Thanks to all people who helped in the GNU/Linux Install Fest at Technopark


The GNU/Linux Install Fest at Technopark concluded successfully on the 5th and we packed and came back to Zyxware after a hectic week at Technopark. We had also deployed India's first Freedom Toaster which currently sits grandly near the reception counter of the Nila building in Technopark. Our complete hardware sales and services operations had come virtually to a standstill during this one week. However it was a big relief to have completed the fest successfully.

We were really happy about the fest because it gave us an opportunity to let the companies and the people in technopark know about such a vibrant community as the GNU/Linux Users Group Trivandrum. Also we were really happy about being able to complete the Freedom Toaster on time and deploy it in Technopark after the fest.

Organizing such a large function was also a good learning experience for me. With all the initial permission stuff and the mobilization work I was literally running full time behind this program. One thing about organizing community programs is that you can't order anybody around. In my company I can ask one of my staff to get something done and it will get done. But in a community I have to request people to get something done and then too I will have to closely monitor the task to make sure that it gets done. But the beauty about a community is that there are lot of eyes watching you and you can get lot of ideas and feedback from the system and then there are lot of hands waiting to help you.

The install fest and the freedom toaster would not have been possible without the efforts and cooperation of the members of GNU/Linux Users Group Trivandrum. I have to thank the following members for their commendable effort in organizing and executing the install fest. The list is purely in random order and not based on the contributions - Anand Raj - for volunteering for the fest and for contributing towards the toaster; Anoop Jacob Thomas and his wife Mary - for volunteering for the fest; Cris - for volunteering for the fest; George Mathew T - for being the ubiquitous handyman around Zyxware during the complete organization phase and also during the development of the Freedom Toaster; Gokul Das B - for being the on-time volunteer on all days of the fest; Jiju Thomas Mathew - for volunteering for the fest and for providing the network switch, it was very encouraging to have Jiju around during the fest; Kurian John - for volunteering for the fest and for helping with the initial arrangements at Technopark; Nishandh M - for the initial design of the toaster artwork; Suraj Narayanan - for volunteering for the fest and for providing the gaming system; Syam Krishnan - for volunteering for the fest and for helping with the initial arrangements at Technopark, Syam and Kurian had also compiled the material which we had planned to display as free software promotional material. It was a bit disappointing that we could not fully utilize this because of a small shortage of volunteers. Syam, Kurian and Suraj had also voluntarily brought their cars for use for transporting volunteers and materials for the fest.

Special thanks are due to Ashik Salahudeen for his efforts with the media management, for contributing his gaming PC and for conducting the compiz demo and also for Prasad S. R. who was a key player in the design and implementation of the freedom toaster. Special mention has to be given to Nishandh M. who designed the initial toaster layout which was taken up and brought to the final design by Joju Joshua. The artwork for the Install Fest publicity material was done by Prashant V, Keerubai and of course Joju Joshua.

This is on top of all the employees of Zyxware who had dedicated their time on top of their regular responsibilities to make the fest and the toaster possible - Anand P. V. - for helping with the initial arrangements at Technopark; Manuel Jose - for creating all the content required for the materials, for volunteering for the fest and for presenting the compiz demo with Ashik; Preash R. V. - for volunteering for the fest; Rajesh A. R. - for volunteering for the fest and for helping with the initial arrangements at Technopark; Sindhu D. - for volunteering for the fest. Again special thanks to Rajesh A. R. and Anand P. V. who had literally worked night out to set up and dismantle the banners and kiosks in Technopark. Cherry - one of the original co-founders of zyxware was also with us during the install fest and had played a key role in providing support for the BSD fans who visited the stall. He also helped in giving the finishing touches to the Freedom Toaster software.

One of the Zyxware employees require very special mention - Joju Joshua - who not only contributed massively but also was a great source of inspiration for the whole project with his tireless and dedicated effort. He also doubled up as the key designer for the artwork and the publicity material used and I doubt if it would have been possible to have created the publicity material without his long days at Zyxware which very often ran to early mornings. He also played a very crucial part in designing and building the Freedom Toaster and hand guided the carpenters, metal workers and the flex printers to create everything just right for the Freedom Toaster. He was also the person responsible for all the material management for the Install fest - including arranging for all publicity stuff, getting the toaster and the kiosks done, arranging and planning systems and stuff - I doubt if the whole program would have materialized without such an able General as Joju leading the Zyxware team.

