foss.in 2009, the biggest event in India promoting Free and Open Source Software, was held from Dec 1-5 from Bangalore. Though the event was for 5 days, i decided to attend only for 3. The organization of the event was impeccable starting from the registration cards to the set-up of the stalls . What i found different this time @ foss.in, from other conferences i have attended, is the “Workout” sessions, where diverse people with a common interest in an OSS project get to actually sit down and “hack” a set of goals to be achieved over the next few days (http://workouts.foss.in/2008/index.php). The talks were going on in parallel in Audi’s 1-3, while the actual hacking was taking place in the first floor where a number of tables, routers, and power strips were set up. Every day had a distinguishing project of the day, where the team organizing it would give a comprehensive overview on the different aspects of the project and how one can contribute.I was actually surprised to see a school kid as a delegate for the contest 🙂 . It’s good to know FOSS has a far reach.
Though the talks were informative, i have always wondered “how much can a person convey in an hour”. One of the better talks were on “Haskell Internal’s” by Ramkumar Ramachandra. One trend i have noticed is that many pure Physics students are a lot into contributing to FOSS, and Ramkumar was one of them, an M.Sc. Physics student. The talk on Sandboxing in Linux was also pretty informative. The person in charge of the Debian workout Kartik Mistry also gave us an idea on how to get started contributing to Debian. The main focus of foss.in 2009 was development in KDE, Maemo, libyahoo2, Fedora, Debian and Sahana. I also found some innovative projects for Finance management etc. One interesting project was the Fedora Security Spin, which aims at being the first security distro to be released with a proper release and update channel. That is the advantage it has over others like Backtrack, Devl etc.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself in bangalore, though i wish i was able to contribute more to the workout sessions. But now with an idea and vision for the next foss.in, i wish to become an active contributor to mainstream open source projects like Debian, Ubuntu and KDE. Seeing many students from their second and third years presenting, i hope an active community within Amrita can be formed, with the mission of atleast 2 people being speakers at the next foss.in. Check out the photos!