Software Freedom Day 2013 @ Virtusa

This last week, the fine folk at the Virtusa Open Source SIG organized an event to celebrate the Software Freedom Day where my good friends Mifan and Suchetha made keynotes. Also in attendance was Arunan, so it was a re-union of sorts with some old friends. It’s been a while since I have participated in anything open source / free software, and it was great to see the old flame is still alive at Virtusa, and I hope it helps in shaping their worldviews and brings as much purpose to them as it did to me more than 10 years ago.

The last SFD I attended was in 2008. I blogged about it here with some photos available in my surprisingly-still-around flickr account. It was in Chinatown in Boston and I drove up from Pennsylvania, mostly to get my mind off things. It was there that I purchased a copy of “Free Software, Free Society”, a collection of essays by Richard Stallman. Five years later, I picked up the dusty book from my shelf and re-read the GNU manifesto, to get my mind back to the core principles.

 Image

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aweeraman/sets/72157600555500824/

It was there, as I was flipping through the pages, that I saw RMS in a whole new light. His uncompromising tenacity in the face of control and oppression and unfaltering stance on ethics and morality of freedom. He is a true freedom fighter. His message sometimes gets lost in all the pandemonium we go through daily but the spirit of the freedom he preached is very much alive every time we believe that knowledge should be free and that everybody should have access to it. I hope this message continues to inspire folks for years to come.

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FOSS-ed for Hackers, a footnote

FOSS-ed for Hackers ended last week, and the entire geek blogosphere has been brimming with posts on the subject so I won’t delve much into it. Overall, it was a success. The participation was extremely good and the event was organized in style, thanks largely to Devaka.

The appearance of Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons was definitely the highlight of the show, and he did a very interesting talk that had me captivated. As usual, there was a lot of bumping into old friends and catching up, as it is common at events of this nature where geeks congregate.

Being the undisputed king of procrastination and, when the mood strikes, bad hair day, I waited until the last moment to finish my presentation, and just barely managed to cobble together the slides in time. Despite my grievances, I managed to complete the presentation with just a few cringe-worthy moments. Thankfully, I got a couple of good questions from the crowd during the Q&A session that just went to prove, despite my views to the contrary, that everybody in fact was NOT sleeping. You can find the slides here.

On a slightly different note, I was somewhat disappointed in the mole that I planted in the crowd to ask intelligent questions when the time came to relieve tension and get the questions flowing. As anticipated, the mole failed to deliver and is now expected to refund the downpayment at earliest convenience.