thoughts, ideas, code and other things...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The OpenSolaris Meetup

Since the netinst says 6 hrs remaining, I have enough time to kill...

Yesterday I was at the OpenSolaris meetup at TW. There were supposed to be three topics of discussion - DTrace, ZFS and Zones. These are some of the really cool things one can talk of when talking about OpenSolaris. By end of first two there was hardly any time left to go on. And neither I had much capacity left out.

This time I saw a few more familiar faces. It was surprising to find Santhu from IITM, sitting just behind me for the DTrace session. I had met him at CodeBreakers (I just loved the prelims and final round questions) at Shaastra 08. I also found some familiar faces from PyCon India 09, made some new friends, etc, etc.

This meetup has left me with a bigger to-try-out list, which includes -
  1. [ ] Trying out DTrace. Do that uname -a hack on it so that the user thinks he is on Ubuntu while running BeleniX :)
  2. [ ] use DTrace to develop an understanding of what goes behind the scenes. It's an awesome tool that gives you a goldbag of hidden knowledge, will be great for Unix Internals next sem.
  3. [ ] Would love to tinker with ZFS, manage some stuff, make some space for backups and use snapshots over them.
  4. [ ] Understand the difference b/w linux and unix. Yes! I had a very very tough time today morning with OpenSolaris.
  5. [ ] Play around with Evince's code to solve the small usability glitch I found out. More over use stow as suggested by rrs to build it rather than breaking my system as I did yesterday.
  6. [ ] Checkout Alioth (looks cool), maybe put gtweetbar over it.
  7. [ ] KDE. Yeah, have to, I found KDE 3.5.x that runs on BeleniX 0.7.1 to be giving decent performance.
  8. [ ] Figure out how the hell to get networking done on BeleniX - wired and wireless. To my disappointment as for today morning's attempt. dladm show-link shows nothing :( Even /usr/bin/inetmenu isn't present, so I can't procede the n00b way. But I have to show some patience to it, read some more and come back.
Btw, its pretty cool to know that in ZFS you don't need any formatting, it builds up as you use it! And there was another point where Moinak discussed about how the scheduling algo places related things nearby so that the disk head doesn't have to move a lot. I could relate that to OS course we had last semester. I definitely plan to take up Unix Internals next semester. I hope they don't cancel it. You'll notice a 'Bheria Dhasaan' (crowd induced decisions) at my college when it comes to course selection. Many people tend to decide what they choose on three factors -
  • Where's majority heading to?
  • What is easy?
  • Which one's got the teacher I know/heard of?
What about the subject itself ??? Maybe I should start influencing some people to build a recognizable Unix Internals gang.

After the meetup I was walking around Koramangala with Navin, who was very happy to hand me a CD of OpenSolaris and NetBeans. I'm still not an IDE guy. He also talked about OSUM, etc, and asked me if I could start a group at my college, but how do I explain that I goto a college which bans use of personal computing equipments (laptops) for 2 years of the 4 year engineering course. How would I find a suitable audience there?? Its a place where a guy asked this to my friend who was using Ubuntu - "Is this genuine, did you purchase it or got it pirated?" (that's true, I'm not exaggerating). Its a place where they keep you busy-tied with their awesome course plans and irrelevant courses.

So, if I do form any such group, there might be hardly any output apart from a very few getting an understanding of the things. The sole purpose of forming such group would drill down to self promotion instead of intelligent discussion, getting some Certificate from Sun and goodies, which I do not want and which is not the _way_. There must be some better purpose behind my actions. After all being in third year, your audience are going to be 1st and 2nd year students who don't have a laptop to try anything you've talked about. Correct me if I'm being too negative.

I still don't buy that "everything runs on java" or "sab kuch aajkal java pe hi to chalta hai" thing some people point-out around me, have heard it from a java guy and another mate who thinks that he knows. "Chalta hai to chalta hoga, main apna ghar to apni marzi se chalaunga", atleast I've not run a Java Applet since 6 months, I'm sure about it, the enterprise scene might be different. Besides as a student who wants to play around and actually use his computer to do cool things, why would I waste writing 100 lines of java, where I could do same or more in 20 lines of Python, getting input from user in 3 lines where I could do it in one raw_input(). And again if such baseless rumours drive what you plan to learn, then what's the fun?

