The Vocational Higher Secondary School (VHSS) at Irimpanam is probably the only school in town with a ‘Swathanthra Software Koottayma' (free software collective), which meets every month and executes educational projects.


The school is celebrating ‘software freedom day' on Thursday with a host of presentations, interactive sessions and demonstrations.

Sameer Mohammed Thahir, Indian Libre User Group Kochi (I-LUG Kochi) activist, will open the day's programme at 2.30 p.m. with an introduction to the philosophy of free software, seeking to sensitise students on the advantages of using free software tools.

Free OS

He will also talk on GNU/Linux operating systems and applications.

Sidharth K. Bhattathiri, a class-IX student of the school, will give a demonstration of KToon 2D animation tool, using which he has made a five minute animation movie.

“It is not a grand production, but Sidharth has done a commendable job by making the movie based on a children's tale. Its sound, background score, dialogue, everything was conceived and executed by him using KToon,” M.R. Sanal Kumar, free software enthusiast and teacher at VHSS, Irimpanam, said.

Later in the day, Mr. Sanal Kumar will give a demonstration of TiddlyWiki, a reusable non-linear personal web notebook that offers plenty of possibilities thanks to its numerous features.

Free software Ubuntu's educational applications will be introduced by Thomas P. Yoyaku, the school's IT coordinator.

Many accolades

Students of the school have won accolades for taking commendable strides in localising free software applications.

Last year, a group of students from the school fashioned a Malayalam menu for Tux Paint, a free and open source bitmap graphics editor for children.

The menu was later incorporated into the newer versions of Tux Paint, which has an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects and a cartoon mascot that helps children use the programme.

The free software collective of VHSS, Irimpanam, executes educational projects.