It is great to know that team foss.in is more determined to take foss.in in a way that it is not any more just another FOSS conference in India, but rather an incubator to fuel up things getting done, code churning up at the end of the event. This sounds great if you’re a code contributor to a FOSS project, or you’re running your own pet project or contributing to one of your friend’s pet project, or at least have an idea which needs to be coded to life. If so, this would be a great opportunity to get some people into it, work together and bring out something solid out of the 5 days. Having a place with wifi, food, coffee and resources (meaning people who can write code like you, may be even better code than you) for full 5 days is awesome opportunity and has never happened in India (or at least my two little ears have never heard of).
This is indeed an experiment which the team foss.in is bold enough to indulge into, considering the popularity they have with almost all walks of the community, from geeks, to nerds, to novices, to users, to students, to.. it goes on. It has also been a place where we had put names/nicks to faces, groomed of our friendship which was otherwise been restricted to mailing lists, irc and LUG meets. It was one place to find the real people behind what they are in the irc world. It was also a place for transformation, change of ideas and views about others and things, and a lot more. That’s why most people I know in the community has always been making it to this event for last 5 years.
There are two things to understand, first that the team foss.in has the right and freedom to determine how their conference should be developing into; if they want it to be an event at the end of which a recognizable amount of code comes out, then they can. I don’t want it to call a bad idea or a risky experiment or anything of that sort. In fact, they are experimenting, as good as playing with a knife, but you can’t learn to use a knife without cutting your skin once to twice, and unless you are going to be bold enough to try it out, learn to do it right, you are never going to do it. I wholesomely agree to their PoV that we indeed need such an event in India which fully concentrates on code, code, code.
Secondly, we always go to a place which has something for us. If it doesn’t we don’t go. It is as simple as that, if you find a reason to go, then please so. If not, may be you have better things in life to get done. But don’t criticize others for being a place not for you to go, even if it was in the past. Find an alternative which satisfies your interest and expectations.
Time to look at other side of the coin. If you have understood and somewhat agree with the above two points, all you have left out is introspect whether you need to be there this time. You need to find out whether you have a reason to be there. If you have, then go to next step and decide what you want to do when you’re there. But the problem (er, sorry I didn’t find a better word) is the diff between the reason to attend last year and reason to attend it this year is so large that a lot of people feel to have been neglected, even disregarded of their mode of contribution. This was fueled by the unfortunate comment that contributions such as localization, packaging and bug management are low hanging fruits, and the further justification of the same. This indeed left a bit of bitter in the mouth for many as they have been fully involved in these modes of contribution.
For the fact, half of the people I know in the Indian FOSS community are mostly non-code contributors and trivial code-contributors. If I consider myself, I haven’t done much other than my contributions to Ubuntu Bugs being a triager. Even if I don’t mind the PoV that what I do is a very very low hanging trivial fruit, I still have to wonder what am I to do if I decide to attend foss.in (other than being a volunteer, i.e.)? Also, I might be missing people who are also similar low-hanging-fruit contributors whom I had been with during the previous foss.in(s). The answer can be: write some code too, but it is not a wholly sensible reply to someone who himself chose to contribute through low-hanging-fruits. I do code, and that’s how I earn for my food, clothing and shelter. And this is one of the reasons I rather chose one of the so called low-hanging-fruit(s) as the way to contribute.
I have a month and 3 weeks to decide, so does many others and their decision might be having an influence on mine. Even if I find some better-things-to-get-done, I wish all success for the team foss.in and all those attendees of it who are going to work together for 5 days and get things done. Good Luck and would love to see this experiment of yours succeed. Go Rocking Guys!! 🙂