Linux India is an informally organized community of mailing lists. It was founded by Arun Sharma and Karra Dakshinamurthy circa 1997 to help newcomers to the Linux Operating System and as a discussion forum for Linux enthusiasts in India. In the initial days, the mailing lists were administered and moderated by Sudhakar Chandrasekharan AKA Thaths.
State of Linux in India at the Time
In the late 1990s Linux begun getting a lot of exposure in India through computer magazines and enthusiasts. Adoption of Linux was slow as bandwidth in India was prohibitively expensive at the time. Technology magazines like PCQuest, CHIP Magazine and others began bringing out Linux special issues including cover CDs containing full distributions. These CDs helped introduce Linux to many who could not afford the costs of downloading. These publications became an important source for Linux distributions in India.
A few formal and informal Linux User Groups had sprung up around the time. The best known one at the time was the Bharat Linux User Group, formed in early 1997 at the NIT Surat (SVNIT) (see  for a description) . Many academic institutions, including the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, National Centre for Software Technology in Mumbai, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai were already heavy users of Linux at the time. Many of them had semi-formal user groups including mailing lists for support.
Between 1997 and 1999, the Linux India mailing list grew focusing largely on helping people with technical issues related to installing and running Linux on their PCs. Linux India became a kind of de facto umbrella for various Linux Users Groups across India. Users from smaller towns that did not have a LUG often joined Linux India. When they met a sufficient critical mass of people interested in Linux from the same area they formed a local LUG. In November 1999, the Linux community in Bangalore participated in a technology industry exhibition. With the broader adoption of Linux, companies like GT also began selling cheap Linux CDs in India.
The Great Renaming
As a result of this growth the Linux India mailing list was split into three—Linux India Help(LIH), Linux India General (LIG), and Linux India Programmers (LIP)—in November 1999. A web site was created and an IRC server (now defunct irc.linux-india.org) was started. Most of the old-timers are now at the
- linux-india channel on irc.freenode.net. The mailing lists are still functional and most of the veterans still subscribe to them, though the number of daily messages have reduced because now almost every major city/state has its own LUG and their own mailing lists to discuss issues. The mailing lists can be subscribed from the sourceforge page linked from www.linux-india.org.
Attempts at Formalization
In 2000 an attempt was made to formalize Linux India as a registered organization. One of the reasons was that a repeat of the event from November 1999 was scheduled in Bangalore, and the sponsors of the Linux presence at the event felt the need to work with a formal organization, in order to avoid inadvertently getting into a political cross-fire.
Representatives from all the known LUGs were invited to join a new, private mailing list called LI-reg. The list discussed whether Linux India had to be formalized and how the various LUGs related to Linux India. There was considerable difference in opinion among the representatives whether there was a need to formalize a nationwide organization. Some felt that it was important to have a formal organization to deal with Industry. Others felt that things were fine the way they were without the need for a formal organization. No consensus was reached in two months of discussions. The idea of formalizing Linux India was dropped and has not been re-attempted since.
Move to Sourceforge
In 2001 the administrator of the mailing lists resigned and the lists were moved to sourceforge where they have resided since.
Founded in around July 2004,
- linux-india on freenode has become the premier IRC channel for linux/foss enthusiasts in India. The channel usually has between 30 to 50 members on at a time. There are members from all over India with the biggest contingents being from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. The channel holds a loose allegiance to the dormant Indian Linux Users Group.
Some channel old timers and regulars include(in no particular order) OldMonk, f3ew, Hobbes`, no_mind, baks17, VivekVC, binand, vIkSiT, jace, tazz, stephdg, z00dax, gora, svaksha, jeevan_ullas,ramkrsna,t3rmin4t0r, mary, Lap_64, koolhead, KillerX.
In 2008, a Mailing list named linux-india-channel was created to facilitate the channel IRC channel regulars and channel operators to discuss the IRC channel policy and other relevant discussions related to the Linux India IRC channel.
- The Linux India Website - The India Linux Organisation Portal
- Partial archives of the Linux India mailing lists 1999-2001