I have been toying with the idea of somehow utilizing the countless hours wasted by the thousands of MCA students across the country, through their off-the-shelf MCA projects and paid-to-do MCA projects, to contribute to Free Software Development. I have aired this idea several times at different venues and with people high up in the IT department in the state but nothing has come off till now. I have decided to do what I can do to get the ball rolling regarding this. I have invited MCA students for doing their final year MCA projects at Zyxware. Through this initiative I am hoping to contribute to two or three selected Free Software projects this year.
At Zyxware we should be able to accommodate 6-8 MCA students easily. If we can attract as many smart MCA students we should be able to collect around 30-40 man months and contribute this to worthwhile Free Software projects. If this initiative clicks, we should be able to organize this on a more grander scale next year possible with the involvement of other companies or even the government.
We are however only looking for people who meet the quality requirements for employment at Zyxware. The project will therefore give the students a shot at getting a job at Zyxware once it is complete. The initiative offers a win-win situation for all people involved. The students get an opportunity to work hands-on on some real world project which is going to be useful to others, the community gets development contribution and we get potential hires.
If more companies take up this model, we wouldn't have to worry about dearth of Free Software developers or Free Software contributions. Hundreds of thousands of MCA and BTech students waste Millions of man-months on totally useless projects. The system is so corrupt that some even pay others to do this useless work. If we can tap into this huge reserve potential we can work miracles in Free Software projects. Please do spread the word around and help us in contributing to Free Software strategically.