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Special treatment, and FOSS.IN

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  • Atul Chitnis
    I am surprised at the number of queries we are getting that essentially boil down to Do I/my_friend/well_known_hacker/etc. have to submit a talk? . At this
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 29 2:14 AM
      I am surprised at the number of queries we are getting that essentially
      boil down to "Do I/my_friend/well_known_hacker/etc. have to submit a
      talk?". At this point, I have more than 20 such queries in my inbox.

      Guys, get real.

      FOSS.IN does NOT recognise the concept of "status".

      This is a community event - all content at FOSS.IN comes from the
      community. And community means that you/your_friend/well_known_hacker/etc.
      submit talks like everyone else - whether you are Linux Torvalds, CEO of a
      big corporation, office boy somewhere, or otherwise.

      We don't recognise rockstars, nor to we wilfully set out to create them.
      Some people become rockstars after FOSS.IN, but that is not our doing,
      that is their own doing, and to their own credit.

      The best examples of people ignoring their "status" can be seen from how
      people like Alan Cox, Harald Welte, Jon Corbet and other well known
      and established FOSS rockstars dealt with FOSS.IN. They all submitted
      talks like everyone else.

      And the worst examples are corporations trying to jockey for "position" at
      the event by telling us how important their people are, saying they will
      deign to speak at the event if they are given keynotes.

      From a completely personal perspective (and I am not speaking for Team
      FOSS.IN here), I am far more comfortable with "the little guys" who come
      and tell audiences what they have done and achieved, and how you can
      participate in this.

      And my classic examples of this kind approach are (surprise!!!) again Alan
      Cox, Harald Welte, Jon Corbet and others like them. And audiences got the
      greatest value from listening to these "little" guys.

      So everyone, get a clue.

      If you think that your own "position" will get enhanced by you being
      invited and being given a special position at the event, then this is the
      wrong event for you. The event you are looking for happens in North India,
      usually in February. :)

      I know a number of people are going to read this all wrong, but I am going
      to say it anyway:

      Despite the fact that I am somewhat well known in in the little pond I
      live in, I hate being put up on stage before anyone else, thereby being
      treated "special". You may not realise it, but that is insulting my
      community spirit. Putting me in as a speaker in the middle of the pack
      shows that you consider me part of the community, and that is the greatest
      honour I could ask for.

      Saying that you attended a talk and learned something useful is the
      biggest accolade you can give a speaker - knowing that the only reason why
      people attended your talk is that you were "positioned well" at the event
      is a very uncomfortable feeling.

      If you consider yourself part of the community, then prove it - submit a
      talk like everyone else.

      And don't even bother if you all you intend to do is to walk in, be given
      a red-carpet treatment, escorted to the stage to give a "keynote", and
      then be whisked away by your company minions, without spending the day at
      the event and without interacting with the community.

      It is therefore no wonder that someone as deserving as Suparna
      Bhattacharya did the keynote last year, rather than some megacorp VP. And
      it will always be that way.

      Get rid of the artificial sense of "position". If you need "position", you
      aren't fit to be part of the community, and FOSS.IN is a community event.

      Learn a lesson from Harald Welte. The dude, back in 2003, when he was
      already a rockstar and well known, quietly submitted a couple of talks.

      When I looked at the list of talks submitted, I at first didn't believe
      that this was really him (I had never met him, though I was using his work
      in iptables every day).

      When he showed up at the event and presented his talks, he was the
      ultimate in modesty. He mingled with people, had no airs, demanded not
      special treatment or position, spent time explaining stuff, helped where
      he could (and that included writing a wifi driver for a recalcient wifi
      adaptor overnight so that we could get machines connected at the event),
      etc. He refuses to be treated in a special way and prefers crashing with
      friends rather than being put up in a fancy hotel. He has inspired more
      budding contributors from India than anyone else I know.

      And despite his fame (there are few people in technology world today who
      don't know who he is, thanks to OpenMoko, GPL-violations.org, etc.), he
      posts this:

      http://gnumonks.org/~laforge/weblog/2007/09/24/#20070924-foss_in

      Atul

      p.s. Have you put in your talk yet? :)

      --
      F O S S . I N / 2 0 0 7
      India's Premier FOSS Conference
      December 4-8, 2007
      Bangalore, India
      http://foss.in
    • Atul Chitnis
      Some more perspective here: http://atulchitnis.net/diary/showentry/459 Atul -- F O S S . I N / 2 0 0 7 India s Premier FOSS Conference December 4-8, 2007
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 29 3:26 AM
        Some more perspective here:

        http://atulchitnis.net/diary/showentry/459

        Atul


        --
        F O S S . I N / 2 0 0 7
        India's Premier FOSS Conference
        December 4-8, 2007
        Bangalore, India
        http://foss.in
      • Roshan
        ... That probably sounds a bit /bias/ (or may be harsh) currently. (Even though I agree to the fact, that I may not be in a position to say so ;) -
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 29 6:39 AM
          --- Atul Chitnis wrote:

          > If you think that your own "position" will get
          > enhanced by you being
          > invited and being given a special position at the
          > event, then this is the
          > wrong event for you. The event you are looking for
          > happens in North India,
          > usually in February. :)

          That probably sounds a bit /bias/ (or may be harsh)
          currently.

