Open Source India: A Celebration of True Sprit of Open Source

Open Source India 2011There is no denying the fact that knowledge sharing is the true essence of the open source movement. However, knowledge seekers in this domain certainly need a platform to connect with the gurus.

Open Source India — Asia’s mega convention on open source — has evolved over the years as one of the most popular platforms for the lovers of Linux and Open Source.

Considering that the acquisition of knowledge involves people and conversations, this too is a community event where, every year, national and international stalwarts from the world of Linux and Open Source gather, share knowledge, collaborate and help build “open” communities.

Last year, at Chennai, the event was attended by over 3,000 IT professionals including software developers, IT administrators, CIOs, and budding tech professionals. This year is the 8th edition of this event, to be held from the 20th to 22nd of November, 2011, at Bengaluru’s NIMHANS Convention Centre, is expected to be even bigger.

Ahead of the event, we thought of giving you a peek behind the curtains, by introducing you to some of the luminaries from the open source world who will be speaking at the three-day convention.

We hope this helps our readers get to know more about: their favourite speakers and their tryst with open source, the subjects that they plan to speak on in the various tracks of the OSI convention, and the other sessions that they are looking forward to attending.

Here are a few excerpts* from the conversation that the LINUX For You team had with the open source gurus.

[*To read the complete interviews, visit osidays.com, the official website of Open Source India 2011.]

Robert Lemke

Robert Lemke: Open Source gives me high-quality solutions

He is the lead developer of TYPO3 Phoenix and founding developer of the FLOW3 application framework. He is passionate about clean code, and found his personal mission in bringing successful development and architecture techniques from other programming languages to the world of PHP. Robert lives in Lubeck, Germany, with his wife, his daughter and Vibiemme, their espresso machine.

For me, the primary benefit of open source software is the high-quality solutions I get. A broad range of product categories now come under open source. Governments, companies and private users have all understood the advantages of OSS. I like the fact that, in many cases, the free product is superior and the market leader, instead of its commercial counterparts.

A few challenges

Organising open source development and quality assurance is not at all a trivial issue in open source projects. That is particularly because volunteers tend to have their own lives, and the time they spend on the project is not foreseeable. Very agile and creative solutions need to be found for the management of such projects. For bigger projects, some guidance through a community manager or a strong project leader is absolutely essential.

Key highlights of my sessions

I’ll be giving an introduction to “Aspect-Oriented Programming”, a technique that was previously not available in the PHP world, but allows for more robust and clean coding by centralising aspects like security or persistence at a specific place in the application.

The other talk is an introduction to FLOW3, the framework our community has developed during the last four years. It is tailored for enterprise Web applications, and has generated quite a buzz in Germany long before its first release.

Hugo Hamon

Hugo Hamon: At OSI, I want to discover how open source has evolved in India

Aged 24, Hamon has been a PHP geek for 10 years. He stays in Paris (France) and works as the training manager at the SensioLabs company, a well-known French Web agency that is the creator and supporter of the Symfony PHP framwork. Hamon also writes books for a French publisher, and is a contributor to the Symfony project and the PHP community. You can find him on Twitter (@hhamon) and on his weblog.

I am a very big fan of the open source world, and that’s why I have been an active contributor to the PHP community for many years. It’s incredible to see how the power of a community can release new, professional, useful and solid tools.

Expectations from OSI 2011

I want to discover how open source has evolved in India as compared to France, Europe and the rest of the world.

Key highlights of my sessions

I will be presenting three talks at the OSI Days conference. Two of them will dive into database management with PHP. I will first talk about how database persistence has evolved from the beginning of PHP to today.

My second talk will introduce some of the key patterns to design, and organise code that communicates with a storage engine like a database. Finally, my third talk will show how the Silex micro-framework can suit your needs to create Web services with a SOAP or REST architecture.

Sessions that I am eager to attend

I really would like to attend the PHP sessions of Sebastian Bergman, who’s the lead developer of the PHPUnit testing framework. I am also interested in Tobias Schlitt’s talk about advanced object-oriented design patterns. Finally, I would not want to miss some of the conferences on database management with relational and NoSQL databases. NoSQL is one of the trendiest topics nowadays in Web development.

Juozas Kaziukenas

Juozas Kaziukenas: Open source is powering pretty much everything

Juozas, or Joe as everyone calls him, is a young, experienced and talented professional working with all kinds of Web projects, as the CEO of Web Species Ltd. His Web projects range from small and medium websites to enterprise business tools. When not in office, you will find him pursuing a computer science degree, and contributing to open source projects to improve interoperability and platform independence.

