Debian Utsav SICSR 26-02-2012

This post attempts to share some info. about Debian Utsav which was recently organized in SICSR, Pune on 26-02-2012

First up, both apologies and thanx are in order. Apologies on two counts :-

a. Sorry that it took so long to write-up the post as been busy with work and other mundane bits of things in life.

b. No pictures/photos for this blog post. I would attempt to upload them to diaspora (which I use for image hosting) as most of image-sharing sites free sharing byte-sizes are easily over and done with (freemium) but any discussion on that would be a different blog post.

Now as far as Thanx are concerned, it should be all on Meha . She is the reason we had an event at all as she single-handedly did lot of things like having posters and getting some sort of word out and also talking with people at SICSR so we could have a room with over-head projector and all. We did provide her with guidance but she got the work done.Also during the event she was there the whole time so full marks to her.

Anyways, back to last to last Sunday. Being a week-end I was suspicious that I would wake up on time so had a sort of not easy sleep. Also as Praveen was not there the responsibility was given to me so I had to make doubly sure I’m there before time. Hence woke up a bit early and did an early start as Sundays its unusually quiet and also public transport is a bit laid back. Reached the place around an hour early. Sadly nothing was open and was feeling hungry. With Meha’s help was able to locate a kinda shop and had something to eat and then reached the lab room at 207. People started trickling in and we had a nice number by around 10ish. But as it was a Sunday we waited for another 10-15 odd minutes and then started for the day.

The first one was a presentation to be given by Abhijit (or as he is lovingly called Abhijit Sir by his students). For some reason Abhijit could not come so the responsibility of the presentation had gone to a student of his Nischay who works in a company called CRL India which is into HPC (High Performance Computing) and I believe they might be using lot of FOSS internally. What was cool though I had met Nischay couple of times previously in social situations so it was easy to start of. He was a bit cautious though because it was not his material but Abhijit’s hence he was bit unsure.

The talk was interesting to say the least. One of the more interesting and sorta controversial (or not) point was made by Nischay or somebody else who claimed that it was the Persian scientist ‘al-Khwārizmī‘ who invented the Roman numeral 0. Looking at the wikipedia page on Zero it seems the Ancient Greeks were closer to the answer by either Aryabhatta or Al-Khwārizmī but their own philosophical questioning didn’t lead them to the right path. A more interesting take would have been on Pingala (better known as Patanjali) who did work which looks a lot like the binary system used in modern Computers but that would have been another topic altogether perhaps.

Another interesting terminology which Nischay introduced was the concept of restrictive and permissive copyright licensing and why it’s not a good idea to have your own license (Pilot license) but sorta fell short. It would have been interesting if he had ventured a bit deeper than that but then it was for newbies so I guess for them these were new words.

There was a lot he touched upon and whenever either of them puts up the presentation somewhere for general consumption would link it here.

Next was ‘Yours truly’s’ talk. I was unsure as to how much students were aware about Debian and Debian’s role in influencing distributions like Ubuntu to come up. I made a very shortish presentation which I have posted here. There is/was lot of things I wanted to share but didn’t know whether it was an appropriate place or not. I know that a lot of the students are worried about getting jobs so perhaps it would have been appropriate to share about Debian jobs Mailing where people can search for Debian Jobs. Apart from the jobs themselves it does give directions to students who are always searching for what skills they should have in the market. Another would have been Debian Consultants for Entrepreneurs and the closed list Debian Companies which is of Companies who help Debian and are helped in return. Didn’t know whether I should state about the ‘50 places Linux running you might not expect‘ where most of them are on Debian GNU/Linux. Didn’t know whether I should be talking about this year’s GSOC as the only person whom I know who worked on Debian from India is a Mr. Sukhbir Singh who was there last year in GSOC. Another point could have been to showcase the Debian Liberation Handbook . Simply put, the opportunities with Free Software are just endless and they are going to be just more and more of them. More and more people are realizing that software is also becoming commoditized (at least desktop software) and it makes more sense to put your software, formats with FOSS licenses rather than doing any other way.Also its up to you to whether you want to use or peruse it for a. Just for fun b. To educate yourself and c.To make money.

It also does follow what is becoming more apparent that syllabus at least in the Computer Science domain in educational institutes cannot just keep up with what is happening out there. So people and especially students need to constantly look at things which are happening elsewhere.

Anyways, after my brief talk it was turn of Shravan Aras, a fellow Debian user who’s into many a things. I think it was his idea to have a quiz. Now one thing to know about Shravan is (and if you have been reading my blog you will) that he has this slight mischievous, dark humorish thing about him. That is what makes him, him. Either way most of the quiz questions were as simple or convoluted as a Jalebi is. Please do not go to the page linked ‘Jalebi’ as most people go there and don’t come back (like me they get succumbed to the temptation :D).

Anyways, I think it took me around 40 minutes or so to dispatch with his 20 odd questions. Just as the questions were finished and papers were collected it was time to announce lunch. The stampede for lunch was something to be seen (I have the photo somewhere, will share it as and when).

Anyways, after lunch, we congregated again around 13:30-14:00 hours and after Shravan announced the winner, one guy won 2 T-shirts (Sayak IIRC) and other guy Ashwini won another T-shirt as well. Of course, both of them had used or played with FOSS before with Sayak doing something with Media-wiki and Ashwini with something else (I forget).

Then it was time for both Muneeb and Abdul Karim to take the stage and show off ‘Debian Packaging’ with me kinda helping them/interjecting them. We finished the whole thing around 17:00 hours . All in all a good day.

That’s all for now, till l8er.

Edit :- As of right now you can see the photos through Praveen’s links.


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