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An event sponsored by a local Linux User Group, university or LAN party involving mass installations of computer operating systems or software

Similar to Installfest, this is also sponsored by user groups with emphasis on security issues and reverse engineering of operating systems


Open-Sourcing India
The concept of free and open source software gained signicant ground globally. India is not left behind with several user groups across the country
Arpita Kapoor and Mohit Rangaraju

After NRCFOSS was set up, with joint efforts of C-DAC Chennai and the AU-KBC Research Centre, Anna University, Chennai, major steps were taken by NRCFOSS. Some of them that are worth mentioning include Development of BOSS (Bharat Operating System Software) which is an Indian version of distribution based on Debian, designed to cater to e-governance applications and the Introduction of FOSS Elective Courses and Laboratory classes into the syllabus of Undergraduate Engineering Programs such as Computer Science and Information technology in India. Under this initiative, NRC FOSS facilitated teacher training, textbook content and various student project opportunities. NRCFOSS-AU Phase-II began in 2009 where in IIT Madras, IIT Bombay and other C-DAC centres joined the project. These institutions carry out research and development on specic FOSS technologies and build compilers and operating systems based on them. They also look into deployment and promotion of FOSS products developed by the community. The emphasis here is on creation and maintenance of FOSS

opment is NRC-FOSS. National Resource Centre for Free and Open Source Software (NRCFOSS) is an initiative by the Department of Information Technology, hat do Flickr, Facebook, Ministry of Communications & InformaOrkut, Twitter and huntion Technology, Government of India dreds of other powerful which began in April 2005. NRCFOSS and popular applicawas set up in Chennai with the aim of tions have in common? They all use open contributing to the growth and developsource tools. The web has now taken ment of FOSS in India through research FOSS tools into serious consideration. and development, networking, human Various organisations have been set up resource and entrepreneurship developwith a view to create trained man power ment. NRCFOSS today serves as the focal and increase awareness about FOSS. point for all FOSS related initiatives, We thought it would be encouraging to events and activities in the country. feature organisations / communities in NRCFOSS is a multi-institutional India working for this noble cause. While project coordinated by C-DAC Chennai we covered various open source profeswith support of various institutions sionals in the June 2010 issue, this time including AU-KBC our focus is on government and Research Centre (Anna student initiatives. University Chennai, IIT Bombay, IIT Madras Government initiatives and C-DAC Centres in NRC-FOSS Mumbai, Hyderabad and The most inuential governNRCFOSS is a government Delhi. ment initiative for FOSS devel- of India initiative

Bharat Operating System Software in Debian, but Indianised

repositories and databases for educational, scientic and training purposes. To support the student community in the country, NRCFOSS has a student internship program to help and guide nal year students of computer science stream to do their academic projects on open source technologies at NRC-FOSS. With an effort to create trained resources in Free/Open Source Software NRCFOSS has been working with universities and colleges for introducing FOSS into their

33 Digit | July 2010 |

Feature is a website being promoted by Google which will have nine HTML5 tutorials and a code playground section for developers

Google CL
Google has announced a new set of command-line tools named Google CL which will allow you to use Googles popular servies from your Linux terminal

This project will feature applications written by freshers of IIT Madras, under the guidance of their seniors that would make usability of Linux terminals easier. This distribution would encourage the usage of Linux in rural areas. The LUG members have made decent contributions in several open source projects including KDE, GNOME, OpenEmbedded, git, Minix, ZSH, Scipy and Debian.

Creative initiatives
When we asked them to note some creative initiatives that the LUG at IITM started, the immediate answer was Hackfest, event conducted as a part of Shaastra. It aims at taking the participants into the world of development, teaching them to help open source grow by giving back something to it. The event is conducted by experienced student contributors from various technical institutions for over 2-3 nights. For many participants this is an eye opening introduction to real life coding. Initiating students with concepts such as IRC, version control, build systems, bug trackers and large-scale software design, this event aims at teaching the participants how they can contribute to the open source community (hopefully by getting a bug patch from them by the end of the event itself).

