The September 2017 meeting of “Indian Linux User Group, Mumbai (ILUG-BOM)”, was held on 09th September 2017, 15:00 to 16:00 IST.


IT Lab 4, Third Floor, A - Wing,
Department of Information Technology,
Don Bosco Institute of Technology, Kurla (W).
10 min from Vidyavihar Station (W).
View Map


  1. 15 minutes: Introductions
  2. 1 hour: “How I came to write a full-fledged OSS product with RDD(README-Driven Development)” - Achilles Rasquinha
  3. Floor open for relevant discussions.

Meeting Summary

Meeting Summary by R. K. Rajeev

Hi Everyone,

The meeting on the 9th of September 2017 started off by 3 pm, with a small group of regulars(Including milind and raghu) and a few students from DBIT coming together for a round of introductions. We also got a mini intro from our speaker for the day, Achilles. We waited a short while as the logistics of projection and access to the relevant github accounts were being sorted, allowing a few more participants to troop into the room. We then started on a fascinating look into a FOSS developer’s mindset, and watched how software would evolve through the prism of the various projects that Achilles has been involved with. We started off with Achilles professing his deep love for python and clean code, and graduated to the importance of simple and neat API’s, where he used the versatile python Request library as an example of how to build a powerful but still clean API interface. We then learnt how Readme Driven Development(RDD) is one of the various paradigms that can be used to drive development of a FOSS project, and that it is ideally suited to managing small to mid sized projects, generally centred around one primary author + maintainer. The session was peppered with a lot of interesting detours into a variety of topics, ranging from a discussion of the importance of open data sets, and the state of software in the bioinformatics domain. The participants then got involved, with Achilles throwing the floor open to all types of questions, especially from the DBIT student participants. In fact, with the lively Q&A session that followed Achilles’s talk, Milind had to step in and remind both the speaker and the audience that we had run out of time.

The action then shifted to the 2 guest foundations that were present at the meeting. First up was the Digital Freedom Foundation(DFF), represented by its founder, Mr Krishnakant Mane, also an ilug-bom old timer whom we were glad welcome back after an extended break. His talk, covering a range of topics, centred on the importance of FOSS in education, also drew a lot of parallels with our recently concluded outreach activity at St. Mary’s, and highlighted a number of avenues where the DFF and ILUG-BOM could collaborate in this sphere. Next, we had representatives of the Free Software Movement of Maharashtra(FSMM) step up and take the stage, drawing the audience’s attention towards the more intangible aspects of “Freedom” as it applies in a digital world. Using a variety of examples like Facebook’s thankfully-failed FreeBasics Initiative, they explained how the importance of Freedom reaches far beyond just the ability to study and modify the code of the software that we may run(or in some cases, likely runs us). They also touched on the rather depressing statistics showing that India’s high rate of female engineering enrolment does not translate to a corresponding rate of involvement in the IT world, with barely 30% of the internet user-base being women. Such issues are deep, social questions with a lot to be said on all sides, and while they aren’t necessarily technical issues, but technology and especially FOSS can play a part in evolving solutions for them. KK from DFF then threw in an interesting counter-example, where almost 90% of the contributors to GNUKhatha, the financial accounting system being developed as a tally alternative, were women.

The meeting ended with the audience breaking up to partake in refreshments, but the discussions did not. The tea session saw lively discussion on the various topics raised during the meeting, and also a lot of planning on how to take some of the ideas forward, especially with identifying avenues for collaboration between ILUG-BOM, DFF and FSMM. We even had a interesting side discussion on the importance of software documentation, with Achilles advocating a moderate approach to encouraging developers to write documentation and KK advocating that developers who didn’t write docs should get their pay docked ;-D

All in all, a most engaging meeting, full of knowledge exchange and transfer of ideas, and loads of audience interaction. This summary, by its very nature has to leave out a lot of what happened, but i hope that i have touched on the most important and interesting bits of the meet. As always, please feel free to add in any bit that i may have missed and that you feel is important and needs to be placed in the record.

P.S. : I believe that after i left, there was another round-chair discussion with a focus on the activities leading up to the Software Freedom Day, and since i wasn’t there, i am pasting below, verbatim, Milind’s excellent synopsis of the post-meet.

– Milind’s Post
After the meeting we had an informal discussion about how ILUG-BOM,DFF,FSMM and DBIT can join hands and make free software movement even stronger. It was decided to meet often as the activities was to be done on large scale basis. The primary goal would be reaching schools and colleges of Mumbai and migrate them to free software.

There was a discussion on preparation of lab mauals, text books and other open resources in digital form and distributing them to schools. Krishnakant agreed to offer help in accounts and CAD content.

Raghu informed everyone about Rushabh’s proposal of organizing a workshop for teachers on Software Freedom Day (16th Sept 2017) and take this opportunity to inform about GNULinux and FOSS. Also make them aware about the Migration, why it was important and how the four organizations unitedly willing to help them as a social mission.

Everyone supported the proposal. Raghu agreed to make poster and the content would be provided by Siddharth. A quick distribution of other work would be done on separate group made for this workshop where the volunteers would be added. The workshop would be from 2 pm to 5 pm in DBIT and before that a meeting of volunteers would take place.

The discussion ended at about 7 pm. – End Milind’s Post

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