Software Freedom Day 2010 at NIT Calicut

I am a member of the Free and Open Source Software Users group – FOSSCell – at my college – NIT Calicut. We celebrated Software Freedom Day yesterday for the first time.

We started planning for the celebration on our mailing list 5 days ago. Amid a lot of heated discussions we kept on updating the FOSSCell wiki ( http://fosscell.nitc.ac.in/wiki ) with our ideas, plans, suggestions, names of attendees and volunteers. The amount of interest seen on the list was overwhelming. And so was the no. of visits to the wiki.

Most of the work was done on Friday just a day before the event. Pankaj got permissions for using CSE 301 along with the projector, after some struggles, of course. Vipin created a nice looking poster, which Sudheendra and I got printed from MC. Niranjana volunteered to paste the poster in LH. I gave 2 posters to Anirban for pasting in A and PG1 hostels. Me and Sairam went to order the cake at Bake House which cost us some funny looks by others who saw what we wanted to be drawn on top surface of the cake – a Gnu. Later Pankaj and Sairam volunteered again to paste the remaining posters at other hostels.

Next day, the Software Freedom Day, me and Pankaj reached the venue a little early to set it up. We tried arranging internet connection there but couldn’t. It was getting late, we were a little disappointed to see no one coming on time. A few phone calls later, one by one people started coming. I was happy to see Ashwin, a day scholar, and Jasmin, a senior along with her friend coming too. Syam and Ajay brought the speakers. We distributed some SFD handouts to promote FOSS among the participants. We had Robin, a fresher also with us.

We started the program with the introduction of participants and screening of Happy Birthday to GNU video featuring Stephen Fry. After some time, the SFD cake was brought by Sairam and yeah it had the Gnu on it along Software Freedom Day 2010 written on the surface. We had a session on how to use mailing lists. Then, Jasmin and Robin cut the cake with some variant of Free Software Song playing in the background. Participants seemed to enjoy the different variants of the song a lot while having their share of the SFD cake. Another fresher, Anirban, joined us at this point.

After this we had a small video on what is a wiki, we couldn’t demonstrate wiki editing live due to the lack of internet facility at the venue. We had a general discussion on FOSS events at Tathva and future events to be conducted by FOSSCell along with some discussion on external events like PyCon and foss.in

The two freshers volunteered to paste the SFD handouts in their hostels. Though I was a little disappointed as almost none of the senior members (except for Jasmin and her friend) had attended the session, I was happy to see those who had some real interest in FOSS and learning. Vipin and Jaseem also, who were interested couldn’t make it to the celebrations because of certain reasons but they had already worked hard for this.

Overall, a nice time spent with friends celebrating Software Freedom Day 2010.

For more details, posters, presentations and photos, check out the wiki page: http://fosscell.nitc.ac.in/wiki/index.php/Software_Freedom_Day_2010

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