FOSS.IN/2006 is over. This year the event was held in the J. N. Tata Auditorium complex of IISc, Bangalore. This meant that we had much better seating arrangements and acoustics compared to last year, though some of the halls were awfully musty and for some reason the airconditioner in every hall was set to too low a temperature for my comfort. The food was much better than what was there last year and there were enough pure water dispensers to quench everyone's thirst throughout the day every day.
The scale of the event however was much smaller this year compared to last year. It was held for just three days instead of four days as in last year and there were just five simultaneous talks through the day instead of six as in last year. While many of the American hackers chose to skip the event this year due to its unfortunate overlap with the Thanksgiving weekend, I don't know what would explain the much lower turnout of Indian delegates and exhibitors.
I didn't find that many interesting talks this year so it was a bit depressing for me. In addition, there were many a glaring error in a couple of talks that I attended. Among the talks that I did like were the ones by Christof Wittig and Russell Nelson on the first day, the one by Aaron Seigo on the second day and the one by Tim Pritlove on the third day.
In a talk on OpenAlchemy, I asked why anyone in India should buy an Amida Simputer when it has a bulky form factor and is more expensive than a Palm Tungsten E2 which at first blush seems to have many a desirable feature and looks far more polished. Another member of the audience asked where it stands now that the OLPC project is here. I wasn't happy with the answers provided for either of these questions.