Linux is the core of a majority of servers, especially Web servers. Most of the programming languages are open source too, so I’d say that only 10 per cent of all software written and used today is based on proprietary ideas. In the future, the share of open source should increase even more, as certain technologies like programming languages just can’t belong to the closed-source domain — and developers understand that.

A few challenges in open source adoption

A lack of professionalism in open source projects is a serious issue. Open source projects are either written for fun, or they are meant to be useful. If, as a project developer, you belong to the latter category, then you have to ensure that as a businessman, I can trust your project and you. Documentation is another aspect that needs attention.

Key highlights of my sessions

I am going to give two sessions: one, a workshop on Doctrine 2 ORM and the other, a talk on the new era of PHP frameworks. Both revolve around recent developments and how to leverage them in your own projects.

I think all developers and companies need to keep pace with the new projects and technologies getting released. Keeping that in mind, my frameworks talk will give an overview of the PHP ecosystem, and what to expect in the near future. The Doctrine 2 workshop would guide participants on how to understand and use one of the fastest-growing PHP frameworks.

Mishi Choudhary

Mishi Choudhary: Linux is a disruptive force

She is the executive director of the Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) at New Delhi, as well as the director of International Practice at SFLC at New York. She is an ardent believer in open access to knowledge. She is now working towards building sflc.in into an electronics civil liberties organisation for defending the digital freedom of Indians.

I owe my conversion to the cult of open source to Professor Eben Moglen, whom I met in Europe while studying in Amsterdam. His cogent and grandiloquent discussions in class got me interested in the collaborative economy. I spent six months debating with him about the pros and cons of community production, while converting from Windows to different distributions of Linux at that time. I have been hooked ever since.

The 20 years of Linux

These 20 years have been super-exciting, wherein Linux has emerged as a disruptive force with a cool outlook. We are well past that stage where we were either trying to convince people that FOSS could be useful in their daily lives even if they weren’t developers, or trying hard to tell them that FOSS and business could coexist in ways that are good for both business and freedom. These earlier claims are established propositions now.

Key highlights of my session

The availability of FOSS has brought in changes in the acquisition, deployment and usage policies of companies. FOSS isn’t something that one downloads without any attribution to the authors, or starts using and distributing as one’s own without understanding the license or the terms of use.

The talk will try to cover the following issues: exposure to intellectual property infringement law suits, FOSS compliance issues and their effect on proprietary code, compliant usage of FOSS, the relationship with the FOSS community, and industry best practices.

Venkat Mangudi

Venkat Mangudi: Going from ‘Ow’ to ‘Wow’ in open source

Venkat is an open source evangelist based in Bangalore, India. He is passionate about open source, and speaks/writes about it whenever possible. He writes for publications that help small and medium enterprises. He has spoken on various topics at OSI Days in the past too.

Those of us who have assisted someone new to Linux/FOSS migrate to the open source world have heard endless complaints from them about how things are not working the way proprietary applications do. While we can attribute such complaints to ignorance or lack of knowledge, we need to understand that it is this impression at the consumers’ level that is changing the world.

When the iPod was introduced, it was not the first portable solidstate music player. But what made it click? Simplicity? Elegance? Or simple features? I think it was all of these. Google was not the first search engine — but it is the reigning search engine today. How did that happen? Because of the “Wow” factor. Imagine, if the iPod kept rebooting, or the search results generated by Google were only 70 per cent accurate… there would be so many more “Ows” than “Wows”.

Today, we observe that only a few are ready to try out FOSS tools seriously. Most people try it, and then switch back. We need to provide the “Wow” factor to FOSS. My talk at OSI will examine the FOSS “Ow” factors, and explore potential ways to convert them to “Wows”.

OSI: Reflections and expectations

I have been a part of OSI Days for the past few years. It was exciting to meet so many talented FOSS enthusiasts. This year, considering that the event is being organised at Bengaluru, I hope to see a tremendous turnout for the sessions. Also, I am expecting to see a lot of developers and FOSS
evangelists attending the conference.

Kapil Gupta

Kapil Gupta: 75 per cent of stock exchanges worldwide run on Linux

Gupta is the founder and CEO of OMLogic Consulting, one of the leading online and social media agencies of India. He has remained an avid speaker on online marketing and entrepreneurship, across the globe. Currently, he is also the co-founder of the non-profit OM Careers, the world’s first online marketing careers community.

Open source technology makes business sense. Apart from being free and of very high quality, it is often more powerful than most commercially available products. That’s because its shared development harnesses the brilliance of thousands around the world, who are continuously developing, improving and evolving its core. It’s a worldwide community that is building something awesome, regardless of distance, language and culture.

