Workshop on FOSS Desktop and Applications

Background

There is increasing interest the world over in open source software, particularly in the desktop area. High quality desktop environments with a wide range of applications are today available on the Gnu/Linux operating system. Using an open source desktop brings in a host of advantages. The zero license fee and the freedom to install any number of copies is just one, though a major, aspect. Today, Gnu/Linux desktop offers a range of choices for users in areas like office suite, e-mail management, browsers, etc. A lot of these are also available today in many Indian languages, enhancing the reach of computers to those who are not conversant with English. Not surprisingly, a number of organisations are moving their desktops to Gnu/Linux, saving large amount of money and earning a lot of freedom and flexibility in return.

Lack of awareness, and pressures from large market players, often deter potential users from trying out these tools. The workshop is meant to expose the power of open source softwares at the desktop level and provide an environment where you can try out the system in depth.

About BOSS

Recognising the importance that open source is going to play in India, and with a view to provide Indian users a desktop that is customised to local requirements, CDAC has brought out a distribution of Gnu/Linux known as BOSS. This is part of a project funded by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. BOSS is aimed at typical end-users of desktops in schools, administrative staff in organisations, government offices, etc. A number of state governments and offices are actively adopting BOSS for their departmental requirements.

A nationwide network of support centres for BOSS is also being setup. As of now, the CDAC centres at Bangalore, Delhi, Noida, Kolkatta, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai and Hyderabad have BOSS support centres established. This network is being expanded to a wider base involving the National Informatics Centre, academic institutions, NGOs, etc. CDAC Chennai is also offering telephone support over a toll-free number.

The current version of BOSS, BOSS 3.0, provides all functionalities required by a normal desktop user including, office suite, browser, interface with devices such as USB, Webcam, etc, specialised presentation tool, easy administrative interface, media players, and so on. Most of these are available with Indian language interface in many Indian languages. BOSS allows read/write in Indian languages too.

Workshop outline

The workshop will provide an overview of open source technologies covering the driving force behind the movement and history, detailed introduction to Gnu/Linux desktop environment, common tools and utilities, Indian language on BOSS, administration and management on BOSS, and so on. All participants will get a free DVD containing the latest BOSS version.

In addition, we will also have specialised sessions covering various open source softwares for specific domains such as e-learning, application development over web, software localisation, natural language processing, etc. The actual list of topics may vary from instance to instance and location to location. Please check the website for the exact schedule for specific events.

Target audience

The workshop will be of general interest to most people interested information technology, particularly those using computers for their office or home usages, IT departments in government, non-IT industries using computers in their day to day work, small-medium enterprises, and so on. No prior programming experience is expected.

Registration

Please check out http://www.cdacmumbai.in

Open source at CDAC Mumbai

CDAC Mumbai has been active in the open source area for nearly a decade and have been involved in a number of projects including the Indix system, the first attempt to enable Linux to handle Indian language at the core level, Janabharati, a DIT supported initiative to popularise open source and Indian language computing, and open source software resource centre, a joint initiative of IBM, IIT-Bombay and CDAC. CDAC Mumbai is now playing a significant role in the national resource centre for FOSS at Chennai. Our areas of interest at present are healthcare, e-learning, localisation and accessibility.

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