December 10, 2009


This blog is really a special one. This is an account of a lot of firt times. This was my first visit to Coimbatore, not exactly frst rather first proper visit. Last time I visitted it only for changing a bus on my way to Kodaikanal from Ooty. Also it was my first ever paper presentation in an international conference. First time staying in a hotel alone (seriously). Well enough with firsts, now that you know what this blog is about, let me try and pen down an account of the trip.

Day 1

First thing worth mentioning is that, at this moment, I have been awake for the last 40 hours or so. Writing this blog entry just to keep myself from dozing away in the middle of the cultural programme and dinner. Though the bus was pretty comfy but it's a bad habit of mine that I cannot sleep in a bus. Reached here in the morning at 5:45 am , came straight to PSG college of engineering only to find that the guard has no idea where the conference is happening. He sent me to the PSG hostels where another guard told me that the conference is probably at PSG college of arts. The PSG college of arts was at a place which was more deserted than any place I have ever seen. The guards there were completely taken aback by the simple word "conference". Unable to find out any furtehr information, came back to PSG tech in an auto and I am not kidding when I say that the auto walas here are even bigger robbers than their counterparts in Bangalore. This time I barged straight in, roamed the campus and finally found what I was looking for. The registration was to begin at 8:30 and it was only 6:45. So I went back to Gandhipuram in search of a really cheap hotel. Found a decent hotel for 370 per day and came back after taking shower.

The organizers were really helpful and helped me to get myself registered. The conference had already began. After an awesome breakfast, started attending the plenary taks one by one.

The lunch was as sumptuous as the breakfast. My poster presentation was in the afternoon. I finished setting up the bits and pieces of papers and slides I had prepared on the very last day and the day before that , staying awake till 4 in the morning. So the moment finally arrived and a few people came by wanting to know what my work was all about. I explained tem prperly and also handed them printed copies of my paper. After this I went for a NABIC session where I saw a paper being presented which had only excerpts from other papers. It was basically a compilation of 6 previous papers. How can something like this get selected? Currently sitting here at Quadrangle waiting for the cultural programme to start. Is extremely tired. I will simply throw myself into bed once I reach the hotel.

Made some new friends on the first day, one from Bangladesh, one from Iran and two more from Japan and China. Nice to see these friendly people. Took a lot of snaps wit them. The guy from China said that Indians are great scholars and mentioned that they never even knew what paper presentations and conferences are when they were in college. I don't how that should make me feel keeping in mind the tremendous growth of research in China, but I really feel proud on something like that coming from a Chinese. See you guys tomorrow.

Day 2

This day was much more on the technical side. Reached the venue a little late. The plenary talks were really good. Dr. Hideyuki Takagi had a talk on "Interactive Evolutionary computing". Lot of the topics were new to me and thoroughly enjoyed the talks and presentations. Bo stuck with me all through the day. After lunch , there were some more interesting presentations. Talked to a lot of people, got their contacts.

The poster session on the second day saw a lot more crowd. Later in the day, I talked to Dr. Mario Koeppen about an idea that I had. I shall be working on that. H gave me some pointers and some ideas to. I will be in touch with him. After the sessions, there was the awards ceremony followed by the gala dinner which brought an end to a very fruitful day.

Day 3

There were no no plenary talks today but only a tutorial on "Content based image retrieval". I did not register for it although I should have as it could have been useful for me. Once the presentations got over, it was time for lunch. A trip to a place called 'Isha Yoga Centre' was organized by the conference committee. This place was inside a reserve forest and was pretty awesome. The ambience was calm and serene and, as the saying goes, one can meet with his inner self if he keeps an open mind. I really enjoyed the trip.

Thus came an end to the conference and it was time to bid goodbye to all the new friends. My bus was at 10:45 p.m which I boarded and was on my way to Bangalore.

