Friday, 28 November 2014

Thanks to SSR...

            First of all, thanks to SSR Project. You may be wondering what is SSR. SSR stands for Student Social Responsibility Project conducted by our college for all third year Engineering students. We can undertake any project that is socially challenging or beneficial. We were divided into teams of six. The first idea that clicked our brain was RCC visit at Trivandrum. We were so excited to move with that idea. Next day we contacted the RCC authorities. But BAD LUCK… They are not encouraging any outsiders due to infection threat to the patients. We had to drop our project . Then the next one…. Visiting Vimala Hridaya, school for mentally challenged children. We ran up and down the college for all the formalities and permissions. Finally we were all set by one evening. But again bad luck. That project was chosen by another team. Again disappointment… Then complete silence for a few days….
Then we came up with new more ideas. We wanted to do something that will stay in future in the name of our project. That’s how we thought of Self Defense for girls, Organic Gardening and Computer Skills for students. We wrapped these ideas into one project… TOGETHER TOWARDS A BETTER FUTURE.
As usual, we started up with a group discussion. We divided our project into three parts
Nirbhaya - Self defense class for girls
Swasth - Organic gardening
Aastha - Computer skills for students

 Here our journey starts….     
First step was to get a lady who is trained in martial arts. We came to know about one from our seniors. We ran to ashram(Mata Amritanandamayi Math) to meet her.. Again the luck factor plays the role. She went to Australia, her home town. Again disappointment. But, the people in International office gave us a ray of hope. They said that there is another lady who is trained in martial arts. They took our phone number telling that they will ask her to contact us. But, still the hope was too far… We waited for next two days for a phone ring… But nothing happened. Suddenly after some days we got a call. It was her, calling us asking to meet her. The very next day, we ran to ashram with all the hopes fulfilled. But when we saw her, we were hmmmmm. She is pretty old. Her name is Ms. Nirupama. She told us that she is no longer practicing and it would be hard for her to take a workshop. But we didn't give up. At last we got a YES from her. That was great a response. We are again in ON mode.
Things became more easy after meeting her. When we told her about the other two ideas, she took us to the organic garden there in ashram and we were directed to the organic farm near the ashram beach. But we couldn't meet the concerned person over there. We were asked to come on next day. Again next day… We went there and waited around 3 hours. Finally we met Gurudas swami who is in charge of Organic farming in ashram and he provided us with some vegetable seeds and saplings. Thus the day 13th November was fixed for the project and everything was done.

On 13th November 2014
By 8:30 am we reached ashram to pick Nirupama Ma’am. She was all set. We hired an auto to Thazhava higher secondary school. By 9:45 we reached the school. We could see many innocent faces looking at us amazingly. Something that took me to my past was the sight of teachers caning the students for silly reasons. It took sometime for us to get back from our childhood days. We spoke to the principal and we had to wait till 10:30 to start our session.
By 10:30 am, IXth standard students lined up and came to the library. Library was the spot allotted to us to conduct our session. All were very enthusiastic to know what is going to happen. We introduced ourselves and Nirupama Ma’am to them. It started with a warm up. She taught the basic methods of defending, when they are attacked from behind, front and various other directions. We ourself became trainers to them repeating what she does. It lasted for two hours.They were very eager to learn more. We had a great satisfaction when we saw their interest. They really didn’t want to leave Nirupama Ma’am. They hugged and kissed her. The session got over by 12:30 pm. Then it was time for lunch. School authorities had arranged lunch for us. After lunch, Nirupama Ma'am returned to ashram.

Then we had Organic farming where we took a session for Viith and VIIIth standard students. We were amazed to see their interest. More than us, they shared the knowledge and experieces. We talked about chemical pesticides and the future of mankind if we continue using chemicals in food. We also discussed about why Organic farming is important. We then distributed organic seeds, saplings and compost which we collected from ashram to the students. They promised that they will surely take care of the plants.
The next agenda was Computer Skills for IXth standard students. Due to time limit, we had to stop it in one hour. We taught them basic Linux commands and how to use Linux and its features. We also talked about Cyber crimes and security.
And, thus our project came to an end. We had a great time with students. Thanks for the students who corporated with us. We understood that they enjoyed it a lot and they need more programs from us. We got a very good feedback from the students and teachers. More than a project, it was an awesome learning experience.
A great thanks to our college CIR(Corporate and Industrial Relations) and the faculty members for giving us a Social Responsibility project to learn from experiences. Though we had hurdles in the beginning, everything went well with god's grace. Now, when we think of the difficulties we had, its a great joy to cherish. Once again I would like to quote “Experience is the best teacher”.

Friday, 21 November 2014

GNU General Public License

                     GNU General Public License is the widely used license for free software which ensures the users the right to study, copy, alter and share the softwares. Softwares that acquires these rights are called Free software. This License is first released by Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation(FSF) for GNU Project in 1989. This license is based on the copyleft principle. i.e, the chain of users involved should distribute their work or modifications that he/she has done to the software under the same license. It is the first copyleft license for general use.
                   The GPL accounted for nearly 65% of the 43,442 free softwares projects listed on Freecode as of August 2007 and about 68% of the projects listed on by January 2006. Most widely used free software that are licensed under GPL includes Linux Kernel and GNU Compiler Collection(GCC). There are also some dual licensed free softwares like MySQL in which one being the GPL.
                  On 29 June 2007, the third new version of the license(GNU GPLv3) was released to solve the issues that GNU GPLv2 had. To keep the GPL updated, developers has the option to choose “any later version” clause. This is to choose between the original terms or terms imposed by the new version imposed by FSF. For example Linux Kernel is under GPLv2 without “any later version” clause.
Now let's see the different versions of the GPL
Version 1
                 The first version of GPL was released on 25th February 1989. It was mainly published to prevent the restrictions that violated the definition of the Free software. The first problem that GPL solved is that, the distributors were asked to produce the human readable form of the source code along with the binaries under the same licensing conditions.
The second problem was that vendors imposed additional restrictions to the license and combined softwares with other which had other restriction on its distribution. To avoid this GPLv1 said that altered or modified software as a whole has to be distributed under same conditions.
Version 2
               According to Stallman, the prominent change in GPLv2 was “Liberty or Death”. It states that, restrictions that prevent him or her from distributing GPL licensed software in a way that respects other users' freedom, he or she cannot distribute it at all.
Version 3
           GPLv3 was released on 29th June 2009 by Richard Stallman with legal counsel from Eben Moglen and the Software Freedom Law Center.
The major changes in GPLv3 are in relation to free software, software patents, “source code” definition and hardware restrictions on software modification. GPLv3 improves compatibility with several open source software licenses such as Apache License, version 2.0.
It was a long journey when they finally published the third version GPLv3 on 29th June 2009.