The Linux Bangalore/2001 Homepage
Event description
Participate in LB/2001 as a Delegate, Speaker or Volunteer!
Schedule of Talks
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The Bangalore Linux User Group Home page
Event sponsored by Hewlett Packard (ISO)
 

Linux Bangalore/2001

Linux Bangalore/2001, put in one phrase was - "A Dream Come True" ( at least for us ). It was not without glitches and its own share of problems, but hey, it was just a beginning. We will try to do better the next time. We will try to go through what happened before the event and the three days of the event.

The Beginning

March 5th' 2001
Wrox Press' Bang!inux 2001 was happening at J N Tata Auditorium, Bangalore ( yes, the same venue of Linux Bangalore/2001 ). The event was going on fine. Lots of delegates and interesting talks to be held. The Bang!inux 2001 talks were to be held at the main 750 seater hall. There was also some action going on at the small 60 seater hall ( Hall C ). Wrox Press had invited the BLUG to represent Linux-India at the event. The BLUG, instead of putting up a stall, decided to conduct talks ( a decision which dramatically paved the way for Linux Bangalore/2001 - read on! ).

Some Flashback
There were some apprehensions in the minds of the BLUG members about giving ( free ) talks at a place where people were paying thousands of rupees to listen to speakers from all over the world. Anyway, giving talks seemed easier than putting up a stall ( and more reasonable ). And so, it was decided to conduct talks. Then the real action began. Speakers volunteered at a very short notice. Those who didn't were forcefully roped in. Crude printouts of the schedules were taken, and were photocopied. A few large colour printouts were also stolen ( !!! ). These were put up along with the schedules of the Bang!inux talks.

Back to March 5th
The response to the BLUG talks were overwhelming. All hell broke loose. People were crowding to get into the 60 seater. The 60 seater, at any time, housed more than 90-100 inside it. ( Actually, the BLUG members thought that the 60 seater would split open at its seams ). By Day-2, the BLUG members were given the 90 seater. Even that was crowded, with more than 130 inside it. It was a rare sight to see guys in formals sitting on the steps with laptops and brief cases. By the 3rd and Final Day, the verdict was clear - People were coming up to the BLUG hall first and looking for space. If there wasn't any, only then did they move on to the 750 seater, for attending the talks for which they had paid a huge sum.
Click Here to see the snaps of the BLUG at Bang!inux 2001.

In the mean time, the BLUG was collecting feedback. The delegates, who filled in the feedback, were unanimous in their requests, asking the BLUG to conduct a separate technical event on their own. Thus - was born the idea of Linux Bangalore/2001
It was a request from the community to the BLUG.

The Build up

The idea of a separate Linux event by the BLUG was discussed at BLUG meetings. ( the event was not named at that time ). There were a few arguments in favour and against it, but nothing seemed to hinder the event.

August 25th' 2001
This day was being celebrated as the 10th Birthday of Linux, by the BLUG. There was a celebration arranged at Hotel Ashoka, near Golf Course, Bangalore. It seemed like an apt day for announcing Linux Bangalore/2001. The name was decided after a few discussions on the BLUG Non-technical mailing list - <linux-bangalore-non-tech@yahoogroups.com> There was a talk titled - "The state of Linux" by a few BLUG members. ( Atul Chitnis, Mahendra M, Madhu M Kurupp & Frank Pohlmann ). After the talk, Gopi announced the event - "Linux Bangalore/2001".
Click here to see the snaps of the August 25 celebrations.

Initially, the event was planned to be held on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of October 2001, but due to unavoidable circumstances the event had to postponed to the 10th, 11th and 12th of December 2001. ( Actually, all the student members of the BLUG had their exams till the 30th of September 2001, which made it impossible for them to actively participate in the event ).

The delegate registrations started by the first week of November. The number of registrations grew at an alarming rate. The final tally was such that, even if 30% of the registered delegates turned up, J N Tata ( capacity - 750+120+90+ 60+ 300 seated in the aisles = 1350 ) would creak. Speakers were also registering there talks. Things were going on smoothly for the outside world, but to the managers' team, problem were a plenty. The main problem was that the event did not have a sponsor. The venue was not paid for and we were standing the risk of loosing the venue, if we did not make immediate payments. At last, 11/2; weeks before the event, Hewlett Packard ISO decided to sponsor the event. This was at a time, when the managers had decided to call off the event. Luckily that did not happen and the event was becoming a reality, much to the happiness and relief of the managers. In Atul's words, "all the blocks were falling into the proper places with a loud noise".

