GSoC Meetup : Jamia Millia Islamia Faculty of Engineering

It all began abruptly, when Akif Khan ( a prospective student ) asked me to discuss my GSoC experiences at his college. The idea instigated quickly instigated me as I longed to visit a College Campus and meet real open source people after a long time, so I agreed without giving a second thought, we decided that we will meet up on Saturday at Faculty of Eng, Jamia Millia Islamia.

I reached Jamia Millia at time and was pleased to find an enthusiastic culture of open source led by the students over there. Lots of students from other colleges were a part of the meetup too. A few things that I noted my experience there are as follows :

  1. Students were enthusiastic and really wanted to contribute to open source. Since most of them were fresh(wo)men, they were enthusiastic about the GSoC experience and how it could help them.
  2. Discussion how to select a project, write a proposal and how to communicate with the organizations was taken up.

One of the most enthusiastic things that I heard was “I really want to do it, despite of getting through GSoC” which is pretty much any open source organization wants. Hopefully, we have more students who think like this and even more who turn their thoughts into action. Overall, it was an excellent talk with a bunch of enthusiastic people :).

There were a lot of interesting questions asked, one of them being was “How do I start contributing to it?” . Recently, I had one of the more interesting reads on quora which gives a answer to the question https://www.quora.com/Software-Engineering/Which-open-source-projects-are-actively-looking-for-contributors in a very succint way.

IMAG1549 IMAG1533 IMAG1544 GSoC - Meetup JMFEC

[My Klogs] Identifying devices by minor number when a char device is registered to the same file operations

Recently, while I was writing a dummy character devices, one of my friends asked me this question “If I register a character device to the same major number, is it possible for me to identify the major number and minor of the node during file_operations”. After researching a bit, I saw a solution to it.  I could do it using the dentry structure in struct file. For reference I will paste the code here :

struct dentry * dentry = f->f_path.dentry;
struct inode * p_inode = dentry->d_inode;
minor_number = iminor(p_inode);

PS : Please suggest me alternate or better ways and point out any errors if there

Attrocities of Vodafone

I have been a long time Vodafone user but now I have second thoughts about the “SO Called” Best consumer satisfaction offered by the company. I had like this blog post to be retweeted and spread over the social media. Its a wake up call for us consumers.

“Providing best services is a myth and assurances is all that we can give” – That is what Vodafone Preaches.

 Scene 1 : Poor Customer Services 

Anyway on to the story, 2 weeks back I got a recharge of Rs. 249 for a 3G internet connection from Vodafone Store, Vaibhav Khand, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad. Before buying the connection, I had asked the sales representative at the store if I would be able to avail 3G services, she said yes and I happily paid her the money. My happiness was short lived only to find out that I was not getting any promised services. Following that, I contacted Vodafone customer service thrice and every time my call was disconnected by the representative on the other end. Seeing calling vodafone customer service is a fail, disgruntled I tweeted about Vodafone. Surprisingly the result was very fast. The next day I had a call from Nodal Office, Vodafone to reassure me the problem was looked into and he would send a customer representative as per company polices.

Note : During my calls with a customer representative, I was told there was no 3G services available in the vodafone area

Scene2 : Inspection

The Vodafone network inspector arrived on Tuesday to look into the problem. His responses were as follows :

  • Are you able to make a call to another floor from here?
  • There is little connectivity outdoors ( that essentially implies you cannot make proper calls even from the balcony)

Upon asking, will I be able to get 3G services, his response was as follows

  • I cannot comment on that and I have sent the reports already
  •  Vodafone will contact you within 48 hours to let me know the status of the issue.

Patiently I waited and waited and waited, but no avail. I was shocked.

 Scene 3 :  Assurances

I was waiting and I tweeted again asking them about the status of my complaint. Vodafone twitter courteously replied,
“We assure you we are working on to solve the problem”. On asking about a set deadline, “They reassured me that they are working on the issue”

So  assurances was all that I had got from my long time telecom partner.

All this while, I was losing money that I had invested on 3g services and off course the money for 2G services that I had paid earlier leaving me in a”Fuck OFF” situation by vodafone.

What I want from Vodafone?

At the end of the day, I had like Vodafone to refund my money in Cash or Account transfer and not in form of phone balances, so that I can happily say good bye to you.

 

The Lohri Experience

So often have we said or heard that it is from the simplest of things that we derive pleasure from the simplest of things in life. Listening to the birds chirping or the fragrance of the first rain or having a beer with your friends or taking a walk in a windy wintry weather and I can a zillion of more ors to the list. These things at times are so obvious to us that we tend to undermine the importance of these very simple things in our life.

One such experience was the Lohri experience for me. Being a student and staying away from home, I never had time to enjoy a festival. However, back in Delhi NCR the heart of India, I had my chance to celebrate Lohri. A few things that I noticed

  1. Families coming together and meeting each other
  2. Kids playing in the lawn
  3. Meeting the knowns and unknowns and wishing each other
  4. My WARMEST winter experience :)
  5. The beautiful bonfire
  6. The Ladies ;)

These are a few things that are right at the top of my head but then it was an awesome experience to remind me of the old age phrase “In Simplicity Lies Beauty”

Google Code-in Update

For the first half of Google Code-in, we have more than 94 tasks for the students. Already over 53 have been done and around 12 are work in progress. By the end of the first phase, I really hope to see all these tasks done. Some of the most interesting tasks that have been done by our students are
1. Design of openSUSE Magazine ( This can be used for attracting sponsors and is a work in progress )
2. Porting Bento Theme to Tumblr ( http://safe.tumblr.com/theme/preview/33069# )
3. Several Tutorial Videos
4. Loads and Loads of Translation tasks specially in Romanian, Turkish and Greek.
5. Concept artworks for our wallpapers. login screen etc.
6.  Cleaning up our wiki
7. Lots of testing done for GNOME3 specially

These are things that we have done already and during the process I have come to meet lots of interesting people during the whole process. All in all GCI is a fun thing and I again call everyone to become a mentor or help us in suggesting tasks for GCI as this is very much required to get the program running. So if you have something interesting in mind and if you want to get something done but do not have enough time to work or if you want to interact with some of the most brilliant kids around the world, its time for you to sign up as a mentor. Every little bit of help is appreciated.