May 15, 2009

Fedora Activity Day at Dr. B.C Roy Engineering College

On 14th May, Thursday, a Fedora Activity Day was organized by the Durgapur Linux Users' Group (DGPLUG) at Dr. B.C Roy Engineering College, Durgapur. Though this event was in planning for a long time and was supposed to happen 1 months earlier, it had to be postponed by more than a month. But it finally materialised. Well as they say- "Better late than never".
Ratnadeep contacted me long back and I agreed to take a session on FEL and helping them out with the FAD in general. On the day of the FAD, I was all ready to tune in to FEL mode.
The organizers had arranged for a nice computer lab for the FAD. It had around 30 computers and each was running a FEL live DVD, the ones they had burned the previous night. These would be serving a triple purpose- FEL demonstration, KDE desktop demo and free media. All set up, we were waiting for the students who started arriving at around 11:30 a.m and the lab was almost full by 12:00 noon. We were there, ready to get, set and go.
The FAD started with an "Introduction to Fedora project" by makghosh followed a very nice presentation on " Myths about Linux busted with Fedora" by Kishan Goyal. Subhodip chipped in at times where some extra information needed to be provided. These two sessions established the foundation and explained to the people what Fedora is. Next in line was a very colourfull demonstration by our artwork team members, the Linux chix of DGPLUG. They showed some cool Inkscape handiwork and some artwork they had made themselves. What's the use of a Linux installation if you cannot use it. Yes usability is very important and the next demo served exactly this purpose. It was a demo on Desktop usability. Sunny Sharma, with a little help from Ratnadeep and me, did a pretty great job of amazing the audience with the frills and cool graphics of KDE. It was already 2:10 and our stomachs were growling. So we decided to take a lunch break and meet at 2:45 sharp.
The people were really punctual and almost all of them were back at 2:50 p.m after a trip to the canteen upstairs. I forgot to mention that there was a blizzard outside and we had a power cut. The lab was running of UPS which was crying out loud and could give up any moment. All the PCs were switched off and only the bare necessities were kept running- the projector and the laptop. Under such grave circumstances I got up to start a demo of IRC. Sunny Sharma was helping me out. The Airtel mobile office connection that we were using was damn slow and we were left with no other choice than as Airtel blocks IRC port. We explained them the concept of IRC, what are networks, what are channels and what are nicknames. Connecting to a network and joining a channel was also showed. Channels like #fedora, #fedora-india, #dgplug, #nitdgplug, ##linux on freenode were sown. Then came the very important thing about IRC ettiquette. Roshan Singh and Shakthi Kannan helped us demonstrate IRC live. Roshan helped establish a very good point that its not always geeky stuffs on IRC but we also have fun.
By this time a few electronics students had joined the crowd and they had come exclusively for the Fedora Electronics Lab session. So we began the FEL session without further delays. The UPS had already run out of life and I had to use the laptop to show them the various things we can do with FEL. No big screen this time. Almost the whole portfolio was demonstrated. I kept in mond the student's necessities and demonstrated only those tools in details which would be useful to them. gsim85, Ktechlab, octave, piklab, gresistor, drawtiming, ghdl were some of the tools. I had prepared some examples and used them to illustrate the functionalities. One student was also asked to try his hand on KTechlab and he did a pretty good job. KTechlab pretty much was the spotlight tool. The students were also give some tips on how to contribute to FEL , the fedora-electronic mailing list and some sites wich might come in handy. The power cut still loomed large and a concensus was reached to continue with the other sessions the next day.
I wasn't present the next day but as I heard that around 30 people attended the sessions, and learned a lot from the gcc, vim, shell commands sessions. As a toping to the ice cream, Subhodip gave a presentation on how to contribut to FOSS. That was pretty much it. All that remained was a follow up to this event which is already under planning and will probably be held in August. Till then the participants ave got enough to chew on.

April 20, 2009

Rocking - A fitting adjective for the day

When I got up in the morning, not looking my best, I never thought that this 19th day of April, 2009 was going to get etched so deep into my memory. Unexpected, as it was, made us realize the place the department hold in our hearts. It was an amazing adventure and drove us crazy; crazy with fun and laughter.

It was going to be just another 'exam time' day and we were supposed to study like hell. The twist began with a phone call which invited us to the department for a 'puja'. We were to go there, have 'prasad' and 'shanti jal', come back and get busy studying. This was just the beginning. On reaching the department we learned that it was our dear Vinod's(Macha) birthday(Happy Birthday Vinod). So after a round of GPLs and us singing' the'  birthday song for him,  Vinod was pestered with requests for a treat to which he couldn't but agree. In comes the idea of sugar cane juice and we were off to have it. Campus main gate is the place where one can get these delicacies for a very nominal sum. That was the place of origin of the second , so unexpected, twist.

