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October 5, 2010 / Nandha kumar

Three Nights @ HackFest2010

Hi to all,

Myself and My Friend Ramachandran , registered ourselves for the Hackfest 2010 to be held at IIT-Madras .

Its basically a coding event and is also a Part of Shaastra 2010 – A Great event that is conducted every year at IIT.

I got the details regarding the event from ILUGC mailing list and regsitered for it online.

Me and Ram got through the Initial online questionnaire . This questionnaire was to test our exposure to Linux and its tools like gedit, make files, terminal, pastebin and also linux commands . They even said like we can use google and find answers for the questions.

Initially they dint announce the event dates. Then after a week or so, The entire Shaastra event for schduled on Sept 29 to Oct 3. The Hackfest event was scheduled from 30 sept to 2 oct. The event time was from 8.30 PM  to 5 AM in the morning.

We also got the complete schedule details via email. We participated in it and it was a good experience.

HACK NIGHT – I – Sept 30

Today Me and Ram met at IIT and reached for the Hackfest venue at around 5 PM. There was an Intro Talk about hackfest by one of the IIT student names Pranesh. The event was organised by 2nd and 3rd Year students of IIT [ Great ].

I was really amazed at the IIT students and their involvement in each and every thing they do. They have also done several project on Opensource. I was excited about that.

The Intro Talk was about what hackfest actually is . The theme idea is “Scratch Your Itch” . We may face several issues with apps we use . Hackfest is a place or a startup where one can actually work on and fix the issue.

This time the Hackfest had plans to work on projects like Google Android, GNOME, KDE, Minix and Kernel Hacking. They have also called up experts from these projects as Mentors.

There was also a second questionnaire to us before two days to the event. This questionnaire was to select and give the list of projects [ From the above 5 ] to hack.

Google Android – Pratul kalia [ Drupal winner ]

GNOME – Yuvi Panda [ Gsoc 2010 winner for Gnome – cheese ]

KDE – Nikhil  [ Seasons of KDE winner ]

Minix and Linux kernel Hacking – IIT students

I personally chose Android [ I have not worked with it before]. And also gave Gnome and KDE as next options. I was assigned in Android Project.

Ram gave Gnome and KDE. Ram was assigned in Gnome project.

Now, Around 10 PM , all were gathered in Opensource LAB at CSE Department of IIT-M. There they conducted an Intro session About



It was interesting and uesful . Then we were assigned individual systems to work with . My mentor was Pratul Kalia – A GSoc Winner for Drupal project and also a IIT-Kanpur candidate. Currently He works there in a Research project. He is the one who gave intro talk on git and irc.

We all settled in our systems and Pratul started the Intro about Google Android, His contributions to the Project, and the basic functionalities of it.

Before dwelling with the project, They asked us to work and see IRC. So, we tried it. But since the entire lab was connected to proxy server and initially there was no IRC client installed in each system [ Debian ] , We tried to install it manually.

We got really serious problems like Network down, etc. So, We dropped the Idea of IRC.

Then Pratul asked an Idea for designing an app for Android. Since NO one of us had android supported mobile, we planned to do a simple app called “Miser App”.

This app is helpful in managing data like the money lent to and borrowed from other by a person. We also spoke about the Interface design and the screens.

Initially we can make only a service like structure since Pratul said desgining of App’s Widget and screen design cant be completed in Three nights.

The First Hack Night got over By 3 AM.


Today I and Ram reached the venue by 7 PM. There was a talk held on VMWare. They are the main sponsors for the Shaastra event. The sppech got over by 9 PM. After Dinner, we all went to the Lab and got ready to install the needed packages.

Today I and my team tried to install Eclipse IDE – needed to run Android SDK Emulator.

Today the Hackfest team gave steps to work in chroot . In chroot root, they had placed the Shaastra Distro which has applications already installed in it. So we did that and Got the Eclipse IDE.

Now the android team tried to install the Android SDK that is needed to work on Android Emulator. Since the entire lab was still in proxy mode, we couldnot get the package via Internet. So ,we were trying all possible ways to install it.

Then our mentor, Pratul gave an Idea if copying the packages from already installed machines. One girl from IIT had already installed SDK Eclipse in her laptop and we took that source in a pend drive and tried to install it.

This time we got permission problems to install and also the same proxy problems. We got stuck and was thinking on wat to do.

Then atlast we somehow put the source in a local server and setup the Android environment in all our systems. In between I tired the way of installing the package via Internet. Since the proxy was free and all others were busy extracting from local machine, I got it installed easily.

By now, the time was around 4.30 AM. And we have installed Android – SDK , git . Now, Pratul showed us his code of android apps. He also explained the fundamental code structure in Android and also described the code.

Then We discussed our Miser app in detail and started to home around 6 AM


Today Me and Ram Reached IIT at around 4.30 PM. We visited the stalls that were put near Gajendira Circle. Many stalls like Vestas, VMWare, BOSCH, Indian Defence , Learning Abroad, etc were put up. There were also many food stalls.

Then We attended a FOSS Talk around 7 PM . The talk was about Web Hacking . It was quite interesting and Then We had dinner reached to Lab at 9.30 PM.

Today we started with the Initial designing of UI for the Miser App. The first screen was to display the texts ” I lent ” and “I borrowed” on the Emulator.

Initially we created the “Hello world” app by refferring to Android website . It was done. Then we saw the layouts used in Android and used a Linear layout to design our Initial screen. I did that and started with the next step.

Inbetween there were many distractions and we couldnot do anything after that.

The Last Hack Night also got over.

During the Three nights, the IIT students gave a talk about the Shaastra Distro they have made.

It is a customised version of Ubuntu and also got many Engineering Apps like Scilab in it. The second year students of CSE-IIT have also created few Apps like quill and also have bundled with this distro. The Apps were designed to give general help on Linux Commands. All the Applications were Great.

The other projects also did their Best.

Gnome – made few patches to bugs and also did a non-distractive text editor.

KDE – made few patches to the bugs

I was really happy to see many students and their interests towards OpenSource. Even Though I could not do something useful in Hack Night, I learnt Many things in Hack Night like

Working days and Nights in Project

Team work



Finally I enjoyed a lot.

Happy Hacking




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