During the vacation, I visited the University of Peradeniya. Unlike other visits for `official' purposes, this was a purposeless visit, just to meep people and see around. I spend the morning at the Faculty of Engineering and met a lot of old friends and lectures. Also spent a short while at the `server room' where LK-LUG server lives, and fixed a small problem with the network card driver after a recent upgrade. In the afternoon, I visited the newly built IT Center. Chinthaka Kumarasiri of LK-LUG was there, and I met Thusitha, a very old schoolmate of mine, who also happened to be Chinthaka's roommate. I spent the afternoon `sight-seeing' and on photography. Some of the `selected' photographs can be found here.
After the FOSS week and 1001 other things, finally I decided to use some of my leave. However, I decided to deviate from the usual practice of using leave for non-work related activities and trips, and just spend some time doing one of the most relaxing things in the world: nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, but to sit by the flowing waters and watch swimming fish, or listen to birds sing, looking for changing patterns of clouds, or a pleasent mixure of them all; no deadlines, no commitments, no responsibilities. I choose week days to travel so to avoid traffic. I went home (Kotmale) on Tuesday the 4th through Avissawella. The road was very scenic and it was a treat to drive by misty mountains and flowing rivers. I decided to go through Nawalapitiya (instead of Hatton), but the road between Ginigathhena and Nawalapitiya is being reconstructed and will have to be avoided for the next few months. The holiday was nice and calm, and I didn't make any major trips except to the University of Peradeniya on the 8th. Apart from sleeping late and just hanging around the garden, I also found a bit of time for some photography. My mother helped me with selecting scenic angles. She also happily `forced' me to go to a car wash to clean the otherwise ignored exterior of the Jimny... ;-) The number of cats had grown to three this time, with the new addition of two kittens. However my mother doesn't like petting them too much, although she is very keen to feed them and advocates their `freedom'. So me and my brother had to do a bit of `training' for them to stay in human hands and one such training sessions ended up with a bleeding finger. I returned on Monday the 10th and it was also a pleasent journey which took only a few hours.
Following the Asia OSSS Code Fest, we had a miniature version of it on Saturday, partly for everyone to get the hang of it, and partly to close out urgent pending items on Taprobane. UCSC kindly provided logistics, in addition to a lot of encouragement. There was a quite a number of known faces including Anuradha Weeraman, Bud (his blog entry on the event is here), Chamindra, Chamath, Deep, Kosala, Mahangu and Tharindu of UCSC. Many others joined from the UCSC (don't rememebr all the names, may be next time), including Gowri who maintains the network. We managed to get the infrastructure setup within a couple of hours, including an apt-proxy. Unfortunately, we couldn't figure out a neat way to go out of the network and connect to IRC or SSH, and this forced us to use a local ircd instead. Anuradha Weeraman was working on the installer, Mahangu on the Taprobane documentation project, and Bud and myself worked on closing bug reports for a quick 0.4.2 and close out this branch. Lot of interesting work was going on all over including installing, testing, remastering and so on. There was a wired set of IBM machines with some strange CDROM drives, and booting Taprobane on them was impossible. However, Tarindu managed to install Taprobane on one of them over the network by manually copying files and running grub. Dr Ruwan, director of UCSC, visited us in the afternoon. Being a hacker himself, he has been a big supporter of FOSS activities in Sri Lanka. We are planning on the next codefest on the 15th. If anyone is interested, contact me or ask on the Taprobane list.