available to the interns.
Eligible participants must meet all the following requirements:
- (i) you are a resident or national of any country or region other than Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Sudan and identify as a woman (cis or trans), trans man, or genderqueer person (including genderfluid or genderfree) or (ii) you are a resident or national of the United States of any gender who is Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
- you are or will be 18 years of age or older by May 30, 2017
- you have not previously participated in an Outreachy, Outreach Program for Women, or Google Summer of Code internship
- you are available for a full-time, 40 hours a week internship, and you will not be in school full-time and will not have another full-time job for at least seven weeks between May 30, 2017 and August 30, 2017; being enrolled in school during a semester when you are taking more than half of the typical number of credits a full-time student takes or having an exams session is considered to be a full-time school commitment; Outreachy can be done to satisfy a project requirement and receive credits for it, in which case all other credits received during the semester should be no more than half of the typical number of credits a full-time student takes; having a job that is more than 20 hours a week is considered a full-time job commitment;
- you are eligible to work in the country or countries in which you will reside throughout the duration of the program
- you are not a person or entity restricted by US export controls or sanctions programs
Because the program is intended to help newcomers and contributors who are relatively new to the FOSS community to get more involved, we unfortunately can't accept past participants of Outreachy, Outreach Program for Women, or Google Summer of Code internships. However, if you qualify for Google Summer of Code, you are more than welcome to apply for it.
If you do not qualify for this round of the program for any reason, you are welcome to start working with mentors from the participating organizations in your spare time any time throughout the year to make your first contributions and gain experience with the relevant technologies and community practices. You can then apply for December 2017 to March 2018 Outreachy or for Google Summer of Code internships, or apply for internships or jobs with our sponsors, as works best for you.
Is Google Summer of Code right for you
This round of Outreachy internships is run in parallel with the Google Summer of Code program to encourage more people from underrepresented backgrounds to apply to both. If you are a student applying for a coding project, you most likely are eligible to apply for the Google Summer of Code program, and should consider applying for both programs. However, please note that for the May 2017 round, Google Summer of Code and Outreachy stipends differ, with Google Summer of Code stipend varying across countries based on Purchasing Power Parity and Outreachy stipend being a flat amount of $5,500. Final decision on who to accept for what program are up to each individual organization. However, because Outreachy has a significantly smaller funding pool and we would like to maximize the chances of people who are not eligible for Google Summer of Code to gain a focused experience contributing to Free and Open Source Software, if you apply for both programs, you will typically first be considered for Google Summer of Code. You will only be considered for Outreachy if no organization can accept you for Google Summer of Code or if the organization that wants to accept you for Outreachy is different from the organization that wants to accept you for Google Summer of Code, has dedicated funding, and does not have alternate applicants it wants to select.
If the organization you are interested in is participating in both programs, the mentor you get in touch with to begin contributing should be able to mentor you for either program. You should start out by preparing your Google Summer of Code application, and then put the same information about the project you are applying to work on in the Outreachy application when answering corresponding questions.
If you qualify for Google Summer of Code, you should consider all organizations participating in it, not just the ones participating in Outreachy. Check individual organization pages for their Google Summer of Code idea lists, advice on getting started, and application requirements. The best way to prepare to apply for Google Summer of Code is to start contributing early to an organization that interests you. You are welcome to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about getting started even if you are interested in applying for an organization not participating in Outreachy.
Unlike Google Summer of Code, Outreachy is open to non-students and non-coders, so you should just apply for Outreachy internship if you are either not a student or not a coder.
The application process is highly collaborative. You are expected to start working with a mentor and ask many questions during the application process.
If you have general questions at any point during the application process, you are welcome to email them to email@example.com or ask them on the #outreachy IRC channel on GIMPNet (irc.gnome.org) , where you are encouraged to hang out throughout the application process. firstname.lastname@example.org is a private list and your inquiries will only be visible to the coordinators and mentors for the program. Please start the subject line for all your e-mails to this list with a string [INQUIRY]. For organization-specific questions, please use the communication channels described on the page for each organization. Each project you will consider will have its IRC channel, and you should join it for the fastest way to get your project-specific questions answered and communicate with your mentor. It's easy to connect to IRC.
