Hack Fest at Avalanche 2010

I still remember the day when I entered into the hall where hackfest was going to happen in at Genesis 2007. Just like everybody else I though they'll teach how to intrude into others' systems and do other crazy stuff. Little did I realize that it was a day when I was going to change; my way of computing was going to change.

(Here, the word hack will be used as per defined here)


Santosh, Madhusudan (I think even Krishna was there) were the people who were conducting the event and there was a session on svn, python and some other stuff I don't remember. Then, in the lab, I was puzzled from the Fedora system they had put on it, and they told us to fix some bugs in GNOME games etc. They were least prepared for my innocent question – “Where is the C: drive?” ;)

Now I look at myself and I see, wow I really know where it is, its in /media/sda1 (for me, that is). But there people who don't. So, Its my turn now, to tell people how beautiful code is, how nice software is and what they can probably do with it. And so, my friends at the ISE department asked me to join them for a introduction session/workshop for the Hack Fest event at Avalanche 2010 – the cluster fest organized by the department of Computer Science and Information Science of BMSCE.

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It wasn't easy I must say, for Sudhendu and Saket to install Ubuntu on the lab computers, but I was amazed to see the support and encouragement from the ISE lab administrators. In 2 days Sudhendu and Saket compiled Qt 4.6.2 on around 20 systems and we were ready to go. I thought that telling people how to hack on simple code like Qt examples was a good start for them.
Suddenly we felt that we won't be able to do this alone, and asked my very good friend and Plasma buddy Sujith H to come and help us with the event. He was in bad health a day before the event, but he's a person of deep commitement and he came despite being unwell. People wonder what it is, and its exactly this passion and love for people and software that keeps FOSS going.

We were amazed by the response people gave to the event. There were around 150 registrations for the event, way more than we could accomodate in the lab. The only option we were left was do it selectively – we planned a seminar in the hall telling them how to hack on basic things and essential GNU/Linux tools. Followed by this we had kind of a test in which the top 36 scorers were invited to the lab for the workshop.

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I must admit I had underestimated people who had come, and it was so nice to see so much enthusiasm among them. After telling them basic commands and how to compile the Qt examples, we gave them simple bugs to fix in the examples. The added competitive point was that the person doing it faster will get more points and we kept track of that. On an average, around 70% of the people completed the problem without any hint :) . For those who couldn't figure it out, Sujith and Sinny cleared their doubts and helped them.

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Here are the examples we took-

Qt Kinetic Animated Tiles
Qt Fancy Browser Demo (2 nos)

It was nice, it was relieving to know that everyone's hard work paid off. It was a bit unfortunate for Sudhendu who worked so hard for the event and was caught up in some mess at the time we were all having a great time. He couldn't be there to see the fruits of his hard work, but yes – we got what our aim was. People were happy, they were convinced that code isn't just boring lab programs – It can be fun too !

In the end we had Sandeep Samdaria as our winner and Santosh and Rishabh as runner ups. All three of them got KDE sweatshirts after a indulging talk on Reverse Engineering by Sujith and was again able to catch the people's breath.

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All things come to and end, so did the hack fest, but I hope it will be a new beginning for someone just as it was for me in 2007. All is K !!

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4 thoughts on “Hack Fest at Avalanche 2010

  1. Hey must say nice descp boy..!!

    But as much i remember it was more than 70% of the ppl responding and fixing the bugs 🙂

    Had a great experience of organizing with you and sudhendu.

    Our hard work paid off.. 🙂

    Like

  2. Really nice report Shantanu. Hats off. Again you guys really catch good bugs and spent lot of time in KDE and Qt. Nice. I am also loving the way you are shaping Sudhendu. He is an awesome chap. Altogether I enjoyed my moments there. Keep rocking and make others rock with the same resonance 😛

    Like

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