Swathanthra Software Sangamam

ILUG Cochin has started a campaign to bring teachers closer to the Free Software Community. This campaign has 3 primary objectives:
– Enlighten teachers about the true concept of Free Software and how it can create a new generation of students with core social values and technical abilities.
– Provide Support to teachers for the Free Software Implementation in Schools, the aim is make teachers self reliant.
– Help Students to explore the possibilities of Free Software outside the academics.

As a part of the campaign, ILUG Cochin had organized an event in assosciation with the Vocational Higher Secondary School Irimpanam (http://vhssirimpanam.org/) on 10/02/2009

“Swathanthra Software Sangamam”

– One Day Programme for students and teachers
– Session on ” The significance of the Free Software Movement ” by Jay Jacob.
– Blender Workshop by Zadeek
– Inkscape Workshop by Sreenadh
– Interaction between Teachers and ILUG Cochin Community.

Event Report

Report in “The Hindu”

Report on ILUG Cochin Mailing List

January 2009 meeting details

The meeting for the month of January 2009 conducted successfully.

There were 17 people who attended the meeting.

The meeting started at 2.30 pm with the self introduction of the attendees.

The meeting focused mainly on teachers. But there were only two teachers present.

As usual there was a discussion about Free Software Movement, GNU Movement and Open source for those who are new to free software community. This helped the audience clearly understand the difference between Free Software and Open Source Software. There was a discussion on the history of Free Software movement.

Next we discussed about the various Free Software License – GPL, LGPL etc. There was a question from one of the audience about the necessity of licensing a software. One of the volunteer presented there gave him a clear idea about software license.

The proposed agenda was “The power of command line”. Most teachers are familiar with GUI tools. So the session aimed at giving an introduction to command line interface.

Agenda: The power of command line

An introduction to shell was given. The significance of shell was discussed. A good knowledge in command line interface can help the user to automate his work and thus he can efficiently use his pc. The audience were curious to know how a shell works. How it execute commands given by the user. The speaker explained with examples how a shell works.

The shell explained was BASH, Bourne Again SHell. In this session the speaker explained the virtual terminals available in GNU/Linux and how it can be accessed.

The first command discussed was “cd”. The speaker explained the how to use this command in different ways with enough examples. Here are some of them.

cd – change directory

cd – running this command without specifying any parameter will change the present working directory to the user’s home directory. ie if the current user is now at the location /mnt/drive_1 and his username is student, using this command the user can reach /home/student.

All command receives path information in two ways. One is absolute path and the other is relative path. In absolute path method the complete path information is given as the parameter of the command.

Eg: cd /home/student/directory_1

In relative path method the path information is given with relative to the present working directory.

Eg: if the user is at /media he can change the present working to a directory “test” inside /media as follows.

cd test

The next command discussed was ls. This command is used to display the contents of a directory.

eg: ls /mnt/drive_2

ls my_dir

The following commands were also discussed with sufficient examples.


To display the present working directory.


To create a directory.

Eg: mkdir /home/user/test

mkdir sample

File handling commands:


To create a file.


touch testfile


To display the contents of a file.

eg: cat /etc/fstab


To remove a file or a directory

To remove a file “rm filename”

Eg: rm testfile

To remove a directory “rm -r directory_name”

Eg: rm -vR sample


To copy files or directories


cp testfile /mnt/my_dir

This will copy the file testfile to /mnt/my_dir

cp -r directory /mnt/my_dir

Copy the files and directories inside “directory” to /mnt/my_dir


To display the contents of a file or the result of a command in pagewise.

Eg: less testfile


To print lines matching a pattern

Eg: cat /etc/fstab | grep “hda9” (case sensitive)

cat /etc/fstab | grep -i “hda9” (case insensitive)

Finally the speaker explained how to use man and info for getting

help on commands.

There was a small tea break. Attendees used this time to interact each other.

After the break there was a small session on basic funtionality of GUI wrapper program. In this session the speaker explained how to burn cds from command line. The tool used was cdrecord. He explained how to use it and the parameters the user can pass to it for burning cds at various speeds.

Shell scripting:

The last session was an introduction to shell scripting. The session covered on how to write script for doing jobs in command line easier. The speaker explained the scripting with an example. Although it was a bit difficult to understand by beginners it encouraged some people to ask doubts regarding difference between scripting and programming.


The meeting ended with the following conclusions. It is very important to form small groups in schools with teachers and students for learning more about Free Software. Most of the problems faced by teachers can be solved within this group. There was a request from teachers to conduct classes in schools and also asked for including session for teachers in the next meeting. They also requested to conduct vacation class for students.

The meeting wound up at 6.15 pm.

Thanks to Sameer, Binny, Shibin and Kurian for their presentation.

We thank all the attendees for making this meeting a successfull event.

And hope the next meeting is bigger and better.


Sunil Kumar A U

Sanal Kumar

Arun Aravind

Rahul R Kumar

Rahul P

Navneet Sagar

Muhamed Sabir

Azad N

Binny V A


Shibin K Reeny

Varun Das P M

Jay Jacob

Cilda Lawrence

K C Sanjai

Aith C

Kevin Sha