After being acquainted with the goodness of Vinod, we were just hanging out, taking photos, whiling away time with random chatter, not to forget the teasing people and couples act. Put simply, we were having loads of fun. Suddenly, not satisfied with the 'ganna' treat, Pratik came up with a proposal for Rohit. Rohit is the guy who cracked IIM L and is currently the departmental topper. Pratik, soon backed by everyone else, managed to get the ball in Rohits court, the timing and placement being insurmountable. Within the next half an hour we were off for an awesome treat at DI. Food was good and varied and so were our activities. People were being characterized by songs being sung exclusively for them. Hardik and Durga, for the most part, were the bull's eye for our mischiefs. The treat ended with Rohit footing a huge bill and Abhik, later Aniket  too, managing to entertain us.

The squad then moved to Suhatta where we had another bunch of photo sessions and a stunning performance by Sandeep. Time for yet another unplanned treat. This time it was Saumya, who was apparently 'chaapless' . "Soft Drinks for all", was what Pratik shouted at the highest of his voice. What an IDEA sirji. I was really late to realize that Suhatta could be such a fun place. How stupid of us to have missed such a good spot. Though we were really enjoying the cool of the centrally air conditioned lobby, it was getting late for the IPL match and there are people who would rather miss a Megadeth concert in order to watch a cricket match. So we set out again but this time the destination was 'Hostel Sweet Hostel'.

Stop stop stop. Did you expect our amazing day out to end so early. I hope not, cause there is more to come. 'Nimbu Pani nahi piya to kya kiya'. If you haven't got it till now, guess who was the next scape goat. and it wasn;'t even my birthday and if I remember correctly, the last job I cracked was almost a year ago. Still thank you, thank you for welcoming me and Suraj into the wonderful group of 'treaties' or 'treaters' or whatever you call them. Atleast we got off easily. The bill was only 205 INR. Phew. Chilled by the iced drinks, the entourage kept going. Next stop, Campus main gate, back to where it all started. A few clicks here and a few clicks there and it was already time to part. Someone ws proposing an ice cream treat but then again we already had too much, so that didn't pull off. We gathered near the fountain, full with live saving/taking water, for some more snaps. We were enjoying like crazy while parents of WBJEE examinees were staring surprisingly at us. Aniket was asked to end the day by some wonderful words of his. He is a great orator and what he said become the G-Talk status message for majority of us including me. Going by his words, I would like to think forever that "This day is the first of many celebrations to come" and that there will be no "Last celebration". We shall and we will keep celebrating and keep on enjoying together for the years to come till unforeseen future( read whatever you want to)  may part us. As the itle of this post says "Rocking" is the fitting adjective for this day.

April 10, 2009

Interactive Fedora Know How Session

Yesterday, 9th April, an interactive session was held at NIT Durgapur. This was planned as a follow up to the previously held install fest and was mainly aimed at making people familiar with the various contributing avenues besides being a problem solving session for the attendees. This was also going to be a first speaking opportunity for two of our junior LUG members. One was Vikas Singh who was supposed to speak about common configurations and package managing using rpm, yum and another was Roshan Singh gave demonstration of IRC and mailing lists.

Publicity was done well. Posters and notices were put up everywhere. Announcements were also made on various mailing lists. This session was going to be similar to the session done by Kushal Das last year when he came to our college along with three other ambassadors from Durgapur.

The session was to start from 6:00 pm and people started arriving. We finally started the session at 6:30 pm. Around 25 people were present there out of which almost 20 were new faces. It was exciting to find so many new people interested in FOSS. The session began with package management. Yum and rpm were demonstrated. Dependencies were explained. Then it came to basic configurations like proxy settings, samba, SELinux etc., which needed to be done to make ones Fedora system universally usable. The various important packages and codec packs were named. Packagekit was also demonstrated. Vikas also did a good job in showing the local language desktop and keyboard layouts.

Roshan was next and and he demonstrated IRC and mailing lists, starting with IRC. Thanks to for being there to help us out as IRC client do not work in our college due to firewall. He showed how to join the various channels like #nitdgplug, #dgplug, #fedora-india, #fedora etc on He even pinged Sankarshan da telling him that he was on a big screen in front of future FOSS contributors. Sankarshan da waved at the people. He also demonstrated other stuffs like nick registration, nickserv commands, whois command and etiquette of talking on IRC and mailing lists. Next came the mailing list and people were shown how to join a mailing list. They were also told about the various mailing lists like fedora-list, fedora-india, nitdgplug etc. The redhat mailman index page address was also given to them.