A FOSS class in progress

formal syllabus opening new horizons Institute for Open for students to acquire FOSS awareTechnology and applications ness. Various universities including Student initiatives Anna University Chennai and Rajasthan The Lug @ IIT Madras University have introThe IIT guys are in no duced FOSS courses way less active when as electives. Anna compared to any other University, Coimbatore open source community. has introduced a FOSS The Linux User Groups Core Course and Loyola (known as LUG) has College, Chennai has a a decent history. Mr. FOSS Elective Cluster Prabhu Ramachandran that includes courses (author of Maya Vi and such as Introduction to a SciPi contributor) LUGs are active in IIT Madras... FOSS, Enterprise Applistarted LUG at IIT cation Development using FOSS and Web Madras in 1997. Since then, LUG has been Programming using FOSS. NRCFOSS is in an active state. Most of their activiThe LUG @ IIT Delhi also looking into development of a FOSSties take place online where members LUG@IITD is an initiative of the based CSE Degree Program. help out each other and other interested students of IIT Delhi to promote the use To realise the goal of developing a ones who joined their online commuof GNU/Linux among its students and trained human resource in FOSS, NRCnity at The staff is the simple one line introduction FOSS has introduced various competency the members give. But their activities LUG members meet at regular intervals certication programs that are open to prove LUG @ IITD is much more than throughout the year and hold regular interested people without necessarily what they dene. talks on topics ranging from introductory having to enroll in a university or colsessions for freshers to detailed topics lege. Such candidates can take the exam such as using GNU plot or SciPy. AddiWorkshops conducted by NRCFOSS and after clearing tional events include sessions over Linux Since its establishment in 2008, LUG it they get a certicate from the body stating kernels internals. @ IIT-D organized various their level of FOSS competence. When we contacted the workshops and seminars. NRCFOSS also conducts FOSS workcurrent president of LUG Starting with a workshop on shops and seminars throughout the country @ IIT Madras, he said that the basics of Linux, kernel to increase the awareness of FOSS among recently members of LUG programming and installaIndian people. NRCFOSS is also working on in collaboration with Team tion of few popular distros, Open Source Maturity Models that exist Shaastra (the annual techfest the next workshops covered for FOSS products and are widely used to of IIT-M) initiated Shastra conceptual topics such as evaluate the suitability of a FOSS product Distro, a project to create a Fortran Programming on for an an organisations use. Debian-based distribution. Linux, Advanced C pro...and IIT Delhi as well
34 Digit | June 2010 |

Ubuntu Light
Canonical has announced that development on the tablet version of Ubuntu is underway and it will be merged with the netbook edition to be named as Ubuntu Light

Steam coming to Linux

Valve software will soon be releasing a Linux client which promises to provide another option for Linux gaming community

gramming and scripting with Ruby. A workshop on Blender, an open source tool used in gaming and animation acquired a lot of participation. Further workshops included topics such as Code Documentation using Doxygen, Latex, and Wiki as a documentation tool, GNUplot for plotting and linkscape. This workshop mainly focused on the importance of documentation and how it can be done through open source. Open invitation to participate and organise was an interesting feature in these workshops which encouraged participation and motivated other students to join LUG . For each workshop, a web page for workshop is created on the group of 250+ members, where each member can edit the page and assign the responsibility to himself. It demonstrates the work culture of an open source community. Apart from the workshops, LUG also organised two installation demonstrations - Install Fest and another was during Openhouse 2008. In the Openhouse, LUG conducted discussions, talks and demos on various aspects of Linux, both for kids and for grown-ups.

various open source solutions for various problems existing in present date. The forum conducts many activities that helps it realise its ultimate goal of Spreading Knowledge.. Unrestrained. The prime activities that took place included expert talks on a long list of topics; including Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP attended by students of various premier technical institutes. From time to time, major events such as documentary production (on FOSS), workshops and sessions are organised in which people from various parts of the globe participated. In order to take a leap forward in promoting open source, the following events were organised SF-FOSS:

and NRCFOSS. The session started with installation of BOSS (Bharat Operating System Solutions) and was followed by sessions by Dr. S. Srinivasan, NRCFOSS. This created awareness among students from various institutions in India regarding open source and its usability.

Documentary on Growth and Evolution of Open Source Software

This multilingual (Hindi/English) documentary focused on how open source software software came into existence and the advantages that it offers. The multilingual nature helped it to peculate to the roots of the society familiar with information technology. This multilingual documentary screened at various occasions helped people in rural areas get familiar with open source technologies.

Release of Fibonacci
Fibonacci is an international magazine published under SF-FOSS in collaboration with NRC-FOSS and SUN Microsys-

Open source projects

The community started two open source projects - Eduvid and Free world. The project Eduvid generates vector-based education videos, that is intended to replace whiteboard teaching technique to more efcient electronic board teaching. It creates automated slideshow based on presentation timings that are recorded automatically in browser. The idea of the free world is to create peer-to-peer communication network for sharing data and for instant messaging. The peer-to-peer network will be based on some form of network connectivity, LAN, WAN or internet.
Participants engrossed during an IIITM activity

Applications developed
Students forum at IIITM Gwalior

SF-Foss @ IIITM Gwalior

Here comes Indian Institute of Information technology and Management-Gwalior working its way towards development of Open source. In collaboration with NRCFOSS and Sun Microsystems, its student forum for Free Open Source Software (SF-Foss in short) aims at developing
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tems. At a glance the magazine consisted of 46 articles from 41 authors from all around the world including personalities from major open source organisations such as SUN Microsystems. This magazine is downloadable at http://sf-foss.iiitm. With over 2 lakh downloads, and articles from countries, the magazine received a tremendous response from the open source community.

Free/Open source software for higher technical education (FOSHTE)

It is a 2-day workshop organised under SF-FOSS. Several sessions were delivered by open source experts from CDAC, Delhi

Two active members of SF-FOSS at IIITM Gwalior developed an open source application File Tracking System(FTS) that was deployed at Narcotics, Gwalior. FTS gives a solution to the problem of le tracking that exists in various organisations. This application is advantageous in many ways as the creators of FTS quote - it saves a lot of paper work and indeed paper, and secondly it keeps track of every le submitted and the application is coded to give constant reminders to the person for forwarding of a le/request/suggestion. It is evident that if these organisations keep working with full enthusiasm and zeal, India will surely witness some great open source applications and skilled developers in near future.