me, thinking out loud…

The ‘Academic’ Internet

Notice for the Internet Usage

Internet Facility is provided to students for academic activities and e-mails. It is observed that few students are misusing the Internet facility by using excessive internet bandwidth for non-academic purposes. The students who are running the hubs are strictly informed to close their hubs. Computer Center will be starting official hub for the sharing of academic information and open source softwares.

If a student is found while doing so the network facility will be blocked by Computer Center for a semester. Further, a student will be called by a disciplinary committee and a severe disciplinary action will be taken.

This Notice from the Computer Center is creating waves all around. This isn’t the first time, though, that the people in-charge of the Network have “acted”.
Academic activities; wonder what it’s definition is, in their dictionaries. It surely includes the following.

  • Using Internet for ‘academic activities’ or emails, during class-room hours makes no sense.
  • Anything ‘academic’ cannot have a size greater than 5 MB.
  • Accessing version control systems ( svn, cvs et al ) cannot be classified ‘academic’
  • IRC cannot teach you anything. Don’t ever dream of thinking it as ‘academic’ to hang out on #python or #emacs
  • All ‘academic’ stuff is limited to the http(s) ports. You wouldn’t need to use any other ports, ever.
  • Any ‘academic’ activity fits within a span of 2 hours or can be done in blocks of 2 hours each, with gaps of 2 hours in between.
  • ‘Academic’ stuff doesn’t definitely contain key-words chosen by the “all-knowing” admins.

Moreover, the people in-charge who refused to allow the use of a computer in the CC as a server for on-campus repositories of GNU/Linux packages, now wish to host a ‘hub’ for sharing open-source softwares! There’s already an official ftp server which hosts the academic info and a few useful softwares. I don’t see how a hub would be different.

We don’t have any disciplinary committees for people smoking in hostel rooms, causing a lot of trouble for others around them, but we are going to have them for hosting hubs. ( Well, a new law banning smoking in public places in India has been passed just a few days ago. Hopefully it’ll work better than the older one, since now there’s some pressure on the people in-charge of the public place. )

Also, it could be argued that college isn’t meant only for ‘academic’ learning and a lots of other learning takes place here (and the hubs were definitely helping quite a bit) but I’ll leave that for another day, probably. Also, I don’t think 18+ year olds, people who are about to step into various big roles, leading the country need to be told how to make use of the facilities/resources available to them; A degree of freedom is indispensable, I believe.

I appreciate the efforts being made to improve the network situation here and also help the students get the most ( ‘academically’ ) out of their college experience, but I feel the situation deserves more careful handling.

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