FOSS.in : Intel, Google and Yahoo surprise me
I reach Bangalore Palace Grounds, the venue of FOSS.in. Once called Linux-Bangalore and hosted by a href='http://blug.in/'>local linux user group, the event has metamorphosed this year to include the larger FOSS community.
I see a few hundred geeks waiting patiently in front of the registration counter with T-shirts proudly displaying their corporate
affiliations. I feel bad. I didn't wear anything to display mine.
The inaugural session is delivered by Atul Chitnis who I suspect is one of the pioneers of the event. The event is kicked off in the
traditional Indian custom of lighting a lamp, the lamp being lit by five LUG leaders from various parts of the country. Atul remarks
something about the lamp representing knowledge and that it takes more than one person to spread it. Smart !
Keynote by the Kernel guru Alan Cox begins. Contrary to my fears, the session did
not dive into dissecting kernel modules. Instead, it was a fairly high level introduction to open source and how to get started with OS
I walk into the expo area to check out the stalls. Intel is a diamond sponsor and I am wondering what Intel has to do with open source
software. Instead of a stall, I just find a large Intel logo displayed and some chairs for conference attendees to sit and relax ! So much for Intel
and software. I share a joke about it with a fellow Sun employee and move over to the other stalls.
I spot the colorful Yahoo stall. I don't find much information in their displays and posters, so I ask the guy what yahoo's contribution to
open source is. He tells me that they use a lot of open source software internally. I guess that's valid enough. Using open
source software is also a means of contributing to the community in some sense.
Yet one expects much more from a company like yahoo. So I rephrase and ask if yahoo contributes any code to
any open source community. He says they are considering contributing code to some open source tool (I forget the name) in the future.
Then he asks me what Sun's contributions are to open source. I grab the opportunity to explain about opensolaris,
netbeans and glassfish and invite him to visit the Sun stalls across the hall.
I am at the "Free and Open Source Opportunities in India" session by Danese Cooper. She surprises the audience by wearing a traditional
Indian salwar. She urges developers to contribute for open source. She also talks about
the abundance of opportunities in India. She educates the audience about how Intel offers the "Platform of choice" to developers. If developing
nations want to deploy FOSS solutions Intel is ready to support it,she says. Fair enough. But I still don't understand what Intel is doing at this
Venkatesh Hariharan aka Venky's talk on "The Political, Cultural and Economic Relevance of Open Source" is refreshing. He talks about
some very interesting aspects of Open Source and how it's relevant to the Indian economy. I'll probably need a whole blog entry for it.
This is probably the best session that I attended.
"Google and Open Source" by Zaheda Bhorat begins. The whole Google thing looks like a recruitment and PR drive. They have a "We are hiring"
caption right in their presentation slide. Google's contribution to open source is that they run on Linux. I wonder if that's Google's contribution to
Linux or Linux's contribution to Google. And of course it seems they have open source examples of how to use the Google API.
The next 30 minutes is about the Google Summer of Code. Zaheda discusses how the whole stuff works and how successful the program was.
She then gets a student on stage who shares his experiences being a participant in the Summer of Code. I hear him say "Thank you google"
at least thrice.
I got to leave to office. I have promised my manager to catch up with some work. I have anyway had too much for the day.
Goodbye FOSS.in. See ya tomorrow.