If you have a task in mind and do not have a lot of time, please add it as a comment below.
If you want to mentor, its the most awesome thing and we will have more helping hands please register at http://www.google-melange.com/gci/profile/mentor/google/gci2011 and mail your user id at manugupt1[at]opensuse[dot]org so that I can invite you.

Google Code-in and openSUSE

After Google Summer Of Code 2011, openSUSE plans to participate in Google Code-in. It is an excellent opportunity for openSUSE to meet young talents and introduce them to the ways of open source.

What is Google Code-in?
It is a contest hosted by Google for pre university students every year  where they are encouraged to participate in open source projects and are awarded cash prizes for their contributions from Google. Various open source organizations participate in it and mentors from every organizations help these students to get up to speed and advice them on how to complete the challenge. The contest period is from November 21st to January 16th 2012

What are tasks?
Every open source organization has a lot of cool ideas in mind and likewise every member of the community has some ideas in his minds. These ideas are collated and put together and are categorized into three levels of difficulty – Easy, Medium and Difficult. Students are rewarded points as to what task they complete.

Deciding the tasks
The mentors decide the task, off -course community can suggest but at the end of the day it is the mentor’s discretion on what task they want to work on. Tasks can be anything and for a more accurate description of the tasks  visit here.
Note that not all tasks will be code related, so even a non-technical guy with enough experience with other skills can participate in Google Code-in as mentors. Tasks can range from Documentation to translation, artwork to marketing and off course what is a code-in without code related tasks like code refracting, testing, finding and squashing bugs and a lot more things.

Preps for Code-in
openSUSE has already started preparations vigorously and is already coming up with a list of tasks and is looking for mentors. While lots of us have already signed, we are looking for lots more to sign up as mentors and see more interesting tasks ahead.
More information can be found at en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:GCI
and http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:GCI_Tasks

Along with the above 2 links, make sure to have a look at http://google-melange.com/

Thanks to Jos for reminding the links do not work

openSUSE & India

Well recently we had a huge discussions at the conference about how openSUSE was faring in India and it seemed that India was not faring well. I must say it seemed. So I think I must reput everything what we have done from last December so that we all know that we are doind saw g well despite of the huge geographical differences we have in India itself.

FOSS.in
This was the first time I met a lot of other openSUSE people like Bharath Acharya, Akhil Ladha, Vibha Yadav, Punit Jain, Suresh Jayaram ( we met agian at oSC 11 and we did not recognize each other while at oSC 11) and saw a very vibrant community of openSUSE.

KDE Conf
Here also the amazing team from Bangalore did an excellent job. Will came down to India  and did an excellent job. Here we found Akash who was already doing an excellent job in promoting openSUSE and sadly we did not know about him.

GNOME Asia
This was the time when I had the chance to meet Vincent and Sankar P. Both of whom I wanted to meet for a long time specially Sankar at that time who has helped me a lot while in openSUSE. Yes the rest of the crew, Bharath, Akhil who were organizing the whole event along with Punit, Sridhar and Vibha and if I guess correctly srags ( his irc nick ) were there too. A whole new number of faces like our star from KDE Conf Akash and also Vikash who helped a lot at the openSUSE booth were present during the conference. We distributed a whole bunch of gnome and openSUSE dvds and at the end of the day we had to do with SLES since we had no more of openSUSE. It was great. Forgetting Max , oh how could I do that.. He had come all the way down from Taiwan to India to attend the conference.

PyCON India
Well, Saurabh Sood he is one of the best friends I have found in the community. He studies at the same place where I do. He could not get into GSoC sadly his application was rejected but he continued to work on the project he applied for. This goes on to show how in our community passion and people matter such a lot. He went for it and he got a lightning talk about developing osc plugins without even applying for it at PyCON India

Manipal
Yeah, this is the place where I live and I think this deserves a bit of attention. We have come up with excellent contributors from this place like Prashanth and Saurabh who work tremendously hard to make the openSUSE Project a big success. They really understand the value of people and what makes a community in real.

Gujarat
Jigish Sir, the one man army he is been working a lot with openSUSE Edu-L-i-f-e and is one of the major contributors to the education project uses openSUSE at a lot of places like in schools and universities. Also he is very active on the opensuse-india google group where I believe he is the one of the very few people who provide support to it.

Assam
Neel Kamal Kalita, is a professor at Guwahati ( I dont remember the university sorry Neel ) but has regularly distributed DVDs among his students for a long time. He is aone great guy who I had a chance to meet in person.

Hong Kong
I know it is not in India but still I must mention Koushik Kumar Nundy who is becoming the local ambassador there after he moved to HK from India and is doing a great job there too. Its a lot more difficult for him as he is the only ambassador in Hong Kong

Unknowns
I believe since such a lot was going on in India and no one really had an idea I can presume a bit more of stuff going in other parts of India too.

Thats all folks, I guess by the time I finish it I must add up to say we are not that inactive but we do not like lime light or let others know what we are doing. Pleasemake sure to add a comment to praise these hardworking ambassadors in India.