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Google abets open-source internships

Bask in the glow of the summer sun or an LCD--which would you choose? Google is betting on the latter for 200 students worldwide.

Forget the sunscreen.

Google on Tuesday kicked off its Summer of Code program, aimed at enticing students to try their hand at open-source software development. The two-and-a-half-month program will team up to 200 students with open-source organizations, which will monitor their progress. If they successfully complete a project, the students will receive $4,500 each.

"Since the point of the program is to create new developers, we're looking to find developers around the world who have considered creating free and open-source software but who have not yet taken the plunge," Google said on its Web site.

Applications are due June 14. Google's site does not specify which types of students are eligible, requesting only the name of the person's school on the application.

The Summer of Code program, with its potential $900,000 cash outlay, marks Google's latest foray into open source. The search giant , as it seeks to build its browser-independent strategy. In March, the company also launched a site to serve as an open-source repository for Google-related open-source applications.

Some industry players have expressed concern about U.S. college students' deteriorating performance in an international programming contest, saying it could be an ominous sign for the tech industry. Other companies, such as Microsoft, are as a means to re-energize U.S. students' interest in technology.

Under the Summer of Code program, students apply to work on a project for a designated open-source organization. Students will each receive an initial $500 once their applications are approved.

The applicants can either submit their own idea for a project or use one of the ideas listed by a participating open-source organization. Any code developed will either have the copyright assigned to the mentoring organization or the developer, based on the decision by the mentor.

The nine mentoring organizations include the Python Software Foundation, Apache Software Foundation, Gnome Foundation, Perl Foundation, Ubuntu Linux and Google.

Students are required to finish their project by Sept. 1. One month later, the mentoring organizations will announce those who have successfully completed their projects. Within several weeks after that, Google said, students will receive the remaining $4,000--and a T-shirt.