However, I feel marketing of open source technologies, products or services needs a lot more focus. Some great open source products don’t even get to see the light of day.

Expectations from OSI 2011

It would be a great platform to meet the technology experts and innovators from all over the world. I hope it will be a great learning experience for everyone.

The key highlights of my talk

The topic of my session is “Marketing Open Source Businesses, Using Social Media”. I will be discussing how open source companies can leverage the social media for generating business. This will include an introduction to social media (from a pure marketing standpoint) as well as specific opportunities in this domain. I will also talk about the best practices and the dos and don’ts, again, from a marketing standpoint. This session will also delve into viral marketing for open source businesses, and its impact.

Vaitheeshwar Ramachandran

Vaitheeshwar Ramachandran: Kernel coding comes with its own, unique debugging challenges

He has just completed his Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering, and is joining TCS this November as Assistant Systems Engineer. His research work on open source operating systems has been published in various international journals. His projects on open source operating systems have fetched him numerous awards at international conferences held in India.

Kernel code cannot be easily executed under a debugger, nor can it be easily traced, because it is a set of functionalities not related to a specific process. Kernel code errors can also be exceedingly hard to reproduce, and can bring down the entire system with them, thus destroying much of the evidence that could be used to track them down.

About my session

At OSI 2011, I’ll be talking about kernel debugging techniques. In my session, I will briefly talk about the techniques one can use to monitor kernel code, and trace errors under such trying circumstances. The session will provide a deep insight into kernel debugging techniques, with example code provided, for clarity and better understanding.

The session will also cover the types of problems, the tools available (debuggers, built-in, Linux Trace Toolkit, etc), error and debug messages.

Sessions I am looking forward to attending

The following sessions are of interest to me: “10 Golden Rules of Thumb” by Tobias Schlitt, “Create Clean Code with Aspect-Oriented Programming” by Robert Lemke, “Jugaad — Linux thread-injection kit” by Aseem Jakhar, among others, at OSI Days 2011.

Ehrenberg Jungowski

Dominik Jungowski: Open source leverages the wisdom of the masses

Aged 27, Jungowski works as a scrum master for CHIP Online, one of the largest media publishing sites in Germany and has been using PHP for about 10 years now. He also studies psychology part-time at FernUni Hagen.

Open source has the advantage that comes from leveraging the “wisdom of the masses”, yet it still sometimes lacks the professional element of proprietary products. I think good user interfaces (in general) are still the real issue in the open source world. If you compare the GIMP to Photoshop, you’ll probably know what I mean.

What is mostly lacking and needs to be incorporated are more user-experience designers to pump in quality work into open source projects. But we are definitely going in the right direction.

The key highlights of my talks

The overall highlight will surely be the Lego City Scrum Game from my 4.5 hours Scrum workshop. It’s always great to see how different people quite often show similar behaviour when playing it. On the second day, there will be a session on agile development, where I will talk about common problems one encounters when using agile. I will also focus more on how individuals work together best as a team.

Sessions I am looking forward to

There are a lot of interesting sessions covering Web development, so I’m particularly looking forward to attending these. The PHP and Database Days tracks look really interesting. I’ll also probably be attending the Doctrine 2 and the MySQL workshop.

Aseem Jakhar

Aseem Jakhar: Open source allows us to research and innovate further

Jakhar a.k.a. “@” is the chief researcher at Payatu Technologies, a start-up in information security training and consulting, with extensive experience in systems programming, security research and consulting. He has worked on various security products and tools. He is the founder of null — The Open Security Community (a registered not-for-profit organisation).

I am a *NIX boy, and have been working on the *NIX platform since I began my career. I just love the options provided by open source software, in general. There is so much you can do, tweak and learn. If you don’t like something, you can just remove that part of the code, or change it to suit your needs. You have an open source solution for almost everything today, be it a database, OS, Web applications, CMS, etc. So it’s a good thing for beginners to learn, and for experts to innovate further.

Landmark achievements of Linux

In spite of being maintained by the community, Linux is one of the most stable operating systems. That actually goes for *BSD systems as well. The way it has developed and the way the operating system is managed, is commendable. Every release adds some good features to the kernel.

The key highlights of my talk

I will be releasing the initial version of my toolkit called “Jugaad”. It currently has only one functionality implemented — to infect remote processes on the same system with malicious code running as a thread within the context of the remote process, without its knowledge. The key takeaway from the session would be to understand that bad things can be done using the simple functionalities and features provided by the operating systems themselves, so one should be really careful when designing a solution, and take security into consideration during the SDLC process.

