One day workshop was organized on 3rd April 2014 at IT Park, Kavre, Nepal on the theme of raising awareness of Open Standards. The workshop was conducted by KUOSC and FOSS Nepal. Depart of IT and KU were supporters and Central Department of Library and Information Science, Tribhuwan University, Open Knowledge Foundation Nepal, Mozilla Nepal, Wikimedia Nepal were there as celebrating partners. The participants of the program are IT focal persons from different ministries of Government of Nepal, faculty members from Kathmandu University and Tribhuwan University, some colleges, TU Library Science Students and and some ICT stakeholders from local community.
- Birendra Kumar Mishra, Chief Guest, Director General , DoIT.
- Dr. Manish Pokhrel, Special Guest,
- Mr. Bhim Dhoj Shrestha , Special guest,
- Mr. Subhir Pradhananga, FOSS Nepal President,
- Adesh Neupane, KUOSC coordinator.
Adesh Neupane gave the short welcome words. Then, to kick start the official program the inauguration speech was given by chief guest Mr. Birendra Kumar Mishra.
Mr. Birendra pointed out the now and them facts on how documents logs were kept. More than hundreds years older documents log were kept secure but also it had to be preserved for future. Now electronic representation of those documents are being done, which is good but data lock problem is being raised and seen there, Because documents created in one environment couldn’t be read by other. So, open standard is needed and is a must today. He concluded his speech by saying,
“let’s unlock the locks.”
DFD and Open Standards
Mr. Subir Pradhananga and Mr. Prabin Gautam gave the first presentation of the day on Document Freedom Day and open standards. Document freedom is the freedom to use document whenever, wherever, however.
If you got a file attachment in your email, but if you can’t open that document and you need to install that particular application to open the document that created it. Then there appears to be data locking. And this clearly is not document freedom.
Previously, documents were in forms of books and copies and hand written – but now its stored digitally. A company that created document opening application after 5 or 10 years might ask you to upgrade the application, in order to access the document. or even worse, the company might dissolve. And we are unable to access our document. These two cases explain us the scenario of vendor locking.
Worldwide many countries, developed as well as developing are implementing open standards in their countries. Government needs interoperability and non vendor locking system. European Union (EU) interoperability framework requires open standard in sharing document within EU member countries. Nepal’S IT policy 2010 Vows to promote FOSS and Open Standards.
National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) India has certified Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to implement in academic institution. UK parliament recently has adopted open office for official documentation purposes.
To ensure open standards, use of open source software is the right way.
Free and Open Source Licenses
Mr. Hempal Shrestha presented on Free and open source licensing which gave a brief introduction on that topic. Unlike other Operating Systems (OS) multiple license for multiple OS is not required by Linux Operating Systems, which proves to be flexible and scalable.
Free means freedom स्वतन्त्र not free as निसुल्क. Open Source Software Philosophy is same same but different than Free Software Philosophy. Free software philosophy says every software in the world should be free. But, Open source software philosophy says some software needs to be proprietary which that needs privacy.
GNU Linux, BIND (DNS server), Sendmail, Postfix (email server) are some of the examples of FOSS initiatives. Some of the FOSS initiatives include lower IT costs, security , reliability – since many server are linux based.
Common issues: Based on GoN’s site
Mr. Prakash Neupane started his presentation on common issues found on government website’s of Nepal. Before most of the government sites were less interesting like those static website’s which of-course had information on them and were downloadable but was not up to the open standards. The limitations doesn’t even start here, let’s take an example of Budget of Kathmandu Metropolitan City 2013 . Open Knowledge Foundation Nepal (OKF-Nepal) had done open spending data party to open budget details to the public based on open standards. Those guys had to go through a lot like
- data was in pdf format in web (common people don’t understand data in pdf’s)
- data wasn’t editable and words were not understandable
- text was in preeti font
The data was later scrapped and put on tabular data on which team of data wranglers, coders, designers and documentation really put their effort. So, solution here needless to say is open standard. Data can be in XML,CSV format and font in unicode.
Another interesting example, Aid Management Platform Nepal has put documents in pdf and excel format as well, making it easy for those who just want to read and those who want to work on data.
