Category Archives: Opensource

Sun Club Inductions 2009

We organized the Inductions for Sun Club of NIT Trichy recently.  The induction procedure was a two-level one, an online test followed by personal interviews.

We conducted the online test on 24th August. The response for the inductions was overwhelming. I expected a turnaround of about 40 students, but we had about 100 students in the lab. In fact, we could not accommodate all of them, and we had to make special arrangements. The students were tested on their logical and analytical skills, computer knowledge, basics of programming and Java.

We faced various technical challenges before the start of the test. We were trying out the quiz module of the Pragyan CMS for the first time. We had no clue about how it actually functioned, whether the cookies would time out before the students submitted their test and whether the database would be properly updated with the correct scores.

Many students did not know their login passwords, and we had to modify their passwords and activate their accounts manually – and we had to do this really fast, since we had very less time. But my friends helped me out in getting things done in time.

Here are some of the questions asked in the online test:

  1. What is the first program that executes after you power on your computer?
  2. main() { int *a, *s, i; s = a = (int *) malloc( 4 * sizeof(int)); for (i=0; i<4; i++) *(a+i) = i * 10; printf(“%d\n”, *s++); printf(“%d\n”, (*s)++); printf(“%d\n”, *s); printf(“%d\n”, *++s); printf(“%d\n”, ++*s); }
    What is the output?
  3. Pavi wrote a program It compiled successfully. All it does is read a file and print its contents. During execution, where does the program reside?
  4. What is the name of Google’s operating system?
  5. What is the biggest threat to Free and Open Source Software aka FOSS?

About 30 students were shortlisted based on the online test and interviews were held in the weekend. After two days of interview sessions, 8 students were finally selected as members of the Sun Club.

It was a great experience for me too. Going ahead with organizing an online test, hoping that everything goes on smooth and making sure that the most enthusiastic minds find the doors open to the Sun Club was a mammoth task. And it all ended well ….

JavaFX workshop @ Vortex ’09

It was a great day at college. 58 students eagerly waiting in the lab to learn a new technology – JavaFX. Vortex ’09, the technical symposium of the Department of CSE, NITT, was in full swing. As a part of the symposium, a JavaFX workshop was organized by me.

The previous day was a long one which kept me busy learning, looking up sample codes, creating sample tutorials and presentations for the seminar. I tried to familiarize myself with the varied features of the technology. I learnt about how powerful and useful it is. I had prepared four different slides and ten sample codes to elucidate the ease of use of JavaFX.

The workshop was at 2:00 pm. And the sight of such a good turnout for the workshop made me happy. Every participant initially registered at the Open Source University Meetup (OSUM) site, the online community for open source technologies. It was a hands-on workshop, where students could try out programs on Netbeans platform.

Initially I gave a small talk on opensource technologies and the use of OSUM. Then I proceeded to explain the changing times, the necessity for rich internet applications and the emerge of JavaFX.

Learning of any new technology starts with the famous ‘Hello World’ code. Participants were given the first feel of JavaFX by teaching them to write a small HelloWorld application using JavaFX Script.

Then the basics were explained, which included the concepte like data types, syntax, etc. Classes and Objects, the fundamental blocks of any Java code, were handled in detail. All concepts were explained through sample codes.

I went on to explain how to create and modify various Shapes and their properties. Data Binding and the way the bound values are computed in real time was discussed, with a variety of examples. Then simple transitions were explained, like translation, rotation and shearing of objects.

Having gained a substantial amount of practice by trying out codes, the students were ready to learn a bit more advanced concepts like effects on objects. event handling, the most important aspect of RIA’s, was demonstrated next. The last topic for the day was animation. Simple animation effects like tweening were explained using sample codes.I ended the seminar by giving them various external links and resources from where they can learn JavaFX.

The response for the workshop was very good. Students were able to follow and understand easily. And it really made me happy when a few participants mailed me back expressing their views on the workshop.

” It was really great and I got a stronghold of the basics of JavaFX now. Thanks.”

This shows that the workshop was a great success..



