Category Archives: FOSS

#dgplug #fad

On May 14-15, 2009 dgplug organized a Fedora Activity Day at BCREC, Durgapur targeted mainly for newbie users. This was basically a follow-up event to the Fedora installfest that we organized sometime back. The notion was, ‘okay, so now that i have installed Fedora, what to do with it?’ . We put up the sessions in such a way that, even the fresh faces don’t find anything ‘out-of-the-blue’.

What did we do?

Day #1:

  • Introduction to Fedora Project – /me
  • Myths of Linux busted with Fedora – kishan and subhodip
  • Session on Inkscape & Fedora Artwork – arpita, amrita & deboshree
  • Desktop Usability session (kde look n feel, media support) – ratnadeep
  • IRC and Mailing List Etiquettes – rangeen and /me
  • FEL Workshop – rangeen

We had around 30+ students (mostly from 2nd year), 20 standalone systems, 5-6 laptops. The had F10 installed whereas the desktops were running on FEL Live DVDs. Now, during the introduction, I broadly explained what is FOSS, the 4F’s and how the community makes Fedora a better option/choice. The mythbuster session was quite well, there were question regarding openjdk, graphics and wireless support. The dgplug girls also did a nice session with inkscape. Post-luch, the IRC session was interesting (mbuf & roshan08 waved on the big-screen). We told them about #dgplug, #fedora-india, wikis & bugzilla and different mailing lists to discuss different issues. Everything went good except power-cut did a downplay during the FEL workshop. Rangeen however explained different apps with his laptop. A student working on robotics also tried designing a basic circuit in ktechlab. We had to then reschedule rest of the sessions for the following day.

Day #2:

  • Commonly used shell commands – harsh and /me
  • Yum and Packagekit – rtnpro and subhodip
  • The power of Vi – dibyanshu
  • Workshop on C using gcc – rtnpro
  • Overview of Anjuta IDE – /me
  • A session of Java in Fedora – subhodip

On this day, we had around 20 students. During the shell command session we also told them about file hierarchy system and file permission, ownership etc. Dibyanshu, a newbie himself had a good session on vi. The workshop on gcc and anjuta was mainly aimed to help the students do their lab assignments of C in gcc rather than good-old TurboC compiler. Ratnadeep explained to them, gcc is 32-bit compiler, how to compile and execute C programs in gcc, the improvements of C99. After this, the students were given to solve couple of simple lab assignments (fibonacci series and palindrome problem). It was kinda nice to see each of them use vi and gcc to do them. Then, for IDE lovers, Anjuta was shown and how it can ease of life while doing a project on C. They did the same assignments in anjuta for instant practise. Then subhodip gave them a sneak-peek into Java with his laptop (in near darkness because of a repeat power-cut at that time thanks to evening Nor-westers). Then we distributed F10 DVDs (40-50) & FEL LiveDVDs (27) and ‘powered by Fedora’ stickers.

PS: If you can’t see the photo-slides here, please check the ‘dgplug fad‘ album

The Takeaway:

So, for the two days we had around 40 students (old and new). I could see around 10 faces from the previous installfest (well most of them girls and quite interested). The numbers were fairly okay considering the ‘egg-jams’ just after 10 days. But they really seemed to like anjuta and gcc (because now they know how to code C in Fedora), and whole lot of things shown for the two days. The FEL session was also useful in context to doing 8085-micropocessor programming in GnuSim8085 and matlab stuffs in octave. There were actually 5-10 ECE students during the FEL workshop. They were also told of join Fedora classrooms and dgplug sommer training to continue the good process of learning. And also the goodness of giving back to community. They have enough to chew on for next 1-2 months. We do need to organize another follow-up event (focussed on contribution and assessing the progress, maybe August, at a date when we can have all the colleges together).

That apart, in the midst of the FAD, we got permission from concerned faculty person to have a local Fedora mirror. It will be updated weekly/bi-weekly. We have got a nominal 70GB diskspace and can easily have all the iso images of Fedora DVD/LiveCDs along with the mirror. The students can get Fedora both as dvds or live-usbs. Also they can get the latest updates. They just need to come down to get whatever required.  It’ll pretty much offset availablity problems due to poor bandwidth and interconnectivity. But still the disconnect needs to be bridged amply to enable the students to properly use the power of irc and mailing lists.

Bottomline, though being postponed by a month, it went on great and was whole lot pHun :) More snaps and event reports.

