Category Archives: FOSS

Sri Lanka and GSoC, en route to the true premise of the internet and computer science

Chris DiBona
Chris DiBona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is a great day. A pioneering advocate of open source software, Chris DiBona accoladed Sri Lanka for the contribution in GSoC and FOSS, in this interview with TechRadar/LinuxFormat. In his own words:

Every year that goes by we see more people from outside of the US take part [in GSoC]. The US still has a healthy proportion – 250 or something – but it’s amazing to see where people pop up – like Sri Lanka. Even during the civil war we still had Tamil and other Sri Lankan students taking part in the Summer of Code; it’s like, how did it transcend borders in that way in that country? And so, Sri Lanka has always been really interesting to us in ways that even India and China are not.

Here’s basically a very small nation, and if you look at it, there’s a couple of universities that really glommed onto Summer of Code as a way of expanding their curriculum. Think about that. 79 Computer Science students in a small university in a small country in the midst of a civil war, all doing remarkable work. This is the promise of the internet and computer science made flesh.

I think we should all take pride, as students, mentors, well-wishers and finally as Sri Lankans, for contributing with small steps, inspiring people around us, making a mark on the world map for a good thing! I should specially thank few people like Pradeeban Kathiravelu, Kasun Gajasinghe, Thilanka Kaushalya (from University of Moratuwa), Arunoda Susiripala (from University of Kelaniya), Buddie Kurera (from University of Peradeniya), Suranga Nath Kasthurirathne (from IIT) and many who came before them, for pioneering in spreading the word, organizing meetups and going places! AFAICR we did sessions in University of Jaffna, Pera, IESL etc and we used to hang-out in the #gsoc-lk irc channel in FreeNode too.

So let’s pat ourselves on the back once more and get motivated to do better in the coming years, not only in GSoC or Code-In, but in the open source community as well. As Sri Lankans let’s all have a greater impact on realizing “the true promise of the internet and computer science” as Chris DiBona said.


[This post was adapted from an e-mail initially sent to GSoC Sri Lanka Mailing List]

Some Sri Lanka FOSS Facts

  • Sri Lanka has a higher per-capita rate of Apache developers than any other nation on earth.
  • Sri Lanka is home to The Lanka Software Foundation (LSF) founded by Dr.Sanjiva Weerawarana, which has successfully incubated globally renowned open source projects such as Apache Axis 2 and Sahana Disaster Management Software.
  • WSO2 Inc, the open source middleware company backed by Intel Capital, is based in Sri Lanka.

Some more links – just for the kicks – [UPDATED]

A guide to the libuv sexism fiasco

So a pull request, involving a change in the documentation to use gender-neutral form, to libuv, (one of the libraries Node.js relies heavily upon) was rejected, applied, reverted, and re-applied over the course of two days. Things got escalated quickly and heated words were exchanged via tweets, blog posts and github comments. And now, Ben Noordhuis, one of the core contributors, has said he will likely step down from libuv and Node.js development. For some people, outcome of this whole incident is a signal for commitment to equality and inclusion of all human-kind, not only for gender-bias in STEM fields, while for others it’s just a bay area political correctness fad (as some developers call it) or an exaggeration of a simple mistake by a non-native English speaker. Nevertheless it’s interesting to observe how the collective behavior of a diverse community shapes the future of open source software amidst all this high drama. Here’s some quick links for the interested reader.

How Sri Lankan Tweeps are connected in Facebook

I couldn’t resist the urge to create a visualization while playing with gephi for my GSoC project over the weekend. The Netvizz Facebook application was used to get the data extracted from the Tweeps group, a hangout spot for Sri Lankan Twitter users. Imported the gdf file to gephi and did the coloring based on the clusters. Did slight modifications to the Radial Axis layout for legibility of labels. Gimp was used to add the final touches. Node sizes are proportional to the degree of each node (the number of people each person is connected to, within the network). Colors represent the sub networks identified within the social network by the Modularity clustering tool. Click on the image for a larger version.

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