First ever Linux Installfest in KGEC

The Beginning: I Registered for MUKTI ‘09 and went to NIT Durgapur along with my friend. There we stayed 3 days and attended all workshops. We came closer to FOSS community and some of the organizers. We met Mr. Rangeen Basu Roy Choudhry and he gave us the idea of having an installfest in our college to create a Linux environment.

The Growth: On 16th February, we decided to meet one of our CSE Faculty, Mr. Kaushik Das, whom we believed to be the most approachable person, but he was absent.

On 17th February, we came to know that he is out of station. Then we met our Head of IT Department and he gave us the permission to conduct this event on the condition that it should not clash with regular classes. We only demanded a classroom with a projector.

After getting the permission I contacted Mr. Choudhry (Fedora Ambassador) to help us conduct the installfest. He assured us of getting free DVD’s and we fixed the date – 21st February ’09.

Working on the idea was really great and our seniors suggested to conduct this event better by changing the venue to Language lab (Seminar Hall) and getting lunch packs for guests. We submitted this proposal to our college and after some movement from door to door, we got some very good responses and our proposal was accepted. We also got the suggestion of conducting it in our CSE Lab. and even install ‘Fedora 10’ in those machines. We were getting things done as fast as we can but the load was getting heavier. The Support from college was really great and they made this event really big. They even wanted us to arrange for food packets for participants. The publicity of this event was also a great factor. We believed that the event can never get success if we can’t get participants and we should encourage participants to bring their laptops. So, 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: I first announced the event officially in my class during our “control system lab”. The response really helped me to proceed further. Then I announced the event to all the 2nd year students of our hostel and took them into confidence. They helped me in every way and even bunked classes for me. For me, it was like taking a big responsibility with all positive attitude but my friends really helped me out to maintain it and took all pain to help conduct this event better.

Few names which deserve special mention are Sunil Kr. Koiri and Avul Fazal. I was really surprised get so much support from them. 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 Response: To get a good response, we did exclusive publicity of this event. There were posters everywhere and we moved on from class to class and announced the event. We even gave out fliers as Xerox of the posters. Then we moved on to every hostel of our college and gave them even more detail. We expected good response but we had doubts in our expectations.

On 21st February, we got the real response. I was surprised to see two participants reaching at 9:30 AM and many participants at 9:45 AM. Registration was supposed to start at 10:00 AM. We had some bad news of our guests getting late but the crowd was getting more and more. So, we started the registration at 10:15 AM and but restricted entry in the seminar hall because we needed volunteers in other areas. We opened the seminar hall at 10:40 AM and had to stop the registration after the hall was overcrowded. There were many who had to return back as the registration closed. There were about 135 to 140 participants inside the hall and many we had many volunteers. The program started at 11:30 AM with the speeches of Mr. Indranil Das Gupta and the participants were actually glad to hear him speak. The audience was really great and was curious about every session of the event. We expected very few participants in the 2nd half but to our surprise, our CSE lab was also overcrowded. There were about 80 participants during the installation session. It was like a crowd in a cinema hall as everybody watched in the projector screen and did exactly in their system. There were also pool of questions apart from how to install fedora like questions about contributing to FOSS.

The Event: The event was started with the speeches of the heads of our college. Then the program started with Mr. Indranil Das Gupta’s (ilugcal) talk. He shared his excitement and enthusiasm towards Linux and how he managed to do stuffs during his days. He also deliberated on the need for LINUX, its applications in various fields. He told the students that they should have the urge for learning new things; and that the best way to learn LINUX is to play with it. After that, Arindam Ghosh gave a briefing on LINUX. It was followed by presentation given by Subhodeep Biswas on the myths about LINUX and showed how they were factitious. Then the participants of the seminar were given a demonstration on “HOW to install LINUX”. Each of them installed LINUX themselves on their system during the demonstration. Those who didn’t bring their system had the opportunity to do that in the LAB Computers. The questions that were raised by the participants were satisfactorily answered. All the participants were given a ‘fedora 10’ DVD.

What went wrong: We had a power cut during Indranil ji’s speech and there was no arrangement for that. Our college had generators but the generator man was in leave and since it was Saturday, electricity office was also closed. There was complete uncertainty over the program as everything to be done was supposed to be done by presentation using projectors and the weather was also getting hot. Fortunately we had power just after the lunch and we were able to resume our program peacefully. The only damage we got was that few students who brought their laptops went home and came back again empty hand.

Special Thanks: All the success of this event lies with the fedora Ambassadors and experts who took all pains to help us and guided us at every step. We had nothing to worry about the conduct of the event as it was all in their hands and they did a fine job. But there are specially two names that deserve special mention:

  1. Rangeen Basu Roy Choudhry (nitdgplug). He is the real man behind this event. He gave us the idea and was with us from beginning till the end. He made all contacts to the experts and arranged for all DVD’s to be given. There were problems he faced to organize this event but he did not revealed that and helped us to fully concentrate on our event.

  2. Indranil Das Gupta (ilugcal). He is one of the founders of ilugcal and a very busy man. I first saw him in MUKTI ’09 and was really impressed. On 20th February, he was not well and was supposed to take rest. Despite his bad health, he came to grace our occasion and helped us. We are really thankful to him for all his contributions to our college.

Result: This is the beginning of Linux Environment in our college. We are getting very good responses from our college and we will definately create our own Linux User Group.