॥ स्वक्ष ॥

To content | To menu | To search


(UN)Conferences, MeetUps, HackerDojo's

Entries feed

2009 June 21 [Sunday]

fosscomm delhi meetup

The Fosscomm.in coalition of like-minded volunteers, NGO's and individuals is planning a meeting of the FOSS COMMunity of India in Delhi, to discuss key issues facing the community and strategies for dealing with them. All are welcome. Details below :

Date and Time : On Saturday 2009July04, the meetup will start at 10.00 AM and is planned for the whole day.

Venue : JNU, South Delhi. (exact venue within JNU is awaited)

Proposed agenda:

1. Reporting on the Bengaluru FOSSCOMM first meeting and follow up. Here is an update.

2. “Open Standards” Follow up on the Department of IT's draft policy on open standards

3. FOSS in Education What the FOSS community can do in : a) School Education ,b) Higher Education

4. Open formats and open standards

5. Legal issues

6. Building political consensus around FOSS as India's best bet for development.

The travel costs as well as the cost of stay will have to be borne by the participants.

Outstation folks who require accommodation should contact Prof. Andrew Lynn <lynn.andrew at gmail.com> and  "rajesh kalithody" <myidrajesh at gmail.com>. Lunch will be provided at the venue.

[/Updated : 20090703]

2009 March 2 [Monday]

UbuntuWomen meetup and BarcampBengaluru

Living in different countries means syncing oneself across the timezone span and after the fever and sinus torture of last weekend I was not sure if I'd have it in me to stay awake till midnight staring at the screen or making any coherent statements in the current heat wave. I hate Indian summers :( but I digress ...

Technology makes it easier to sit at home and meet various folks online in real-time so we (read Ubuntu-Women) did just that and had an IRC meetup last night as a kind of stock taking on the project founded (by yours truly :)) three years ago. Gosh 3 years already !! Everyone agreed that UW was doing well and that we love it in its present form :) We would like to do more but given that each of us is handling more than we can as is, its stretching things to take on additional responsibilities. Mamarok volunteered to do a series of interviews for Ubuntu's Full Circle mag so that is something to look forward to.

On saturday, someone asked me if I was attending BCB8 this time too and i remembered that Jose's talk (now postponed) was scheduled on the same day...darn !! Since Ram's office was hosting us it was imperative that we release the space for others. Jose was in great demand from a lot of groups who wanted him for a talk at their college/lug meetup so I will need to see when he is free next.

Talking of Barcamp bangalore, there was a lot of angst (on the list) over the undue focus on technology to the exclusion of non-techie technology enthusiast. The wiki has been replaced and one has to register an account now for bcb8. I completely understand why the blogger or general technical enthusiast would feel excluded but in retrospect I also realise why there is a tech-focus (even if it is forced on us, the unwilling junta). I have attended only 2 barcamps thus far, loved BCB6 the most, with BCB7 lacking the magical spell that I had so come to take for granted at a barcamp.

I dont really want to see a sales pitch, even if it is a startup and they have done something cool or got VC funded and hence the listener must endure a monologue, one-way conversation. Whoever wants to be talked down to? How boring. I want to be able to interact and talk to people and share ideas. For me a barcamp would mean seeing someone talk about linux and not really about sessions on astrology and Kamasutra/dating.  Even if they had maximum participants and maximum laughter was heard from the rooms where these sessions were being conducted, I didnt plan on attending the dating/KS session and Tania and me sat through the astrology session at bcb7 because that was the only room where we could charge our laptops :( Gah, so much for attendees.  Travelling 32 kms on a weekend suddenly seemed a waste of time :-(

I hope bcb8 @ Y! changes into an upswing with the magic of bcb6

2009 February 24 [Tuesday]

National coalition for Libre software

Nah, I didnt have a free weekend nor did I go out as planned, the crick in my neck and painful shoulder not withstanding. Rather, I spent this weekend attending two Libre software events. I use the term "Libre" to denote "free software" simply because the latter confuses many people into the "i-dont-need-to-pay-money" mode which is very misleading and erroneous description. Hmm... who does not like free stuff but the English word, "Free" != "phukat/muft" and the term "libre" is more close to the Indian translation of philosophical "liberation".

