I’m finally back from FOSS.IN/2007, although my body clock seems to be lost somewhere in the Arabian Sea.
The push to make the conference more contributor-focused seemed to work very well.
The final talk slot, which was given to Rusty on short notice, included an invitation for FOSS developers to come down and stand on the stage. First, people who had contributed code to a project — way more people than anyone expected — stood up and came down. Then, progressively, people who’d submitted a bug report, or written documentation, or helped others, and finally, anyone who’d used FOSS. Here’s what it looked like:
Photo by Jim Grisanzio
Members of the then non-audience passed the microphone around for some ad-hoc lightning talks on what they were doing.
Following that, Atul spoke about the future of FOSS contribution in India, explaining that FOSS.IN would not move around the country, as it is preferred that each region develop their own event. Organizers of other Indian FOSS conferences provided brief overviews of each, including the entirely student-run FOSS Meet@NITC in Calicut.
It was a great ending to a great conference, and overall, simply refreshing to see so much grassroots activity.
An older attendee wrote a nice email to the conference mailing list with some interesting observations, such as “You are prime-movers of modern India” and “Some had weird hairstyles”. Indeed, as has been noted by others, including Simon Phipps, there’s an intense enthusiasm for technology in India which I’ve not seen elsewhere.
I really would not be surprised, within ten years, to see India become the top FOSS contributing country.
As a foreign speaker, I found the conference to be a great opportunity to spread knowledge in a direct way — beyond what is possible via code, documentation, blogging etc. — and can highly recommend it to others. Rusty had fun, although he definitely under-assessed his final talk.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to return from your morning coffee run to be serenaded by a Nadaswaram, “the world’s loudest non-brass acoustic instrument”, here’s a video starring Andrew Cowie, Spot Calloway and the omnipresent Rusty as part of the audience.