FOSS.IN Day4 - Dr.Vasant Barve's Butterflies


I arrived just in time to attend 3 talks - the first one by Jonathan Corbet (of Linux Device Driver's and fame) on kernel synchronization techniques. The topic is sufficiently complex to be covered as a full length tutorial of maybe more than 2 hours - there was little time to go through everything (especially the RCU mechanism which he just breezed through) but Jonathan made the best of the time allotted to him. It was then Alan Cox's turn to provide a tutorial introduction to writing Linux Device Drivers. The most interesting talk was the last one by Harald Welte on reverse engineering the Motorola EZX series of mobile phones. In rapid fire succession, Harald introduced the audience to the techniques he used for hacking the EZX phone. Here are some interesting tidbits:

  • Take high-res photographs of the stuff you break apart
  • Use a CRO at select test points of the phones PCB and identify stuff like serial ports
  • Disassemble stuff with objdump, and if that is not legal, simulate the code and watch the way it works.
The kind of things which this guy does - surely AMAZING!! harald2 coxdriver corbet3 Met Dr.Vasant Barve once again; this time he showed me some of the programs which he had written. There was this program which simulated a bouncing ball - you can feed in different values for the elasticity and observe how the ball behaves - what was really amusing was the extra `touches' he gave to the program, including a very realistic sound produced by the PC speaker when the ball hits the ground. He had many many other programs with him - there were two programs which drew butterflies and flowers on the screen on the basis of math equations (math-art!).There was a program which simulated a simple pendulum and another one which depicted the trajectory of a point on a sliding beam. He seems to be particularly interested in Sudoku and had a program for getting `computer assisted solutions'. All these programs were written in DOS using Turbo C; after getting to know more about GNU/Linux and Free Software, he was convinced that his programs would be more useful if they were ported to GNU/Linux and made available for everyone to study and play with. barve1 barve3 The last day saw many people visiting the expo stalls - so didn't have time to attend any more talks. By the time it was 4:30, we had to pack up everything and go as we were returning the same day. Took a photo of one of the most distinguished visitors to FOSS.IN during the return journey ;-) dog

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