  • LUG meet

It was a meet i was gonna miss but things got sorted and I walked in at 6:30 pm to find the meet was still going on. Err.. imagine listening to Manish for 2+ hours....poor attendees :P ! A coffee break later (which I'm sure the listeners craved by now) Ritesh spoke about DM and we wound up at 9 pm. Yeah, its inconvenient for a lot of folks. Completely agree with kingsly that we need a bouncer to pull speakers off the stage. Any volunteers :-D? I saw a number of new faces, so we are definitely growing. Yippieeeee !

  • National Coalition for Free software

Initiated by IT for change, CIS-India hosted a meetup in Bangalore on Sunday where the objective was to get feedback from different groups working and volunteering in Freesoftware communities. Leaving my friends at MG Road with a promise to return in an hour, I walked out at 7pm :). When I walked in there was a pre-meeting going on and later the room filled to around 35-40 people. Currently many individuals and organizations are acting in isolation and that dilutes the effort so this meet was to find out how we can collaborate and help each other out. COOL !!

Met Kenneth, Radha dropped by, as did Sriram and Kingsly, besides many other folks I had met at different time spans including Prashant from AltLaw forum and 2 more lawyers. Vinay who was taking minutes of the meeting has a complete picture captured in words. I am waiting for Vinays synopsis of  Sunday's confabulations to hit the list:). 

Introductions started and Abhas was perhaps the only company there with the rest of the motley crowd comprising of volunteers and NGO representatives. Each of us spoke about our contributions to Libre software, discussed the challenges we faced and the common recurring theme was lack of support on the ground level. Kenneth spoke about the work NRC-Foss was doing in smaller 2/3- tier cities and how they promote learning and sharing via wiki's, which received a sum total of 3 lines worth of content contribution in the last 2 years of its existence, if i remember his words correctly. Kingsly suggested we should have smaller events all around the year to increase the participation and reach. I had spoken about the lack of women contributors/volunteers in libre software, where I do draw a distinction between people paid to work in Free software and those that do it in their spare time. Both are important but there is a significantly less amount of spare time the non-paid female volunteer gets and that is where the "be nice, be polite" LC philosophy helps in making the transition easy.  While there are many female Linux users, the contributors are definitely a smaller subset of this set.

While encouraging more people to adopt Linux is important, Sebastian and Yann echoed others with "Increase contributors, not just consumers of Linux". They summed this up towards the end but I highlight this here because the first thing a volunteer/contributor encounters is the community which is largely via the mailing lists/IRC and forums. If she encounters a hostile atmosphere where aggressive flaming and posturing is indulged in by a handful of vocal flamers, it is bound to turn this person to be a passive observer, lurk quietly and most people (including men) usually leave quietly, all of which are a loss. Yeah, feel free to disagree that you are immune to nastiness and that assholes should be ignored. Umm...naa, I dont have to tolerate assholes to use Linux/Libre software, much less while contributing my time for free. No one should have to tolerate assholes. Period !! For a change, stand-up to bullies around you and say "Stop being an Asshole". It works.

License issues arose but by and large the most common and recurrent theme in the discussion was the lack of support, with almost everyone agreeing that Linux support sucks, commercial and community alike. They are right, there is no local framework where people can communicate face-to-face. IMHO, a local lug is perfect space to plug this gap. I touched upon why its important to have more local meets and more sessions, install fests aimed at newbies where they can have face-to-face community interactions and participation and this was in the "what do we plan to do" section.  There are probably lakhs of people who dont know how to use a mailing list and/or IRC. Hey, I certainly dont expect my family members to log onto IRC to ask for help and would rather help them out. Nah, I dont think they should not have to RTFM, google or any other bull-shit that one gets to hear from nerdy geeks. Well these are the folks that would solve a Linux problem for their own kith and kin so why not others?  What of those folks who would still be open to trying out Linux but dont have kids to help them out. Suparna was explaining how hard it was for her to make this switch to Linux and she ploughs on because she has nice people around her willing to help her out.

