Tamil Wikipedia edit-a-thon – Automation

Tamil Wikipedians are conducting a two day automation workshop & edit-a-thon to Upload articles about Temples in Tamil Nadu.

Recently, Tamil Nadu government provided data about ~40,000
temples in Tamilnadu in an excel sheet. As the data is authentic, Tamil Wikipedians wish to publish all the details in Tamil Wikipedia.

Instead of manually creating articles with the content, we can write bot, a.k.a small program to publish the contents in ta.wikipedia.org, automatically.

Tamil Wikipedia team, conducting a two days event to complete this task in a single go.

We invite you learn about Wikipedia, Wikipedia API, writing bots for wikipedia etc.,

Dates : Feb 18,19 2017 (two days)

Time : 10.00 – 4.00

Venue : Chennai Institute of Technology

Sarathi Nagar, Kundrathur, State Highway 113, Chennai – 69

Route : Free College bus will be available from Kundrathur Bus stand by 9 AM.

Govt buses are available from Pammal Bus Stand. Google Map directions here . https://goo.gl/maps/VJrtpHmj3Mx

Contact : Ravi – (Nine 94316830 Four, Nine 98699333 Six)

All are welcome.

Formal announcement on Tamil Wikipedia can be found here.

Attend the event to learn wikipedia APIs, writing bots, helping wikimedia community with programming.

Attending the event, any one the day also fine.

Thinking on a hosted planet solution – share your thoughts

Planet is a awesome RSS aggregation software used to collect blog posts from a list of blogs.


Most of the free software communities host their planet instance, add all their community member’s blogs.

Example –

The community members can write their blog posts anywhere, like wordpress.com, blogger.com or on their own site, with RSS feature enabled.

With planet, we can see all their posts on a single place.

But, we need a VPS to install planet.
As this costs money, most of the tech communities dont have a planet RSS aggregation.

Thinking of providing a free SAAS model planet solution for the tech communities.

Example domain is freeplanet.org

Now, anyone can register, get a subdomain, get a planet instance for that subdomain, and add blogs of their members.

Example – ilugc.freeplanet.org, chennaipy.freeplanet.org,

Is there any such available already?

Is it possible to build such a system with planet software or similar software?

The current planet support a single instance. How can we make it as SAAS software?

Share your thoughts.


Minutes – ILUGC Feb 2017 meet

Indian Linux Users Group, Chennai community is meeting every month second saturday at Aerospace Engineering, IIT Madras.

Yesterday, we had out feb 2017 meeting.

Ajay started with Various open source licenses available and explored their pros and cons. Explained how the Open Core business model is helping many companies to do their business by open sourcing the core of their software with releasing the other components as proprietary software.

See the slides here



Then, Viswaprasath from Mozilla Tamilnadu community explained about Firefox’s new web extensions api. Now we can build cross browser extensions using simple HTML/JavaScript/CSS stack. No need to play around with XUL. He explained the architecture of a simple plugin he developed.

Few links to explore on this







Then, Karthik from Mozilla Tamilnadu, explored webVR. Virtual reality using browser. Now with Three.js we can create 3d worlds that can be viewed on browser itself.

A-frame is a Javascript framework on top of threejs.

Few links




Then, he explained how the mozilla Tamilnadu community is working to spread Free/Open Software on colleges and organizations.

Join the awesome community to learn and contribute for free software.





Then, I gave a lightning talk on few projects ideas to do. A firefox plugin to help proofreading tamil wikisource, flipboard alternate in tamil, epub cleaning for FreeTamilEbooks.com, Download report for wikisource ebooks, web application for OCR4WikiSource, Translating city/street names in Tamil for building maps in Tamil. Will write a new post with all the details of these project ideas.

Asked for contributors and ideas. Students from S.Joseph Institute of Tech accepted to help on these projects. We can have a hackathon to do these projects.

Reply here if you know any place to conduct a one day hackathon.

Finally, asked all to join in ILUGC mailing list at https://www.freelists.org/list/ilugc

Our meetings will end on the cafe nearby. old mohan, new mohan, yogesh, myself and other one(sorry dude, still trying to get your name) had great discussions at cafe on building Tamil Text to Speech engine, Advantages of go over python and a lot.

Returned to home by bus with Mohan, discussing various tech, social, academic, industry trends. Interacting with energetic young people makes me feel encouraged to learn new things always.

Thanks for all the speakers and participants for building a wonderful community for GNU/Linux. Let us hope to have more events like hackathon, FossConf etc, this year.