          (Even though I agree to the fact, that I may not be in
          a "position" to say so ;) - Community?)

          --
          http://www.gnu.org.in
          http://www.somaiya.edu/sksasc
          ubunturos @ freenode


          Now you can chat without downloading messenger. Go to http://in.messenger.yahoo.com/webmessengerpromo.php
        • Atul Chitnis
          ... Why? My point is that unlike Linux Asia (which is a commercial, non-community event, where even Microsoft can sponsor and get talkslots), FOSS.IN is not.
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 29 6:46 AM
            On Sat, 29 Sep 2007, Roshan wrote:

            > That probably sounds a bit /bias/ (or may be harsh)
            > currently.

            Why? My point is that unlike Linux Asia (which is a commercial,
            non-community event, where even Microsoft can sponsor and get talkslots),
            FOSS.IN is not.

            Atul

            --
            F O S S . I N / 2 0 0 7
            India's Premier FOSS Conference
            December 4-8, 2007
            Bangalore, India
            http://foss.in
          • subbukk
            ... Atul, Given the huge attendance and the global nature of the participants, it is hard for those who are not regulars in BLUG to believe that it is just a
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 29 7:43 PM
              On Saturday 29 September 2007 2:44 pm, Atul Chitnis wrote:
              > This is a community event - all content at FOSS.IN comes from the
              > community. And community means that you/your_friend/well_known_hacker/etc.
              > submit talks like everyone else - whether you are Linux Torvalds, CEO of a
              > big corporation, office boy somewhere, or otherwise.
              Atul,

              Given the huge attendance and the global nature of the participants, it is
              hard for those who are not regulars in BLUG to believe that it is just a
              community event. FOSS.IN is unusual in that it is about an order of magnitude
              larger than other community events in Bangalore (and limited by venue
              capacity!). The opening para in Call for Participation could easily be
              mistaken for a promo event invitation.

              Is there time to modify the opening para to "FOSS.IN is an annual get-together
              of contributors to FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) where participants
              explore the .....".

              You may also want to add an explanation on keynotes in the Conference Focus to
              head off some mails :-).

              Have fun .. Subbu
            • Atul Chitnis
              ... I agree, and I would actually welcome a reduction in numbers to tighten up things and to make the event more enjoyable for attendees. Last year we were
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 29 9:44 PM
                On Sun, 30 Sep 2007, subbukk wrote:

                > Given the huge attendance and the global nature of the participants, it is
                > hard for those who are not regulars in BLUG to believe that it is just a
                > community event. FOSS.IN is unusual in that it is about an order of magnitude
                > larger than other community events in Bangalore (and limited by venue
                > capacity!).

                I agree, and I would actually welcome a reduction in numbers to "tighten
                up" things and to make the event more enjoyable for attendees. Last year
                we were trying for 1500, and still ended up with 2000. And this year, I
                would not be surprised if we get completely overrun.

                > The opening para in Call for Participation could easily be mistaken for
                > a promo event invitation.
                >
                > Is there time to modify the opening para to "FOSS.IN is an annual
                > get-together of contributors to FOSS (Free and Open Source Software)
                > where participants explore the .....".

                Dude - who are you, and what have you done with the real Subbu? :)

                In the closed source world, people send in a note saying "I used your
                stuff and found a bug". In the FoSS world, it is "I used your stuff, found
                a bug - here is a patch to fix it".

                If something doesn't read right, say so, and tell us how to present it
                better! :)

                > You may also want to add an explanation on keynotes in the Conference
                > Focus to head off some mails :-).

                ...and pigs will fly :(

                I have replied to one such mail saying categorically

                "There are only two keynotes, and they will be given by prominent FOSS
                contributors"

                to which I get a reply

                "We understand that, but it is really important that our CEO is positioned
                correctly, hence please let us know whether a keynote will be allotted to
                him so that we can confirm our sponsorship".

                Needless to say, this company will not be seen at FOSS.IN.

                One of the primary reasons for my outburst was the unbelievable tenacity
                of marketeers, who think they can wear us down and make us break our
                stand that sponsorship is unrelated to talk slots. In fact here are two
                statements from the sponsorship document:

                "Speaking slots are independent of sponsorship. Sponsorship does not
                guarantee speaker slots - talks are selected on the basis of merit and
                relevance."

                "NON-DELIVERABLES:

                * Sponsors do not get talk slots or keynotes - all talks and keynotes are
                merit based and come from the FOSS community."

                I mean, how much clearer can one get?

                Atul

                --
                F O S S . I N / 2 0 0 7
                India's Premier FOSS Conference
                December 4-8, 2007
                Bangalore, India
                http://foss.in
              • Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay
                ... Hash: SHA1 ... Having a light saber comes handy I guess ;) ... Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (GNU/Linux) Comment: Using GnuPG with Fedora -
                Message 7 of 7 , Oct 1, 2007
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                  Atul Chitnis wrote:

                  > I mean, how much clearer can one get?

                  Having a light saber comes handy I guess ;)

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