Five Outreach Program for Women interns from previous rounds created this cartoon for you to better explain the application process for the Outreach Program for Women. It's the same for Outreachy! CC-BY-SA - artists Liansu Yu, Christy Eller, Meg Ford, Tamara Atanasoska, Barbara Muraus
From Past Interns
Past interns have shared their advice about how to get the most out of your internship experience.
Answers to questions newcomers to FOSS often have
You can find Outreach Program for Women and Google Summer of Code introductions and advice from a panel of interns and mentors in the video from the session hosted by Women Who Code in San Francisco in July 2014.
Choose a Project
Take a look through the participating organizations and the projects they have available.
You will need to decide which project or projects you are most interested in working on. One piece of advice when picking an organization is to pick one whose software resonates with you as a user or as a potential contributor. You can base your decision on what type of technology you want to contribute to. Typically, the following things can help you learn more and decide:
- Read the project's wiki page
- Lurk on the project's IRC channel
- Especially if you are applying for a software development internship, build the code for the project and run it to check out its latest capabilities (the wiki usually has the instructions for doing this, but don't hesitate twice to ask the project's mentor or people on IRC for help if you encounter any problems)
- Look at the open bugs for the project
- Look at the recent changes in the project's source code repository
- Read the recent discussion on the project's mailing list
- Read the blogs of the project's mentor and other project contributors (you can learn who they are when looking at the source code repository)
- Introduce yourself to the project's mentor and discuss what your tasks during the internship program would be
You can also read through the "What's There to Learn" meeting logs in which mentors from 15 organizations, many of which participated in or sponsored previous rounds, presented about their organizations.
It's recommended to focus on one and at most two projects for your application.
Make a Small Contribution
Once you decide on the project you are most interested in, the most important thing you need to do before submitting an application is to make the required small contribution to that project. The contribution should be relevant to the project you are proposing to work on, meaning it should be for the same software module or show the skills you'll be drawing on in working on the project. You should ask the project's mentor for a suggestion for what a suitable contribution can be. If you have an idea about what you'd like to do for your first contribution, feel free to propose it. While working on your contribution, you should feel free to ask for help from the mentor or from other people in the project's IRC channel. It is typical that once you submit your contribution, your mentor or another person who reviews it will have some feedback about what you can improve in it. Please be sure to follow up on the reviewer's feedback until your contribution is ready to be included in the project. It's best to allocate time over several weeks for this process and to start as early as possible.
For software development projects, an appropriate contribution is to fix an existing bug. You will need to download and run the code for the project and create a patch that fixes some bug. Your patch may end up being just a few lines of code, but this demonstrates a willingness to learn and get involved. You will need to upload your patch to the corresponding bug in the project's bug tracker and likely go through several iterations of the patch review, where you will get some comments about how you can improve the patch and will need to follow up with an updated patch. This kind of review process is standard for many of the changes that go in, so please don't be deterred by it.
For user experience design, graphic design, documentation, web development, marketing and translation projects, you should discuss your contribution with the project's mentor, e-mail it to them, and be sure to follow up on all the feedback.
While you'll only need to contribute to one project for your application, you can list several you are interested in in the same or different organizations. This will ensure that even if two strong candidates applied for the same project, we can offer spots with different projects to both of them.
While only one contribution is required to be considered for the program, we find that the strongest applicants make multiple contributions throughout the application process, including after the application deadline. After making your initial contribution, you are encouraged to continue working with your mentor on additional contributions as your time allows.
Submit an Application
The application system is open from February 16, 2017 to March 30, 2017 for you to submit your application. For your application, you should answer all the questions in the application template below. Also, check if the page for the organization you are applying to work with provides any additional instructions about what to include in your application. Applications are due by 4pm UTC on March 30. It will be possible to edit submitted applications to add more details about your contributions or your project plan until 4pm UTC on April 28, when the selection decisions will be posted. Many organizations make decisions early after the application period closes, so you should finish your application ASAP in order to have the best chance at being selected.
Please don't submit the application form until you have completed the required initial contribution, unless it's only a few days until the application deadline and you are already working on your contribution. Once you have completed the initial contribution, submit your application right away, so that we have more time to follow up with you in case we need additional information. Please work on more contributions after that as your time allows. You will be able to update your application until the application deadline.
