Exhibition on Information Security – 2008 by Kochi City Police – Details

Date: 08 – 09 August 2008
Time : 10 am – 7:30 pm
Venue : Marine Drive, Ernakulam
Stall : 34
Visitors : Approx 80

Event Details

The first day saw only few people visiting the stall, although we were able to provide sufficient information, even with limited resources, as we hadnt planned for the programme on friday. We had an LTSP setup and a hardened GNU/Linux distribution up for the demo.

Several A3 and A4 posters (about Free Software, Open Source and Licenses) including the flex banners adorned the stall.

Mr Joel, who was an old active member, joined us and we planned to talk about security at the user and enterprise level.

The second day had many ILUG members coming in for conducting the programme. We had few machines not picking up because of power distribution problems in the stall. Unfortunately, the LTSP client went down permanently, but the other machines came back.

We had 3 machines, and two laptops displaying GNU/Linux desktops, Applications, Graphics and 3D applications etc., which was more than enough. We also had prepared handouts, leaflets and posters providing information about our activities and free software in general. Although Joel was ready with his tips on security and discussing security issues, we really never had audience asking questions that way. What basically happened was awareness.

We had also sold Debian DVDs and gNewSense CDs. A few DVDs and CDs were given free to students.

Joel had taken part in the “Capture the Flag” contest and again with Raju in the Quiz competition.

Jay Jacob handled a seminar at 2pm talking about free software and security, with a lukewarm response, probably the lack of audience caused this.

The crowd increased by evening, although many of them came to the event as part of their evening marine drive stroll.

There were other people related to ILUG who thronged the venue, making our stall buzzing with action.

The outcome was satisfactory, although we had expected a greater turnout.

But anyway this was the first time probably in India, that the police had organized an IT related event, and considering this it was definitely a success for them.

Congratulations to the Kochi city police for this endeavor and hope this event continues every year and is replicated in other districts and states as well.

Below are some of the photographs taken at the exhibition.

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August 2008 Meeting – Details

Date: 24-08-2008
Time: 2:30pm – 6:30pm
Venue: Internet Club, IInd Floor, AMI Trust Building,
Broadway Enclave, Broadway, Ernakulam
Attendance : 15

The meeting started of late waiting for people to arrive.
The first session was the discussion on the agenda topic.

Agenda : Nurturing Young Minds using the Concept of Free Software

The discussion started with the moderator, giving an idea of what Free Software is and how it has brought about a concept formed on truth and freedom.

Then the discussion went on talking about independent thinking. The significance of independent thinking and the effects of what happens when some entity tries to control your thinking were discussed in the light of several examples, mainly proprietary software. The audience agreed on the fact that independent thinking leads to greater productivity and development.

Also How Self learning and development was achieved with the help of free software community was discussed. The fact that the mind gets involved in a lot of activities and gets into work with a lot of developers and groups will benefit the individual.

Similarly, the aspects of community learning and community development was also discussed.

The discussions slightly drifted from the topic, to discuss how free software has helped create a community around ILUG Cochin over the last 11 years. Since the 11th year was a very important landmark for ILUG Cochin, the points that were being discussed revolved around what was the future activities of ILUG Cochin.

There was the customary introduction, in between.

The discussion concluded with the possible way of attaining the above goals in best and effective manner. The role of a teacher in an educational institution in a school/college is very significant where a child will start learning the very concept of sharing. The attendees also agreed on the importance of teaching ethical values in every field, in the present day were moral and ethical values are deteriorating at home, school and society.Especially in the field of Information Technology and Computer Science, talking about ethical values was very important, especially explaining the concepts of Licenses, patents etc..

The discussions went on till 4:00 pm.

11th year

Kurian had bought a cake for the 11th year, ( venkat bought it last time) and we moved to the cake cutting session. The Plum Cake was tasty and enjoyed by everyone with tea.

GNU/Linux Booting Sequence by Sameer at 4:45pm

The intention of the session, was to help users to troubleshoot their PCs, when the booting issues occur. The simple objective, was to give them an idea at a very high level, and so that, they can atleast point out at what stage the machine has problems.

The sessions started with explaining about the basic PC booting sequence, starting from CPU Reset to control going to the MBR. There were lot of questions in between.

The speaker talked about Boot Loader, MBR,PBR. Since the topic was a bit confusing for new users,there were lot of questions. Once interesting question was how the boot loader could access the hard disk(raw access).

The speaker continued with the explanation of what a kernel is, what are modules and how the kernel loads into memory and what happens next.

The sequence went on smooth, although the attendees got confused and sometimes bored by the underlying technical details, but the presentation got on the right track after few minutes. The booting sequence in user land, was very interesting for several. The final step of a display manager and getty loading was also explained. Once the session had completed, there was a volley of questions many concerning the Initial RamDisk.

The speaker cleared all questions and doubts before winding up the session, although it was almost 6:15pm.

The session was fruitful for many of the attendees who wanted to know about the different levels of booting.

Many questions which were out of scope of the presentation were skipped.

The concluding session saw Jay Jacob, encouraging the audience to start contirubting to FOSS projects, because it was one dark area for ILUG Cochin.

He also asked people working with small hobby Free Software projects to complete them and release them into the community.

In the light of the Free Software related meeting( organized by IT Mission of kerala) attended by JJ, he assured everyone that funds for projects would never be an issue, once the idea was concrete. He also referred to the Governments plan to hold a Free Software International seminar and asked the members to showcase their skills.

The meeting wound up by 6:30pm.