I was next and started with installation from source. The steps were explained to them in details and debugging flag was also illustrated. After that came the very important thing of bugzilla. They were explained what a bug is and how do detect it. GNOME Bugzilla was shown to them, how to search bugs, how to file bug reports were parts of it. Bug triaging was also demonstrated with a gedit bug. The various links were given to then. Redhat Bugzilla was also shown. Then came the time for Fedora project contribution guide and they were told about the various sub projects, what are their roles and how to join them. Artwork, Peoples' person, localization were a few that were mentioned. and were also shown to them since upstream contribution was the theme of this session. I also told them about Linux Chix project and the girls seemed pretty excited about it. I also mentioned the wonderful site by Shakti Kannan. That was almost all of it.

I called upon Debayan to conclude the session by sharing his experience as a FOSS contributor and he did a good job in motivating the people present. He told them about planets and showed them planet-floss India. He ended the session with the I am Linux contest videos and the new motto that came up in our mailing list "Just do it because you can".

The session seemed to be pretty productive one and only time will tell us if we actually moved the people's hearts. The various links given to them were as follows:

Fedora stickers were in abundance which were distributed to the attendees and extra were given to them for distributing them to their friends. Since then I have noticed some new people on the mailing list and the session seems to be successful but this is too early to say something like this. Hope it helps the FOSS world and in turn the world.

April 2, 2009

First IOTA Teachers' FOSS Training @NIT Durgapur

This semester has been full with loads of events. Cultural and Technical fests swept past with high speed. Seminars, parties and so many different kinds of them. But last weekend something happened that was a first of its kind for our college. But before that let me tell you that NIT Durgapur is a IOTA resource centre an is the third of it's kind. IOTA offers courses on Basic Linux and Open Office. It is a program of West Bengal Govt. and is aimed at improving the training and support scenario of Open Source Softwares.
The program, organized by IOTA Cell, NIT Durgapur, was a three day training program, from 27th to 29th March, for school teachers. It objective was to introduce Linux and various Open source softwares available and consisted of training sessions to make them able to use FOSS in their day to day use. Around 75 teachers from various schools in and around Durgapur an Burdwan registered for the program.
First day was dedicated to basic computing concepts like software, hardware, open source, linux etc and acquainting them to the various flavours of Linux and applications available in the open source area. Some amount was also dedicated to GNOME, KDE, and basic usability. This was done over three sessions spread throughout the day and were taken by Debayan, Shreyank, Kaushik Nandy, Roshan Singh and Amit Daga. Fedora, Open Suse, and Ubuntu were demonstrated to them.
Second day started with the instructors demonstrating the Linux installation process and helping the teachers do the same on the computers in the LAB. This took almost the entire first half. Post lunch, basics were demonstrated to them followed by a demonstration and hand on workshop on Writer. The lecture stressed on various issues like open document format and compatibility issues with MS Office Suite. Everyone was provided with a hard copy of " for Beginners" documentation. All different steps of creating, saving, opening and formatting a document were demonstrated. The enthusiasm of the attendees could be understood from the volume of questions the instructors, which included me and Avishek Basu Mallick, had to answer. The hands on session was pretty productive and we tried to attend to almost all the problems faced by them. Thus ended another very fruitful day.
Third day was rather a continuation of second day had 3 sessions. First one was on Calc, second one was on Impress and the third one was dedicated to internet basics such as emails, google search, bengali search , groups, web pages etc. All the three sessions were followed by hands on workshops on the topics demonstrated. The instructors were the same as the second day except for Abhishek Gupta and Koushik Nundy. The attendees were pretty excited to find out how easily they can do their office chores with Calc. They simply loved In the end feedback and suggestions were taken on a form so that the program could be improved next time. An almost exhaustive list of Windows alternative applications on Linux, compiled by iLUG-Cal, and a contact details were distributed. THe pictures can be found here.
These three days were a great learning for the teachers as well as for us. We were happy that we could reach such a diverse crowd and have been able to bring them into the world of FOSS, they being teachers can teach others about FOSS. It was a job well done by the IOTA Cell, NIT Durgapur.