Few photos











Ebooks Making Workshop for FreeTamilEbooks.com – Notes

Today, we conducted a workshop on Ebooks making for FreeTamilEbooks.com

at Organic Sandhai, Kurinji Book House, 27/49, Chitlapakkam 2nd main road, tambaram sanitorium, Chennai 47

We sent out the invites via google groups and facebook event.

Registration count is 11. Lakshmi, Durai. Manikandan, Dhanasekar, Innamburan, Nandhagopal are the 5 participants turned out.

In the morning session, discussed about the following.
  • FreeTamilEbooks.com – Introduction
  • Creative Commons License – Introduction
  • Devices, Apps, Software to read ebooks
  • Epub, mobi, PDF, 6 inch PDF – File Formats
  • Using Pressbooks.com to create ebooks online
  • Using LibreOffice, Calibre, Sigil to create ebooks Offline
  • Creating Cover Images
  • Publishing Ebooks


In Afternoon session, create ebooks using LibreOffice, Calibre and Sigil.

Thanks for all the participants. Special Thanks to Venue, Lunch, Tea sponsor Saravanan Thyagarajan.

Few Snaps –

How to create Ebooks using LibreOffice, Calibre, Sigil  – Demo video in Tamil

We invite you join help FreeTamilEbooks.com by  volunteering to create ebooks.

Contact Us at

What I get from 4Ccon conference?


I attended the conference 4Ccon by Free Software Movement of India from Jan 26-29, 2017

First day I handled a workshop on “Real Time Bigdata Analysis using ELK Stack”. Here are my learnings.

The Next day, was attending talks like Smart Governance, Demonetisation & Digital Infrastructure, India Stack etc. Most of the things are new to me. Have to read more about them.

The Third day went with talks like Wikipedia and FSM by Ravi, Tulu wiki community by pavanaja, GenderGap in wiki by Dhanalakshmi, IT in Classrooms by FSMK.

Last day went with FSMI meetings and elections.

The problem with multi track conferences are we love to attend many sessions happening on same time. Heard that sessions were recorded for youtube publishing.

The interesting thing with conferences is to meet interesting people, whom, we met in IRC and mailing lists for years. Putting a face to a nickname are good moments. I met few great people and got some actions items to do in the upcoming dates to collaborate with their projects.

Ravi – Wikipedia :

Discussed for a workshop on Building tools for wikipedia API. Will write a document introducing mediawiki API and python libraries like wikitools. Then, we can host a workshop in chennai.


Srikanth :

He is building Tamil Maps see in action.

Now, we need the places, city, street names in Tamil.

He has prepared the google sheets ready to be translated and posted notes / guidelines on how to translate in the same sheet.
The script to upload the translated names is also available.
Tamil Nadu has ~2000+ places to be translated. Will help on translating.
Planned for a Full Web application with mobile app, for these kind of small translation works, so that any one can easily contribute on the go.
He asked me to update the booksdb.xml of FreeTamilEbooks with all file types and Categories for all the books.
Ganesh :
Ganesh is an Electronics, Geography interested man. Asked him to start his own company to give consultations and projects on his interested areas. Requested him to fix the Pondicherry Science Planetarium machines with non working buttons, disconnected wires.
Lenin :
Lenin is a great contributor for FreeTamilEbooks. He installs offline digital libraries with wikipedia dump, Project Madurai books and FreeTamilEbooks. He demonstrated how he is using Calibre for setting up digital library. He showed few OpenText books on Chemistry and Biology. Will be good if someone translates them in Tamil. Will look for writers.
Pavanaja, Dhanalakshmi:
They are from Karnataka. Pavanaja helped the Tulu wikipedia to go Live. He asked to send details about my Project OCR4WikiSource. Hoping to see many Kannada books on WikiSource.
Dhanalakshmi is building women community on her living area. They organize edit-a-thon, and training on Wikipedia.


Selva :

He is from puduvailug. He is writing tutorials on Python in Tamil. Asked him to send to Kaniyam.com

Murugavel :

He is helping libraries to get funds, books from government and other societies. Discussed him about the idea of subscribing all govt school students on TN with nearby library. He asked to register for a society and do all the activities on behalf of the society.

Asked him to get permission for the photographs of Bharathiyar house and his friends. Hope we can publish all the bharathiyar related photos on commons. Will get a letter from Wikimedia India chapter and follow the pondy govt with the help of Murugavel and Maniraj.


She is a school teacher. She felt that it is difficult to make the wiki contributing interesting for the students. Told about the wikidata games. Asked her to explore them and comeup with the new ideas for new games. Will learn wikidata games and create few games.

