A Day at Stella – Contentment !

Stella Maris College, one of the famous and top ‘Arts & Science’ Womens college in the city of chennai. There is a word among the public that guys aren’t permitted in here, but today we went as guest. Rather call us as mentors. We went to talk about GNU/Linux to the students of BioInfomatics department, as they are intended to use Linux for their work.

It was planned to have our usual session consisting of an Introduction to FOSS, an installation session, moving around in the desktop (KDE) and basic system tasks. Usually we would have faced an incompatible or otherwise old hardware. But this time, we should rather say it as a Bleeding-edge hardware. It was workstations for IBM, not 1 or 2 but 21 in total and all were intended to be used as local machines (mean for ordinary student practise purposes). The installation process went pretty smooth and fast, thanks to the 2GB RAM ( 😮 ) and the smart “G-parted” which shrunk the dominant NTFS partition to a meagre 20 GB junk ;). We installed Kubuntu, as they had only KDE in their syllabus (Ohh GNOME, sorry dude!).

The installation was followed by a basic introduction to the KDE desktop and applications that come with Kubuntu. Then we started a Debian installation and slipped away for the lunch. Had a simple yet satisfying lunch from saravana bhavan. Rushed back to the lab, as students were enthusiastically waiting for the next session. One of the girls was called and asked to try her own hand installing Linux, this time RHEL which the college had bought (remember 21 systems!!). While the installation was on, we used the time to enlighten them with basic bash commands. The installation was followed by a brisk introduction to Perl programming and shell scripting by Raman. We called it a day, having done something useful this weekend too.

The reason to include a ‘contentment’ in the title of this post is, the following few reasons…

  • The students where enthusiastic and more importantly responsive. They asked us intelligent questions and responded to us well.
  • Not only the students were interactive and participated in the session, but also the staff and admin people took active participation. They had some previous exposure and had indeed tried their hands on GNU/Linux prior.
  • They were eager to know as much as they could from us and this made us also to interact confortably with the people.
  • Usually, when we are about to call it a day we used to ask the participants that how many of them were confident to install Linux in their homes, we used to get only a few or no hands risen. This it was a big “YES!” and this makes us feel content that we indeed did something useful to the students 🙂

Long Live Tux!! Long Live the Free/Open Source Community !!

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