That also reminds me of Digambar from NTRO internship - "Poora duniya Oraccle pe hi chalta hai.", notice the extra 'c'. And his machine gun of baseless arguments supporting Oracle the moment 'MySql' came out of my mouth. His love for ASP.NET, the moment 'PHP' came out of my mouth.

I installed OpenSolaris 2009.06 from that live cd today. It worked, bootup time was little high, no problem. Got proper resolution, a polished gnome (Ubuntu 9.10 is more polished) and was again stuck on how to get wireless working, before I could get the windows XP drivers to be used with ndiswrapper, I rebooted and osol failed to start X... I located gdm (which gdm), rant it and was presented with this - "Can't locate /export/$HOME" etc... Something had gone wrong without reasons! My /export was empty. Felt pointless investigating it and threw in the BeleniX liveCD.

Some more observation on it - whenever I restart it from KDE, instead of a restart I get dropped to CLI login screen with a warning message that kdm could not execute reboot. I wonder if its a user priviledge issue...

4 hr 56 minutes more to the Debian netinst. This time I've selected KDE as default desktop on it. Will fetch gnome later, need that to work upon gTweetBar and Evince.

I tried finding some presentations from the meet, here is a huge list -

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Patchy Pants

This is a clever/lazyass cloth-washing hack I learned from my laziness at washing cloths in 1st year at hostel. These pants were black colored when I bought them. You can very well appreciate how cool they look now. So do you too want to do this to your black pants, capris etc?? Here's how -
  1. So get some surf and a bucket. Collect all the black pants you wish to stylize
  2. Pour some water, around a level that all your pants can stay immersed
  3. In that put some good amount of Surf Excel. I haven't tested others like Ariel etc
  4. Now leave that shit in some untouched corner in the bathroom and show some laziness
  5. So, even if after 7 days it stinks like shit, don't touch it, let another 7 days pass
  6. After 2 weeks, you'll find it uneasy to breath around the bucket
  7. That's the time to pour out all the dirty-black water
  8. Engage in a 1 hour exercise of pouring fresh water, beating, squeezing, doing whatever to get the shit smell out of your pants
  9. Let it dry :)
That's it, have a look at it now, it would have cool brown patches. 1 week before an end semester is ideal time to arrange the setup. Because that would be the time you wont even touch the bucket, even if it stinks. After a month of this trick, I saw a friend roaming in patchy 3/4s and I asked how the hell this happened, he told me the same story, that was an apple-fall-on-newton's-head moment!


Broke my chair :(

I've been gaining a lot of weight these days, and what happened just 10 minutes ago is the real proof of that - I broke my sweet chair.

I purchased it some 6 months back for Rs. 3500 from this good looking shop, the name of which I can't remember. Exit Forum mall from KFC side and head right, you'll find it on right side of the road. It had some awesome chairs for affordable range of 3k-5k. This one being most comfortable gave me this 'ab to bas yehi chahiye' feeling.
Its sad! I can't bend it again :( I can't rest on it :( damn! this is the sweetest chair I ever sat on, has been a good friend keeping me away from all sorts of back pains I used to get on 6 year old Rs 1k chair. Things become sweeter when you buy them from your own money.
I need to find the bills, they must be somewhere in haystack of unorganized mess of papers at my house. Or maybe in my desk. The way it has broken shows that the makers did not put enough love, just look at the joint. You will realize that its pretty thin, this was well hidden by plastic covers over the nut-bolt joints.
What to blame at? My added up weight? or the thin joints at crucial points? or watching OpenSolaris install and leaning over chair with en elbow for the progress bar took some 5 minutes to move from 66% to 67% ??
Poor chair!

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Upgraded to Ubuntu 9.10 BETA

After a long series of fails I finally upgraded to Ubuntu 9.10 beta. Poor connection, power cuts to be blamed for the failure. Haven't restored all my backup though, will wait for 6 days more to get the real deal.
I like the new theme, coffee colored mod of Human, matching the tastes of a geek. This snap of Karmic Koala Alpha 2 seems sweet. I'm writing this after 4 hours of using it, in which I spent 2 hrs watching a movie. Turns out that the movie has 7.7/10 rating average over 76k+ votes. Not bad!
So as for the two hours I've spent with Karmic Koala, I have a few not so great observations.