March 16, 2009

Live USB Magic

Now a days almost all the computers have the ability to boot from USB. This ability can be put to use by installing an operating system on a usb stick. This makes it possible to carry your OS with you where ever you go. Live usb is an example of OS on usb stick. All you need to make a live usb is a live image of the OS and a usb disc with sufficient memory. This post explains in a step by step manner the process of creating a live usb.

1)Download the live image from the site

Here's the link for Fedora: Fedora10-KDE-Live

2)Check the size of your usb stick

You can do it by issuing this command:

df -h

3)Creating partition and filesystem on the usb stick

Issue the following command to get into fdisk and follow the steps:

fdisk /dev/USBDEVICE (/dev/sdc in my case)

Command (m for help): d (This deletes the partitions)
Selected partition 1

Command (m for help): n (This creates a new partition)
Command action
e extended
p primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): 1 (This gives the number of partitions)
First cylinder (1-960, default 1):
Using default value 1
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (1-960, default 960):
Using default value 960

Command (m for help): t (This sets the file system type)
Selected partition 1
Hex code (type L to list codes): 83 (For Linux flesystem types-
ext3/ext2 etc)
Changed system type of partition 1 to 83 (Linux)

Command (m for help): a (This toggles the bootable flag)
Partition number (1-4): 1 (This is the partition number which is
to made bootable- /dev/sdc1
in my case. So '1')
Command (m for help): w (Writes the changes to the partition table)
The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.

Syncing disks.

4)Formatting the file system

First unmount the usb stick


Then issue the following command to format in EXT3 filesystem.

Caution: THis will erase all files on the disc

mkfs.ext3 -L usbdisk /dev/USBPARTITIONNAME (/dev/sdc1 in my case)

5)Copying the live Fedora image

su -c "livecd-iso-to-disk /path/to/ISO /dev/USBPARTITION" (/dev/sdc1 in
my case)
Copying live image to USB stick
Updating boot config file
Installing boot loader
USB stick set up as live image!

6)Booting from the live usb

Restart the computer and go to BIOS. Enable USB boot and change the priority of usb device to highest. This has to be done with the usb stick inserted. Then save the changes and exit BIOS. The computer will auto restart and voila. The live usb is in action. Behold the live OS (Fedora Live) coming up on your screen.

For troubleshooting refer to this Tutorial

March 8, 2009

Blooming Bijra

This post was supposed to be written one day back but since I was busy working on the offline repo and installing Fedora on friend's computer, so this post comes a little late. On the fine day of 6th March, Friday, Shreyank and me went for a visit to a high school in a village located on the outskirts of Durgapur and made famous by the DGPLUG project . This project set up a computer lab in a village school where you don't even get proper drinking water and where none of the students would have never had a chance of so as to even see a computer if not for this project. It was a farsighted one. Kudos to the DGPLUG people.

The Title Stone

Project Banner

I woke up that morning on a call from Ratnadeep informing me that they will be catching the 11:30 bus to Bijra and was telling me since I had showed interest earlier to go to Bijra. I confirmed our visit after getting the detailed route from him. After a hell lot of a trouble, we finally managed to reach Bijra.

That's Bijra Village

What I saw there was simply amazing. The students out there were in some ways more disciplined than Model School students and were so very enthusiastic about stuffs. Ratnadeep and gang were showing them some fun stuffs on Linux, not willing to overload their brains with blah blah information. DGPLUG had installed, with some help from WBUT, a computer lab out there which runs on LTSP. Several low grade network boot machines booting from a high grade server. This reduces the installation cost. After some time with showing them Marble and Kstars and other fun stuffs, they were moved to the lab in groups of 30, 10 per computer since only 3 computers were running. They were being showed the National Geographic videos which were archived there. Shreyank was explaining Global Warming to them. He was stammering a bit with Bengali since it's not his mother tongue. The small kids were actually telling him the bengali words for whatever he was trying to say. I was amazed by that.

