While accessing email at IIT, we worked on a program called PINE, (Program for Internet News and Email), a great piece of software working on AT&T's Unix. I already had enough exposure on Unix while doing PG at Govt College of Engineering, Farmagudi, Ponda, Goa which had a NELCO Mini computer working on Unix, first one in an educational institution in western India after VJTI and IIT Bombay ! Days and nights endless in the computer centre, experimeneting with Unix and C !! Though my first steps to computing was through FORTRAN from the IBM mainframe computer at Govt College of Engineering Trivandrum (CET) from 1981-86, the foray into C programming language was made at Goa Engineering College.
While I was getting ready to present my very first seminar report in Dec '98 at IIT Bombay, it was a real tough time, composing it in Windows, spell checking, aligning and copying it on to floppies to be take printouts, realigning the output for proper printouts etc etc. It was a very troubling and painful exercise.
I found that some of my other colleagues were efficiently working on a different operating system on the terminals in the computer centre at IIT Bombay. I was curious to know what were they working on and how were things happening in a different operating system called Solaris (Unix based) in the Computer Centre.
I also wanted to know how my PG classmates were handling document preparation through a software package called LaTeX, getting their docs converted to PDF (portable document format) .. Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system.
I went onto learn and apply LaTex, Linux / Solaris OS applications like Octave, SPSS etc.. I could also take four to five workshops in IIT Bombay for PG and doctoral students on how to program / prepare their documents in LaTeX, use xfig etc on behalf of the Research Scholars Forum (RSF) .
I can also should proudly say that Goa Engineering College was the first educational institution in Western and Southern India to install MOODLE, the e-learning package by summer of 2004. We also got final year Mechanical Engineering students to login and work thru MOODLE for my 2 subjects to start with. Two months after our installation in GEC, IIT Bombay rolled out it's MOODLE installation and after a year or two maybe, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.
While at IIT Bombay, we also had the good fortune to bring Richard Mathew Stallman, the founder of the GNU/Linux movement from MIT to IIT Bombay and Goa Engineering College in 2002 and 2003 respectively with generous help from my friends at the Goa Linux Users Group, especially Frederick Noronha.
|Richard Mathew Stallman, MIT, founder of|
Free Software Foundation .