From: shreekant bohra <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 9:39 PM
Subject: [lugj] Story of linux users group bikaner
To: email@example.com, lugj <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hi FOSS Lovers,
Let me start by introducing myself, I am Shree Kant Bohra, final year IT student at Engineering College Bikaner. The purpose of this email is to share our experience with establishing a Linux Users Group here in Bikaner and moving it forward.
So the story goes like this, initially it was three of us, me, Anirudh and Manu Dixit. We were fascinated by cool world of Open Source in early year of engineering. I never used linux personally before I heard about it and decided to give it a try on my compaq laptop, I picked up fedora 7( which was latest at that time) , tried installing it, after trying for almost 4 days, ~100 times. I found that this was some bug with fedora 7 and I can't install it without working out. So first step failed. Still we loved open source. In our college no one gave damn shit to linux , there were no linux labs. and no one used them for any task other than chattring.
After lots of hustle, we managed to get our college labs opened during nights to work in as we had no internet connection at hostel(we didnt have campus hostel either) so we used to freak out in nights at college labs. Keep searching, doing all random stuff, participating in competitions, gradually people started noticing us, many students turned up for labs, the movement had started. But we were not aware of it, we too were struggling finding our way. But it was a good thing. Then comes the second year, the most of the time we were busy doing random works, participating in techfests. And I must say FOSS kriti played a major role in our revolution , we attended FOSS kriti and it changed everything. I kinda was fascianted with geeks out there and cool things they displayed, listening to Arun was amazing. I got back from IIT Kanpur, full of energy. Such events play a key role in turning students to FOSS, even if 5 students turn to foss from one event, I think thats huge. But we always forget that how we ourself started, its our duty to give back. So I am a big supporter of FOSS events and talks. That year we applied to GSoC , didnt get selected. But learnt lessons of life time. Summer of Code is the best way to learn the FOSS philosophy, whether you get selected or not, you are always a winner.
Then came third year of engineering. The movement roared, more people joined us, the scenario changed completely People started talking about FOSS and Linux. More learning, more win. We didnt realize that many students around were inspired by us. While earlier no one used to go to attend techfests, 100s, literally, students attended techfests outside college. And revolution started. Presently its getting into culture here to attend techfests. And I think thats the most important thing, to get things into culture. Once you do that, you win it. The main reason for the success of institutions like IIT and IIM is that they have good things in their culture and environment. Three of us applied of gsoc, me , anirudh and abhinav, all of us got selected and hence the final kick to the FOSS movement, as big money and name always attracts junta. Linux is all there in labs now, we have Linux labs here now.
Finally, last year, we decided to have a FOSS event parallel to college techfest. We got the idea, but never happened to work upon it seriously.15 days before the fest we decided we want to do it. and guess what ? we saw a large team waiting to contribute to the event, we did exhaustive planning, we used google docs for shared planning, had meetups and were surprised to see so many students interested in FOSS. We made different teams,kudos to our design team, we created hack labs, with all ambience of a hackers den(:P), lightings,posters,banners. And yeah, mid night hackfests. No one could ever imagine that we can do that. As we never have events in our college after 5pm, being in outer area from city, it was a challenge, we fought to the odds, what a FOSS event without hackest! And to our more surprise, huge junta turned up for mid night hackfests, and we had to limit them. Imagine a scenario, while 2 years back we were three of us sitting in labs in midnight, now it was ~100 people! and all with a cause. I could get emotional :P heh. We ignited the spark and its now jungle fire. Rome was not built in a day and I know neither we can do that now.
After effect of the event, we established Linux Users group bikaner! and got resources for its website, made up agenda, we had lots of install fest in hostels, I can say ~60% of college now know what Linux is and have heard about FOSS. I cant expect everyone to go and code or to use Linux as their preferred distro, but now they have the choice. No one told us about Linux and FOSS when we were them but we had a dream that we want to change this, we did it.
Present activity- I will say our lug is naive lug, but right now there are almost ~40 active linux users who use linux as their first OS. And many other uses Linux more often. More importantly people have choice now, the freedom to choose, our lug provides active support to anyone interested in FOSS and linux. We do meetups, talk about latest stuff, encourage students to get involved in some project. Personally what I would like to see is an active community of developers coming out from LUGB, and it will take some time. may be 1 more year. The thing that shows that our lug is active is number of people pinging me all the time with some cool problems with linux( n00bs they are, I love them all ) People are new to mailing lists, irc and it will take some time to pick the idea.
I believe that events and fests are very important part of any foss movement or lug, we are planning more of them.I am happy that the second generation is picking up and standing tall. Our lug is in safe hands. The continuation of culture is in place and we have put FOSS in culture here.
Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to share it with all, I am happy to share our story. May it inspire others! Ameen