The Sun Club sessions that had been planned had to be put into hibernation for about two months as there were exams during that period.So the first thing I did after the college opened for a new semester was to plan for a session and organize it. I wanted to have a session introducing people to OSUM, Sun Academic Initiative (SAI), Certifications and of course, Code for Freedom contest.

So on 3rd December, we had a two-hour session at our college auditorium with a 250-odd audience. I talked about OSUM, SAI and the Code for Freedom contest. My friends – Anugraha, Jayalakshmi, Venkatachalam and Karthik talked on NetBeans IDE, Sun Studio and OpenSolaris in connection with the Code for Freedom contest.

We distributed the CDs and DVDs of NetBeans and OpenSolaris to the audience so that they can try them out and use it. A demo of the OSUM site and its featureset was shown and the benefits students wil get out of being a part of OSUM was emphasised. With my college being a slow starter in the OSUM member count, things can only get better from hereon.

I will post the photos taken during the session on my Picasa album soon – http://picasaweb.google.com/lgp171188

We have planned to conduct more demos, hands-on sessions and contests in the near future. I am very happy to be a part of this Free Open Source Software movement and I am trying my best to help it. 🙂

Its almost 3 months into my term as the Sun Campus Ambassador of my college. Though i have great plans, i could not put much into implementation due to a lot of issues I had to face. After I returned to my college after Induction training at Bangalore, about 10 working days were lost as we had an unexpected holiday during the last week of August. This caused a cramped and tight schedule for the remaining time and everyone was very busy. With the last working day scheduled at the end of third week of September, I virtually had about a month’s time to do some useful activities. I was unable to arrange sessions as the college closed after the last working day. In the available time, I couldn’t schedule much of events as I couldn’t catch even a few of the busy people in my college. 🙁

Still I was able to do some useful things. I had an informal meet with the Sun club members and had a long discussion on what kind of activities we can have in the year. I also conducted a small-scale intro session with not much people on September 3,2008 – the day of Ganesh Chathurthi. During that session, I talked about the CA program, SAI, proposed activities of the Sun club and how students could benefit. I also introduced various Sun technologies. Jayalakshmi, my friend and classmate, gave a short talk on “Free Open Source Software” and Anugraha handled a NetBeans intro/demo session. Then myself and G.R. Karthik introduced the audience to OpenSolaris.

To keep the audience involved and cheered up, we screened the legendary “Big Buck Bunny” movie and had them in splits. We also had a demo of Compiz fusion on OpenSolaris and had a few dropping jaws 🙂

In another session, I planned for a small install-fest of Free Open Source Software OSes – OpenSolaris 2008.05, Ubuntu Hardy Heron, Fedora 9 and Debian etch. We had a reasonable turnout and I happily demoed the installation on bare metal and also on Virtual Box. I enrolled a lot of people on the Sun club mailing list during this meet. The audience were clearly impressed and wanted to have more such sessions.

My biggest achievement till now is conducting the Software Freedom Day celebrations for the fifth consecutive year at my college. More about it on another post on this blog http://blogs.sun.com/guruprasad/entry/software_freedom_day_tce_for.

With the Code for Freedom contest for this year announced, I am all geared uo to participate in it and do a good contribution. Of course, my role as a campus ambassador would be to introduce a lot of people to this great contest and motivate, help them participate.

So, as soon as my college reopens on November 17, 2008 (My birthday :-)) for the next semester, I intend to go full throttle with my activities and do a great job as a CA. I have planned to hold full-day sessions that will be enlightening to the audience and give OSUM a big kick to get it up and running. I want people to know about SAI and make use of it to get certified. There are great dreams and I want to make them a reality. Looking ahead for the great time ahead! 🙂

My Picasa Web Album is at http://picasaweb.google.com/lgp171188

I was having issues connecting to online repositories of Ubuntu and OpenSolaris as I was connect to a network which was behind a proxy server. Thanks to Avinash Joshi http://blogs.sun.com/avinashjoshi/entry/using_apt_get_behind_a I was able to setup apt on Ubuntu to contact and install packages from the Ubuntu repository from behind the proxy. I was trying to find a similar solution to OpenSolaris too when Ashwin Bhatt, the highly helpful and active Tech-lead, helped me with the idea that a simple export of a ‘http_proxy’ variable with the proxy server and port values i it would do the trick. It indeed worked for me and I could install all the essential things on my OpenSolaris installation. So I downloaded and installed VLC player from Life with Solaris IPS repository.

