Well, been long since I blogged. Technically speaking, this is my first blog. No, I wrote the other articles as well. But again, a blog, this is the first.
So what kept me from blogging for so long? More than a couple of reasons. The primary one being the workshop and then my project, among others. And I thought I should log my experiences of the workshop in my blog.
One of the things I love about free software is that, the more you work – the more you love it. The more you work – the more you want to work. The more you work – the more energy you get. The passion of the volunteers around you is infectious, so is the enthusiasm of so many students. We had around 250 students attending the 5-day camp that was held at SSN Engineering College in Chennai, conducted by FSF-TN, part of Free Software Movement of India.
It was great fun right from the day we started planning for it. The vigour and earnest manner in which the volunteers worked was awe-inspiring. Really, in today’s world where everything is linked to money, how many people do you expect to turn in and put huge efforts? Luckily, the free software movement has these kind of people in plentiful number. And that number increased multi-fold by the end of those 5 days.
The effort put in by Shanu, Welkin and his wonderful team of volunteers from AVIT, the support from Bhaskar, Rangarajan; all these humbled me. It’s not an individual effort. It was a mighty team effort. Everybody played their role in spite of it being purely voluntary. Such is their dedication and commitment. And during the workshop, the number of volunteers swelled up. The team of volunteers from IIT consisting of Appadam, Shanky and Jiggu Bhai was excellent.
Most sessions went good. And yes, as usual there were some bombs. But that can only help us get better. The best parts of the workshop were the group discussions where students themselves came up with their own ideas. And yes, their own doubts. Everybody had the common doubts like why GNU/Linux doesn’t get affected by viruses, if you work on free software, how are you going to earn your money and such. It is important that these questions are raised by the students themselves. It will get them thinking.
And the most inspiring session was taken up by Umashankar, IAS. He was formerly the Chairman of ELCOT (Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu) and was instrumental in taking free software a long way forward in Tamil Nadu. His talk helped clear many doubts in the young minds and instilled a sense of social spirit. The video showing how free software can help change the lives of visually challenged people was moving.
Students were drooling about python, thanks to the session by Ravi Jaya. The session was planned for 1 hour, but the students got it extended by more than 2 hours. Such was the response. Karam‘s session on LAMP kept the audience glued. But the best was reserved for the last day. Santosh took a session sharing his experiences and giving guidelines on taking up a free software project. And then came up the projects. Projects which help the society. Projects which help in liberating ourselves from the clutches of monopoly giants. Projects which can show a way of life to the needy. We do not want the under-privileged of our country to be at the mercy of corporate giants who have nothing but profit as their motto. And the under-privileged includes students. We are under-privileged with respect to access to knowledge.
This is not something that ended after the 5-days. That was just the beginning. Looking forward to the next event: Freedom Walk!!!