Friday, October 12, 2007

FOSS - Made in India !

While returning home from work today, I went to the neighboring super-market and bought the LFY (Linux For You) magazine for the month on an impulse. I have not been a regular reader of this magazine since Feb 2006 when I stopped writing for them. So it was just pure impulse on my part...

I was going through the articles lazily in bed some few minutes back. I started with the review of SLES desktop and then read the article on autopackage. The project is started by a group of young enthusiasts based in U.S and Sweden which makes package installation across Linux distros easy (say "InstallShield for Linux"). I then flipped casually to the next page where there was a guest column by our very own Kenneth Gonsalves, the Chennai based open source enthusiast and activist.

He was asked the typical question which every FOSS related magazine in India loves to repeat in every alternate editions - "Why are Indians not contributing to open source ?" I glanced through his reply. Little did I realize his comments would make my day...

Here I quote his reply verbatim...

"There are a large number of indians in practically all major FOSS projects. However if you look closely, you will find that the vast majority are not resident in India. Yes, there are several hundred people in India actively contributing to projects big and small. But genuine 'Made in India' projects of international repute ? I can see only four or five: Anjuta (Naba Kumar has left the country); HarvestMan by Anand Pillai; Deepofix by Abhas Abinav; IndLinux by Karunakar and team and Coppermine by Tarique Sani..."

Boy, was I not taken aback by surprise and blushing with genuine pride!... :) I have used Anjuta and has great respect for its original developer (Naba Kumar), though little did I know about his current resident country. I think IndLinux and Coppermine are great projects and frankly I have not heard about Deepofix (my bad...). I have always considered my own contribution (HarvestMan) as a david among the goliaths. I have a sense of my place among the international open source developers. I have made a contribution worth mentioning, but I have never considered it accomplished enough to figure among "the list of original contributions" by India to FOSS. It is surely a matter of pride to see that a well known and widely acknowledged FOSS community member thinks about the project like that.

Kenneth, you clearly made my day. Thanks for the kind words. It felt really nice to see the words "HarvestMan" staring back at me from a page in an IT magazine which I was casually flipping in the midnight. Surely for a born-again techie like me, there is no better recognition than something like this.

I consider this the best compliment I have ever received in my life for something I have done. It makes more all the more excited about open source and FOSS and the spirit of sharing code and having fun at the same time.

Monday, October 08, 2007 updated

Since I completed the port of Rbnarcissus to last week, I have been working on getting the bugs fixed. A lot of work has been done on this during the past week, and the code is now parsing a set of more than 30 javascript input samples of varying size and complexity, correctly. Also, the behaviour is very close to that of Rbnarcissus. Both the parsers now seem to fail at the same places in the code for samples which they can't parse, which is a good sign that the code now approximates Rbnarcissus very well.

Since the code is now stable and somewhat usable, I have made it publicly available. The code can be browsed in the folder. There won't be any packages or formal documentation till I feel that the code is beta quality and can be made available as a Python package.