I would like to thank Prof. Raja Prabhu, Prof.
Bhaskar, Krishnaswamy (EEE), Prasanna (EEE) et. al. of
Crescent Engineering College, Chennai for the
opportunity to conduct a GNU/Linux workshop for their
IEEE Chapter on Saturday, October 22, 2005 at their
The workshop had two sessions:
1. Alliance VLSI CAD Tools with GNU/Linux.
You can check out the simple code examples for VHDL
programming from here:
The session was meant to get students started on VHDL
and on introducing them to Alliance VLSI CAD tools.
2. Embedded GNU/Linux Labs HOWTO:
This presentation is on how to get started on setting
up GNU/Linux labs for embedded, hardware and VLSI.
The presentation is available from:
I'll send the link for the photos after I upload them.
Shakthi Kannan, MS
Software Engineer, Specsoft (Hexaware Technologies)
[E]: cyborg4k(a)yahoo.com [M]: (91) 98407-87007
[W]: http://www.shakthimaan.com [L]: Chennai, India
Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005
I imagine that some of you would be interested in hearing about some of
the speakers who will be coming to FOSS.IN/2005 <http://FOSS.IN/2005>, from
far away shores. :)
So here are a few, and over the next few days, more will be revealed.
Many people have an impact on their chosen field in a singular manner -
typically through a specific project, or a specific direction. It is rare
for someone to be known for two completely different things within the
same field. Our first speaker, however, has managed to do just that.
He is the co-author of what could probably be called "The Bible of Linux
Development", in which he uses his keen knowledge of the Linux kernel and
its design to show people how to develop device drivers. No one in India
would even *think* of trying this without referring to his book, now in
the third edition.
He is also the editor of the world's most respected FOSS publication to be
found online - the one place where *everyone* goes to read unbiased news,
reviews and commentary about the FOSS world.
Our first visiting speaker is Jonathan Corbet, co-author of "Linux Device
Drivers", and editor of LWN.NET <http://LWN.NET>, aka "Linux Weekly News".
Last year, he came to LB/2004, bringing with him not only the development
knowledge of FOSS projects he himself is deeply involved in, but his keen
sense of direction when it comes to enterprise-wide deployment of FOSS
He also brought with him an ocean of experience related to the creation of
events for the community, having himself helped bring to life one of the
most famous of them all.
>From Linux Australia, we have Andrew Cowie.
Targetting the honorary position of "LB veteran", he will be in India for
the THIRD consequitive time, to participate in our event.
His code safeguards millions of networks across the world, and can be
found in virtually every consumer router these days. And when he isn't
writing code, he makes the world a safer place for the GPL, by
relentlessly tracking down and exposing corporations who "don't get it"
when they use GPL'd code without following the rules of the game, and
provided the first precedent of the GPL standing up in court - and
>From Germany comes the chairman of the netfilter/iptables project, and the
man behind GPLviolations.org - Harald Welte.
He was Linux Bangalore's first "star speaker" back in 2001. He is heavily
involved in not just FOSS, but free culture as well. He is the organiser
of one of Europe's most respected FOSS & Free Culture events, and when he
calls, people like Larry Lessig and Eben Moglen heed his call.
He speaks Japanese, German, English and a variety of other languages, but
most importantly speaks Geek as well. He had a knoppix CD before people
knew what that was, and can lie in the sun for hours without getting a tan
or a sunburn.
He is Mr.Wizards-of-OS - Volker Grassmuck.
(watch out for a related announcement)
Everytime you go to the web to access information, you are using
technology that this man has had his eager fingers in. His work is one of
the first instances of a FOSS project almost completely demolishing the
proprietary competition, and is used in a majority of all webservers
across the Internet.
He also is a shining example of how FOSS does not have to mean charity -
as a successful implementor of FOSS technologies in the creation of a a
successful business, he has shown the way to many who aspire to do the
same in the future.
The man behind the Apache project, COLLAB.NET <http://COLLAB.NET>'s Brian
He started off writing something to make it easier to maintain his
personal home pages, and ended up changing the way the world created
He can be blamed for the ANSI92 SQL-defying LIMIT clause in mSQL 1.x which
has now, at least conceptually, crept into both MySQL and PostgreSQL.