Random Scribbles

1. The FOSS teacher training cum workshop (2nd edition) at WBSUB, Kolkata on March 13-14 was great. IDG, Susmit, Subhodip, me along with 3 other wbut-lug guys trained them about the basics of FOSS, desktop environments, openoffice, productive internet etc. Really, it was good to find school teachers getting trained in FOSS as they would have a ripple effect on their students. The sessions were exhaustive and handouts/handbooks were also distributed. The photoset is here.

2. Google Summer of Code 2009 is on and OpenStreetMap, Fedora, KDE & lots others are participating this year. Student applications have started yesterday. Head out here to open the doors of freedom. Btw, this is the 5th year (anniversary) GSoC is happening and hence the Retro 60’s logo theme. :)

3. Went to Burdwan yesterday for some work. But the cool thing is drove all the way (up & down 160 kms) from durgapur myself. It was fun! Never went so far considering me a newbie in driving cars.

4. Kinda pissed off that college tech-fest is not happening this year. Permission problems and all. well, a long story in itself!!


I decided to be at the Fedora Activity Day at Kalyani Government Engg. College on the last moment. So on 21st February morning ~0530 hrs, three of us (rtnpro, tux_440volt & me) boarded the Durgapur-Kalyani state bus. Well, en-route @ Memari some protestors stopped the bus and then, we had to change three local trains to finally reach Kalyani.

Once there, Rohit (2nd year, KGEC) came to take us from station. We reached the venue at a fairly good time ~1130 hrs inspite of the hackles. While entering the main building, we saw a long queue of people registering for the event, getting their student kits (F10 media, stickers and other stuffs). Was like Fedora everywhere, took some snaps.

Without wasting anymore time, we briskly went to the auditorium. Rangeen was there overviewing the event. Shortly after Indranil Das Gupta and some college faculties came in. Shreyank and Mitesh from NIT-Durgapur were also there. Couple of college faculties kickstarted the FAD then after. It was nice to hear that the college management amply supported FLOSS though that needs to increase more & more :) Indranil was the chief guest of the event. He then gave a good introduction on “What is *this* all about?”. Then it was time for lunch.

Post-lunch, we started our session. We were running one-hour late due to a power-cut though.

At 1400 hrs, I started it out with a nice ‘Introduction to Fedora‘. Subhodip did follow it up busting ‘Myths of Linux‘. The two sessions lasted for around 2 hrs. After that we both did a half-an-hour Q/A session. I liked that the number of students were same throughout the day. There were hosts of questions. We showed them about common nitty-gritties, like network, proxy configs, packagekit, look and feel of KDE 4.2. Some were also redirected to Rangeen to be answered in the installfest that was lined up after this.

Soon after the installfest started ~1630 hrs. We all went there (it was a CSE lab AFAIR) to have a peek into what was going on. Initially there were around 60+ students which is quite good. We (me and subhodip) had to leave shortly after this. I had my sisters’ wedding reception in the evening and I gotta *be* there at any cost. The installfest formally/informally lasted upto 0200-0300 hrs late into the morning thanks to Rangeen and Ratnadeep. They did a fantastic job. rtnpro did some cool things with his mini mirror-in-a-box ;) More about it here.

And last but not the least, the organizers did a great job to put up the event. They told me that network administration at their hostels was in their hands which was great. Though, all the 5 halls were not interconnected. But anyway, they can have local mirrors for each halls. They have also formed a LUG just yesterday, which will consolidate them more.

Photos are over here and here.

Mukti’09 Event Report

Mukti is the national level technical fest organized by NIT, Durgapur. On the afternoon of 6th February, we (Subhodip and me) went there for ‘A Day with Fedora’. Satya also showed up after her talk to help us. As scheduled, we had a 3.5 hour slot in the evening for our talk and workshop. Thanks to our hosts, they arranged for a computer lab in their IT department with ~10 computers.

Due to other talks and/or events maybe, we had to start it 30-45 minutes late. By this time, the room already had 40-50 students. I started with ‘Introduction to Fedora‘. I emphasized on ‘Freedom | Friends | Features | First’; explained how Fedora Project is a community of contributors worldwide much more than just a free software. They really liked the ‘Fedora 10: A Community of Future’ and ‘Truth Happens’ videos. I also categorically explained to them how they can contribute to Fedora Project in various ways. My talk went on for an hour.

