R is a language and environment for Statistical Computing and Graphics. R provides a free/open source, cross-platform, object-oriented environment to perform data analysis and visualisation tasks. Strength of R lies in its vibrant community, robust package repository and strong graphics capabilities.
R provides all necessary tools required for various stages of a data analysis project. It provides techniques for data acquisition and processing as well as for data analysis and visualisation. It ranges from accessing data in various formats (CSV, XML…) to all possible ways of data manipulation (tabulation, aggregation…)to rich support for graphics (histogram, box plot etc.) to statistical models (regression, ANOVA…).
It is not always necessary to use built-in and supported functions and packages. Depending on the requirements, one can also develop his/her own functions, scripts and packages.
Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) has released the new version (version 0.1.2) of GNU/Linux distribution for CognitivelyChallenged. Cognitively challenged people face different kinds of problems such as memory loss, forgetfulness, attention problems etc. Therefore, the major objective of this distribution is to provide an accessible desktop environment suitable to such users. The major highlights of this distribution are simplified and accessible desktop environment, simplified applications, tagged file system, tag-based searching, user’s activity log, reminder facility etc. that are specifically aimed to reduce distraction and memory load during computer interaction. These salient features of the distribution can be of immense help to such users and their caretakers, while using computer. This distribution is based on Ubuntu 10.04 and offers a number of improvements/enhancements over previously released version (version 0.1.1). These improvements/enhancements have been incorporated based on feedbacks and suggestions received from various organisations and users.
Major highlights in the current release:
Faster tag based searching
Facility to add new user-defined image tags
Enhanced tag control center to edit/delete existing tags(textual and image both).
Enhanced tag control center to add new file extensions for which tag setting option should be enabled.
New educational games included (The Number Race and Tux Type)
GNU/Linux distribution for Cognitively Challenged-0.1.2 can be downloaded from here.
ALViC- Accessible Linux for Visually Challenged was launched on 11th February, 2013 by Prof R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser, Govt. of India & Shri J. Satyanarayana, Secretary, DeitY, Ministry of Comm. & I.T., Govt. of India during the CDAC Technology Conclave on 11th Feb, 2013 at Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi. During the 2-days technology conclave, a number of technologies and products developed by CDAC under various thematic area were showcased.
ALViC is a complete desktop environment which provides a comprehensive solution for Visually Challenged users. This is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 10.04; and uses Orca 3.2.0 xdesktop screen reader as the main interaction mechanism for visually challenged users. They can use it out of the box because accessibility features suitable for fully blind as well as for partially blind users are enabled by default.
Main Features :
Free and open source desktop environment
Enhanced Orca with skim read, sentence navigation, list shortcut and structural navigation of text documents
PDF documents made accessible in Linux environment
Easy navigation and search facility on Desktop icon view
Accessible login for visually challenged users
Suitable desktop themes for partial blind
Other assistive tools like OCRFeeder, Audio book converter, Emerson DAISY reader, sound converter etc. useful for visually challenged users are also included.
Anumaan – open source predictive text entry system from CDAC, Mumbai has been added to the database of Softpedia. Softpedia is a library of over 400,000 free and free-to-try softwares. Anumaan on Softpedia can be accessed from here. Anumaan has also been awarded “100% Free” award from Softpedia signifying that Anumaan is a clean product.
Anumaan gives predictions based on preceding text/words used by the user in his/her text and user can use these predictions, while composing text. By incorporating predictions, user can improve his/her rate of text entry to a great extent.
Anumaan is mainly intended to help persons with motor disabilities, specially ones facing problems in hand and finger movement. Such persons face difficulty in using regular input devices like keyboard for text entry related tasks. Anumaan can help such persons immensely in their text entry related tasks by way of predictions. However, It is equally useful for common users also and can support them in creating mails, letters, documents etc. in less time.
Salient features of current version include:
More user-friendly and simplified interface for easy interaction and navigation.
Re-oriented layout of text entry area and prediction display in order to reduce visual and cognitive overhead.
A single comprehensive prediction list combining predictions from all relevant grams for easy selection.
Keyboard support for selecting predictions from prediction list. It reduces time taken in selecting and committing predictions to text.
Larger text entry area compared to previous version for easy text entry.
Integrated context-sensitive help.
Re-oriented menu bar for easy access and navigation.
All these features are intended to improve user interaction and experience for motor disabled people.
Anumaan is developed on java platform and supports UTF-8, so it can effectively be run on any platform. Newly released version of Anumaan can be downloaded from http://www.cdacmumbai.in/anumaan.
Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Mumbai has released beta versions of GNU/Linux distributions for Differently-abled people. These distributions are part of the activities being carried out under “Enhancing Accessibility for FOSS Desktops” project under NRCFOSS-Phase II at CDAC, Mumbai. There are three distributions specific to three different kinds of disabilities namely:
1. GNU/LinuxdistributionforVisually-challenged:This is a GNU/Linux distribution (beta version – 0.1.1) created specially for visually challenged users. Visually challenged users can use it out of the box because accessibility settings required by them are already enabled.
2. GNU/LinuxdistributionforPhysically-challenged:‘GNU/Linux for Physically Challenged-Beta-0.1.1′ is a special distribution for physically challenged people, so that they can easily access FOSS desktops.
3. GNU/LinuxdistributionforCognitively-challenged:This GNU/Linux distribution has been developed to provide an accessible desktop environment to the cognitively challenged users.
These distributions and other related documentation can be downloaded from here.
Note: It is advisable to go through documentation first before installing/using the distribution. In case of error in any download and for feedback on distributions, one can contact at ossd[at]cdac[dot]in.
CDAC, Mumbai has released beta-0.1 version of GEM (GEstures with Mouse). It is an open source input mechanism which uses gestures as input to the system. Gestures can be drawn using a mouse or some equivalent device like touch pad, joystick, pen tablet etc. Gestures can drawn either as single-part (continuous) or multi-part (discontinuous) as shown in screen shots below:
This Input mechanism is intended for people suffering with different kinds of motor disabilities, who may face problems in using mouse and keyboard in conventional way. Hence, it provides them with an alternate and effective mechanism for using the system to perform various tasks such as navigation, executing commands & keyboard shortcuts, and launching applications etc. on Linux desktop.
Many softwares have been developed for adopting technology in education for resource availability, sharing, and access to them even after school/college hours. There have also been developments aimed to ease other educational activities like course enrollment, conduct of examination from setting question papers to correcting answers and displaying results. Such softwares are available in the market in both forms proprietary and open source.
Unlike the proprietary softwares, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) alternatives are free of cost, source code is available with the software, and the institution has freedom to modify the source code to customize the software as per requirement. For modification and maintenance the institution has full freedom to develop the required skills in-house with the help of faculties and system admin staff or they can choose to hire external help.
However, one of the problems is there are many FOSS tools available and a novice institution/teacher/software development organization has to take lot of efforts to short-list/choose a software for adoption. They will have to spend days looking for different softwares, their reviews, comparisons, etc. If such problems are reduced for the ease of FOSS adoption then the institutions/teachers can reap the above benefits of FOSS much more seamlessly.
The workshop intents to promote technology and FOSS adoption in educational institutions. Various FOSS tools in education will be demonstrated in the workshop. The participants will also get to experience the work of C-DAC Mumbai in promoting technology/FOSS in education. The workshop will provide an opportunity to interact with participants from different organizations and industry practitioners. The workshop will involve keynote and invited lectures by distinguished researchers and/or professionals.