BOSS GNU/Linux seminar @ MNIT

A seminar was held in our institute today by members from CDAC, Pune (Center for Development of Advanced Computing, Pune) on BOSS GNU/Linux (Bharat Operating System Solutions). For those of who haven’t heard of BOSS GNU/Linux, it is basically a Linux distribution made for use in Indian institutions, Government agencies and NGOs. Even the Indian Navy uses BOSS! The equation for the distribution is basically as follows:

Debian Etch + localisation-projects = BOSS

I was told that they have support for the 22 official Indian languages as of now. While their prime focus is on the localisation work, they have some other interesting areas as well, one of which is a diagnostics tool which will make it easier for the developers to handle bug reports from the users. I might just decide to work on this in the near future. 🙂

So I left at around 9.30 in the morning to pick up the three gentlemen from the hotel at which they were putting up, and by around 10.30, we were good to go! The department serminar hall was packed with 2nd years and a handful of 3rd and 4th years (wonder where the rest of them were). Anyways, the CDAC folks started off with an introduction to FOSS (a few of the 2nd years had got a dose on that from myself a week ago) and then gave the students an overview of BOSS. Unfortunately for our institute’s already tarnished reputation, the worst of the lot from 2nd year were present in the hall and they were rather wild (not necessarily intrigued by Linux here). In the tea break that followed, almost half the crowd left, which in my opinion was a good thing because only the cream among the crowd was left. The sessions resumed again, with presentations which explained all the basics of working with fonts like Unicode and ASCII, the font rendering engines and so forth. They also demonstrated the use of the Indian fonts in Open Office Writer and then proceeded to show a completely localised GNOME. This was then followed by an overview of the BOSS GNU/Linux installation (which is basically the Lenny graphical installer with the BOSS splash). We were then handed out a couple of LiveDVDs, which I’ll probably put up in our local FOSS repository. Anyways, I’ll be giving the juniors a hands-on session with the Linux installation process (it’s going to be Ubuntu) next week. Please do turn up. 🙂


4 thoughts on “BOSS GNU/Linux seminar @ MNIT

  1. Sandip Dev

    Thats the same problem here. No one is interested. Some people hardly know the difference between DOS and Unix. And you find statements like “I have had enough technical experience. Now I want to do an MBA and get into management” that too from second year students. People have trouble doing rudimentary HTML and CSS. Technical education in India is a farce.

    1. lalithsuresh Post author

      Problem is, students end up taking branches they have no interest in, and in my college, it is a plague owing to the fact that a lot of students come from village backgrounds and have zero exposure to the world out there. I really think the AICTE should conduct some kind of pre-counseling talk for students selected in the AIEEE so as to explain to them what each branch in engineering is about and what are the opportunities available out there. I hate it when I hear students say, “Electronics or Computers is the best branch, Civil and Meta are lower branches” and crap like that. It’s very saddening actually. I might just put up a rant-post on this sometime. 😐

  2. Sandip Dev

    Even counseling might not help. See these people see engineering as a means to earn money not to learn anything. What they dont understand is that if you are good at what you do, you will surely earn money. Everyone wants to go for engg whether or not they know what it entails or if they have an iota of reasoning ability. And yes, this branch is better than that is just so “stupid”. The purpose of education should not be imparting information but rather to create the interest to learn.

  3. Ashwin

    Hmm, you really shouldn’t expect too much from them. It’s a good thing that you gave them an introduction before the seminar, but I guess it didn’t really help them. It’s saddening to see that the 2nd year students don’t realize that some of the seniors are making a good effort to help them out – while you guys weren’t as lucky, yourselves.

    First off, I think you need to improve the interaction among themselves. Healthy discussions could really help spark some interest. So, before you continue conducting more seminars or workshops, see if people themselves come up to you after your talks and are keen to learn more.


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