Acharya Narendra Dev College firmly believes in the adoption of Free Open Source Software (FOSS) as an instrument of inclusive digital education and breaking the shackles of restrictive licensing policies in education. Keeping with this goal, the college regularly conducts a series of hands-on workshops since December 2007 to introduce Linux and FOSS.
An active FOSS CLUB for conducting FOSS and Linux seminars has been formed in 2009-10. FOSSTIVAL'10, a two-day workshop held during 8 - 9 January 2010, was one such effort towards popularization and enhancing dissemination of the concept of "open source". Eminent speakers of the seminars were impressed with the "Cluster Project" that students of the college carried wherein they used old discarded computers to create a functional cluster.
On January 24, 2011 the FOSS club organized a talk by Professor Kannan M. Moudgalyan on Spoken Tutorial. Spoken tutorial is an initiative of the “Talk to a Teacher’ activity of the National Mission of Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. The tutorial is meant to be used as a self study tool. Under the aegis of Spoken Tutorial Project at IIT, Mumbai a series of workshops on Linux was conducted during 24-25 August 2011, followed by another one on Latex on 28 September, 2011 that provided the students with the expertise to use the tool in scripting, scientific and mathematical documents/reports in different format. Each workshop comprised of a pre-assessment test followed by comprehending the videos of Spoken Tutorials which then ended with given assignments.
As its predecessor in 2011, another workshop was conducted on 27 and 29 August 2012 with Spoken Tutorial Project of IIT, Mumbai, for First Year Students with the objective of giving the students a hands-on experience on Linux environment through the help of spoken tutorials. Student volunteers from B. Sc. (H) C. S. and B. Sc. P.S. C.S. (2nd Year) contributed to the sessions by giving a brief overview of FOSS, its need in today's world and comparisons between Free and Proprietary Software. A discussion on Open Office helped students explore a free Office Suite software while a demonstration on GNU Debugger and its features introduced students with a new tool to aid in programming.
In order to inculcate and encourage the use of free and open software, another one-day workshop was conducted for first semester students on 4th September, 2012 by IT Committee. The resource persons were the faculty of computer science department who initiated the use open office and Linux and demonstrated it with the aid of spoken tutorials. The workshop had various sections which focused on basic computer introduction, introduction to FOSS, comparison between Linux and windows, basic Linux commands, open office Writer, open office Calc and Impress. The students learnt and practiced various assignments on open office. The main motive of the workshop was to make students comfortable with Linux environment and introduce Open Office as a powerful tool.
These workshops have been a huge success and have helped students appreciate FOSS and recognize its potential benefits. They are a step towards instilling confidence in the principles of FOSS.
Drupal and Open Source Content Management Systems
In line with the preferred use of Free Open Source Software System (FOSS), the college decided to adopt Drupal - an open source content management system - in the process of the restructuring of the college website. The dynamic database driven content management system enables administrators to upload content and update the website through browser based interface. No more tedious HTML rewrites and FTP uploads, because website management can be as easy as managing email. Drupal allows users to post text entries, forums, polls, events, photo galleries and a host of other content types right out of the box. File uploads and WYSIWYG editors that one usually sees in Office applications can be integrated into the system with utmost ease.
To introduce the power of Drupal to faculty and students, the college organizes workshops on Drupal. The first among these was a two-day workshop conducted from February 1-2, 2010 in the college premises by Mr. Abhishek Nandakumar and Mr. Amit Bhardwaj, two final year students pursuing Computer Science in the college. Another workshop to introduce PHP was conducted on March 15, 2011 by Mr. Neeraj Narayan, Senior Software Developer, Huawei technologies Pvt, Ltd, Bengaluru. It involved hands-on sessions on creating, managing and publishing content on the web. On March 16 2011, Mr. Tarun Sharma, Scientific Assistant, Department of Computer Science and Manpreet Singh Anand, a student of B.Sc (H) Computer Science conducted a hands on session of working on Drupal.