Nullcon : A great conference experience !

I , Praveen Kumar, Soni Lonari and Prasad Mukhedkar on behalf of Red Hat got to attend Nullcon 2015.

Red Hat also was a badge sponsor. The idea of nullcon was generated from null – The open security community registered not for profit society.. nullcon is functional since 2010 usually structured as exhibition, talks, security trainings, workshops, bugbash and job fairs. Nullcon 2015 was conducted at the Bogmallo resort in Goa. A perfect place selected with solitude which allowed a lot of networking opportunity and an experience to remember.

Nullcon 2015 was a five day effort which included 2 days of training and 3 days of conference. Indeed a very extensive and a well planned training and conference style.

Red Hat was given a table space as a booth and we reached on the 6th Feb. The registration was very well managed with pre- made badges which had a floppy drive as Nullcon is known for geeky and innovative badge ideas. The best part was the swag sling which left smiles on attendees as they slowly pulled out the swags with curiosity.

The Red Hat booth got a lot hits the moment it was set since a lot of people had questions about Red Hat’s security strategy, about Fedora 21 and features. To add more to the swag experience we also had Red Hat stickers and Fedora DVD’S for distribution which were fast moving right from the onset. A few people enquired about jobs, Its always good to have your recruiters with you. 🙂


The handout made by Nullcon was detailed and had insights on all the speakers with their bio’s. It was interesting to read through the CXO corner and it was quite resonating to see Harish Pillay from Red Hat there. It was all the more enriching to see him on the panel discussion. However there was clash with Rahul Sasi’s session which left people to make a difficult choice to attend.

Networking: On this conference my networking experience was splendid and the venue was so apt for it. A sea facing sit out along a pool side couldn’t get better for the purpose. Few interesting people I met were Joerge Simon who was a fedorian and was one of the trainers who took 2 day training on coral 2. He is so collaborating and enthusiastic that he can bring the best out in others in no time. Had great discussion with him on Fedora, Upcoming FUDCon 2015 in Pune, his experiences with his visits in India and how he was so curious to know about so many cultural aspects. Another such meet was with Harish pillay who is a Red Hatter but I met him for the first time and it was so nice to see his zeal on almost everything be it I python, or CTF for women by info-sec girls, for that matter upcoming FUDCon 2015. Looking forward to meet him there. Another interesting group of ladies were who have recently formed Infosec girls an initiative to increase women in information security. Sneha Rajguru Shruti Kamat and Anupama Giri are doing a nice job on this initiative. The organizers had a nice invite only networking party arranged at the venue followed by a JAZZ band the next day leaving the attendees all the more relaxed to grasp more the next day.


Follow ups and Take away: It was enriching to know during the CTF session by the women for the women was taken by Sneha Rajguru that formed a infosec girls group to encourage more women into this field and also to know more about the security threats that exist in the digital world. I and Soni Lonari from Red Hat got in touch with them for a follow up session in Red Hat and to see how it could foster further

Cut Throat Highlight: was the emc defenders league which had a cash prize of INR 5,00,00 and Winja ( CTF by women for women).

All put together was a great experience which is going to last through the year only to eagerly wait for the next one. Kudos to the organizers on a successful, complete, thoughtful and a lasting experience. I look forward to the next one:)


PyLadies : Pune Chapter

We have been hearing about a lot of women in open source initiatives and endeavors happening all across the world. There have been mailing lists, women centric conferences events,awards and meet ups. There have been debates, brainstormings on the need for such women centric initiatives. The underlying basis comes from the fact that the women represent only 2 percent of the total open source population. One such group is “Pyladies” which is an international mentoring group aimed at increasing the participation of women in the python open source community.

Recently I  got in touch with the Pyladies US team to know how we could participate or co organize a pyladies event since encouraging women to open source and technology is a mutual goal across. This helped us understand that there were pyladies volunteers Manali Gadre and Shreya Bhattacharya from Cummins college of engineering. And that’s how we planned our first event at the campus. Thank you girls, you were splendid.

The event started with the introduction to PyLadies by Anisha Narang.

Ramakrishna Reddy caught the nerve of the audience by introducing Python and its evolution as a programming language . Students were interested to know how the language evolved with the internet and how a completely unknown or nontechnical person could learn this language with ease. He quoted Late Kenneth Gonsalves an open source enthusiast and as someone who learnt Python at a later age and yet contributed so much to the community. The sure takeaway for students was when Ramakrishna  gave them a few tips to be efficient at the language while choosing Python as a career  Viz.Understanding memory consumption, data structures, algorithms, Core OS skills, Putting codes on internet for companies they wish to work for and getting statistics and probability as helpers to drive the programing language. He also asked the PyLadies to know and learn more about API’s.

10918937_10203200821173726_2453005066795757979_o An excellent piece of advice that came from Ramakrishna was when he encouraged students to intend to be good programmers and not just to fetch jobs.     Ramakrishna also hinted a few career options in fields like Big Data, Animation defense. And while doing so he also cited the example of the animation Movie Kunfu Panda which used python and did problem solving through virtualization.

PyLadies nodded in appreciation to the well covered aspects of python in the industry by Ramakrishna.

