Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All characters in this story are fictitious, but any resemblance to people living or dead may be considered purely intentional ;-).

Last week, there was a program conducted in my department on Open Source technologies. A person named Pukka Ram from LGISL was the one who was to speak on it. Couple of minutes into the meeting, I found that it was not about Open Source but about selling Projects to final year students! What difference does LGISL have compared to the other Student Project Centers? It actually infuriated me. Mainly because, I did not make a single page of word document ready leave alone the print out of it for my CASE tools lab record(I had my semester exams in three days). I planned to do that during the last hour of that day. This meeting took over it. Initially before the meeting started, I thought maybe open source would be of some help. But when this was about selling project I was upset and angry.

He connected his reliance data card to the system available at our seminar hall. And showed us his PACS software. He said that, normally PACS costs around 1.2 crores and he had finished it for 6.5 Lacs. His PACS was very poor. In terms of user interface and in terms of functionality. Poor chap; he didn’t know that I had witnessed far superior PACS software developed by a German Company for 20 Lacs. It was 100 times better than the PACS software he showed us. He was speaking so high of LG Group. Ok, he is their employee, can’t blame him.

His reliance data card often lost signal. He brought a very intelligent assistant who did not know to work with Mozilla Firefox, it switched to ‘work offline mode’, and he did not have a clue of what happened to the browser! I wondered how that person could demonstrate the software which Mr. Pukka Ram had brought us. Anyway, atleast Mr. Pukka Ram knew how to operate Mozilla Firefox, so he changed the mode!

He teasingly said, "This is the problem with Windows you see."

I was holding my anger but at that point I couldn’t control it. I loudly shouted, “No!”

At that instant I remembered the part in The order of the Phoenix, where Harry Potter loses his temper and shouts that ‘Voldemort has returned’. Atleast he got Detentions, Sivan Sir who was attending the meeting was the only staff who was present there. I had no worries what so ever?

I could see anger peeping out of Mr. Pukka Ram’s face, on a person shouting ‘No’. I continued, “I have Ubuntu in my home. It is highly difficult to configure internet to Linux based OS unless you have internet! I could not listen to songs at the instant I install Ubuntu!”

His answer was, “Nowadays, companies like DELL are providing Linux based laptops with easy access to internet and other plugins!”

From his answer I could conclude that, he did not clearly understand my question and that he was so obsessed with the ‘Open Source tag’.

Mr. Pukka Ram forgot that the problem was with Mozilla which was the same browser in Linux too.

He continued his speech. Now he was showing us the room management module in his hospital management software.

As he was explaining reliance data card had completely stopped providing signal! Think artificial intelligence had reached its highest level at that point; the data card could read my mind, detect my anger and disconnect. He he:-P.

Mr. Pukka Ram changed the topic, surprisingly, he did not find fault with Reliance data card for not being open source.

He asked ‘How many of you had decided your final year projects? Please raise your hand’

None raised the hand.

He was quite shocked. He changed the question asked ‘How many of you had not decided your final year projects? Please raise your hand’

None raised the hand again.

I have always lamented about this hyper-responsiveness of my class. But on that day, it made me happy.

He said, “It’s very difficult if you people are like this!” And he spoke about recession. Goodness me. These days it has become a common trend to all speakers. After Ladies and Gentleman, recession has become the most sought word in a speech. Mr. Pukka Ram was no exception. Probably he did not know Java, if he had, he would have caught this exception and handled it. He he :-P (Sorry for this mokkai(poor joke), couldn’t help it. Kindly forgive me and continue your read :-|)

He said, “It’s very difficult to get a job in this period of recession”

This was the only point in his speech which I agreed with!

And this man provided a superb solution which was icing on the cake. He said, “Come to LGISL. We provide you quality training in Open Source technologies like PHP, LAMP, Ruby on Rails, Linux etc., And we give you your final year project for Rs.10,000!” That was the pinnacle of that program.

I thought, ‘You sell projects for 10,000 Rs. You ----- (fill in the blank with whatever word that comes to your mind:-P, I can’t write it here because my blog censor board has prevented me from writing it here), what respect do you expect from me’

I lost my temper once again and once again shouted, “Open Source Technology itself is free.” Why the hell I thought, but didn’t say that, I polished the statement and said “Why should I pay you money?”

His reply was, “Open Source technology is free. But you will earn money through it. The skills won’t go waste. It will help you fetch jobs. So the skills you learn will be useful”

I finally concluded, he will speak high of Open Source Technology and the so called final year project which LGISL is providing for the students at a shoe string budget of Rs. 10,000 for the welfare of student community. So there was no point in talking to him. My friend Arun had taken that decision very early. That’s why he always holds an advantage over me!

Then finally when everyone thought that the meeting was over, my friend Karthikeyan came up with a question.

“I already know these open source technologies. Then what does LGISL provide me?”

Mr. Pukka Ram said that such students will get a discount and they can do their own projects by paying Rs. 4,000.

That statement was the master-piece in that program! I had to pay 4,000 to LGISL to do a project of my own.

Couple of week’s back I went to meet my friend Kalyani who was admitted in LG hospital for a surgery. When I left, I was shocked seeing a board, at the hospital exit.

Trauma Care

Heart Attack

Brain Attack

We are available 24 hours a day!

‘Brain Attack’, I was shocked by this term. Ok, they may be referring to the Stroke I thought. But laughed my heart out on seeing that term. Only later, when I attended this program, I understood the meaning of that term!

Was it like some kind of a tax? If he is demanding such stuff from our college students what would be the case in their own engineering and arts and science colleges. I feel pity for those students.

Now after the program, I learnt one thing, don’t ever attend a meeting from a LGISL person.

But one question was lingering in my mind for a long time after this program, “What is Open Source?”