Over 200 of them turned up at FOSS-related events

More than 200 students from schools and pre-university (PU) colleges in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Kasaragod participated in competitions based on open-source software in a city college on Thursday. The event titled “Byte-Struck '12” was held at P.A. College of Engineering (PACE), to create awareness about free open-source software (FOSS) among high school and PU students.

FOSS is non-proprietary software.

Deviprasath, a student at PACE and one of the co-ordinators for the event, told The Hindu that the aim of the event was to apprise the students of the fact that Linux could be interactive.

Workshops

The event included two workshops. Students of class 8, 9, and 10 participated in the workshop titled “Build Your Own Blocks” (BYOB); and finished an assignment that required them to use basic programming skills. The assignment was an introduction to writing simple codes using open-source software. Since it is more visual and has drag-and-drop features, it is user-friendly and meant for entry-level users of FOSS such as schoolchildren.

The other workshop “Etoys” boasted a higher difficulty level than BYOB and aimed at familiarising PU students with writing programs using open- source software.

Local users

There is a Linux Users Group (LUG) in Mangalore. Two groups employ open-source software in Mangalore. One group includes the students from the Department of Information Science and Computer Science of PACE, students of National Institute of Technology (NIT-K), Surtathkal make-up the other group.

Aravind, a PACE student and an organiser of the event, said they were publicising the idea that anybody could use Linux. “Linux is not for geeks, it is for all and it is user-friendly,” he said. While 107 teams of 214 students participated in BYOBs, 37 teams of 74 students participated in Etoys, he said.

Before the workshops commenced, the students participated in an informal quiz. Pranav, Sharad, Rushab and Preethesh, all students of Sharada Vidyalaya, said that Linux had a good design, was secure and could be personalised.

On the other hand, it couldn’t support new applications, and games were for Windows platform, they said.

Earlier, the Principal of PACE, S.A. Khan, said that budding engineers should start thinking of what they could do with open-source software.

The Hindu was the media partner for the event.

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