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Name: Varun Hiremath Age: 22 Occupation: Student IRC Nick: varun Email: varunhiremath at gmail dot com
Computer / Laptop Configuration and OS (Distro):
- Desktop: Intel P-IV 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 15" monitor, Debian GNU/Linux.
- How did you get into GNU, Linux and FOSS in general?
I first encountered Linux and free software in 2003 when I came to IIT Madras. Most of the systems here were running some version of Linux. I started learning Linux and tried out many free softwares in my first year of graduation. I used to work on Red Hat and Fedora Systems. I heard about Debian GNU/Linux from my friend Kumar Appaiah. I really liked Debian's package management system, the freedom to select the packages you need, and the ease of installation and up-gradation of packages. Moreover, we had a Debian mirror inside our campus "http://ftp.iitm.ac.in" so, it made more sense to use Debian as we could install packages at lightning speeds.
Since then I have been using Debian. Its been almost three years now and I have not faced any problems with Debian. Over the years I have learned a lot about the Debian system as a whole, the way it functions, the BTS, the package management system, etc. I started maintaining some packages in Debian from 2006 and I have been working as a Debian Developer since December 2007.
- Share your first encounter with FOSS (Installation, setup, etc.)
At the end of my first year during the summer vacations I took home 4 CDs of Fedora. I had a 4 GB hard disk, 64 MB RAM, P-II machine those days. I managed to create a dual boot system with windows and fedora installed on two 2 GB partitions. I might have formated my computer 5-6 times during this entire process and learnt a lot about linux installation, partitioning, grub etc. In all it was a very nice experience.
- What lead to a sustained continuity in FOSS after you stepped in?
After my initial encounter with FOSS and GNU/Linux at IITM, I continued trying out different things on linux and slowly started contributing to some opensource projects by submitting small patches. I also started maintaining some packages in Debian and got involved in many projects during my third and fourth year at IITM.
While working for these open-source projects, I learned a lot of things like - efficient coding, documentation, patching systems, version control systems - cvs, svn, git, etc. All these things have helped me to do my academic/research work more efficiently. My eager to learn more has helped me to continue contributing to FOSS projects.
- A funny instance during your initial days of computing with FOSS / computers complimentary to second question)
During my early days at iitm I found ssh command very interesting and powerful, and believe me I had never used it before coming to IIT Madras. I used to pain some of my friends by sshing to their computers and ejecting their CD drives or playing some music :-).. they had no clue what was going on.
Present FOSS activity
- Which project do you currently contribute to?
I am a Debian Developer and I am currently maintaining about 135 packages in Debian. This is my Debian QA page where you will find the list of packages I am currently maintaining in Debian:
Apart from Debian I have been contributing to many open source projects:
1) I am author of open source project python-gastables: python modules for compressible gas flow calculations: Homepage: code.google.com/p/python-gastables
2) I am also author of Krickscore - KDE applet for cricket scores. http://linux.softpedia.com/get/Desktop-Environment/KDE/krickscore-25612.shtml
3) I have been contributing to Jajuk - Advanced Juke box project, where I am working as a Developer and Debian package maintainer. Homepage: http://jajuk.info/index.php/Main_Page
4) I am also currently maintaing pidgin-festival ( formerly knows as festival-gaim). I rewrote festival-gaim to make it work with the new pidgin API. Homepage: http://sourceforge.net/projects/pidgin-festival/
- How much time in a week / day / month do you spend on it?
I spend about and an hour daily on week days and may be 3-4 hours on weekends.
- What are your favourite text editor[s] / IDE[s] / development environment tools?
- What do you think is best about your project (that you contribute to)?
I am working with the Debian project and I believe Debian is a very stable distribution built on a very strong package management system. I also like Debian's commitment to the open source community; Debian strongly believes in the open source philosophy and follows it strictly through the DFSG and the social contract . I'm proud to be working for Debian.
- What would you like to advise budding contributors/developers?
I would say just keep on contributing in whatever way you can and you will surely get to learn a lot in return. And please enjoy whatever you do and don't do it just for the sake of doing.
- Any favourite programming language?
- "Philosophy plus pragmatism" or "Just Philosophy can achieve goals" or "Just Pragmatism can achieve goals" - Could also be looked as RMS or Linus
There is nothing much to choose between them... All seem fine to me.
- What's interesting about your local GNU/Linux User Group / other community that you are a part of?
I am part of the linux users' community at IITM  which has close to 500 members. It comprises of students from all years and I find it very encouraging to see new students showing a lot of interest in FOSS & GNU/Linux and asking questions on the mailing list. The group is very active and we have regular meetings/sessions.
- Five quick buzzwords (verbs / adjectives) for an "ideal" community according to you?
Encouraging, Active, Enthusiastic, Eager, Intense (should have frequent flame wars :-)
- Best (or your favorite) FOSS related conference in India (One or many) and why?
I haven't attended many, but ChennaiFOSS was good.
- How does it feels to have two DDs from neighbouring rooms?
(Kumar Appaiah stays next to my room)
It is a big advantage having him next door because we get to learn a lot from each other. Usually there is a lot of activity going on in Debian, and it becomes very difficult to keep track of things; having another DD next door really helps a lot to catch up with action.
- Do you want to be a Debian Project Leader someday? If yes what
would be your goals?
I haven't thought about that..
- What are your ideas to grow the Debian community in India?
I don't have any great plans as of now. All I'm doing is helping my friends to convert to Debian at IITM and encouraging them to contribute back to Debian. I would be more than happy to help people interested in contributing to Debian and I wish to see more Debian Developers from India.
- About you
I'm finishing my Dual degree (B.Tech + M.Tech) 5 year course in Aerospace Engineering this year from IIT Madras.
You will find everything about me at my homepage. Homepage: http://varun.travisbsd.org/
- Screenshot of your desktop
I have put screenshots of my desktop here: http://www.lynucs.org/?&Varun%20Hiremath
- Your working room / working environment (photo / description)
I work on Intel P-IV 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 15" monitor, Debian GNU/Linux.
- Favourite beverage:
- Favourite Street Food:
Pappdi Chaat/ Gol Gappa
- Current Locality (City, State):
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
- Mother Tongue
- City in India you would like to visit in your free time
- Also please add any other qustions you would like to answer :-)
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