Shaastra 2009 Hackfest

Apologies: This post is coming MUCH MUCH later than it should have!

Wow! I wonder if you remember last year’s “Hackfest” at Shaastra, the technical festival of IIT Madras. Last year’s hackfest, despite failing miserably in a LOT of ways, had a whole lot of impact in other ways. I learned that it was partly responsible for the creation of two new LUGs, and the activation of one dormant LUG. It also indirectly played a role in bringing two new KDE developers, apart from quite a few things that I’m sure have escaped from my sight.

Last year’s hackfest was something that we coordinators placed really low on our priority list. S V Vikram, Sanjeev Sripathi and I were coordinators last year, and SVV and I had our most heavy academic semester going on. We really didn’t want to do the hackfest, but well, no one else pursued it. I did expect some juniors to do that! Well, nevertheless, we hardly spent any time working on it. The whole thing was a terrible disaster in terms of organization, but it actually did something significant!

Considering that this was one of those events which would actually motivate people to contribute to FOSS and to learn deeper, this event has entered the mainstream of Shaastra! We had four third year students – Prakash Mohan, Kashyap Puranik, Vinay Hegde, and Kashyap Garimella – applying as coordinators for this event. That felt really nice – something I wanted to do, but someone else (mind you, they are equally inclined towards the event as I am, or probably more!) to organize it! I decided not to pull myself in until those 4 days of Shaastra (we’re on Day 2 now) where I promised to be available to help with KDE – some contribution to KDE from me after my commit rate has been dwindling :|. It’s really awesome to see motivated juniors taking care of the event. They have worked REALLY HARD on it. Thankfully, their fifth semesters are lighter than ours was.

We got Atul Chitnis (tech. guru), Shreyas Srinivasan (GNOME, RadioVerve), Aneesh (Kernel), Kamalesh (Kernel), Prasad (Kernel), Jai Menon (ffmpeg), Vamsi Davuluri (Sugar), and Siddharth Agarwal (Mozilla) to give talks / mentor people during the Hackfest. We also have our very own Arun Chaganty (GNOME), Prakash Mohan (KDE), Kashyap Puranik (KDE) apart from me (KDE) mentoring folks at the hackfest.

I was hoping to publish this post before the hackfest, but I couldn’t rest because KDE was not building. Not that I’ve built it successfully now, but I’ve decided to do something else to keep me entertained while it builds. I was hoping for a better Day 1 than what actually went, but unlike last time, Day 1 was pretty good this time! Hopefully, Day 2 will see the real work happening.

I will describe Day 1 from my POV in the next post. Till then Tschues.