By Kabir Bhargava
Freed.in is an open source event that takes place every year. Various long-term users come and give talks during the event about a specific aspect of open source. People attending it are mainly newbies or college students. The venue for the event for a few years has been the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. My father is one of the managers for the event and works very hard to make it a reality. This year it took place on 20-21 February.
One of my friends, who is an expert on python – a programming language, Senthil came to Freed.in to give a talk. He was there only for a day and just to give that talk. His topic was about designing a game using python. The idea of designing a game interested me enough to attend the first day of the two-day event. It was a Friday and I had school, and also a Physics test. But I bunked school and went to meet him to understand python since I love playing games. Before the session, he showed me various things that can be done using python. He made a worm game (snake) and also a ship game. He explained the logic of the code that was otherwise a jumble of words to me. Though it was tough for me to memorize the commands for the game, I do remember they were somewhat like this: create spaceship, to move left, left arrow, to move right…then, fire with space, if shot hits another ship, +1points. If an opponent’s bomb hits player, then loud explosion and end. This was the first time I saw and sort of understood any code. It was also the first time that it occurred to me that action-packed games that I play so often require knowledge of programming and patient checking and rechecking of a series of words and punctuation. I was also convinced about using python!
I found the event quite helpful because if just one session could convince me to know python, then I felt that others would be learning a lot more. For this year of Freed.in, surprisingly, 15 people from my school faculty had registered. I met my computer teacher who I learnt is an expert at open source applications. Interestingly, he was earlier our guitar teacher.
At the end of the first day, the volunteers and managers partied and ate together—it was clear that Freed.in to them meant lots of fun along with some work!