Libre software in Education was discussed and related an incident of ICSE schools treating computer education as a money-spinner. Heck, education has become a "get-rich-quick" scheme instead of the original goal, that of imparting knowledge. Somewhere in the rat race we seem to have allowed education to be overtaken with money and greed. *sigh* !!  There were many good ideas and a number of people signed up to various tasks.  Another suggestion I had was regarding the  the government encouraging small and medium scale entrepreneurs in Libre software (not just the large software export houses). If the manufacturing industry can gets tons of sops for women entrepreneurs why not replicate the same model for women in Libre/Free software which is a great start-up enabler. Besides Tax-incentives, this would also solve the problem of women leaving the work pool after marriage/kids. It will also allow the creation of more jobs and increase the employment rate since Libre software needs a learning attitude more than fancy expensive degrees.  The benefits are many but this needs a detailed analysis, so I'll pen those in a separate blog entry.

When it came to a coalition, most opined that it would be better to have and independent NGO for this purpose and many organisations would not be comfortable to go under any existing banner. For example, FSF-India has a limited agenda and would not be interested in local meet-ups and such like. When the question of signatories was thrown up, I mentioned that since LC and UW are not registered entities, I am not an elected representative holding any office of power so I cannot represent the project legally or aim to speak on its behalf unless authorized to do so. I was just a volunteer donating my valuable time. This was true for many individual contributors who are now welcome into the coalition. It was also suggested that atleast one such meeting be held in Chennai (which KG agreed to do), Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkatta. Sunil was the most gracious host with pastries, samosas, patties, and coffee being served to each guest and we wound up by 7pm, with the post-meeting discussions being very interesting too.

But right now I need to go pen a rant on why I hate this city's one-way roads. No really they suck big time... starting with a nice kick for that idiot auto driver  for giving me directions to Frazer town from Cunningham road, instead of MG Road. Neither do I have that bad an accent and nor does MG road sound like Frazer town. Sheesh, can someone start a "NO Oneway roads" campaign please !!

2009 February 20 [Friday]

Bengaluru LUG meet on Feb21

From : http://groups.google.com/group/ilug-bengaluru/msg/25b35d77e6514b9d

ILUG Bengaluru Meetup - Saturday 21st February 2009

Time: 1630 Hrs onwards.

ThoughtWorks Technologies
2nd Floor, Tower C, Corporate Block,
Diamond District, Old Airport Road


Introduction to the Android Platform  - Manish Chakravarty

- Introduction to Architecture Components/Subsystems
- State of the Android Platform
- Developing for the Android Platform
- Demo of the current state of the platform

Device Mapper - How it works and why you should be using it - Ritesh Raj Sarraf

- Design of the DM Framework
- Advantages/Disadvantages
- Using Device Mapper

Regular Activities:

GPG keysigning - http://www.debian.org/events/keysigning
Open house where participants can interact / discuss other topics.

RSVP at http://ilug-bengaluru.wikia.com/wiki/Meetings

2009 February 7 [Saturday]

Do you LUG?

Theodore asks if your local LUG is active at all? A very pertinent question, given that information, documentation and bandwidth access is freely available today. Today collaboration across the world is a lot easier with better communication, easier and cheaper access, more Linux toys, including an excessive overflow of data and irrelevant information. It makes is harder for the average human to sort and pick out bits and bytes relevant and useful to her.

However, I would extend that bar a bit higher and ask "what did you do?". Yeah, I could have asked "what does your LUG do?" but isnt the LUG made up of its people and if YOU are waiting for someone else to invite you for a meet or get things going, its going to be a long 'n cold wait :) Umm, lets see...Bengaluru definitely did not have any LUG community activity. Local LUG's are an easier entry point for women and getting the local LC chapter to sync itself within other user groups in their respective cities is something that I've seen LC'0rs around the world do. Collaborating and assimilating within the community is the best way forward.

In 2008, Bangalore had one Linuxchix meetup, interspersed with FSUG meets but does'nt the silicon valley of India need more !?! When a new bengaluru-LUG was started in October it reignited things but not enough. I've always wanted regular meets which are technical in nature so when Ritesh came up with the idea of themed discussions for LUG meets, we did just that.

We had a LUG meet today which was kindly hosted by Thoughtworks (thanks :-)) and attended by 10 people, which started off late and went on till around 5pm. If ever there is a competition for long LUG meets I'm sure this group will be good contenders :-D. We didnt have a dearth of topics to discuss and after some ranting on "handling a$$holes" and "making LUGs work", ... we moved on to some stimulated technical discussions on server side configuration using ldap and pam integration, puppet, opensshd-server (and how to compresses your ssh connection). Ketan spoke about git and how he runs a daemon for ssh in git and pushing code upstream, hardware based encryption, port forwarding with ssh. openVPN, some rants on Indian ISP's blocking ports and the eternal nerd complaint : blocking all sip/voip traffic in India.

