This would be the conclusive part of the 3-part series of blog posts about the Second Hamara Linux which took place in Pune, this part shares ideas shared by Vikas, Shirish and Raju.
After Gurvinder’s extensive talk, we took a 5-minute break and then it was turn of Vikas on the stage. Vikas reiterated and started his idea about the project from scratch, the reasons and the needs for using FOSS and now contributing to make a Debian-Derivative. One interesting point/facet that he mentioned in his speech was that with closed-source software in an Enterprise market, you have to work with per-seat licensing apart from all the other support costs. In FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) that hurdle is removed. Other things remaining constant, Free and open source software wins hands down when it comes to ROI (Return of Investment) . This has been proved time and again over big and small Enterprises.
A point about failed migrations though, one of the biggest reasons for that is , most times management look at FOSS at just a buck-saving way but does not invest in understanding the culture, methods, methodology which will give the highest benefit. Also, most times it is a top-down decision rather than bottom-up which also hinders a successful migration.
Hence, if an organization takes all their stake-holder along, have a flattish network, have some sort of deadlines but also be flexible to change strategies at each milestone depending upon how the stakeholders take it, there is far higher chance to not just have a successful migration but also :-
a. have possibility of innovation
b. Better understanding of other’s POV
b. Better system reliability
c. Lower-cost during all and any facets whether it is development or deployment.
The ideas by themselves are not new, its the implementation which is important. Unless the proprietor or the CEO used GNU/Linux from the very beginning (in which case s/he would already be doing it in their organization) for traditional companies they would have to lose lot of bureaucracy in-between.
For students who want to make their life coding, this is the best way to learn as you get to learn different syntaxes, different ways of coding and coding styles, understand and enumerate coding standards and guidelines as well as talk to some of the most successful people in the world.
For successful migrations to happen, it is responsibility of both, the implementor or implementing agency as well as the customer to look for solutions and help each other and it is NOT a one-time effort as most people think.
Going back to though Vikas’s sharing, he shared on how education and businesses were important. As had shared about how Hamara is going to revolutionize education at the Mumbai SFD, I wouldn’t reinvent the wheel. Businesses also look at systems which are reliable, cheap to run and can have and give long-term support along with people who can give telephonic, e-mail and on-site as well as off-site/remote support. Vikas would be looking to expand on all of this as we go further.
He stressed on the community involvement for hamara because if the community doesn’t come together then there is only so much that we ourselves can think or do. Community involvement is needed not just for hamara’s own sake but also for people’s personal and professional growth. What people overlook or fail to realize is when a project is young, it is possible for the Project Leader (in this case Vikas) as well as the team to hear your thoughts, everybody is able share her/is opinion on an idea and with a bit of modification here and there you can actually do something. This sense of freedom is pretty much absent in large projects. By freedom, I mean simply it takes a long time for them to come around and by that time the opportunity may be gone. I could give plenty of examples to support this line of thought or understanding.
Few examples that illustrates this well and I use Debian – the project for both as it is a large project involving a couple of thousand developers scattered all over the word. While the first one is the move to multiarch in Debian, use of CLANG (A GCC competitor) as another compiler to find issues in packages or even having x32 as another distro release. All of these examples took highly self-motivated, confident individuals around a year and a bit more to have that happening, in some cases even multiple years.
This is not to blame the Debian project so much as just the truth that the project is and has grown so large and has to cater to a diver user-base and needs. The biggest saving grace though which I have seen and appreciate in Debian is that people are honest and yet maintain a degree of civility no matter how passionate they might be about a topic. Also all decisions are taken transparently, while people do have a choice to make a change they want to make provided they are willing to do the work.
If the same decisions were to be taken in Hamara, it probably would have taken 1/10th the time as we are young and flexible atm. We would like to hire more people but at the same time have this in-built flexibility that we have in the system herein and also borrow and use some of the better methods that Debian has evolved over 22 years of Software Engineering for fun and profit.
After Vikas’s passionate speech about Hamaralinux, it was turn of Raju and me to talk about our respective topics. While Raju shared his experience of how he started on FOSS, I re-shared about Copyright and Copyleft licensing which I had shared at the Panjab University . As always, time was the enemy and hence couldn’t talk about Patents and other things that I wanted to share.
After this we had a small feedback session so we could do it better and then closed the Conference for now.
Hoping we will meet each other virtually as well as in real life (or in geek-speak AFK – Away From Keyboard) see you all around.