Prasad was another person who used to sit very late with us at Zyxware getting things ready for the fest, especially the toaster. I remember him sitting up till 5 in the morning and then getting up and running at 8AM again. I frankly couldn't have done that even if my life had depended on it. Another unbelievable thing that happened was that two of the key volunteers - Anand Raj and Ashik Salahudeen were running around with full blown viral fevers. It was really heart warming to see such commitment from such people as Anand and Ashik.

Another person who played a crucial role with the toaster was Rajiv Nair who modded the Freedom Toaster software to what it is currently. It was a bit unfortunate that Rajiv could not participate in the actual program because he had to join his second job, first being at Zyxware :-). Another special mention has to be the efforts of Praveenkumar K who was a Zyxware employee and a staunch well wisher who dropped by to help us out in between his from-gulf-vacation. Yet another motivating character who was present on and off at the Install fest was Dr. Partha of IITMK who had very eagerly and very often come and kept up the team spirit. He had also taken the initiative to get people to attend the seminars that were being organized at the fest.

We had also arranged technical seminars during the Install Fest and I would like to thank the presenters - Satish Babu Sir (Inapp), Mohamed Thayeb Kondela (Kieve Infosystems), Kishore Kumar (USTG), Rajmohan Sir (SPACE-Kerala) - who had taken time off from their hectic schedules to take Free Software Seminars to the small but interested audience who had turned up for the talks.

The fest was sponsored by BSNL and it was made possible because of the conviction of the BSNL Trivandrm Marketing Manager - V Sasikumar Sir - in the power and reach of Free Software in Kerala. He also happens to be a well wisher of the Free Software movement. Arun M and Vimal Joseph of SPACE-Kerala had taken special efforts to arrange for the minister Shri M. A. Baby for the inauguration function but unfortunately the minister could not make it in time from an earlier program in Alappuzha the same day. I am also specially thankful to K. S. Anilkumar Sir of IT Mission - who was a key player in getting the right permissions to hold the install fest in Technopark. I would like to thank Dr. Rathan U Kelkar IAS, Joseph C. M. IT advisor to CM and V. Sasikumar, AGM BSNL who adorned the dais during the inaugural ceremony and delivered relevant free software messages to the audience. Dr. Rathan U Kelkar IAS was also gracious enough to inaugurate the function and the Freedom Toaster in the absence of the Minister.

We had also relied on our regular service providers - Amma Advertisers, Peroorkada(0471-2435622) - for the flex printing for banners and vinyl printing for the freedom toaster, Sowparnika Engineering Works(9447343158) - for constructing the steel frames for the freedom toaster and for the kiosks, Modeks Enterprises (Santhosh - 9387655117) - for the wood work for the Freedom Toaster, Vajra Communications(Chandu - 09847251828) - for printing the invitation cards and for the GNU/Linux Promotional Stickers.

If I have made any omissions do forgive me and let me know so that I can add the omissions and document the efforts. It is always tough when you compile a list of people who have helped in such a big project as the install fest because there would be so many more behind the screens who would have taken real effort without actually coming to the limelight. I initially started with just the names and felt that I will not be able to do justice with that. Then I added the description about the involvement but I am still not satisfied that the above is a fair expression of gratitude; for example people who blogged about it, people in the media who took up the cause, people who spread the word about it, people who came to express solidarity and people who spread the word about it all really helped us in the process. A few people who come to my mind in these areas are our own Chandrettan, Renjith Ramachandran, G of USTG. Mahadevan of Hindu, Raghu of WWF, representatives from Khadi Board. I am deeply thankful for all the people who have sincerely cooperated with us to make this GNU/Linux Install Fest a success.

:) ya great stuff !!!

Was great reading this, Anoop! Though I couldn't be there because of geographic constraints, had been getting news from various quarters on the event!

Hats off to the entire team who materialized such a huge event!! :-)

Thanks for your kind words :-).

Congratulations to every body for such a brilliant and creative concept, and for putting it out into for the community with a week long effort and hard labour. It is truly inspiring. People with such strong commitment are always an asset to the nation.

I have been checking every other day for the final update on this fest. So glad to read it now.

Thanks for the good words. Yes I hope that we will be able to continue our good work into the future. Check out in the meanwhile :-)

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