I was at Biratnagar for a workshop/training from my job and for FOSS Training program at nearby Dharan. But since guys from Purwanchal University, School of Engineering and Technology (PUSET) were interested, i ended up giving an orientation presentation on FOSS there too.
Prahmod from Third year, Computer Engineering took the lead. The date was set for 2nd July, Wednesday. Actually they were having their final exams running and also had an exam on Wednesday. The exam was to be over at 4pm, the program was scheduled for 4:15pm.
Despite exam, the turnout was nice i should say. Around 30 students were present in the program and were mostly computer and electronics engineering students. There was no projector so i had to display the slides directly from my laptop. The conference hall was also small for the number of participants present there. Most of them stood the whole time.
One funny thing though, some guys already knew me. When i told them my name, some guys were like, aren't you the one from Kantipur FM? They were refering to the Cybertime program on Kantipur FM where i used to represent FOSS Nepal some time back. Felt like a celebrity ;) Really weird! Didn't like it..
Okay, back to presentation. Very few had heard about FOSS before and they were more interested on Linux than FOSS. Maybe the flashy Compiz effects did the trick. But nobody had used linux before. There was a guy named Ranjit (the geek there, as others told me later) who was familiar with Linux theoretically but never had used before. He was skeptic about Linux on being harder to use and softwares being difficult to install. But i showed him the friendliness of Ubuntu and how desktop environments have become simple to use.
The presentation went one hour long and despite exam fatigue and the heat, most of them managed to stay and bombard me with questions. Again, more interest was on Linux than FOSS. FOSS - they kinda get it, but they wanna try out Linux ASAP.
Gave them few CD/DVDs of Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenCD and Nepalinux. Also encouraged them to SHARE.
I think the students are really excited and have shown a strong commitment to form a FOSS Community in the Campus. They are also planning to organize a FOSS/Linux training workshop as soon as their exam is over. Some guys really came forward to take the responsibility of forming the community, namely Prahmod, Himalaya, Parbat and Madan.
I also talked with other computer professionals and found out that computer literacy is pretty good in Biratnagar (I was amazed with the number of cyber cafes here, they're almost everywhere). But nobody knows about FOSS or Linux. I hope the FOSS Community at PUSET works to change this..
More photos are at here.