Tuesday, September 30, 2008

S.O.U.R.C.E Inauguration

On 20th September 2008, we, the students of Osmania University successfully started a new open source group, named S.O.U.R.C.E (Students of Osmania University to reach the Realms of Computer Excellence) in our college to propagate Sun Open Source Technologies.

Initially a core group of Third Year CSE students spent a day and discussed the name of the group and also the day it should be launched. The group decided that the best day to launch the S.O.U.R.C.E should be "Software Freedom Day" and there was total unanimity in this decision. The core group also coined the acronym S.O.U.R.C.E as it reflected the goals and focus of the open source group.

Following the above decisions, the next aspect the core group considered how the event launch should be publicized in the Campus. A day was spent on the Poster Designing. A lot of thought and debate had gone into this Poster design especially with respect to positioning Sun Brand in this launch. The Poster finally was designed with Sun Brand Colors, Fonts and Logo and with the focus on the team.

Another day was spent seeking permissions from Head of the Computer Science and Engineering Department, Prof. S.Ramchandram and Principal of Osmania University, Prof. Venu Gopal to formally launch the Group in the University. We also explained to them about the Open Source focus and integration with Sun Open Source Strategies. They were appreciative of the initiative. We invited both of them to preside over the inauguration. In parallel the posters were printed and put up on the notice boards of all the Departments, Library and Hostels to catch attention.

On the following day, the core group went to each Engineering Department and gave an introduction about the group S.O.U.R.C.E highlighting open source philosophy and Sun Microsystems Inc. We encouraged all the departments to join us and stressed that open source is just not software but a philosophy.

Once the above aspects were covered, the core group spent a day discussing the Agenda, identifying the Show Anchor and Seminar Topics. In addition seminar hall was checked for all facilities and Open Office was installed on machines in Seminar Hall. In parallel the logistics were taken care of like procurement of Bouquets, Cakes, Snacks, Water Bottles etc., On Friday evening with all arrangements in place, we kept our fingers crossed hoping that everything should go well and Murphy Law would not show its face.

On the D-day i.e., Saturday, the Core Group was very early in the College and reviewed once again all the arrangements.

People started coming in trickles and by 9:45 AM, the entire seminar hall was full with a whooping strength of 70. This was amazing and encouraging.

The inauguration was started by presenting bouquets to Prof. S.Ramchandram and Prof. Prem Chand. The senior faculty provided the group with some inspiring words and ensured their support always for this initiative. They shared their experiences and wisdom about Open Source Philosophy. A cake was then cut as a part of the celebrations of "Software Freedom Day".

This was then followed by a seminar by Mr. Roopak Bhartee, a third year CSE student, who spoke about open source and its benefits to the people in today's world. He also gave an insight about "Software Freedom Day".

Subsequently a presentation on "Sun's contribution to Open Source Community", was given by Mr. Muduganti Gautam (Sun OU Campus Ambassador) which covered SUN, it's participation in open source communities, various open source technologies of Sun like Solaris (OpenSolaris project), VirtualBox, Java, GlasssFish, NetBeans, etc. The presentation also explained Sun OSUM (Open Source University Meetup) and how S.O.U.R.C.E fits into that framework.

The participants were then encouraged to sign-up at the OSUM site and join our group at the site.

The event was concluded by a "Vote of Thanks" by Mr. Harish. The entire event was well anchored by Miss. Apoorva.

The entire S.O.U.R.C.E core group was encouraged and enthused with the success and response for the event.

Check out the photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/osum.source

Friday, September 05, 2008

Google Chrome - First Impressions

As many of you have already heard about it, Google has finally released its own web browser. Google Chrome is a free and open source web browser developed by Google. A Beta version of Chrome was released 3 days ago i.e. on 2nd September 2008. Download It From Here

The Android team of Goggle played a significant role in the development of Chrome. Chrome fared well in Acid1 and Acid2 tests but couldn't clear the Acid3 test and scored an overall rating of 78/100 which is far higher than Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 3.

Chrome uses the WebKit rendering engine and it was primarily assembled from 26 different code libraries from Google and other third parties such as Netscape.

Well let us see a few important features of Chrome in the following sections


Chrome primarily maintains security in the form of two blacklists - one for phishing and the other for malware. Further each tab in Chrome is sandboxed into its own process to avoid offensive activities of one tab on another, such as a malware in one tab accessing the credit card number in another tab.

A private web browsing feature call Incognito mode is provided as well. This mode prevents the browser from storing any history information or cookies from the websites visited.


Main focus on speed was made in the JavaScript Virtual Machine. A new engine named the V8 JavaScript Engine was developed with features such as Hidden Class Transitions, Dynamic Code Generation and Precise Garbage Collection.

Tests have shown that with the help of V8 JavaScript Engine Chrome performs faster than all its other competitors.


Following a lot of study, Chrome was implemented as a multithreaded browser with a multiprocessing architecture. It should be noted that all the existing web browser implementations are inherently single-threaded.

A separate process is allocated for each tab and for each plug-in, so that even if an attacker gains access to one tab, he won’t be able to access the others at once, causing failure to his motives.

However the pop-ups are restricted to their tab scope, they won’t appear outside the tab unless dragged by the user. And a separate process isn't allocated for the popup.

Further Chrome features a process management utility called the Task Manager which allows people to see which websites are using the most memory and identify the plug-ins which are exploiting the system resources. And terminate them if necessary.

User Interface

The main UI consists of the traditional buttons like the back, forward, bookmark, go, refresh and cancel buttons. The Minimize, Maximize and Close buttons look similar to Vista.

The entire UI is based on the WebKit rendering engine with features such as auto complete for the URL box.

Besides these Chrome concentrates on the developer too, with features such as

  • Show Source - A common utility to show the HTML code of the web page
  • JavaScript Debugger - Used to debug the JavaScript if any bugs are present
  • JavaScript Console - A JavaScript console where commands can be written and executed
  • Task Manager - Shows the allocation of resources

Further movement of tabs between different instances of Chrome is also possible. Of course relative positioning of the tabs is also possible.

Inspect Element

Well this is a feature in Chrome which I found useful being a web developer. Right click any part of the screen and select inspect element, a screen pop-ups called the Inspector with the page layout.

You can explore the CSS, DOM and HTML and other stuffs here. Also, on the lower left corner, there's an icon named Show Console. Click on this and it brings up a console where you can type commands and the DOM elements and nodes and other stuff.

Besides these you can edit the web page offline using the Inspector with a little knowledge of HTML and DOM. Here is a small example where I could change the web page offline using the Inspector.

Chrome has a hidden feature which actually invokes the pipes screensaver present in Windows XP in the web browser. Check it out yourselves by entering about:internets at the URL Box.

Well that’s it. I recommend you to download Chrome and do try it out. It might make an impression on you. And before I end here is the comic book released by Google on its Chrome release.

Will Google Chrome affect the usage of Microsoft Internet Explorer? That's a question we all have to wait and see!!!