w00t? /me on LJ??!? :O
Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Pradeepto Bhattacharya" journal:
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The Bardoli Incident|
Many of you must have read on various blog posts, Facebook statuses and tweets about the success of recently concluded KDE Meetup at DA-IICT. I could attend on the Day 1 of event and I must it was most definitely fun and inspiring to be there at the event. I saw a young team of volunteers lead by young Yash Shah organise a successful KDE event in a very short period of time. Maybe Yash and his team should blog about how they did it. This post is not about that. Most interesting stories have interesting sub-plots or smaller stories that have to be told as well. This post is about one such small story (pic).
KDE Meetup was organised in the state of Gujarat. The organising team had sent out event notifications to various colleges and universities of Gujarat ( and other states of India ). One such invite reached Bhulabhai Vanmalibhai Patel Institute of Business Management, Computer & Information Technology a constituent of Uka Tarsadia University, Bardoli. Bardoli is a small municipality in Surat region. A group of 50 students from this college had registered for the meetup. That meant, these 50 students had to travel around 300-400 KMs, an overnight journey to Gandhinagar to attend the event. Reach Gandhinagar early in the morning, freshen up in the hostel/hotel and then run to the venue. And brave those chaps were, they did all that. It was a bit amusing to see a bunch of 50 people in suits ( some kind of college blazer/jacket it seems ) in a FOSS event *.
Day 1 commenced with a introductory talk by student mentor, Professor Muthu and then my talk. Following that, it was all "how to code in Qt / KDE" talks by our own awesome dudes - Vishesh and Shantanu. Those talks were pretty much live coding and explaining how to get started with Qt and KDE development. At 1 PM we broke for lunch for an hour or so. Post lunch we had a group photograph ( a la Akademy style ).
This is the point where, I decided to not attend talks and rather spend time talking to some folks. I wanted to talk to Mitul Maniar, professor from a nearby college who was attending as a delegate. As I sat on one of those benches in the sprawling gardens in the campus and spoke to him about FOSS and related things, I noticed something suspiciously worrying. A big gang of students, standing exactly on the opposite side of the garden near the lecture hall 1, were deep in discussion among themselves. They were not sure what they wanted to do. They were trying to decide on something. All of them wearing the familiar navy blue blazer.
I told Mitul that definitely there was something wrong as they were the only delegates who didn't go back in to the lecture hall to attend the post lunch workshops. I wanted to go upto them and check if everything is alright. But I hesitated and waited for them to make some kind of move. The discussed a bit more and then I saw the big group breaking up in two. The first group started walking away, I thought they were going to the lecture hall. No! They didn't. I was wrong. They were leaving the campus. I decided to ask. By the time I, along with Mitul, reached the big tree in the middle of the garden, most of them had either already left the garden or about to leave.
I stopped Gaurav Prajapati, one of the delegates from that group and asked him whether they are leaving. And why? He said, yes many of of them want to leave because they were not able to understand much during the pre-lunch sessions. I asked them exactly what they didn't understand. Gaurav was joined by another guy, who told me that they are having a very difficult time after the initial introductory bits. I requested Gaurav and his friend to immediately tell his group to stop and talk to me. It took some amount of convincing from my side that I wanted to listen to them and hear them out and their issues. Mitul talked to them in Gujarati as well and told them to wait and listen. Slowly, one by one Gaurav and his friends convinced most of them to come back.
The huge (Neem?) tree was a perfect place to sit and talk. So I sat right there and told them to sit along with me if they are fine with that kind of setting. Luckily most of them were fine with it. So we sat there and started talking. I asked them what happened and why they were leaving. They told me that they were really stressed out and fatigued because of the overnight journey and the amount of new things they heard was just too much information thrown at them in a very short time. They were dejected and had given up all hope to get anything out of this event.
