[Fsf-friends] FOSS.IN/2005 - A report

kanti jadia jkanti@antispam.org
Mon Dec 5 14:59:32 IST 2005

FOSS.IN/2005 - Report


The event formally known as LB or LinuxBangalore got a new name and a new
venue this year.
What could be more appropriate than the historical Bangalore Palace to hold
the conference.

We ( me and Praveen A ) had planned to put a stall for FSF-India at FOSS.IN.
I was never keen on putting a demo as i believe that the whole of FOSS.INdemoed
Free Software a lot.A lot of it infact as this was FOSS.IN.

We reached the venue on 29th Morning around 8:15.
Praveen had registered for a lot of volunteering and also helped some in the
conference as well.
He got in touch with Tejas and got right inside the registration counter to
help out.
( http://people.redhat.com/jmorris/images/fossinmisc2.jpg ).
Praveen wearing the "Freedom Matters" T-Shirt.Would upload the images in
some time.

The format of the FOSS expo area was known to us and the idea of a stall was
a bit off.
I got myself registered as a delegate and headed straight to the FOSS Expo
The FOSS Expo area had nobody in at that time so i headed to Intel hall (
750 seater ).
As i was moving towards the hall i met Gaurav Nawani.
Gaurav mentioned that he would be putting up a demo of Blender in the FOSS
Expo Area.
He mentioned that he and his elder brother run a company (IronCode) and they
make games.
I enquired as to what kind of games they wrote and he mentioned casual
The kind of games you enjoy playing in your liesure time.
We both went inside the hall and sat there for the opening to be announced

The conference was opened with the lighting up of a lamp ( having five sides
) , traditionally
called a Samai ( Sa-Maa-eeee ), by representatives of various GLUGs across
India ( 5 ).
The conference theme was very well described by the following poem.

Where The Mind is Without Fear
From Rabindranath Tagore's Geetanjali

Where the mind is without fear
And the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up
Into fragments by narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

The first keynote was given by Alan Cox on the relevance of getting involved
with Free Software.
The red coloured cap (hat) worn by Alan was quite evident and only when he
reached the end of the keynote did
he remove it.The cap was visible for all four days of the event and you were
sure to see Alan every once in a while.
The most interesting part of the talk for me was the part where he mentioned
that you can just
get involved with a web browser and an email account.
Where do you find this small a need to get involved with any sort of
The benefits of working with FOSS projects are immense.
Apart from programming skills which you gain you get to know a lot of
different people.
You learn how to interact with people from various cultures.

Once the keynote by Alan got through i walked in straight to the FOSS Expo
Karunakar was already there with 3 machines being put up for IndLinux
Next to the IndLinux machines was a demo of LTSP put up by ILUG-DELHI guys.
Gaurav was along with me as well looking where to put his Blender
demo.Wegot 3 machines and got them unpacked.
I went ahead and put the GNU & Penguin sticker on one of the machines from
the ones i had.
After a bit of groupalla ( get together ), we had the machines ready.
I had a couple of posters with me which and brouchers for FSF-India and
A small lesson , do not expect to find gum/sticking/pins etc near the venue.
Saw Kartik Mistry putting the Debian poster and so ran out to get some
cellotape/pins from him.
A lot of people were around including Karunakar,Jaldhar , Mahesh Pai, Gora
Mohanty, Pramode
, Arjun etc.

At around afternoon i saw Alan coming inside the FOSS Expo Area, and in a
few mins he was not to be seen.
After some time Atul appeared and requested that the FOSS Expo area would
also move to the Conference Expo area.
We thought we would all move the out in the morning and than in a flash we
were all out that area.
By this time Amol and Sameer came in too from Delhi.

We got a dedicated stall for FSF-India and this meant we were back to where
we started.
We got the machines in place and then got a few posters put as well.
Anush was very keen on getting those posters as he felt they were very
impressive( Indeed they are ).

All along the four days we were kind of doing a round robin on the FSF-India
Sometimes it was me , sometimes Amol, another time Sameer and offcourse

Praveen was sharing with me some details on the talks going on in the
Ballroom as he was the hall marshal there.
In all i attended around six/seven talks/bofs.
The food was good with you paying in paper coupens(with options of
South/North Indian and Pizzas ).
The T-Shirt also was is good and i hope it hangs around upto next year.

Am surprised at the low amount of information people have about FSF.
People do not even know where gcc came from.
I was kind of letting people know about FSF in India and its activities.
FSF-India would be soon launching a fellowship programme and details about
the same ( http://www.fsf.org.in/new/fellowship )
are there on the website.
It was not too difficult to let people know about the GNU project.A lot of
people were curious as to what we
were doing on the stall.We gladly told that we had put it up as volunteers
to FSF-India.

Apart from working on the stall we had one more bonus,very good internet
Got sarge working on both the machines on the stall and then i set out a
small task for myself.
All three days except the first day i was hacking on GCJ and trying to get
it working with SWT/GTK
I had to compile it from source as the linking was not done with gcj 4.0.
Once i got SWT working i moved ahead to java-gnome.
Getting java-gnome to work was not that tough either.
So now i had a small image viewer working with java-gnome compiled into
native binary(linked to libgcj offcourse).
A complete free java application.( No not yet )
We had only one Cat5 LAN cable in the stall so only one machine from the
stall could be on the network at any time.

Eclipse has made immense progress in combination with GCJ.
You can get native applications from GCJ fairly quick.
Got Java skills , go ahead , try out GCJ.

The very next stall to FSF-India was of the Phoenix project (
Pramode ( http://www.livejournal.com/users/pramode_ce/ ) was the person
behind this project being presented
at FOSS.IN. The project showed how to perform simple experiments using
locally available hardware and a few
programs in python.The project has a lot of interest and it would be very
good for a lot of LABs (Schools, Coleges etc.) to
implement it.Prof. Vasant Barve ( now retired ) was there too as a
delegate.He mentioned about his programs written in TC.
We asked him if he had named his project and whether he was interested in
porting them to GNU/Linux.
He is indeed very much interested.Pramod took this oppurtunity of
introducing SPACE to Prof. Barve.
Prof.Barve used to teach at College of Engineering in Pune and some other
colleges from 1967 onwards.
The College of engineering in Pune has its own long heritage.
A lot of CDAC engineers knew/know Prof.Barve very well.

It would be really nice to have the programs/experiments available on
Physics/Mechanics teachers and students both would benefit a lot from these
The software is not yet named , Prof. Barve calls it Virtual Laboratory,
lets see what name it takes here on.

The closing of the conference was also very interesting in a number of ways.
Volker's talk on Creative Commons was really informative.
He explained the various forms of commons.The social structure etc. etc.
Than he went on to tell about the effect of copyleft (GNU GPL) and the GNU
Project on the various other
forms of media.The formation of the creative commons and content available
the creative commons.
Incidently the FOSS.IN DVD has music available under the Creative Commons
Free Software has changed the way a lot of things are done in this world.

Next Atul took onto the stage to announce the closure with a couple of
interesting details.
He introduced the entire team which was responsible for FOSS.IN and they
lined up near the stage.
Than came the list of the speakers , a whopping one at that.
The speakers when lined up showed that it was not he/him or her that were
making the difference.
The difference was made by us all.We the people.

Copyright (c) 2005 Kanti Jadia
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