Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SFD 2009 - Competitions & Presentations

This year, as a part of the Software Freedom celebrations, we hosted a few competitions and gave a few informative presentations. Here is a quick overview of them -

Essay Writing Competition

The competition was primarily to encourage participants to explore various Open Source topics - technical and non-technical, and come up with innovative articles. We had a huge response for this and had a tough time selecting the best entries. We had various topics covering different perspectives of the Open Source world. Below are a few of the articles which were really good.

Open Source - The article covered the basic philosophy of Open Source and gave an insight about the economic perspective of OSS. It also emphasized the innovation which drives Open Source products.

VirtualBox - The article covered the salient features of the VirtualBox OSE. It gave a bird's-eye view of VirtualBox, with a focus on the technical strongholds of the virtualization package. It also briefly described the advancements planned in the development of VirtualBox.

Open Source in the Cloud - This article merged the philosophy of Open Source with the innovative paradigm of Cloud Computing. It gave an overview of what Cloud Computing is and highlighted the contribution of Sun Microsystems Inc. to the cloud.

Google Chrome - The article was primarily about the Open Source web browser from Google, Chrome. It focused on the prominent features of the browser and gave a description of features like speed, stability, security, etc.

Top Ten Linux Distributions - The article was mainly a mash-up of the Operating Systems built on the Linux kernel. The author reviewed various Linux in the article. Several flavors like Debian, Slackware, Fedora, Mandriva, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, Gentoo, LinuxMint, PCLinuxOS and the CentOS were covered in this.

Open Source Quiz

This was one of the most exciting events of Software Freedom Day this year. We wanted more participation of the audience this year, so as to achieve this and bring up the spirit of Open Source in the audience; we planned an Open Source Quiz.

To accommodate the entire audience, the quiz was conducted in two stages - there was a preliminary round which had a questionnaire of around 20 questions. Almost everybody in the audience was interested in the quiz and came forward for the prelims. After the prelims, the top 6 teams were invited for the final round. The round had an oral questionnaire and consisted of around 6 sub-rounds.

Finally at the end of the final sub-round the highest and second-highest scorers were declared the winners. There was a neck-to-neck competition between the teams till the end and had the pulse of the crowd running.

Overall, the quiz was the show-stopper of the day. Hats off to the quiz-masters! - Miss. Devika and Mr. Roopak Bhartee.

Software Freedom Day and Open Source

In order to convey the philosophy of Open Source and the importance of Software Freedom Day to the audience, Mr. Vishwak gave a presentation titled "Software Freedom Day and Open Source".

The presentation emphasized on various concepts like -

  • What is Open Source?
  • Free Software
  • Why the move to Open Source?
  • Perception and participation
  • Software Freedom Day
  • Contribution of Sun Microsystems Inc. to the Open Source world
  • Sun’s Open Source strategy
  • Overview of the Open Source technologies of Sun
  • The session was very informative and the audience had a through insight about the OSS world

Sun Academic Initiative

To help the audience realize the importance of certifications and inform them of the wonderful discounts available on various Sun certifications, Mr. Laxman took up a presentation on "Sun Academic Initiative".

The presentation focused on various topics like -

  • Introduction to SAI
  • Benefits of certifications
  • The Java certification hierarchy
  • The Solaris certification hierarchy
  • The MySQL certification hierarchy
  • Various certifications available as a part of SAI
  • Registration process at SAI
  • A step-by-step explanation of how to purchase a voucher and avail the huge discounts

The session was inspiring and there were several students who were keen on taking up a certification exam. The various tutorials and the learning programs of SAI were highlighted which created a confidence in the interested students to pursue the certification.

On a whole, Software Freedom Day 2009 was a huge success wherein the participants and the organizers enjoyed and learnt a lot.

Photos uploaded at

Software Freedom Day 2009

It is finally September and Software Freedom Day is here. This is one day when every Open Source enthusiast feels proud of being one. If you haven’t heard about Software Freedom Day, here is what SFD is all about -

"Software Freedom Day (SFD) is an annual worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software. It is a public education effort to celebrate the virtues of FOSS and to encourage its use. It is celebrated on the third Saturday of every September."

Open Source has spread its wings all over the world and Sun Microsystems Inc. being one of the biggest supporters of the Open Source community encouraged many OSUM leaders and Sun Campus Ambassadors to celebrate Software Freedom Day in a grand way.

