Tuesday Sep 11, 2007

InfoWorld on opensource in the storage world

InfoWorld has announced its BOSS-ie (Best of OpenSource Software) awards for some open storage software. ZFS figures prominently. I also found some interesting tid-bits from the article.

Finally, there are a few areas we're keeping our eyes on but aren't yet prepared to pick any winners. One of these is backup and recovery, where Amanda is well-known and there are too many up-and-comers to mention. Also on the watch list is NTFS Mount (Solaris), UFS Reader (WinXP), a project that is still in beta but promises to break down the wall between Solaris and Windows, allowing either operating system to directly access the file system assets of the other. Now that's what community is all about. 

I like the bit about breaking down the walls between Solaris and Windows. 

Monday Aug 27, 2007

India says no to OOXML!

ODF won a major battle in India against MS Office. The Indian government has voted out OOXML!

Look at the press.



Wednesday Aug 22, 2007

Dtrace Tech Talk by Bryan Cantrill on Google Video

Bryan Cantrill's dtrace demo at Google is now available as a google video.

Just one word to describe it - "Amazing" 

Friday Aug 17, 2007

Code for Freedom, India 2007

Aug 15th, 1947 - India stepped into the world as an independent nation. The battle our forefathers fought for us mean that we have the right to exercise our free will today. I have always been intrigued by what the current generation thinks about this struggle. It was a learning experience for me to try and understand. I learnt one thing - the basics premise behind the struggle has its appeal even today. But, it has an interesting twist. This generation is worried about freedom - to choose, but the way it manifests was the reason why I was intrigued. One of the coolest ways is the interest in FOSS (free and open source software) today. 

That said, I want to talk about an event that is happening right now - Sun India 'Code for Freedom' contest. It encourages students to contribute to FOSS. It has been said that the amount of code level contributions from Indian developers to the opensource/FOSS projects has been less than satisfactory. I wish this would change. And the 'Code for Freedom' is definitely trying it best to make a difference.

So, if you are a student in India, pick your choice of a FOSS project from 'Code for Freedom' and start writing code.

I would like to sign off by saying - 'Show me your code folks!'

Saturday Aug 11, 2007

FOSS.IN 2007 - announced!

FOSS.IN 2007 has been announced! And this time it is \*different\*. This will be the third time Sun will be participating. So, if you are involved in any of the opensource communities at Sun and interested in attending, drop me a note.

For more details:

From: Atul Chitnis
Date: August 5, 2007 18:14:07 BDT
Subject: [foss.in-announce] FOSS.IN/2007: Event Announcement

Dear all,

It's that time of the year again, when we reveal details about this
year's FOSS.IN.

FOSS.IN/2007 will be held from December 4th to December 8th. That's
Tuesday through Saturday.

The venue will be (for the most part) the National Science Symposium
Centre (NSSC) of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

As always, there are plenty of changes, improvements and new things at the

The event itself is in two major parts:

- The Main Conference, which is on December 6/7/8 (Thu/Fri/Sat)
- "Project Days", which are on December 4/5 (Tue/Wed)

The formats of each of these are very different from each other, but both
are integral parts of the event. Both will take place at the main venue.


The Main Conference (Dec 6/7/8) is similar to the format of the event in
previous years, with some dramatic differences:

No Tracks:

Unlike in previous years, the main conference will not have tracks. Each
session will be self-contained. While talks will still be classified
according to the broad topic, they will not all be concentrated in one
hall. This will encourage movement between halls and getting exposed to a
wider variety of topics.

Talk slots:

Each slot will be 90 minutes instead of the usual 60 minutes. However,
this does not mean that talks will be that long - each talk will be about
45 minutes talk time, and about 30 minutes discussion time. And there is a
15 minute buffer between talk slots to allow audiences (and speakers) to
move between halls, grab a coffee or a snack, etc.

