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Great Firewall of China, Stopping Contribution to Open Source

I just received the email below on the Google Summer of Code Students mailing list. In 2008 I worked on Gallery as part of Google’s Summer of Code. I did the bulk of my work while I was on exchange in Beijing, China. Luckily, at the time, the Summer of Code management application wasn’t censored, apparently it is now.

This really hurts. If the Chinese Government doesn’t lift the ban on the GSoC site, there will inevitably be a drop in participation by Chinese students. Further, these tech-savvy individuals will likely bypass the firewall by using a proxy and may be in direct violation of the law.

This could all be sidestepped by providing an alternate URL & IP address for GSoC, but this is really just one example of censorship catching more than intended.

I’m a GSoC 2008 student from China. If Google hold SoC this year, I will apply it. But I found I can’t access socghop.appspot.com in these days.

In China, sometimes socghop.appspot.com was accessable, but in most time it is unaccessable. Under GFW(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Shield_Project), many websites can not be visited in China. The govenment thought these sites threaten country’s stability. Websites like YouTube, Blogspot, and any website with appspot.com domain name were blocked.

The govenment have no intention to ban GSoC, the reason of blocking appspot.com is that Google App Engine can be used to set up proxy sever and circumvent the GFW, so the government blocked all sites with domain name appspot.com.

Yes, it is very ridiculous, but what we can do? There are many Chinese students participated in the past GSoC seasons and made remarkable contribute to Open Source. It would be a heavy losses to Open Source if there are no Chinese(and other undemocratic countries) GSoCers in 2010.

If google can provide an alternative entrance besides http://socghop.appspot.com and students can commit applications on it, that would be enough.