The longer version starts back in 2005, when TPF was part of the first Summer of Code program. Although I wasn't directly involved in the day-to-day SoC activities, I remember how upbeat people were about the program; Google was making a huge show of support for Open Source, and we were glad to be a part of it. There was a lot of energy and excitement, and everything seemed to be going well.
Things didn't stay so positive, however. There were early mentor/student communication and coordination issues that, frankly, we just didn't deal with effectively. While these issues were eventually resolved -- mostly through the heroic efforts of Curtis Poe (a.k.a., Ovid) -- we never really overcame that poor first impression. Google was left with a pretty dim view of TPF.
It's fair to say that the only reason we were involved in the 2006 Summer of Code program at all was because Robert S, a Google employee that also was a member of TPF, served as a "proxy" for TPF. Robert asked the SoC organizers directly to allow us to participate, and offered to coordinate. Apart from Robert, there was actually very little direct TPF involvement in SoC 2006. (I certainly don't claim that this was a perfect situation, but it did give a number of students an opportunity to work on interesting projects and contribute to Perl. It's very unlikely it would've happened otherwise.)
Unfortunately, I made the mistake of assuming that the same thing would happen again this year, and I was wrong. By the time I learned that, due to other commitments, Robert wouldn't be able to serve as the TPF / SoC liaison in 2007, we were up against the deadline. I quickly assembled and submitted an application, knowing that it was unlikely to be accepted. It wasn't.
I'm sure it's clear by now that I'm not happy about this situation, and I apologize for letting it happen. While it's not the end of the world, it's disappointing; SoC is a worthwhile program, with the potential for a lot of positive exposure for Perl. As difficult as TPF involvement in SoC has often been, I'd certainly still prefer that we were participating.
Fortunately, the story doesn't end here. Many of the folks that were gearing up for SoC (both within and outside of TPF) are loathe to just set that motivation aside, and are exploring alternatives. Whether these alternatives take the form of an SoC-like program, or something more appropriate to our community, is under discussion right now. (It's a discussion I encourage you to join; comments are open.)
So as unhappy as I am about all of this, I'm also hopeful that moving forward with one or more of these alternatives will result in some very positive activities in the Perl community. We'll make announcements here soon as these discussions resolve into specific plans and programs.
Thanks for reading.