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Programming Software Education IBM Linux Technology

Competition Fosters Next Generation Of Linux Talent 209

gollum123 writes "Yahoo reports that about 3,000 students from 75 countries registered for the 2004 IBM Linux Scholar Challenge before registration closed Oct. 31, the largest turnout in the competition's history. This year's winners will be revealed in January at LinuxWorld in Boston. Each entry consists of a 1,200-word essay that can describe the solution to one of 29 Linux-related challenges IBM poses as part of the competition. Entrants, who must be enrolled full time at an accredited university, aren't limited to these challenges and can suggest and solve their own problems. The IBM-provided challenges include asking entrants to identify deficiencies in Linux and propose solutions, describe how to build a high-availability application that would provide failover capability across multiple IBM servers, and improve boot time on a Linux-based IBM ThinkPad."
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Competition Fosters Next Generation Of Linux Talent

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  • by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:12AM (#10751652)
    "full time at an accredited university"

    That's just wrong. Some of the best programmers and computer folks I ever met, didn't even go to colleges.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:14AM (#10751660)
    ... and that's just wrong for so many reasons. You learn so much more at college where you're taught and learn from others about alternatives, formal methodology, etc. The days of high school IT men/women making any significant money is rapidly disappearing.
  • by Omniscientist ( 806841 ) <matt.badecho@com> on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:16AM (#10751667) Homepage
    You are probably correct, I can see no harm in IBM accepting people who have little or no college experience but are damn good at Linux hacking and proposing some good new ideas. IBM is just limiting itself there.
  • Sorry, pal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:18AM (#10751692)
    This is a contest that involves writing. Absolutely none of the one-dimensional, high-school-dipolma-only computer geeks I know can write for shit. It's appalling. A college education doesn't necessarily improve writing skills (just look at the people who post to Slashdot) because not everyone chooses to take advantage of the broad spectrum of educational options available at college, but for those who do, they are head and shoulders above people whose sole talent in life is programming.

    Furthermore, I don't think it makes much sense to award a scholarship to someone who's not in college. Is that so unreasonable?

  • by JPriest ( 547211 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:23AM (#10751725) Homepage
    Actually once you get in the door it is more about what you can do and less about what is on your resume.
  • by erick99 ( 743982 ) <> on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:25AM (#10751742)
    It's not wrong because you don't like it. You may wish they had done it differently but it is their game and their money. Besides, it seems to be an academically oriented competition.
  • by greenreaper ( 205818 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:27AM (#10751752) Homepage Journal
    . . .
    2. One who attends school or studies with a teacher; a student.

    IBM is using this definition. Which seems obvious when you regard how the competition is targeted - the article even mentions "to drum up enthusiasm among students"
  • by zurab ( 188064 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:41AM (#10751836)
    If you don't go to school, you don't need a scollarship.

    Unless you can't go to college because you cannot afford it, or you were forced to drop out for financial reasons - then scholarship would be a lot of help.
  • by whiteranger99x ( 235024 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:50AM (#10751876) Journal
    I too believe that you don't always need a college degree to have commanding intelligence. However, I am aware of the real world expectations of the "job market", among other things, and having that degree determines whether artificial barriers are lifted or fortified.

    And sometimes it's a shame that someone who can otherwise think on their feet and do the job 10 times around without faltering are constricted, but that's how it goes.
  • Re:Cheap labor? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spisska ( 796395 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:50AM (#10751887)
    They already have a system to get students to work for free -- its called internship, and there's plenty of students willing not only to work for free, but to pay their respective institutions for the privilege (and the course credit).

    On the other hand, this is an excellent way for IBM to do some university recruiting without having to pore over thousands of resumes.
  • Re:Cheap labor? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sh1ftay ( 822471 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:51AM (#10751889)
    Erm.. isn't most linux development essentially done for free anyway?
  • Re:Cheap labor? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by automatix ( 664568 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:53AM (#10751906) Homepage
    Hmm, Students don't tend to end up doing "work for free" - there are more mistakes, less documentation, less understanding and experience of security, portability, and less foresight for future possibilities/developments [in general!]. All this requires other people to review it, document it, approve it, modify it. While maybe not costing as much as for a professional to do it, it certainly isn't free.

