I first visited India in 2004 for what was then called “Linux Bangalore”. I had put in three talk proposals: a business-y one about the frictions encountered deploying open source in the enterprise, a social policy one about our experiences running
linux.conf.au and the Linux Australia organization, and a technical tutorial about rapid application development in GNOME (didn’t everyone give a Glade tutorial in those years?). I put in three talks because I didn’t really quite know what they were focusing on and (assuming that they’d want me at all) wanted to offer them some options.
Silly me. They chose all three. :)
And thus began my adventure with the conference that in subsequent years was renamed to “
foss.in” and despite many evolutions, has remained one of the most fascinating and engaging conferences I’ve been able to attend.
Going to a country with a different culture can be confronting; I have not been better treated by any group of organizers than the outstanding way they took care of their speakers at that first conference.
One of the amazing things about the conference is that it has evolved. That’s not always easy; you cheer when it grows along a path you support, but then you are shocked when some of the people involved go and do something that seems incompatible with what you thought the conference was about. That’s pretty common with any endeavour, though it’s amazing how wrapped up we sometimes get about such things.
Burn out & back
foss.in organizers have made the classic mistake of being good at what they do, and they’ve burned out a few times. But there’s no better indication that they’re open source people for-real: they can’t let it go. After a hiatus of a few years, the conference is back!
I have no idea whether I’ll be able to go this year or not; the conference is well known now and there are a lot more domestic speakers vying for slots. And that’s excellent; one of the driving motivations of the conference when it was first founded was to promote Linux and Open Source within India. Not just getting people to use it, but encouraging people to create open source technology too.
It’s some years later now, and I’m hoping a whole new generation of people can join the community at
foss.in. Whether you’re involved in Linux, contribute on an already established open source project; or (most importantly!) if you’ve been working away on your own and don’t realize there are like-minded people out there, I can think of nothing better to help you further your cause than spending some time with this amazing crowd. You don’t have to be a speaker; open source isn’t only about writing code, and like many community-run events it depends on its enthusiastic volunteers; if you’ve got some time and are interested, I’m sure they would appreciate your help this year.
The CfP is out.