In addition, the main conference will only use the 750, 120, and 90 seater
halls. The 250 seater is still being considered - we will use it only if
the number of high-quality talks selected exceeds our capacity. The 60
seater hall will not be used for talks (we have other plans for it).

Talk Depth:

The Main Conference will differentiate itself from previous years in the
way talks are selected. Most of the talks will be by recognised experts in
their fields. Because our Talk Slot format dramatically reduces the number
of talks from previous years, we can afford to be choosy. And we will be.
While we will still have a formal Call for Participation (CfP) for all
talks, many talks will be invited, and others will be brutally scrutinised
for depth, context and value to audiences.

Talk Feedback System:

In addition, we are introducing a talk rating/feedback system that will
allow people to comment on and rate talks online after the talk completes.
The feedback system will be moderated and authenticated (you know, to
prevent our friends selling body-part enhancements from turning this into
a market place :), but the comments will be public and permanent.

This will achieve two things:

- The feedbacks for each talk will act as a reference for the speakers, if
they need to prove their bonafides as speakers, they simply have to
point at the FOSS.IN site where information about the talk and the
feedback from the audiences will be recorded.

- This will encourage speakers to be far better prepared than some have
been in the past. A last-minute preparation speaker is almost certainly
going to get bad feedback, so the tag "was a speaker at FOSS.IN" can
work against the speaker if s/he wasn't prepared, but work wonders for
those speakers who do prepare, deliver an in-depth talk and who
interacts with the audience.

Feedback will be on a per-talk basis, not per-speaker, but multiple-talks
per speaker will be an exception anyway - you'd have to be a superstar to
achieve that. :)


Both the Main conference and Project Days (described below) will focus on
development and contribution to FOSS Projects. General talks will be
limited to a few, and in general the nature/background of the speaker will
decide whether the talk will be selected.

As it was last year, advocacy and basic introductory talks will not be
accepted. This is to avoid the "preaching to the choir" problem, as well
as avoid duplicating the efforts of other FOSS events in India.


Project Days (Dec 4/5) are new to FOSS.IN. Loosely based on the
mini-conferences made popular by events such as Linux.conf.au (LCA), these
will be an implementation of the "topics" idea proposed in 2005.

Project Days will be full day sessions on a single topic, and the topic
will be a specific FOSS project. Led by project leaders/contributors, the
sessions will expose audiences to the current stateand future plans of the
project, and show where and how people can get involved. Workshops are
encouraged to be part of such sessions.

The number of projects will be limited. As the 750 seater hall will not be
used for Project Days sessions, sessions will take place in the 60/90/120
and 250 seater halls. That means there can be (2 days x 4 halls)=8 Project
Days Sessions.

To makeit clear what we are looking at, here are some examples of Project
Day Sessions:

KDE, Gnome, Fedora, Ubuntu/Debian, OpenOffice, IndLinux, etc.

Here are examples of topics that are NOT eligible for a Project Days

Web Development, Developing in PHP/Python/Perl/Ruby, System
Administration, etc.

If look closely, will that we are targeting contribution to the project,
not deployment of the project. For example, "Developing Python" is a good
topic, "Developing with Python" is not.

Talk slots:

Talk slots will be 1 hour in length, with no more than 45 minutes talk
time. This works because unlike the Main conference, all talks related to
the topic are in the same hall.

However, actual distribution of talks will be decided by both Team FOSS.IN
and the Session organizers. Since there will also be workshops involved,
things have to be a bit more flexible.

Talk/Workshop selection:

The actual Project Day sessions will be decided over the next two weeks.

First, discuss on the mailing list, identify topics, scope of topics and
who possible speakers could be.

Next, formal Project Days Session Proposals have to be made. These
proposals will be evaluated for completeness, scope, context and other
factors, very similar to the way talks will be selected for the Main

The 8 sessions will then be selected, session organizers appointed and
sessions will be announced, and the CfP will open. People will now be able
to submit talk proposals, choosing either the Main Conference or one of
the Project Day sessions.


