3 min read

foss.in day 2

Today morning, the first session was a Linux Kernel roadmap by Jonathan Corbet. Although I’ve never been a kernel-level guy, the talk was interesting and he clearly explained how features have been added and improved over the various versions, and how the development process has improved and become more “professional.”


Then, it was my turn to talk and I talked about TurboGears. The talk went pretty good and it was well-attended which made me quite happy even though I had some tough competition, heh.


I did make two mistakes. First was that I got worried about the time I had to finish the talk, and second, I concentrated too much on the slides. Whenever I have presented well (which has been most of the time, thankfully), I tend to leave slides as guidance for the audience, and have my thoughts free-flowing enough to be coherent and entertaining. Well, I don’t think I’ll be making these mistakes again. However, I did get good feedback about the talk from various people, and a good number of questions after the talk, which is always a good sign. For those who couldn’t attend, my TurboGears slides are online.

And one more thing … my book’s website byteofpython.info is now running on TurboGears! This is only the second public website ever running TurboGears after diggdot.us.

Then, I attended Gopal_V‘s talk on programming in the Mozilla platform. He gave a very detailed approach to creating Mozilla applications and how to go about things. I must get the slides from him later, but it shouldn’t be a problem grabbing hold of him since he works in the same floor as me at Y! His slides are online.


I was on my way to the OpenLaszlo talk, but took a peak in the Ruby on Rails tutorial. Does Ruby on Rails really need the CREATE TABLE SQL statements to be written by hand? …. I think I prefer the SQLObject approach of having all the database-schema in one place as simple Python classes instead of having separate database creation and database manipulation (ActiveRecord) parts.. Update: The new RoR migrations feature is simply brilliant. Thanks to Mark Ramm for the tip.

Other than that, Rails looked cool. The directory structure created by rails as well as the test-driven nature was good.

Then, I got into the OpenLaszlo talk by Nirav Mehta. I had seen the OpenLaszlo demos before and used to follow Oliver Steele’s blog, but I never got around to writing anything with it. Nirav kept the audience engaged and showed off some eye candy stuff that OpenLaszlo provides from images to animation. Somebody in the audience asked him to put audio as well, but unfortunately, he didn’t have any mp3s.

Then, my friends and myself headed to the food court and then went around the FOSS Expo section. The Sun Microsystems booth was the best one and they showcased real open source projects such as Belenix (the OpenSolaris LiveCD) and NetBeans. I got a demo of OpenSolaris’ DTrace functionality and it was pretty impressive.


Sadly, the other stalls like the Google and Yahoo! booths didn’t showcase any open source projects at all! When Google has open sourced many projects and Yahoo! has contributed open source stuff such as the Alternative PHP Cache, why can’t they show it off and demonstrate they too are part of the community (and invite people to join the company), which I thought was the point behind the stalls…


Then, I saw Pramode in the Phoenix stall and it seems people are showing interest in Phoenix which was good to hear. Nearby, Anush and Tejas were in the Python stall and trying to entice people to talk about Python, heh.

Soon, we were back in the Intel hall for Jaya Kumar’s talk on GPL and non-GPL code interaction in the Linux kernel. He stressed that binary-only kernel driver modules are not a good idea and his explanation was pretty simple – it screws users on other architectures and users using different distro-compiler-etc. combinations. Another point is that they are not respecting the people who wrote the Linux kernel. He quoted Linus Torvalds saying it has to be a two-way street, if somebody wants to write something using the Linux kernel, they have to contribute back as well. Jaya Kumar was over-shooting his time slot but he had a lot of interesting examples and incidents to talk about. I think he had more than 100 (sic) slides in his presentation. Outside the hall, Jaya Kumar and Harald Welte were mobbed and they had a good time interacting with others.


Then, I attended the “FOSS in Education” BoF. Philip, Manish and Praveen were  also there. The discussion involved quite a number of issues and Praveen has added a nice page in the FCI wiki regarding the discussion. The focus was mainly in creating awareness, and getting students interested, at the high school level. The emphasis shouldn’t be in simply using open source but stressing the points on why open source is good for everybody, and how the community is the core strength.


Phew. As you can gather, it was a long day but an exciting, educative and interesting one.

I was looking at planet.foss.in and hoping to look for any insights from the many talks that I missed today (there are 6 tracks running in parallel!), but it seems very few people write such long posts as dumb me!