Osmania University, being a huge supporter of FOSS, wasn’t behind in the grandeur of SFD. We decided on celebrate Software Freedom Day on the third Saturday itself, which was on September 19th.

Due to the recent unforeseen holidays which were declared in our city, there were speculations that 19th might be a working day as a compensation for them. Because of this, our preparations came to a stand-still and we had to wait for a formal announcement. We didn’t get any reliable information till Friday and because of this we had only a day for the publicity in our college. As a lateral consequence of this speculation, we didn’t even get an opportunity to invite other colleges to the event. :(

Well as people say "Things must go on!" and things did go on. Despite these bottlenecks, we had a reasonable crowd of 55 to 60 open source enthusiasts for the event. It was really soothing to see such participation amidst the tailback. The crowd comprised of students from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years. We weren’t given permission to invite the 1st year students due to security concerns from the college.

I was sure that the students of my college were bored of hearing my presentations by this time, so for a change, I requested a few of my friends to take up the co-ordination of the competitions and presentations. They immediately agreed and showed a lot of interest.

The celebrations of SFD began with a motivating speech by our HOD, Prof. Lakshmi Rajamani. She spoke on Open Source Software and emphasized the support being provided by our college to the OSS world. She gave a brief introduction on SFD and how Osmania University was a part of it over the years.

There were many activities that were held at our campus as a part of SFD. Several competitions were held to motivate the students towards SFD. We had an "Essay writing competition" where the participants were asked to explore various Open Source topics - technical and non-technical and come up with an innovative article. There was an "Open Source Quiz" organized by Mr. Roopak Bhartee and Miss. Devika. A presentation emphasizing the merits and benefits of FOSS was given by Mr. Vishwak. There was a presentation on the "Sun Academic Initiative" by Mr. Laxman. To know more about these events, check out the "SFD 2009 - Competitions & Presentations" blog-post.

The event was concluded by a "Vote of thanks" by me. The entire event was well anchored by Miss. Pravallika.

On a whole, the event was a huge success and there was a lot of enthusiastic response from the participants. The entire S.O.U.R.C.E group was delighted and enthused by the participation of the crowd for the event.

Photos uploaded at

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three Years Of Vivacious Blogging

It’s been three years I started this blog and wrote my first article.

With a great apprehension on my mind whether I can write public articles or not, I took a bold step and began my online endeavor on 21st September 2006. To describe my blogging experience till today in one line, I would call it a "Roller Coaster Ride" - filled with twists and twirls, but on a whole, exciting and exuberant.

Like any blogger, my biggest question was "What to write in my blog?" Initially I was clueless and wrote all kinds of articles ranging from my personal experiences to casual stories. But as time progressed I realized my strength and decided to make this a technical web-log. (Yes, I know I am violating my principle with this blog-post :P).

From then my life became simpler and the number of my blog-posts increased. As time progressed, several technical topics like "Play-Station Emulators", "The Towers of Hanoi" and "w32.USBWorm" were emphasized in my blog. My blog became a focus point of various presentations I gave in these years. Presentations like "Service Oriented Architecture", "Globalised Solutions" and "Programming with Qt" were highlighted.

As time moved on, I became the Sun Campus Ambassador of my college. Then I started a new blog at I stuck to my resolution of making this a technical blog and continued my technical articles here and wrote my personal experiences in the other blog. Topics like "NetBeans" and "OpenSolaris" became a part of my blog after this.

On a whole, there are 85 blog-posts on this blog and 22 blog-posts on my Sun blog till date.

I am sure a lot of you are thinking "Who visits this blog?" I also used to contemplate over this question a lot. Then on 8th September 2009 I took a daring decision, decided to track my blog and signed up at Google Analytics. I was shocked by the results. From September 8th to September 23rd (16 days), my blog had 470 visits with 761 page-views. The visitors had a massive geographical diversity, spread across 42 countries, 112 cities and covering all the continents. As Google Analytics results cannot be displayed, I put a ClustrMap here for the visitors to see, so do check it out if you would like to view the regional diversity of the visitors of the blog.

If you are a blogger like me, do sign-up for Google Analytics, you will be surprised by the results. For more details have a look at my previous post.

During these three years I was fortunate to see the blogs of several of my friends come up and it was very exciting to read their magnificent articles. So I decided to create a network of these blogs here, do check them out after you finish reading this article.

It would be inappropriate to end this blog-post without thanking everybody who encouraged me to start this blog and contributed to this blog with their constant feedback and guidance.