Ratnadeep Teaching Geography

Marbles At Work

On other two consoles the small girls and boys were being taught how to use TuxPaint to write their names, change colours, styles, font size etc. Initally they were a bit rusty with the stuff but picked up easily with a little practice and encouragement. It was really awesome teaching them. Then colour filling was demoed and they were allowed to try it out themselves. They were so exhilarated with the experience of actually working with a computer. One thing that simply took me aback was the fact that they learned the 'ctrl+z' undo function just by observing me do it. I explained it to them. At this point I was almost killing myself for the fact that I didn't bring a proper camera. Every moment was photogenic. One incident happened that has to be, has to be mentioned here. A harmonium was lying on the table and its cover was on the other table. A small kid, yeah much smaller than me both in height and age, took the cover and put it on the harmonium, something I had never done in my whole school life. He actually made me feel small in front of him.

That Says "COMPUTER" in Bengali

Shreyank Showing Nat Geo Videos

The headmaster was quite nice and had warmth in his behaviour. He made acquaintances with us and we promised him to help him with the project whenever he needs any. He was very thankful about that. As we came out of the school and were waiting for the bus, the children kept waving at us from the windows (not Microsoft Windows). It was a sight to cherish. We too waved back Shreyank was pushed by all this to promise another visit to Bijra very soon. Thus a great day of enlightenment, for us, for the children there, came to an end.

If You Look Carefully You Could See
Tiny Hands Waing At Us

February 23, 2009

Not Just Another Install Fest

If you haven't guessed already what this blog post is going to be about, let me tell you that this post brings to you my experience at the Kalyani Government Engineering College Install Fest and FAD. It all started when I got a call from Rohit Gupta, whom I had met before at Mukti 09, telling me that they want to organize an Install Fest and FAD provided I can arrange for free DVDs and some expert help. I posted it on Fedora-India and Fedora-Ambassadors mailing list and soon I started getting replies from people who were willing to provide the resource that was required. Susmit Sannigrahi and Debayan Bannerjee were two of them. I was guided to the 'events' page at Fedora wiki where I filled in the required details and within no time the FAD and Install Fest was off to a very good start. In the next three days Rohit and me along with the much needed help of the KGEC final year and KGEC authority, not to mention the Fedora-India team, made all the arrangements for the one day event that was going to be a first of its kind in KGEC.
The preparations started the day before the fest was scheduled to happen. Stuffs like getting printouts, burning around 50 DVDs for distribution, fixing the agenda, final publicity were among the few things that we were busy with on the eve of the Install Fest. That day earier I had met Susmit da at Santoshpur and picked up the 50 Fedora 10 DVDs and othe stuffs like stickers and badges. These were to be distributed the next day. Debayan and Shreyank, who were coming on the day, were bringing in 50 Fedora 10 DVDs and 20 FEL DVDs with the. I called up Ratnadeep and Shreyank and querried about their journey plans. Then off for a good night's sleep.
The next morning the KGEC boys were busy making all the final arrangements. I woke up at somebody telling me frantically that they are unable to manage the crowd that had gathered at the areana for registration. The day had started with a good note. I did my cores and rushed to the arena to be surprised by what I saw. The queue was a neat 50 metres long and continued till the institution gate. People were waiting outside in a queue not being able to get in just because there was no room inside the seminar hall, not even to stand. Shreyank and Mitesh Sharma, who came in place of Debayan because Debayan couldn't com due to his friend being very ill, had arrived at Kalyani Main. I gave them directions on how to get to KGEC. Subhodip, Arindam and Ratnadeep were a bit late due to their bus getting caught up in some kind of road block. It was 11:30 and Indranil Das Gupta, the founder of ILUG-Cal had also arrived, inspite of being sick, and have had an informal meeting with the Pricipal and other faculty members regarding the prospects of FOSS and Linux in the college. We started the proceedings at around 11:35 with the indroductory speech of the anhor Snigdhadeb followed by speeches by the Faculty members and HODs who were present there. The hall was jam packed with around 140 - 145 people attending the event. 150 Fedora 10 DVDs and 20 FEL DVDs were distributed amongst the attendees and some faculty members as well. The principal of the CSE department talked about his experiences with Linux, about how everybody used to laugh at people who used Linux. His encouraging speech was followed by our very own Indranil da talking about the evolution of Linux and FOSS in India, how he managed to install Linux in those pre graphics days. His information impregnated speech touched the topics like LUG culture, GSoC, OSM, FOSS in India, mailing lists and many more things. He also tried to explain how one can contribute to FOSS exemplified aptly by Sayamindu Dasgupta, Arindam Ghosh, Gopal V. and Subhodip Biswas. He ended his speech quoting President Obama, "We will be the Agents of Change" and "Yes We can". Though he was ver interested to stay for the whole day, but he had to leave to attend a meeting in Kolkata. His speech really inspired the participants and got the rhythm going.