They told me that most of them are doing an Integrated M.Sc. IT course and were in Second year of their course. They also told me that they were new to many concepts that was told to them during the talks. They knew about "Open Source" (which is a subject in their course) and knew what FSF was. I asked them if they use Linux, most of them said yes, at least in college. Some used it even on their personal laptops. I asked them if they know or have used GCC, surprisingly every one did. How about Vi/Vim? Everybody raised hands. One dude in the group said, they have Python in their next semester. I immediately told them that they had pretty much all prerequisites they needed to be in the KDE Meetup and the workshops.
Then they told me that, they have never used KDE SC before and weren't sure what was happening. I asked them why didn't ask questions. Then came and amazingly interesting answer. One of them told me that they were scared to ask questions ( a standard Indian student thing, imo ), and they were more scared about asking them in English. They said, they understood English fine but were just scared when it came to asking a question when surrounded by 320 other people. Funny, how that resonated so well in my mind. I immediately told them, that is hardly a worry. When I was in school in Panvel, I was shit scared to talk to people in English especially when I used to go to Mumbai for college/classes. I remember writing my questions before hand, modifying them to fix grammar etc and then finally raising my hand to ask the question. FWIW, I know, somewhere deep in my heart, I am still scared to speak in English. I know, I have made a lot of grammatical mistakes in this post and the previous ones.
I spoke to them for almost 2 hours. Told them what KDE and KDE SC was. I told them what we do. I told them the benefits of contributing to KDE Project or to any FOSS project. Tried to tell them how that makes a difference to them and their lives. How it helps in their career? Told them not to run away and give up. Tried to convince them to stick around. I requested Yash to arrange a special workshop on the next day for all the 50 delegates. Yash was kind enough to organise it. We roped in ex-GoC students Sinny Kumari, Aditya Bhatt, Yash Shah, Jigar Raisinghani to conduct a workshop. The agenda was set. Show them what KDE SC is. Demo a few KDE applications. Then show them how to write those applications. Also the most important bit was to make sure the workshop was conducted in both English with splattering of Hindi and Gujarati so that they would be comfortable. All of them readily agreed. We told the delegates the time and place for their special workshop.
I left the event that very night. Next day from Pune, I remotely followed their workshop (pic) over IM messages with Jigar and Yash. Did a quick Google Hangout with them ( thanks Yash ). I couldn't believe what I saw. I remembered the dejected eyes and droopy shoulders from the day before. All of them were smiling now. They were enjoying their special workshop. KDE SC and KDE Edu was demoed to them. They clapped when saw Simon at work. They were a happy bunch. They even fixed Qt related mistakes that Aditya did at the end of the workshop. They asked questions about their doubts. Epic! Interestingly, they finished their workshop in two hours ( 2 hours less than the first workshop on Day 1 conduced for the rest of the delegates ). Post lunch they attended the regular workshops with the rest of the delegates.
Before leaving, the Bardoli Gang, as we now call them, thanked all the volunteers. In their own words - "We want you to come to our college and organise KDE Meetup there too.”. Another quote as Yash remembers, "agar hum koi dusre workshop mein hote toh chale bhi gaye hote aur hume kisi ne roka bhi nai hota" ( translates to - "if we would had gone to some other workshop, we would have left. Mostly nobody would have stopped us" ). To quote Devaja Shah ( a regular dot writer now and event volunteer ) - "Words can’t describe their enthusiasm and eagerness and our joy and happiness. The sole aim of the KDE community was met - everyone is a part of our community and we do our best to help them."
Personally, for me, I am happy that this event was a success. One of the metrics for success would be when we see contributors coming out of this event. I am already getting reports that people are hanging around on #kde-in and looking out for Junior Jobs to get their feet wet. We already have Devaja Shah and Kesha Shah who plan to actively contribute to Dot. I had told the Bardoli gang, please hear me out, I don't want them to leave. You have come a long way to attend this event. You have even paid for it. Hear me out. Then decide if you still don't want to stay here. If you leave, I would consider this as my personal defeat. I am super glad that they stayed and will stay. I am very happy and satisfied about this, more so than any other achievement I have had since my association with the KDE Project. KDE, the community is the most friendly community I know of, it always welcomes newbies with open hearts. Glad that I didn't fail.
