Report on KGEC FreedomFest '09

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Rohit Gupta

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Apr 22, 2009, 3:15:16 AM4/22/09
to GNU Linux User Group of KGEC
The Beginning:
The preparations for forming a 'GNU/Linux User Group' in KGEC was
started just after the Installfest '09. We created the Mailing List of
our group on 23rd February and visited NIT Durgapur to come closer to
what a 'GNU/Linux User Group' is and its functioning. We also
collected some resources from there like the fedora repo, different
distributions isos and ideas to start the GLUG. The key people to help
me was Mr. Debayan and Mr. Rangeen.

The Ideas:
The Mailing list of GLUG KGEC was ready but there was no awareness.
The GLUG was there but no official existence. So, here came the idea
of Publicity, Inauguration program and to create a awareness, the
Inauguration should be followed by FOSS events. To have publicity,
there should be also some activities and we installed Fedora 10 in
Library Public access computer with a Poster as maintained by GLUG
KGEC. There were lots of planning like this and a formal GLUG
structure was formulated for the official record. The college
supported the GLUG concept and we fixed 18th April as the inauguration
date followed by FOSS events.

The Growth:
Our college authority helped us in every possible way, they could.
They gave the permission, helped us for the event, became members and
even gave donations. The event name 'FreedomFest' was suggested by
Mr. Abhradip Mukherjee. Our Principal sir agreed to Inaugurate the
GLUG KGEC on 18th. We invited Mr. Indranil Das Gupta as our chief
guest, Mr. Abhradip to conduct the 'Why FOSS' interactive session and
'Kalyani Linux User Group' for conducting the 'Fedora Workshop'
practical session. All the speakers gave the confirmation and we went
ready for the event.
Working on the idea was really great. We wanted to conduct this event
as successfully as the InstallFest on 21st Feb. So, we arranged for
all permissions and got the CSE computer Lab ready a day before the
event. The publicity of this event was also a great factor. We did
exclusive publicity of this event and were also getting good positive
responses. We set the max limit of participants to 150.

The Management:
Since the GLUG KGEC already existed in mailing list and we had few
much interested students, we were always in touch and went together.
After the final draft, we even got some surprise names getting
interested in GLUG KGEC and becoming member. Some of their names who
gave immense effort are: Sunil Kr. Koiri, Md. Ekhlaque, Siddharth
Lepcha, Mithun Sarkar, Amit Mandal, Mukesh Singh, Ramiz Raza, Sahel
Mullick and Abu Sufian. There were even others who supported whenever
needed.The event management and maximum effort for the event was given
by Sunil Kr. Koiri. There were volunteers who helped conduct the
event. All the management and smooth running of the event was in there
hands and they did the job perfectly. I was busy receiving the guests
and checking out what’s next and did not have to worry about anything
regarding the smooth running of the event. Every credit goes to our
volunteer team.

The Event - FreedomFest '09:
The event was finally conducted on 18th April '09. The Event started
at 11:30 AM with the inauguration of GLUG KGEC in the hand of
principal. Then there were speeches of the the following persons:
1. Dr. Krishnendu Chakrabarty (the principal)
2. Dr. Santanu Das (ME HOD)
3. Mr. Mahadev Rana (Labrarian)
4. Mr. Kousik Dasgupta (Lecturer CSE & President, GLUG KGEC)
5. Mr. Rohit Gupta (Secretary, GLUG KGEC)
6. Mr. Paritosh (Secretary, Kalyani LUG)

The even then followed the 'Why FOSS' interactive session by Mr.
Abhradip Mukherjee. It started at 12:15 PM and concluded at 2:15 PM.
He explained the philosophies behind 'Free and Open Source Software'
and answered to the Questions of participants and cleared their
doubts. The participants were all newbies to the concept and
appreciated the philosophies. Then there was a FOSS quiz. The
participants were asked different questions on FOSS and whoever
answered the question got a Distribution (15 DVDs of different
distributions) of GNU/Linux and fedora stikers. There were also 28
fedora 10 DVD's distributed to all needed and goodies given to all.
The FOSS quiz was really got participants interested and Abhradip got
them important questions whose answers were important to know.
Then there was a break and after that the Practical Workshop part was
started. This was conducted by 'Kalyani Linux User Group' and every
participant was given a computer to experiment and learn. The Lab
computers were already installed with fedora 8. The event started at
2:35 PM and concluded at 5:50 PM.
In this event, the participants were shown Linux administration and
general solution to problems. Some of the topics discussed are – How
to crack root password, how to work in CUI, how to configure
grub.conf, xorg.conf, how to use multi-user interface and many more
administrative and troubleshooting solutions. The participants were
even encouraged to get their problems solved. Then I also conducted a
small session on how to use a offline mirror and install, remove
applications. We also showed some of very useful applications. The
whole session was interactive. There were three people from Kalyani
Linux User Group:
1. Biswanath Chakraborty
2. Mithun Pal
3. Jayanta Kumal Pal
Every participant did exactly what was shown in the projector in the
computers provided.

Response:
The registration started at 10:15 AM and preparations were on. The
event viewed some very good responses from some of the faculty members
of our college. There were some MCA faculty of our college who came
even before registration started and were looking for registration.
The students response was moderate. We had a total registration of 85
with 47 being members of GLUG KGEC. The There were this 85
participants in the starting of event who attended the 'Why FOSS'
session apart from the volunteers managing the works. Some of the
participants had to leave in the break in between because some had
labs, some had Hall Day reunion in their Hostel (a annual event). The
event viewed about 45 participants in the 'Fedora Workshop' session.
There were participants from every stream and year.

What went wrong:
On 18th April, Mr. Indranil Das Gupta gave us a news of his bad health
and said he will not be able to come. The date selection of the Event
as April 18 also caused trouble. The event was conducted on Saturday
because only first year had classes but there were extra classes on
for every year, Labs and even class tests. The event also clashed with
the dates of VC (a KGEC Hostel) annual Hall Day. This proved a low
response from much interested students there. The train in which Mr.
Abhradip Mukherjee (founder, p4f network) was coming also got delayed
half an hour but his 'Why FOSS' session was supposed to be started
earlier as Mr. Indranil Das Gupta's speech was canceled.

Special Thanks:
The whole event “FreedomFest '09” was a success due to the hard word
and responsibility taken by the following people:
1.Mr. Abhradip Mukherjee. He had WBUT 8th semester examinations
starting from 20th April but even then he came to our rescue and
helped us in the event. His contribution is really great for this
event.
2.'Kalyani Linux User Group'. They conducted the practical workshop
session in the lab and they conducted it so well that the participants
understood even some of the administrative part (Many of them were
newbies).
3.The students of KGEC who participated in volunteer work and helped
conduct the event.

Result:
The event “FreedomFest '09” was an overall awareness program in KGEC
and the participants came closer to the FOSS philosophy and GNU/Linux.
The 'Why FOSS' session gave them reasons and practical workshop part
helped them technically. The participants stopped fearing GNU/Linux
and even tried to apply what they learned in FreedomFest in their own
computers. There were even some more GNU/Linux installations and
interest in FOSS.
Now, we are all set to get into the next level – becoming power users
and contributors.

Regards:
Rohit Gupta
GLUG KGEC
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