The event - December 10th - 12th 2001

The crowds began building up at 8:15am in the morning. ( The event was to start at 10:00am ). The queue was growing at a steady pace. The managers and volunteers were getting nervous. The systems and the PHP code for the registration of the delegates were not yet ready. Finally we managed to start off at around 9:30am ( half an hour late ). The crowd was extremely co-operative, in spite of the delay. ( Though the delay was 30 minutes, they were waiting for more than an hour ). The managers had arranged for extra security. They were instructed to check the belongings of everyone who walked in.

Finally at 10:30am we started off. Atul Chitnis, did the honour of welcoming the crowd. Linux Bangalore/2001 was inaugurated by a team of very important guests - The members and representatives of other LUGs in India. They included, Dr. Tarique Sani ( Nagpur ), Devdas Bhagat ( Mumbai ), Kishore Bhargava ( Delhi ), Dr. Gurunandan Bhat ( Goa ), and V.S.Somasundaram ( Chennai ). Linux Bangalore/2001 was inaugurated by all the above VIPs lighting a lamp. The fire was initially lit by Mahendra M ( co-ordinator of the BLUG - the host for Linux Bangalore/2001 ).

The inauguration was followed by a talk titled "The State of Linux", by Atul Chitnis, Kishore Bhargava and Madhu Kurupp. This was later followed by a talk on HP's Linux Strategy by M.S.Subramanya from HP ISO.
It was lunch time.

At 2:00pm, the real fun ( I mean, talks ) started. All the four halls were filled more than capacity. Delegates were still pouring into the venue. There was no doubt about one fact - "The event was a ROARING SUCCESS"
One could see the managers and volunteers congratulating each other. For eg. Atul and Mahendra, were seen congratulating each other at 2:30pm on the first day itself. The event had reached critical mass. It would happen on its own now. All that the managers and volunteers had to see was that things were in proper place at the correct time ( This included the speakers and their slides ). The managers could be seen smiling again. This was happening after a long time; after a lot of shouting, fighting ( !!! ) and serious & tense faces.

The talks were being well received by the delegates. One could see delegates, keenly concentrating and taking notes. News started trickling in that a few engineering colleges had declared holidays for students to attend Linux Bangalore/2001.

Surprising for a event with 1300-1400 delegates a day, the corridors of J N Tata were rather empty. This could be attributed to the fact that all these 1300-1400 delegates were packed inside the 4 halls listening to the talks. Due to the tight schedule of Linux Bangalore/2001, one could also see delegates hurriedly moving between halls in the brief interval between talks.

One of the managers remembers a very interesting incident. It was immediately after the lunch break on Day - 2. He was standing near the notice board, where the schedules were put up. All of a sudden, a group of 5-6 guys came up to the board and started discussing excitedly. Our man decided to eavesdrop. He was surprised to find that they all were from the same company and were attending different talks, at the same time, in groups of two. They probably planned to share notes and ideas later. This was an interesting trend. Teams from one company distributing talks among themselves !

Linux Bangalore/2001 also became a platform for the Indian Linux Community to interact with each other. Almost all the speakers were drawn from various LUGs all over India. This was a golden opportunity for them to see and interact with each other. Most of them have known each other through email, but had never met face to face. The speakers' lounge was bustling with action. The speakers, when not giving talks were sitting at the lounge and talking and discussing with each other. The Linux Bangalore/2001 team was in for a surprise, when "Thats" suddenly appeared near the speakers' lounge. ( FYI, Thats used to maintain the Linux India Mailing lists )

The outstanding features of Linux Bangalore/2001 were :-

  • An event For the community, by the community.

    Linux Bangalore/2001 was evidently shaping itself into a National Linux event that was FOR the community, arranged BY the community.

  • Government Participation

    Surprisingly, there was a lot of, unnoticed, government participation in the event. There were representatives from almost all government organizations, which included DRDO, BSNL, VSNL, ISRO, NIC to name a few. This made one fact clear - Linux is to play a major role in the Indian Government in the times to come. The managers were surprised when a Govt. of India bus dropped a bus-full of delegates in front of the venue. It was as surprising as it was pleasing.

  • The coming together of all Linux Localisation efforts in India

    There was a localisation session on the first day afternoon. From 2:00pm to 5:00pm. There were 3 talks planned for the evening at the 60 seater hall. This particular hall was not packed to capacity when compared to the other halls, but it was not empty either. There were a few empty seats though. Undisturbed by the commotion outside, the delegates inside this hall were a set of focused individuals and groups, all of whom had a common aim - Localise Linux to Indian Languages. These delegates were members of various Linux Localisation groups/initiatives in India, now sitting under one roof, probably for the first time ever. The first two talks went on smoothly and over time. The second talk went on for 13/4 hrs. There was 15 minutes for the third talk, which was about the LLI ( Linux Localisation Initiative ) by the BLUG. After this the whole crowd broke into an excellent discussion about Linux Localisation. The problems they faced, the solutions they had, the languages they were working on, the computing mentality in India and so on. The list was never ending.

