Software Freedom Day, 2008

Software Freedom day, Sept 20th, really went unnoticed last year. I dont even remember anybody talking about doing anything specific. But, this year, it was just impossible to ignore all kinds of event notifications coming from all over the world. There were about 100 events planned by the Sun campus ambassador network only in India. In that list of events, I saw some requests for delivering a couple of sessions in pune and could not resist to get involved in this worldwide festival.

Pune Institute of Computer technology (PICT) had organized a two day event on Sept 19th and 20th and I signed up to do a session on OpenSolaris on 20th. PICT was also celebrating 25 years of its existence. Being an alumni it was a perfect setup for me and my involvement also gave me a sense of giving back to my college.

My OpenSolaris talk was well attended by around 60 odd students from both 2nd and 3rd year engineering. I covered Solaris-in-general and OpenSolaris including some key features like DTrace, ZFS, SMF etc. I also demonstrated OpenSolaris installation on VirtualBox. I think this demo was important, as it provides a very convenient way to try out various operating systems and makes a lot of sense for the student community. It was good to know that some folks from the industry as well were attending the event and here is what one of them have to write about OpenSolaris and the event.

I set out some goals for myself from this preso.
    (i) Awareness of Solaris/OpenSolaris.
    (ii) The Magic of VirtualBox.
    (iii) most importantly, Focus on open source.

One thing that I realized after talking to some 3rd year students is that, there are still a lot of students who run behind sponsorships for their final year projects. Self sponsored projects with open-source technologies does not carry a 'wow' factor according to them. I think this should change, students should focus more on joining various open source communities for their projects, that will not only give them  better exposure, but will also add great value to their resume, certainly more than what a certification can do. 


The Sunday morning I presented a couple of sessions at Army Institute of Technology (AIT). There were no additional sessions planned here; so it was a smaller event in comparison. The first session I presented was on basic java programming, that included the java virtual machine, life cycle of a java program and simple how-tos. Given that the audience was just learning programming languages in general (with limited exposure to C and C++), I chose not to go further in detail but to outline major differences between C/C++ and Java.

The second session was again OpenSolaris. It was the same session that I delivered at PICT a day before. The attendance was again around 50 students. After the talk, the sun campus ambassador hosted a quiz around open source technologies and goodies (OpenSolaris CD kits etc) were given away. The talk went way over its scheduled time and we finished the event at about 2:30 pm. I had a big list of questions to answer from the students, which gives me a feeling that it was a success.


Later the same evening we had a POSUG (Pune OpenSolaris User Group) meeting at Fergusson College and I had to do some more opensolaris for them. This meet was basically an ice-braker to students from various colleges in puNe. POSUG has been doing a lot of work lately and certainly carries the potential to contribute more.
It was a really busy weekend doing this social-technical work. and It is always good to go back to colleges, the zest in the students is so refreshing.

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