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DevCamp 2 report

The second dev camp organized jointly by SMC, ZYXWARE, MES-FSUG and S@IT was conducted today @ MESCE.

The participation was low, around 15, but I would consider it as a successful event as all those who came were really interested. The dev camp 2 started by 10AM. Jishnu welcomed all to the event. Baiju and Sooraj Kenoth introduced themselves. We all introduced ourselves too. I was surprised to hear that Baiju, who initiated the work of SMC was from civil engineering background. This shows that interest is what all matters.

We started off with how to contribute to a project in the basic level, such as bug reporting. Baiju explained about the bug reporting and tracking process and what happens within the developer community when a new bug was reported. We took the example of bugzilla at kde on how to report a bug. Sruthi Devi from GEC Thrissur, shared her experience with it as she had resolved bugs of kstars, a planetarium application of KDE. Even though I have reported bugs to Debian and few other projects earlier, the session gave me more ideas on how to report bug in a more descriptive manner and to follow up with it.

Then we moved on to resolving bugs. Sruthi and Baiju introduced tools like indent, diff and patch, and their working. Indent was new to me and someday I’ll give that a try.

Then we moved our discussion on to version control systems. We had a small overview of cvs, svn, bazaar, mercurial and git. We then looked a bit into git and its basic commands and working. After that we took our break for lunch.

The afternoon session was more on to communicating, like IRC mailing lists and bits and bytes of this and that. We had few issues with IRC as for desktop clients, the port is blocked at college and few browser related errors for webchat.

By 4PM, we concluded the camp and had a small discussion about the event and on how to improve. As of me, the morning session was great, but the afternoon wasn’t much productive. I was also busy trying to fix the monitor resolution in Jasir’s Dell Mini and the Tata Photon whiz connection for Musfir, but without success. Need to give them one more try, when I am free.

Thanks to Sooraj for organizing such an event and Baiju for spending his time with us. Special thanks to Sruti Devi for coming to MESCE and changing the minds of few here on what they could do… 🙂 Special thanks to Raju sir and staff of IT department at MESCE for giving us all the support to host such a camp.

I have clicked few pics. Will add it here soon.
Few pics I clicked are below.

Well, I am writing this at midnight, and almost sleepy. Publishing it now. Will add the links tomorrow. Also, the “h” key of my laptop has got some problems. So, I might have missed “h” within the post.

Here are few other links related to the event:

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Its a long time I have written something here. Everytime I think of it, I will get involved in something else and forget about it. This time, I can’t resist it.

Our friend, Shyam Karanattu passed away two days before. The saddest part is that it was a suicide. All people who know him are shocked to hear the news and has not yet recovered from it. Shyam was an active free software advocate and activist. Here is what Anivar has to tell about him.

For me, he was more than a friend. He was my senior at THSS Vattamkulam and also at MESCE, though he was in EC branch. He was one of the persons who has influenced me much. Even though I am attracted to FOSS a long time before, it was he who introduced me(and many others) to the FOSS Community and Swathantra Malayalam Computing group. Later, we became colleagues, organized many events at MESCE and participated in many events together. He was the major driving force for the formation of MES-FSUG group and GNULabs at MESCE.

He was so attracted to FOSS and whenever we talked, we end up with something related to it. After his B-Tech also, we kept in touch and the last time I contacted him was during the time of SMC Localization Camp at MESCE. He said he had some family functions and couldn’t attend and will try to be there for the next event. Now he left us without waiting for thee next event.

Here are few snaps of him from my collection.

He has also interviewed RMS during the conference.

Shyam Karanattu Interviewing Richard Stallman for Amrita TV

There are much more to say about him, but….
We all love you Shyam. You shouldn’t have done that, whatever the reason was.

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I reached NIT by 8PM on 4th along with Shyam & Krishnaraj, my college mates and Hiran. Hiran was one among the speakers and his talk was regarding font designing. After dinner we attended two talks. Since we were a bit late, we couldn’t attend the inauguration ceremony. Those who attended told that it was great, but there were rumors that the chief guest came for some other function and was asked to inaugurate FOSS meet. One among the speakers mentioned about that during his talk.

For the easiness to express what I felt about the talks I attended, I’ll be using ‘+’ for the positive side and ‘-‘ for the negative side.