Just Look At The Length Of The Queue

The Install Fest Banner

That Is What I Mean By 'Jam Packed'

Anchor Snigdhadeb and Other Dignataries

Indranil Das Gupta's Inspirational Speech

During Indranil da's speech, there was a power failure and this 2 hour long blackout slowed things down to a halt. Unable to continue, lunch had to be announced. The next session was to begin as soon as the power comes back which did only after 2 very long hours at 14:00 hrs. The second session stared at 14:10 hrs with Arindam (aka makghosh) spreading the word about Fedora with his "Introduction to Fedora talk". We couldn't get Ratnadeep's nvidia card to work with dual sisplay and so Arindam had to use my laptop for the presentation. He played the very popular 'Truth Happens' video which thrilled the audience. He then talked about four 'F' s of Fedora, the development cycle, the Fedora community and a lot of other things related to Fedora. His talk was followed by Subhodip busting the myths about Linux with his really nice "Myths about Linux: Busted With Fedora" talk wherein he tried to remove the various misconceptions about Linux. He illustrated the licensing problems with proprietory formats like .mp3 and .wmv and also showed them how to get stuffs installed from rpmfusion and get their linux box to do whatever they wanted it to do. The audience was captured by his frivolous yet illustrative way of talking. Arindam and Subhodip then showed some demos and questions started flying in. In the mean time Ratnadeep and me were trying to set up the local repo in the lab. Though the interactive session was getting more and more interesting with mak and Subhodip addressing queries, we had to cut it short since we were running out of time for the actual install fest. It was already 16:15 hrs. and the participants were eager to move to the lab for the install fest. At 16:20 hrs. Subhodip and Arindam wrapped up and the people were asked to move to the lab.

Arindam Giving An Introduction To Fedora

Subhodip's Myth Buster Talk

Wow What A Crowd

Query Session With Mak Subhodip and Me

The install fest began with around 55-60 people attending it. Around 15 people had brought their laptops. The others were given around 15 lab computers which they shared to learn the install process. We atually had about 35 people who brought in their systems, but some them left as we were delayed by the power failure and they had to go home for the weekend. The installation kicked off at 16:30 hrs. and every step was explained by me on the projector. The custom partitioning and the default partitioning, both were explained properly. People had queries about partitioning problems but once it was explained, they all were quite content. then came the customization of packages and which is what stage. While the OS was being installed, I told them a bit about rpmfusion, IRC, mailing lists, rpm installation, bugzilla, bug triaging, artworks, how to join fedora etc. etc. Once Fedora installation was complete, Ratnadeep and me got busy with the configuring the systems and showed them how to do it. Ratnadeep's offline repo came handy. Many people jotted down the various steps involved. A brief demo of GNOME and KDE desktop was give. They were pretty fascinated by the superb look and feel of KDE 4.2. Some even christened it as being better than Vista. Some applications like network-manager, pidgin, samba windows networking, nautilus etc. were also shown. It was already 18:00 hrs. and we had to finish up quickly. Then came the enthusiasts and they asked about how to do this, that and various stuffs. One thing I forgot to mention is that among the large number of participants and enthusiasts, there were also a lot of girls. Well then we went back to the hostel but before the we left Fedora's mark in th lab by sticking Fedora stickers on the systems. About 50 of them were also distributed amongst the participants.
Me Demonstrating Install Process

Installing Fedora on Laptops

The install fest had'nt yet ended. In the hostel namely RBC Hall, Ratnadeep and me installed Fedora on a lot of systems having different configs. Faced some problems with nvidia cards with graphical install not working. Ratnadeep configured the systems using his newly made local repo and shell script. I had to configure triple boot with Ubuntu and Windows on some of them by manually editing the grub.conf file. I also showed them how to do it. Ratnadeep's offline repo was of great help. Finally it all ended at around 2:30 a.m. wen we decided to go to bed since we had catch the early morning train the next day.
The Team

It was a great experience to be in Kalyani for tha FAD and without the
support the KGEC boys and the college authority, it wouldn't have been possible. It felt really nice to share knowledge with so many people. I myself learnt a lot . Kudos to Rohit, Snigdhadeb, Sunil, Ekhlaque, Debraj, Tanmoy and others who made this possible. Hope to see more coming from you guys.

