GNUnify’10 etc

I wasn’t able to spend too much time at GNUnify10 – a weekday came in and, then there wasn’t enough time to do anything. A couple of things did strike me though.

  • The profile of the attendees was different from last time. If the organizers talk about the demographics, this observation might be validated but I got the feeling that the crowd was more of professionals than students
  • The event has introduced diversity and, that is a good thing to have
  • There have been new speakers as opposed to the “same old faces” talking
  • There were elements of avid interest in things Fedora where the speakers were enthusiastic and participated in rapid Q/A

I liked what I saw. Including Shreyank’s enthusiasm to not get off-stage till the “download link came up” :)

One of the things that I’d hoped would happen at the event is that the group of Fedora folks who met would sit down and discuss their goals for this year. By goals I meant the stuff they would be focussing on and, more importantly, how they would be measuring their achievements. I don’t know how much was discussed along these lines but it is a good time to start doing it. Keeping the focus on a few important things and then creating easy-to-visualize ways of looking at the achievements allow the contributors to assess themselves. Self-assessment goes a long way in removing any perceptions of anonymity that might be lingering on. And, it also creates a sense of involvement – of belonging.

The other important bit this would achieve is that it would make the developers more visible and approach-able. For too long I have seen developers have an aloof or, stand-offish approach to their projects. And, it isn’t because they are arrogant but perhaps it is their trait. Unfortunately, “they will contribute if they figure out that the project is good” isn’t a nice approach. Going upfront and talking about goals, plans and in general doing advocacy allows potential contributors the confidence to tinker with the code and, start contributing. Building up the confidence to tinker not because it is “good for the nation” but because it is “good for oneself” and, is profitable is a concept that needs to be repeated over and over again. The students aren’t rolling up their sleeves enough and, it is an urgent need to exhort them to do it. The world is moving forward at a fairly fast clip and they cannot take comfort in the “learn-by-rote-to-join-TWITCH” way of life in the various colleges across the country. In money terms as well as in time and effort an enormous quantity is invested in students, that shouldn’t go to waste.

The others have already blogged about the event, I’m waiting for Hiemanshu’s writeup.

Posted from GScribble.

Rabindra Rachanabali and Bangla fonts

The fonts that can be obtained from the site here display the following information. Now, how is one supposed to package (there isn’t a defined upstream as much as I could fathom) and redistribute (especially Bangla Akademi.ttf) them ? The fonts by themselves are fairly nice and, that’s a sad aspect as well.

And, an evaluation version of the BitRock Installbuilder seems to be used for creating the font installer.


$ otfinfo -i Vidya.ttf

Family: Vidya
Subfamily: Normal
Full name: Vidya
PostScript name: Vidya
Version: Version 0.6
Unique ID: PfaEdit : BanglaTemplate : 30-3-2003
Designer: NLTR
Manufacturer: NLTR
Copyright: Copyright NLTR License: GPL
version 2 (or later, at your option).

and,

$ otfinfo -i Bangla\ Akademi.ttf
Family: Bangla Akademi
Subfamily: Regular
Full name: Bangla Akademi
PostScript name: BanglaAkademi
Version: 1.0 2008 initial release
Unique ID:
SocietyforNaturalLanguageTechnologyResearch(SNLTR),Kolkata,India.DesignedaccordingtoPaschimBangaBanglaAkademiStandardbyBiswarupBhowmik:
Aangla Akademi: 2008
Description: Society for Natural Language Technology Research
(SNLTR),Kolkata,India. Designed according to Paschim Banga Bangla
Akademi Standard by Biswarup Bhowmik, 24B Lake Road, Kolkata 700029
Designer: Biswarup Bhowmik, 24B Lake Road, Kolkata 700029
Manufacturer: Society for Natural Language Technology Research
(SNLTR),Kolkata,India. Designed according to Paschim Banga Bangla
Akademi Standard by Biswarup Bhowmik
Trademark: Bangla Akademi is a trademark of Society for
Natural Language Technology Research (SNLTR),Kolkata,India.
Designed according to Paschim Banga Bangla Akademi Standard by Biswarup Bhowmik.
Copyright: Copyright (c) 2008 by Society for Natural Language
Technology Research (SNLTR),Kolkata,India. Designed according to
Paschim Banga Bangla Akademi Standard by Biswarup Bhowmik. All rights
reserved.

A web-calendar for events – does that sound nice ?

For as long as I can remember I have found the LWN.net Community Calendar very useful. It would perhaps be nice to have a similar web-based calendar for Fedora events across the world. Currently, the events are tracked by this page. That is nice but doesn’t give the visual representation of a month full of events world-wide.

It would be nice to have a calendar that integrates with FAS and, allows someone to post the details of the event. Another group of folks, can take a look-see at the posting and approve it to be listed. The original poster could choose to be the event owner or, add someone who is the actual owner. Since Events etc fall under the ambit of FAmSCo, perhaps they might consider this stuff.

“I want a Fedora DVD, don’t know what to do !”

Following up from what I had written sometime back on this, I would say that the time is good enough to do a rethink.

When it comes to India, traditionally, we have been producing media specifically aimed at distributing at events. We do get large amounts of face-time with our participants at any event and, invariably it leads to sharing of media or, requests for media. This is besides the production that is carried out by magazines across the country. During the F12 cycle we conducted a small experiment.

We did not produce any media.

Not even for events.

Since this was a shocking thing to do, we spent the entire cycle with bated breath trying to assess the impact. As on date, it seems to be minimal. In fact, it has allowed us to do interesting things. Things like ensuring that at events we have an updated tree around for anyone who wants to update their system or, even update their trees. We have had a moderate measure of success with spinning LiveUSBs. But more importantly, we have had “Local Points of Contacts” and, some enterprising folks come up to fill up the void. Or, in other words, the deliberate creation of vacuum allowed some “retailers” to come in to the picture and, become the source points to obtain the media.

Producing media, even when done in the bulk that we do, is an expensive affair and, add the shipping costs towards sending them across to events and, you can figure out that it was becoming more of a “mass media production house” kind of business without actually having a full-fledged team doing it.

The next logical step would be to figure out how to provide the information about alternative sources of media (even if they are not zero-cost) to those who cannot obtain it via the Freemedia system. Providing them with an option to choose a retailer from which to purchase the media from is a better option than letting their Freemedia requests go unattended. A system that allows such vendors to be listed and, based on regions, information provided to the requesting parties would go a long way in addressing this. Clearly mentioning that this is a pure information provider service with no assurances of guarantees would perhaps be the caveat that would allow us to begin ensuring that anyone who requests a media has the information about where to obtain one from.

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