He has been to India before, and his fondest memories have been the
complete lack of Internet connectivity at Linux Bangalore/2003. :)
He is Mr.PHP - Rasmus Lerdorf.
When she speaks, people sit up and listen. She was behind the open
sourcing of the project that today gives FOSS a place in every office and
in every home, and is also part of the organisation that decides what's
Open Source, and what is not - literally.
But she is also known as a relentless fighter for the cause of FOSS, and
especially for the smarter half of humanity. She is no stranger to India,
having been here often enough to be treated as a native, and she is a
staunch supporter of India as a future FOSS world power.
The Diva of Open Source - Danese Cooper.
As one of the world's best known bloggers, he has played a vital role in
getting his highly influential organisation to play nice with FOSS. He
loves to dabble with things ranging from Linux servers, databases, to PCs,
gliders and now powered aeroplanes.
He has been here before, and many people treasure the T-Shirts that he
autographed for them. He has the ear of both the hacker and the corporate
world, and spends considerable amount of time telling each world about the
He is Yahoo!'s Jeremy Zawodny.
The world of sound and music is a fascinating one, and there has always
been a deep connection between code-hacking geeks and music. It is,
therefore, hardly surprising that a lot of effort goes into making FOSS
platforms "music compatible" - not just in the playback department, but in
the music creation and recording department.
For many years now, our next speaker has been behind both the
documentation and the actual creation of FOSS-based music software. As a
regular columnist of Linux Journal, as well as a contributor to many
aspects of the field of FOSS based Music creation and recording, many
people use his work every day without even realising it.
The man behind Linux Sound and Audio - Dave Phillips.
Oh, and one more thing....
He is probably one of the most recognisable faces in the FOSS world, and
at the same time one of the most respected names, as well. His
contributions to Linux rank with those of all the greats out there, and
that includes Linus Torvalds.
He has been the official kernel maintainer, and little happens in the
Linux kernel today without him having some say in it.
He is an outspoken critic of the DMCA, and has vowed not to set a foot on
the USA as long as it exists.
He is the king of his castle, and has his wife's permission to say so.
Conferences and events in India have tried for the past half decade to
have him come here, but FOSS.IN/2005 <http://FOSS.IN/2005> is the first one
he has ever agreed
to come to.
He is Alan Cox.
(stay tuned for more in a day or two)
Read the original
"GNU is the system, and Linux is the kernel."
A proud GNU user http://www.gnu.org
Me scribbles at http://www.pravi.co.nr
Heads-up for anyone interested in Free & Open Source Software,
FOSS.IN is here.
FOSS.IN/2005 (the successor to the well known Linux Bangalore
conferences) is from November 29th to December 2nd, at the Bangalore
Palace in Bangalore, India. This is India's biggest FOSS conference.
If you want to know more, check out http://foss.in/2005
Imp: Last day for speaker registration is 8th October 2005, till
midnight IST! So hurry.
FOSS.IN/2005 is a community-oriented event. For it to be successful,
it needs to reach the people who would benefit the most from it, and
help in increasing the tribe of contributors and users of Free & Open
The four day conference intends to bring together the entire cross
section of players in the FOSS scenario - users from different target
communities, technologists, developers, educationists, businesses as
well as policy makers.
The theme for this year's conference is "Conversations". On the FOSS
horizon, there are several efforts that are represented or addressed
across the country. In, parallel, there are various technical
discussions and dialogues that have happened at the earlier
conferences and meetings and are expected to happen at this
At FOSS.IN/2005, the focus would be to catalyze mutually beneficial
interaction between the technologists and technology implementers
(FOSS developers) and the end users, policy makers, educationists and
industry. This focus would be in addition to the intent of enabling
technology knowledge dissemination across the community through talks
The call for participations has been out for quite some time now.
You can see the Call for participation @ http://foss.in/2005/cfp/
A list of possible topics is available at http://foss.in/2005/topics/
If you would like to give a talk, tutorial, do a workshop or
organize a Birds of Feather session, then register it at the
Imp: Last day for speaker registration is 8th October 2005, till
midnight IST! So hurry.
