On and off-stage talks

When the schedule for foss.in 2007 was out..it was very easy for me to mark out the talks that I intended to attend. With very limited technical (read “coding”) comprehension, I ensured that I would be attending the talks relevant to my area of work i.e. localisation and the Art talks by mizmo (It was great to meet her finally!). My accomplishments in the area of art is limited to the orange pomfret that I had painted at the age of six and dad stuck that up on the living room wall in the hopes that I’ll follow in his footsteps in the later years. Umm…well things did not quite turn out that way. mizmo’s talks were extremely informative. Artwork is so much more that just art. There is precision, codes, HIG compliance, brand retention, miscelleneous dos and dont’s that all go behind creating those animated wallpapers, themes, logos and other eyecandy.

I hung around the Gnome PD most of the time on the first day making some trips to the Mozilla PD as well. I wanted to catch Kart’s talk on Mozilla Localization (it shows Ankit’s name on the schedule page, but he could not make it to the event due to ill-health) but that sort of clashed with my talk. The other important talk that day was Pike‘s (Axel Hecht) tutotial on “Improving Mozilla Localization” which got preponed. So right after my talk, i grabbed my bag and ran towards the SDA. Pike was already on the stage talking about hunting and fixing l10n bugs. It was a real pleasure meeting him after months of irc conversation. And what can I say, but a very big Thanks to him for taking time out (probably more than an hour until it looked like everyone else might just leave for the mozilla party without him) the next day to help me with the various issues related to the productization of bn_IN for Firefox 2.

The next day, I was running between the Fedora PD and Indlinux. Mostly Fedora. The most interesting talk that day for me was by Dimitris about his online translation submission tool – Transifex. The earlier day during my talk Vid had asked me about feasibility of online translation tools. Repeating the same answer I’d say that they only are half the effort until the translations go upstream into the root project. Transifex is probably the ray of hope in that direction. Dimitris returned to Greece yesterday and we are already missing him.đŸ˜¦

I missed Santhosh’s talk on Dhavni for some wierd reason I just can’t remember. So the next day I caught hold of him in the speaker’s lounge and he nearly did the whole presentation for me all over again! The mechanism for calling the relevant sounds seemed pretty simple and he gave me the source code for it as well. The bengali sounds sounded a bit accented but hindi was brilliant. I hope to get some time next week to take a look at it to try and understand the process a little better. Santosh also showed me the Swanalekha keyboards and needless to say I added it as the fourth bengali keymap in my machine. With input suggestions popping up during keystrokes, its very easy for users who have just started typing with a non-english keymap. I have seen similar implementation for CJK keymaps where the number of characters is way beyond the capacity of a standard QWERTY keyboard. Thanks Santosh and a round of applause.

The next day I attended the first talk by Naba Kumar. Unlike others, the only thing I knew about Anjuta Dev Studio was the story behind its naming. Hence, it was an enlightening talk for me. The rest of the morning was spent trying to coordinate with the others from LinuxChix India as we had the big BoF that afternoon. A special mention here about the interesting chat that I had with Nirav and Kishore (next day morning). Both of them told me things that were moving around my head and got a more identifiable structure of thought (and will require a separate post). Thanks.

On the fourth day, when we were waiting for the bus, Bubulle told me the fascinating story about his nickname. I shall not disclose it here as that will deprive someone else the pleasure of listening to it in his wonderful style. Till Adam from KDE introduced himself on the bus. I had heard from Pradeepto many times in the past about the encouragement that he had received from Till. I have to agree! I had casually mentioned to him about some difficulties regarding kde-i18n that day and was surprised when he came to me the next day after he had checked up on the matter and offered his suggestions and help.

The Indic computing BoF went pretty smoothly. Gora had chalked down the discussion topics and the focus was on the activities for the coming one year. The next day Karunakar called for the Translation Framework management BoF. At the end of which we found a translation bug for the firefox langpack that I was using and Pike, Prasad and me got busy with it. Most of the last two days were spent in the LinuxChix stall. At any point of time we had around 6-7 people sitting on the floor, working and talking about various things. Tom “Spot” even gave an impromptu demo of the OLPC until someone noticed the sizeable crowd and chased everyone into one of the seminar halls. And lets not even talk about us making it into OLPC news with our attempts to open the XO. The last on-stage talk that I attended was Rusty Russell‘s and pages have been written about it and the new kernel hacker Sheela already.

A sizeable part of the Off-stage talks would include Ramkrsna’s stories which could easily be classified as murder-attempts-during-dinner.

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