Santa Clara, CA – November 22, 2015: The Jamaica Diaspora Technology Task Force continues to expand the reach of the Palisadoes initiative to promote open source software development in Jamaica.
Open source software is created through the collaboration of volunteer programmers to make apps that are free for use by all. Popular open source projects include the Chrome and Firefox web browsers, the Android operating system used by 80% of all mobile phones, the freely available LibreOffice and OpenOffice alternatives to Microsoft Office, and many of the free apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
The first project, Calico, is a recently launched joint venture between the Task Force, the student run UWI Computing Society and the Student Branch of the Utech Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Calico is modeled after the Google Summer of Code (GSoC), where students apply to develop new software features for a list of open source projects. If accepted, the student earns a stipend over the summer to create the software feature under the guidance of a mentor from the same open source project. Stipends are paid based on achieving milestones created by the mentor. Google has run GSoC for over ten years and in 2016 over 1,500 students around the world are expected to participate.
Calico aims to educate Jamaican based students on how to participate in GSoC while simultaneously creating a feeder program into this globally recognized program that promotes high tech excellence. Calico’s projects have identical standards, but are based on smaller international open source projects where a Jamaican impact can be significant and the opportunities for Jamaican collaboration more meaningful. Acceptance rates are expected to be higher than GSoC as the projects and features will be curated by the UWI and Utech teams. Calico’s technical advisory panel includes Jamaican software engineers at Google and LinkedIn
Calico has received strong support from GSoC and joint events promoting projects from both projects are being planned for the new year.
The Calico team has already prescreened the following open source projects for inclusion in the 2016 launch.
- Chomp: A UWI Computing Society developed PHP library for extending consumption-only REST APIs. – https://github.com/anich/chomp
- Harvest API: An API built by Jamaica’s Slashroots open source organization for processing agricultural data. – http://harvestapi.io
- Gloss Project: A web design library built on top of Plone Content Management System.
- Switchmap: An application that uses SNMP to create HTML pages showing information about the devices connected to a computer network. http://sourceforge.net/projects/switchmap/
The Calico team will continue to screen and accept projects until the deadline next year.
Sponsorship of Calico internships will rely exclusively on the generosity of the Jamaican Diaspora and companies interested in tapping into Jamaican software talent.
“By providing an additional opportunities for students to learn by contributing, to and participating in, open source projects while introducing them to the GSoC program, Calico promises to provide an exceptional experience for participants”, stated Alex Nicholson, Public Relations Officer for the UWI Computing Society. “The project is definitely picking up steam with the endorsement of these new open source projects.”
Details of Palisadoes, Calico, and sponsorship opportunities can be found at: http://www.palisadoes.org/