NIT Dgp and Linux in the future

March 2, 2008 at 9:48 pm (Uncategorized)

Let me first begin by saying that any comment on the working of LUG or opinions about a particular person are my personal thoughts and no one but me is responsible for what ever bad comes out of this page. Whatever good comes out of this page must be accredited to the LUG president and LUG in general. That is the way it should be.In the beginning of the year we had a meeting. We discussed the need to change. We realised that the work we had been doing till date was not impressing the aministration. Also organising a 3 day tech fest was not what open-source is about, and that we had to shift our focus to development work all the year round. We also had to come up with novel ideas to teach people how to use Linux.

As things turned out, later that month we were asked to either scrap the event or organise it with Aarohan, the money guzzling tech fest our college. With survival on our minds, we reluctantly said yes. Anyways, will talk about that later.

These are the things that we are blamed for and why they are false implications:

  • There are too many Bengalis in LUG: Numbers wise it used be true. But it doesnt reflect the groups flavour or any kind of bias. Bengali is not spoken in any meeting. Quality is all that we want. As it turns out, Bengalis from metros such as Kolkata know their computers pretty well. Their communications ability is also quite good. I was in the interviewing panel for the selection of core committee members last year. With this thought looming over our heads, we tried to induct non-bengalis, and we did, but we had to compromise with quality somewhat. The call for applications is open to all, but there are people who dont come to the interview coz they either think they are too good for LUG , or that LUG is full of bengalis, or simply coz they r not interested in linux and stuff. Whats more funny is that people who run away from LUG to join other clubs, find themselves in an authoritarian environment heavily dominated by people from one particular state. Its no secret how biased their mode of operation is. As it happens in our college, seniors directly influence their juniors, and for bengalis, that influence is pretty constructive. They dont beat the hell out of their juniors, but ask them to join clubs instead. Anyways, its my challenge anyday that LUG has people who know their tech stuff very well. Not all LUG members may know linux. Thats ok. Not all NSS members are angels, not all CCA members are leaders, not all students are studious. Anyways, as of now, there are few bengalis in LUG. But the potential of our group becomes more evident everyday.
  • LUG has not spread Linux: I personally accept this. But the reasons are to be examined too. We are asked to spread Linux in the college. Spreading Linux is not like spreading Uncle Chips packets. A linux distribution is never functionally complete. Whenever you need to install packages, you need dependencies too. It is ideal to have a local repository somewhere in the college so that installation becomes automated, as is the case in IIT KGP where they have a local Debian repository. But even then, surprisingly, i dint see a lot of linux users there. And these are areas where we shall go ahead of such IITs and that is what excites me so much. IIIT Hyderabad is a college i have been to many times. I would spend my entire day sitting in there labs and looking at the lan. I have been to Hyd 8 times and havent visited Charminar a single time, mainly coz i was always hooked to their lan. Everyone knows linux there. Reasons 1) Every one is either a CSE an ECE student there. 2) Every student has an account on a centrallised Linux server. He/She has to login through SSH to check mail, or to update his/her www directory, or to update his ftp directory. These are day to day jobs there. Within a week everyone knows the basic linux commands. 3) The professors there are more of mentors that professors. They communicate to all the students using “students.iiit.ac.in” mail account. They have mailing lists such as “ug1@students.iiit.ac.in”. Send a mail to this email id and it will reach all the first year students. 4) I think they also have a local repository 5)Broadly speaking, they are proud of themselves, we arent (yet). We have a big lan, much larger than IIIT. But it is broken up into so many pieces ,and even those pieces are variables in time, that i share a linux distro here, and my friends in hall 1 cant copy it at times. But having said all this, and a lot of other reasons i havent written about, the day will soon come when you search “linux” on dc++, and you shall get all the linux distributions in your search results. LUG will make it happen. We will also setup mailing lists and forums where ppl can ask questions on linux and open-source.
  • No open source development has been done: Actually no one accuses us of this. But they should. We are a national level technical institute. We have computer science engineers. We have internet connection in our hostels. If we dont develop, who will. The open source world hinges on communities such as ours. They need us, and we need them too, for our knowledge and careers. We will begin in this direction soon, with the formation of the LUG Software Development Unit. As far as i know, other colleges dont have a group such as this. But we also need some kind of industry interaction, which we will get eventually.

The realisation of doing the right thing comes from the realisation of the mistakes we have committed in the past. That requires introspection and humbleness. It only makes us stronger.

Why people do not use Linux in our college

  • No AOE(a game) on Linux
  • No CounterStrike(another game) on Linux
  • No voice chat on Gtalk
  • How to play mpeg videos??
  • How to listen to mp3 songs??
  • Where are the C D and E partitions??
  • No Matlab
  • No electronics workbench
  • My hardware was not detected on Linux
  • Last but also the most common, installing is so difficult.

How these problems can be tackled

  • There is a game called FreeCiv, which is an AOE clone on Linux.
  • PoliceForces is a CounterStrike clone on Linux. I have shared both these games on DC++.
  • You can play quake and unreal tournament on linux. There are thousands of games, that include all kinds, on linux, if playing games is all you do.
  • You can voice chat with a person who is also on Linux using ekiga or linphone or several such clients. There will be gtalk voice and file transfer support soon on linux. Project Tapioca and libjingle will make it a reality.
  • There are several mpeg players on Linux. I use VLC and Mplayer. Contact me or any LUG technical committee member on how to install it.
  • There are gr8 mp3 players too. Banshee and xmms are probably the best.
  • There are partitions in Linux too. Just that they are represented differently in Linux.
  • Matlab for linux exists. I have shared it on DC++. Not just that, there is also Scilab in linux, which is open source and very similar to matlab. Developed by INRIA France mainly.
  • Electronics Workbench is just one software. There are several EDA softwares on linux and i have em shared on DC++.
  • Try upgrading to a newer kernel if your hardware is not detected. Many times you also dont find hardware drivers for windows.
  • Installing linux is not difficult actually. It is made complicated by the fact that you already have windows installed on ur machine, and u do not want to damage the windows installation. If you install linux on a blank disk and then install windows, you will find the same, if not more, problems.

Also LUG plans to alleviate the suffering of the students coz of the poor net speed. The problem is not net bandwidth. 8 mbps is ample bandwidth. There is a tender out for 32 mbps, but even that will make no difference. People will download at the same rates. What happens is that 50 people download the same movie at the same time. That clogs the network. The solution is to create a public forum on the LUG server, which already on the lan at http://10.0.0.150 . People will post what they are downloading in the forum so that others dont. This is the solution, and only this is the solution. Baning downloads from the server wont work, coz if all the people keep sending requests , syn packets will flood the network.

Too much typing for today… will fill up more of this page later.

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