FSFTN Hacktivist Camp Report

Free Software Foundation Tamil Nadu conducted it's first ever Hacktivist Camp in the premises of BEFI, Teynampet, Chennai from January 29 to January 31, 2016.

The target audience for the event were active FSFTN volunteers and GLUG members from across the State and Puducherry. The conduct of the event was preceded by a long process of planning and had to be postponed once due to the floods in Chennai. But overcoming many such obstacles, the Hacktivist Camp was finally kicked off on a bright January morning with 50 participants.

The aim of the camp was to energise the GLUGs and volunteer, not just technically but philosophically as well, open up new possibilities and areas of contributions in the world of free software and also give the participants an insight of the needs and modes of a GLUG. The residential event also aimed at familiarizing the participants with hacktivists from other parts of the State and their work.

The first day of the camp began with an introduction to Hacker culture & hacktivism by Yogesh. After that, Prasanna took over and began with an experiment for emphasizing the importance of free software by modifying output in a binary file. This was followed by sessions on importance of software freedom, followed by SSH & SCP, OpenStreetMap which gave the hacktivists an introduction to armchair mapping and collaborative mapping, and finally, OpenArena gaming in FOSS.

On the second day, Open hardware was introduced with a demonstration of Arduino, and hacktivist were introduced to building a community weather station. This was followed with an introduction to the Internet, and addressing problems that came with centralization of World Wide Web and Internet. The idea of building an alternative, decentralised Mesh network, using Freifunk, Project Byzantium & Rumble, was demonstrated. Then all the hacktivists visited Semmozhi Poonga, a park nearby as an effort to create an informal environ for the hacktivsts to know each other and open up for discussion. The day ended with all the participants watching Tamil flick, Iruthi Suttru.

The final day started with a discussion on Open Access and Open Data and how to contribute and utilize it. The importance of localization in FOSS was stressed and hacktivist were introduced to how to contribute. A session on introduction to web presentations (like reveal js, remark js, etc) was conducted and hacktivists were introduced to tool called presentations 360, which is a framework to build easy presentations. This was followed by an session by SWIFT, a gender specific initiative of FSFTN which emphasized on the role of women in the field of Computing Technology. The event ended with a session which introduced the hacktivist to organisation's Structure and a briefing the hacktivists on GLUG manifesto.

All the participating hacktivist, belonging to various glugs and geographical places, interacted with each other and shared various activities that their respective glugs conduct and various achievements that they could achieve in recent past. The continued and open interaction among volunteers resulted in good team spirit being developed among participating hacktivists.

FSFTN would like to thank all the volunteers for pouring in continued efforts, all the speakers for making this event a success.