Ritesh spoke about BACKUPS (dont we all know why :-P), device mappers to take snapshots and he clued us in on rsnapshot a file based system, rdiff-backup, zfs (solaris), rsync which takes diffs of a block. He was not entirely happy with the current tool state and wanted to take diffs between blocks that could sync over different sized disks, etc. Now he is the "bakra" for the next meetup :: to do a live demo on backups in Linux. We ended with the PGP key-signing and dispersed for lunch at 5pm :) that is also a reminder that should probably reschedule the bi-weekly Saturday meets to a post-lunch session, given that most folks have personal engagements during evenings.

Even if a lot of information on Linux is available online, with some excellent documentation and lists/irc help, its definitely lots more fun to meet and chat live with people who share a common interest. The connect is easier and a lot nicer than I can describe five hours worth of discussions on a blog.

2008 November 26 [Wednesday]

Linuxchix and Bangalore LUG dinner

IndiChix and Ilug-Bengaluru are having yet another dinner meetup at MG road today. An earlier meet was at the ThoughtWorks office and I hope they are kind enough to allow us to use the place in future too !! Granted, last week its was a farewell dinner but the fact that this is the fourth meetup in one month is a good sign of a live 'n kickin group !

Date: Wednesday 26th November 2008
Time: 1900hrs (That's 7o'clock in the evening!)
Place: Hotel Shelton Grand - MG Road/ Church Street @ 24hr Coffee Shop - BTDT (Been There Done That)
Food: All you can eat Buffet for INR.199+taxes = INR.235 (all inclusive)

Directions to the Dinner meet : The Shelton Grand entrance on MG Road is right next to the Deccan Herald office and they have a vertical neon light which should be viewable from a distance. They also have an entrance on church street in case you want to park on Church Street/Museum Rd/Resthouse Rd and walk to the venue.

The IndicChix mailing list has the map details so go register using the link therein. Feel free to join us and pass the word around....See you there !!!

2008 September 19 [Friday]

SFD week in Bangalore

At our last meeting we decided that SFD-2008 will stretch into Software Freedom Week in Bangalore.

From tomorrow ...

2008Sept20 : SFD with students at ChristUniversity from noon to 3pm.

2008Sept24 : Its time to say STOP SOFTWARE PATENTS on World day against Software patents.

2008Sept25: BMSE SFD Celebrations organised by BMSLUG and SUN Club.

2008Sept27 : Gnu turns 25 and you can sing Happy B'day Gnu at RV College which is organizing the 25th Anniversary.

Besides these FSUG-Bangalore in collaboration with the Centre for Internet and Society are conducting an essay competition all over Karnataka state for school students. Check the wiki page for regular updates on SFWeek.

2008 September 16 [Tuesday]


At BCB7 someone saw the "i am blogging" sticker and asked why i had not blogged about bcb7. Heh, this lazy blogger needs reminders :-).  Attended the citizenmatters but the rest of the time was spent in the corridors, meeting and catching up with friends - old, new and the unknown (having a gender-neutral nick is sheer fun at times :)) was a better way to spend a weekend.

The best news was when AshwinMahesh of Mapunity told me they were working on my idea which I had pitched to him some months ago. wOw...it felt nice and warm to hear that. They are already into geo-mapping and my proposal was based on my pain point - my trysts with auto drivers in Bangalore.  Yeah, i know Chennai is worse.

Anyway, my technical solution to get out of sticky situations was, suppose I had a 'hotkey' on my cell phone which i could press when an auto-driver took me on deserted roads, it should send a distress signal to the nearest cell-phone tower which will convey my geo-coordinates, tie it to my cell# and pass the information to a central server which will send out my location message to atleast 5-10 friends (or family members) simultaneously providing them my exact geo-location co-ordinates. This is important as i am a moving target in a vehicle so they could not help me if they dont get a GPS location for me. He thought it was a good idea and their beta would be out soon :) yay !!

