Tag Archives: Opensource

SFD @ NIT Trichy – Cloud Computing Workshop

It was Software Freedom Day Celebrations at NIT Trichy. And how better could the day have been!! For the first time, Sun Club of NIT Trichy and GLUG-T, The Linux User Group joined hands to conduct the event. We had organized a workshop on cloud computing and Linux/Opensolaris Install Festival.

The way we publicized the event requires a special mention. The hall was confirmed only on the penultimate day, and so we could not put up posters earlier. I designed a poster in a hurry and asked my friends to put them up at strategic places inside the college. And then we sent an SMS to more than 200 students – to all those who had attended our earlier workshops. I had asked the students to register by sending a reply to my number, providing their names and roll numbers, just to have an approximate idea about how many students might be attending the event. This proved to be really effective, and I received about 40 replies in the next two hours. We had a participation of more than 60 students, with participants from B. Tech, M. Tech and CA branches. The hall was nearly full. More importantly, it was full of energy and enthusiasm.

I had to do a night-out to prepare the slides and learn as much as I could about Cloud Computing. And in the end, the presentation came out well, even though most of the information was taken from various sites, videos and other sources.

We asked the students to register at the registration desk and gave them OpenSolaris CD’s, data sheets and Linux Mint CD’s. We then went ahead with discussion on Cloud Computing. I talked about various concepts related to cloud computing. Aswin also chipped in a few important points in between. We also discussed about virtualization and Project Kenai. We kept the students busy and interested by occasionally asking questions and giving away gifts to those who answered.

After the discussion, we went ahead with Linux / Opensolaris Install Fest where we provided installation advice. We also provided the participants VirtualBox installation files, for those who were interested to try out the operating systems but did not want to really install on the hard disk. Special Thanks to Jithin and his GLUG-T team for guiding the students regarding the Linux Installation. Some students had various problems with their Linux/opensolaris installations. A few of them we solved on the spot, whereas the others, we had promised to look into and inform the solutions as soon as possible.

To summarize, it was a great event, an awesome audience and a lot of take-backs for the participants and the organizers. Software Freedom Day was a great success. Looking forward to organizing more such events.

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 Test.java. 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 @ 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 http://osum.sun.com/group/nitt .

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 http://www.netbeans.org. 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 http://www.cygwin.com
  • 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.

software freedom week – java workshop

After one full week of preparation, giving lectures and handling lab classes, the Java programming workshop has finally come to an end. The workshop was conducted by me with the help of my friend, Aswin, as a part of Software Freedom Week celebrations.

This was the first workshop conducted in college by me after I was selected as the Campus Ambassador for Sun Microsystems. Java is one of the greatest products from Sun, which is extensively used in programming, web applications, mobile applications and more. So, I felt that conducting a workshop on Java programming would help the students learn the language. The workshop was intended to show the students the door to the world of Java.

The curriculum of NITT does not have an exclusive Java course. But there are many students who are interested in learning the language. I have seen many friends of mine who have tried to learn Java, but were confused about where to start and how to proceed.

The workshop was planned for second year B. Tech CSE students of my college. I went to their classroom and briefed them about the various open source technologies, about the Campus Ambassador Programme of Sun and about the numerous workshops that are to follow in the months to come. I also asked the students to do a study on open source and write an article on the same. The response was very good.

My HOD arranged the conference hall and the laboratory for our use. With the help of Aswin, I installed Java and Netbeans in all computers in the lab. The projector was set up too. The stage was set for the workshop.

32 students had been selected for the workshop. Everyone had assembled, eagerly awaiting the start. I distributed the Netbeans CDs, pens and key chains which Sun Microsystems had sent for the workshop. Then the classes began.

We started right from the basics, explaining the simple looping constructs, the conditional statements and various other syntax. Then we moved on to object oriented programming and related concepts like abstraction and polymorphism. Concepts of classes and objects were explained with regular demos on screen.

When Aswin was handling the class, I was busy taking snaps. Our HOD also visited the class to make sure everything was running smoothly.

java classes
The workhshop in progress at conference hall
The presentation on screen
The class... HOD is seen too

We then explained the concepts of streams used in input/output. Exception handling was taught in detail. The lab practice sessions were interesting. Some students came up with excellent solutions which even we never thought of. The workshop was a learning experience for us too.

We also conducted a small review  examination to gauge the understanding of the participating candidates. We wrote a simple Java program to evaluate the answers of students. The answers were discussed later.

That's me..
Netbeans loading in one of the computers
The lab session

We then ventured into complex topics like networking and swt. Students were taught how to write a chat application. They also had a lab session on that, where they implemented chat application and file sending programmes.

Practice makes a programmer perfect. Learning from the book will not help in learning a language. To become an expert, one must practice various programs and develop programming skills. This was emphasized during the workshop.

During the workshop, we asked the students to look up some interesting topics online, like obfuscated code and the dining philosophers problem. This helped the students to learn loads of new stuff.

All the presentations used and the demo programs were mailed to the students. The students’ feedback on the programme was also overwhelming. On the last day, I requested the students to look beyond text books and the curriculum. There must be a thirst for knowledge. Everyone must participate in the development of open source technologies. Gone is the age when there was a divide between the developer and the user. Now is the age where the user is the developer.

The first Java workshop was thus completed successfully. I am planning for the next workshop, which might be on Opensolaris, one of the most stable operating systems from Sun Microsystems. Looking forward to learning and sharing…