What I like most about this incident is that it associated with a place which has huge significance in Indian Independence. The Bardoli Satyagraha. Do read about it.
Thank you all those who attend the event. Thank you Vishesh, Shantanu, Rishabh, Sinny, Jigar, Rohan, Aditya. Thank you Professor Mutthu. Thanks Mitul for standing by me during those two hours and translating in Gujarati when required :). Organisers/Volunteers you have probably read my email. I shouldn't forget to thank our awesome sponsors - SaniSoft, VCreateLogic and ThoughtWorks. Thank you Devaja, for helping me write this post. Thank you Smit Shah for pestering me daily to write a blog post :).
Trivia : Only other person wearing a blazer was the event lead - Yash Shah :P.
Update : Since it is a rocket science to embed photos in LJ. I am just including the whole set from Sinny Kumari. Here you go.
Tags: event, gujarat, india, kde, kde-india, kde-meetup
The KDE Project - A project of the community, by the community, for the community.|
Many years, yes years have passed since I last wrote on this space. Life took a small wrong turn when I stopped writing and never got back to it. Since then, life took many many good turns but still I never got back to writing. Today, on the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi it seemed like it was a good day to be get back to something I really like to do.
In last three years, I haven't been involved in much code contribution to the KDE project but I did my little bit with community work. Went to many colleges and various events to speak about Qt and KDE development. Organised conf.kde.in, the first Indian KDE ( and Qt ) conference in Bangalore in March 2011. Moved to a new city (Pune). Started writing code in a different language(s). Got elected as a KDE e.V. Board of Director. Each has a different story and maybe will have a blog post of it's own. This post is about another story, far more important than the above stories.
The story of KDE project. A project that was born out of a wonderful vision of a student back in 1996. This baby grew up in a one of the most successful and mature Open Source projects in history. With a history longer than decade and half, this teenager project created, innovated, lead from the front and succeeded in spite of all odds.
The KDE culture is manifold. It is about being beautiful. It is about being thrilling. It is about having fun. It is about being friendly. It is about innovation. It is about hacking and push the limits. Our culture is best experienced when you are at one of the community conferences (Akademy) meetings or sprints. Sprints are an important part of our proud KDE culture. At any given time, we have more than one sprint lined up. Contributors and collaborators come up with ideas and projects to work on at these sprints and get things done.
One of our most successful sprint is the Randa Meeting. You have probably read all about it and they have said it much better than I can ever say in this life or the next (if there is one). But I will try. Randa meeting is about getting a bunch of KDE contributors ( developers, artists, bug squad members and anyone who wishes to contribute at one place. One. Beautiful. Place. These contributors come together and work on their ideas forgetting pretty much all other worries of life. They don't have to go looking for food, water, beer or orange juice (if you prefer ). Every thing is taken care of by our own KDE hero, Mario Fux and his awesome family/team.
Imagine this! You are surrounded by snow capped mountains, beautiful greenery, lovely village and streams. And Internet! All you have to do is brain storm your pet idea, hack on your pet project, collaborate with your project members. No need to worry about somebody knocking on the door or pesky neighbour (in case you have one) bothering you for some mundane thing. No need to worry about cooking your meal or wondering if your favourite takeout place is still open late at night. No hostel roommate to tell you to turn off the light because you are hacking late in the night. Bliss! Heaven! Exactly, that is what happens at Randa Meetings!
This year at Randa Meeting, 35 contributors from Accessibility, Education, Plasma Workspaces, Multimedia and Amarok teams will come together under one roof to take their projects to new awesomeness! All this effort by the contributors, by Mario and his awesome team is make KDE software more awesome, more user friendly, less buggy, add more helpful features and applications so that our users get to experience a quality product. Why? Because we care! We care about our users, our community at large!