In the application system, you will optionally be able to submit your resume or any other relevant documents.
How to Get an OpenID
The application system offers two options for logging in, using OpenID or using your Google account. OpenID is a protocol that allows logging into a website using an account you already have elsewhere. Please note that your OpenID identifier must be a URL. You can take a look at some services that provide an OpenID and there are more out there. If you have a blog, you should check if the hosting service for it provides an OpenID. If you are accepted for the program, you will be asked to blog about your internship every two weeks. If you don't already have a blog, you might like to start one with Dreamwidth, which provides an OpenID. Please note that since the beginning of 2016, WordPress does not provide an OpenID for new blogs.
Troubleshooting Google Log-in
If you receive the following error when trying to log in: "Fatal error: Uncaught exception 'Exception' with message 'User profile request failed! Google returned an invalid response.'...", clear your cookies for the site and re-try.
Submitting Multiple Applications
If you have made contributions to multiple organizations, please submit one application for each organization. If you have only contributed to one organization, please submit one application. If you contributed to multiple projects in the same organization, please list them in a single application. You can list multiple projects or organizations you have not contributed to, but would be interested to work on if your first choice was not available, in the question about what projects you are interested in.
Advice about Using Your Legal Name
If your legal name is different from your preferred name, then you do not need to include your legal name on your initial application. A few things to be aware of:
- If you are accepted into the program and decide to participate, you will have to sign legal agreements. In that case, you would need to disclose your legal name to the program coordinators, but not to your project mentors.
- If you have a history of FOSS contributions under a different name than your preferred name, including links to those contributions may strengthen your application.
Different organizations may have different requirements (for example, the Linux kernel requires a developer's legal name to be part of their certificate of origin), so it may be worth asking the mentor for the organization you're interested in whether or not you will need to use your legal name.
If you are accepted, fields that are marked "(public)" will be displayed on a public acceptances page. If you prefer different information to be displayed publicly than you want to provide in this form, please provide both a private version visible only to the coordinators and mentors of Outreachy, and a public version to be displayed publicly. Name (public): Do you meet the eligibility requirements outlined at https://wiki.gnome.org/Outreachy#Eligibility (if no, explain why not)? Preferred pronoun (e.g. she, he, they): E-mail address: IRC nick (public): Internet presence (e.g. web page, blog, portfolio, GitHub, Twitter, LinkedIn links) (blog will be displayed publicly): Location (city, state/province, and country) (public): Education completed or in progress (include university, major/concentration, degree level, and graduation year): How did you hear about this program? Are you applying for Google Summer of Code and, if so, with what organization(s)? Please describe your experience with the organization's product as a user and as a contributor (include the information, as well as a link or an attachment, for the required contribution you made to the project you are interested in here): Please describe your experience with any other FOSS projects as a user and as a contributor: Please describe any relevant projects that you have worked on previously and what knowledge you gained from working on them (include links): What project(s) are you interested in (these can be in the same or different organizations)? Who is a possible mentor for the project you are most interested in? Please describe the details and the timeline of the work you plan to accomplish on the project you are most interested in (discuss these first with the mentor of the project): Will you have any other time commitments, such as school work, exams, research, another job, planned vacation, etc., between May 30, 2017 and August 30, 2017? Please provide exact dates for these commitments and the number of hours a week these commitments take. If a student, please list the courses you will be taking between May 30, 2017 and August 30, 2017, how many credits you will be taking, and how many credits a full-time student normally takes at your school. Please provide a link or upload your program's suggested curriculum by semester, which includes the suggested number of credits in each semester. Please provide a link or upload your school's academic calendar.
To allow Software Freedom Conservancy to run the program with participants Conservancy has limited control over, we need to have agreements with interns and mentors ensuring that your participation in the program is legally appropriate and that Conservancy holds no responsibility for any inappropriate or grossly negligent behavior of the participants. Please see agreements for interns and for mentors used in the current round. Future participants will need to sign similar agreements to be an intern or a mentor in the program. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about the agreements.
This program and all offers related to it are void where prohibited or restricted by law or where operation of the program would violate any law or right. All participants in the program must agree to the terms and conditions of the program which will be provided to the selected applicants.