inpycon09 the success story

When the first discussions happened, everybody doubted it might become just another conference discussion that will never happen. It has taken the support and sheer determination of quite a number of people to make it happen. We just wanted to try it once, to at least see how the Python community responds to such initiatives and it has ended up being more than encouraging to make this a yearly event. This is the simple story of inpycon09.

When I landed at the IISc campus on a not so chilly morning, the posters were up and I could find a few people waiting here and there in the corridors. When I entered nothing was up yet, other than a few volunteers running around putting posters and direction notices. Slowly people started turning up and I could see more known faces. By 9 AM, there were enough crowd to start the registration counter and soon a long queue got formed.

The conference kit consisted of a notepad, ID tag, a pen and a pycon tee. It was a simple white tee, with a caption in the back. Unfortunately we ended up having a spello in it, which indeed made the tee more special 😉 Halls were fast filling up and when Prabhu Ramachandran was delivering the keynote the benches got filled and people started filling up the foot steps as well. It was a very interesting talk, encouraging everyone to go and give a shot with Python. He had also included his associations with ILUGC and how it helped him. He advised people to become a part of an active LUG. His talk was mostly around SciPy and Mayavi.

As the keynote ended, talks in other two halls started, kicking the normal proceedings of the first day of inpycon. Every hall was running full house and we would’ve had around 300 people attending the conference, especially a big bunch of students of REC, Chennai. Kenneth and Noufal took the Introduction to Python talk, leaving me for the second day. There was actually a balance of talks, not just focusing on web development. And the lunch was really good.

A lot of #linux-india guys had turned up and it was surprising to meet them before the normal foss.in season. The first day ended up quite satisfactorily and gave us hopes for the second day to run smoothly. Though we did not have a huge crowd on the second day, and it being only a half day of scheduled talks, it too went calmly. I took the beginners’ introduction to Python, following by Kenneth taking some advanced topics. There was a white sheet posted with post-it notes to be used to express the feedbacks from delegates and we ended up getting some quite interesting, even contradicting opinions posted about the conference. We welcome the criticisms as it helps us to know our holes and stop it from appearing next time.

On the whole, the beta release of inpycon was a satisfying success, leaving my weekend to have not been wasted and giving us the encouragement to come back better next year, may be in Chennai 😉

PyCon in India

PyCon is the annual conglomerate of Python community at various places around the globe. It is an occasion which brings together the developers, users and business community around Python, serving as a platform to interact and share each others’ views and experiences.

There was always an idea to have once such conference in India, but the need for it has become stronger of late in the BangPypers mailing list that has given to numerous threads of discussions going on in the mailing list. Also a formal proposal is getting drafted as well as open discussions happening in the wiki were people can pen down their opinions and ideas.

The month of September has been proposed for the tentative time for PyCon India to happen, but it is still under discussion. The few hot topics among the on-going discussions are whether to have tee-shirts available or should we have more useful stuffs like Python cheat-sheet given as a part of delegate kit. Also, what’s the level and mode the conference should take up being the first such event in India is also a point to decide upon.

Baiju also raised the idea of inviting Guido to open up the conference, as they would be having an opportunity to meet him during the PyCon in Chicago to happen soon.

Another point to remember is that PSF doesn’t want numerous PUGs in the country to have their own PyCons, which means all PUGs within India should put their heads together and organize a PyCon in the country together. This means we can have the PyCon each year at a new location, and the decision can be made during the current year’s PyCon about the next year’s venue. As the initial discussion has started in BangPypers, the beginning will most probably happen in Bangalore.

I know only three active PUGs in India, the BangPypers, the ChennaiPy and MumPy (which is pretty infant comparing the other two). If you know of any more PUGs, please enlighten me up so I can keep them on the loop as well.

Please feel free to add your thoughts in the wiki. We will soon select an organizing committee, and despite it we will need lots of volunteers and lots of sponsors. If you are in a company using Python and would like to participate and/or sponsor in this wonderful event, then please join the BangPypers mailing list or poke us in #bangpypers in irc.freenode.net. We will soon try to have a dedicated mailing list running up for all discussion relating to the PyCon.

If you have any more points to add to this post, please drop a comment to this post and I will consider adding  it 🙂 Let’s all make the PyCon happen in India. Python, FTW!! 🙂

i stopped eating omelettes

Ya, there is little pun here. I have stopped eating omelettes about an year ago. But that doesn’t directly relate anything to this omelette, though am in a confusion like many people I know are.

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!! 🙂

miss it this time

Due to unforeseen circumstances, personal reasons, financial crunch and “leave” reasons, am not going to join the party at FOSS.NITC this time. It was fun last year with pradeepto, kushal, aanjhan, vivek, jace, kiruba, atul, shreyas, tejas, praveen and lot of known faces joining for a promising FOSS meet. This year, a majority of the tribe will go missing. I fear this was mainly due to the postponing of the schedule a couple of times, from feb end to march end and again to april first weekend.

For me with little penny left in my pocket, mother to be taken back home and morally can’t take successive weekends off from work, I mailed them that am dropping off. They felt so bad, am sorry, so did I. Hope you still rock on this year and we all can join you next year. Good luck! 🙂

Notes from Roger’s OpenJDK talk

I happened to be the Hall Marshal during Roger’s talk on OpenJDK (or Open Sourcing Java) during foss.in and happened to make some occasional notes on what he said (though the last 20 mins, I had something else to do).

  • Nov 2006 – gpl v2 hotspot VM jav compiler – openjdk.dev.java.net
  • Jan 2007 – kitchen sink language project
  • 8 May 2007 – the rest of java code, interim governance board (almost)
  • 25169 source files, 4% binary only, 8% not under gpl
  • font rasterizer, graphics rasterizer, crypto providers, color mgt are gpl’d
  • sound engine, snmp code, imaging api are not
  • sun in control, patches via email now —> community in control, non-sun committers
  • write a constitution, get it ratified by community, hold elections for open seats
  • initial projects – free font, free graphics, free sound rasterizers
  • Gentoo openJDK ebuild done in 3 hours
  • Fedora source rpm build in 13 hours
  • IcedTea icedtea.classpath.org, June 2007
  • framebuffer toolkit project, May 2007
  • Mercurial support for external committers, Oct 2007
  • Dec 2007, drafting constitution
  • April/May 2007, ratify constitution
  • openjdk.java.net, planetjdk.org, mail.openjdk.java.net, #openjdk
  • 2 trillion handsets with java on mobile