Men in black-and-white. Thank god my lips aren’t yellow! Fedora on his headgear, Ubuntu in my back-pack. The red mark on my forehead is a ’tilak’, applied by my hosts during the traditional welcome they extended to me to their campus. The plaster of paris Tux is made by Rahul Motiyar waddled in at both my talks, and just sat there mute, staring at everybody. Rahul is natively from a family of designers and skilled carpenters, and worked with open source hardware and design for multitouch systems with Anirudh Sharma and friends. Rahul’s now selected for an Interaction Design course (M.Des) at IDC, IIT Bombay.
I got Invited to deliver talks at Rajasthan’s largest and most prestigious engineering college which is spread across 337 acres: the Engineering College of Bikaner (ECB) http://www.ecb.ac.in/.
ECB has around 6,000 students enrolled on its campus, out of which around 2,500 alone are in IT and Computer Science courses.
Delivered two talks on Linux and Free & Open Source Software (FOSS): ‘How to Avoid the Axe Effect’; and ‘How to Make a Dent in the Universe’. The talks were delivered at the ‘FOSS GN09 event’ which was cleverly dove-tailed with the college’s yearly techfest mega-event, called ‘Sakshama’. An ancient Sanskrit word, ‘Sakshama’ means ‘skilled; competent; adept’. The 2009 incarnation of the event, held from 28th to 31st October, was called ‘Sakshama GN09’, to highlight ‘Generation Next’. http://www.sakshama.org.
And what a Generation Next! They also sought my help and mentoring in launching their own on-campus Linux Users Group (LUG), http://www.lugb.in. Am quite impressed with their active mailing-lists and outreach activities. These guys and gals are rocking! Together with its founders, we launched LUG-Bikaner at the ‘Sakshama GN09’ event-night, on an outdoor stage in front of an audience of over 2,500.
ECB has around 1,200 computers on-campus, and with the personal laptops and desktops of students, totals at around 4,000 PCs. Till date, LUG-Bikaner has migrated over 500 computers to Linux, and still counting. Plus, they also reach out to other colleges and institutions within Rajasthan to spread the awareness of this ‘muft and mukt’ vision of computing. After all, who can understand freedom better than the royal state of Rajasthan in India?