JavaFX workshop @ Pragyan ’09

The JavaFX workshop was organized successfully as a part of Pragyan ’09, The International Techno-management Festival of NIT Trichy. . It was a day long workshop organized by Sun Microsystems. The workshop was aimed at teaching how to use JavaFX software for developing rich Internet applications. The engineers explained how to use the technology to create animations and effects, add multimedia to applications, and incorporate Java software into JavaFX applications.

The response was really overwhelming. More than 500 students had registered for the workshop, and many of them were students from various colleges across the state. 150 registrants were shortlisted to attend the workshop, out of which 50 were from outside colleges. The workshop was conducted in the annexe lab in the Octagon Computer Center.

The session started with Kumar Abhishek giving a talk on Open Source technologies. He explained about how the world is shifting from the ‘information age’ to the age of ‘participation’. He cited examples to explain why the computing world is slowly moving towards open source.

We had three engineers from Sun, Mr. Elancheran, Mr. Srinivas and M. Praveen. The next few sessions were handled by them. A basic introduction to the world of JavaFX was given initially to the students. Various features of the technology was explained. Brief demonstrations were given to show how JavaFX functions as an expressive rich client platform for creating and delivering rich Internet experiences across all the screens of our life.

The next session was regarding the JavaFX Script, the scripting language used in creating JavaFX applications. Sample programs were provided to explain how the language is an object oriented, integrating easily with Java with automatic data binding. The demo programs explored a wide range of features of the language.

The next session was the hands-on session where the students tried their own code and came up with really innovative applications.

Occasionally, questions were asked and prozes were awarded to the students who answered the questions. T shirts, pens and keychains were presented to the students. The best application received a Transcend Flash drive as an award.

Members of the Sun Club helped in organizing the workshop and ensuring that the things went on smoothly. The students feedback also was good. Certificates were given away to the students who attended the workshop.

Keeping in mind the success of this workshop, many more workshops on open source technologies are being planned in NIT Trichy. It is always a great experience to organize a huge event successfully.

Sun Club of NITT

And finally, the Sun Club of NITT is formed with 20 enthusiastic students interested in learning and developing open source technologies. The club has been formed with the support of Sun Microsystems. I am presiding over the club as President with Aswin assisting me as Vice President. Prof. N. Ramasubramanian, HOD, Dept. Of CSE is the Faculty Advisor.

Sun Club of NIT Trichy

The Club Logo was designed by Sharadh. It has an ‘O’ in green and an ‘S’ in black. They represent ‘Open Source’. The empty block in the centre also denotes that it is really open, for the community to explore, innovate and develop.

Students were inducted into the club based on a written test. The question paper was set by me and Aswin. It had four sections – aptitude, basic computers, algorithms and java. Most questions were picked from good sources including CAT papers, SCJP sample papers, etc. The test duration was 90 minutes.

The inductions went on very well. Room CSE301 was arranged to conduct the test. 75 students registered for the written test –a very good number considering the fact that the club is a newly formed one.

And then came the huge task of paper evaluation. I learnt a lot of new ideas while evaluating the papers. Innovative ideas and ingenious solutions to questions which I had previously considered to be having only a single approach to a solution. The marks were tabulated and 18 students were selected.

The first formal meeting was held. The students were divided into 5 teams:

  • Core Java
  • Java ME
  • Netbeans and MySQL
  • Opensolaris
  • Web designing

Each team is now working on a separate project apart from assisting during workshops and other events.
It is great to see a new club emerging in NIT Trichy. A community of members interested in learning and developing open source technologies…

Human knowledge belongs to the world”

OSUM @ NIT Trichy – What’s happening inside

Many students have the habit of planning in advance what they must do during the holidays. Some decide they must learn a programming language, some might be planning to sharpen their problem solving skills, and a few others might be planning to bring out their creativity by trying their hand at designing.

But how many succeed in doing what they planned, at least partially? Most of them end up setting for themselves goals that are unreachable and framing timetable, adhering to which is practically impossible. The reason? Lack of proper guide. Without knowing what is in store for them within the pages of the book, goals cannot be set, timetables cannot be framed. Students end up wasting the precious time of theirs, grazing through arbitrary topics, which evaporate from the brain faster than the time they took to settle in. The result? ‘I have studied A to Z, but I don’t know which is the starting and which marks the end’. Confusion prevails.