Mr. Bobby Basnet and Mr. Aashish Belwase though seemed promising in the beginning with copy in their hands. But like YDGWYS ( You Don’t Get What You See) they couldn’t familiarize the attendees with Libre Office. More than Libre Office, other words like “Microsoft”, “Office” and “windows” were heard and repeated more. The program agenda stated “Libre Office” as presentation topic but the first slide of presentation said “Microsoft office suite programs”. A good price list comparison and discussion was done on Microsoft Office products, because according to the Microsoft website the overall price of MS Office suite application is $400.
Libre Office is the document foundation of open source software which is freely available, fully featured office productivity tool. It contains every tool you need to operate you office productivity needs. The open document extension found on Libre Office are odt (for text), ods (for spreadsheet), odp (for presentation needs), odb (for database ), odg (for graphics), odf (for formulas).
- pdf converter
- math formula editor
- export to media wiki
- supports many file formats and many more.
An interesting query was raised after presentation and that is , “While saving document there is .doc and .docx option also. Has libre office took consent of Microsoft for that?” which after a long discussion was resolved.
Latex: Document Typesetting System
Mr. Manoj Shakya, assistant professor of Kathmandu University was the presenter. Normally, after lunch sessions are expected to be less interesting and more sleepy type. It was completely different than expected. In my personal view it was the second best presentation of the day. It was like watching a suspense drama.
Latex pronounced as La = Lay and tex = tek , is a document typesetting software. Prof. Donald E. Knuth born in 1938 developed tex. Later, Prof. Leslie Lamport born on Feb 7 1941 developed packages and added on Tex and called Latex. It is widely popular in university, government and research activities.
Latex is not a word processor. Unlike libre office or Microsoft office tools, it is not WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) tool. It is a markup language and document type setting. The benefits of using Latex is that focus is on content and style, and image modification and mathematical functions are much more easier to write.
To get started you will need 3 things
- Tex/Latex implementation
- text editor
- pdf viewer
According to different OS
- Windows – MikTex / – Adobe Reader
- Mac – MacTex / – Tex Maker
- Lunux – TexLine / -Gummi
You can try it online too in following website’s.
If you have browser and internet, you can go to these sites and use latex. The extension of latex is (dot)tex. Also, a template making facility is available if you have more than 25 pages of document to work on. Make one standard template and all will use the same. The pdf created by latex will bring same output in any browser/platform/OS even after hundred’s of years. So if you don’t want to compromise in quality and want best result oriented document typesettin application then latex is the best right choice of all.
Open Web Standards
Mr. Manish Jung Thapa also known as MJT gave his presentation on open web standards. We were trying to see our future in web, and there was terminator and matrix of course to assist us. But then came along the chicken wings and the depth behind its future too. (Jokes apart) The outline of this presentation was closely related to what we nowadays hear “web is the future”. You can do anything and everything on web and it is limitless. The use of open web standards opens new possibilities and enables innovation.
While giving examples to better explain the slides, Mr. Manish took the liberty of taking an example from thumb recognition feature on election voters list collection campaign, asking what are the standards to test the security of our thumb prints. To which he got an official answer in-his-ear that “your identity and thumb print is safe in our records”.
Library and Information Services [LIS] and Document Freedom
Mr. Bhim Dhoj Shrestha gave presentation on “Library and Information Services [LIS] and Document Freedom” related to Custodians of knowledge and their role in promoting open standards. The sole purpose of document freedom day is requirement of document freedom through open standards. Information is not only in library, it is everywhere being digitized electronically. It gives us much more reasons to take care about document freedom.
Open standard and formats keep alive the creators work, or else the work dies with creators death. The internet evolution is also a type of revolution/movement as document freedom.
More about Mr. Bhim Dhoj Shrestha’s presentation in Document Freedom Day 2013
He can be reached for further queries firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction to Moodle: Open Source Learning Platform
Mr. Rajesh Manandhar presented on Moodle which is a short form of Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Education Platform. This presentation was more based on Kathmandu University (KU)’s adoption of Moodle for better learning experience. Recently moodle version 2.6.1 was released. Moodle.org is the place for user community of moodle and moodle.com is the company website of moodle. Martin Douglas developed Moodle. In Dec 2010 with the initiation of KOICA, Moodle initiation was started in KU.
Lastly the program was wrapped with Q & A and Discussion.