To register as a speaker visit
Giving a talk for first time? Do read do's & don'ts compiled by past
If you are planning to speak or attend (or even if you cant attend
due to reasons beyond your control), you can help getting
the word out in a variety of ways:
eg. talking about it friends, colleagues, clients etc, putting it up
on your blog if are planning to speak or attend, putting up posters
about the event at your school/college/organization etc.
See http://foss.in/2005/promote/ on ways to promote it.
If you are part of a LUG/GLUG/FSUG etc post on your mailing lists
about this event, especially if you stay in south.
Also keep a watch on
where we would be planning for some pre-event activities where we
welcome participation of all FOSS communities. Primary action items
being conducting a web-survey of FOSS usage in India in academic and
business environment. And also on mapping the FOSS movement in
India. More on this in a future mail.
So are you IN?
* Work: http://www.indlinux.org *
* Blog: http://cartoonsoft.com/blog *
Fred is looking for a hardware hacker to fix some problem for a free
wireless infrastructure developement, any one can find a solution?
Write to fred if you need further information, with a cc to me.
----- Forwarded message from Fred Pook <fredpook(a)gmail.com> -----
> Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2005 13:54:33 +0200
> From: Fred Pook <fredpook(a)gmail.com>
> Subject: electronics expert volunteer needed
> To: Arun Mehta <arunlists(a)softhome.net>, nagarjun(a)gnowledge.org
> Hi Arun and Nagarjuna,
> How are you today?
> Since we are allowed to use 1 Watt RF output on the 2.4 Ghz frequency in
> India. And most Wi-Fi consumer products that we are using only output about
> 80mW, I went on a search for a low-cost RF amplifier. I found:
> chosen by broadcom (the producer of the chipset used in WRT54G and Asus) as
> the basis of an 2.4Ghz amplifier. So being Dutch and bold I just went on an
> ordered 10 of them here:
> to my surprise they arrived with no problem.
> Now this IC is very small 3 X 3mm with 16 tiny surface mounting contacts
> and it needs some supporting capacitors etc all describe in the datasheet
> Do you know any electronics hackers in India who can put this together for
> us? And how to get these tiny little IC's to him?
> To have some extra RF output will make our wireless life a lot easier since
> we don't have to worry to much about cable and plug loss and it can keep the
> design of the antenna much smaller and lower-cost. Now higher output doesn't
> solve every problem on long range Wi-Fi connections (fresnel zone clearance
> is the big one) but it did wonders for the Djursland project after they got
> 1Watt 802.11a equipment.
> OK, so much for now,
> hope to see you soon,
----- End forwarded message -----
-------- Forwarded Message --------
From: Sunil Abraham <sunil(a)mahiti.org>
To: asiasource-l <asiasource-l(a)lists.tacticaltech.org>
Subject: [Asiasource-l] Dine in geek heaven with Dyne:bolicII
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 18:04:24 +0530
Some exciting news from Jaromil.
Dine in geek heaven with Dyne:bolicII
Multimedia producers and artists will have the power to fully customise
their own tailored GNU/Linux environment on a bootable CD with the
release of Dyne:bolicII by the end of the year.
That is the aim of core developer, Jaromil, who says the new system will
give users unprecedented flexibility and control.
Aimed at multimedia producers, artists, activists, and content creators,
the Dyne:bolic multimedia platform on a bootable CD offers a vast range
of software for multimedia production, streaming, 3-D modelling, photo
editing, Web browsing and publishing, peer-to-peer file sharing, and
It also includes games and a world navigator. Dyne:bolic is capable of
automatic clustering - joining the CPU power between any other
Dyne:bolic on the local network.
It can recognise a variety of hardware devices (sound, video, FireWire,
and USB) and works on several types of machines from Windows through to
"modded" Xbox consoles.
Jaromil says the main addition to version two, currently in beta, is
that it will include all the compiler tools required in order to modify
"So far live meant demo, now live really means live, so you'll be able
to adapt your own version of the live CD wherever you want," he said.
