GNU/LinuxInIndia (July 01, 2003)

GNU/LinuxInIndia (July 01, 2003)

Post by F » Thu, 03 Jul 2003 05:25:10

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   Formerly LinuxInIndia * Compiled by Frederick Noronha * July 01,2003

SAMBA HOWTO: Dileep M Kumar says he has "written a small samba howto". Check
it out at Don't forget: Comments welcome.

        SHARING KNOWLEDGE, THROUGH TINY TIPS: Your tech tips on how to sort
        out various issues are welcome on the GNU/LOST (Linux One Stanza
        Tips) network. Check out the howtos mailing list or

VOLUNTEER FOR HINDI-KDE: Tarun Kant <> calls on
volunteers to be part of the IndLinux-Hindi-KDE project and help in
translating the K Desktop Environment to Hindi. Send Indlinux-hindi-kde
mailing list submissions to To
subscribe or unsubscribe, visit or send an
email with subject or body saying 'help' to the address Contact the person managing
the list via

        <> has a new site. Check out its GNU/Linux
        section at Says he: "I've also included
        some beginner's guide to coding Network Device Drivers there and
        soon plan on adding stuff on HCI in Linux."

FREE SOFTWARE... TO THE WORLD FORUM: From distant Argentia, Diego Saravia
<> of the Hipatia network is keen to do something that would
take Free Software to the World Social Forum, that is being organised in
Mumbai in January 2004. Says he: "Perhaps we could setup an email list to
work on the free software issue for the 4fsm/India. I could invite people
involved in previous (World Social Fora) and the Free Software Forum-India
could invite Indian enthusiasts." See or via email or visit the list

        DESILINUX.COM: "ttyl - Jonnas" recently announced the new
        ** bulletin-board. This, he says, "aims to foster
        discussion in technical, business and legal matters related to
        Linux. I am looking for a founding group that can bring their issues
        to the BB." His favorite topic currently is Linux on embedded
        devices. Other than this, he also would like to discuss "what is
        going to the climax show-down between MS & Linux when Linux hits the
        desktop market in a big way (I'd estimate somewhere in early 2005)".
        Says he: "To help build yet another comprehensive Linux community,
        visit "

hospitals to software houses and prestigious technological institutions, the
charm of free/libre and open-source software (FLOSS) is casting a spell in
India that is pushing many here to venture into uncharted fields. Full Story

        HELP FROM AFAR: A friend from Finland, Aschwin Van Der Woude
        <> of the group working
        to kickstart and fuel ("aktivaattori") further interest in
        Free/Libre and Open Source Software is willing to volunteer to
        "download, burn and send" CDs to India, if these could be of help
        here... and if we can build a system for sharing the same. Any

FREEBSD OPTIONS: FreeBSD enthusiast and developer from Bangalore Joseph
Koshy <> says, in response to a query from one
youngster: "We don't have a central body that directs FreeBSD.  It is more
like a collection of peers, the only criteria for admission is (proven)
competence on FreeBSD. There are a number of mailing lists that carry
FreeBSD related technical traffic.  Do check for more
information.  For example, press, publicity and the like are discussed on
freebsd-advocacy. There is no 'certification' on FreeBSD that I'm aware of."
Koshy is also the self-described "founder-manager-programmer-peon" of the
Indic-Computing Project (

        NOT FLOSS, BUT BASED ON IT: The South Asia IT list run by Irfan Khan
        from nearby Pakistan is an interesting source of news on how IT can
        help this sub-continent get a better life for its millions. It's not
        directly focussed on FLOSS, but runs on a Free Software platform
        (Mailman). See the s-asia-it mailing list at

. formerly of the Goa University, describes his experience with Reliance, a
. big player in the Indian mobile world. This comes in via the ILUG-Goa
. mailing list :
. Hi, I was at the Reliance web world last night with my notebook just to
. check whether the rconnect service works as advertised at least for Linux.
. We reached there just as they were about to close for the day (8.30 pm),
. but the person there was gracious enough to let us in and allowed us to
. outstay our welcome for whopping hour and a half after closing time while
. we put the service through a "linux compatibility" test.
. The staff there was unaware of Linux but again thats OK. They were sales
. and marketing, not technical and hence forgiven ;). The Binary ran fine on
. Redhat 9 (my notebook) - it asked me what device I was using (USB or
. Serial). I said USB, so it went and made /dev/rmodem a soft link to
. /dev/usb (strange!) and then proceeded to change /etc/ppp/options,
. /etc/ppp/ip-up.local and /etc/ppp/ip-down.local without any warning (and
. without backing up my versions). The README clearly said that my files
. would be backed up with a .old extension. My ip-up/down files are pretty
. much standard so no problem there. But this could be a major problem for
. those who do a lot of magic in their up/down scripts . Back Up!.
. After all this - when I ran the prescribed "rconnect" it did not work.
. That's when I checked the stuff that was going on under the pretty
. interface. I doubt if it installed any driver on my notebook. Once I
. figured that all they were using was a dialout (the ususal pppd + chat)
. script coupled with some changes to files in /etc/ppp, and making a blind
. softlink with whatever device was entered in the installer form, I decided
. to try my luck myself rather than use the install program,
. I got the Samsung handset to dial out using the standard USB ACM Modem
. drivers that come with RH9 (modprobe ub-uhci; modprobe acm), changed the
. /dev/rmodem to point to /dev/input/ttyACM0 (my /var/log/messages told me
. that the stock RedHat9 USB ACM driver had attached itself to this device)
. and ran the script that came with rconnect.
. It works!
. I got an IP assigned to me and my /etc/resolv.conf was set correctly to
. point to the Reliance DNS server (I had usepeerdns in /etc/ppp/options)
. and I happily pointed my browser to :). The service was great
. (no one in the shop hassled us to leave inspite of the fact that it was
. well past closing time, In fact they watched with a lot of interest and
. gave me free run of the place), but the bandwidth was much lower than what
. I expected - about 1.7K/s consistently from 9 pm to 9.45 pm on the night
. of 25 June. Did I buy it? Well I didn't yesterday on account of the rather
. poor bandwidth that I got, but I will be definitely waiting and watching
. the throughput on my friends handsets with a lot of interest.
. A mobile IP gateway that I can carry around is too good to resist :)

