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Uni. Moratuwa, Sri Lanka – #1 GSoC contribution in 2008

This is just to share the great news that (Drums and ovations) University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka is by far the most contributed university in the world for this year GSOC in both applied and accepted student number wise .

Google Open Source Blog: This Week’s Top 10’s: Universities for Google Summer of Code 2008

How cool is that ? :)

Proud to be a contributor for this glory as a student from University of Moratuwa and a GSoC participant.

PS: Now I’m thinking of why we can’t have a get together with this year GSoC participants from Uni. of Moratuwa. 93 students applied, wow! That’s a whole lot of crowd. Will need lot of drinks ;)

RMS in Sri Lanka

It’s one of the (may be ‘The one’) greatest free software event that has been held in Sri Lanka. RMS – The founder of the FSF (free software foundation), GNU project & the licence and Emacs is now in Sri Lanka which in itself is pretty cool, but today I got the chance to attend one of three public gatherings organized in his tour of Sri Lanka and it’s an unforgettable experience in my life.

I always liked reading about prehistoric free software details (in 1950’s when software was inherently free because computer wasn’t an industry yet) ,how commercial software came to the arena in about 1970’s, downfall of MIT and born of GNU, born of GNU/Linux and born of OSI and such, but it’s just that – “reading”; but hearing from a person who has been the main figure or a catalyst of all these events is so wonderful, it’s like meeting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle after reading all Sherlock Holmes stories :-)

But this doesn’t mean that I agree 100% with RMS. I don’t believe proprietary software are inherently evil or Open Source is bad. Some technologies such as compression technologies may be hidden from the public eye because the owning company may completely depend on that technology and releasing the source may mean basically the destruction of the firm. So my opinion is that sometimes we should be flexible enough to work with proprietary software and also Open Source should be used when adapting free software to a business model. But that’s me anyway.

However it has been a privilege to meet with this visionary man and to hear his speech. I sincerely hope that his speech today has turned many more young hearts to free software ideology.

RMS group photo

(From left) Nadun, Sameera, RMS, Lakshan, me

Btw, also got a chance to play with a OLPC lap. Pretty cool stuff considering the price and very cute (eew, sounds …).

OLPC lap

 

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IT Exhibition – University of Sabaragamuwa

Last week 5 students from our faculty(including me) went to the Faculty of Applied Science of University of Sabaragamuwa. The Faculty is situated in Buttala at a separated place from the Sabaragamuwa University. We went there on last Wednesday(13th June) and stayed there for 4 days and did a stall with some of our projects representing our faculty.

The participation for the exhibition was overwhelming. In all 3 days there were non-stopping cues of school children coming to see the exhibition even from the farthest corners of the central area of Sri Lanka. When we talked with those who were coming to see the exhibition we really understood the state of IT literacy of Sri Lanka. That’s to say that most of the IT literacy and IT boom is centered in mainly Colombo western province and we can even make it focus only to Colombo area. Some of the school children that we talked didn’t even have a computer in their schools much less a computer lab. So even though there’s a GIT (General IT) subject for O/L and A/L students it seems like IT knowledge is not going to rural areas successfully.

But all the credit should go to Faculty of Applied Science of University of Sabaragamuwa for their effort in making that exhibition a success because at least they are taking an effort to take IT to rural areas and hopefully they will get some cooperation from government or private sector in their future efforts. Also I have to thank the students of the faculty for all the help they gave us and the hospitality of the students were amazing and we would certainly help them again if an opportunity is presented because this sort of things are truly in need to make IT spread in Sri Lanka and bring it to a level which will make IT not a luxury for people but a necessity of people.

Vista Launch UOM

If I have to describe my last few days it’ll only suit the word hectic. The main reason for that is we organized a Vista introduction programme at UOM. Even though I’m very much contented with XP and Ubuntu, it’s always a nice to know more about new coming technologies and sharing knowledge, discuss them and letting to choose the best. So we organized the event at UOM(this was done at Colombo and Peradeniya Universites last month) and we scheduled it today.

Wijira Aiya(MS Ambassador), Ransara Aiya, Akila and me worked tooth and nail to make this event a success. And many people helped us as possible as they can. Specially my batch mates gave a tremendious help. So with all the help(It was really needed because we had to change the venue of the event from the location we previously planeed with a very short notice) we did the event today. I’m really pleased with the day’s work and it was really “exceeding expections” work. Wela did the morning presentations and afternood sessions were done by Primal Aiya(Colombo MS Ambs) and two of our third level Aiya. Microsoft Sri Lanka gave their support in providing food.(RS 30,000) and some gifts for the participants. So all and all it was a good thing for the faculty and I’m really glad about it.

Batch Trip Photos

These are the photos of our Batch trip on this summer.

Batch trip to Badulla