An obvious consequence of such all important regular sprints is that we have to find a way to fund them. We have been luck to have sponsors, generous patrons and awesome supporting members to have donated cash and kind to our cause. But with rising costs and sprints becoming larger and more in number, we need new ways to sustain. Mario and others came up with a pledgie fund drive to support Randa Meeting 2012 to raise 10,000 Euros. The fund raiser ends two days from now, on 21st September 2012. We are still short by little over 2,000 Euros.
I believe in Randa Meeting! I believe in KDE contributors! I believe in KDE! I believe in Free and Open Source Software. I made a little donation ( as much as I could with my limited means ). Now it is *your* turn.
Please donate if you can! You can make a difference. Every donation counts. Help us make KDE more awesome! Thank you! You rock!
Tags: hackathon, kde, pledgie, randa meeting, sprint
Dil Maange More.|
The month of February was an eventful one. I represented KDE at four different foss events in India. Four events in four different cities in 4 different states :). First event one was Mukti '09 at National Institute of Technology, Durgapur. Second was Gnunify '09 at Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research. Pune. Third event was at Magnum Opus, Banaras Hindu University Institute of Technology, Varansi. Finally, one of my yearly pilgrimages, FOSSMeet'09 at National Institute of Technology, Calicut.
I had an very interesting time at each of the event and each deserves a separate blog post. Made many new friends and many new contacts. I am still in touch with many of them and its really cool to see so many new faces getting into Qt/KDE contribution.
My favourite dude currently is Shantanu Jha. Met this dude at FOSS.IN/2008, one of my regular and yearly FOSS pilgrimages :). Yes, Atul, I know, I have to write that report :). Anyway, so this dude attended the KDE Project of the Day at FOSS.IN/2008 and all the KDE talks. Volunteered along with his college gang at the KDE booth and helped us a lot during those five days of FOSS.IN ( and before/after the event ). So he attended the talks, got interested, spoke to the speakers. Then went back home, started poking with the code, and asked questions on the lists when he had doubts and started fixing bugs and sending patches.
Some days back he wrote me an email telling me about what he has been upto since FOSS.IN/2008 and how excited he is that Aaron accepted his patches. So I told his mentor friends and BMS college seniors Madhusudhan, Santhosh and Krishna to bring him along to FOSSMeet, Calicut. I was going to do a Qt/KDE development workshop for beginners. Asked him to join me as "TA" :P. And boy! he did an awesome job. He took a very interesting session on RAD with Qt Designer. It was fun meeting the whole BMS college gang again.
Now all that is over. New things to look forward to.
For starters, I am sure most of us know that Akademy will be held at Gran Canaria this time as a part of larger event Gran Canaria Desktop Summit.
The Call for Papers went public couple of days back. Read this news on the dot. So what are you waiting for? Go submit your talk. You can even submit a technical paper if you wish to do so. :)
Current Location: New Panvel
Tags: akademy, call for papers, contributor, kde, shaan
On my way to ....|
... Kharagpur for a few days. Writing this blog sitting inside a train. The train is Bombay-Howrah ( Kolkata ) Sunday Superfast train, a weekly service since a year or so and most importantly reaches Kharagpur around 17:30, which is much better than any/most of the other trains going to Kharagpur / Howrah.
Also trying to get kdepim-e4 built on this box as I munch on some snacks. Yay! for Indian Rail for providing us with power sockets for each seat cubicle. I am carrying my own internet and hope it works for most of the route ;).
Current Location: Train
Tags: bombay, howrah, in-laws, indian railways, kdepim, kharagpur, power sockets, sunday special superfast train, train
The Making of " We Are KDE".|
Some of you might have already seen the video of "We are KDE" song. But here is the inside story behind the song.
So we ( folks from the KDE-India group ) were working really hard to make sure that KDE has a blast at this wonderful conference called FOSS.IN/2008. One of things we worked on were the "KDE Handbook"
Here is the "His Highness Geek God and Mighty Blogger" Gopal V endorsing the brochure/handbook. More about the handbook later.