Thanking them from the bottom of my heart and hoping more and more blog-posts come up here, Adios, Au Revoir, Sayonara and Good bye till my next blog-post.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Web Analytics - Boosting Performance

Every web-site/blog has visitors. Understanding the regional spread of these visitors and analyzing which articles (pages, products, etc.) bring in more visitors (customers), is vital for improving the business of the web-store or attracting more visitors to the blog/web-site.

In this blog-post we are going to emphasis two popular web-site tracking tools - ClustrMaps and Google Analytics. In the next few sections I will refer blogs and web-stores as also web-sites. The principle is same for all of these.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a brilliant innovation from labs of Google. It helps you analyze the traffic feed of your web-site in various perspectives. As Google describes it -

"Google Analytics is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your web-site traffic and marketing effectiveness"

It has some really cool features that a web-site manager would love. There are four major components on Google Analytics -

Visitors Overview - This component keeps track of every visitor that visits your web-site. It provides complete information on the number of visits, number of absolute unique visits, page-views, total time spent by visitors on the site and a percentage of new visits. One important parameter it keeps track of is the bounce rate. Bounce Rate is a measure to see how appealing the web-page was for the visitors. High percentages of bounce rate indicate the visitors moved out of the web-site quickly. It maintains complete information of the browsers used by the visitors and their connection speed.

The geographical aspect of the visitor overview is marvelous. It shows a comprehensive analysis of the visitor’s geographical location. It pin-points the city from where a visitor has come.

Traffic Sources Overview - This component gives an overview of the sources of the traffic. It also provides a report on the sites which led the visitors to your web-site. For people targeting search engines, it provides a comprehensive analysis of the keywords which led the people to the web-site.

Content Overview - This component provides a detailed analysis of individual pages viewed by the visitors. It provides us with the total number of page-views, unique page-views and the bounce rate. It also provides us with the list of the pages which brought in the most visitors. It also shows us how many times each component of the web-site was clicked and the navigation patterns of the visitors.

Goals Overview - This component helps us to understand our objectives and keep a track of how far we have reached them. Goals can be setup with respect to every traceable unit of the blog like the page views, keyword patterns, etc.

Signing Up for Google Analytics

So if you are excited by these features and would like to add Google Analytics support to your web-site, follow these steps -

  1. Go to
  2. Sign in with your Google account
  3. Sign up for Google Analytics by providing the URL of your web-site and few other details
  4. After filling in the form, you will be provided with a JavaScript code snippet. Copy this code to your web-site. For blogger, paste the code before the closing head tag in the Edit HTML component of the layout tab
  5. After a few hours, if the process was carried out properly the Google Analytics service will be running on your web-site. You can view the status by signing in at the Google Analytics web-site


Google Analytics is good for analyzing your web-site behind the screen. But it does not allow visitors to see the geographical diversity of the other visitors. So if you are interested in showing the visitor count along with their geographical location to the public, go for ClustrMaps.

To register your web-site with ClustrMaps, follow these steps -

  1. Go to
  2. Provide the URL of your web-site and give your email id
  3. Select the style which suits your web-site
  4. Copy the code which is provided to your web-site

Well that’s it for this post. Hope this post helps in increasing the visitors to your web-site. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Symbian Operating System

The Symbian Operating System is an embedded Operating System developed by Symbian Ltd. It was built primarily for the ARM processor architecture. Though Symbian isn’t completely open sourced, parts of its code-base have been made public.

I recently gave a presentation on this and the topics covered were -

  • The Symbian Foundation and a brief history about it
  • The notable features of the Symbian Operating System
  • The Operating System structure
  • Memory management
  • Process and thread management
  • Issues related to security and malware
  • The success stories of the Symbian OS
  • Application development in Symbian using Symbian C++ and Java ME

Download the presentation here.

The presentation was followed by two demos - one covering Symbian C++ and the other covering Java ME. The software used in the demos -

  • Active Perl 5.6
  • Symbian SDKs
  • Java Development Kit 6.0
  • Carbide.c++ 2.0
  • NetBeans 6.7.1
  • Sun Java Wireless Toolkit

Download the installation guides for these software here. (They contain screen-shots which are self-explanatory). Download screen-shots for the Hello World demos here.

Visit the Symbian foundation web-site at

If any discrepancies are found in the presentation or in any one of the guides, please post the problem in the comments section.