Atul Chitnis a topnotch techie


Belgaum is a land of rich human resources, it is called the Poor mans hill station. People throng this city to get education as far of places like the North east, no need to tell south east Asian countries as well. To cover one more Star of Belgaum who has scaled great heights after he returned from Germany with his parents to make a fresh start here in Belgaum.

Technologist, businessman, consultant, writer, actor, musician, family man, community catalyst… He has many, many descriptions;

I am talking about Atul Chitnis is an Indian consulting technologist known for his work in the fields of data networks, internet and intranets, Linux and Free and Open Source Software and mobile computing in India. He is also the founder of FOSS.IN (formerly Linux Bangalore), one of Asia’s largest FOSS conferences. He is currently on the management board of Geodesic Ltd as Chief Products Officer, where the company’s MD is again a Belgaumite Kiran Kulkarni.

Born in Berlin, Germany in 1962, to his German mother Monika and G G Chitnis, he completed his primary schooling there, before migrating to Belgaum in 1972. He completed his secondary schooling at the Belgaum Military School (1972-78), his PUC from GSS college (1978-81) and graduated in Mechanical engineering from the Gogte Institute of Technology in 1985.

After working for a while in Mumbai, Atul settled down in Bangalore in 1986, where he continues to live with his family.

Atul has worked extensively to promote Linux and Free and Open Source Software. As Consulting Editor for PCQuest from 1996 to 2002, he was responsible for the PCQuest Linux Initiative, a successful effort to introduce FOSS and Linux to readers of the popular magazine.

Working with the FOSS community (most prominently the Bangalore Linux User Group that he had helped create in 1998), seminars and articles, he encouraged people to try out and use FOSS technologies. He also encouraged the FOSS community to participate in large technology events such as Bangalore IT.COM. The exposure from these events gained the community more visibility and credibility in industry and government.

In 2001, Chitnis, along with a group of like-minded friends, created and ran the Linux Bangalore series of FOSS community driven conferences. Now known as FOSS.IN, the conference has become one of Asia’s largest annual FOSS events.

His father G G Chitnis was doing good in Germany but the urge to return to India and get into the manufacture of hydraulics became stronger and stronger, more so with the birth of Atul and Arun, whom their parents wanted to raise in an Indian environment. In 1969, Atul’s father returned to India after almost eighteen years in Europe. In 1972, Atul’s mother, Atul and his brother Arun followed him to settle in India.

After his graduation Atul worked for a while with CompuTact, a Bombay-based firm involved in the development of software for business houses. In late 1986, he moved to Bangalore, and operated as a freelance programmer and consultant until 1989, when he helped found A.R.B.Constellation, a company involved with the development of software for the Indian domestic market.

In the period between 1989 and 1994, he was involved in various projects – including the first communication software developed in India, and was chief programmer for the award winning communications host system – CyberNet.

Today, he specializes in Corporate computing strategies and the identification of appropriate technologies.

Atul married his college sweetheart, Shubha, in 1987, and they have one daughter – Geetanjali.

He enjoys writing a lot, especially “humanized” technology articles that not only describe a concept, but also give it a practical base. His articles have appeared in various publications, including some of India’s leading technology journals such as PC Quest and DataQuest. He is especially known for his articles related to data communication and the Internet, as well as Linux — an Operating System. He is also a much sought-after public speaker. He enjoys stripping technology of its mystique and making it comprehensible to laymen.

He can speak, read and write in English and German, am an amateur musician and am a voracious reader of both printed and online material. He enjoys reading, especially science fiction, which naturally means that Issac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke rank very high with me.


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  1. Hi, Atul has pursued his passion and become a LINUX Guru. Writes on technology issues with indepth understanding. He perhaps was one of the first writers in tech space with authority on tech issues and great command over language. I recall we were part of the music troupe “Super Stars” in 1983 along with him, Satish Hegde, Kulkarni and host of the geeks of Gogte Institute of Technology. Pure fun, enjoyed every bit.

  2. I could develop my computing knoledge and technology orientation largely due to PCQuest. And I fell initially in love with the magazine ony because of Atul’s Comversion articles.

    Salute to his contribution from the days of the BBSs, long distance dialup internet access, linux, et. al.

    Thank you AAB for this coverage.


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