As barcamp was in progress, there were bomb blasts in Delhi with the terrorists mocking the police. Nothing new for Indians since the aam junta has to live with terror when elected representatives go soft on tech-savvy terrorists but move around with Z+ security themselves, and the crime-busters are clueless about the whodunnit, or maybe they just dont care - as someone said, "In a nation of One billion living, who cares for the few thousand dead". Chilling words!

2008 August 31 [Sunday]

Stop software patents

There is a Gnu/Linux Habba (festival/event) on 2008Sept21 at Mysore and 2008Sept24 is the "World Day Against Software Patents", and the Bangalore FSUG has a call to sign and spread the same.

Aug31 is the last day to signup if you are a software association, software company, software consultancy, software project involved in the Libre software arena. Just sign it !!

2008 August 7 [Thursday]


I started this entry last thursday, before leaving for HYD to attend mukt.in from Aug1-3 but as is wont, had things to update the draft with. Last week at this time, I was travelling with Hemanth to talk about "women in Libre software communities" at mukt.in, an (un)conference which had talks, demos and sessions on Libre software.

Pavi picked us up and I met another main organiser of mukt.in, Srikrishna Das ; then it was off to OU for the event where I met all the Chennai LUG members. For some reason a lot of people thought i was coming from Chennai. I wonder if it has anything to do with the whois <evil grin>.  Attended a talk on Sahana by Ajay a gsoc student, met sudharshan - gsoc for openmoko (yeah I still owe you a chocolate), Shakthi, Narendra and so many folks.

In the evening we visited Hussain Sagar lake, got caught in a heavy rain shower. I was more worried about the laptop getting soaked than myself. Instead of T-shirts a nice laptop raincoat would be more useful in India. Ofcourse, getting drenched in the rain was the perfect aggravator for my sinus and i was sniffling through out. Walking on Hyderabad streets at midnight felt safe because I had 10 guys to protect me and we returned with difficulty. I still had to prepare change the slides for my talk on Saturday....doh!!

Not having slept all night didnt make me drowsy and my presentation went well. After seeing Randy's Last lecture I was inspired to follow that style. However speaking to some girls on friday made me realise why it would not work... most people expect slides with information, resource, links, etc... and may not feel like googling for every thing you spoke about.

After my talk, we had a BOF on entrepreneurship and post lunch I took off for the SalarJung museum with Cyberorg (Jigish Gohil). I had hardly finished seeing a few artifacts when they kicked us all out at 5pm sharp. Gee, I wish we Indians followed punctuality elsewhere too. For me a whole day in the museum would not have been enough. The ivory carvings, belgian cut glass, silks, swords and 11th century artifacts were soooo beautiful, with a lots more that I missed when I could not stand and stare, admire and dream about. Next time maybe!! Later Ajay, Hemanth, Warren and me had some chow and returned to base with my nemesis "rain" to keep us company and aggravate my sinus.

On Aug03, the last day, I awoke with a splitting headache with the sinus problem aggravating it. Eating the Chole Krish's mom made (with due credit to A :)), which was just YUMMY and tasted exactly like D makes it, alleviated the headache somewhat. I managed to walk in (albeit late) to a talk on "how to lead an open source project" by Sebastiaan Deckers and also heard Antano Solar talking about getting involved in the libre software community. He had interesting snippets on how to start contributing, following the learning methods with curiosity, isolating concepts and keeping it simple. I love the example of the child he used to illustrate his point and the best part about his presentation was he allowed people from the audience to come on stage and share the limelight with him. That is something few speakers do and definitely worth emulating imho.

A special word of thanks to all the OU volunteers and the mukt.in team. They did a fantastic job of pulling it together. Minus the rains, things would have been perfect. I had tons of masti with people who were absolute strangers till then, just loved the rapport and spirit each person brought, not to mention all the laughs we shared. FUNtastic, will-do-it-again !!

For those who like visuals, here are some pictures :




2008 July 16 [Wednesday]

MySQL event

Sun Microsystems is organizing a half-day event to popularize MySQL in Bangalore on 2008-jul-29.

You can find the details of the event here.

2008 July 15 [Tuesday]


Some days ago the indichix list got a mail on mukt.in. Here is the excerpt....

