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14 April, 2012

Firefox Add-on Talk and Workshop - OSScamp Hubli

=================================== tl;dr ======================================
______ Talk & Workshop at OSScamp, BVB College Hubli: 11-12th April, 2012 ______
Event Page:
Talk Slides:

Workshop Slides:
Flickr Album:

OSScamp Hubli was a community event, primarily organized by Mozilla India Rep Kuldeep Singh & Kinshuk Sunil to help spread Open Source across India in general. This two-day event was packed with talks and workshops on various open source technologies by some reputed open-source tech-evangelists in India.

First day was more like an appetizer, with talk sessions on Open Street Maps (by @geohacker & @ajantriks), Introduction to FOSS (by CommsReps & Student Reps Co-ordinator @kinshuksunil), Revision Control with Git (by Taha Asadullah) & my take on Getting Started with Firefox Addon Development.

The audience were interested & cheerful - the speakers were massively responsible for that, of course - it's not easy to take 4 talks consecutively, which explores completely different sets of domains.

On the second day, there were the workshops scheduled - on Open Street Maps (by @ajantriks), Firefox Addons (by Me) and Game Development with SFML (by @yadurajiv). Apart from the initial delay to setup the labs for the workshops to commence, everything went as per expectation. The volunteers (Roopak, Ruchika and others) did an awesome job managing the entire process.

The crowd was overwhelming; headcount nearing about a century. We had to make them sit in two different labs to accommodate them all and take 10-15min sessions alternatively in each room for first 2hours. Fortunately the next 2hours after lunch, we could merge them together in one lab - that made it easier for the attendees & less frustrating for me. But it was a hell of an experience to manage all the students almost single handedly, in the lack of volunteers, and still nobody left the place through the back doors! (Yay, me!)

The students required basic background about the Firefox Addons - as we didn't filter out the attendees, only a few had good understanding so that we can directly go hand on development. Thus the first two hours were basically talk & demo shown by me to help them understand most of the tit-bits, and in the next two hours they got deep into the actual development & made some toy-addons as much the time permitted. Although, it seems funny from my perspective how little I could help & how much I wanted to, but from their side it was more than even unexpected. To be frank, all they expected was to see demo presented by me only - but after making addons themselves & running it, they were precisely awestruck (DAT BLOODY THING WORX!).

There were some parallel events running along with the workshop (Online Treasure Hunt, Coding Competitions etc.) and some people who signed up for both, just couldn't make mind. After the session was over, many attendees came up & talked to me asking how to get in touch & digging deeper into the addons etc. - I was flattered!

We had to start the Game Development session also along this for the time limitations & that also had quite good response. Before wrapping it up, Kinshuk gave a very nice presentation: "Introduction to Mozilla Student Reps" and then we said goodbye to each other.

True, that there were so many things not right, or upto the mark - labs running Firefox 3.5 on WinXP, people using DOCX for sharing documents etc. to name a few - but it also shows how much scope is there to spread more Open Source to make everything better. It just takes a few people & a "challenge accepted" attitude to change the world - and it starts with showing the light to your own peers, friends, classmates, colleagues... then the circle grows bigger all by itself. Will look forward to more such events, really!

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