FStival ’07@TCE

GNU/Linux User Group Of TCE( GLUGOT) and GNU/Linux User Group of Madurai (GLUG-Madurai) are organising FStival ’07, the Free Software Festival at Thaigarajar College of Engg. Madurai on September 15th, Saturday. This is the fourth time the event is being conducted and it has always been successful. We hope to have a similar success this year as well.

FStival is celebrated as a part of the international event, the Software Freedom Day. The main objective of the event is to promote free software and propagate its advantages over other proprietary software. In our college, for FStival, we organise various demo stalls where various free software tools will be explained by students. We will also have an installation demo at the auditorium.

This year, we have intended to have stalls for Emacs and Vi, LaTeX, Gtk/Glade, Binutils, GCC, LAMP, Databases, CMS, Office, GIMP, Blender, Games in GNU/Linux etc. as usual and some new stalls like IDEs( Bluefish, KDevelop), Linux in day-to-day, Linux commands, GNU/Linux in industries etc. We will also have a stall on Beryl, a very attractive window manager. To popularise the concept of Live CD, we have a stall on Live CD. We may have a stall on GNU/Linux in industries and one on GNU/Linux history and propaganda.

TCE powered by a SAN, NAS and itanium machines — #1

A great unforgettable weekend pased by. From Friday morning to Monday evening, we had a beautiful, tech-packed weekend. As per the schedule, Joe and Sen came to the college on Friday for a 4 day visit. The first day had 2 sessions on FOSS to inspire the juniors at TCE. Then, for the remaining three days, it was all in the server rooms of TCE, upgrading, configuring and giving life to the servers.

Continue reading “TCE powered by a SAN, NAS and itanium machines — #1”

Mr.Angelo Rajadurai on ZFS and DTrace

Hello folks, some tech stuff again. This time from Solaris community. Mr. Angelo Rajadurai, Alumni TCE, and presently an employee at SUN Microsystems, Santa Clara, USA, visited the TCE campus on 29th and 30th July. He had the alumni meet on 29th and 30th, He dedicated it to the college and student community. He has been with the Sun Microsystems for the past 14 years and has a very rich experience in solaris tools. So he gave a beautiful talkspread accross 2 sessions on ZFS and DTrace. Continue reading “Mr.Angelo Rajadurai on ZFS and DTrace”

Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 released :)

       Hello folks, back to bloging after a long time. Exams kept me away from this great activity. But now, news to celebrate.. Debian GNu/Linux 4.0 has been released. Or in other words, Debian “etch” has been released after 21 months of development. Debain claims to support 11 architecures and seems have over 18000 installable packages.

Latest versions of all popular software packages such as the K Desktop Environment 3.5.5a (KDE), an updated version of the GNOME desktop environment 2.14, the Xfce 4.4 desktop environment, the GNUstep desktop 5.2, X.Org 7.1, OpenOffice.org 2.0.4a, GIMP 2.2.13, Iceweasel (Mozilla Firefox, Icedove (Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5), Iceape (Mozilla Seamonkey 1.0.8), PostgreSQL 8.1.8, MySQL 5.0.32, GNU Compiler Collection 4.1.1, Linux kernel version 2.6.18, Apache 2.2.3, Samba 3.0.24, Python 2.4.4 and 2.5, Perl 5.8.8, PHP 4.4.4 and 5.2.0, Asterisk 1.2.13 are also available.

The default desktop is GNOME and is available in the first CD. For the first time, a graphical front end will be used for the installation process. Also, for upgradation processes, the full file will not be downloaded. Onle the diff between the 2 versions will be downloaded and patched.

For more info, please visit Debian’s hompage

Looking Glass, JXTA and what not…

        Hello folks. Back again with more info on great products from Sun Microsystems. This morning I logged into my windows OS after a long time, actually by mistake. And since it had started booting, i was too lazy to stop and reboot. So i decided to work using XP itself. Knowing that nothing worth can be done using XP, i was just exploring the contents of a CD that I recently got and was really happy to find a copy of Looking Glass, a project from Sun,  in that CD. I had learnt about that project just a couple of weeks back from my friend.