Tobias Schlitt

Tobias Schlitt: More and more technology will be freely available, courtesy FOSS

Tobias is a PHP expert and co-founder Qufoo GmbH. He has a degree in Computer Science and has worked for more than 10 years on professional Web projects based on PHP. As an open source enthusiast, he contributes to various open source projects.

I am neither a philosopher nor an economist, but I think that the FOSS movement will accelerate further in the coming years and touch several areas of our lives. For us in the technology area, this means that more and more technology will be simply and freely available and not hidden in company safes.

The key highlights of my session

The main focus of my session is to help people to produce high quality software. This is also the focus of the company that I own together with two of my friends from the open source crowd: Qafoo.

My session “Advanced OO Patterns” takes a look at and discusses the object oriented programming patterns that the PHP world is buzzing about. This includes, among other things, Dependency Injection Containers and the infamous Singleton pattern.

My talk on the topic “10 Golden Rules of Thumb” attempts to wrap up the best practices from object oriented design and programming into pragmatic, simple-to-remember rules for everyday software development.

In addition to these, I will be talking about the “Apache Zeta Components” project, a high-quality PHP library, which was originally named “eZ Components” and is now in incubation at the Apache Software Foundation. The library contains some cool tools, such as those for sending and receiving email in PHP, for generating charts, and for converting between document formats.

Bastian Feder

Bastian Feder: It has become fun to install Linux

Bastian is working as a senior developer and quality coach for Liip Inc in Zürich, Switzerland. Along with his good friend, Jakob Westhoff, he is an acting trainer for JavaScript and PHP. Being an open source addict, he has participated in and authored a number of projects, like FluentDOM and PHPDox, and translated the SQLite section of the PHP documentation into German.

I cannot predict the future, but what we are seeing right now is that more and more companies are benefiting from open source software by building their products on libraries like Symfony 2 (SF2). They are also getting more into sponsoring these projects that they directly benefit from. An example here is SF2, which currently was taken to test for security vulnerabilities, initiated and paid for by the community and companies using SF2.

OSI: Reflections and expectations

Last year was the first time I visited India, to attend and speak at OSI 2010. I was really excited, and a bit anxious. However, minutes after I arrived at the conference venue and after a very warm welcome by the organisers, I got really comfortable. I had really intense and interesting discussions with the participants and co-speakers. I hope we can keep up this trend this year as well.

Key highlights of my sessions

I will be presenting three talks this year. The first one will be about the new star of the PHP world, Symfony 2. My talk would make suggestions on what component can be used for different tasks. In the second presentation, I will be talking about programming fundamentals — gathered by Robert C Martin, also known as Uncle Bob, in the early 2000s — describing what difficulties you can get into, if
you do not know these five principles reflected in the word: “SOLID”. My third talk is on documentation (which is probably one of the most hated topics for a developer). This talk is not going to be about tools, but about the meaning of documentation, why it is essential to document, and how to go about it.

Gil Yehuda

Gil Yehuda: Open source is about creating value from the contributions of many

Yehuda is director, Open Source and Open Standards, Yahoo!, where he manages the policies, processes, and relationships with organisations, foundations, and projects in the open source and open standards space. Prior to joining Yahoo!, he was a senior analyst at Forrester Research. Yehuda has a background in enterprise architecture, IT governance, and development technology from his many years of working there. He occasionally blogs at gilyehuda.com, while he tweets as @gyehuda.

Many talks about open source focus on the benefits of using it, while a lot of the “open source vendors” focus on the marketing advantages of working with them (though still paying them for various services). There is a third type of behaviour that makes open source work — and it is not just about using or selling it, but contributing to it.

I’ll focus on the value of giving and how it can benefit the company that gives. My talk at OSI 2011 will also focus on an element of the open source equation that I see as being quite relevant to companies like the one I work for, but this element does not get as much attention. In particular, I’ll address the economics of creating commodity technology using open source.

Look forward to some pragmatic voices of experience…

I’m looking forward to learning how others see open source as a behavioural ethic in their companies. Do they orchestrate the music so that it all sounds harmonious, or do they hand out the horns and hope that everyone blows the right notes? I find that open source talks are usually divided into those where someone tells you about the terrible licensing risks that you might find when you do it wrong, or those that speak of the wonderful benefits that you get when you use open source.

My experience tells me that the terrible things are not as terrible as they are made out to be, and the wonderful benefits are never actually achieved without significant cost or effort. So I am looking forward to hearing the pragmatic voices of experience — people who will share a dose of healthy reality about what works, what does not.

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