Finally managed to find most of the important articles / blog posts:
Could not find any background about the FOSSEE labs @ IITB - anyone has a timeline / blog pls post.
There are 5 main threads:
1. FOSS in Kerala
2. Linux Distribution by PCQuest
4. NRCFOSS in TN
5. Events: Linux Bangalore / FOSS.IN / Open Source India Days
Btw if anyone has links / blogs on the ground reality of FOSS implementation of IT@School in Kerala, please post.
I am working on an article to map the FOSS landscape in India. I spent some time going through archives of the various groups / Wikipedia pages and websites. What I see is a fragmented group of individual enthusiasts and contributors, either working individually or in companies that support / use FOSS and of course having a lot of flame wars. The Linux Archives India have a tag line "All The Dirty Laundry Unfit to Wash in Public"
From what I gather, the PC magazines of the mid-90s were critical in getting FOSS (via Linux) in India and there were a few mailing lists that cropped up in the late 90s (the earliest archives I found are from 98. This list itself was formed in 2001). I guess there were some fights about naming (who owns ILUG v/s Bharat LUG etc) and the mailing lists were mostly about sharing tips regarding installation, drivers and networking troubleshooting.
In Chennai CDAC was established in 1998 and they started promoting FOSS in local universities and then branched off into NRCFOSS and launched the Bharat Operating System (BOSS) in 2007 (anyone using it??) that had built in localisation for Indian Languages. These days NRCFOSS is supposed to be working on a “SAAS based delivery stack for cloud computing” but can’t find any evidence of it. (Your tax payer money!!)
In Bangalore, the community was driven by the very inspirational Atul Chitnis and Kenneth Gonsalves who got some “movement” going on with the FOSS.IN events (from 2001 to 2004) which I have heard (second hand) that were instrumental in introducing FOSS to a large number of people. I also heard they had an ugly spat. Bangalore is also home to VTiger CRM, a popular Open Source project (or is it Chennai? I heard it was run by the Zoho group, can anyone confirm?)
State of Kerala (where A is for Activism) has been on the forefront of FOSS implementation (atleast in the PR) and the state legislature has also moved to get FOSS implemented in government. As per Wikipedia FSF India was established in Kerala in 2001 and the movement is largely led by Satish Babu who is the director of ICFOSS. They seem to be the most progressive in terms of FOSS implementation and there are a lot of News Items on how they have successfully used FOSS in many Gov activities (power to them!). (Interestingly the ICFOSS website has a “Director” menu link instead of “About Us” as if the Director and the organization are the same thing!). Kerala is also the home to the formerly open source Fedena school ERP project, which is un updated in a while and and I think its not open anymore.
In Mumbai we have Nagarjuna from Homi Bhabha who runs the Gnowledge Lab from 2007 (still can’t figure how its different from a wiki!) and has also been active in promoting One Laptop Per Child and other FOSS projects in India. Also in Mumbai is the very inspirational Krishnakant Mane who runs the GNU Khata project in IIT Mumbai (funded by ICFOSS?). Did not find any post on the history of GNU Khata but the mailing list is since 2009, so I assume it has been around since 2006-7? Ironically Mumbai is the only city that has some “projects” (in Mumbai, we do, we don’t talk) including our ERPNext (sorry for the plug) which was started in 2006 but the repo is from around 2008.
Speaking of Projects, the NRCFOSS website has a number of projects listed, but like spent tax payer money it seems to be hard to find any public repository or mailing list for any of them.
Also sometime, I am guessing since Facebook and mobile explosion (2007), the focus has moved from Linux to a more broader (and some might say evil) “Open Source” - note the renaming of popular blogs and events (Linux Asia is now Open Source India, Linuxforu is now Opensourceforu) and focus has now “shifted” to cloud based technologies like “OpenShift” and also there has been some movement in the Android space (Aakash tablet, again anyone seen the repos?). Also the “free thinking” community has also moved to other technologies like Python which have a reasonable community and some traction in the universities (SciPy).
I am not covering the commercial space yet. The Open Source India (OSI Days) event is happening this weekend in Bangalore and I am not sure if they even bother to post on these lists. Wipro has pledged to staff its Open Source Unit to 10,000 (yay!). And not to mention the hundreds or may be thousands of Open Source development shops that have sprung up all over India (esp in Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad) servicing Open Source projects on Elance and similar and mostly doing HTML / CSS / PHP based customization. The poor guys who don’t get respect for their taste but still manage serve many small businesses and keep the world moving.
