Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Software Freedom Day 2009

It is finally September and Software Freedom Day is here. This is one day when every Open Source enthusiast feels proud of being one. If you haven’t heard about Software Freedom Day, here is what SFD is all about -

"Software Freedom Day (SFD) is an annual worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software. It is a public education effort to celebrate the virtues of FOSS and to encourage its use. It is celebrated on the third Saturday of every September."

Open Source has spread its wings all over the world and Sun Microsystems Inc. being one of the biggest supporters of the Open Source community encouraged many OSUM leaders and Sun Campus Ambassadors to celebrate Software Freedom Day in a grand way.

Osmania University, being a huge supporter of FOSS, wasn’t behind in the grandeur of SFD. We decided on celebrate Software Freedom Day on the third Saturday itself, which was on September 19th.

Due to the recent unforeseen holidays which were declared in our city, there were speculations that 19th might be a working day as a compensation for them. Because of this, our preparations came to a stand-still and we had to wait for a formal announcement. We didn’t get any reliable information till Friday and because of this we had only a day for the publicity in our college. As a lateral consequence of this speculation, we didn’t even get an opportunity to invite other colleges to the event. :(

Well as people say "Things must go on!" and things did go on. Despite these bottlenecks, we had a reasonable crowd of 55 to 60 open source enthusiasts for the event. It was really soothing to see such participation amidst the tailback. The crowd comprised of students from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years. We weren’t given permission to invite the 1st year students due to security concerns from the college.

I was sure that the students of my college were bored of hearing my presentations by this time, so for a change, I requested a few of my friends to take up the co-ordination of the competitions and presentations. They immediately agreed and showed a lot of interest.

The celebrations of SFD began with a motivating speech by our HOD, Prof. Lakshmi Rajamani. She spoke on Open Source Software and emphasized the support being provided by our college to the OSS world. She gave a brief introduction on SFD and how Osmania University was a part of it over the years.

There were many activities that were held at our campus as a part of SFD. Several competitions were held to motivate the students towards SFD. We had an "Essay writing competition" where the participants were asked to explore various Open Source topics - technical and non-technical and come up with an innovative article. There was an "Open Source Quiz" organized by Mr. Roopak Bhartee and Miss. Devika. A presentation emphasizing the merits and benefits of FOSS was given by Mr. Vishwak. There was a presentation on the "Sun Academic Initiative" by Mr. Laxman. To know more about these events, check out the "SFD 2009 - Competitions & Presentations" blog-post.

The event was concluded by a "Vote of thanks" by me. The entire event was well anchored by Miss. Pravallika.

On a whole, the event was a huge success and there was a lot of enthusiastic response from the participants. The entire S.O.U.R.C.E group was delighted and enthused by the participation of the crowd for the event.

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