Mukt.in, a Libre Software event is being held at Osmania University, Hyderabad on 1-3rd August 2008. The 'Call For Participation' for 2008 is now online and speakers can register here. Attendees are requested to register on the site.

The feature list for 2008 includes :
* Student talks
* Student project Exhibitions
* Birds Of Feather Discussions
* Stalls exhibiting different open source technologies
* Prizes for local Open source contributors

You can volunteer for the event by adding your contact details and  skillsets at http://mukt.in/wiki/index.php?title=Volunteers or chat over #mukt.in at irc.freenode.net

They are looking for generous support/contributions from companies/organisations to make mukt.in 2008 a roaring success. Please do pass on this information to any companies  / organisations that might be interested in sponsoring the event.

2008 June 11 [Wednesday]

kickstart your sunday

Kickstart is a not-for-profit initiative aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and they plan to kickstart your Sunday with a special edition of Startup Saturday at IIM Bangalore on 2008June15 (this sunday), with a program targeted at new start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs.

The event is all about introducing the concept of entrepreneurship in a more scientific manner, along with the stages & challenges of entrepreneurship, product development, choosing appropriate technology, various sources of finance & selling one's concept to a VC, preparing a Business Plan, etc.

Some of the speakers you will hear include :
1) Dr. Mohan Tambe, CEO, Innomedia Technologies, Bangalore.
2) Mr. M J Aravind, Venture capitalist, Bangalore.
3) Mr. Raghunathan Perumal, CEO, Agile Labs, Bangalore.
4) Mr. Sujai Karampuri, CEO, Sloka Telecom, Bangalore.
5) Prof. Suresh Bhagvatula, NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, IIMB, Bangalore.
6) Mr. Rajeev Kumar, Serial Entrepreneur, Bangalore.

and they will give you gyan about ::

Talk 1. Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship
Talk 2. Idea Validation
Talk 3. Business Plan - Basics
Talk 4. The Founding Team
Talk 5. Technology and IPR
Talk 6. Product Management and Marketing
Talk 7. Legal aspects of setting up your own company
Talk 8. Selling + How to talk to a VC + Alternate sources of funding, followed by Panel Discussion

If you plan to attend, register here or send your confirmations to amitsingh.mail@gmail.com or raja.rajeevkumar@gmail.com.

2008 April 20 [Sunday]


Barcamp Bangalore (BCB6), the 2008 Summer Edition was kickstarted yesterday at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. I reached the venue at 0945 hrs after getting caught in traffic and managing to lose my way in some one way... grr, why do they have so many one-ways in Bangalore? The IIM campus is a green oasis and it was heaven after the traffic outside and I could have spent hours soaking in the peaceful greenery but i shall wax eloquent on that later.

Since things were just starting and i hate missing the good stuff i went in and found more folks walking in slowly. The organisers had a sense of humor and that was really cool. Listening to stuffy, self-publicists gets me bored and looking for the closest exit. They left most of the space (talk time) for people to introduce themselves and sessions they would be conducting.

As is evident on sessions page there were many interesting topics but i could not attend all of them :( There is a blogathon starting today and today's topic is "Infrastructure"- its specific to Bangalore but i guess traffic in every major city sucks. Shall keep the rest for the actual blog post though.

At some talks, i met some old friends, made new ones and the best part is connecting the faces to the nicks and email id's. It was a fun day in all. There was even a dating session but i had no plans to attend it and had to leave early.

Today (20th April) is the second and conclusive day of BCB so be there and have fun. The whole event is well organised, FREE entry, great crowds and i am looking forward to the next BCB7 :)

