Friday, March 03, 2006

FOSS @ Chennai Engineering Colleges

Most of the private colleges seem to be waking upto FOSS(atlast).Credit goes to the students(fanatics? ;) who are making sure that the management wakes up and notices.

We are however still a long way from how academia and FOSS can co-exist.Heck, I'll go ahead and say it.. Even the IIT's are not at the same level that UCB/MIT were in the early 1980's.

Come to think of it, engineers being produced out of Factories today really really need a Indian version of Bill Joy.It need'nt be a IIT which delivers that.Future engineers today need a who delivers on the Innovation front.

What Chennai based engineering colleges need is *one* annual event spread over a week and kept trully academic and encompasses FOSS and other (computer related technologies,Shaastra doesn't count).It needn't be a competetive event.Maybe something held in June-July(hols!) wherein students can meetup and present seminars/conduct workshops/share idea's/get peer-reviews on their research work and even showcase what they did for their final-sem projects.

I just wish the FOSS scene was better when I was a student.

Anyway, keep up the good work guys.

5 Comments:

At 12:23 AM, March 04, 2006, Anonymous Prashanth said...

To the look at the reasons there are no major student gatherings in India

#1 Despotism
some professors turn aristocrats when they go into an administerial line. All respect for science is thrown out of the window and "moral highlines" takes precedence. It started with no Camera Phones on campus. Then no driving withing campus. Then no Cell phones on campus. then it went on to non technical aspects of life. All this in one of the biggest technical universities of the world. Is this a suitable atmosphere to sow the seeds of science?

#2 Lack of Motivators

A large number of professors seem to be into teaching as a profession. All said and done its "research" that forms the cream of pie. It would help if we had people to look up to.. people who are researching the unknown to cure us of ignorance :-)

#3 Lack of unity

Ok now that I have ranted enough abt others. A large part of the blame also belongs to the student community. There is simply no sense of unity especially in the southern states. The logistical nightmare that can be caused by a technical event as long and as large as you mentioned needs more than a few shoulders to bear the burden.

 
At 3:33 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Toufeeq said...

I'll answer all three of these points.

1. Depotism
You can't say this restricts research.If you feel some prof is acting Mr-Big-Shot you needn't discuss your stuff with him.Come on, it's the age of the internet, you should be consulting folks from MIT/Stanford for your academic researh rather than asking your college prof's.

2. Look towards the IEEE,ACM and the Universities in the US.Looks towards Google..Don't turn back and look towards your-factory.

3. This sadly is true and I can't offer much help on this.But consider this, each college has a "LUG"(or they say they have) , that means 1 guy in that college/Uni is very active.Find and bring together these "one-man-armies" of Engg colleges.That's all that's needed.You don't need the *whole Comp Sc* for this, just their star FOSS advocate.I'm not saying it's easy but you guys should start-off something which later generations can build upon.

 
At 5:14 PM, March 04, 2006, Anonymous Prashanth said...

its not that the restrictions have an effect on research. its just that they create an aura of incompetence. Its a silent killer. They are brain washing people into thinking that cell phones are bad. anyone in a t-shirt is a possible terrorist and oh before i leave this one, networks are only used for transferring pr0n.

IEEE, ACM journals are all available but the number of students who really access them is sadly very low. as for inspiring teachers... i would vote for http://pramode.net/

 
At 6:49 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Toufeeq said...

Prash,
Don't let something as meaningless as T-shirts/Cellphone usage get into the picture.Sure, the environment for academic research is crippled by these hinderences but those are small hurdles to overcome.

Remember the 70's and the 80's was a period of Cold War and every engineer was supposed to submit himself for THE DRAFT in the US.If people could come out with such ground breaking work during that era,I see no reason why in the 2006 academic research is such a huge letdown.

The problem is not just academic research,research in particular is a letdown _today_.I sort of work for a corporate RnD group.When I mention that to people the first thing I get is .."Oh! But there would not be much onsite chances in that." I smile,tilt my face and do a sympathetic "bob" with my head.

Indian's today are working on top of what was accomplished in the West.That's good in a way,it's similar to what Newton said "I'm great because I stood on the shoulders of giants" and it's good, but for once we too need to be one among the giants.

 
At 2:41 PM, January 20, 2012, Blogger mithun said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. My Way My blog. Toufeeq Hussain