Community participation from Indian Universities

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, one of the very reputed universities in India, organized a science and technology festival in last week of Feb, Techkriti 2006. Sun sponsored "Industry defined programming contest" at this event and Prakash and me were invited to be the judges for this contest.

The shortlisted 9 projects exhibited some innovative ideas. In the end, we took the opportunity to talk about open source communities.
The next day, we met faculty members in the Computer Science Engineering department and also spoke to some 3rd & final year students.

IIT Kanpur, like many other universities, do not have solaris infrastructure in their labs for students to play with. Now, that solaris is open sourced, we can expect this to change in years to come. Linux has a huge headstart with its penetration in communities and hence it is the favourite platform for many universities to work on various projects and these projects would give the intented exposure to students about OS concepts. Students themselves have shown a lot of interest in Solaris and also have that installed on their personal machines.

These students are still not aware of community products contribution and in turn getting good exposure and another opportunity (intership, being the other one) to learn how things work in the industry. Also, they can do their final year projects with some such community, in which case, their contribution is much more visible and integrated instead of keeping them on shelves forever.
Integrating their projects into communities may not be encouraged now as probably it does not fit into the current system followed by the universities. But, I am sure things can be worked out.

I have seen many students outside india taking up something in the community. I am hoping that more and more number of students start participating and I think reputed universities like IITs in India should take the initiative here.

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