“Why not select few students and teach them in few sessions and see
if they can turn into contributors. And why not start from my Alma mater.”
This would be a new experiment were we select few students based on
aptitude and based on any programming background. The thought came
to my mind few months back when I was discussing with few friends
about new contributors from our area this year & last year and
specifically with Fedora.
And yes to my surprise despite watching Fedora India community growing
good, and doing lot and lots of activities, this and last year, we haven’t
seen too many new and consistent contributors.
So I discussed an idea about doing a workshop at NIT Hamirpur with
some young fresh minds with friends in fedora community and was given
a go ahead by all.
Debarshi Ray agreed to join me in holding this workshop. One of my old
friends Arjun Shankar also showed interest in joining us for some
fun. Our proposal about doing a workshop was ACKed by college very
quickly and provided all support.
Proposal involved a clear TODO and we prepared a schedule and did some
preparations in advance for two and half day event.
We had asked CSE and ECE depts. to “give us list of 16 students
willing to participate and if more then 16 are interested then select
best among them based on your judgement.” We wanted to save time and
not get involved into selection and thought departments are best to
do so quickly. It turned out they really did a good job. 🙂
2. Python Programming – I
3. Python Programming – II
4. DBUS introduction and Demo
5. Software Management and Packaging (RPM and Fedora Packaging)
6. Gach Development
6. GNU Compiler Collection
7. GDB Debugger
First day workshop started at 5:45pm with bit of introduction Then
followed with 20 mins videos watching e.g “TRUTH HAPPENS”, “CHOICE”,
“WE ARE HERE”, “INEVITABLE” and few more. 😉
Immediately without wasting much time I started python programming
introduction with interactive demo based talk about language basics
and at 7:40pm we closed the first day.
Then all of us and few students installed Fedora 10 on many machines
for next two days.
Second day started with sharp 9:00 am. The previous night me, Rishi
and Arjun had drafted five problems around language constructs,
libraries and basic data structures.
To my surprise students excellent response. Everyone was able to keep
up with us. It turned out a good exercise. After that Rishi gave some
introductory talk about dbus and showed some live demonstrations e.g
connecting tomboy and packagekit via python dbus bindings. Playing
songs in rhythmbox or removing a package via packagekit — by
connecting through dbus, or listing out all notes on tomboy.
Then I started explaining the software management in distributions and
more specifically in Fedora. It involved explaining autotools, spec
file format, relation between different sections in spec
file. Everything will relevant examples and live demos. Then I
introduced them with Fedora services and resources they can use to
start out contributing to Fedora.
The whole session was interactive and live. Then we explained a bit
about “How you can start contributing and where ?”, “How do we
communicate in Free/Open software development model ?”, “What is the
approach one should take while looking for relevant ways to contribute
This session ended at 4:00pm sharp. We were not able to complete
everything we planned but were very happy with all day sessions.
Third day we started at 9:30am. Rishi started with explaining about GNU
Compiler Collection. He gave a quick introductory talk about how gcc
the driver program uses different parts of compiler. Talk was full
with live demonstrations. Then he talked about different compiler
options e.g optimizations, arch flags, Warning and Error flags etc. It
was followed by introduction about shared and static libraries and
many details of Linking and Loading process.
After this he explained about GDB with demonstration about how it
could be the rock star program in different cases. We closed this
session at 1:00pm.
After this we did manage to took some feedback from students about how
it was. I could guess from their faces that they did gained from it
lot. We would be really happy if in coming 6 months few of them turn
into contributors. And I am very very optimistic about it, really!
Thanks Fedora Project for all support and thanks NIT Hamirpur
Administration for allowing us to interact with students. It was FUN!
Album of workshop pictures is here.