Arun Tejasvi Chaganty about articles blog thoughts research

foss.in/2009

foss.in/2009. Nimhans Convention Center, Bangalore, Dec. 1-5, 2009. Yep, a month ago (well, atleast it’s better than a year ago). I attended my first foss.in in 2007, and it seriously changed my life. I can’t say quite the same for this edition, but it was interesting.

The overwhelming focus of this year’s foss.in was open hardware - something I’m really close to. The best talk I attended without a doubt goes to Harald Welte; he spoke on how people (including himself) had reverse engineered RFIDs, and remarkably GSM, and exposed how flawed it was. Harald has this near holy modesty about him, but good god does he know his stuff. Seriously, Harald ist Gott.

Now, the other set of great talks were given by the anti-thesis of modesty, Lennart Poettering (who ist also Gott) (who I’d venture to call RKK’s protege). He ripped apart any “assumptions” you could possibly have about filesystems, S.M.A.R.T., operating systems, hell anything. General theme (as always) was “Everything sucks, and here’s why.”

Coming to hacking, I must say, GNOME day was a bit of a disappointment. The “focus” this year was GNOME performance again. Some interesting work was done using dtrace on Solaris (now that I’ve seen the tool, I have to admit it is awesome). I sadly didn’t see much cohesion, nor any direction with the GNOME community, which kinda irked me. Personally, I spent the better part of 3 days profiling, checking out applications that needed performance updates, etc. I did find a performance bottleneck with GTK, but it had already been fixed (of course it took me the better part of a day to get the latest version of the sources to verify this…). I also gave a ad-hoc talk about jhbuild and getting “bleeding edge GNOME”, which I think I utterly mucked up, and would like to forget about. Only patch I submitted was one a trivial one to jhbuild. In other words, foss.in/2009 was epic fail for me.

On the other hand, the KDE community was awesome - they had a tight show running, and managed to guide quite a few people into development, and I’m pretty sure a few of which will stay. I bow to Pradeepto, and Akarsh.

On a concluding note, I’m currently having quite mixed feelings with my role in FOSS - I’m certainly not “contributing” anything significant, and I don’t feel much of that community goodness. I think I’m going to probably stick with just opening all my work. It seems rather ironic that my first foss.in had pulled me into FOSS, and now my second (perhaps last?) foss.in marks the end of that period.