Oh Calcutta! ;-)

Between the 23rd and the 26th, I was in Calcutta, where I gave a few talks at the COMPASS Software Summit, and helped the local LUG there with their exhibition stall.

Reached there on 23rd morning, after catching a flight at 6 a.m.! Argh! Needless to say, I was braindead by the time I reached Calcutta.

And that wasn’t the only thing that was dead – my good old IBM Thinkpad finally got smoked into oblivion. :-(

Anyway, once in Calcutta, found out that a recently indicted monopolist had been calling all hardware vendors telling them not to lend machines to the local LUG. Needless to say, the futility of that attempt to sabotage the LUG’s participation at the COMPASS exhibition was laughable, with vendors handing out high-end P4s, buckets of RAM and other goodies to the LUG. There were so many machines available that I heard Tathagata@ILUG-CAL saying “we seem to have seriously misjudged the importance of Linux to the hardware vendors” ;-)

The machines turned out to be the P4 845glly types – nicely unsupported by both X and Linux in general, unless you knew what you were doing. Luckily for the LUG, PK Sharma was chatting with me on IM just bfore I left, and so when Indranil called in volatile mode, PKS could relay the message to me, and I could tell him that I had all the required files to get things up and running, and would bring them along – which I did.

So once there, I sat down and showed the LUG dudes what needed to be done, which they then happily replicated over 15 machines, and by the next day, we had 15 machines happily running Redhat Linux 8.0, complete with native X and full sound.

The ILUG-Cal guys are an enthu lot – and really hardworking. Beside putting up a comprehensive show at the exhibition, they also gave dozens of mini-talks on various Linux related topics. The papers warmed to them and there was a lot of coverage.

I gave my talks at the software summit on the 24th, where I was delighted to be joined by Arvind Yadav of the Goa LUG, who gave a *great* talk on the Goa Schools project. Between the two of us, we covered the Government, Corporate and Education sectors. We then headed out to the LUG stall at the exhibition, where we talked to people, cleared their doubts, made new friends, etc.

I returned to Bangalore on the 25th night, leaving Arvind to continue the hard work there. Photos should be up tomorrow.

On the 28th, I will spend my day taking questions from stall visitors via Instant messenger. Let’s see how that works out.