Looking glass is a software written in Java and comes as a Jar. Actaully, Looking Glass creates a 3D environment and has a few good utilities, including a media player. Had I got a better RAM space, it would have been a greater experience for me. The desktop wallpaper could be changed using an option that shows up as a 3D circle by default. That apart, all appliations open up, work and close with some 3D effects. In short, it has got all that Windows Vista boasts of and that comes free of cost and again it is just an software that can be installed and uninstalled as you please. It is not a whole new OS that is meant only for visual effects( In my opinion, Vista is one such OS – developed for visual effects alone).

Another tool from Sun that I tried out today is the JXTA. Actually, it came bundled with the Looking Glass thing and the Looking Glass has a link to this JXTA from within. JXTA is a new communication tool that connects all sorts of devices like the PDAs, computers, laptops etc. It uses various protocols for doing that. This software, i hope has been coded using Java Swing. It shows a list of peers  with whom we can chat. It also has facilities to join in to groups and to share data or media. But I have not explored this tool fully and so need more time to do that.

Hope i will try other Sun tools as well as because I feel that every tool from sun is really great and that every tool will have its unique application. Moreover, unlike Microsoft, Sun microsystems supports FOSS and hence its code can be accessed by all. This will help in learning languages like Java with which these softwares have been developed.

Sun club inauguration

        Hello folks. It is a memorable day today. The Sun Club(Sun forum) of our college has been inaugurated.The function took place at the K.M auditorium of our college. We were glad that we had booked the K.M audi as the number of students who came for the function exceeded 300. This itself is a grand success. The registration for the Sun Club was also done immediately at the end of function and almost all those who attended the function registered for the club activities.

Now, more about the club and todays’ function. This Club will serve as the point of contact for all activities related to Sun microsystems. The Club was inaugurated by our HOD, Dr.R.Rajaram. He gave an excellent talk on the importance of FOSS based tools and softwares. Then there was a talk on computers in the past and present by the HOD of IT Dr. U.Nirai Chandran.

Then there was a twenty minute presentation by our college’s student ambassador for Sun, Krithika. The presentation highlighted the various products of Sun, the way in which the Club will function and so on. The various activities of the Club include arranging for project interns, arranging seminars, workshops and hands on sessions for the various products from SUN including Open Solaris, Java, NetBeans etc.

We had very good support from  our staff-co-ordinators, Ms Subhatra and Mr.Emil Selvan. They spent a lot of time with us and helped us in organising this event.

The Club’s mailing list can be joined http://mail.tce.edu/mailman/listinfo/sunclub .

These are a few activities that have been planned.

  • Certification Programmes
  • Project Internships
  • Workshops/Seminars/Hands-on sessions
  • Lectures from Sun people
  • Regular classes on great sun tech stuff including OpenSolaris, Java, Netbeans

Sun microsystems…

Hello folks, back with some solaris stuff again, this time with a bit of difference. We had a session on Sun microsystems, its histroy and activities . The session was handled by the Sun’s students’ ambassador for our college, Krithika. The session started with what is Sun microsystems and who started it and when was it started and all that. We learnt that Sun was started by three stanford university guys, Vinodh koshla, Bill Joy, Andreas Bechtolsheim(I got this from the comment made below by one of my seniors) and Scott McNealy. A brief history of activities of Sun were mentioned.

Then the talk moved on to various important Open Source products from Sun microsystems. First, the Netbeans IDE was mentioned and is salient feature discussed. But, personally, I am against the use of IDEs and such stuff. But Netbeans seems to be interesting from the list of features that were displayed. Then we moved on to solaris or rather opensolaris. The whole audience were captured by the words “Solaris is the most powerful Operating System on earth”. A brief history of UNIX development and the contribution of Sun microsystems to that were given. Then the contibution of this mighty company to FOSS was also mentioned.

Various features like predictive self healing, ZFS, SMF, Dtrace were given a brief insight. It was decided that, after the formation of the Sun club, classes will conducted at regular intervals on all these topics and more. Finally, a small demo of dtrace was made to all students batch by batch. The demo was run by very very simple scripts like open system call and read system call. The audience were really interested and were keen to learn more on this. The one of the scripts that was run is
#dtrace -n ‘syscall::read*:entry{printf(“%s”,execname);}’

Using this, mouse movements were detected and the read system call changed from one process to another. It was really cool. Likewise, open system call was also dtraced and the output observed for various activities done.