But for now, you must know that the the layout and design of this brochure was done by a dude called Lakshya Shrivastava ( Lexi ). Over a period of time, I was interacting with him on daily basis over IM and phone with regards to the brochure. One fine day, I came to know that he is an painter and amateur musician as well. I saw photos of his painting and even heard him sing and play guitar. Then one day, when he was almost done with designing the brochure, I generally asked him, if he could write song. He said, he hasn't done that before but can try. I also contacted our dear Summer Of Code ( Marble ) candidate Shashank Singh ( shanky ), who is btw, Lakshya's classmate and of course the one who got us introduced in first place and told him about this idea. Shanky loved the idea and told me something that made me even more enthusiastic about the idea. Apparently, his childhood friend Lokesh Gupta ( Loki ), magically knew to play a guitar as well. Shanky wrote the first email to all of us concerned with the subject "Lets Rock FOSS.IN ... literally". So we had two guitarists, one dude doing the vocals and a possible song :)
So Shanky, Lexi, Loki, Sharan and myself got together on irc and fleshed out what we could do. Problem we faced was, Lexi and Loki were more or less KDE agnostic. But thankfully by then we had our handbook ready, so we told Loki to read up the booklet and Lexi found it amusing that he has to read up the handbook he designed ;). Shanky, Sharan and me tried to explain them a few KDE points that we could stress on. Free Software, Freedom, Pillars of KDE and such was some of the things we decided upon.
We signed off that night with Lexi promising to deliver the first draft soon. The dude did all nighter, not only wrote the song but also put the lyrics to a nice tune. Sang it, and sent it across to us. Next few days, the song went back and forth between all of us, trying to polish as much as our amateur musician brains could. We kept a complete "Radio Silence" about the whole sub-project ;).
We had some glitches, one of them being Lexi told us that he won't be able to make it to FOSS.IN/2008 which was unfortunate. I must have had hours of discussions with him over im/phone, trying to get him to FOSS.IN/2008, but in vain. Anyway, we realised that we have lost our vocalist. But kudos to Shanky and Loki, who took it upon themselves and practiced themselves from then.
So, once the conference started, I revealed the idea to Ade and Piyush on day 2 of the conference. On day 2 evenning, after dinner, all the KDE speakers ( Ade, Shanky, Piyush, Sharan, Me ) met up at the hotel. We were joined by Loki and his friend Kingshuk. At the hotel lobby/atrium, we made ourselves comfortable on the nice big couches and started our first and only group practice session. Our hotel roommate Ajay Kumar of Sahana fame also joined us. Together we blazed away to glory.
First it was Shanky and Loki, who sang the first version. After which it was Ade and his trust KDE@Solaris laptop all the way. Ade reviewed the lyrics for like 30 minutes or something, suggested some changes and then we started practicing. Ade automagically became our Lead Singer and rest of the wonderful chorus. Some of us even had coffee during practice. Btw, all this was happening in the middle of the night, and a night before our talks. Most of us had 2 talks next day ;)
So as we practiced really hard ;), fellow FOSS devs, ace photographers and all round cool dudes Kushal Das and Sayamindu Dasgupta came downstairs with their photography artillery. I guess we were singing really loudly in the middle of the night and they couldn't sleep ;). Kushal video recorded the practice session and the dude has nicely put together a "collage" of what he recorded. The video ends with a beautiful picture by Sayamindu. Cool stuff!
Here is the Ogg version.
Thanks Lexi, Loki, Shanky, Sharan, Piyush, Ajay. And Adriaan, thank you so much, I knew you as a friend, as a leader, my first ever KDE contact back in early 2005 ( helping me with some pilot-link code ). But now I also know you as a singer ;). Thanks Kushal, Sayamindu for giving us company and capturing the moments of what was truly so much fun. We can cherish memories for a long time thanks to you both.
Current Location: New Panvel
Tags: foss.in, fun, kde, kde song, music, photo, song
Feels as if it just happened...|
...but its been an year exactly. Good fun.