2008 February 13 [Wednesday]

Accessible software at OSI week

On Monday I had attended the star speaker Klaus Knopper's talk at OSI week and came away impressed. Besides the Knoppix project he touched upon the synergy between Free software, OpenSource and propreitary software. I found his approach very balanced and it was interesting to see the way he tackled the Q&A sessions. He had a good grasp of the licensing issues and spoke at length on that during the Q&A, which leapt into overtime by almost 35 minutes so I had to wait until he finished attending another talk to get a chance to meet him.
I was quite surprised when Klaus was gracious enough to allow me to paste an Indichix sticker on his laptop... am touched by his lack of airs.... and to think I wandered into the wrong hall and almost missed meeting him :-) Later I also met Krishnakant Mane and if nothing else we practiced our Marathi and Deutsche and mine is definitely rusty as hell. In the last few months I have even forgotten my Marathi and Hindi....*sigh*. Amidst the six degree friends and chattering, we almost missed another entrepreneurs workshop but walked in towards the end for the Q&A so although I dont know who were the panelists, i did take aways some nuggets of wisdom from there.
On the second day Adriane (Klaus's wife) was to conduct a workshop on accessibility software which she works on with Klaus but that morning she was not feeling well and Klaus conducted it. When he spoke about the technological drawbacks and other social problem areas related to barrier-free websites, I realised the extent to which sighted people like us take such things for granted. The lack of standards is another grouse. Although technology is gaining momentum we are leaving behind a section of the population when we dont build humane and inclusive technology. That gets stronger for hardware, especially the portable kind which manufacturers dont care much about. So whether its a camera, phone, laptop or any other other portable device we, as a paying customer have a right to ask for free software based technology. It was interesting and also sad to note that the Indian government has not made it a mandatory for sites to be accessibility-friendly unlike the EU where its a law. Hmpf... we hardly even have government websites that are Firefox-friendly so accessibility is such a loooong way off. As far as our government is considered such things are miniscule, hence not worthy of attention.

2007 December 10 [Monday]

foss07 days

After the first day of foss.in, i never got the time to blog. Yeah i could have used the time between the talks to blog but wifi on my Compaq Presario 6000 series does not work on Ubuntu. Crap .......

| DAY 2 |

started with meeting Christian, Sam, Kartik, Pradeepto, Kushal, Alex, Tejas, Aslam, Ramky, Parthan and ?? ... Any missed names are unintentional... its just too many people these last few days so have not really connected each face with their nicks, gotchis and/or mail id's. After we had lunch I attended a talk on Dhvani: Indian Language Text to Speech System by Santhosh Thottingal and also Speech recognition and using CMU sphinx to build ASRs by ShyamK. I found these interesting but it would have been nicer if Santhosh had also kept another talk with some technical details explaining how they create unit selection synthesis, concatenation and collection of speech in the DB, the phonotactics of language which is different for each language and other stuff which i need to think about.

| DAY 3 |

Linuxchix BOF .... The previous night I created a few slides with minimalism in mind, so each slide did not have more than 3-4 words but apparently in any BoF the audience or participants control the discussion flow and since i have never done a BOF earlier, it was decided to let our participants hold fort. I was curious... By 3:35pm we had a decent crowd and for the first 2-3 minutes the women (and men) were reluctant to talk. I am not sure if it was the result of a heavy lunch but soon a discussion of sorts started off around different suggestions and ideas creating a nice web. Among other things, we discussed about women using nicks (btw, using a gender neutral nick != changing gender or pretending to be a man), which i support since its very easy to get away with harassment in India and the last thing I want to see happening to a woman since she would not know what to do about it. The general rule of thumb is that private mail should not be published on a list but imo, women can blog about it and people who abuse private mail lose their right to privacy. As Danese said the next day : "Dont be an a**.".... succinctly put !!

I had related an experience which occurred earlier in the day... We had kept linuxchix stickers at our stall and most folks used to exchange them with a bunch of their 'foo-project' stickers on our table which we didnt remove. Most of us were casually hanging around talking when up walked random dude, asked if he could take 'foo-project' stickers and i gently reminded him to take the lc-in stickers. He picks it up and says "linuxchix" (emphasis, as heard) rolls eyes upward and drops them onto the table and walks away. Ofcourse, 'foo-project' volunteer quickly removed his project stickers but irrespective of whether those other stickers lay there or not this person would have behaved the way he did. Classic case of a closed mind judging us here. Preconceived notions are hard to change so i would not waste my time in educating those unwilling to listen.

During the BoF, Runa & me were mc'ing and Aneesha, Ankita and Barkha did the hard task of taking notes and stuff. I have time and again observed that the commercial (not just propreitary) Indian IT industry has a gender ratio of 50:50 and yet Indian women contributors to the Free software movement is still in single digits. This is where the challenge lies, very unlike the issues faced by other nations. We did find new blood willing to participate and Runa announced the logo contest ... so all the artists reading this can get cracking. Please also remember :

- This is an India specific logo, and even if India lies in Asia, your design cannot be used internationally or for Asia.
- Yeah we want an Indian-ish logo, preferably abstract art.
Do describe your design theme/representation in a few lines along with your logo submissions.

