FOSS has been the mantra.
Whilst a lot of emphasis was laid on the inclusion of FOSS into Academia and Research. An evident lag did surface up in the audience present at the National Convention for Academics and Research in FOSS, Hyderabad-2010. The important aspect intended by the Convention was not to empower the audience in FOSS, which is unlikely to be accomplished within a couple of days, but to instill the idea of enabling themselves to pursue and propagate FOSS.
This being the primary objective of the Convention, numerous talks and discussions were organized by Free Software Movement-India, hosted by Swecha.
After having missed the first day of the Convention, which had the highlight inaugural speech by the Former President of India, the charismatic Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, I had to rely on everbody else's reactions to know that day's proceedings.
When inquired about Dr.Kalam's views, I realized that his talk had created a wave of euphoria amongst the Free and Open Source enthusiasts, as he had endorsed the views of going Open Source, while insisting the adpotion of FOSS in India. But, his stand on Intellectual Property Rights and Patents, seemed to contradicit his recent views presented in an appearance at the Private company which employs me. This did come as a surprise that his stand has been this volatile. Nevertheless, his stature and the support to FOSS he rendered defintiely adds value to the Free Software Movement.
The usual dilemma of the parallel sessions in Conventions, yet again haunted me. As a result, I was able to attend only half the number of sessions which were arranged.
Talking about the sessions, the first session I could participate in was about GNU's statistical plotter simply called 'R' and its rich feature and application set. I might be able to include it in some of the prospective work I would be doing,and the session did give me some idea of using it. Another tool, which I got acquainted to was GRDSS based on GRASS, now maintained by IISc. This is another tool which I have been looking for. Now that the maintainers are at IISc, I am hoping for some breakthroughs with my work related to Image Processing.
One of the best sessions organized was about "FOSS in Teaching", which emphasized on the disconnect between Academia and Industry. Four speakers tackled this topic in different perspectives, ultimately emphasizing on the role and responsibility of FOSS in Teaching, and FOSS teaching in itself.
Later, the end of the second day witnessed a conforming panel discussion, which strongly brainstormed on the ways and methods through which FOSS can be spread, more so, converging to the points I had made in the minDebConf : Deficits of Propagation, Percolation and Perpetuation of Free and Open Source Software. A correlation to Indian culture which has been emphasizing on the principle of 'Sharing and Growing' was accentuated, relating it to the driving motto of the Free Software Movement.
On the third and final day of the Convention, I took part in three excellent sessions.
First session was about Contributing to FOSS. The speakers outlined the role of Consumer-producer model in the FOSS. Tools like 'git'and other basics were presented. 'git' did give the audience an idea into version controls of packages and contribution mechanism.
Second session was the crucial one: Open Standard Policy and e-Governance. This session had speakers from the National Informatics Centre, and other board members on the drafting body of the Open Standards Policy. The policy by itslef was discussed, debated and analyzed. The positive impacts, as well as the uncertainties in the policy were openly debated. Yet, again the unanimous struggle by the FOSS entities across India have accomplished in getting this landmark policy made. Now, it is also our responsibility to see it is well implemented.
Of the technical sessions, personally the best was "Scientific Visualization tools", where the developers of Matplotlib and Mayavi2 demonstrated these amazing tools. This is one other reason, I am convinced that Python is the language I definitely am going to learn. These tools have excellent abilities to facilitate research, and not as a surprise NASA,Indian Meteorlogical Dept use them.
In the end, when all three days are cumulatively analyzed, there were a few usual flaws which are inevitable in any major event. But, ultimately I am left with an increased awe and amplified urge to pursue and propagate more of Free and Open Source Software.