    This was probably for the first time that most of the localisation teams in India were able to sit under one roof and discuss their problems and efforts to each other. This was a remarkable achievement, for many reasons. The delegates included, people from IIT Madras, Indlinux, Kannada Ganaka Parishad, Indian Institute of Science ( Bangalore ), journalists, students etc. The discussions went on till about 6:30pm.

    The localisation team met again ( unofficially ) on the second day at 6:00pm at the speakers' lounge. The discussions continued and a few demos were made. Undoubtedly, Linux Bangalore/2001 had acted as a platform for unifying all the Localisation efforts in India.

  • Feedback

    The feedback that was obtained from the delegates was very encouraging. In spite of minor problems, they seemed to be very happy. In fact, many of them personally thanked the managers for such a wonderful event. As Mahendra remembers, one particular delegate had told him, "I am very happy about the way this event has been arranged. Considering that the entrance was free, the event is very professionally arranged and managed. I hope, you will conduct the event again next year."
    Click here for the feedback details.

  • BoF sessions

    Ah ! The BoF or Birds of a Feather sessions. These sessions were conducted daily at the end of all the talks. We had for BoF sessions.

      Day 1 :
    • Linux Distributions - This was basically a BoF session where everyone was discussing the benefits of the distro of their choice ( and mud slinging, if one call so ;-) ). Finally the session boiled down to RedHat v/s Debian.
    • Localisation

      Day 2 :
    • KDE v/s GNOME - We had the two big guys on stage. Sirtaj Singh Kang from KDE and Naba Kumar for GNOME. Surprisingly, these two were great pals ( we expected something different ). On stage, we managed to get them fighting ( oops! discussing ).
    • Localisation - This was the unofficial BoF session at the speakers' lounge.
  • The Mega BLUG meet

    Another trend setting event!
    To have a BLUG meet at a 750 seater hall like that of J N Tata, to have representatives of many LUGs from India at a BLUG meet, to have a BLUG meet as the concluding ceremony of Linux Bangalore/2001, to have a BLUG meet on a day other than Saturday - These things are indeed trend setting.

    The meet started off only after all the talks of Linux Bangalore/2001 had been completed. It started off with Atul getting on stage and talking. Actually even as Atul had started talking, Madhu was having his talk on XML with 150 delegates in the 120 seater. So they were missing. Another person missing was the co-ordinator of the BLUG, Mahendra. He was in the 60 seater, sorting out some issues with the machines, completely unaware of the commencement of the BLUG meet. Atul was shouting for Mahendra, when a volunteer managed to pull Mahendra into the hall. Later Madhu released his captives and they poured into the hall.

    Mahendra then spoke about everything leading up to the event. This included the darkest secrets of the management team. The audience were really amused to listen to these revelations. Later, Atul spoke about the event and made a brief ( Ahem !! ) summary about the event.

    With Atul, completing his talk, the meeting and thus Linux Bangalore/2001 came to an end.
    What Next ? Linux Bangalore/2002 was announced much to the delight of the crowd.

    Once the crowd had left the entire Linux Bangalore/2001 team came together for a photo. Please have a look at the snap. One can see a huge bunch of delighted faces. Our youngest member Asim was in a dancing mood.
    Later everyone somehow managed to go home, with Mahendra managing to steal the huge Linux Bangalore/2001 logo, that was kept on the top of the 750 hall backdrop. He even managed to get it autographed by all the volunteers and speakers. Bringing down the logo from such a height itself was a collective effort by the community.

  • Linux Bangalore/2002

    The need for the next event is undoubtedly established. The feedback says it all ! This being the fact, it is already time to start organizing for the next event.

    Here is a list of things that need to happen:

    • A team of managers that will organize the event. The managers will
      • Decide dates for the next event; ascertain venue availability and tentatively book a venue
      • Design and produce a Request for Sponsorship, a press brief and a Call for Participation
      • Pick a team of volunteers
      • Identify topics and speakers for the event; contact speakers for availability during the next event
      • Identify potential sponsors for the event
      • Choose the advisors for the event ;-)
    • A small team of volunteers that will assist these managers on a case to case basis
    • Organise working infrastructure for the managers
      • Mailing list
      • Venue/sponsor for the regular meetings (or align manager meets with LB)
  • See you in Linux-Bangalore 2002, Dec 2002 !
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