Google and some nerdy teenagers improve KDE


As a teenager, I wasted much of my life and loved every minute of it. Rather than do anything productive, I would vegetate in front of the TV watching movies like Smokey and the Bandit on WPIX. The concept of actually learning something outside of school was foreign -- who wants to learn during their free time? In my defense though, the 90's didn't offer much outside of TV and AOL chat rooms.

Nowadays however, teens are afforded some very cool opportunities, including Google's Code-In. If you aren't familiar, it is a program for teens aged 13-17 to both learn about and participate in open source technologies. Today, Google announces that it has improved KDE with the help of some of these teens.

"To increase motivation, GCI is organized as a contest. Pre-university students 13-17 years old from all over the world can choose from a large pool of code, documentation, research, quality assurance and user interface tasks. The pool is created by the mentors of the participating open source organizations who continue to add to it throughout the contest. A task is a set of work in one of the above five categories that can be completed in a short time, taking approximately a few hours to a day to complete. In addition to self-contained tasks, task series are also created where similar work is split into several tasks or related work is split into sequential tasks. This way all sorts of work can be converted into manageable pieces for open source newbies", explains Dennis Nienhüser, KDE mentor.

Nienhüser further explains, "students added documentation videos for all sorts of KWin effects, updated KGeography to show recent changes, and polished KStars features. A new touch typing course for the US English keyboard layout and keyboard layout files for more languages were created for KTouch. Python support of KDevelop was extended in a series of tasks, and Amarok got several new testers to verify bugs. The Trojitá email client got a couple of usability improvements. All sorts of new features found their way into Marble, among them are extensions of KML support, polishing of the new Cloud integration and initial support for tours. Inner and outer planets of the Solar System are now shown as well as the Moon with its phases. There were 115 Marble GCI tasks alone, a considerable portion of the 259 total closed tasks for KDE".

Yes, Google and a bunch of nerdy teens contributed to, and improved KDE. Were the contributions revolutionary? No, but that is not the point. Regardless of the significance of the contributions, the teens learned about Linux and open source. Hopefully, they walk away from the program with a sincere interest and continue to contribute to the community.

Unfortunately, too many kids today are lazy and unmotivated -- much like I was -- and that is nothing to be proud of. Google and KDE deserve major kudos for putting in the effort to get these teens excited about science and technology. These teens and others like them are the future -- the open-source community is depending on them to carry the torch.

Do you wish there was a program like Google Code-In when you were a teen? Tell me in the comments.

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