April 10, 2009

Interactive Fedora Know How Session

Yesterday, 9th April, an interactive session was held at NIT Durgapur. This was planned as a follow up to the previously held install fest and was mainly aimed at making people familiar with the various contributing avenues besides being a problem solving session for the attendees. This was also going to be a first speaking opportunity for two of our junior LUG members. One was Vikas Singh who was supposed to speak about common configurations and package managing using rpm, yum and another was Roshan Singh gave demonstration of IRC and mailing lists.

Publicity was done well. Posters and notices were put up everywhere. Announcements were also made on various mailing lists. This session was going to be similar to the session done by Kushal Das last year when he came to our college along with three other ambassadors from Durgapur.

The session was to start from 6:00 pm and people started arriving. We finally started the session at 6:30 pm. Around 25 people were present there out of which almost 20 were new faces. It was exciting to find so many new people interested in FOSS. The session began with package management. Yum and rpm were demonstrated. Dependencies were explained. Then it came to basic configurations like proxy settings, samba, SELinux etc., which needed to be done to make ones Fedora system universally usable. The various important packages and codec packs were named. Packagekit was also demonstrated. Vikas also did a good job in showing the local language desktop and keyboard layouts.

Roshan was next and and he demonstrated IRC and mailing lists, starting with IRC. Thanks to www.mibbit.com for being there to help us out as IRC client do not work in our college due to firewall. He showed how to join the various channels like #nitdgplug, #dgplug, #fedora-india, #fedora etc on freenode.net. He even pinged Sankarshan da telling him that he was on a big screen in front of future FOSS contributors. Sankarshan da waved at the people. He also demonstrated other stuffs like nick registration, nickserv commands, whois command and etiquette of talking on IRC and mailing lists. Next came the mailing list and people were shown how to join a mailing list. They were also told about the various mailing lists like fedora-list, fedora-india, nitdgplug etc. The redhat mailman index page address was also given to them.

I was next and started with installation from source. The steps were explained to them in details and debugging flag was also illustrated. After that came the very important thing of bugzilla. They were explained what a bug is and how do detect it. GNOME Bugzilla was shown to them, how to search bugs, how to file bug reports were parts of it. Bug triaging was also demonstrated with a gedit bug. The various links were given to then. Redhat Bugzilla was also shown. Then came the time for Fedora project contribution guide and they were told about the various sub projects, what are their roles and how to join them. Artwork, Peoples' person, localization were a few that were mentioned. live.gnome.org and code.google.com were also shown to them since upstream contribution was the theme of this session. I also told them about Linux Chix project and the girls seemed pretty excited about it. I also mentioned the wonderful site by Shakti Kannan. That was almost all of it.

I called upon Debayan to conclude the session by sharing his experience as a FOSS contributor and he did a good job in motivating the people present. He told them about planets and showed them planet-floss India. He ended the session with the I am Linux contest videos and the new motto that came up in our mailing list "Just do it because you can".

The session seemed to be pretty productive one and only time will tell us if we actually moved the people's hearts. The various links given to them were as follows:


Fedora stickers were in abundance which were distributed to the attendees and extra were given to them for distributing them to their friends. Since then I have noticed some new people on the mailing list and the session seems to be successful but this is too early to say something like this. Hope it helps the FOSS world and in turn the world.