Sunday, November 26, 2006

Open Source Conference : FOSS.IN 2006

The CAT (for IIMs) did not go very well for me – made lots of mistakes – completely unknowingly. It all depends on the day of the exam – make or break happens – how much ever you prepare.

I was at FOSS.IN 2006 ( conference being held at the IISc, Bangalore; for the past two days.

Java has been open sourced under GPL 2.0 – just as Sun did with OpenSolaris last year. They were one of the prime sponsors for the event along with Geodesic.

There was this nice distro from National Research Centre & CDAC called BOSS, with 3D GNOME desktop and plug&play USB support – things which are becoming commonplace these days. There were people all over the place using their wi-fi enabled laptops, running Linux. Linux has definitely matured on the desktop but is yet to catch up with Mac OS, which MS Vista has been able to copy feature for feature. The UN Development Program had a stall too and discussions on bridging the digital divide, social aspects of OSS, localization in Indian languages, the $100 PC by MIT being spearheaded by Nicholas Negroponte etc were topics discussed. There was a discussion on Day 2 about Linux in India for the past ten years – issues such as student participation. Lack of initiative in Indians and low contribution in open source came up – one speaker went up to the extent of saying “Indians still suffer from the colonial mindset and need masters to tell them what to do – only the micromanaged scenarios bring success, new innovations are not easily observed”.

Sun, Google, IBM were among the other sponsors having stalls. There was a lecture session I attended where a German kernel hacker (Harald Welte) who displayed tools and techniques (bitbake) for embedded Linux on the Amida Simputer - a handheld running Linux - made by BEL & PicoPeta (now taken over by Geodesic – the company where Atul Chitnis works - the open source evangelist and the lead organizing the FOSS earlier Linux Bangalore event since 2001). Google was on a hiring drive for their Bangalore center, encouraging resume drops etc. The Wipro stall disappointed without any data on whatever was asked, with the volunteers fumbling with general answers. Saw ABB for the first time - they are a prime player in the field of industrial automation.

We use GCC for our project extensively based on GCC ARM and also GCC PPC/WIN32; an amazingly robust compiler toolchain. Appreciable - the technical prowess/capabilities of the Open Source community and the development model.


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