Raju :

He is an intern in HamaraLinux. He is into debian packaging. Asked him for a workshop in chennai for debian packaging and other contributions for debian and hamara linux. Will explore how I can contribute for debian and hamaralinux.

SFLC.in :

Software Freedom Law Center in a lawers association for Free Software in India. Spoke with them to get the source code for TTS Engine developed by SSN, funded by MHRD via IITM. Will follow with them for RTI or other legal activities to get source code.

Community Centers at Bengaluru :

There are two community centers by FSMK. They educate poor school children daily evening.  They teach GNU/Linux, Music, Dance, Cooking, Public Speaking, Multimedia editing etc. Students demonstrated their skills with a nice skit and dance.

There are great needs of such community centers in Chennai too. Will look for the possibilities of one on Tambaram.


They demonstrated a FireFox Plugin MuLTiFlow Have to check with the author Suki Venkat, if it can be used to generate ebooks for FreeTamilEbooks.com

Tiny talks with Yogesh, Ramashesan, prasanna, puduvailug, karailug friends are encouraging me for more contributions.

With all these, the conference gave good talks about various trends.

Connecting with people creates more ideas, to-dos. With these actions items to do, I have to plan, prioritize, allocate time. Reply here if you can contribute for any of the ideas, tasks mentioned above.

Thanks for all the volunteers, organizations, sponsors for the great event.

Special Thanks to FSFTN friends for the pains of organizing this conference.

Shared few snaps here https://goo.gl/photos/J1spu2AZPokQYejm8



What I learnt from teaching ELK stack in a Workshop?

Today, I trained a mixed group of students about doing real time bigdata analysis in 4ccon, Chennai.



As the Bigdata is one of the trending words on the IT field, got around 40 participants.

The participants are from Electrical, CSE departments and few working professionals.

Though we asked everyone to bring the laptop with ELK stack preinstalled, many spot registered participants, did not get the laptop or installed anything.

Thats fine. I had one full day. We can do the installations in one hour.

There were many unexpected issues.

1. Windows laptops

I never thought that people will come with windows laptops. I did not know that ELK stack can run in windows, till I see the windows laptops.

I left windows some 10 years ago. Dont know the basic stuff to do on it. Fortunately, Mr. Sivarama selvan, from NIC, got the packages for windows and demonstrated the following

1. Installing Java
2. Setting the JAVA_HOME and path
3. Invoking logstash with a sample configuration file

Without him, I would felt hopeless. Thanks a lot sir.

2. Poor Internet

Though the college provided WiFI to all the rooms, we got very poor connectivity. Connection speed was too low. The ubuntu and redhat users lost their patients to get installed these packages from repositories.

After some time, I asked them to login to my laptop and explore the commands and use my elasticsearch and kibana to connect from chrome plugins (Elasticsearch tool box, postman). As the wifi was poor, they had to wait for a long time to check even small stuff.

3. Windows Users behaviors

Our mixed stilled participants found very tough to work with the Command Prompt in windows. Many saw it for the first time. So, traversing through various directories itself very tough. Had to teach the very basic commands like cd, dir etc. Never thought that I will be teaching MS Dos commands in the ELK workshop.

We provided Zip files for logstash, elasticsearch and kibana with sample configuration files in another zip file for logstash, Elasticsearch.

The icon for Zip file and a folder seems similar in Windows. On double clicking any zip file, it opens just like a folder. People started to double clicked the Zip file and edited the config files. When they tried to access those files from command prompt, they can not reach those files. It took much time for me to find the issue and trained them on how to extract zip files. 😦

4. Editing Files

Some opened the sample logstash config file in notepad. It showed everything in a single line. Changing some values were tough.

Some opened in MS word and save as docx files.

Some found difficulties on finding a file path to give in this sample config file.

5. curl for windows

As curl is the main tool to interact with elasticsearch, dont know how people can practise in windows without curl. Found curl for windows. Again, downloading with poor Internet, teaching how to install and how to use in command prompt was tough for me. So, missed this part. Asked people to use chrome plugins like sense, elasticseach toolbox. With these plugins, people can index only few data. They cant do bulk import of data.

6. ELK versions

Someone installed a mixed versions of ELK stack. it did not worked as I displayed on my laptop. After a deep troubleshooting session, found the version issue and installed the latest version as on my laptop.

Finally, got some handson learning.

