Ideas for a Hackathon?

My college, the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, holds it's annual techfest, Shaastra, every October. This year, our LUG is pushing for a hackathon to accompany a small FOSS conference (that we're trying to make big). This will the first time any of us are trying something like this out, and I'd really appreciate any ideas, etc. anyone can give either on how to conduct it, or on some hackable projects. The attending audience will probably largely consist of hobbyist programmers who have heard of the concept of FOSS before, but have never actually worked on a project. There may be one or two experienced veterans also.

Hackathon's Tenative Plans:

  1. One of us spends sometime hacking up a particular project, foo, figure out how it works, work out a few ideas for what to do with the project, etc. He then prepares for a talk to educate the rest of us. The same process is repeated for 2-3 more projects, bar, epsilon and zeta.
  2. The talk is delievered, in our computer center. It will be of a semi interactive nature, participants can begin playing around if they like.
  3. Some ideas are raised (hopefully), some form of a roadmap emerges
  4. Hacking begins. Anyone can walk in, at any time and start (after getting up to speed from the 'coordinators' there). It's not much of a plan, but I don't know what else there is to do.


  1. Food. Coffee. Company.
  2. Possible give-aways for the entire hacking group (it only counts if you've actually written code), and for groups completing objectives. I can't disclose them still, but I promise they will be kick-ass.

Some projects we've thought of hacking:

  1. Konqueror
  2. Nat Friedman's Dashboard

Do you know of any interesting (and hopefully useful) projects that you would like to hack on? Do you see any glaring flaws in our plans? Please tell me about them. More details can be found at the IITM LUG wiki.