The Knowledge Management and Knowledge Networking Workshop (or KMKN in the ITfC jargon) was a perfect way to start my work at ITfC. I was involved in the organising bit of the workshop, which helped me to get to know my colleagues (from both the Bangalore and Mysore offices) as well as the organisational ethos of ITfC. The workshop was as much a capacity building training for me as for the attending NGOs. Earlier, I used to associate Linux (Linux being the only open source software that I was aware of) with the bespectacled computer geeks who save/doom the world in so many sci-fi Hollywood movies. While Linux still remains a mysterious magical software, a whole new world of possibilities opened with Ubuntu, the extremely user-friendly Linux operating system. I found, to my delight, that unlike old habits, Microsoft using habits die really easy. Ubuntu is very easy to learn and I felt that the three-day workshop was sufficient not only to learn basic things like word processor, spreadsheet but also advanced applications like audio – video editing, posters designing, etc.
Learning something new is always pleasant. However, what increased the value of learning these new skills was the knowledge that public software has a deep social impact, that it is not merely a technological fad but a thing of principle. The principle being that knowledge, like any other common resource must be accessible to all. I found the logical extension of public education and public health to public software particularly inspiring.