I have been organizing and attending many Free Software events in various campuses across the country, what sets DebUtsav@Amrita apart from all of them is the passion and enthusiasm shown by the students. It is pleasure talking to students who are already contributing to Free Software. It is a delightful break from having to explain what Free Software is about and why students should contribute to Free Software. We could just share our expereinces and listen to what they have been doing. We could discuss the challenges and how to tackle them. It is a model we want to emulate in other campuses. I could feel the inspiration in the participants when they saw the girls at the registration desk talking about contributing to the linux kernel, git for humans and zsh. So many women participating in Free Software is a rare scene for any community.
We have been organizing MinDebConfs and DebUtsav(am)s for many years with the idea of introducing debian to students and guiding them to start contributing. This time we had some passionate debates over name and content of the event. Some members of the community insisted we focus on debian only if we call it a mini debconf, because all mini debconfs have been organized like that. But Amrita was different because they already had a big and passionate community of Free Software contributors and not giving them an opportunity to share their work was not an option for us. So we renamed the event to DebUtsav, since it is a new brand we are creating, we are not constrained by the content of the previous editions. DebUtsav is the meeting point of Debian and the wider Free Software community. It is a place to exchange experiences and collaborate.
We wanted to bring some debian contributers outside India but it did not work out. Hopefully in future events we will be able to do that. Harish (I have been interacting with him most of the time) and the entire FOSS team at Amrita gets the credit of organizing this event so nicely aganst all odds. Due to the unexpected closing down of the college there was a big drop in participants than we anticipated. The FOSS team refused to leave the college and made sure the event is organized as expected. Since we had a small crowd we could do it informally and give attention to everyone.
I was taking ruby packaging sessions and hope to get a few more contributors to the ruby packaging team. I’m hoping to see more campuses becoming active in Free Software like Amrita and we’d like to organize more debutsavs and minidebconfs. We are hoping to bring main DebConf to India if we are successful in creating a strong community across India in the next two years. Contact me if you’d like to organize on event at your college or you want to help out in organizing more events.
We ran a hacknight to setup diaspora and hoping to see them join us in running more diaspora pods to strengthen the network. We also certified some laptops for h-node.org 100% Free Software compatible hardware database.
Read Balu’s blog at http://balasankarc.in/tech/celebrating-deepavali-differently-debutsav-14/
Photos of the event https://poddery.com/posts/1407655