The Open Source University Meetup (OSUM) at NIT Trichy is functioning as a guide for students of NIT-Trichy, helping them to set realistic targets, and providing them with necessary resources to achieve the targets. Students who have registered are given guidance in their own fields of interest.

Five fields have been chosen:
• Algorithms
• Java ME
• Networking and Distributed Systems
• Web Designing
• 2D Designing

Students have varied levels of understanding and experience in these topics. So, the activities have been planned to help everyone set individual goals and work towards them. Individual guidance is given for students who are enthusiastic.

With respect to Algorithms, the activities have been targeted at three different levels, Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. Clear demarcation is provided for students to judge themselves. Books and other materials including self-written ones have been shared with the students. Assignments with thought-provoking and challenging questions have been shared with everyone.

Creativity is the main requirement for design. Creativity starts within the mind. The computer is only an aid to convert the virtual image in the mind into a real one on screen. Photoshop and Flash Programming courses have been planned for the winter, along with web designing courses starting from HTML, PHP, CSS, Ajax, JavaScript, etc. Sample designs have been sent to the students so that they get a fair idea about the field of design.

Most students are new to Java ME and Networking. So, guidance is given right from the basics. This involves sharing books and simple programs elucidating the basic concepts required to start a detailed course on these topics. A Java ME workshop has also been planned for the benefit of students, and will be conducted during the third week of January.

Google Docs is being extensively used for student registration and for efficient and secure means of sharing the resources. An SMS group has been created at SMSGupShup for sending instant group messages regarding latest progress.

There has been an overwhelming response with over 45 students registered for the programme. The programme will get bigger and better in the future. The student community will be immensely benefited by such programmes. If activities on similar lines are conducted in every college or university, the entire student community will be able to achieve their goals and excel in life.

To join the vibrant community, “OSUM @ NIT Trichy”, log on to .

Suggestions and ideas are always welcome…

Configuring Cygwin with Netbeans in Windows

Netbeans IDE can be used to create C/C++ Applications. Netbeans running on Linux Platforms dont require any additional configuration if the compilers are already available in the Linux distribution. But to get it working in Windows, a Linux-like environment will be required. 

Cygwin is a Linux-like environment for Windows.

Here is a step by step guide to configure Cygwin with Netbeans in Windows.

Step 1: Installing Netbeans

  • Install JDK. The latest version can be downloaded here
  • Download and install Netbeans. The latest version is Netbeans IDE 6.5. The latest version can be downloaded from Make sure you download the bundle that has all technologies.
  • Select C/C++ option while installing. ( It is better to select all the options )

Step 2: Installing Cygwin

  • Cygwin can be downloaded from
  • Run the setup file.
  • Install from internet. Specify C:\cygwin as the root directory.
  • In the Select Packages dialog box, select the packages required. gcc-coregcc-g++gdb, and make packages are most important. These are the C core, C++ core, the GNU Debugger and the GNU version of ‘make’ utility. These packages will be under the ‘Devel’ category.
  • Complete the installation.

Step 3: Testing Cygwin

  • To test whether Cygwin was installed properly, try the following by opening the bash shell:
  • cygcheck -c cygwin
    gcc --version
    g++ --version
    make --version
    gdb --version
  • If the version details are displayed for all these commands, the installation of Cygwin has been successful.

Step 4: Setting PATH

  • Right click on My Computer and select Properties. Goto Advanced System Settings.
  • Click on Environment Variables.
  • In system variables’ frame choose “Path” and click “edit” button.
  • Now in the variable value textbox give the path of your cygwin/bin directory. (i.e., probably c:\cygwin\bin)
  • Click OK

The setup is done.

Now new C/C++ Projects can be started:

  • Open Netbeans IDE
  • CLick New Project –> C/C++ –> C/C++ Application
  • Choose a Project Name and Location. Then select ‘Finish’.
  • Right click on Source Files under the current Project in the Projects pane on the left side.
  • Select New –> Empty C++ File
  • Type in the C++ Program.
  • Now go to Run –> Run Main Project or press F6 to run the program.

Cygwin has been successfully configured with Netbeans.