Praveen Kumar and Chandan Kumar added real life to the event when they actually undertook hands on workshop by starting with simple programs like hello world, addition subtraction through python interpreter to a brief covered by Praveen Kumar about functions, file handling, exceptions, class and modules in python with basic examples.Anshul gave a demo about fetching data from rotten tomato’s API using python request module which was equally interesting.They carried Fedora system live DvDs for the hands on. Thank you Siddhesh Poyarekar for making these available for us !

All ended well when students asked us to come to their college for more such sessions. Since open source is all about crossing borders and sharing we informed ladies about the upcoming python meet ups and FUDCon 2015 to be active and get to the open source world to learn more, share more and grow more. We wish all the PyLadies luck and support in their endeavors. Nothing closes better than a selfie moment:)

10943634_10203200826813867_1778318218660128394_oLong way to go ladies !

References :

AdaCamp , 2014 Bengaluru

ADA Camp 2014 @ Red Hat Bengaluru:

“Each Time a Women stands up for herself without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands for all Women” – Maya Angelou

Yes we are talking about Womanhood and the identity of her existence, perspectives of her own, the patriarchal hand cuffs which deny her a free hand to live as a human being and her right to be treated as one. No this isn’t intended to be an activists blog, but its intended to write about a form, a structure, a movement, a style, a feeling and lastly with more emphasis, an initiative called “Ada” .

ADA was founded in Jan 2011 and is a non profit feminist organization aimed at increasing and leading women participation in open technology and open culture. For now its well understood the important role of women not just in building society but as key contributors to development and technology. Thats where we are women in open technology and culture. The focus areas for ADA are: increasing women percentage in Open technology which is sadly 2% now, anti harassment policy on conducting conferences which is gained momentum and used in other conferences too, teaching ally skills workshops to all gender to help women in open tech ,with over 2 million people trained so far and the most sought after conference by any women in Open technology the ADA camp.

This year there were 3 conferences hosted at Portland (Oregan), Berlin (Germany), Bangalore (India.) Probably some good karma landed me at the ADA camp Bangalore and as a Red Hatter allowed me to me to be a venue host for the camp.

So here’s the  event coverage:

22nd and 23rd Nov, a warm Red Hat board welcomed the delegates to the first ADA camp in Asia at the Red Hat Bangalore office. It succeeded a cordial dinner reception on 21st Nov Friday.A lot of women struck conversations over dinner and were already charged for the “unconference style” sessions to follow for the next 2 days.


The first session however was scheduled on the “Imposter Syndrome” which was very well put up and raised curiosity among attendees. Some great work by ADA on that :

A room full of ladies something I only saw after my Alma mater days. There were around 45 ladies attending the conference

Meanwhile the participants were asked to submit lightening talks for the day with not more than 90 seconds to deliver and one slide to present.

Post Lunch sessions started with the lightening talks and the actual execution of schedule for the Unconference style started. Attendees proposed talks and the remaining marked the session which they’d like to listen. There were four sessions slots scheduled for the next 1 day with half a day reserved on the last day to be used for hand on or workshops. There were four session running parallely at each of these slots and the participants could be on and off as per their topics of interest. Thats again a fantastic testimony  to being Open and respecting choices with freedom.The best part was each session had a moderator a gatekeeper a time keeper and a note taker. Session notes were circulated to attendees for participants who could attend all the parallel sessions.


Few key sessions covered were : Introduction to Information Security, Design 101, Using technology and feminism for empowerment in local community, gender violence online problems and strategy,Castism and racism in Indian Open stuff, Augmented reality big data, why open geo maps are better than google maps, Hacker school, OPW and GSOC, Women in Mozilla, Contributing to Open source projects.

Such content rich and open discussions sparked and ignited more passion of being a woman in the open source technology.

Some awesome lightening talks included: Technology and gender based violence,How I am in Open Source,WFS India,eTekkatho Digitial Library Myanmar,Ubiquitous Computing,Feministic approach to technology,Diaspora.

The best part was 90 seconds to be fair to the topic covered was a test to the speaker and all went good!

And some enriching workshops on: Digital Security,Open Hardware, Mozilla Web-maker and a crafts workshop too!

It was hard to believe that a completely unscheduled conference had such an awesome program made by the attendees in just 30 minutes. Nothing could be more open and encouraging than this. Kudos to Alex Bailey and Sukhi from ADA to drive the wonderful unconference schedule with such perfection that it looked superbly planned. I am sure the attendees would drive such unconference sessions in their communities once they hit back.

Some very thoughtful things in the entire conference were the wall of compliments, a clear passage marked in case of emergency in the conference room, photography consent through forms and lanyards, a handmade schedule on the wall, the time keeping for lightening talks, the quite room for resonating what you just learnt, session notes, and the informal group dinners, timely delicious snacks and food breaks,an ADA alumni list, regular housekeeping announcements and off course the swags:).

All put together was a unique ADAian experience.

On Behalf of Red Hat I thank ADA camp organizers for considering to host the first ADA camp in Asia @ Red Hat. Red Hat is more than happy to support the cause of encouraging women in Open source. The Women’s Leadership community at Red Hat also encourages the participation of Women in Open Source and has launched a Women in Open source award from 2014: Please nominate and pass on the baton.

I can say this conference was the most truly touched feminist endeavor I have ever witnessed or thought of. An inspiration to last through.

Long live the cause and great is & would be the result.

Some key future events and resource links that can be looked at, which came from the attendees: