Daily Archives: October 4, 2008

WBSUB FOSS Drive!!

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 OpenOffice.org. 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 OpenOffice.org 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 @ bengalionline.net 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 🙂

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AXIS’08 Event Report

I should have blogged this a lot earlier. But I was badly busy with the current workshop. So sincere apologies for that.

AXIS is the annual technical fest of VNIT, Nagpur. So, on the afternoon of 24th September, we (Susmit, Subhodip and me) boarded Gitanjali Express for our visit to Nagpur. Thanks to Susmit, as most of the preparations were done by him like buying tickets, printing of stickers, posters, dvd labels and burning the Fedora dvds etc.

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snap #1: fedora goodies 🙂

According to schedule, we had two slots for seminar and workshop, a 1.5 hour slot on 26th September for talks and another 2 hour slot on the 27th for workshop. Thanks to our hosts, they arranged for a room with sitting capacity ~100. So, we started the talks nearly on time (~4:30 pm). Susmit started with ‘Introduction to Fedora‘. The hall had around 70 sudents by that time. They really liked the ‘Truth Happens‘ and ‘Choice‘ videos. Apart from that Susmit quite categorically explained ‘Why Fedora?‘ and then ‘How you can contribute to Fedora?‘.

After this, it was time for Subhodip to take up the thread and delve the ‘Myths of Linux‘ that people generally possess. His talk was quite cool especially the myth that you can’t play songs and videos properly in Linux was killed. He also talked about indichix.org.in for motivating girls into Linux. Both of them took somewhat more time than we decided. So, i was left with only 10-15 minutes i guess. But as i said, the hosts were very accomodating.

vnit crowd @ FOSS talks

snap #2: vnit crowd @ FOSS talks

fedora live

snap #3: fedora live

My talk was on ‘Fedora Live‘, that is Live CD and Live USB creation, install/test them, and emphasizing on the cool transition that’s possible today, from other operating systems into Fedora. Also the fact that ‘you have everything in your flash drive, both the Live OS and the documents et al‘. Since time was limited, i had to shorten up things. I quickly started the liveusb creation demo or rather a mini-workshop. One of the present students volunteered for creating the liveusb (which ran successfully from qemu). After that, some more of them did the same. Then i just briefed about scope of developments in this aspect (including submitting patches and bug-filling). The talks were officially wrapped up around 6:50 pm. Overall, the response was quite awesome. Three cheers!!!

Next was the workshop day. Well, there were some miscommunication within organizers. Because of that, the event started  over an hour late and turn up was low. We did the workshop but then came the surprise. They told up “We want another session tommorow…”. So then we again went back next day morning and encountered a hefty turn up quite more than we actually expected ~70 in a lab having just around 15-20 systems. And also most of them were 1st and 2nd year students.

During Workshop

snap #4: During Workshop

We locally hosted a dvd dump from a laptop and did network installation in all the machines. Many of them popped up with different querries, some of them were also quite interesting ones. We told them about yum, packagekit, livna, compiz, openoffice, gave demos of desktop environments and lots more. It went on for over 3 hours. Finally we ended the session with lots of photos and interaction regarding forming their college lug. They namely Arindam (not me!) and Anand told they already have a group of open source enthusiasts. So our question, ‘why don’t you form you LUG?‘. So that was the ending note…

Group Pic

snap #5: Group Pic

We returned the same day evening from Nagpur. It was a really great week!!

They told me over telephone that they will forward us the details of their LUG as soon as it’s in action 🙂

More Snaps are over here.