I had installed audio drivers on OpenSolaris (courtesy Ashwin Bhatt). So when I installed VLC player, AMP stack and stuff, there was no need for me anymore to use M$ Windoze anymore as I have cool Ubuntu Hardy Heron and OpenSolaris 2008.05!

I had brought ‘Jaane to ya jaane na’ (a long time due), on my usb stick from my friend. And it became my first movie on OpenSolaris. 🙂

Movies are basically for 3 hours of total entertainment even though there might be gaping holes in the logic, and JTYJN was one such movie. It is a good enough debut for Imran Khan who manages to look handsome and the gorgeous Genelia D’Souza continuing her mannerisms from ‘Bommarilu’ and ‘Santhosh Subramaniam’. I was really happy watching the movie on OpenSolaris and my friends, most of whom where thinking OpenSolaris was for geeks and it must be so complex and user-unfriendly were left dumbfounded.

Why ‘Rats and Meow’ in the title? The nicknames with which Imran Khan and Genelia call each other in the movies are Miaow (Genelia) and Rats(Imran Khan)! For more details watch the movie itself.

P.S. Imran and Genelia seem to have a nice chemistry and this post is not much about the movie JTYJN 🙂

OpenSolaris can do anything any other OS can do and can do much more….

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Ever since SFI started celebrating Software Freedom day every year in 2004, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai, has been celebrating it as FStival (Free Software festival). This is the fifth straight year that FStival has been conducted in our college, which is a Free Software hub in southern Tamil Nadu.

As a part of FStival, we organize demo stalls on various Free Software tools and people from various walks of life from in and around Madurai visit and get benefited. This year we had demo stalls on:

  1. Free Software philosophy

  2. Emacs

  3. Vi

  4. LaTeX

  5. OpenOffice

  6. MySQL

  7. OpenSolaris

  8. PostgreSQL

  9. LAMP web stack

  10. LAPP web stack

  11. Drupal and Mambo

  12. GIMP

  13. Blender

  14. GTK Glade

  15. Live Distros

  16. GCC

  17. Debuggers

  18. Subversion and Trac

  19. Compiz-fusion

  20. Multimedia and Games

  21. Ubuntu installation

  22. Bluefish editor

  23. Distro burning

  24. TCENet portal

  25. *nix commands

  26. Linux day to day

  27. Internet tools

I conducted a stall on OpenSolaris and handled a couple of installation sessions of Ubuntu Linux. My friends S.Anugraha, G.R. Karthik and Venkatachalam helped me a lot. A million thanks to them.

We had Mr. Kamesh Jayachandran from CollabNet who works on Subversion. He is the first Indian full committer to the subversion code base. He played a great role in the development of the ‘Merge tracking’ feature included in the latest Subversion 1.5. We also had the esteemed presence of Mr. Joe Steeve, an alumnus of the college and a passionate free software enthusiast. He is the founder of Free Software clubs in the college. Both these distinguished guests enlightened a packed auditorium on Free software and Subversion. Mr. Kamesh Jayachandran inspired us by telling us about his growth in the Free Software industry.

There were about 400 visitors from various walks of life including students from various academic institutions in and around Madurai. They were very much impressed by what they saw and learnt a lot so that they can create an awareness about Free software in their places.

The surprise guest who visited FStival 08 was Dr. Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Controller of DRDO, who was very much impressed with FStival 08 and had words of praise and encouragement for us.

We also played throughout the day, a video of Richard M Stallman, the man who started it all, talking about Software Freedom. That enigmatic and inspirational video would have surely converted many into Free Software users.

FStival 08 was a grand success and left the visitors, participants and organizers craving for more of it and looking forward to the next FStival.

The complete set of snaps from FStival 08 is available at http://fstival.tce.edu/fast_gallery/2008/

I, as the Sun Microsystems Campus Ambassador of my college, have been given the privilege to have my blog on blogs.sun.com and a Sun email id! I am feeling really overjoyed at it.

My Sun blog is at http://blogs dot sun dot com/guruprasad. I will be blogging in parallel in both the blogs and will try my best to keep both of them in sync.