"You can boot a RW CD, copy a directory on the hard disk, modify its
contents and burn it back, without repartitioning anything, to have a
Dyne:II system customised for your needs. You can install things from
almost any available binary packages (deb, rpm, tgz), plus with new
systems like Zero Install and Autopackage."
Dyne:bolicII will also have additional modules that you can drop into a
directory before booting, with collections of more software not included
in the core. Other changes include increased security for user
interaction, the ability to write modifications in the "usr", advanced
thin client functionality and modular design to be easily combined with
"It's also faster than the previous version, taking full advantage of
most recent developments in desktop technology for GNU/Linux," said
There are many differences between Dyne:bolic and distros like Ubuntu
and SuSE, according to Jaromil.
"The differences exist from the ergonomic design, to the focus on
providing a desktop environment, to the special dyne functionalities of
docking and nesting which lets you run the system from the hard disk and
have your data stored without the need to repartition anything," he
Other differences, he said, included all scripts being rewritten from
scratch, hardware recognition is not the same and there are no big
frameworks like Gnome or KDE being used.
"They consume too many resources for a desktop that runs on a Pentium 1
with 64MB of RAM," said Jaromil.
"In fact one of the focuses I kept with dyne is keeping requirements
low. I think this is an important ecological issue, by looking at the
quantity of hardware waste produced nowadays and the consumerist rush
that is pushing it."
Other than occasional small donations, Dyne:bolic is not yet funded, but
by the end of the year, Dyne.org will be registered as an official
foundation valid in Europe.
"[Though we are] starting with no money, we have a lot of ideas and
software that works already, so we might find a good sustainable
situation," said Jaromil.
"But it's way better to have people liking your activity, knowing your
story, than to be a billionaire donating more cash than you can spend to
make a branded product out of your software."
Avid Linux user Tom Russell, who has written a generic version on
customising Dyne 1.4, said the new version of Dyne was "geek heaven" and
definitely worth downloading.
To use a stable version of Dyne:bolic go here: www.dynebolic.org. To get
involved in the beta of Dyne:bolicII go here: http://dev.dynebolic.org
Alternatively, for something different, going to Russell's How To page
explains how to http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/feature/14628.html
customise Dyne 1.4 to run his 'SCOOL application from a bootable CD.
"I had to rewrite 'SCOOL a bit to suit the squash module approach," he
said. "This actually only involved changing some shell script variable
assignments and changing the Runtime Revolution transcript for the same
reason, as it originally resided in $HOME. Now it can support multiple
users on the same system, which is a much better approach."
>Would beautiful hard bound books and cool looking CD's compensate for good course contents.
>I would rate the Shiksha Abhiyan by MS -10 on a scale of 1 to 10
As on date we are aware that most (80%) of the world's critical software(s) are being developed in a free and open source environment which is showing a steady upward trend. This is also a site where everyone can contribute and participate, nowhere restricted. Microsoft, however prefers to stick to the techniques deployed by the weakening 20%, often abusing the legal (through patents, restrictive copyrights) and political framework (through tie-ups with governments) to assist its functioning. This is sure a serious attempt to take the present and future technologists and their service-users to an intellectually dark stone-age.
In any ethical dimension, its evident that faced with a choice, embracing the one where many can participate, would be very obvious, because of the non-antagonising face that it shows. On this account, Microsoft comes a total cropper. The existing presence of Microsoft is largely due to the unholy nexus with bureaucracy, which will soon have a natural death, because of the immense challenge that the corporate throws at the Indian school-teaching community, which is by far the best in this world. Shiksha Abhiyan, a gloomy project, thus is doomed to darkness, where the contribution of Microsoft will indeed be 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Would you believe this? FN
-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: [FSFE PR][EN] Early comment on new
Microsoft Shared Source Licenses
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 13:44:07 -0200
[for immediate release]
FSFE: Early comment on new Microsoft Shared Source Licenses
"Since we so rarely have opportunity to say something positive about
Microsoft, let me begin by congratulating them", says Georg Greve,
president of Free Software Foundation Europe. "Microsoft finally seems
to have made a step forward on their long march towards giving their
users freedom: of the five licenses published, our cursory first
analysis suggests that two of them indeed fulfill the Free Software
According to FSFEs first glance, the "Microsoft Permissive License"
(Ms-PL) and "Microsoft Community License" (Ms-CL) both appear to
satisfy the four freedoms that define Free Software. In particular:
The Ms-CL also appears to implement a variation of the Copyleft idea,
which was first implemented by the GNU General Public License (GPL).