    Rob :)

  • Patent question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by debrain ( 29228 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @01:00AM (#10751939) Journal
    Not all the hard questions in Linux's future are technical.

    To IBM challengees/anyone:

    How would you reconcile the need for innovation in Linux and the growing number of patents owned by a smaller and smaller group of large corporations, where these patents undermine the capacity to innovate?

    IBM, being the largest patent filer in the United States, probably has a unique perspective on this. Though I am grateful for their support of, and happy for their benefit from, Linux, I must concede that I wonder what will happen when their patent interests conflict with their Linux interests.
  • by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @01:08AM (#10751977)
    When I was in high school, I also felt I knew a lot about computers. Now I realize I knew shit. I still believe I still know shit, just a lot more shit than I used to.

    One of the main reasons for college is to teach you how to learn. High school won't do that, so they make college a requirement because you'll keep building on that.

    I'm not saying college is required or you won't do well if you don't go to college. Certainly not, but there are benefits to college besides what your teacher tests you on.
  • hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zinoc ( 814847 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @01:18AM (#10752025)
    What a great way of getting someone to solve your business programming problems on the cheap. :)
  • Bummer ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 08, 2004 @01:21AM (#10752038)
    As one who met all the eligibility requirements for this competition, I think it would have been nice to have found out about it before the deadline... Maybe next year /. can run an article on it before the fact.
  • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @01:34AM (#10752098)
    And remember, kids:

    The plural of "anecdote" is still not "data".
  • Students (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hkht ( 828161 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @02:07AM (#10752203)
    The best way to get young people really intrested in linux is to have games which work hands down better on the linux platform.
  • by Seeker_350 ( 828979 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @07:22AM (#10753183)

    what the i.t. world really needs is an apprenticeship get your degree, and then spend a year working as a "night operator" changing tapes. only once you've proven diligent enough to not screw up the back ups.....

    You're a nutcase of the worst kind. Why the hell should any kid motivated enough to pursue a college-education want to start out doing a job we already pay Indians and the Uneducated to do?

  • Re:Students (Score:3, Insightful)

    by segmond ( 34052 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @09:16AM (#10753541)

    when i discovered linux in 94 at 10th grade, it had nothing to do with games. It was sheer curiosity. A lot of windows game geeks do nothing but play games, period. they are not interesting in exploring and learning, all they are interested is simply playing games.

    a young person discovering linux today, most likely will have to do so by theirself of through friends because their parents are definitely not going to be the source of introduction...

  • by Glove d'OJ ( 227281 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @11:44AM (#10754785) Homepage
    " IBM created its program in 2001 to drum up enthusiasm among students worldwide in Linux and open-source software."

    It sounds like some of these "theoretical" challenges may be issues that they have in-house, and are looking for some free help to solve.

    In 2001, post-bubble, I went on a job interview with a large, not-to-be-named corporate entity and was asked how I would approach / solve a few issues that they were having at the time. Wanting the job, I foolishly gave a couple insightful replies.

    Did I get the job? No. Were the solutions implemented? A friend of mine who works in that group said that the hiring manager (he with whom I interviewed) suddenly had some great insight on their current problems, and proposed solutions that sounded quite a bit like my interview replies.

    The bastard. My fault, though, for giving away the milk and not having them require that the cow at least be rented.

    Is IBM doing the same with these kids? Dunno. Looking at the 2004 Official Rules [], however, section 8 of the agreement reads:

    By submitting entries, entrant grants the sponsors and their agents of this contest the right to publish, use, adapt, sell, edit and/or modify such entry in any way, in commerce, and in any and all media worldwide, including but not limited to the Internet, without limitation and without compensation to the entrants. Entrant also grants sponsors worldwide irrevocable, nonexclusive and royalty free right and license to use, have used, copy, reproduce, transfer, modify and/or display any information contained in their entry in
    whole or part and in any form without compensation.

    Things that make you go "tsk tsk." If I read this correctly, it means that they would own your idea as submitted, and can not only use it, but also sell it and / or patent it as their own.

    It gets even more fun, in section 9:

    At the sponsor's discretion, entrants may be required to submit source code to substantiate
    results reported in the entry.



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