foss.in 2007 announced
It’s always difficult for a community based conference with a multitude of demands all pulling in different directions. The temptation is always to try and please everyone. There always seems to be people who want the focus to be on converting people to Linux (inevitably because they’re trying to sell something, and figure the conference is there to create new customers for them). These groups seem to object if the conference isn’t all about new users and explaining why Open Source is so great.
But here we are in 2007. There is no need to waste time preaching to the choir; the audience of such a conference already knows that Software Freedom is so important. And on the other hand, there very much is a need to grow the worldwide base of people contributing to Open Source. That doesn’t mean that the cause is won, but we need less people talking, and more people doing.
Thus it is admirable that in the case of India’s premier Linux, Open Source, and Free Software conference,
foss.in, this year the team have chosen to refine and refocus their event to focus on encouraging contribution and facilitating development.
I think this is terrific.
Unsurprisingly, there was a bit of resistance from the usual suspects. But in reply to one such message, Atul Chitnis (my favourite Open Source rock star and the lead matador at
foss.in) replied with this:
We have to pick our battles, or we lose the war. The focus of this conference is development and contribution, not newbie orientation. And even if were to allow this, the rest of the conference would be a complete loss to them.
If someone comes to FOSS.IN, it is expected that s/he knows what s/he is coming for. There are four months to the event — plenty of time to attend LUG meets, surf the net, and learn the basics.
“Do your homework”.
The guy is a guru.
Longer talks, no tracks, and project days
Considerably at odds with the general trends in most conferences, they have chosen this year to considerably lengthen the talk slots, recognizing full well that there will be less speakers but allowing those presentations to evolve into large scale workshops — the goal being helping people get bootstrapped not with using Free Software, but creating it.
This will all be balanced by “project days”, modelled somewhat on the mini-confs that
linux.conf.au originated. The idea is to give individual communities an organized forum to concentrate on the doing. I’ll be at the GNOME one!
And once again, this team absolutely leads the pack. So much attitude:
foss.in/2007, Bangalore. If you’re going to be in India this coming December, you need to be there.