My experience in organizing a Software Freedom Day 2009 Event

Here is my experience in organizing a SFD on behalf of ILUGC. This is the 3rd SFD event, in which I involved as a ILUGC co-ordinator.

By the mid of the July, my friend Thiyagu told me that, informally he got the permission to conduct SFD at B.M.Birla Planetarium(BP). Myself, Raman and Thiyagu are teamed up and posted this information in the ILUGC list. Around Aug 19th, we started the process of organizing the event, by inviting volunteers and colleges to join in this event. We got very good response from colleges and very less from ILUGC members.

The 1st volunteers meet conducted on Sat Aug 29th 5PM in Gandhi Mandabham, Guindy. Volunteers from ILUGC and students from various colleges are attended. In this meet, we decided the over-all SFD plan, like no of stalls and talk etc. In this meet itself, students from Jaya, AVIT and MIT are conformed their topics.

Even after this, there some topics clashes and changes are happened. So get the final conformation, 2nd volunteers meet was conducted on Sat Sep 9th 4PM in Gandhi Mandabham, Guindy. Almost all the topics are finalized in this meet and we requested volunteers to take-up few new topics like games.

In the mean time, Thiyagu submitted a letter in BP to get formal permission for the SFD and for the sack of formality, on Sep 15th, Myself and Thiyagu met the Executive Director of BP and conveyed our thanks to him.

Again on Sep 18th, myself, Raman and Thiyagu went to BP to meet the IT in-charge to conform the availability of the seminar hall and Electrical in-charge for ensuring the power arrangements to avoid last min confusions. After that, we went to near by hotel to order the lunch for the volunteers. First, we went to Hot chips, there we didn’t get a proper response from the staff. So we came out of the Hot chips immediately.

Next, we went to Sangeetha Adyar. Once we entered into Sangeetha, one floor in-charge asked about our requirements and spend some time with us for showing the list of available options. We choose the Mini Lunch (Rs 57/-) option. As we are not sure about the no of volunteers, we just ordered for 50 packs and paid 1K advance.

Next, I went to the Siva & co Adyar for checking the delivery arrangement of the Tables and Chairs. They said, at any cost the tables and chairs cannot be delivered before 10am. I was upset and understand that there is no point in talking to them also. So immediately arranged a mini load van from near by Basent Nager larry stand.

On Sep 19th, promptly(!) by 8am, the load van reached the Siva & co to load the table and chair and I reached by 8:10am. After paying the advance amount, we started to BP. By the time, Raman and other volunteers are reached BP and got permission from security to take the table and chair inside. Around 9am, drinking water also reached the venue. TSrini collected the volunteers list and the total count is 90!. So imdly informed the Hotel to increased the lunch order from 50 to 90.

After the initial arrangement, the SFD event is started around 9:30am. Ravi and Sivaji (GSoC – Jaya Student) handled the 1st session – Intro to FOSS and Demo. Next Prakash Mohan started the KStar Demo. Around 12:45pm, Raman talked about FOSS to new set of students from few engg colleges.

Around 1pm, Saravanan and Thanikai came back from hotel in Saravanan’s car with the lunch packs and everyones attention turned towards this lunch packs. In the afternoon session, visitors flow is reduced. So we decided to close the event by 4PM and informed the volunteers. Around 4pm, volunteers are started the photo session and by 4:30pm, every one started slowly moving out of the BP venue. After getting the gate pass clearance from BP staff member, we returned the tables and chairs. By 5pm,myself, raman and Thiyagu also started from BP.

Nearly 200 people visited this event. Apart from this, many people, who visited BP also came to our stalls.Overall event is went well. But the no of visitor is very less. Next time, we should make sure that this message will reach the public in much early.

Here is the list of stall showcased in the SFD:

  1. Python for Scientific Computing (Jaya)
  2. CMS (Jaya)
  3. Educational Tools (Jaya)
  4. FOSS equivalents for the Windoz Tools (CEG-AU)
  5. 3D Tool developed by CEG-Lug member (CEG-AU)
  6. FOSS Desktops Managers (Kongu)
  7. Virtualization (AVIT)
  8. Connecting to Internet (AVIT)
  9. LTSP, Samba (AVIT)
  10. Image Manipulation Tools (Kanchi-Lug)
  11. Open Office (Kanchi-Lug)
  12. BOSS Linux (C-DAC)
  13. Localization (Ubuntu Tamil Team)
  14. Visual Programming Tools (MIT-AU)
  15. Multimedia Tools (MIT-AU)
  16. OpenCV (DLEC)
  17. Arduino (Kamban)

SFD 2009 Photos:

By Aishwarya: http://picasaweb.google.com/aishu.moorthy/SFD09#

By TSrini: http://picasaweb.google.com/tshrinivasan/SoftwareFreedomDay09#

By Bala: http://picasaweb.google.com/mbchandar2/Sfd2009#

Thanks to all participants, visitors and supporters. Without them, it will be very difficult for us to conduct this event successfully.

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