Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Golden chance we got..

It's only after reaching the campus today morning, we decided to set out for attending Richard M Stallman's talk which was held at UC College, Alwaye.

After 2 hours journey from Thrissur, we, 10 of us from our class reached there at around 11.15 in the morning. By then the lecture had started. Though the auditorium was almost houseful, we managed to get seats in the last row.

The talk was on "Free software in ethics and in practice". For the next 2 hrs, we had an interesting, inspiring speech on Free software. To be frank, I had to strain a little to understand his 'katta' english, because his unfamiliar accent :( Didn't get him word by word. But he could convey all his views to each and everyone of us.

He started with the drawbacks of Microsoft Windows, obviously in a sarcastic manner. Then talked about the merits of free software, regarding copyleft, emacs and many other topics too. Told about 'how and why schools should act to popularise software freedom'. Also told that we could be proud since Kerala is far above all other states in India.

Photo taken by Bristo with his camera in mobile --

"GNU/Linux respects other's freedom"

"Reject proprietary software and insist free software"

"Dont let others to have control over our freedom/power"

The description about RMS I saw there:

he started the Free Software Foundation..
he started the GNU Project..
he wrote the GCC Compiler..
he wrote the GDB Debugger..
he wrote the emacs editor..
he is a philosopher..

After the formal meeting was over, we, with 7 of our super seniors, waited to meet him personally and to invite him to our great GEC. We had to wait there for some time. Ours was the only group of students who got the chance to talk with him, that too so friendly.

For our unfortunate, he said he would not be available to come over here in the whole year 2008. Anyway, we asked his contact details and he, with pleasure, gifted his card to one among us(Devidas) and left.

Really a thrilling and inspiring experience it was!!

From there we went to Alwaye town, walked around there in search of a good hotel :) and had food finally. After that, had a short visit to Merlin's uncle's house. After having some snacks from there, we started our return journey and reached home at 6.15 in the evening.

Signing off,

PS: An interesting thing which I noticed just now - My Chettan and RMS celebrate their birthdays on the same day - March 16 :)


The Lonely Backpacker said...

"An interesting thing which I noticed just now - My Chettan and RMS celebrate their birthdays on the same day - March 16 :)"

Chalk and cheese start with "c".. (there ends the similarity :P)....

p.s. your chettan is cheese :)

Sandeep Sadanandan said...

thanks "C"hakkare! even that starts with "C"!

Good post and really nice that you met RMS! :)

Could you please read your post thoroughly and find one similar paradox/contradiction? [Clue: Two days back, I sent you an email with reference to "epimenides paradox"]

We shall take it offline and discuss!

primofacto said...

it's interesting to hear that RMS and your chettan celebrates their B' day on the same day.
Really it was an unforgettable day in our college life, meeting a world famous programmer(rather a philosopher), getting a chance to talk with him, just feels like a dream...:)
Let us arrange a video conference, which he accepted with pleasure ,for our next INSIGNIA.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed a golden chance. Nice to know that you people did not miss it.


Anonymous said...

now that was fast posting

yes it was the chance of a life time and i am glad that our usual policy of last moment decisions paid off so well.i am proud of being a part of this batch which stands together and works together
at such great pace.

the talk was truly enlightening and entertaining.consider it a great privilege to hear from the greatest visionary in th field.hope it will inspire us to do well and better in the field and for social good.

presently i am making sure that each and everyone who missed out the chance to meet him in person are burning with jealousy over the photographs and the visiting card we managed to obtain,especially my roommates

so let me get bk to my WORK

ps:you should have used the photograph of the caged lion

Rohith said...

thendi logan.... !

ya really a chance of a lifetime to meet such a big( infact he is the GOD) personality in Free Software field.. though I had to forfeit it for a stupid improvement.. Happy to see that atleast u people went.. Nex time I shall not afford to miss such a big opportunity.. :)

Ramakrishnan said...

everything planned in just 15 minutes, now thats cool.

it really was a great experience
he was simply fantastic..

i was just disappointed that more than half of the audience were not listening to him seriously.

The trip was fun...

and, no matter where we go the trip is always fun, just because,
"we all" go there.
thats our uniqueness...

n3cromanc3r said...