After that Subhodip went up to bust the ‘Myths of Linux’. He went on crushing them all one after the other. It was kinda cool to see people understand that there’s nothing that can’t be done in Fedora. He wrapped up with a video of gregdek on “Why Fedora?” Then we moved on to the workshop part. We had mostly a beginner audience. So, running short of time we did a workshop on “Fedora Live” for helping people create their own custom Fedora spins, and also create their own Fedora LiveUSB. We actually used FEL LiveCD iso for this stuff. We went on after that taking different questions and as we answered them showed how easy was package installation with PackageKit; little things about firewall and proxy settings.

There were quite interesting questions. Like Rangeen of NITDGP asked for support for organizing talk/installfest at a school in Midnapore. We told him to contact us for any help. He requested for 5-6 F10 media which was provided. Also another guy from NIT Agartala actually complained of low connectivity at his college. So advised to actually form a LUG there, and on his request also told organizers to give 40-50 F10 DVD’s to help him. According to the data we got around 52 odd F10 media were distributed in the Linux stall set up by the NIT lug guys.

We finished around quarter to nine, and moved for dinner :)

Overall, it was a really great day!

More snaps are over here.

Random notes…

Just sat to jot down my mind.

1. Travelled to few interesting places lately. To begin with, had a trip to Vishakhapatnam with my friends during christmas. Some photos are here. After that went to Ganga Sagar Mela (fair) in mid-January. As the common belief goes, most go there to wash off their sins with a holy dip in River Ganges. It was more or less fun out there. But felt like they (authorities) can do a lot more to boost tourism in the place where 15-20 lakhs of pilgrims visit in just 3 days.

2. Had a jiffy trip to Kolkata Book Fair. Helped guys at the IOTA stall. It was about promoting Free Software, with nice demos to people coming around and lot more.

3. Visited Bijra after quite some time. kishan, rtnpro & gang also went to have an overview. Had interesting feedbacks.

4. Talks & workshop on Fedora at Mukti’09. For updates check event page.

5. My internet has been acting up for the last week. I *hate* network timeouts. But now i’m using OpenDNS and its’ working great.

Wohoo!! Just about an hour to go

UPDATE: Ah!! there it is, Fedora 10 Cambridge…Fire it up


Approaching another milestone!! Read stickster’s awesome message :)


It all started with a call to Susmit way back @ Nagpur, that we had to a teach teachers using GNU/Linux and other FOSS tools (mostly those which are useful for everyday works and teaching aides). So I came down to Barasat with only a day of rest after Nagpur trip. The team consisted of Indranil Das Gupta, Susmit Shannigrahi, Debanjan Chakraborty, Sharbartha Sengupta, Rabi Kumar and of-course me :) , well that was the group from ilug-cal. First of all, special thanks to IOTA and West Bengal State University’s niche initiative to train teachers into FOSS, as this can really propagate things into huge numbers.

It was a three-day program. Started with an initial introduction by Ashok Ranjan Thakur (Vice Chancellor, WBSUB). Numbers were quite good, ~45 each day, and mostly included school teachers and principals from North 24 Pargannas, West Bengal.

So, then things started in full swing. Wifi Network was setup in the 1st day morning. Credit goes to Susmit for bringing all those wifi router, cables and networking accessories all the way. Indra da then started with the overview of FOSS and GNU/Linux. After that Susmit took over with the Fedora installation part. Then was the time for teachers to install Fedora on the lab systems.

The second day was mostly taken care by the trio, Sharbartha, Debanjan and Rabi, giving demos and presentation on Good job guys! We were also around there delving querries etc. But, most of  this day i was busy creating the 160-page document/handbook on FOSS, Fedora Desktop Environment and from online resources that would finally be printed and handed out to the participants after puja. Both Indra da and Susmit da helped me a lot with this.

In the last day, most of the session was taken by Indra da. This was mostly based on Internet, emails, google searching and discussions on educational content like wikipedia, project gutenberg, bengali books @ and more of them. Then was the exhaustive Q/A session and finally the program was wrapped up with a final note from VC on benefits of FOSS and ICT. Couple of videos from FOSS enabled computer aided learning at Bijra High School were also shown.

The most important thing that came out was the perpective or the necessity that the school teachers have, the daily things that they need to to do and also their feedbacks. Like one of them came up with a question that, ‘How do i write fraction in OpenOffice? I need that to make maths question paper, and I couldn’t do that in M$ Office‘. I showed how easily it can be done in Writer. These gave an overview of the ground reality from a different perpective.

So that’s it!! Durga Puja starting from tomorrow. I really need to move back to Durgapur tomorrow :)