Thanks to Kurian for the cake. Sreenadh for organization.
Thanks to Madhu for the snaps and video.
Thanks to Ajith, Shibin and Nitish for the arrangements.
Thanks to Venkat and Binny for the snaps.

We thank all the attendees for coming and request all to put in their feedback for the meeting on the Mailing List or my email so we can improve future meetings.

Hope the next meeting is bigger and better

Attendees

Aji Aype
Shibin K Reeny
Ajith C
Nitish Kumar
Kevin Sha
Rajagopal V
Fr. V.V. Thomas
K.Ashok Shenoy
Kurian Mathew Thayil
Binny V.A.
Madhu K.K
Sreenadh
G.Venkata Subramahnian
Sameer Mohammed Thahir
Jay Jacob

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April 2008 Meeting – Details

Date : 27/04/2008
Time : 2:30 pm
Location : Jays Internet Club, Broadway, Kochi, Kerala

As usual the meeting started with an introduction to Free Software. The moderator explained the difference between Open Source and Free Software. The significance of the GNU Project was described in detail and a small discussion on the GNU GPL License.

The speaker talked about the importance of explaining freedom concepts at the begining of the meeting. There was the customary self introduction after that.

Agenda : Free Software Compatible Hardware

The moderator initiated the discussion by talking about the significance of the agenda topic. The sesssion started with the discussion on the hardware issues addressed by a user when he starts using Free Software The discussion was intended on how they can be tackled. The speaker explained some aspects regarding drivers and firmware and how a software interacts with hardware with an example on how keyboard interacts with an application software.

Next the question was “What exactly is a free software compatible hardware?”. Free Software COmpatible hardware has open specifications and hence has a free software driver (basically under the GNU GPL ). The speaker talked about the non-availability of device drivers and how the problem needs to be addressed.

The moderator asked the attendees the question of what advantage free software device drivers had. One of the member answered that the driver would be optimized for the device.

The discussion moved on to the dangers of using proprietary device driver. The advantages of releasing device specifications by hardware manufactures was very important as this can improve the device driver and also this can build a healthy competition in the field resulting in the manufacture of high quality devices.

The moderator then described the hardware manufacturing process. Some of the members shared their knowledge with regard to this.

The moderator also explained who can start developing device drivers and the basic skills required to get started. He talked about one person who has developed a driver for his web cam in his 60s. The basic point was that anyone with a sufficient good programming logic and hardware level knowledge can get started with device driver programming.

The emphasis was given on the idea that people need to start writing device drivers.

The discussion moved onto a step by step analysis of howto tackle a compatibility issue. The moderator presented a flowchart. It basically contained a roadmap for a Free Software user to tackle the situtation.

The discussion moved on to talk what needs to be done before buying a new hardware. The important point was to do a small research about the compatibility of the hardware by visiting the Hardware vendor website, forums etc.

The best method would be to run a live cd of a GNU/Linux distribution and find out the hardware compatibility status( very much useful for a laptop ) This would give a good idea of what all issues can be expected. On this One of the attendees shared his experience in configuring a multi function device on Debian GNU/Linux.

There was a long discussion by the attendees on these aspects.

The moderator stressed the importance of preparing documentation after configuring the hardware, which would save time for a lot of people.

The attendees agreed on the fact that they all are lazy when it comes to making documentation.

There was a short tea break after the discussion.

Technical presentation: Multimedia on GNU/Linux

The speaker introduced several audio video players for those who have just started using GNU/Linux. Also he showed some players by playing some DRM free audio and video. He cleared some of the doubts asked by the audience. Since multimedia was a very interesting area many of the atteendees joined the discussion.

The session was cutshort because of the ill health of the speaker. The Open Movie “Elephants Dream” was screened to the audience for the rest of the time.

The concluding session, talked about how people should learn more to tackle hardware compatibility issues and how they can learn device driver programming. The moderator provided a “Device Driver Development Kit” ( containing documentation ) to those interested.

Many people told that they would try their hands at Device driver development.

The meeting concluded at 5.30pm.

Resources

References

Attendees

  • R.Geetha
  • Shilpa P Maskara
  • Anoop Viswanath
  • Arun Kumar K.C.
  • Sudeep S
  • Shibin K Reeny
  • R.Satheesh
  • Kurian Mathew Thayyil
  • Vineeth T.V.
  • Fr.Thomas V.V.
  • Raneez
  • Sanjai
  • Sreenadh
  • Devaraj K.P.
  • Binny V.A.
  • Bilal M.K.
  • Sabir
  • Jay Jacob
  • G.Venkata Subramahmanian
  • Sameer M. Thahir

Photos

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Meeting Poster

We have prepared a poster for the ILUG Cochin Monthly Meeting . The poster was made by Arunkumar using GIMP(www.gimp.org).

Please consider putting up the poster in your office/college or wherever you find it appropriate. The links to the poster are provided below:

Black and White A3

Black and White A4

Color A3

Color A4

The following are some places where you can put up the poster :

  • Schools, Colleges, Training Institutes,
  • Book Shops, Libraries, Reading Rooms
  • Internet Cafes
  • Hardware Dealer Shops and Service Centers
  • Colony Notice Boards
  • DTP Centers

The following points may be noted while putting up the poster :

  • Put up the poster only if you know the place and have sufficient permissions from the concerned persons or authorities.
  • Dont put up the posters that mar visibility or cause inconvenience to others.
  • The poster needs to be put up only at relevant places, even if it provides more publicity.
  • Feel free to add more information like exact meeting date etc.. to the poster.
  • The validity of the information should be crosschecked before making changes to the poster.
  • If you need to put up a contact phone number or email address, consent of the concerned person must be sought.