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‘WannaHelp’ secure cyber space from attacks

Volunteers of Free Software Users Group, Thiruvananthapuram and International Centre for Free and
Open Source Software came together to popularise Open Source Softwares

Published: 11th June 2017 11:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2017 05:26 AM   |  A+A-

Participants at the Linux installation workshop which was held at the Public Library  Manu R Mavelil

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: ‘WannaHelp’ is the response from free software enthusiasts in the city to cyber scares such as WannaCry which hit thousands of computers worldwide. Volunteers of Free Software Users Group, Thiruvananthapuram (FSUG TVM) and International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) came together to familiarise Linux based computers which are considered more secure than many operating systems. The GNU/Linux installation workshop was held at the State Central Library hall. Many youngsters came with laptops and pen drives to copy their choice operating systems and softwares.

The event also marked the revival of FSUG TVM’s activities, which has been dormant for some time. Once again the city which found a place in Free Software Movement worldwide saw youths actively engaged in evangelising free and opens source softwares.

There are a wide range of operating systems, user interfaces and applications to meet the requirements of the users. From simple operating system that takes minimal space one can choose rich operating systems such as SteamOS. Similarly one can choose from a wide range of interfaces (MATE, Gnome Shell, Unity, or Cinnamon) to the Linux based OS. Many of these softwares are not familiar to an average user. But FSUG wants to convey that all kinds of free softwares are available which can match those one buys from the market at a hefty price.

WannaCry threat in the state and the city in particular was minimal, thanks to the pioneering steps in promoting free and open source softwares. Only a few government computers using old proprietary operating system were affected.
But the issue brought to light the importance of using open source operating systems and application softwares in computers and smartphones.

When a parent buys personal computers or laptops for their children, not much focus is given to the kind of operating system it has. Users have the choice of open source operating systems such as GNU/Linux or the more popular OS such as Windows. But the decision has a lot of importance in the way a child bonds with computers.

A person familiar with one operating system tends to use it in future as well. “Operating systems such as Windows is a proprietary OS of Microsoft. One has to pay to get its license. But open softwares are free from these problems because a community maintains it and source code is known. The children actually becomes smarter and independent while using open source softwares,” said Praveen Arimbrathodiyil, a free software evangelist and a member of Free Software Users Group.

Types of free OS

  • Debian -  a Unix-like computer operating system, composed entirely of free software
  • Linux Mint - powerful and easy to use operating system
  • Ubuntu -  Linux operating system for personal computers, tablets and smartphones
  • elementary OS -is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu

Free Open source softwares

  • LibreOffice - office suite
  • GIMP is a cross-platform image editor
  • VLC or MPlayer - media player software
  • Scribus - desktop publishing (DTP) application
  • Blender - 3D computer graphics software product
  • Kdenlive - Non-linear video editing software
  • LaTeX-is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting
  • Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics editor; it can be used to create or edit vector graphics such as illustrations, diagrams, line arts, charts, logos and complex paintings
  • Krita - painting program

How to install open source OS

  • Visit the website of open iso you want - damien, ubuntu, mint
  • Download the ISO file in bootable disk or pen drive
  • Insert the pen drive/disk and restart the system
  • In BIOS mode start booting from disk/ pen drive
  • Keep disk space of 2 GB to 20 GB for OS and other application softwares

3 advantages of GNU Linux

  • All software available are from trusted source
  • By design, no auto play from pen drives
  • Source code is known, peer reviewed


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