An interesting discussion was after the BoF ... it was pointed out how gradually by the time the BoF was nearing the end the men started 'telling' us what we should be doing... despite a guy saying that he learnt to listen more by stepping back. That kind of sums up the whole thing for me !

| DAY 4 |

After attending Danese's talk which was merrily entertaining, well paced and interesting, C, S and me went shopping and i was too tired to do anything.

| DAY 5 |

Started with attending Sam's talk on the Debian Project, and i kinda agree with the stuff he had to say... Debian needs younger blood where existing members can be excellent mentors. Second, a point i had mentioned in the BoF, we have just 4 DD's from India and this from a country that has the IT industry as its economic backbone. Rather than focus on the 'why' i shall try to enumerate on the 'how to change' in my next post.

Ford_prefect tried to get wireless working but it was time for Rusty's talk and i had to leave for my music class. Thus ended foss.in'07 which i enjoyed and wish i had more time to attend all the talks. Some overlap is to be expected given the short time. Hmm... what about having 24/7 sessions, which has its disadvantages but that might give people more opportunity and time. Maybe a foss.in at 11 other states or cities across India. Now that would be super !

Eek... something went wrong and now all my old entries are in BOLD letters. i am trying but am unable to change it... (thence solved,2007dec11)

2007 December 4 [Tuesday]

day one at foss07

My scalded fingertips [update: swathed in tape look like those of a tavil player] are a good reminder to never jabber on the phone while absent-mindedly touching a vessel on the stove.

Here is a short report on day1 of foss.in2007.....

Last night i had plotted the route i wanted to traverse to reach IISc but come morning am unsure. So I asked a friend how he went home. Changing my route was better as the roads i had chosen were ones with heavy-duty traffic. Ultimately though, asking for road names didnt quite work so well or i was asking the wrong people but asking for SadashivNagar police station worked like a charm...

Along the way another nice guy let me tag along with him so i was spared the trouble of stopping at each signal and saying "SadashivNagar police station yelli?". Needless to say, i got delayed for Christians talk (sorry Christian :)) so my plan to deposit "the stuff" with Runa before going to attend it went to nought. Since that didnt happen, i met Swati who was sending out press invites so i pinged a friend who works for another media group to drum up some support. During lunch time, Sankarshan, Vaibhav, Kushal, Runa and me were chatting away while Supreet worked magic on my laptop, which now runs Ubuntu. Apparently he has a similar model with same issues. Thanks again Surpreet :-)

Post lunch it was Runa's talk on Gnome translation which started of with hardware trouble on her laptop. The talk went off well and i had a few questions but then so did everybody else. There was someone from unicode.org so it would have been interesting but we had run out of time and before the volunteers dragged her off the dias, Runa ended the session but not before /me losing a new silver inlaid black earring ... i should have just dropped the other one too so whoever finds it can wear both :-/ Atleast on my way home I got the roads right and didnt get lost in the myriad gullies.

2007 November 17 [Saturday]

swag != freeware

My last post for sticker sponsors, was solved within a few hours but there was a problem with Sulamita's server and I could not blog about it. Thanks Atul (our sticker sponsor) !! I have to agree with Pradeepto that swag does not come free, and just like FreeSoftware (even if given away free, the developer's time costs money in terms of time and resources, hence lost earnings) someone somewhere has footed the bill for it.

I remember Sulamita saying the LC-Brazil tees were so popular that they got over in a flash and Runa mentioned that there was demand for LC-India Tees too. For company sponsored events its easy to get corporate sponsors but in the floss world most of the volunteers shoulder the hardwork, organising, fund-raising (sometimes its personal funds), to keep the flame burning.

While its great to get a free sticker or Tee, when you attend Foss.in please remember to ask the volunteer who hands out a sticker or Tee if you can donate/contribute to the project instead. Won't you feel nice knowing you/your girlfriend/fiance/wife/sister is not wearing a tee paid for by Pradeepto /Runa /Ananth /Sharan /....add contributor name.., think about it...!!

page 2 of 2 -