GSoC India Delhi Meetup

So I’m a week late. Shoot me. Well, 7 of the supposed 71 of us turned up to an informal meeting in Delhi. It wasn’t one of those Google office meetups, just one of those “let’s get together so we can make better jabs at each other on IRC”-type meetups. And to that effect it was awesome. We all met up at the City Center, right outside the Rajouri Gardens metro station. Since we have a dearth of pictures, this ancient Google Map counts (note that the mall hasn’t been fully constructed in the photo):

I was in town to meetup with a great friend, Shrey Byala, who I haven’t seen in 3 years, some relatives and of course this meet up gave me the perfect excuse to travel. The last time I came to Delhi was like 10 years ago, so it effectively doesn’t count. What strikes me most about Delhi? Roads. There are beautiful roads everywhere, even where there are not houses (like Noida). Wonderful flyovers aside, it makes the city look very concrete junglish. The second thing being malls. They’re everywhere. The last thing I noticed was that Delhi definitely had more class eateries (which I appreciated for the first time) and the sort, but then again I come from a metro wannabe, Hyderabad.

I also would like to point out the dendritic cities that were sprinkled around the landscape surrounding Delhi. That and a most excellent topography brings back my 10th class biology and 8th class geography. How my brain has atrophied… The meetup was very conveniently situated near the metro station, and it gave me a good opportunity to check the metro out. It reminds me far to much of my days in Hong Kong and the subways there. Nostalgia is good.

I was the first to arrive, though Satya (mavu), was just 5 minutes away. I spent this time pacing about looking utterly lost, which seemed to work, as she spotted me right away. Another 5 minutes, and we were joined by Sanjiv (sanjiv) (who we found by madly waving our hands in the air), and then joined in no time by Sunil Ghai (sunil_g) (fellow Gnome GSoC-er), and Siddanth (pykid) and Saurabh. We chatted around about our respective projects.

We proceeded to the food court where we could sit and not feel really bound to buy anything. Sumit would join us later there. None of us had ever met before, but none of us felt like strangers at all. We leaped into conversation, and at times, we had a IRC room going on there; talking across the table between each other. We talked about how we got into FOSS, why it kicks the ass it does, how we could promote it, whether Microsoft is evil or not, and what we’d do with our cash (none of us had a clue).

We had some coffee, and icecream to justify our presence, but otherwise, we were just talking. We also raised the issue of a 12 year old mentor for the Django Project, and speculated his future (which to me looks very boring. I mean he’d probably have tried everything by the age of 27.) That I’ve forgotten something goes without mention. Finally, a group photo taken by an innocent bystander. It was one of those handy dandy cell phone cameras, so the quality isn’t great, but it’s the only one we got. (Clockwise from guy with glowing Rin Supreme shirt (Sumit): Sumit, Arun Chaganty (me), Sunil, Satya, Saurabh, Sanjiv, Siddanth.)

An interesting thing I noted was how each of us got into the program:

• Me: I had 3 proposals, a map editor for Battle for Wesnoth, a crazy idea to store file metadata in notes and do some equally crazy stuff related to the “Semantic Desktop” (sounds sexy doesn’t it), and finally, integrating Vim into Anjuta. The ironic part of it was that my effort vs. the probability of me getting it were inversely related. I spent a couple of days fully dedicated to the Wesnoth idea, I prepared UI mockups, surfed the code, looked up everything, but I withdrew my proposal because deep down inside, I really wasn’t interested enough. I spent a lesser amount of time with Tomboy, sent in a patch (which hasn’t been accepted yet), and had a nice discussion with Sandy Armstrong. I spent the least amount of time with Anjuta. I asked around on #vim and #anjuta about it, and got a simple reply from jhs (my mentor). Got back with something that already does it, and well, got selected.

• Sunil Ghai / Siddanth: Both of these guys were very serious about their application. They had long discussions with the groups in concern, some of which were down right rejected, others well accepted. Point being lots of effort in writing those applicatiosn

• Satya: She was introduced to GSoC by her friend bheekling (who I know is from IIT Kanpur, and I respect out of a gut feeling). She hung around on a IRC chat room, met her mentor, who was very helpful in bringing her into the entire environment. From not knowing a thing about Linux to plugging probes into the kernel (she’s doing something with System Tap) in just 2 months. Wow.

We wrapped things up after about 2.5 hours, most of us took the metro together, and parted ways at Rajiv Chowk. All in all, it was an excellent meetup, and we gel-ed really well. However, I have been issued an open challenge by Ankit Guglani, who unfortunately couldn’t make it, that his meetup (scheduled in a few days), would be infinitely better, and would feature a 3 minute chicken dance, aired on YouTube. Bring it on…