Looking back, some decisions of my life have been very well taken, deciding to attend the Gnome release party held at MES Kutipuram being one of them.
I came to know about the event from the SMC mailing list. Seeing a get together of top notch free software enthusiasts at a venue so close to my home was simply something that I couldn’t miss.
Let me put down the names of those who were there because that might be the first thing one would forget if kept unused for long.
There was Sajith sir, a teaching staff at MES, who had welcomed me on the mailing list. A very gentle and friendly person who was of immense support to the students there for anything regarding freedom.
Praveen ettan was also there who was the RMS of SMC while Santhosh Ettan was the Linus of SMC. Lol! Unfortunately Santhosh was not able to make it for the party.
Jishnu ettan was there whom everyone there referred to as “Guru”. I was wondering why this was so and I found out why it was so! If you see http://thecodecracker.com/, you’ll know why too.
Then Sadiq, Kiran, (Update)Nakul, Sooraj, Riyas, Nuh, Rahul, Anish, (Update)Anees and two girls were there. Guys, forgive me if I got your spelling wrong! After all, we were all together for only a short while and we were not spending that time refreshing names! But here is what we actually spent our time on…
It was a completely informal atmosphere where even though I felt a bit out of place at the beginning when everyone was just arriving, it took only a few minutes of interaction between everyone to feel right at home. Such was the free will everyone treated others with.
Trying to start the event, the organisers were dumbstruck at their carelessness. No Knife to cut the cake, no balloons and no cello tapes! On the double, two of them went out and bought all these. And boy did I start to shudder when one of them gave me a balloon to blow! I had never done that in my life! But could I let them know that? Of course not. So I held the open end to my mouth with one hand and pulled the other end so that it was stretched. And what do you know? When I blew it, it actually started to expand! I was surprised at myself and I was like, “Yo guys, here take this one too”. Sooraj taught me to tie it and now, that was the first important lesson that I learnt from this party!
The event kicked off about at 11am (scheduled to start at 10) after everyone goofed off and got over with the initial introductory jokes and cracks (not to mention hacks!) by cutting a Gnome 3.4 cake! Coincidentally, it was Anish’s birthday and it was he who cut it. We all had a few chit chats over eating it and finally when everyone was done with it, we all went to the front of the lab where the projector was all set.
Oh by the way, this party was being held at one of the computer labs at MES. Jishnu ettan started by introducing the features of Gnome 3.4 and few nice applications including a nice preview tool. I forget what its name is, but you can use it if you click on the file and hit “space+enter”. Nagul told us what Gnome was about too.
Then Anish introduced to us what SMC was all about, their projects and how to get involved. We stopped for a lunch break at about 12.30 till 1.30. Afterwards, everyone except Rahul, Sooraj and the girls, sat around for a hearty discussion.
It was serious as well as extremely funny how everyone interacted. Patent-wars and sue-chain was one among the main humorous topics of discussion. Then the serious discussion was on how the entire mentality of people needs to be changed regarding freedom. Praveen ettan chaired the discussion.
The need for copyright, whether it was a necessity or not nowadays as well as how people should support a good cause with donations was discussed. The situations nowadays at colleges and the lack of awareness among the students regarding free software was another one among the numerous topics.
For the question of why people don’t see free software as an alternative for their computing needs, the answer of piracy was put forth. If the proprietary software companies and copyright holders tracked the use of their services and products strictly, then people would appreciate the initiative of free software. As long as one was a thief who never got caught or threatened, why would he go for legally earning or using something? The quality of the open source softwares might be different compared to the proprietary ones but that is no reason to treat these as second-rate ones just because they are free and people are, out of their own interest, writing and developing them.
Ah, now that I read the above paragraph again, I see the free software/open source thing. That was discussed too as in using GNU/Linux instead of just Linux. A lot of other small topics were talked on and many of them let us have a hearty laugh together.
The discussion came to an end at about 4 after which we all went together to have tea. Afterwards we all shook hands and went our own ways, keeping in mind to pray and work for a better tomorrow.
Personally, I really missed Ershad at the gathering…
Looking forward to such free gatherings in the future…
Update: Photos of the party!