A Very Special Day

29 Nov 2008

I was recently invited to give a talk on FOSS usage in the IT Industry by Prof. C N Krishnan and Dr. Srinivasan of NRC-FOSS. Now, this is one organization that I always held in great regard, so it was imperative that I accept their invitation. It was a truly memorable day. For the uninitiated, NRC-FOSS is one of the very first university-level formal organizations promoted by the Ministry of IT, Govt. of India for spreading the FOSS word. True to their mission, they have achieved phenomenal results, and early this year, it was great to see hundreds of students getting introduced to FOSS through their annual event, FossConf.in.

Folks, this is special. Because, of NRC-FOSS' efforts, FOSS curriculum is offered as 2 electives in all of Tamilnadu engineering colleges. This is being widely copied by colleges across the country now. And today when I went to the seminar, I was astounded by the awareness of FOSS by pretty much everybody from the Profs themselves, to the Dean and even the Vice-Chancellor. Truly, it's an inspiring effort, and NRC-FOSS is one of the few govt.-sponsored organizations which shows how much change you can bring by getting Industry and the Colleges to be stakeholders in IT education.

I was touched by the fact that many attended inspite of pouring, non-stop rain, it made it all the more worthwhile for me, as I had to brave the rains myself. I did my best to evangelize FOSS and explain what we do as part of our job. I was pleasantly surprised when one of the students followed me outside the auditorium to ask a few more questions. As you can probably see, I'm still aglow from the interaction. There's nothing more fulfilling than being able to give back and open a few doors for the enthusiastic students.

Well done, and thank you NRC-FOSS. I don't know how much benefit the students got out of my talk, but it certainly made me feel better about the path I've chosen. I'm betting at least some of them will make this country proud.