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Notes from a FOSS conference in New Delhi (with videos)

By Mayank Sharma on October 10, 2007 (9:02:00 PM)

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Every year, Linux enthusiasts in India's capital, New Delhi, hold a conference to help spread word of free and open source software (FOSS). This year they called their conference Freed.in, and had more talks and attendees than they've had in the past. While the event was a wonderful opportunity for the FOSS community to interact in person, discuss issues, and brainstorm solutions, attendees were overwhelmed by the number of talks jammed into a two-day schedule.

There were a lot of good things about the get-together. First, it was a free event -- even refreshments such as tea and coffee were on the house -- and lunch wasn't expensive, either. The organizers pitched the event to the students at various colleges in and around New Delhi, so there was a decent turnout on both days, with a total count of 516 attendees as of noon on the second day.

Speakers from all over the country and abroad conducted more than 50 talks and workshops. The sessions were divided into six tracks. To further assist the attendees in deciding which sessions to attend, the talk schedule also categorized the sessions under three levels -- beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

The organizers picked good speakers for the advocacy and guidance talks. Shawn Kwon, founder and leader of the Korean Linux Documentation Project, shared his experience of promoting FOSS in Korea and the gradual lack of interest in young developers due to the language barrier. Our own Robin 'Roblimo' Miller discussed how it's important for people pushing FOSS in organizations to stress user happiness more than licensing issues. Several other "been there, done that" speakers also shared their experiences using FOSS tools to power budget-strapped startups as well as migrating organizations to FOSS.

But the event wasn't the best planned one that I've attended. The thing that bugged me most were the six parallel tracks. It would have been better if there were just two tracks, one for talks and one for workshops. Also, the conference would have been better as a three- or even four-day event. Holding more than 25 talks and workshops per day meant attendees missed more talks than they could attend.

It was wonderful of the well-connected, easily accessible, Jawaharlal Nehru University to host the event. But the rooms and halls alloted to the event were too small, and spread all over the campus. Volunteers manning the halls had to refuse entry to many attendees, especially in the introductory, hands-on sessions. A grassroots event like Freed.in could also have done better with a few more panels and fewer individual speakers.

Despite these minor issues, I have no doubt that Freed.in has established itself as one of the best community events in India. The organizers did a fantastic job despite operating on a shoestring budget. They were successful in getting speakers representing all facets of FOSS deployments, from government to schools, from nonprofits to multinational companies. But in the end, they were a victim of their own success in finding speakers, as they tried to squeeze a week's worth of material into only two days.

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Notes from a FOSS conference in New Delhi (with videos)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 10.100.60.115] on October 11, 2007 03:29 PM
sweet!!

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presentation good job - science fairs and education

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.122.165.195] on October 11, 2007 09:04 PM
Comment. For systems that are teaching tutorials providing demonstrations full action video may not be neccesary or to accomodate smaller or older systems a slide show and with, fade to next frame overlay that gives the impresion of motion, (used for storyboard animation as well) mite be a suitable option. (also sound option for a multimedia functionality) Idea - This may be allready available nevertheless, 1) A science fair that gives separate prizes for science project and, best idea and best research. Ideas and reasearch could be under any subject such as validation of history. Analysis of liturature any subject, looking at process, giving some wieght to absolute rusult regardless of the result confirming, negating, or creating inconclusive results. As incouragment of the learning process through investigation and critical thinking. Projects from junior high thru colledge may include the design of an air conditioning system and control, or auto maintanence, or how to improve your spelling. No subject would be off limits as they would be graded on the effect and professionalism of the project relitive to the age and background of the student. Topics might include current events or concerns including entertainment law, as many people use the internet and publish comments. Areas mite include news, documentary (say a five minute story) leagal rights, best defence and safegards, how to trademark. Winners of awards for best ideas could begiven a grant or have there idea searched for patent or copywrite. If a company were interested in developing the idea they could supervise the project and recieve apropriate remuneration. Submision of the projects would be incuraged to use a web page or media presentation formate that may include standard term paper or thesis formate to help learn the process. The first year a person participates they mite just submit the idea and there intended method. The next year there project would be accepted or prioritized in view of there preliminary preparation. This sugjest that a repository of past projects were it dose not infringe upon participants are made available to let participants know that the material is transparent and cheating or copying or even unintended duplication unless sighted in preliminary work will not be awarded in comparision to either original thought or thorugh preliminary investigation.

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also

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.122.165.195] on October 11, 2007 09:17 PM
The five minute entetainment catagory mite include musical performance, composition (writen, play, music, poetry, artwork best joke etc.). - ok I think I'll go to the fridge and take a break ;).

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Shame on OpenSource

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 59.180.13.13] on October 14, 2007 03:04 AM
i was there. the whole event was an embarrassment. ILUG community is an embarrassment.
chaotic
unorganised
unpunctual
and esoteric humour...god do i care when about your repetitive pet taunts when i'm enthused about opensource and have come to learn more?

the workshops were crowded. but not opensource, it were the teachers forcing the resident students to attend them for the promise of better grades.
spending two hours on any good forum - a better alternative anytime.
losers.

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Shame on Karanbir Singh

Posted by: Michael Shigorin on October 17, 2007 02:03 PM
Well, I'd kick quite hard any jerk like one of the persons off the photos -- see http://bugs.centos.org/view.php?id=2177 (and I'm actually spending time working with those who at times would be as counterproductive as this centos project member in _our_ project) and sometimes offering help with hardware to another projects -- won't repeat the mistake with CentOS though.

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Notes from a FOSS conference in New Delhi (with videos)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 59.161.1.111] on October 14, 2007 07:23 AM
Really good event!

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Grats to FOSS conference in New Delhi

Posted by: Michael Shigorin on October 17, 2007 02:05 PM
Kudos to staff, we're going to walk through similar event in a week (<a href="http://conference.osdn.org.ua/">Oct 25--27, Kiev, Ukraine</a>) and being "on the board" I know a bit what it takes. :-)

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