( Thanks to Kevin Ottens for taking countless pictures :)
Current Location: New Panvel
Current Mood: cheerful
Tags: first anniversary, marriage, mousumi, pradeepto, wedding
Indic KDE :)|
This poster show cases all the official Indian languages ( Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali,Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu ) in which KDE is being translated into and has a entry in the KDE localisation website. A heartfelt thanks to all the translators in India and elsewhere who are doing an amazing job.
This poster was done by Kamaleshwar Morjal as well. Thanks dude.
Current Location: New Panvel
Tags: foss.in/2008, indian languages, indic, kde, localisation, translators
"The Pillars - FOSS.IN/2008 Collection"|
The journey to KDE 4 has been a long one, it is still on and has a long way to go. It has come a long way since the last major release KDE 3 on April 3, 2002. This journey involved many contributors - developers, artists, translators, sys-admins, technical writers, marketing dudes, bug-triagers, users and more. Many meetings, many sprints, many commits, many news articles later the KDE community released KDE 4.0 on January 11, 2008.
KDE 4 firmly stands on very strong foundations - Oxygen, Solid, Phonon, Decibel, Akonadi, Nepomuk, Plasma - also known as the "Pillars of KDE". So we ( KDE-India ) proudly present you the "Pillars of KDE" poster collection.
Like last year, these posters has been made by a good friend Kamaleshwar Morjal ( btw he used only inkscape for all his work ). The logos are of course the official logos made by the members of Oxygen and KDE-Artists team. The high resolutions version of the posters can be found on Anurag's Flickr account :). The desktop wallpaper versions will be put up soon.
So did you register for FOSS.IN/2008 yet? It is a wonderful FOSS event and you *got* to be present there to know what it experience it.
Current Location: New Panvel
Tags: foss.in, kde, kde-india, pillars of kde, posters
Wishing everybody a Very Happy and Prosperous Diwali. Bengalis ( and some other communities ) celebrate this day as Kali Puja. Today evening my family will go to the Kali Bari ( Goddess Kali Temple ) in my town, New Panvel, for the Kali Puja rituals.
Yet again, I have not bought a single fire cracker, don't even remember when I did that last. Thankfully, for some reason, this year even others around the place I live have not bought many. Nice to have a beautifully lit but less noisy Diwali for a change :). Have fun!
[Image : Courtesy Wikipedia]
Current Location: Panvel
Tags: happy diwali
"Shubo Bijoya" to one and all. Last 4 days were some fun. This was the first Durga Pujo after my marriage so it was quite interesting. Its like the whole Bengali Community - "Milan Tirtha" - in your locality is watching you or such ;). Too much pressure, I must admit :P. Everybody wants to see the "notun bou" even after 10 months of being "notun" ;). "Sindoor Khela" is quite interesting. For the first time I volunteered to do "pori-beshon", liked it, loved the enthusiasm that surrounds the whole thing. Oh and "Sandhi Pujo" was around mid-night, attended it. Cool thing was a senior police officer attended it as well and he was quite down to earth and humble, sat along with others like a common man, actually refused any special treatment, and during the whole "mangal aarti" he was praying with his eyes closed. He even had gun carrying personal guards.
Mamata Shankar performed here on one of the nights, plus the local artists did their bit. But like previous years, my favorite was the folk songs session by a "baaul" artist. A Kolkata band - "Abriti" also performed.
Planned to do pandal hopping and go atleast to Vashi if not to Dadar and Lokhandwala, but that never happened. Pujo at New Panvel kept me busy. Saw Kidnap one of the days at Kharghar Adlabs, nothing to great about it.
Oh and my sister and my brother in law attended a Durga Pujo some where in New Jersey and she being a big khichudi bhog fan was sort of dazed at pizza being offered as bhog there and not to mention 60 USD being charged for the "Darshan" even. I pray and hope it never comes to this here in India.
Tags: durga puja
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