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! 🙂

Today, the last working day of the semester and the academic year, marks the end of an era. Final year seniors, who had always been the people in charge with all the answers for all situations, finish their college education today. Annas-Balachandran, Sai Krishna, Venkatapathy and akkas-Krithika and Agalya who served all their responsibilities to perfection and have a got a lot of awestruck admirers like me got their offer letters today and would be leaving for their jobs very soon.

Each of them is a distinctly super-talented one and have left an inspiring influence in me.

Bala anna has always been very friendly, helpful and definitely informative and inspirational.

Sai anna has always represented a perfect man- he seemed to be cool-headed in all situations and knew a frightening amount of things. He’s nothing short of an enigma and inspiration.

Krithika akka has been a supremely multitalented and has always been willing to help. It was she, as a Sun Ambassador and a friendly guide, who introduced me to all the Sun Microsystems technologies I’ve ever known. She is a very friendly person.

Agalya akka has always been calm but does loads of work which others seldom get to know. She has been an inspiration for me to learn a lot and also to become a department topper.

Venkatapathy anna’s most disarming quality is his sense of humour which would lighten up the spirits of everyone around. He has instilled a sense of belief in me that I too can learn anything.

Unix/PP lab has always been a uneasy place for me to be in, without these great people. But with their course completion, I’ll have to endure it to eternity. With their leaving, I feel there are no people who know the things that matter. Their absence will be a irreplaceable void in the PP lab and also in the minds of people like me who have been influenced and inspired by such nice people.

The prospect of taking up the server administration from these wonderful people seems a huuuuge ask for me as I know nothing. But with the farewell to these people I can rest assured that the rest of my college life is going to be full of DNS, Exim, SQUID, LDAP, Firewall, Apache to name a few. 🙂

My salutations to all these seniors who have caused a paradigm shift in my life. Hats off to them! My sincerest wishes and prayers for a great post-college life of such unforgettable, irreplaceable people.

I installed Open Solaris Developer Edition on my notebook today, though its a bit too late and not that much significant or useful anymore. Still I installed it as I want to learn and learning is always fun irrespective of everything. I alongwith Krithika akka and Anugraha tried to install Nvidia drivers on Solaris for my Nvidia 8600M GS graphics card and then to install Compiz, but we couldn’t! 🙁 . Hopefully it’ll be sorted out soon and I can enjoy using Compiz. I must learn to put aside disappointments and misery aside and learn to be optimistic more often. Only time will tell the truth! 🙂