Software Freedom Day / GNU/Linux Installfest – Tambaram

We are celebrating Software freedomday with a GNU/Linux Install Fest.

Agenda :

10.00 – 11.00 – Intro to Free Software in Tamil
11.00 – 12.00 – Demonstration of Various Free Software in Tamil
12.00 – 1.00 – Introduction to Copyright, Creative Commons/Wikipedia in Tamil

1.00 – 2.00 – Lunch

2.00 – 5.00 GNU/Linux InstallFest

Venue :
MES 1st cross street, Near Corley school, East Tambaram, Chennai – 600059

For full details, visit here

Software Freedom Day 2018 Chennai – Minutes

Our friends in Free Software Foundation TamilNadu organized Softwre Freedom day 2018 in Chennai. I participated and put a stall for Kaniyam Foundation and its activities. I explained on,, Tamil TTS, Ezhil Language, Open-Tamil library etc.

There were around 20 stalls. From Free Software Philosophies, Wikisource, Wikipedia, Privacy, Machine learning, Self hosting, Libreoffice, Olipedia, Libre Library, Games, GIMP, Inkscape, Stelleriam, RISC V, Blue DOT movement, Tamil Computing, OpenStreetMap etc


The stalls are so much informative. The volunteers explained the concepts well. We got around 70 visitors from various backgrounds. They asked many questions and got more information.

We had a QA session before lunch with the volunteers and participants. I answered few questions on Opportunities of contribution for non-programmers. explained about Creative Commons license and how any creator/artist/photographer/musician can contribute to the open world.

Had deep conversations on few new friends on Job opportunities, On creating a social movement on leaving space for ambulances on roads, with a blue light and alert from a traffic police, on contributing to various tamil computing projects etc.

In the evening, got an opportunity to give a talk to the team on the stage. Shared few experiences on mailings lists, how the tamil computing efforts are started and running etc.

It was so enthusing to see the youngsters are working hard to promote the Free Software in all the ways they can. tons of thanks for the Volunteers, Organizing Team, and participants for making the event fruitful to all.

My clicks are here –

Software Freedomday 2018 at Chennai & Pondicherry

Software Freedom day is celebrated worldwide this month.

In Chennai,


Poster –

Date – 23rd Sep 2018
Time – 9 AM to 5 PM

Venue – Madras School of Social Work, Egmore (
Event –

1. FOSS Alternatives
2. Gaming in Linux
3. FOSS & The Universe
4. Privacy Tools for Browser
5. Android Alternatives
6. Science and FOSS
7. Libre Digital Library
8. FOSS & Art
9. Tamil Computing & Contribution
10. Kaniyam Foundation
11. Mapping the Commons – OpenStreetMap
12. Wikipedia & Tools
13. And Lots More


In Pondicherry,

FB event:

Venue: Petit Seminaire Hr. Sec. School, MG Road

Date: 23/09/18 – Sunday
Time: 10AM – 5PM

Stall List:
1.   Why FLOSS today?
2.   Blender – Selva
3.   Women in FOSS – Sindhuja Sundaraj
4.   Hamara Linux & RISC V –  Shivani Bhardwaj, Hamara Linux
5.   Selfhosting,Yunohost – Prasanna
6.   Data processing, visualization & generative art – Suriya
7.   Open Robotics Platform For Kids – Vimal
8.   MIT App Inventor – Sanjivy
9.   Mass surveillance & Indian cyberpolicy – Arunekumar
10. Wikimedia Projects & Tamil Wikipedia Efforts – Dhinesh, Ranjith &
11. FOSMC & FreeCAD – Kamalesh, Sachin, Kavin
12. FOSS for schools – Giri
13. Bitcoin, blockchain & cryptocurrency – Kamal
14. Linux distributions – Ragul


Dont miss these events in you are in Chennai or pondicherry.

Thanks Nithya! for the great Birthday Gift

Feb 18, was my birthday. Myself and Nithya dont celebrate each others birthday, as all of the days are very precious for us.

I never gifted her anything. She also did not. But, for this time, she wondered me with a great gift.