I have been selected by Sun Microsystems as the Sun Campus Ambassador of my college TCE, Madurai. I will be trained by Sun and then I will have to evangelise Sun technologies in my college. Actually there is more that I can do than just evangelising, conducting demos and workshop sessions. I was told “There is no limit to what a Sun Campus Ambassador can do”. Krithika, whom I succeed was excellent as a Sun Campus Ambassador and I hope to continue her legacy and if possible do better.

The story behind my selection is a big one. Ever since I started participating in the Sun club activities, I always dreamed of becoming a Sun ambassador. During last November I was suddenly asked by my HOD whether I would like to become the next CA. As the question was so unexpected, I couldn’t answer and I just said I don’t know.

Then in January, HOD and the staff selected 5 people from my department who would be the Sun club coordinators after Krithika’s term ended and one of those 5 would be selected as the next CA. I was disappointed but decided to carry on gamely with it. Those 5 people successfully conducted the Sun Guru programme successfully in my college.

But suddenly in April, Krithika sent an email to all the Sun club members that the next Sun CA was to be selected and that anyone who is interested can apply for it by sending their resumes. I was so glad and immediately sent my resume. 🙂

Three people were selected to be interviewed by Sun from those who had sent their resumes, and I was one among them. The other two were Anugraha (one of those 5 selected coordinators) and Ashmitha Srinivas who were my classmates.

We had a telephonic interview in May for about half an hour each. My interview was really a great experience. I was asked about what I knew about what a Sun CA has to do. I had known about it because I was in touch with Krithika for about an year. I was also asked about the Sun technologies I was familiar with and I answered Java, NetBeans and OpenSolaris. I was asked about configuring the network connection of a computer which I knew thanks to Krithika. Then I was asked about the activities of Sun club and the GNU/Linux group in my college and how I could improve the activities of both.

I was also asked about my views on Free Open Source Software and proprietary softwares. Then I was told that ‘There is no limit to what I can do as a Sun Campus Ambassador’. I was told that the results of the interview would be out in two weeks time.

After two weeks, I got a mail from Sun informing me that I have been selected as the CA for my college. My joy had no bounds. Then Mr. Rajesh Uma Shankar from Sun got in touch with me and informed me that he’ll be my coordinator.

I got in touch with a few other Sun CA-elects and shared our experiences. Now I am scheduled to go to Bangalore to attend the Sun Campus Ambassador Induction Training Programme for three days. Gary Serda, the global CA head and a Vice President of MySQL(Sun’s latest acquisition) are going to be present for that programme and it’s really gonna be a lifetime experience.

I am very much looking forward with oodles of excitement! 🙂

More later……

My third year at college started today. We had a new classroom, new subjects and staff, of course the same classmates! I am very much looking forward to an activity-filled year ahead. I would very much like to learn loads of stuff and of course become a better guy.

This year is very important because I will have to face campus placement interviews at the end of this year. So its high time to get myself to equipped for that. I love challenges. 🙂

Today my 4th semester results were out. Surprise, surprise, I got 9.47 GPA – my highest and the third highest in the department. I also moved to third on the overall CGPA in the department. I scored 90% in the Microprocessor lab which went horribly wrong for me. I have to thank my lucky stars for this miracle. This result inspires me to improve myself constantly and avoid my previous mistakes. It instills a sense of belief and confidence in me that I can improve and scale unscaled heights. I wish to make every semester a better one in terms of my marks, what i learn and how much I enjoy. Looking ahead to a great 5th semester and 3rd year!

The third internal test went off in a hurry. I started to hate Microprocessors and System Software subjects more and more. These subjects’ syllabi were very poorly framed and the teachers couldn’t get any worse. Even Java which I had blown off with ease previously started to create demons in my mind with a lot of stuff to cram. I hate cramming the most and I can never do it.

As a result I got poor marks in the third internal test. Semester exams were done and dusted in a whiff. This time I felt I didn’t do even a single subject excellently. Practical exams were a mixed bag. System Software and Operating Systems lab was too easy. Contrastingly, I couldn’t get proper output for both the programs I was given in Microprocessor lab. Though it seems unacceptable, I fully blame the MASM software for screwing me up though my programs were perfect both in logic and in being error-free. Failure loomed large and even the exam supervisors didn’t react too encouragingly. Logic tells me that I should easily pass given that I had done everything perfectly other than getting the correct output, but my emotions were keeping me tense and I feared the worst. I feared that it would be a big blot on my academic record and that it wud affect and haunt me forever. With results due on May 16, I’m keeping my fingers crossed! 🙂