A seminar was held in our institute today by members from CDAC, Pune (Center for Development of Advanced Computing, Pune) on BOSS GNU/Linux (Bharat Operating System Solutions). For those of who haven't heard of BOSS GNU/Linux, it is basically a Linux distribution made for use in Indian institutions, Government agencies and NGOs. Even the Indian Navy uses BOSS! The equation for the distribution is basically as follows:

Debian Etch + localisation-projects = BOSS

I was told that they have support for the 22 official Indian languages as of now. While their prime focus is on the localisation work, they have some other interesting areas as well, one of which is a diagnostics tool which will make it easier for the developers to handle bug reports from the users. I might just decide to work on this in the near future. :)

So I left at around 9.30 in the morning to pick up the three gentlemen from the hotel at which they were putting up, and by around 10.30, we were good to go! The department serminar hall was packed with 2nd years and a handful of 3rd and 4th years (wonder where the rest of them were). Anyways, the CDAC folks started off with an introduction to FOSS (a few of the 2nd years had got a dose on that from myself a week ago) and then gave the students an overview of BOSS. Unfortunately for our institute's already tarnished reputation, the worst of the lot from 2nd year were present in the hall and they were rather wild (not necessarily intrigued by Linux here). In the tea break that followed, almost half the crowd left, which in my opinion was a good thing because only the cream among the crowd was left. The sessions resumed again, with presentations which explained all the basics of working with fonts like Unicode and ASCII, the font rendering engines and so forth. They also demonstrated the use of the Indian fonts in Open Office Writer and then proceeded to show a completely localised GNOME. This was then followed by an overview of the BOSS GNU/Linux installation (which is basically the Lenny graphical installer with the BOSS splash). We were then handed out a couple of LiveDVDs, which I'll probably put up in our local FOSS repository. Anyways, I'll be giving the juniors a hands-on session with the Linux installation process (it's going to be Ubuntu) next week. Please do turn up. :)