Yes. It is a Free Software 🙂

She wrote a grammar checker (Conjunction Checker) for Tamil and released on Feb 18, with a nice blog post. It is here in Tamil

It was my decade dream to create a great spell checker for Tamil as a Free Software. Conjunction Checker is one of the big parts of it.

It has too many rules and she read them all, understood, converted as Python code.

It is the awesome birthday gift.

Nithya! You are my best gift. Thanks, is a simple word. It cant express what es I mean.

She is improving it a lot with more rules and testing.

Here is the code –

She made a video about this tool –

Today, She spoke about this in “ILUGC – Indian Linux Users Group – Chennai” Meet. So happy to see her giving a talk in my homeland.

I am working on making it as web application, so that anyone can use it.

Thanks to open-tamil python library for its all great features of handling tamil text easily.

I am seeing Nithya as avid reader, writer, dancer, home maker and now a programmer.

You can read all her books here –

Hoping to see more women contributors like Nithya in the upcoming days.



Event Notes – Mini Mapping party at Kanchipuram

I went to my home town Kanchipuram, India for Christmas holidays. We had a good active Linux Users Group called KanchiLUG there few years ago. We still have few members there doing nice works there.

Decided to have a mini mapping party at kanchipuram on Dec 25, 2017. sent a mail to our mailing list and asked people to join the party.

We had one volunteer replied. T. Dhanasekar. We met on dec 25 10 am. Created an account for him in openstreetmaps.

We both dont use smartphone. I borrowed my wife Nithya’s phone. He did not get any. I dont have a motor bike there. I already took his bike. Hence, we decided to roam around the city together and add interesting places to OSM.

I explained app and how to add POI. We found many schools, temples, shops, clinics etc and added them. For few POI’s, we did not find suitable types in

Will ask the team to add more types.

In 2 hours, we added 75 places. There are still tons of places to add at Kanchipuram. We will add them in upcoming days.


Minutes – Intro to Wikipedia – Villupuram

Last Sunday, I gave a talk on Wikipedia at Villupuram GLUG. We had around 30 participants. Got few School Teachers, Writers, Media people too.

Started the session with a game. Started a story with one line. Asked everyone to continue one line after another. Thus the story was built collaboratively.

This experience helped them to understand how wiki pages are being written. Explored about wikipedia history, Foundation, Languages, /various wiki projects like wikisource, wiktionary etc.

Explained about issues by copyright, Creative commons license and Commons.

Then, Poet Ramamurthy expressed his thoughts about wikipedia and public contributions.

Journalist Ko.senguttuvan shared his thoughts on copyrights. He requested all to document their knowledge so that the next generation can use it. He presented me a book he wrote about his Journalism experiences.

Teacher Dhilip narrated his efforts on enhancing the government schools with various ICT activities.

Then, we started the practical sessions. Asked all to create an account on wiki. Then, explored about the pages, history, talk page, visual editor, language tools. Asked them to edit the page for villupuram and asked to add few points.

This was a very initial intro session. Hope they get some idea about wiki ecosystem.

Thanks for the organizers, Puduvai GLUG and Villupuram GLUG. They are doing great activities there by introducing Free Software every sunday.

Special thanks to Karkee, Khaleel and Sathish for great efforts on this event.

Few Photos are here –

Thanks for Dinamani Newspaper for writing about the event.

The things I liked at Mediawiki Hackathon 2017, Vienna

Wikimedia hackathon mark horizontal.svg

The Mediawiki Hackathon 2017 was organized at Vienna, on May 19,20,21 2017 very well. I liked many things in the entire event. Listing them here.

1. Awesome Event Organizing Team

Wikimedia Austria has 3 full time employees. They provided their full support all the times, from the event announcement. The announcement pages are full with all the required information. Annemarie Buchmann helped me to get done with all the visa processing on time. For every email I sent, got reply within a hour. It was so awesome to get helping hands from far away, so quickly.