In terms of contributors, I see some really brilliant individual contributors to various projects, many of whom have now moved to the west but their names still crop up in mailing list archives. There is a FOSS Community of India page on the wikia site that has a “hall of fame” section which is sadly unmaintained but has a list of many individual contributors (and probably some of them are spammed or self-promoted)
I guess this mail itself has become the article - I am sure I have missed a whole bunch of important stuff so please send your comments and thoughts. (specially the old timers!)
This is an invitation to the FOSS workshop on 23 November 2014 (Sunday) at
Adarsh Vidyalaya organised by Kerala People's Education Society (KPES) and
Free Software Movement Maharashtra (FSMM).
If you are planning to participate then please do RSVP either +91
9920028691 or +91 9960844421. Admission free but seats limited to the
number of systems in the lab.
The schedule is below. Do forward this to anybody whom you feel will
benefit from this session.
1. Introduction to free software philosophy
10.30 am to 11.00 am
2. Educational FOSS tools for schools
11.00 am to 1.00 pm
3. Lunch Break
1.00 pm to 2.00 pm
4 .Games on GNU/Linux
2.00 pm to 3.00 pm
5 GNU Linux users’ Group (GLUG) formation
3.00 pm to 3.30 pm
I guess we are quite keen on engaging with the local community. We have
been conducting rather well attended annual workshops (roughly 50
participants) in the hope of fostering engagements with the community at
large. However, our experience has been that it is difficult to build a
sustainable engagement because it requires a very specific background
and the overheads of background building could be high. We have tried to
engage the external student community for their B.E. projects but by the
time they build the background to be productive, it's almost the time
for them to graduate and then the continuity of the project suffers.
All this has forced me to restrict the explorations and give up on the
ambition of taking the ideas to their logical conclusion in the form of
submitting code patches to GCC. The problem is that in the kind of
explorations we want to do, even an adhoc code for experimentation comes
late in the picture and a sensible publicly shareable (and
understandable) code comes much much later. So I have no clue how to
engage with people who can work on this only part time with most of
their time and energy being taken away by their day job which cannot be
compromised because paapee pet kaa sawaal hai :-)
In any case, I will be happy to give talks and should be able to pitch
it at different levels depending upon the interest and the background of
the audience. I would be happy if this could lead to a long term
association. If there is a reasonable number of people who wish to
explore the option of engaging with us, I will be happy to host the
talks at IIT Bombay (and they could well be on a Saturday or a Sunday).
My Ph.D. students would be happy to showcase what they are doing
although I am afraid there is nothing that would look entertaining
unless one is curious about the behind-the-scene activities of how
programs are made to work :-)
Thanks and regards,
Dr. Uday Khedker
Department of Computer Science & Engg.
IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai 400 076, India.
Email : uday(a)cse.iitb.ac.in
Office - 91 (22) 2572 2545 x 7717, 91 (22) 2576 7717 (Direct)
Res. - 91 (22) 2572 2545 x 8717, 91 (22) 2576 8717 (Direct)
On Sunday 09 November 2014 10:30 AM, Rushabh Mehta wrote:
> It seems that the IITs do not seem keen on engaging the local community
> in these projects. Some ideas that cross my mind are hosting events,
> talks on all the different projects for all categories (beginners /
> intermediate / advanced) on a regular basis. Also it might be a good
> idea to host all projects on GitHub / similar so that people can quickly
> find out what is really happening. (The first things I want to see in a
> FOSS project is the Issue list/ mailing list and Commit Log!) …. I am
> sure the increased transparency would help the project too… I think this
> could be a great opportunity to seed a FOSS community here in Mumbai
> (results may come later)…
A full day workshop on various FOSS technologies is being conducted for
newbies by Free Software Movement Maharashtra along with Kerala People’s
Education Society’s( KPES) at Adarsh Vidyalaya at Chembur on 23 November
Of this there will be a one hour session on localisation in Hindi, Marathi
and Malayalam from 2-3pm. Please send me an email off-list if you can help
lead this session. Thanks
i need a specialized gnu/linux distribution for a non-commercial project.
distribution characteristics are roughly summarized at;
anyone out here capable and willing enough to work under the guidance of
highly experienced mentors (not just me) should contact me off-list.
candidates will be interviewed and tested hands-on before being selected.
this will be paid work.