Hii hailstone..Been a long time..So h r u? N how r things going, ur studies n all..? Hey ,dis aint a comment to the post,sorry 'bout dat. just wanted to let ya kno dat I am back into blogger.:)
Hoping to see read more of ur work, now dat I'm back in blogger !!
Happy blogging..

Hailstone said...

@ Chettan,
I understood what you meant. And as you said, it'll be better to have discussion abt it offline..

@ Raman,
"no matter where we go the trip is always fun, just because,
"we all" go there.
thats our uniqueness..."

-- You said it..

@ Necromancer,

Happy to see you back in blogger.. Here all going well..
Happy blogging.. ;)

Hiran Venugopalan said...

great to see your thrill of meeting RMS! I missed the show :(

ej said...

nice work...
bt wat i dont understand is why all the fuss? afterall he's another comp progremmer. jus because our clg supports open software, u ppl r all behind all this. else i'm sure that u'll all happily stick wid windows. n jus because he wrote a compler or two or some os doesnt make him god or something.. there's even better inventions or achievements in many other fields which affected world in much better ways and changed its course drastically.
Let me ask u a question. Hasn't gates done a marvellous job with windows? then why he's not considered god as u said? because he charges for his work? 'Osinu kittiyal acidum kudikkum' ennulla pramanam aksharathathil shariyakukayanivide..
free aayathu kondu open software nallathanu. aarkkum edit cheyya. athinal open software nallathanu.. kashtam...

Hailstone said...

No one has any commment over Nivil's comment!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear EJ,

To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer. this might help.

Dont you think the world looks as it is because people shared the knowledge they had?

When RMS is the founder of FSF and free software movement isnt it quite obvious that a FSF fan calls him GOD of free software moement... (see that rohith mentioned 'in the free software feild' :D ).

Bill Gates did a marvelous work, but cant people comment about the drawbacks of his work?

When someone do things for profit and someone else do things for policies whom do you think will gain more respect??


Anonymous said...

EJ's comment points to a big problem on our part - that we have not really been successful in conveying the idea behind Free Software clearly ... If this is the case in Kerala, which is supposed to be the Free Software Capital of India, then we can only imagine the situation in the rest of the country.

Forming a user group, having regular meetings (attended by not just CS students, but *everyone* interested in Computers and Software) and discussions will go a long way towards clearing up myths and misconceptions and will lead to more people from different walks of life participating in this vibrant movement!

And, if there is one batch which can implement the above idea successfully, that's your current S4 CS batch! You have the energy and the enthusiasm - why not do it?


Anonymous said...

mone nivile

as pramode sir has commented, you have taken the idea of free software totally and completely wrong

and i will say its our mistake that we were never able to enlighten you abt the topic

this philosophy and ideology has nothing to do with monetary benefits its all about freedom and nothing but freedom.

to giv you a small idea on what we believe in try and read and understand the document in the webpage recomended by vivekettan
please try and read it till the end

and if you are not fully satisfied even by that you can always come to us question us online which we will be more than happy to answer

i hope you will understand us and what we believe in and what we mean by calling RMS our GOD


Sujith said...

I got this link from Pramode sir's site. Well after reading the blog I think you missed Richard M Stallman's yet another famous tool(though 2 other guys are also behind the tool, Roland McGrath and Paul Smith, who is the current maintainer) called Make...

Dear ej I got really stuck with your point "Osinu kittiyaal acidum kudikkum". Do you really think that free software something like you see in an advertisement where you get a comb free for a soap or blah blah... Mr.Ej you need to read and have a look over free software documents. Don't lose respect by giving faulty statement.
It's actually a movement. If not started by Richard M Stallman some others will start it. Even if you give application software developed in Visual Basic under GPL License, I don't find any issue with that(Me along with my room mate had a long discussion over that).

Signing off for now...

Sujith Haridasan

Rohith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rohith said...

Nivil, I pity u man.. really I feel this is THE most stupid explanation for anything Ive heard from u ever...
( honestly Ive felt it many times u are a person with more computer knowledge than we computer science students! and so u gave me a shock now)
U've got everything wrong pal... And by the way , Bill Gates wasnt a programmer(even though he did some programming ), he wuz n is a "businessman by profession". I hope u've got atleast 1% of what lies behind the ethics of free software from Pramode sir n vivek chettan n others +the links provided.

