Saturday, September 20, 2008

PHPCamp Debrief

Today I attended a technologists' conference called PHPCamp in Pune, India. This gathering follows the Unconference model of self organised presentations. Anyone who is motivated can grab a marker pen and write their name and topic on a central whiteboard.

Due to a slow cautious driver and getting lost on the way our bus trip from Mumbai took almost six hours to cover the barely 200 km distance. This meant that by the time of arrival all presentation slots had been booked. All that was left were Birds of a Feather (BoF) session slots, so I signed up to present my previous talk on Running an Open Source Project.

Then I drifted between several talks, trying to meet interesting people and gauge their knowledge. One of the goals my employer has for sending its people to various conferences is to meet and recruit IT talent. It wasn't long before I found several passionate developers who have an interest in topics relevant to Directi's .pw business unit such as microblogging and social networking.

As it turned out several presenters had left without notice so I was lucky to get a spot in the main hall. The audience for my talk seemed to be well over one hundred. As is the case in India today, very few attendees seemed to have any experience with Free Software and Open Source projects. I'm slowly but surely making it my mission to promote open source among the vast Indian software developer community. The post-talk questions I received were mostly about basic concepts such as licensing: What is the "best" license? What are BSD/GPL/MIT/etc? What is Copyleft? Oh, and I got an invite to come talk at a company in Pune, which could be interesting.

I'm curious about the upcoming conference. Hopefully these events reach a wide audience and help percolate knowledge of open source and free software throughout the IT field in India. At the moment I feel that there is a disproportionate lack of contributorship coming out of India. Once more developers across the subcontinent discover the world of open source and participate in such projects, we are sure to see great things!

Special mention should be made for the wonderful tshirts designed by Directi specially for this event. The "PHP - Pretty Hot Programmer" shirts were a hit!

All in all a successful day trip. And we had lots of fun in the Porsche on the way back. ;-)


Pravin said...

Hi Sebastiaan,

It was nice to see you at the camp. My plesure that you attened my session on "OpenSocial- Creating Orkut Applications".
- Pravin Nirmal

Sebastiaan Deckers said...

Hello Pravin, is your presentation available online? Not seeing it on your blog. Also, after our talk I was hoping to ask you a few questions but didn't get a chance to. Can you shoot me an email?

Pravin said...

Presentation and code files are present here

I will send you a seperate email so that we can communicate.

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