4 min read

foss.in day 4

Yesterday was such a long and awesome day.

The day started with me missing Taj’s talk on Entropy and I’m still kicking myself for that one. I attended Gora’s talk on IndLinux efforts and I got to know about the various efforts in localization and translations going on.


Then, Alan Cox spoke on Modern Linux Device Drivers. There was so much information that he was doling out that I didn’t quite follow, but I did get the gist and understood that kernel stuff ain’t that much of a voodoo as I thought it would be. It simply requires a lot more discipline and awareness of how design impacts performance.


Then, it was Welte’s turn to talk how he reverse-engineered Motorola’s EZX linux phones to allow a full free software stack to be used on the phone. It was interesting to note the various steps he takes, including using an oscilloscope to find out which probes and points actually work! I didn’t stay for the whole talk because the amount of jargon involved was simply beyond me.


Next, I was listening to Volker on the Munich City’s transition to free software. Interestingly, in the city’s evaluation, they found the proprietary solutions to be cheaper than the free software contract quotes (we are talking a difference of 10 million or more!) but they took many more considerations such as long-term costs, support, localization, etc. and finally OpenOffice+Linux got lot more points and was finally chosen by the Munich city. The last-minute offers by MS which include cuts of 7 million dollars, etc. were not considered by Munich.


After that, we were in an Advanced Python BoF with Taj, Siddharth, and many others. With Sid being present, the talk veered off in various directions and that’s a good thing. Sid was talking about how to have some feedback values put in generators and Taj gave an example of how such a problem is faced in producer-consumer setup when they are using python generators. Taj said there’s a relevant PEP that’s out there but with no consensus yet on what’s going to be done about it. There was much more discussed including decorators, metaclasses, and Ruby too (no, we didn’t bash it).


Then, it was the KDE BoF with Taj, Till Adam, Pradeepto and quite a few others. Interestingly, the majority of the people present in this BoF were PESIT students!  Interestingly, although there are many Indian KDE developers, there are none in India, except for Taj who says he’s not that active in KDE recently. Adam was encouraging the group to get together and get more involved with KDE. We ended up being the 15 founding members of KDE.in which is going to happen in a few months after Taj sets it up on his server. Pradeepto took responsibility of organizing things, and 2 others volunteered to maintain the website.


Finally, in the evening, Volker spoke on Creative Commons and about how old the idea of the Knowledge Commons really is. He gave various examples of how the concept of sharing and common culture and assets has spread from software to music, books, and other creative media.


In the closing ceremony, Atul talked about the various difficulties faced by the volunteers and team members, and eventually how successful the event was. There have been 2733 delegates, many of whom attended all 4 days, 140+ speakers speaking on 180+ talks. This event was among the largest in the world, second only to the O’Reilly OSCON which had 22 more talks in its last version! Interestingly, both the top events in the world were concerned with the open source community. That says a lot, doesn’t it?


Atul went on to thank all the speakers who lined up in front of stage while Atul doled out all the names, and finally took photographs. Kishore Bhargav made a point that half of the audience is now on stage! That’s exactly the point, says Atul. This event was for the community, by the community, of the community.  There were lot of photographs taken, and Atul proceeded to thank the volunteers and everybody cheered for them. Finally, it was time to thank Harald Welte, Danese Cooper and Andrew Cowie had supported the events in many months before the event. For example, Harald had given inputs on how to make the conference of international quality, and Andrew had come down from Australia to help out with thrashing out the conference schedule, and so on. Atul specially mentioned Hari for the amazing visual identity created by him for foss.in – the posters, logos, wallpapers, etc. He got a lot of cheering.


When Atul was done with it, Alan Cox came to the stage, and thanked Atul on behalf of all of us.


Finally, the conference ended with a rock show by Phenom. The crowd were head-banging, dancing, jumping and cheering for many of the songs such as (my favorites) “I want to break free”, “The Final Countdown” to Phenom’s own amazing “Resurgence”. There were guest performances by many artists, and Alan Drego’s “Swalpa Adjust Maadi” was simply hilarious. The show ended with Phenom playing “Linux Can” which was simply brilliant.


Everybody then asked Atul for a speech, and he said “Let’s go home and get some sleep.”

I’d like to end this by saying, Kudos, hats off and salutes to the amazingly driven volunteers who have put in 30+ hours on stretches, staying till 4 am to get routers, etc. working and so on. Thank you for demonstrating the true spirit of the community.

As I wrote on many T-shirts yesterday night, May The Source Be With You.