Fostering the Spirit of FOSS

It all started one fine Monday morning in the student project lab,when Avinash approached me and articulated

Why don’t we conduct a FOSS conference here at Amrita” and I responded

Why not”.

Once the dates for the conference was fixed on March 28th and 29th there was no looking back. In spite of the initial lukewarm response from the students, the scepticism about our organization skills and all the roadblocks, we kept the spirit alive.In prolonged discussions with the heads of the college, we were able to convince the heads that we, the students of Amrita were ready to take up the baton in our hands. Ever since, inspiring talks from Vipin Sir and Biju ji kept the fire alive within us. The college provided us with utmost support in all aspects. Soon different committees were erected to take over the different aspects of organization involved like transport, accommodation, decoration etc. One thing to note here was that each committee was like a piece of a puzzle which clicked into place on the morning of the conference to produce the complete solution that was FOSSTER ’09.The unity that was displayed among all of us made this event a grand success fostering the very spirit of FOSS.

FOSS conference at Amrita [FOSSTER ’09]

Let me introduce you to FOSSTER ‘09, a FOSS (Free and open source software) workshop and conference on 28th and 29th March 2009 at our campus (Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri Campus).

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham is a contributor to the Open Source movement since 2003 and has developed AmritaVPN that is being used widely. Amrita was awarded the ‘Champion University’ status by Sun Microsystems for its contributions towards Open Source Software such as Open Solaris, Apache Derby and OpenPortal. The Open source momentum has caught up with Amrita and now we would like others also to jump into the open source bandwagon.

Amrita’s Contributions to FOSS:

1. Amrita has in 2003 contributed to the Amrita VPN (http://sourceforge.net/projects/amvpn/) which has been downloaded more than 7000 times from sourceforge site. (http://sourceforge.net/project/stats/detail.php?group_id=77515&ugn=amvpn&type=prdownload&mode=alltime&package_id=0)

2. Students of Amrita started contributing to opensource with the Code For Freedom 2007 contest organized by Sun Microsystems. Amrita was conferred the ‘Champion University’ status contributing to 108 bug fixes and enhancements to Opensolaris, Apache Derby and Open Portal. Ever since students have contributed to documentation projects enhancements and bug fixes ( http://in.sun.com/communities/univ/codeforfreedom/2007/winners.html )

3. Our students also won the IBM Great minds challenge using open source tools like eclipse and java http://www-07.ibm.com/in/university/greatmind/fantastics.html
Here are some news of our student contributors

Contribution to Glassfish Documentation

http://blogs.sun.com/appservwriters/entry/contributor_spotlight_archana_n_from

First Non sun employee to contribute to Open HA Cluster

http://blogs.sun.com/nsolter/entry/first_non_sun_bug_fix

The movement spread to more students in Amrita and students felt empowered to belong to the opensource community. All the computers have ubuntu or fedora installed on it as one of the operating systems.

Now we would like to spread this awareness and make more students feel empowered and help them to contribute to FOSS.

The Tentative agenda is put up at http://foss.amrita.ac.in/site/foss-conference/agenda

We request all of you to spread the word among your friends and encourage them to attend.