  • Launch time of gnome-terminal has observably reduced in my perception. But Tomboy took a lot of time to start.

  • Firefox 3.5.3 that came along has improved a lot.
  • The Notifications are coming a little lower than expected, they should be a little more closer to mother panels. Someone else too had same issues. Btw I notice that notifications just don't fade out, they fade and blur at same time!

  • Notification icons have been made simpler. Icons have got an overall polish, looks better.

  • I installed NVIDIA proprietary drivers and enabled compiz as usual, nautilus changed colors, while other apps get rendered according to the theme, the desktop icons and nautilus switched to basic theme.

  • The Help Center turned out to be pretty slow, switching pages shows 'Loading...' for quite observable amount of time.

  • Coming to Ubuntu Software Center, fine job with auto-loading snapshots. We could perhaps have some ratings too along the list of packages

  • But this was a setback, scrolling through a list of packages in Ubuntu Software Center is a pain, the scrollbar doesn't scroll smoothly. Okay, I don't mean it should move up and down smoooothly, but hey! should we have lags in small things like scrollbars!

  • Fedora 11 was right, I do have bad sectors on my hard disk. The same is reported by Karmic. :( poor hdd

  • Hmm I must test what I wrote and worked on GNOME 2.26. GTweetBar failed as an applet, where as when I ran it in window mode, it worked without any complains or dependency issues. I still have to look into what went wrong. Gnome 2.28 is recognising the twitter icon I had put along GTweetBar, the older gnome needed a fixed size icon to be put by the developer.

But that's a very very narrow minded way too look at any distro. Well does it matter much to me, I don't think so, for the next best thing I'm gonna do now is to bring fvwm2 and kiss bye bye to gnome vs kde state of mind a goodbye again :)
Tomorrow I might attend Opensolaris in-depth Session being organised by ilug-b, bangpypers, bosug, ... Pradhap Devarajan, Sriram Narayanan and Moinak Ghosh. It would be interesting to learn more about OpenSolaris. It's still alien to me. My last BeleniX tryout remained confined to 4-5 bootups of a VM. Everytime I attend these talks I feel there is much more to Linux than the desktop aspect of it, which I am not aware of (the actual power).

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vals Im Bashir

Just saw Waltz With Bashir. I was bored with all sorts of animations, was looking for something new, done in details (I love details), but this one happened to quench my thirst even with less detailed animation. I can't figure out what they've done, at one point it seemed like advanced computerized cartoonification. But wait this is something more... perfect balance of old style imperfection and computerized smoothness. The visuals of the movie are just awesome, the lightning effects perfect and everything just sums up to give you a true feel and depth of the situation.

The movie is full of deplorable scenes and a horrifying end, though the sequence of events keeps you stuck. I won't go further about the plot, etc. Naturally you can checkout Amazon, Wikipedia or the movies website for more. Don't forget to take a look at the number of awards it has received.
Besides all that, it did remind me strongly of a war-poem I came through my school days - Survivors by Siegfried Sassoon.

No doubt they'll soon get well; the shock and strain
Have caused their stammering, disconnected talk.
Of course they're "longing to go out again,"--
These boys with old, scared faces, learning to walk,
They'll soon forget their haunted nights; their cowed
Subjection to the ghosts of friends who died,--
Their dreams that drip with murder; and they'll be proud
Of glorious war that shatter'd all their pride ...
Men who went out to battle, grim and glad;
Children, with eyes that hate you, broken and mad.
--Siegfried Sassoon

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Capture the moment

Sometimes you wish to capture sweet random moments forever... like yesterday when I was all tired walking back home. A toddler walking by his mom, lost in his own world as he saw it, shouts aloud "Happy Diwali Everybody!". Shouts to the passers by, the faces unknown. His mom pulls him towards herself, and does shhh!
But whats wrong with that. Or in other words, we hardly have the courage or time to bother about just another random bunch of "everybody" around us. But the kid lost in his world had.

