Friday, September 08, 2006


APIIT Advantage
Originally uploaded by Gayals.

What is Free Software?

“Free software”' is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free”' as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.”

Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).

2. The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).

4. The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Software Freedom Day

Software Freedom Day is a global, grassroots effort to educate the public about the virtues and availability of Free and Open Source Software. Local teams from all over the world are organizing events on 16 September 2006.

What is the GNU project?

The GNU Project was launched in 1984 to develop a complete UNIX-like operating system which is free software i.e. the GNU system, by the Free Software Foundation headed by Richard M. Stallman (RMS). Variants of the GNU operating system, which use the kernel called Linux, are now widely used; though these systems are often referred to as “Linux”, they are more accurately called GNU/Linux systems.

GNU is a recursive acronym for “GNU's Not UNIX”; it is pronounced guh-noo, like canoe. The GNU project was designed to create software and an operating system that would run on peer-edited and improved code, continuing the tradition of software evolution that was already common in the computer science field in the 1970s and early 1980s.

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Linux (also known as GNU/Linux) is a Unix-like computer operating system written by a Finnish university student Linus Torvalds while attending the University of Helsinki - Finland. It is one of the most prominent examples of open source development and free software; unlike proprietary operating systems such as Windows or Mac OS X, all of its underlying source code is available for anyone to use, modify, and redistribute freely.

Initially, Linux was primarily developed and used by individual enthusiasts on personal computers. Since then, Linux has gained the support of major corporations such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Novell for use in servers and is gaining popularity in the desktop market. It is used in systems ranging from supercomputers to mobile phones. Proponents and analysts attribute its success to its security, reliability, low cost, and freedom from vendor lock-in.

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Taprobane GNU/Linux

The first ever Linux OS/Distribution developed in Sri Lanka.

Taprobane is a convenient GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian. It is a live CD, but can be installed to persistent media. Saegiri, the build system used for creating Taprobane ISOs, can also be used to create custom Live CD distributions. Taprobane GNU/Linux is Free Software (Open Source). It's a collective work released under the Artistic License 2.0. Taprobane build system and components are released under the GNU General Public License. Some of the development happens on #taprobane at irc.{,}.

Here are some goodies you may find in this distribution:

Xorg 6.8.2, Official Nvidia driver support out of the box, KDE 3.4.1, OpenOffice 2.0, Linux, Squashfs/Unionfs, Apache/PgSQL/MySQL/Zope, started/stopped from the K-menu, Excellent hotplug support, Saving data to persistent media, Educational software such as Stellarium and Octave.

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SAHANA – Lanka Software Foundation (LSF)

Sahana is a Free and Open Source Disaster Management system. It is a web based collaboration tool that addresses the common coordination problems during a disaster from finding missing people, managing aid, managing volunteers, tracking camps effectively between Government groups, the civil society (NGOs) and the victims themselves.

Sahana has currently been deployed successfully in the following places:

1. Tsunami - Sri Lanka 2005 - Officially deployed in the CNO for the Government of Sri Lanka

2. AsianQuake - Pakistan 2005 - Officially deployed within with NADRA for the Government of Pakistan

3. Southern Leyte Mudslide Disaster - Philippines 2006 - Officially deployed with the NDCC and ODC for the Government of Philippines

4. Sarvodaya - Sri Lanka 2006 - Deployed for Sri Lanka's largest NGO

5. Terre des Hommes - Sri Lanka 2006 - Deployed with new Child Protection Module

6. Yogjarkata Earthquake - Indonesia 2006 - Deployed by ACS, urRemote and Indonesian whitewater association and Indonesian Rescue Source

7. Lebanon - Over the last two weeks, the core Sahana team has been engaged with deployments in Lebanon, Ecuador

Though application of Sahana is the greatest recognition of the value of the Sahana system to help out in disasters, our work also has been recognized in other ways

1. Redhat User Award - Given to the founder of Lanka Software Foundation Dr Sanjiva Weerawarna - 2005

2. Sahana inspired the new Free Software Foundation Award for Humanity - 2005

3. Software 2006, USA - Good Samaritian Award - 2006

4. Interview of core team in BBC program "code breakers" - 2006

5. One of the three top finalists in the Health category in Stockholm Challenge - 2006

6. Sourceforge Project of the Month for June 2006

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Orange Open Movie - Elephants Dream

Elephants Dream is the world’s first open movie, made entirely with open source graphics software such as Blender, and with all production files freely available to use however you please, under a Creative Commons license. The short film (10m 55s) was created by the Orange Open Movie Project studio in Amsterdam during 2005/2006, bringing together a diverse team of artists and developers from all over the world.

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OrangeHRM - hSenid

OrangeHRM, the first version of a comprehensive Open Source HRM solution. It comes as a free web-enabled application which is easy to install, configure and run. This would be an ideal solution for small and medium sized companies and organizations looking for an inexpensive way to manage and develop their human resources.

OrangeHRM is emerging in line with the new generation of HR Information Systems (HRIS) and will assist you in managing your company's most important asset - human resource. Based on modular architecture, this comprehensive Open Source solution reflects the main areas of HR Management from simple personnel administration to today's complex strategic approaches. OrangeHRM, which is applicable to diverse business industries, is a perfect platform for re-engineering your HR processes and redefining the workflow operations of HR professionals, paving the way to a new level of HR Management.

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FREE Linux CDs for each Participant, also win several Linux Distribution CDs by participating the Question and Answer Session. GNU/Linux T-shirts and other Linux Distributions are available at Student’s Request.

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