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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Open Source life

It was my second year BCA, year 2010 in SNDT university. We had a seminar by Mr.Krishnakant Mane who gave a workshop on Python and Orca. It was really an alluring workshop. We were naive to FOSS and were astonished when we saw a visually impaired person using a computer with the same ease as we do. For the first time I came across one of the distros of linux called Ubuntu. I was aware of linux but never used any such stuff. In the first year I had basics of Unix so thought it might be a genre of it, that is command driven. But it was devils advocate to my thoughts. Ubuntu has a very good user interface and not at all just command driven. We were really inspired by the way Krishnakant sir presented this new(for us) technology.
That day we were introduced to this new world of open source for the very first time. This even encouraged all SNDT branches to incorporate open source in the syllabus. Thanks to Mr. Shitole, H.O.D of SNDT Juhu who transformed all the labs to Linux. He is a true evangelist and a game changer for SNDT Juhu. Whoever uses linux never shifts to windows or any proprietary OS in their life again. After that workshop, php & python became a core segment of our syllabus @SNDT Matunga.
We had a project for the last year. 95% students chose vb.net. Rest of the students chose php. Students need to be encouraged to take open source softwares as their project. It is necessary for the colleges to upgrade the syllabus for computer science courses from the IT sector point of view. Instead of teaching languages in turboC++, they must be taught programming in eclipse IDE for back end and bluefish or geany for front end.
I decided that I will aspire my career in python only. I comprehended that the interface of ubuntu is much much better than Windows.
After my graduation, in the summer vacation, there was a turning point in my life. I approached Krishnakant Sir for the project. Without a single hesitation he helped me through online interaction in dual booting my system with ubuntu and windows. We worked at dadar where our domain expert Mr. Arun kelkar 's office is located. Mr. Kelkar is CA by profession and helps us in making the accounts concepts clear. Krishnakant sir explained me the concept of python and mailed me “byte of python” e-book.
I started working with my first open source project in May 2012.
Our project is  backed by Comet Media, NIXI and NMEICt followed by ICFOSS and is undertaken in IIT Bombay.
But before working, I must know about GNUKhata. I was told to go through the website www.gnukhata.org. There was a link in the site to join mailing list, live demo(where we can use the project live) and download link where we can download source code. There are two types of mailing lists. Developers mailing list and users mailing list. I joined both the mailing lists. Normal users who are interested in using GNUKhata and want to stay updated on its functionality can join users mailing list and those who want to contributing source code and want to know about the technology behind the project can join developers mailing list.
Thats the freedom open source has that anyone can contribute & unlike proprietary, his name will definitely get the fame and recognition. I learnt about tickets (tasks) and commit( declare the completion of tasks) and push the changes in the repository for others to have. We even have to put mails in mailing list of the commits we make along with the changesets. We have sprint in which we do coding back to back day and night. If we encounter any problem with coding, we can ask for help in mailing lists. There are even IRC channels in which *hackers from all over the world help each other in debugging and solving errors without knowing each others personally. As the source code is always open, it is necessary to write documentation for every code so that whoever in future wants to make changes, he/she can read documentaion and know how the code works and make necessary changes. We have freedom to contribute from any part of the world. It is necessary to promote FOSS. check http://www.mylifemyworldarticles.blogspot.in  for my FOSS related workshop details.
In IT sector,  you will find many python, django, postgresql related jobs. 
One day Sir told about MSc FOSS course from Anna University, Chennai. Here I am learning in detail on how FOSS people work together. For the admission one has to go to chennai personally and for the semesters. Rest all lectures are conducted every weekends which we can attend from any part of the world online through their portal. For details http://cde.annauniv.edu/MSCFOSS/.
My dad who never had any idea what is FOSS and never ever used Linux before, now does all his office work on LUbuntu with ease without a single complaint.
Soon i came across following open source technologies:
1.Pidgin is a chatting messenger which is very secured and supports yahoo,gtalk and many other chat systems. OTR(off-the -record-chat) is the private chat system in which the chat is authenticated by 2 or more concerned people and the conversation is only visible to them.
2.Creative common license is a copyright license to authenticate any of your FOSS work which applies all the license conditions of FOSS.http://creativecommons.org/choose/
3.Diaspora:Facebook lovers here is your open source version FOSSbook which you wont find of much interest although it is a very good example of social network. It is like facebook where there is wall for every user and there is private chat but page has to be refreshed manually for every message.But unlike facebook, your privacy is not harmed by diaspora. And many open source lovers are part of diaspora. There are many such open source social networking sites. We can also contribute on this diaspora project too.I am thankful to MSc FOSS for making me meet people from different parts of India during semesters and interact FOSS information with them. Diaspora is newly developed project and soon there will be many modifications in that. https://joindiaspora.com/
3.Gnukhata is an accounting software as a replacement to tally in Linux. It is  made in python language. http://www.gnukhata.org
4.Rasberry pi is the credit card sized ARM based computer board which when connected to a keyboard and monitor can function like a normal computer.
5.Spoken tutorial : I am now working on spoken tutorial.....www.spoken-tutorial.org where you can have a look at the various FOSS tutorials which IIT B has undertaken for online studying. You can learn basics of every FOSS software online by going through online videos or tutorials. Now it is necessary for our project GNUKhata to have its tutorials in order to make people aware of its functionality.

Proprietary attacks:Recently, I read, microsoft  forcing people to use only windows by restricting certain sites to open only on IE. This is like jeopardizing the freedom of the users. The people should be aware and not fall prey to these actions of Microsoft. Proprietary is no less than a corruption.

Institutes Playing with our Privacy? yes check how they force people to use certain softwares http://ssconline2.gov.in/mainmenu2.php 
Without much promotion few people have already realized the importance of FOSS.
Be a maverick .. be unique...

* hackers: often hacker is termed as a web based felonious person. But it is not so. Hackers can be a term which means one who hacks(cracks) a code and is an excellent programmer.

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