conf.kde.in has become an everlasting tradition for the scene of FOSS in India and each year brings with it a new story, a new adventure and a whole new bunch of members who are exposed to the Open Source culture and the KDE community.
conf.kde.in has been unique in it’s approach as opposed to all the other KDE summits and conferences organized around the world because it focuses on students and teachers and emphasizes on cultivating an exposure regarding the opportunities and the alternatives that Free and Open Source Software offers to budding engineers.
conf.kde.in has had a tradition of being organized in engineering colleges from it’s first successful venture in 2011 in the R.V. College of Engineering in Bangalore to it’s successive meetups in Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology in Gandhinagar in 2013 and 2014, continuing its trail towards the Amrita University, Amritapuri in 2015.
An odd set of 200 to 300 students ranging from a minimal exposure to code to a rampant expertise in it and with little or no knowledge of FOSS to students who’ve already dipped their toes into some or the other Open Source Initiative ‒ each and every one of them got a chance to explore an alternative style of how they interacted with their computers, their softwares and their Operating Systems. Besides being exposed to an alternative means of interaction with their study material and their laptops, conf.kde.in has been instrumental in providing them with an engaging means of learning to code and more importantly, learning to code for a cause, and to code for a change.
The 2016 session of conf.kde.in kept this essence alive in the Pink City of India, royal capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur. The LNM Institute of Information Technology which hosted conf.kde.in 2016 has a thousand students from all over the country pursuing their undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and a subset of these very same students comprised the organising team for the conference. It was wonderful to see a student driven effort by the LNMIIT-FOSS club in their college that undertook an interest in creating a greater awareness among their peers and telling them what KDE was all about. It was also wonderful note the enthusiasm amongst the teachers at the university who believed in including participation in FOSS communities as a part of their course curriculum.
It was a two day event from the 5th to the 6th of March which commenced with an offbeat keynote by Parag Nemade. Nemade gave talk on the need of whatever these students are writing the software how it can be helpful to them by packaging it. By packaging their software they can get more users, contributors to their project as it becomes widely available otherwise just writing software with them, no one will know how it can be helpful to others.
Followed by Pradeepto’s talk on how KDE.in has been formed, how it got progressed over the last 10 years. Yes this was 10th year anniversary of KDE.in conference!!
Then Varun Joshi talked about how to begin with contributing to KDE project. He explained version control, build system, how to use git commands with KDE sources.
After lunch , a very nice talk by Bruno Coudoin on “GCompris goes Qt Quick”. Bruno explained about Gcompris software development, what problems he faced with its Gtk port and why need has been developed to port it into Qt. The Gcompris Qt port is a full rewrite in QML with Cmake build system, some parts copied from Gtk port. Sagar showed us Gcompris demo.
Then next talk was on Contributing to Season of KDE by Anu Mittal where she talked about how to do development, documentation and promotion of your project for SoK. Next talk was by Boudhyan who talked about what Spectacle is and how he became maintainer of Spectacle.
This was followed by talk on “Hands on PMC and My SoK Experience” by Aditya Dev Sharma where he explained about Plasma Media Center and his journey for becoming KDE contributor. This was the last talk of first day.
The next talk was by Bhushan Shah on “Mentoring programs with KDE” where Bhushan explained about how he got into KDE contribution and then participated in SoK and how he became mentor for SoK. He also explained students about GSoC program.
The next talk was by Rajdeep Kaur on “GCompris InBuilt Features” who has contributed the classical hangman activity for GCompris. She explained how to contribute activity to GCompris.
The next talk was by Boudhayan Gupta on “Git Under KDE” where he explained about git.kde.org and his devops experience in maintaining kde infrastructure. Then we break for lunch.
The next talk was Sanjiban Bairagya on “Play with Marble” where he showed Marble application and his contribution to it which was implementing interactive tours in Marble in GSoC.
The next talk was by Garvit Khatri on “Introduction about LabPlot” where he talked about his work on integration of cantor (a front-end to powerful mathematics and statistics packages) with LabPlot. This work done was his GSoC project.
The next talk was by Ashish Bansal on “Introduction to KDE Connect” where he talked about KDE Connect and the plugin to find the mobile phone.
Then Rishabh just talked about the incoming search feature in GCompris.
Then Siddesh explained about how QML animation are easy to make by showing his work on Gcompris
There happened 2 parallel workshops. One on “How to use Git” and another was on “Qt programming”. Both workshop were full of students. Labs were houseful. I participated in Git workshop where we group of few people helped students in learning and executing basic git commands. Students were so excited to learn more about git but college need to close the lab rooms as we approached towards closing time.
Out of the 300 students who attended conf.kde.in in 2016, there was a spark of curiosity and an honest desire to explore KDE that was observed in many of them, and there were quite a few who flaunted brand new KDE installations on their laptops the very next day and stayed late in labs hounding the speakers with their queries. Students who’d previously been involved with the Wikimedia, Ubuntu and Python communities now curated an interest in KDE and were delighted by the welcoming nature of the community. Initiatives of such a sort which are different from the regular KDE developer sprints taking place are vital in initiating new members to the KDE Community as opposed to the sustenance of the current community members and it’s projects which is what sprints have been focusing on and have been successfully achieving since a while.
India has a potential of over 1 million engineers every year, all of which are taught introductory level coding in C and Python in their first year in college. Even a minute fraction of the power vested in such a magnanimous proportion of human resources can be extremely crucial to a huge community like KDE which can use all the helping hands that it can get. conf.kde.in has always been an entity that has been touching their lives since the past 6 years and has seen the KDE community touched in return, consistently.
Links for the more pics and events :