The FOSS.IN HackCenter:

The Hack Center is a new addition to FOSS.IN this year.

It is a large area which will be open throughout the conference duration,
from 9:00am to 7:00pm, where people can get together to work on FOSS

The Center will be provided with PCs, power, switched networks and
internet connectivity, tables and chairs.


There are a few rules that are expected to be followed:

1. This is not a download or surfing centre. People are not expected to
settle in and use the bandwidth to download stuff from the net. The
area is provided for people to get together to work on FOSS projects.

2. PCs provided will be few. In general, there will be one PC per group -
people are encouraged to bring their own laptops.

3. This is not a general community assembly hall. People are requested to
only use this hall for actual development work, not for general
sit-downs and discussions. For discussions, BoF tents are provided.


Birds-of-a-feather sessions will happen throughout the main conference, in
semi-open tents equipped with wireless LAN, power and whiteboards.


New to FOSS.IN is a social evening on Friday, the 7th of December. The
party will take place at an off-site location, close to the event venue
(actual venue will be announced close to the event).

This party is open to all participants of FOSS.IN - speakers, delegates,
exhibitors, sponsors and of course volunteers. There will be a nominal
cover charge that will be paid by people wishing to attend the party, and
it is optional - only people who wish to attend will have to pay.


As every year, there will be an exhibition of commercial and
non-commercial, FOSS-related products. Details will appear on the website.


As every year, we are restricting costs to cover only direct expenses on

Because of the multi-part nature of the conference, conference fees will
be as follows:

1. Main Conference only : Rs.500

2. Project Days only : Rs.300

3. Main Conference + Project Days: Rs.750

4. Optional Party@FOSS.IN: TBA


Conference Swag (like last year's mug, T-shorts, etc.) is only for people
attending the main conference.

All packages include Lunch, tea/coffee and snacks for each day.

Corporate Support Package:

In addition, there is an optional "Corporate Support" package, to help
companies support the event. This package is identical package 3 above
(Main Conference + Project Days), at Rs.3000 per head.

This package is optional and meant for organizations who wish to help
support the event. Attendance of the Party@FOSS.IN is included in the
package, as well as all other benefits.

In addition, all passes and other materials will be sent to the
organization before the event, so that such sponsored attendees will not
have to stand in the queue to register at the conference.

Additional funds raised this way will go towards additional facilities for
delegates, subsidising the party, etc.

Travel Assistance:

As usual, we have a limited budget for aiding selected speakers to travel
to Bangalore. Speakers are requested to first attempt to get sponsorship
from other sources before asking for Travel Assistance.

All speakers at the event (Main Conference or Project days) get
complimentary passes to the event, and other speaker-specific goodies.


The website for the event will open in the next 24 hours. It will not
contain all details yet - this will improve as we pin down various things,
and as feedback and suggestions come in on the mailing list.

You are best served by adding http://foss.in/rss to your newsreader of
choice to keep track of changes on the website, and of course to subscribe
to the FOSS.IN mailing list.

This note does not cover a lot of details, so feel free to start asking
questions, discussing things, making suggestions, etc. Note that not every
suggestion can be implemented, so don't take it personal if we have to
reject one. Also note that FOSS.IN is one of four international FOSS
events (the others being Linux.Conf.Au, OLS and now Linuxconf.EU), and
because of this there are certain things we can do, and some which we

As usual, we ask people to leave the politics at the door, and help make
this an enjoyable event for everyone. A lot of hard work has gone into
this event already, and a lot more will happen in the months leading up to

For now, the best way to help is to spread the word (buttons, banners,
etc. will be on the website, as will be PDF brochures, posters, etc.), and
to discuss on the FOSS.IN mailing list.

Please remember - this is an to get people get involved in FOSS
development and contribution. Our primary objective is to get more Indians
involved, and to get them to interact with people from all over the world.

Expect a lot more news from us as time goes by. Tons of stuff up our
sleeves. :)



Atul Chitnis
Project Lead





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