Happy Diwali!
woah! gimp has some funny names for its filters - 'predator' as in predator vision in the movie predator :P

Was looking for India at Night pics on Diwali night. Found this "भारत में दीपावली की रात उपग्रह के नज़ारे"

Happens to be the Musafir's last post from that office.


On education inflation

Just read a nice account of education inflation Phillip Whisenhunt's blog. My views -
I too have learnt 70% of what I know and love outside college/school. Though school was instrumental in building up interest. Its so hard to find a peer group of matching interests in situation like yours and in mine. Equally or maybe more horrible than yours. India is not any different, 90% come to get job, 9% who do well, believe in degrees, like yesterday my friend was suggesting me - "After 4 years our degrees wont have any value.", I say wtf, the values are in the work, in the man, or in some crappy pieces of paper. And the rest 1% are tough to find :/

A few thoughts comes to my mind -
Inflation is something that eats away values from ideas.

The decisions on education that Indian parents take are mostly crowdsourced ones.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Focktober 2009 :/

My college just comes in between every opportunity I get, just like they were trying to make it mandatory to go to Amritapuri to force us celebrate Amma's birthday, even if our own mom's b'day clashed. Glad that they didn't do that and I could exercise my simple right to freedom to be present at PyCon India on the weekend. O thy mother-superior, in front of whom no power of world is bigger, not even the US... how more shall I be pissed at the course planners of your college, who think all the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year I spend in your money making colleges, I must endure the pain of SCIENCES (not computer science), but age old Chemistry, Physics and Environment Science, for which I no longer care. I think the sentence became too long.
So, that's my fucktober full of tests. And you see the dark red T2s there, they are supposed to be 50 marks biggie tests, but the F'd up part is that syllabus of the class tests and T2s happen to be the same. So, we spend sleepless nights for both 20 marks and 50 marks :/
Besides, End sem's scheduled around 2nd week of November. Another round of 6 CTs is a must before that, so you can mark as red, another 6 days right from 20th October to 14th Nov, and don't forget mini project and other word processing tasks that await us.
And now, when I'm getting some really great opportunities to learn things that I wish to (yeah I don't wish to learn about Digital Signal Processing( combined with signals and systems all in 1 semester for we poor Computer Science people), your crappy Nano Physics, the ever sucking corrosion science, messed up material science, and ever irrelevant environmental science, any such useless thing after my 1st year... phew!)...
Yeah so when I'm getting some really cool opportunities to work on cool things (top secret), this is how this college deprives you from them by looting your useful time... every month. Btw did I mention that it was already 7pm by the time I reached back home, just because I had to get a phone repaired. On a usual day this college eats 12+ hours of your day (in college), and tries to suck rest of 6hrs (6 other hrs for sleep), but these class tests, assignments and other craps...
Fucktober indeed.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

I need your help #pygtk #gnome

I've been trying to work out a gnome panel applet since this friday
and have finally ended up in weird issue, this might have come due my
lack of understanding of applets/gtk+. So I seek some

The source of my applet can be checked out here -
To run it -

$ sudo ./
' it just copies files into /usr/share/gtweetbar and main script to
/usr/local/bin as source uses absolute path

$ python ./ run-in-window
' this would run the applet into its own window, where everything is
functioning properly - - with respect to
the gtk.Entry in center.

While when you do a right click on a panel and add the applet to it,
the gtk.Entry box becomes un-typable. It never gets focus. I have
tried to put all the widgets into an EventBox() but still I didn't
find any change. -

I'm able to do a right click on the gtk.Entry(), am able to
cut-copy-paste stuff into it, but not able to see a cursor in to so as
to type in a tweet.
Relevant code -

Let me know if you are aware of any applet that has been made in pygtk
and has an entry box in it. I tried looking at tracker-search bar's
code, but could'nt grasp much, it being written in C.

Let me know if there is a way to activate the gtk.Entry (txtTweet in
this code) when I run the code in applet mode.


Jus found a useful pastebin entry from random google search -
All I needed to do was an applet.request_focus() call whenever user interacts with the textbox or the applet itself. That would enable the Entry control. More on Ubuntuforums -

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