With more than 50% of time, spent of fixing these issues, managed to explain the ELK stack. Demonstrated how to read a CSV file using logstash. Displayed the data in screen and sent to elasticsearch. Then, explained Elasticsearch. Demonstrated indexing data, importing bulk data, search, and delete. Then, explored kibana. Asked them to create visualizations and dashboards. They did it with huge interest.
Then, demonstrated how we can get data from twitter stream and analyse in kibana.

Participants are happy to get some handson with the ELK stack.

Used the following links.

Config files, sample data = https://github.com/tshrinivasan/elk-training




sample config files.


Here are my learnings:

1. Never expect internet connection.

Find a solution to setup a quick local intranet. Always go with a Wifi router. So that all VNC, SSH, web servers, file transfer can be easy and fast.

Get some portable packages for GNU/Linux too.

Always be prepared to run the workshop without internet.

2. Learn few Windows stuff and have software for windows too.

It is not good to ignore the windows users. When they come forward to learn something, we have to be prepared to teach them too.

Have a copy of ELK Zip files, curl, putty, VNC, Java setup files, Notepad++ editor, Firefox/Chrome browser etc.

3. Prepare documentation and share to participants

Prepare a how to install/setup/example document and share with all. With this document, people can explore further once they go home. If possible, create video tutorials and share online and offline.

4. Software versions

Make sure the software you use on laptop and participants using are same. ELK stak is changing a lot on every release.

5. Know the audience

Mostly, we get mixed skilled audience. I assumed that they had the basic computer skills like extracting files, understanding file path and using command line. When they lack on this, we have to start training them on the basics.

This is my first training on ELK for public. Learnt tons of stuff on my preparation hours and on workshop. Thanks for the participants. With their patience and interest on learning, the day was successful. Thanks for 4ccon volunteers for the wonderful event.

Notes on Tamil Internet Conference 2016

I attended Tamil Internet Conference 2016 at Gandhigram Rural Institute, Dindigul on Sep 9,10,11 of 2016

This time, I attended the conference with Family. Nithya and Viyan accompanied me. Nithya and Myself conducted a workshop on Python Programming for the students as Pre-Conference workshop. Happy to see that Nithya’s training method on Python is simple and easy for beginners. She is against presentations, slides. She directly jumps into handson. Once students get some taste of how easy the python programs are, they get much interest to follow the further session.

It is a paid workshop. Still the registrations were around 100. we deliberately rejected many students as we wanted to have a one computer-one person kind of handson workshop. It is a good news that many people in rural areas know about python and even readty to pay for a workshop.  Thinking on conducting more workshops there in coming days.

On the first day of conference, I presented about the project “Open-Tamil” It is a python library for to process tamil text. Mr. Muthu from Boston is a key developer. my brother Arulalan contributed a font conversion features for open-tamil. I am trying to contribute few features. We can create word games in tamil using this open-tamil. Audience appreciated on this feature.

Then, I attended other sessions related to Language technology. There were many talks on OCR, TTS, spell checker, ontology dictionary, mobile apps. Learnt that Hidden Markov Model, we can do text to speech and speech to text. Have to explore more on this.

Like previous INFITT conferences, most of the papers were to demonstrate their products. Not much internals, algorithms are discussed. None of them are in open-source. So, no way to learn, contribute, use these products. This is very sad part for the tamil development. We can see all the important needs of tamil computing. But all of these are in hidden racks. If this situation continues, the same topics will be discussed on 100th conference too. I request the academicians and research people to release their works as open source software, so that many people can contribute and create wonderful tools for public usage.

The third day had a long demonstrations of Machine translation and Text to speech. The Machine translation worked a bit. But the TTS by Prof. T.Nagarajan, from SSN Engg college, is a great tool. Gives almost native sound of a tamil speaker. But again, it was just a demo. I, as a developer, user can not use, contribute to the TTS.

All the TTS and other research are funded by the TAX money from public, by the government. But these academicians, prevent the public access for these tools. Dont know whom to contact for releasing all govt funded development works as free/open source software. Reply here if you know how to proceed further on this.

Gandhigram Rural University agreed to have Chair for INFITT on their premises.

it is a good initiative. Hope we can have continuous events, trainings, workshops and research with the university.

More than the conference papers, the preconference workshops and the half day length tutorials are much useful as they give more internals of the subjects. We have to add these events on the future conferences too.

Met many friends there. Udhayan, Badri Shesadri, Durai Manikandan, SelavaMurali Elantamil, Mugilan Murugan, Dhanesh to name a few. Discussions with these people always inspire me to do more on Tamil Computing.