THE WORK IS ON: G Karunkar <> reports in a different
context that you can find some resources and links to groups working on
different Indian languages at Says he: "We are also
working on a bootable CD with Indic support (right now based on Morphix).
The Indic components come as a seperate release (see ), which can be installed on any distro
(with a bit of tweaking though). There will be another release next week
which will work on RH 8/9, MDK 9.x and Debian unstable (with Gnome 2.2)."
Karunakar, a low-profile and hard-working campaigner on the Indic computing
front, adds that since much of their current work is based on Gnome 2, you
need to have that if you wish to use the IndLinux-Hindi release. Adds he:
"The stuff is all bare bones, not good for any production use. That'ss still
few months away -- till we have KDE, Gnome, Openoffice, Mozilla etc all
supporting Indic at all levels."

        LINKING YOUNG TECHIES, MENTORS: Project Resource Centre is a mailing
        list and network that puts students and young techies in touch with
        potential mentors. It also gives them a chance to discuss their
        ideas and get feedback. More details from

GOING FAR MORE DEEPER: Comments Mahesh T Pai, LL.M. of Kochi
( "The approach by the guys at takes language far more 'deeper' into the OS than (attempts by
proprietorial software).  Language enabling is much more than mere
translation of help files, enabling fonts, and input methods. The KBIPS is
directly involved with Free Software Foundation-India (at least, that is
what I understand, about the FSF-India's involvement) for enabling Malayalam
on GNU/Linux systems." Mahesh, a close and perceptive watcher of the Free
Software scene in India, can be contacted via

Says he: "I believe that the  Indlinux team has spent far less during its
entire existence that what (proprietorial software major players have) spent
on a single foreign jaunt for its team leader/s.  Not that I grudge the
individuals' benefits; but I cannot help reacting when the government
subsidises efforts, fruits will be controlled by private corporates while
giving a cold shoulder to efforts which would be under public control."

        CALLING VOLUNTEERS: website is expected to get an
        overhaul, with volunteers coming forward to support the work of
        webmaster Raj Mathur. If you'd like to volunteer too, contact Raj

ADAPTING LINUX TO INDIA: Venky <>, a persistent lobbyist
on this front, said in a public discussion: "One issue that is important in
terms of adapting ICT to Indian needs is that the technology should speak
the user's language. At IndLinux ( we have been working on
adapting the Linux operating system to Indian languages and have done a
significant amount of work in Hindi. We would like to get an active group
going in Punjabi too so that Punjabi-literate individuals too can benefit
from using computers. Can you please help us get volunteers who can
translate computer terms like "files", "folders" etc to Punjabi?"

        'PIRACY'... AS A FAKE CONCEPT: "The concept of piracy being
        propagated by multinational companies is fake and do not hold water
        in the perspective of our social commitment. I feel we have to
        launch resistance and fight against it," said Manabendra Mukherjee,
        West Bengal's minister for information technology and environment
        department, while delivering a lecture at a seminar on `Linux
        initiative in e-Governance applications'. See

Free Software Consortium is looking out for Indian supporters to help with
the internationalization of their "Government Distro". This Free Software
package is being launched in July 2003, by this global organisation
"dedicated to the promotion and commercialisation of Free Software" The
Government Distro is a compilation of programs widely used by the public
sector in Brazil, Argentina and Spain. It contains the GNU/Linux Operating
System, an Office-like suite called Open Office, email and instant
messenger, a calendar, a database, a web browser application and many other
programs. Say its promoters: "All these applications have been used and
tested previously in dozens of Latin American and European users, in order
to certify their functionality.  They have all been designed by highly
talented programmers from all around the world."

YOUR INPUTS and criticism to this newsletter are welcome.  Contact us at
fred at bytesforall dot org COPYLEFT 2003. May be freely circulated provided
entire text and credits is left intact. FN
Frederick Noronha (FN)        |
Freelance Journalist          |     | |
T: 0091.832.2409490 or 2409783 M: 0 9822 122436

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