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.
Posted from GScribble.