Given previous Microsoft statements about the Copyleft approach and in
particular the GNU GPL as 'viral', 'cancerous' and 'communist', seeing
Microsoft now publish licenses applying the very same principles seems
quite an evolution.
Naturally, it is not the publication of licenses, but the publication
of software under a Free Software license, that gives people freedom:
It is indeed not very useful if every company, administration or
author publishes their own license; so it would have been preferrable
if Microsoft had made the decision to use the GNU General Public
License (GPL) and Lesser General Public License (LGPL) for its Shared
Far more than 50% of Free Software worldwide is published under these
licenses, they are very well-known and people trust them for good
"Microsoft has walked a mile and is now standing mere inches from the
GNU (L)GPL: We fully understand that Microsoft is first trying to get
the nail of its little toe wet in the Free Software community, and we
welcome that," continues Greve. "But in the course of time we would
prefer to see Microsoft join the large global community of commercial
GNU (L)GPL vendors."
"For now it will be good if Microsoft starts relicensing its portfolio
under the Ms-PL or Ms-CL; but we still have to warn people to be
careful about the 'Shared Source' label and look at the specific
licenses: The other three licenses of the Shared Source program are
clearly proprietary and obviously do not qualify as Free Software."
The Free Software Foundations will need more time to study all these
licenses and their interactions with other licenses in depth, so this
is not a final evaluation -- and the final evaluation may as well
reveal problems that were not visible at first sight.
Microsoft still has a long way to go, but for now it seems they made a
step in the right direction, and the Free Software Foundation Europe
hopes they will keep it up.
About the Free Software Foundation Europe:
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), founded 2001, is a
charitable non-governmental organisation dedicated to all aspects of
Free Software in Europe. Access to software determines who may
participate in a digital society. The the Freedoms to use, copy,
modify and redistribute software - as described in the Free Software
definition - allow equal participation in the information
age. Creating awareness for these issues, securing Free Software
politically and legally, and giving people Freedom by supporting
development of Free Software are central issues of the FSFE.
Further information about FSFE's work can be found at
http://fsfeurope.org, get active yourself at
Press-release mailing list
October 16, 2005
Sahana and Pakistan
Chamindra and Bud left a few hours ago for Pakistan - they are probably
in Karachi by now. Over the weekend we worked out what was suitable to
be recommended for use in Pakistan from the old Sahana project; see
http://www.linux.lk/~chamindra/docs/Sahana-Pakistan.pdf for details.
We're being careful not to over-promise anything.
Thanks to Ajith Ranabahu, one of the folks who did a lot of work on the
Java parts of Sahana I, Eran Chinthaka, and Sudheera Fernando, one of
the developers of Sahana II as well as Chamindra and Bud of course, for
pulling a marathon weekend effort to get it all ready to go. In the last
second, we had apparently screwed something up while copying it over to
the notebook that was going .. luckily Ajith (who was on his way to his
hometown Kuliyapitiya to spend the now half-spent long weekend by then)
managed to pull over to the side and found the problem!
If they decide to use it we have to pull together a quick volunteer
effort to localize it a bit more and to harden a few weak spots. I don't
expect we'll have any difficulty finding folks to help!
Yesterday for the first time I had a glimpse at Sahana II. Wow, that's
looking really solid .. its too bad its not ready yet! However, the data
can be migrated from the old version. As soon as Sahana II comes a bit
more of age we'll host it on a public place for people to play with it.
* Posted on: Sun, Oct 16 2005 11:56 PM
October 13, 2005
Sahana and Pakistan
Some of you may recall the disaster management system called Sahana we
started building immediately after the tsunami. As I have blogged
earlier taht is currently being re-done to be a totally globally
reusable disaster management system.
