My Life, The Universe and Everything

Truths I learn. Barriers I seek to break. Let me scream.

Archive for March, 2006

Imagine…

Posted by themischord on March 23, 2006

In the last 10 odd months, I did a lot of fascinating things. I talked, I listened, I heard them, I made myself heard, I wrote, I read, I was read, I learnt, I taught, I unlearnt, I got lost, I showed some the way, many more showed me the better way. It has been a rigmarole. But a good one. I met fascinating people who make me hum this everyday …

Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today…

You may say Im a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as on

(Imagine, by John Lenon)

Now I believe, and I know that I'm not the only one. And I will keep trying to get u into us.

Posted in Musings | 2 Comments »

FOSS Workshop at VNR-VJIET

Posted by themischord on March 20, 2006

VNR-VJIET conducted a three-day workshop on Free/Open Source Software Technologies from 16th-18th March, 2006. I took a session on What is Free Software? and another on Intro to PHP and MySQL. Professors and department heads from a few other Engineering colleges attended the workshop. Although the number of participants was just about thirty, the response and enthusiasm was pretty encouraging. We had a few of them inviting us for talks back in their colleges. One department head requested help in setting up a lab in his college.

Apart from expanding the network, the workshop highlighted something very important. It was just about 8 months back that a GLUG (GNU/Linux User Group) was started in VNR-VJIET. And now, I find that the department head and many professors in the CS and IT departments are influenced by the Free Software philosophy and are happy with the progress in learning the students are making. I especially commend the core student members of this GLUG who are doing a great job by regularly organizing sessions and talks. They did a great job of organizing the workshop. They are also making a great effort to migrate their labs to GNU/Linux based servers and desktops. This is a great step. If such initiatives are taken up in the local engineering colleges, I don't see why it is impossible to get the hyped IIT, IIIT quality education in them.

The future is Bright!

Posted in Swecha | 2 Comments »

Why Telugu and GNU/Linux?

Posted by themischord on March 14, 2006

This is in response to the questions raised by Sagar…

Q. Is this your own endeavour or sponsored by your company?

A. The technical work is mostly done by us as employees of our company. We do the other activities like propagating, conducting workshops, involving students etc. as members of FSF-AP. Our company has been supporting us by allowing us to take time off at times for these activities.

Q. I'm sure you'll agree that English is necessary if the students want to go to college. And they are already familiar with Windows. Why then, do you want them to shift to using Telugu Linux?

A. When we were demonstrating Swecha, quite often people miscomprehended it to be our effort to save the Telugu language. I almost wholly disagree with that view. Swecha is not about the Telugu language, it is about the people who can be benefited by it. I will answer the question in 2 parts.

Why Telugu?
According to population census, about 65% in India are literate. Out of these, MIT (Ministry of Information Technology) statistics hold that only about 5% are educated in English. If any part of information technology (content and solutions) have to reach the remaining 95% literates, it is essential to have interfaces to computers in the local languages. In India, language divide is one of the foremost causes of digital divide. If we want to solve digital divide there is no way we can ignore the language part. So, the importance of Telugu.

When we say that we are working on providing "Telugu support for GNU/Linux", it does not mean that we expect GNOME or KDE Desktop to be used by a villager. We are working on providing architectural support for the development of new applications in native languages. Say, a village information system, crop prices or weather bulletin in the local language. Such applications can have a real impact on people. For all this, the local language support is essential.

By now, I'm sure u got my import when I say that Swecha is not really for the tech-savy mother-tongue patriot who wants to see the Desktop in his native language. It is for the millions of others who can communicate only in their native language.

Why GNU/Linux?
Sheer economics
If I were to deploy tens of thousands of computers in towns/villages to provide them with the benefits of information technology, I certainly don't want to pay a million $ to a corporate for the OS or software when I have a good (maybe better 😉 alternative.

Freedom
This I think this the most important reason why Free Software should always be used. The philosophy is that I don't depend on anyone to solve my need. I don't want to wait praying while the corporate is doing feasibility analysis to decide if it wants to add a feature or a fix a bug for me. If a small community in Africa wanted a Desktop in their language, what are the odds that Microsoft or any other corporate would take up the project?

Present is not the Future
It may be true that Windows is the most popular desktop as of today. Given that the penetration of computers in our country is very small (estimating it to be less than a whole 1%), what significance really does the fact that these people are familiar with Windows have? When we have nearly 99% of the population waiting to be educated to use the technology, let us teach them the right thing!

Q. What stage is this project now?

A. Most of the important components are in place. We have fonts, keyboard layouts for input, browser and desktop application support for display of Telugu. Desktop string translations are in good progress. Telugu text-to-speech system with support for screen reader is ready. You can download the live cd and check out documentation at Swecha site.

Posted in Swecha | 2 Comments »

Books For The Growing Soul

Posted by themischord on March 7, 2006

Good music and great books; u sure should be able to live away a lifetime with them. I grew up like typical others of my breed, reading teenage detective novels and adventure stories. But I'm glad that at 24 I have begun to explore non-fiction. World politics, Economics, revolutionary writings, investigative journalism… believe me, they _can_ be great fun too. Bunny and I are collecting some good books in the hope to read them and make others read them. Check them out and u know u r welcome to borrow them!

I hated science fiction, till someone said "I like science fiction coz it shows how better the world can be!"

Posted in Books | Leave a Comment »

farewell to Myself

Posted by themischord on March 4, 2006

I was told
to bid farewell to Myself

Myself??? I couldn't

searched for me, found u
looked for u, found Myself

today is tough
but so is tomorrow, and the day after

let me be with Myself
not with memories to be forgotten
but with dreams to be lived

show me a reason
show me a reason…

to bid farewell to Myself.

Posted in Musings | Leave a Comment »