Started to read on the Conference Book. It is around 500 pages. Planning with  INFITT to release this book and old conference books as epub, mobi, HTML formats.

Thanks for the INFITT team for the conference. Special Thanks to selvamurali for adding me on the organizing tasks. Got lot of experience on handling people, managing tasks on eleventh hour, planning and executing events.

Thanks to my team at my company https://tvfplay.com for managing critical tasks and issues when I am on the conference.

Special Thanks to Nithya and Viyan for accompanying me all the times.








Home Sweet Home, Indian Linux Users Group, Chennai

After several months, Today attended ILUGC meeting.

Felt like being at hometown. Yes. ILUGC is where I born and  grown in Free Software world.

At todays meet, ShanthaKumar explained about Haskell and its testing methods. Haskell is a functional language. He is using genetic algorithms and AI to parse english text with a POS tagger.

Saai Akash from Jaya Enginneering College explained about Elastic Search Engine.

Both Shantha kumar and Saai are Final year engineering students. It is a good thing that students talk in tech communities.

Then Shakthi Kannan explored about Par Edit is an Emacs minor mode for editing S-expressions. He is living with Emacs. Inspired by regular talks and writings only I started to use Emacs and enjoying its benefits.

Saw three elder people attended the meet and asked good questions.

After long time, met Mohan, Stylesen, Joe Steve. The very long time ilugc friends.
As usual, the stand up meeting after the event was much informative. We went to a nearby canteen and had fun with food.

ILUGC is one of the oldest GNU/Linux users groups in the world. Yes. Indian Linux Users Group, Chennai [ ILUGC ] is spreading awareness on Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS) in Chennai since January 1998. We usually meet on the second Saturday of every month at IIT Madras, Aero space Engineering Building.

If you are in chennai on second saturdays, dont miss this meetings. You will learn tons of things and meet great people.

Thanks to all ILUGC friends for moving forward on building a great community for FOSS.






Need help – HTML to PDF with Custom Fonts

We are looking for a solution to convert html pages to A4 pdf and B7 pdf for FreeTamilEbooks.com project.

Training authors to create ebooks themself using Pressbooks.com

They can export epub, mobi, xhtml from pressbooks.

Now, few volunteers are converting xhtml to PDF by printing from Firefox.

by changing the margin and printer settings in Firefox.

Many authors find that this is difficult.

Looking for a solution to automate the process of converting XHTML to A4 and B7 size PDFs so that we add a web interface, host in server, ask authors to upload epub or xhtml file to get PDF files as outputs.

We want to use custom TTF fonts for Tamil.
Ila Sundaram-10.TTF is the font we want to use.
Get this font from http://www.kaniyam.com/ila-sundaram-unicode-tamil-fonts/
Tried to set this font via CSS using @font-face.

But the PDFs are not using this font.

Explored wkhtmltopdf

It is not rendering B7 size properly and can not set custom font.

Looking for volunteers to explore the PhantomJS or wkhtmltopdf to generate PDF files from HTML with custom font.

reply here or contact me if you are interested to volunteer.


Few issues and solutions to install AtoM

AtoM stands for Access to Memory. It is a web-based, open source application for standards-based archival description and access in a multilingual, multi-repository environment. See the AtoM homepage for more information.

I am installing this along with archivematica, an open source digital preservation system.

I followed the instructions here to install atom.


I have already installed ‘archivematica’ from http://archivematica.org
it was running on port 80.

As atom uses nginx, I changed its port to 8080

File : /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/atom

original :   listen 80;
change :   listen 8080;

Then executed
sudo service nginx restart

Now, accessed http://<ip-address&gt;:8080

But, it throwed 500 internal error. Checked /var/log/nginx/error.log

it said as ” *8 FastCGI sent in stderr: “PHP message: Unable to open PDO connection [wrapped: SQLSTATE[28000] [1045] Access denied for user ‘root’@’localhost’ (using password: NO)]” while reading response header from upstream, client:, server: _, request: “GET / HTTP/1.1”, upstream: “fastcgi://unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.atom.sock:”, host: “”

Solution: delete the file /usr/share/nginx/atom/config/config.php

Now, the web interface to configure atom is displayed.

When giving the username and password for the database, it gave the following error.

The following errors must be resolved before you can continue the installation process:

Unable to open PDO connection [wrapped: SQLSTATE[28000] [1045] Access denied for user ‘root’@’localhost’ (using password: NO)]

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /usr/share/nginx/atom
sudo service php5-fpm restart

Now, the data are saved and atom installation is completed.

Thanks for the atom mailing list for the answers.