The first talk was by Deepak R, one of the lecturer from NITC itself. His talk was about Octave and Maxima, which are alternatives for MATLAB. I couldn’t compare Octave and MATLAB because I haven’t used both of them. Now, about his talk:
+ Help full in acquiring a introductory idea about Octave and Maxima and what it can do.
+ Familiarized a few commands and the format of them.
– Felt as if he was not much prepared as he couldn’t clear the doubts from audience.
– Didn’t went deep to the software(I heard that Octave can do much more than just drawing graphs and making mathematical calculations)

The next talk was about Blogging and Publicity by Kiruba Shankar. He was a speaker last year too. His talk made me think about my identity in the net. Among the talks which I attended, it was the one with highest number of audience.
+ Was very interactive with the audience and encouraging (was running here and there among the audience during the talk).
+ Used his personal experience and examples well.
+ Gave the idea to preserve our identity in net.
– Just elaborated the ideas from the audience and there weren’t much to the ides from his part
I felt it funny that he told us to promote ourselves(means our blog and sites), but was wearing a T-shirt with Yahoo’s emblem. I also doubt that he gave away the chocolates that he offered for those who asked doubts. 🙂

There were confusion regarding the accommodation facilities and at last we(Me, Shyam and Krishnaraj) were admitted to PG1 hostel. I heard from those who were present in the last year’s FOSS meet that the organization of that meet was much better than this. Till 2AM, we talked to each other and watched few videos related to free software in Shyam’s laptop. He also gave us an introduction to E-Macs.

On 5th, the talks started by 9.30. There were two parallel streams. So, I missed Hiran’s talk as I preferred to attend the talk on OpenID by Praveen A. OpenID means the technique of using a single username and password over the net.
+ The topic was new to most of the audience, including me.
– The doubt about the idea of topic was there for a long time as all were using the conventional usename and password methods.
There were few problems related to the internet connection, which hindered the flow of talk.

There was a parallel session by Pramode sir in the lab for school students related to free software and python programming. We went to attend that too. We were surprised on looking at the schedule list which was there in our kit. It contained Shyam’s name for a project discussion about his GSoC project on speech recognition, “Sarika”. He said that he hasn’t done much on his project for the last two months. After seeing that, he was busy preparing slides and all. Mean while, I met Anivar, Praveen, Ani Peter, Baiju, Santhosh, Praveen Prakash, Mobin and others. Ani Peter was distributing the stickers related to GNOME and OpenOffice. I also got a GPLV3 badge from Anivar. Hiran was showing everyone a 4GB pen drive(Kunnamkulam made), which he bought just for RS 350. Krishnaraj was sad on hearing that as he bought a 2GB one for RS 650.

I also attended the session by Pavithran on “KDE for educational applications”. I couldn’t say much about it as I attended it for a few minutes only. Anyway, there was a confusion with the language as most of the audience were the school students and Praveen was translating the talk to Malayalam.

The next talk by Niyam Bhushan on Interface design was also interesting. He stated with examples that most of the softwares and gadgets were successfull due to its interface design. He also suggested few sites which will be helpful for interface design and showed one of his work. There was a little confusion for him to use the KDE desktop environment in Opensuse as the projector was not responding to his Ubuntu Studio system. He also complained that the interface is horrible.
+ Good interaction with the audience.

Later, I attended as a listener of the meeting of SMC members on creating and registering a society. More than 10 members were present in the meeting. We planned to leave in the evening as I have some works and Shyam have his university exam on Monday. But, since shyam’s project discussion was scheduled around 5.30, he couldn’t come along with me. I left NIT by 5.45PM and reached back home by 9.30PM

The FOSS meet was a new experience for me as it was for the first time I am attending such a meet. The organization of the meet was not as better as I hoped and the participation was less(May be its due to the Calicut university exams going on). I hope more details on the meet can be seen at soon.


Check out more details from…

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The list of selected organisations for GSoC 2008 was published and it was a sad news for a few of us that SMC is not in the list. The reason might be that Google is not concentrating on organisations related to language computing. As I checked the ideas from some of the selected organisations(including Coppermine, Drupal, WordPress, etc), I found some, which I could do. Since I am not participating, I am willing to help those who are selecting those topics.

More details about GSoC and the selected organisations can be found at

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Anivar installed a Drupal version for SMC in his server space. It can be accessed by But, there were a few problems with displaying Malayalam(I think its due to the database formats). Anivar said he could fix it by tomorrow. It might also provide a platform for localisation of Drupal to Malayalam.

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