2. Venue/Stay/Food at same place

JUFA Wien City was the venue for the event. It is a big Hotel with conference room, mini halls, Rooms for stay, bar, restaurant, play area, kids area, park and 24 hrs free snacks room.

As we stayed in same place, there is no delay in reaching the hackathon rooms. Just wake up, cleanup, jump into the event, till midnight. Then, reachout to room and sleep.

3. WiFI everywhere

The JUFA team provided good WiFI for the event and rooms. Never felt any disconnection.

4. Free travel Tickets

Anne, sent me few travel tickets to roam in and around the city for 5 days. From airport to return to airport, all the travel was covered by the tickets provided. With that we roamed around the city, in trams, in underground trains etc.

5. City Tour

The event team arranged for two city tours. They took people to a grad church and palace. Vienna is a historic city, full heritage monuments.

6. Party

On the Second day, we were invited for a party, at nearby pub/bar. Danced with the hackers. The rain, made us to dance till  early morning 2 am.

7. Free Snacks/Tea/Coffee

The food provided was good. But to make all of us awake anytime and keep energized, there were free snacks/fruits/tea/coffee.

8. Regular updates from the organizing team

We received emails in regular intervals for preparing the event, calling for volunteering for blogging,photographing etc. Those emails made us to be excited about the event a month ahead.

9. Telegram/IRC chat

We had an IRC channel and telegram channel for quick chat. we can ask anything, search for anyone, ask for chargers, connectors, projectors, etc. All the requests were solved by entire team.

10. Mentor program

Experienced programmers willing to mentor, volunteered as mentors for newbies. They trained,shared their skills and helped to build applications. They met daily twice and discussed on how they can improve their assistance to others.

11. Dedicated Photography/Videography

There were dedicated photographers/videographers to cover the entire event. They are wikipedia volunteers who are contributing to commons. They happily volunteered for this. Wondered to know that wikimedia austria lended them high quality cameras and lenses.

12. Media Coverage

Local Press/Media people interviewed about the event and published online and other channels.

13. Short intro talks

On the sessions like inauguration, valedictory, there are only very short intro talks. These short talks save a lot of time and gave us plenty of time to hack.

14. Multiple Connectors for Projector on stage

We had connectors like VGA/HDMI/Apple for various laptops on every projector.

15. Lot of power sockets

We could roam anywhere in the venue and we found power sockets to plugin our devices. There was no shortage of sockets.

16. Freebies/Cards/Chocolates

We got a little watercan and other freebies on the registration desk.

17. Volunteer to take notes on etherpad on all meetings

On all meetings, trainings, we found one volunteers is taking notes on etherpad. It helped the speaker and listeners to concentrate on the talk, without worrying about jotting something on a notepad.

18. Privacy on Photographs

To give respect to the privacy on photographing people, they provided a Orange color tag. No one should take photo of people who are wearing the Orange Tags. For others, it is a blue tag.

Following people are behind this awesome people.


Event management

Scholarship committee

Photos Courtesy:

I thank you all for all arrangements and smooth orchestration of the event.

I suggest all the above features to be in all the events, we conduct. Even very small actions, add more value to the events.

Thanks for the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Austria and all participants, mentors and volunteers.

Free Software Event Checklist

I am being part of some of the Free Software Events happening in Chennai.

Sometimes the events are small gatherings and some times they are really huge.

Many times, we have missed some critical stuff and we were running behind them in the last minute.

Hence, this post to not down all stuff we need for any event.

1. Event Team

Create a event team with some volunteers. They are the pillars who are going to share the following tasks.

Make the team’s contacts like phone number, email are shared with all and announced publicly.


2. Venue

Fix the venue for the event.
Check with Colleges, Private Office, Govt Offices and Auditoriums.

Some times we get the hall for free. Sometimes, we may need to pay.


3. Date

Fix the date of the event.

Make sure that there are no big political, social, national, devotional or any other “al” event matches on the same day.

This is to make sure that the traffic is free for people to attend the event.


4. Web Page

Set a website or a blog for the event.

Post all the event planning and announcements regularly.


5. Posters

Create some digital posters on the event and share them across.

