So, four of us – Jatin, Megha, Me and Siddharth were selected as Sun OSUM leaders for the college, and Software Freedom Day 2009 was the first experience for our team.
What an event it was! People were gathered outside the auditorium around 15 minutes before the scheduled program start. We were really excited by the turnout and equally nervous if we're going to meet their expectations. As planned, the library auditorium was opened at 9 AM and the registrations began. I had setup an online website for information about the event and online registrations. The participants who had registered online got an OpenSolaris CD and lots of people also registered on the spot.
Overwhelmed by the reponse, I tried to calm down but the projector just didn't want that to happen, failing in every attempt. But, eventually it worked fine.
So, the hall was full, the stage set, and all the attendees were in high spirits. Megha gave the welcome note followed by Jatin with his session on Introduction to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and Sun's role in it, which he really explained very well.
We followed this by a video made by RedHat called “Truth Happens” which aims to showcase the fact that everytime something new is started, its ignored, ridiculed at first, but eventually it succeeds.
Then came my turn which was on the philosophy and definition of Free Software alongwith general information which was necessary for people to understand the spirit of Free Software.
Following this was Megha who gave a talk on the various features of OpenOffice.org, the free and open productivity suite. She explained the advantages of the software and the reasons why one should use it instead of proprietary applications.
We really wanted the audience to both enjoy and learn at the same time, and so there was one thing which could not be left out – Big Buck Bunny which is an Open Movie (that is the movie development files are Open, so anyone can edit the original) and is made completly using FOSS tools. It is one of the the best examples of a powerful FOSS tool and also entertaining for people. People just couldn't stop laughing during the video.
Now it was time to show people something cool, something they had never seen or imagined, Compiz Fusion on Ubuntu. I showed almost all the effects – the ones which are just fun and ones which are very useful, and no doubt the audience was amazed. As I was giving the sessions on my notebook running the K Desktop Environment, I used all the features in the process so that people would notice them.
In between all this, Saket kept asking questions about Firefox and the right answers were rewarded by Firefox goodies like badges, wrist bands, stickers etc.
After this Sujith talked about the general stuff to get the people to better know about why Free Software exists and whats the importance. The audience was active and participated in the discussion.
But, unfortunately we were allocated very less time by the library auditorium authorities so we hurried down with the VirtualBox and OpenSolaris session showing how it can run multiple OSes at the same time. I showed the basic OpenSolaris desktop and how Windows could be running in another window under VirtualBox at the same time.
After this, Siddharth talked about the various features of NetBeans IDE and its history so that people would be comfortable with the workshop. We also told the people about our goup at Sun OSUM and the BMSLUG and gave them links to join. The response has been good with many people joining them.
Everyone was feeling hungry at this point and so it was time for lunch. The lunch was served at the Multi Purpose Hall in association with the BMSET Hostels Mess. The food was good and people enjoyed it. Thanks to Jatin's hard work.
Now it was time for the workshop. We had installed NetBeans in only one part of the lab and due to time constraints (we had internals just 2 days back) we thought It'd be nice if we could allow the participants to install NetBeans themselves. But, opposed to what was notified by the network administrator, we got to know on the day that the LAN was not configured on any machine, and we just couldn't set it up in the timeframe. So, we decided to use the inner lab's computers and gave our laptops for the participants to work on. After all this, fun started and there was lots of learning. We gave the participants puzzles and challenges to solve which many of them solved successfully and some won small prizes.
So, on the whole it was a fantastic day and we had loads of fun. Thanks to all who volunteered and made the event a success.
Again with the same enthusiasm, looking forward to the next event..