The Ooty workshop
NRCFOSS, one of the national bodies for FOSS propogation and movement had given a call for a workshop in Ooty for hardware vendors of Nilgiris.The rest of the post discusses my experience of being in Ooty
The first thing to my mind was Ooty, beautiful place, never been there and if one is able to share one’s understanding and knowledge then so much the better 🙂
Hence gave my application which was promptly accepted. Reached Ooty on the 22nd as wanted to meet and understand the people who are behind the initiative and as well get somewhat adjusted to Ooty.
We started the workshop on 23rd a bit late, around 11:00 hours as people from ILUG-C hadn’t come and we just had couple of distros. with us.
Kenneth threw open the workshop with few comments and stuff
Then Padmanathan started the day telling them somethings about the difference between MS-Windows and GNU/Linux
He also started installing one of the GNU/Linux distros called Mandriva and gave tips and guidelines to what to do. All this was done in Telegu/Tamil and because I don’t understand neither of the languages had to let it go. The only good thing was there were few English words and hence could catch some drift of what was going on.
We broke for lunch and started the afternoon session.
In the afternoon session Bharati Subramaniam and Ravi Jaya both had arrived from Chennai.
Bharati was the hero of the show as he went into great detail as to why one would possibly need say /usr or /tmp or /proc or /etc . He also shared that while Windows needs a primary partition to function most of the GNU/Linux distros happily live in extended logical partitions. Bharati and Ravi both also shared how to stop unwanted services as well as different tools which are available for everyday use. I did chime in from time to time sharing about an application or two.
The only issue we had was that there was no broadband router or things so many things like installing codecs and stuff like that couldn’t be done.
Next I did an installation on one of the machines using Ubuntu. I did the most simplest install just using / and swap .
We rounded off the day by doing a Q & A session with the participants.
Day 2 also started a bit late. Partially perhaps because it was chilly and partially perhaps people are somewhat laid-back . Can’t really complain as that gave me somewhat more time to enjoy the nature around me 😉
We started the day with a 1 min. silence for some of the hardware dealers who had died on the 1st day who were going to some other place. Bharati and Ravi did a round-up of yesterday’s activities and then Ravi took over the dias and explained about almost all the directories and what they contain. We also enjoyed the Big Buck Bunny movie which played on Ravi’s laptop ( a sexy little number running Debian lenny )
Somewhere near here we took a lunch break.
Then we came back and Bharati showed people how to do PPPOE (virtually) as well as do dial-up connectivity using Tata/Reliance dongle (don’t remember which one it was) . He also shared about how to set up printers (the great daddy of all, CUPS) . Then Jaya went and wrote a simple “Hello World” application and showed the power of the LAMP stack.
The guys had to leave at something around 18:30 for a bus to Chennai and me and Padmanathan shared few of the CLI commands . I also shared with them a bit about the tools or projects concerning education and gaming (both big passions of mine )
The positives of the workshop :-
1. All of the participants were very much enthused about the workshop and came for the both days.
2. We were able to avoid the regular GNU/Linux vs MS-Windows or KDE vs GNOME or LILO vs GRUB or any of the two dozen odd flamewars we do go in any given day. ( Of course GNU/Linux, GNOME and GRUB rule)
3. There was enough of a variety of distros for people to play with.
Things for improvement :-
1. Don’t assume anything. Right from having distributions to choices in distributions.
2. Make sure the faculty arrives the day before so they have an idea of place and things like that. So they are able to do any changes which make them perform better.
3. As far as possible make sure that people use a common language (Hint:English) so everybody can join in.
4. The topics were just too many and each topic in itself is vast. Perhaps cut down on the number of topics so people can elaborate on some of the topics. There were just soo many things which were left unsaid.
5. At the end of the day we didn’t give them any homework to do. We should have given them atleast work as in installing the OS on one of the systems or something like that and seek feedback on the same.
6. For some participants the workshop felt too advanced although nothing could have been done as there was a heterogeneous mix of hardware vendors, computer education classes and internet browsing centres. A more homogeneous group would have better.
All in all had great fun, enjoyed myself thoroughly and given a chance again would again love to be in Ooty sharing whatever little I know 😉
Acryonyms used :-
CLI :- Command-Line Interface or Command-Line Interaction. Look up CLI
Distros. or Distributions :- It should actually be GNU/Linux distributions. Look up GNU/Linux distributions
FOSS :- Free and Open Source Software . Look up FOSS
ILUG-C :- Chennai Linux user’s group. Look up ILUG-C
KDE :- K Desktop Environment . Look up KDE
GNOME :- GNU Network Object Model Environment . Look up GNOME
That’s all for now from me , Feedback is highly appreciated.
Update :- Apparently one of the participants Mr. Kannan who owns an computer training center at a place called Konnor/Connor has GNU/Linux Ubuntu installed on 3 PC’s in his center. This was done 2 days after the workshop was officially closed.