Been thinking about starting a blog for quite a while now. But every time I actually sat down after deciding that I needed a blog, suddenly someone would convince me, that I don’t really need one. I never really had a strong feeling within me that I actually need a blog until today.
A friend of mine, very politely said, “You seem to be a man of actions, Prashant. I was expecting a blog post or something on your experiences. But I did not find anything.” Being a man of actions is something different, maybe I am. But yes, if writing a blog is one of the many ways to let people know about how things are/were, then so be it.
If at all you are reading it much later than the year this was published, and if you are being taught in the “History of Computers” about a person named Prashant Anantharaman. Then you can just close the book now probably. Because this blog you are reading is THE blackbox in case my life randomly crashes!
How did everything start? I have been a linux user for over a year now. I started using it in the first semester of my B.E. But thats when I started using it for the first time. Very soon I had 2-3 people on the “Nearby Users” category of the Empathy Messenger. Even 2-3 seems to be huge numbers. After one year of struggling to create an awareness, spreading ideas, celebrating “Software Freedom Day”, none of it had any significant impact. None of it actually convinced me completely to start contributing.
But 5 days of my life could have changed my whole life, whether I am alive when you read this or no. Those five days were from the 26th of January to the 30th of January. You might think, “Wow, those are strong words”. Well, of course they were meant to be, thats the point. Free Software Movement Karnataka had conducted this workshop on free softwares, for a very cheap 1200 bucks. You might think you wont get anything for 1200 bucks. But I am pretty sure in a place like Bangalore, you wont get such great accommodation, food and brilliant lectures for this cheap. The organization was brilliant.
There was a time in my life too when I used to gasp if I find someone wearing a Mozilla T shirt (Back then I didn’t know there existed something called linux). After these five days, I got kind of used to seeing contributers/developers of various open source projects. So much so that I felt like laughing at a first year guy who thought it was very very cool to be a mozilla contributer while the guy is actually telling us what he does is nothing great at all. Whether its great or no, its there on his resume, and it does matter. Most of them were very very supportive and encouraging. Getting to know such knowledgeable people is almost always helpful!
Linux was built (obviously) with the intention of not intimidating people. I know, and have come across dozens or even hundreds of people, who have actually decided that linux is taboo. It is for “freaks” like me. I don’t know how they say so without using it, or even ever looking at it. When I tell them it is very user friendly, (probably more user friendly than the operating system that rhymes with the word widows), the general reply is, “What the hell man? Not possible! I always see you working on some black screen. How can it be user friendly?”.
At last I found a way to create some sort of an awareness in my college. The first being printing T shirts. Apart from this, there was another more interesting option. At the workshop, we came across a group of individuals from a town near Bengaluru called Mandya. From a place like Chennai, where even though its a metropolitan city and all, there are still many who don’t know how to use computers, there was this incredible group of individuals who used a new distro called “Matrix OS” as a way to attract individuals to use it. All I could think was, why not try something similar out here! Obviously people would come if we say we created our own Distro (Which we truly did). People obviously want to know what their college-mates are up to. Be it something cool or no.
All I can do is hope it goes on well! Planning, planning and planning to release CEGLUG Distro soon. Hopefully we should be done with it by the time our college cultural (Techofes ’13) ends. That’s the only time when we can actually expect people to come.