If possible print handouts/posters and share them too.


6. Marketing

We need people to attend the event.

Make sure your marketing team announce the event in the following channels.

  • Mailing lists
  • Social Media groups/events/pages
  • Event websites
  • Newspapers [ event of the day ]
  • If possible, Advertisements on TV and FM


7. Agenda


Plan the agenda. It may be a training, talks, cd/book release, etc.

Fix the time for event start/end/sessions start end/lunch/break times


8. Call for participants – Online regisration


Set up an online space to register, if it requires.

A wiki or google docs or similar can be used.


9. Update the participants


Keep on updating the participants via email on the event progress.


10. Freebies


  • ID Cards
  • Tshirts
  • Stickers
  • Books
  • Pamphlets
  • Flyers
  • Printouts
  • CDs/DVDs
  • PenDrives

can be given as freebies. Prepare them all two days prior. Put them all as packs to share easily.


11. Venue


Visit the venue one week before and check the following stuff.

1. Power

2. Chairs

3. Projector

4. Screen

5. Ventilation

6. Water Supply

7. Food Supply

8. Rest rooms

9. Place for banners

10. Mike/Speakers

11. Lights

12. Internet Connectivity

13. Shops nearby for stationary/medical/food

14. First Aid & Safety

15. Emergency contact person from the venue.

16. Stay facilities nearby



12. Call for Donations


We need money for all the events. We can call for individual donations or sponsors.

Check for interested companies and contact them to sponsor the event.

Then, Announce a call for donations with all the account details to do online money transfer. Send the receipts to the donors.



13. Press Release


Write up a press release and share it to all the media like TV/Newspapers/FM.

Make sure that they come to the event and cover the event.


14. Chief Guests


Fix the chief guest.

Check for their stay/travel to the event.



15. Gifts


Plan the gifts for the guests /participants/winners and buy them in prior.




On the Day of the event


16. venue


Make sure one or two persons reach the event in 3 hours before to check the venue for all the 15 items told before.


Tie the banners in front of the venue, hall and on the stage.

Check for power supply/lights/chairs/Rest rooms/Mike/Speakers

Store all the freebies in a room

Stick Posters around the venue.

Place route map/arrows to reach the hall, all around the venue.



17. Registration desk:


Setup a registration desk.

Use notebooks or laptops to get information about the visitors

Give the freebie pack



18. Food


Arrange for Food/Snacks/Cool Drinks/Water from nearby canteen or hotels.

Make sure that they reach on time.


19. Photos/Videos/Audio


Make sure that you have colunteers to capture the event via Photo/Video/Audio.


20. Live telecast/blog/tweet


If possible arrange for live telecast of the event. Live blog/tweet also fine.


After the event:


21. Upload Photos


We may be endup with 1000s of photos.

Check them and delete all the unwanted/blurred photos.

Resize them to 2048 resolution or lesser.

Upload them in online photo repositories like picasa/flickr/facebook.

Make sure that they are in creative commons license.

Give proper tags for the albums for easy searching.


22. Upload Videos


Resize the video.

Amplify the audio.

Upload them in youtube or similar sites.


23. Upload Audio


Check and remove the silences, noises of the recorded audio.

Amplify the audio.

Upload in soundcloud of similar sites.


24. Event Notes


Write the event notes with the following details.

Event Minutes

Links for Photos/Videos/Audio/Live blogs/tweets etc

Links for the various press that covered the event.


Update them in the website.


25. Send mail to participants/guests


Send mail to all with a Thanks note and Event Notes.



26. Celebrate


Wow. Congrats. The event is over and you and the team can have some celebrations.

Goto near par/beach and play some games.

Have some food together.




Dont Do:


If it is a event about Free Software like GNU/Linux demo day/Software Freedom Day, make sure that nobody uses any proprietary operating system or software for any of the demo or talk.

Check for any other Don’t do stuff and announce it in all the announcements.


Hope this list will help us to avoid any last minute tensions.

Form a team to take care of each activity and have great team works.


Reply here if you have something to add.