The one unfortunate thing was that, the projector was not detected by the solaris and hence we had to make the presentations using a Linuxmachine. Hope we sort it out soon and make use of the projector from solaris soon.

A simple c shell…

Hello folks, It was a great fealing for me. The first piece of coding for the YAOS project is done, though it was a utility tool. To put it straight, I wrote a crappy, nasty piece of code for a simple shell and it worked 🙂 . I named it the shell and am now using it. The coding part of it was very very simple. The entire shell was written in just 60 lines of C. It can do all that a simple sh shell can do, except the autocomplete feature.

As for now there are problems in catching and handling interrupts. Hitting a C-c doesnot make anything happen…. But I am working on it now and will implement that soon. But otherwise it has all the features of a perfect GNU shell. I also tested it by making it as the default shell for one of the user accounts in my system…. and it went well….

The problem I face is that I am not good at signal programming and am not sure how to handle the various signals that are possible… like it must logout when C-d is used and so on. Also I dont have the faintest idea of how to imlpement the auto-complete for my shell….. hope i soon learn it…… I would be really happy if I could get help from people who have a good knowledge and experience in this field……..

The Solaris GRUB

Hello folks, Again I will be talking on GRUB terms…. The first thing I noted after installing opensolaris was that, it overwrites the GNU/Linux. I had an older version of Ubuntu running in the drive in which I installed opensolaris, and found to my surprise that the GRUB was overwritten by solaris.

Only then I learnt that the original GRUB from the GNU does not understand UFS or ZFS. The GNU GRB can understand only ext2 or ext3…. So the people from the Sun Microsystems have modified it and have released their own versions of it…

So, inorder to get linux back to working, we need to edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file and give the correct path for the GNU/Linux root….. Or the other way of doing it when linux and solaris are in different drives is, install soalris grub in its drive and install GNU GRUB in the MBR… Then do as follows…

root (hd1,*)

chainloader +1



where * denotes the location of solaris root….. then it will work….

FOSS-2007 @ TCE

The FOSS( Free Open Source Software) 2007 event is going on well at TCE. It was inagurated on the 8th of january and will conclude on the thirteenth. This six day seminar on FOSS is being attended by delegates around the state and this is the first of its kind being conducted here at TCE after I joined this college in 2004( May be this is the first ever time). The agenda included Installation of GNU/Linux (Debain), Programming tools, Networking tools, Debugging tools, Database tools, Web programming, CMS and so on. The resource persons included experts from the FOSS world, fortunately most of them being alumnis.

The first day of the seminar was made a ever-lasting event, as it was handled by Mr. Joe Steeve, a great FOSS enthusiast and GNU/Linux user from Chennai. Mr.Joe Steeve,now working at Terminus Graphics Studio, started with an introduction to FOSS philosophies. Then he gave a brief overview about the various licences in the FOSS world. He also spoke about the two FOSS models of software development- the Bazaar model and the Cathedral model.

The next day, we had Mr. Praveen doing the session on installation. He seems to have shown a demo of the Debian GNU/Linux.Unfortunately, we missed it. The afternoon sessions were lab sessions for the participants andwe had special lectures by the resource persons.

The third day was handled by an emminent person, Mr. Barathi Subramanian, a well known person in most of the GLUGs in india. But that too, unfortunately, we coudl not attend. We were in the midst of our internals 🙁 But then had a chance to meet him and exchanged greetings. He was kind enough to share a lot materials that he had collected and prepared.

The next day of the seminar was the most unforgettable, being handled by Mr. Ananth Shrinivas, an alumni of our college, now working at the SUN microsystems. A great UNIX programmer, Mr.Ananth handled the session on debugging tools and in that process, taught us all a lot about OS internals. Mr.Ananth is usually seen as an extremely brilliant geek and was seen more so as he began his talk on various tools like gdb and valgrind, all available in Linux and could be installed in a Debian system be apt-get install valgrind.

The fifth day, today, was handle by someone with whom I know personally,- Mr.SenthilKumaran from the spikesource. An alumni of our college who finished BE CSE in the year 2006, is well known to most of the third and final year students here. Mr.Senthil Kumaran spoke on DBMS tools and web programming tools. In DBMS tools, he spoke about the 2 major DBMS used in FOSS world, MySQL and PostgresSQL. He also made special mention about small foot-print databases like Apache-Derby and SQLite.