Im hoping something like wat sir said ( a discussion) will be implemented quite soon....

Hailstone said...

@ Pramode sir,
Thankyou sir, for your advice and for coming here.

@ Hiran,

@ Sujith,
Thankyou. I used to read almost all your livejournal posts.

-- Hailstone.

ej said...

thanks for the info. Really speaking, just as rohith wondered, if i can make a so called blunder, then i feel that many others can also do the same. it is gross negligence from your part not letting people knoow the truth.

The Legend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Well said, Sethu.
Out of the 21 comments here,I feel, only you have given a true one. Others either supporting/opposing.
As I know her(I believe so!!), I join with you except what u have mentioned 'u went there b'coz everyone was going'.I don't think, she will do that- doing something because all others are doing that. Perhaps, the reason may be to enjoy the trip.

Oru wellwisher.

Devidas said...

i appreciate the consequences of the post u did as it has brought in various opinions regarding the promotion of free software and the supposed discrediting of microsoft and other propreitory giants. The ethics are what really count when it comes to this argument and not importantly the financial statement.

i ain't no befitting person to comment regarding this hence stopping it here.
good work there
buzzing off

dipu said...

Just happened to hit upon this mail thread. Thought i would add a couple of my view points as well (very personal view points).

I myself like the concept of free software and especially the help students get from it. It's also good as it does not "binds" someone (either government or any enterprise) to any particular company/corporate. In that sense it provides a lot of freedom/independence to whoever uses it;provided they have enough technical competence at their disposal ( right now we have hackers around the globe who does this )

So, i have nothing to say against free software. My only point of concern is this part - "calling RMS our GOD". I don't think anyone needs to admire someone personally as a GOD or blindly follow him.

Respect/Spread good ideas and philosophies; but i think it's not really a good idea where this get degraded into blind devotion/admiration. Its dangerous because then we lose our power of discretion and gets into a fight with anyone who happened to mention something bad about our idol !!

ej said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Devidas said...

Da nivile, it was Sethu himself who deleted the post. Not her. Ask him for clarification in this regard.

Hailstone said...

@ Nivil,

It was Sethu himself deleted the comment. Njanalla..

"This post has been removed by the author." -- Here the author means - Sethu.

If it was by me, the message appearing will be - This post has been removed by the blog administrator. Clarified??

Thankyou all for writing your views here..


ej said...

tactical error.. sory flocks..

nirvana said...

And not to forget his work on HURD and his influences on POSIX. And for sure, GCC is NOT just another compiler...please... And as Pramode sir said, I too can see the vigor in the junior batch here, thats exhilarating. But one thing I would like to add is that, we need much more than the present Linux Users Group model, I think Pramode sirs 'hack n learn' kind of classes would be more effective and fun :). My experiences with FSUG cochin, the users group at FISAT etc makes me feel so. I have learned much more from Pramode sirs online articles, than conventional user groups. And the number of serious developers/maintainers are also much lesser from India, which has a comparatively larger user base [t3,sirtaj,..... its just a few]. I think, it is largely due to the emptiness of our educational system. So what we need is a parallel system of education, that actually allows one to learn. Along with the understanding of the philosophy, development is also a very imp thing. We really need to work on that. And I think compared with all FSUG/iLugs with exception of BLUG, I guess Pramode sir would have more developers under one roof than all others. And to my friends who are learning from him, I would seriously ask them attend more of his classes. I still regret for not taking enough initiative to attend his classes, and that does cause a little bottleneck during my research.


The Legend said...


yaar...i deleted the comments myself coz i found them too offensive n thought it shouldn't be posted on her blog. i posted it at night n when i woke up in the morning n read it again, i found it too rude a comment. i guess what i wrote was something i should have told her personally.

The Legend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rohith said...

@ ej, @ dipu
juz one thing I started off and I wud like to stop it..
Its like this - if cricket is a religion in India, then Sachin is like the god..

In the same way, RMS has such a big position in HIS field. None blindly follows him or so. His views and works have inspired many , and his contribution has been immense. FSF owes its existence largely to RMS. Its like juz another phrase.. pls dont exaggerate

Ramakrishnan said...

you are right

no point in exaggerating