[PLUG] MiniDebConf in Amritapuri, Kerala

shirish शिरीष shirishag75 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 19 12:10:12 IST 2014

in-line :-

On 6/19/14, R.Harish Navnit <harishnavnit at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello all,

Hello Harish,

> I'm Harish, a student from Amrita School of Engineering, Amritapuri campus.
> We are planning to conduct an event, namely a MiniDebConf in our college
> campus. We had made a few plans earlier on and despite the fact that we had
> a few discussions with a few members of the community, we still don't know
> what exactly to expect from the event. The event was initially planned to
> be hosted during the days 12,13 and 14 of September this year. However,
> after holding meetings with the Corporate and Industrial Relations
> department of our college, we now believe that organizing the event in the
> month of October serves better. The date is yet to be finalized. I hope the
> majority of you would be free in the month of October and will be able to
> attend the event. Let us know what you make of it and if any changes in the
> date might be required.

Just one minor query, October would be hot in Kerala if I'm not wrong ?

Expectations from the event can be of few kinds :-

a. Gaining knowledge, ideas of new ways to do things. There is so much
FOSS out there and very few students take the time to do R&D on new
things. The college can use the event to have any internal software
projects started on FOSS platforms and become part of FOSS community
(if not already).

b. Possible internships at any of the FOSS co-ops or companies which
use FOSS. While Kerala itself has positive policies on FOSS, many
co-ops and companies in Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore and even Delhi, Dehra
Dun etc. have been using it. So there is opportunity to network with
such companies as well.

c. If you are able to sponsor one or two DD's from west, it is/might
be possible to network with educational institutions like Stanford and
others where 'free software' has some of their biggest supporters
apart from possible tie-ups for some projects/sub-projects.

d. Also, as Praveen would be there you could have GSOC and other SOC
like events preparation as well.

This is one which could use more participation from colleges and would
be good for all-round development of GNU/Linux :-


There is also OPW and GSOC which you might be familiar as well.

e. The event is not supposed to be one-off. The best would be to have
Praveen (who is locally available there) and others to have 1-2
sessions in a week or bi-weekly or something so there is a set of
volunteers who understand both the nuances of 'FOSS philosophy' as
well as have some idea of say installing a GNU/Linux distribution, in
this case Debian. There is of course much more they can delve in but
it all is about your own drive as well.

The above are all opportunities, how much the college/institute is
able to take from the event and after is upto the students themselves.

> We now have an all clear from the college to go ahead and organize this
> event. What I need to know now is that how many speakers can we expect(from
> the debian community) ? Can those interested please reply in this thread ?
> We are expecting around 300 participants for the event. Can someone, who
> has been to previous debconf's tell if the estimate for the number of
> participants is realistic or off the mark ?

I could chime in, although need to know about the weather there would be.
As far as minidebconf is concerned, 300 is okish. We had larger and
thinner crowds,
it would depend on the speakers and their interaction with students.

We had events where even after the 2nd day, there was an unofficial
3rd or 4th day because students liked something or the other and some
people stayed back and things like that.

> Finally, we need to chalk down an agenda for the event. That would be
> possible once we have an idea of the speaker(s) and the various
> topics/events that they plan to hold. It'd be nice if we were guided in
> setting up the funnel for the event, where the proposed talks can be voted
> up.

The way the proposed talks be voted up or down should be students
themselves, so there could be some attempts at understanding interest.
Although it's not perfect as if somebody proposes to talk of a new
project or something people might not know about it and an opportunity
might be lost. But still it's better than nothing.

> In a FOSS event, I hope it won't be an issue if we collect entry fees,
> which would be nominal, if at all we do collect it. After all, we need to
> help ourselves with funding if required. Please do let me know if doing
> that is okay. We'd also be starting our calls for sponsorship very soon.
> Again, if anyone is interested or can help in arranging something in this
> regard. Please feel free to drop me a mail anytime.

AFAIK it's a misnomer/myth that FOSS is against commercialization.
Whether you call it 'Free software' or 'Open Source' almost everybody
(including RMS have shared they want free software to be sustainable).
So as far as the source is open and inclusive of people I don't think
you need to worry about entry fees.

What would be a good thing is if the college donates part of the
proceeds to some projects, for e.g. getting diaspora in debian or the
gooseberry project. There are many more but you get the point.


> It'd be really helpful if we could find more volunteers for the event. If
> you're interested, please add your name in the Wiki-page for the event [1]
> Thanking You,
> [1] https://wiki.debian.org/DebianIndia/MiniDebConf2014/Kollam
> Warm Regards.
> R.Harish Navnit
> The Enigma <http://harishnavnit.wordpress.com>

Looking forward to other people's responses.
          Shirish Agarwal  शिरीष अग्रवाल
  My quotes in this email licensed under CC 3.0
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