February 18, 2009

Talks @ Mukti 09

For those people who doesn't know what Mukti is, let me start by giving a brief introduction of Mukti. Mukti is a FOSS symposium organized by the Linux Users Group of National Institute of Technology, India. It is probably the biggest of its kind in eastern India. I don't exactly know when it all started but I have been a part of it since I was in first year. Now in my final year, I have witnessed various flavours of Mukti. This year it was planned to be little different from the previous ones and concentrated more on informing people and spreading awareness. This was to be done by organizing talks and workshops on different aspects of FOSS and Linux.
The FOSS week began on 2nd February and was inaugurated by the IT minister of West Bengal, Dr. Debesh Das. The talks and workshops saga started off on 3rd Feb with NRCFOSS workshop on "How to write C/C++ programs in GNU/Linux" and was followed by a workshop on "Python: An Integrated Programming Language" by our dear Shreyank Gupta in the afternoon. In the evening the "Fedora Electronics Lab" talk and hands on session, which was held alongside with the VariCAD session, was a first of its kind in our college. The talk was done on-line by Aajhan who stays in Switzerland. Thanks to Debayan for his Skype Video idea, we heard the creator's words though due o some technical problems, our microphone did not work and the session had only limited interactivity. We created history.

The next day i.e. 4th Feb was alsodedicated to nrcFOSS workshop namely "Collaborative Software Development Using SVN". A workshop on"Typesetting for engineers using LATEX" by our very own Prof. J Howlader was next . In the evening we had people from CDAC to give a demo of "Matlab alternatives for Linux: Scilab and Octave". The sessions were great learning experiences for all those people who attended them. That was enough the day. Needed to make preparations for the to come.

5th February did not have any workshops or talks and so moving along to 6th Feb, Friday on which day Mukti 09 started off with a talk on "How to run a successful free software business" by Mr. Abhas Avinav who was also an alumni of the college and has a successful free software business of his own. His company is called 'Deeproot Linux'. Met Pradeepto there. We really learnt a lot about business prospects in FOSS. In the afternoon I met Satya Komaragiri who was a GSoC student from Delhi and seemed really cool. Her talk on "How to contribute to FOSS" was next on the chart. It was a nice and interactive one and a half hour session though she kept asking me over and over again whether she looked nervous or not. In the mean time " A day with Fedora" had begun and we had to rush to attend it. Arindam and Subhodip were ready with their presentations and taught some cool stuffs. They showed how to make a live usb drive. Subhodip's presentation on "Myths about Linux busted with Fedora" was especially good. The first day of Mukti finally ended with a great talk on "Managing your on-line profile" by Yu Yu Din.

Next morning, 7th Feb, couldn't wake up early for the "SUN Technologies" talk but did just in time for the talk on "INGRES CAFE" by Mr. Tennyson Kaliyampadi which followed. Didn't really know a lot about DBMS or databases. Still it was interesting.Pradeepto's talk on "KDE: The Desktop Environment" was at 4:00 p.m. He was awesome. He demonstrated the KDE-edu applications like Kstars, Marble, Kletters etc. He also showed a program that he had written as an example to give us the feel about 'How easy it is to code in KDE'. It used the marblewidget and displayed a map. So much in only 10 lines. That's KDE. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen. After the talk was over we socialized with him for a while and heard a lot of stories about his experience in the community, stories, the KDE booklet and many more. Anurag who was present in the talk, had to rush to the IT lab for is workshop on "Ruby On Rails: Next Generation Web Framework". Could not attend it though.

On 8th Feb, we were supposed to have Sayamindu as the speaker on "OLPC project" but he couldn't make it. The only session left for the day was that by Indranil Das Gupta on "The Indian FOSS community". It was the beginning of the end of MUKTI 09 and was successfully concluded by the valedictory ceremony and the very precious vote of thanks by Mayank Daga, President of NITDGP LUG.
Debayan was in charge of the workshops and talks and indeed he did a wonderful job in organizing those, bringing in people from all walks of FOSS. Thanks to Debayan and the Mukti team for such a wonderful event.