Sunday, December 26, 2010

Open Letter to Student Awardees of the Anundoram Borooah Award 2010

On the 24th of December, 2010, the sixth year of the prestigious Anundoram Borooah Awards , given to students who secure 60% and higher marks in the 10th Standard in the State Board Examinations of the Government of Assam, ceremoniously launched by the Chief Minister of Assam. This ward has been instituted in the honour of the great Sanskrit Scholar, the 1st Assaemse, the 4th Indian ICS Officer & the 1st Indian Deputy Commissioner (in India), Anundoram Borooah (1850-1889) who in his short life span composed the Sanskrit-English dictionary. His brief life sketch is presented as a part of the citation to the awardees as a source of inspiration.

The award carries a Desktop computer, a citation and few booklets. So far 72000+ students have received these computers since 2005. This year the award carries a Laptop computer and 19300+ students would be directly benefited from the scheme. The Govt. of Assam has been providing these computing devices with Free and Open Source Software on GNU/Linux platform. The laptops (with Pentium P6100 2.0 GB Processor, 3 GB DDR3 RAM, 250 GB 7200 RPM HDD, DVD RW, 14" TFT (LED Backlight), wi-fi, bluetooth, Webcam... loaded with Ubuntu 10.04.1 OS). The configuration has been finalized by the AMTRON team headed by Mr. Monoj Baruah and okayed by Prof. Gautam Barua, Director, IIT Guwahati. The laptop has been loaded with educational application software, manuals and Spoken Tutorials (provided by IIT Bombay).

Along with the laptop, fe wbooklets also have been provided. The customized user manual of the laptop (featuring three brands Acer, HCL, & Wipro) contains an open letter from ME to the students. This letter is the focus of this BLOG:-

Dear Student,

Congratulations for winning the prestigious Anundoram Borooah Award. Now you are a proud owner of a world class laptop especially designed for you. To fulfill the promise made by Sri Tarun Gogoi, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Assam, the Education (Secondary) Department and the experts from IIT Guwahati and AMTRON have worked together to ensure the best quality in terms of hardware, software and service while selecting the laptop for you.

Your laptop comes with Ubuntu Operating System ( pioneered by Canonical Ltd ( driven by its founder Mark Richard Shuttleworth, a South African born entrepreneur, to create one of the best Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). According to Mark, “I believe that free software can become the de facto standard way the world builds and experiences all software...”. Ubuntu is a GNU/Linux operating system based on the Debian core, and is considered as the most popular operating system in the FOSS. Initiated in 2004 by Mark, the Ubuntu community releases upgrades of the operating system regularly in April (.04) and October (.10) every year. The Ubuntu loaded in your laptop is Long Term Support (LTS) version 10.04.

Along with Ubuntu, we at AMTRON have bundled a large bouquet of educational, office, graphics, multimedia and programming software, all with freedom and full rights for you to use, redistribute, modify and share with your friends and family members. This is to respect the basic 4 (four) freedoms of Software as defined by Richard Mathew Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation ( and the chief architect of the GNU ( project which is at the heart of the GNU/Linux systems. The 4 freedoms are Freedom 0 - Freedom to run the software as you wish, Freedom 1 – Freedom to study and change the source code of the program, Freedom 2- Freedom to redistribute the exact copies of the program to your friends and community and whomever you choose & Freedom 3 – Freedom to distribute copies of the source code that you modified. Whenever you want to use a software, please examine whether it meets the four freedom criteria or not, even if you have purchased a copy of it. If it does not meet the criteria of the 4 freedoms, please do not use that software.

Some of the packages included in your laptop are OpenOffice.Org to meet all your word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and graphics requirements. You can also use its formula editor to write mathematical equations. The GIMP Image editor, Inkscape Vector Graphics editor and Scribus can be used to create and manipulate images, graphics and compose newsletter and magazines. Your laptop comes loaded with a host of programming and scripting languages such as C/C++, mySQL, Perl, Python, pHp, GFortran, Gdb to mention a few. You can start writing your own bits of code by opening the Gedit text editor, or study the source codes of the programs loaded in your laptop to get an understanding as to how it works. You may explore source code in directories such as usr/src in the file system of your laptop.

In addition to this special booklet about your laptop, you have also been provided with two additional reading materials- “Getting started with Ubuntu” and “Introduction to GeoGebra”. While the first booklet teaches you the basics of the GNOME Desktop and Operating System, the GeoGebra book will help you to sharpen your skills in mathematics and geometry. Additionally, we are also providing you spoken tutorials on SCILAB, a great platform to learn mathematical modeling. The spoken tutorials have been brought to you in association with IIT Bombay. You can also attempt to make your own spoken tutorials on any of the software provided in your laptop, and if they are good, you may even get paid for it.

For any queries, please send an email to

With Best Wishes

(M. K. Yadava IFS)

Managing Director, AEDC Ltd.

Place: Guwahati

Date: 14/12/2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Contributing again to Wikipedia

Support Wikipedia

Contributing to the Wikipedia for the second time was also a very big mental satisfaction. It reminds me that the 4 freedoms as defined by Richard Stallman are very important for survival of a knowledge society, but it does not mean free beer or free lunch. We all need to contribute a little of our money, time and effort to free ourselves from clutches of proprietary slavery that we all have become used to...

Please stand for a knowledge society, contribute to FOSS initiatives.