It was a typical evening at one of the coffee houses in Pune. Most of the tables were occupied by youngsters, with the typical topics of discussion varying from college katta news to the latest movies, cricket and politics.
But at one corner there were around 20 geeks discussing hardcore Linux issues over coffee. There was no age distinction in the group and participants ranged from graduate students to industry veterans. The GeeP meet was in progress.
As the name suggests, this group consists of Linux geeks. Unlike the regular LUGs, ‘GeeP’ is primarily focused on Linux systems software, which typically includes the Linux kernel, device drivers, GCC and compilers, and other aspects of the system.
GeeP started off in July 2006 as a mailing list at tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/geep_linux. Amit Kale, CEO and founder of LinSysSoft Technologies was the driving force behind the formation of GeeP and making it popular across Pune. Although it started off to get together the Linux kernel developers from around the city, the mailing list grew rapidly and has now more than 177 members, including folks from other cities like Bangalore, Allahabad, Chennai, etc.
GeeP is a non-profit group. The members have a philosophy of sharing wisdom amongst themselves, while job postings and other hoax stuff on the group mailing list are discouraged.
Typically, group members get together once a month at a Barista outlet. The discussions mostly tend to focus on Linux systems issues, with members sharing their experiences and thought processes with respect to their professional life. Of course, members also share other industry news, giving rise to some spicy discussions.
The group plans sessions for its members once a month. In November, it was filesystems, and virtualisation the month before. These sessions are absolutely free of cost and one can opt in just by dropping a mail.
The sessions are typically divided into two parts—the first covers the ‘basics’ for newbies, and the second half is generally an advanced session on the same topic. A GeeP member generally covers the first half, and experts are invited for the second. The presentations of past sessions are available to members through the ‘files’ section of the group. These ‘sessions’ sometimes are hands-on, and attending them can be a real learning experience.
The topics for these ‘sessions’ are collectively decided upon by the group members.
November was really a quantum leap for the group when it formally went online through www.geeksofpune.org. Kale and the rest of the ‘core’ group of GeeP members are optimistic about the future. To quote him: “The group is one-of-a-kind in India and stands out distinctly from regular LUGs. The group seeks affiliations from the industry and educational institutes. We expect a lot of action in the following months.”
GeeP has also started going to engineering colleges, where members introduce graduate students to the use of Linux. Companies that have a significant presence in the Linux/OSS workspace are also in touch with GeeP and often offer their conference rooms for the group’s monthly sessions.
So all you geeks, welcome onboard!