As everyone knows Pakistan is currently suffering from a disaster that
is probably not second to the tsunami in terms of human impact. I cannot
begin to imagine how painful it must be for those people. My heart goes
out to them.
We've been asked by a couple of groups in Pakistan to come over and try
to help get Sahana deployed and going to assist in their response. I'm
proud to say that Chamindra de Silva and Bud Siddhisena have agreed to
go and see what they can do! They're heading off ASAP and hope to be
back in a week or so.
However, I have to note that unlike many people who tried to push
imaginery software on us during the tsunami, we are not going to push
very hard, even though Sahana can be really helpful to them. Hoever, if
they don't want to bite we will back off!
Good luck to Chamindra and Bud; safe travels!
Pakistan meets Sahana
We managed to catch an early flight at 5AM as opposed to the originally
booked 7AM one and make it to the hotel early on. Though we made it to
the hotel earlier, Murphy would have us wait for about another hour
before we could see the rooms. Nevertheless after seeing the 60 inch
plasma TV equipped with 70 odd cable channels, there weren't any hard
feelings. The room at the Marriott is very nice and relaxing to be in.
After a very short nap, we were escorted to the IBM office, where we met
a lot of new faces. Chamindra presented the current Sahana system and I
showed a working demo off one of the notebooks we brought with us. As
soon as that meeting was over, we all rushed over to the Priminister's
secretariat, which is a massive palace like building just a few meter's
off IBM headquarters.
There were several high ranked Army officers to whom we (IBM/LSF) demoed
the system and offered other templates and consultancy services Our
presentation was taken quite positively by the officials, and they even
offered to take the two leading guys from the Emergency Crisis Team on a
chopper to see the disaster area.
Later in the evening, quite happy with the day's progress, Asif who is
one of the IBMers, took us out to Pizza Hut to initiate eating after
fasting all day. We took the special "All you can eat" offer that's
happening these days due to the Ramadan season. I must say the quality
of the Pizza was better when compared to what you get in Sri Lanka.
The day ended with some coffee and chitchat at a prominent Minister's
residence about the current situation. There seems to be a lot of
expectations from everyone to get the system operational ASAP. Hopefully
all the elements will come together in the coming days.
posted by Bud at 11:31 PM 0 comments
Blogging from Pakistan
I've just arrived at the Pakistan airport in Karachi, trying to kill
some time till the next flight at 7AM. Even though my search for
wireless networks through kismet came up with 2 unknown essid's that
seem to be unencrypted, I wasn't about to go any further with trying to
hack into it just so I can get this blog out on time.
My self and Chamindra are in Pakistan on our way to Islamabad to help
with the disaster efforts as a result of the Earth quake strike last
week. No so much so by picking up shawals or buckets but by what we know
best - Free & Opensource software.
I only got to know about our need for the visit on Thursday, when IBM
requested us to join their Emergency Crisis Management Team. If your
wondering why us, then the simple answer is, for building the Sahana
system in a very short time when the Tsunami hit. Unfortunately as we
built it very quickly, within a week or so, its far from perfect when it
comes to implementing for a world wide disaster solution.
The good news is Sahana phase 2 is in full swing, and is being built by
LSF as a generic system that can be use for just about any disaster.
Unfotunately the new system is about 2-3 months away from being
realized. That's where I come in -- as an architect (literally) of the
old system :)
Our mission is to demonstrate the system as a proposition to managing
the current crisis in the hope that it can ease some of the chaos and
disorder usually found in such a situation.
Enough said about Sahana, my trip here was quite a company. Murphy
seemed to have joined us along the way, following us secretly and
popping up from time to time. From the setting up of the demo till the
last minute to me loosing the ticket coupons while filling the
embarkation to the tatty flight that a 1 hour stop over in Mumbai after
circling the sky for about 20 minutes due to traffic! If that wasn't
dizzy enough, we were forced to stay in the plane, while a cleaning crew
tore plane apart. Which brings us to the present, sitting and blogging
in an empty airport with another 5 hours to go.
Well I just bought a book -- "The beautiful Mind", and if its anything
like the movie then I'd guess it would be a real treat.
Things can only get better....
posted by Bud at 2:30 AM 0 comments