Free Software Trip 2: Reaching Bangalore.
Date: 21st January 2019
2. Reaching Bangalore
I was always curious about Bangalore. I had heard a lot about this city from my friends and family who lived there. It is the undisputed IT hub of the country with a vibrant tech community, making it a great place to work and live.
When I landed the airport apron was packed with a ton of aircraft of the same make and company together. It really is a curious sight to see groups of over 50 aircrafts which look exactly alike parked together. I’ve never seen anything like it in Mumbai or Hyderabad (which I frequent) !
Once inside, I was struck by how beautiful Kempegowda International Airport is ! The terminal was huge and it was clear that it was made for a major city with some serious footfall. Except for the size, it reminded me of Hyderabad which is also located a bit far from the city. The shuttle ride made me feel like i was going to my Dadi’s place in Hyderabad, even the bus model was the same! In the bus I had met a student of RVCE and we had a good long chat about the college and how life is here in Bangalore from the eyes of a settler from Delhi.
Then I reached the campus of RV college a short Ola ride after and checked in. There was a room in the guest house booked for me by Dr. Renka Prasad sir. I rested a little to actually go out into the city and meet Abhas sir finally!
I took a metro and reached the office of Deeproot GNU/Linux , the 18 year old free software business co-founded by Abhas Sir. I met him and we had a discussion about what I can expect at the events and do while there.
The office was a hacker’s paradise! Everywhere I looked it was apparent that this was a place for passionate technologists who were not afraid to get their hands dirty and customise things to their needs. Just 10 mins in I noticed the following things:
- An opened up router with Free Software firmware and hardware
- Mandatory GNU/Linux distributions all around like Debian and Mint.
- Custom made hardware, servers running in a seperate room
- Terminals open all around. I had always been an indoor gnu/linux enthusiast and it was great to see more like me. :)
- The legendary old Thinkpads with Coreboot/Libreboot.
- A bunch of RPIs and Arduinos being used for various IoT Projects.
Abhas sir’s office was even more interesting, I took my own sweet time to glance through everything as there were so many awesome things like:
- A Thinkpad with Debian Testing, with KDE Plasma installed.
- A beautiful custom 60% mechanical keyboard with a mixture of cherry switches for different keys.
- Many more custom mechanical keyboard layouts.
- I was always curious about mechanical keyboards but this was the first time I had actually experienced the orgasmic tactile feedback! It took me just a few keystrokes to realise that the hype behind them is very justified!
- He even let me check out the original IBM Model M , and also a bucking spring keyboard.
- Abhas sir runs a single person startup-Mostly Harmless where you can buy and assemble your own mechanical keyboard and customise it down to the microcontroller. I will be checking one out soon, please check back for a post on that too.
- A podcast setup for freetalk.show
- Custom server setups using Free Software and Hardware with additional components.
- Stacks of interesting books like The Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance..
I spent the whole day nerding out and interacting with the other employees there. I got kinda fond of quite a few of them. Everyone of them was very friendly and shared my passion for making things. I left the office in the evening, took a long walk in the city and left to go back to the guest house.
The talk by RMS was on the next day I was very excited for the next day.
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© Abhishek Balam 2019