An Unknown Indian

Thoughts of a FOSS enthusiast

Archive for October, 2008

The “vi” nightmare

Posted by Balachandran on October 22, 2008

I have been having a nightmare for the past few days, since I got an account created for me in one of our company’s local server. The trouble is that the server running a nice operating system has only “vi”.  I really don’t know why when every other server has both vi and emacsAnd for someone who is used to emacs alone for the past few years(about 3 to 4 years ), moving to vi is a great nightmare. And the fact that it has no other editors, not even nano or pico is really troubling me. I often end up pressing Ctrl+e or Ctrl+A and something wierd happens.

And since it is not even vim, but plain old vi, it has made me start a frantic serach for possible ways of using vi with emacs key combinations. Any help from anyone ?

Posted in Computers, FOSS, My days | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Py3k looks like a new language

Posted by Balachandran on October 21, 2008

    Hi folks, another long gap. I had been trying to work with Py3k, but in vain. I had not updated myself even to Python 2.6, when I read about the release of RC1 for python 3.0(Py3k), and its documentation I was totally stunned to know that everything right from the basic “print” statement to the use of strings has changed. When I weent through the “What’s new”, I just understod that my knowledge has been just repositioned to 0(Though I need to agree that it was always close to zero 😦 ).

      Looking at all these, I am certain that all my previous code will shout hundreds of errors when I use the python3.0 interpreter with those code. Also, I had the habit of working with the python interpreter shell for quick needs. And now am getting errors very very frequesntly with that. Though I had been reading about the huge changes between the 2.x versions and the (then)impending 3.0 version for the past few months, I didn’t realise how grave it was until I started using the new version.

    Luckily, they have a converter that will convert code from the 2.6 version to the Py3k. And it seems they had made 2.6 with an hint of the appraoching storm. So, I think the best way to convert any old 2.x code of mine,  that I might want to use, to 3.0 is to convert the code to 2.6 first and then to 3.0 using the converter.

 

     Oh God, I think I have a new language to learn before I can say “I know something in Python”.

Posted in Computers, FOSS, My days | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

“Contributing” to FOSS and some rants on “mailing lists”

Posted by Balachandran on October 6, 2008

     The ‘Omlette” post of the FOSS.in list made by Mr. Atull Chitnis triggered me to write this post. I may be too dumb in not knowing what Mr. Atul Chitnis’ contribution to FOSS is. But definitely the omlette post was of the wrong tone, though its intentions were good. If you find this post harsh on you, I am really sorry Mr. Atul Chitnis.

{For those who had not gone through the post, here is the link,  http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/foss-in/message/5219)

      When Atul made his “Omelette post” to the foss.in mailing list, it created a huge uproar in it. The reason was he had called “translation” and “packagin” as low-hanging fruit. Then, after the large protest that it created, he made another “clarification” post through which he stressed that he was correct and that it ws the mistake of the list members that they didn’t know english. At point went to say that he is well versed in English and FOSS. Is that an outburst of his ego ? Does he mean to say that others are inferior to him in english ? Well, not just Atul, anyone who converses in english is that, it idioms are lifeless and depend much on the tone of the speaker. This is one good example of that. Though the idiom is not deregatory, the way he used it, that is, his tone was definitely demeaning. May be he is good at english and its idoms and other great tools. It is just that he doesn’t know how to talk or express.

      Without delving much into what Atul knows and what he doesn’t, I though of having a post on what all I think as a significant contribution to FOSS. First of all, every contribution is as important as every other one. Just like most graduates feel that testing inferior, there is a thought among a few people that jobs like distro specific packaging and translation is not that as great as writing a kernel. On the otherhand, the reality is that the person who translates a document or a man page into his/her native language knows much more than the person who implemented it, atleast from my view point. It is because, the person knows the intricacies of the software and in addition to that has a literary mind to translate a document from english or some other language to his/her own language.

      Coming to packaging, not everybody on this earth can compile, solve dependencies and install software on GNU/Linux. most people want to have it just like the windows world, that is a “Next… Next.. Finish” kind of installation. And when people feel that packaging for distros is not as great as actual coding, the software the those “geeks” code will be used noly by them and the geek community that surrounds them. It will never the reach the common man, who was the original intended user.

     I do agree that contribution in the form of code directly to the projects and kernel are of importance. But that doesn’t mean localisation, translation and distro specific packaging are not important. After all, when you target the third world audience, it is the latter that takes up higher priority.

     And coming to the language used in mailing lists… In a country like India(or any other country where english is not a native language), where you *should not* and *cannot* expect everybody to be an expert in english(yes, we are excellent in grammar, but we believe in simplicity. I personaly feel that there is no necessity for all those blows and whistles of idioms in a FOSS mailing list. You may be a excellent programmer. But keep it at that. You need not show off your english skills), you are supposed to send an email in simple english. For example, since FOSS.in is an ‘Indian” event, shall I post to its list in Hindi/Tamil/Kannada/… and complain when the non native sepakers of that language in the list don’t understand ? So, it must be uderstood that all users of a mailing list must write in such a way that the intended people get your message easily. If your intended target is just the elite english speaking community or the Hindi speakng community of the list, then please mention so.

Posted in FOSS, My days | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Terrorism under the saffron hood

Posted by Balachandran on October 6, 2008

       Hi, this might be the most bitter post that I have ever made till now. For the first time life I felt ashamed of being an Indian/Hindu. To the best of my understanding the Orissa govt. did nothing to prevent the attrocities of the terrorists under the saffron hood. This is not the first time that communal violence has marred the glory of the nation. But this is the frist time, the very basic religious ethics has been violated.

      I have been a devout and strict hindu all my life(which of course is just 21+ years now). And I admit that I don’t know much about christianity. But with my little understanding of the religion, I think nuns are roughly equivalent to the seers or “mahants” of hinduism. I now ask those ba***** raped a nun in Orissa, would they ever tolerate such treatment to their religious heads or sanyasis(I mean the true sanyasis, who still do exist unknown and unobserved by the media) ? This is just terrorism under a safrron hood. 

     No body is a sane state of mind would attack a helpless young woman, and not any woman, but a nun in a church. If these f***ing people claim that they are doing all these to protect Hinduism, they are supposed to wake up from slumber. They are bringing lots of disrepute to a great nation, a nation which in the past has earned the name, “Unity in diversity”. And they are doing a false propaganda of “forced religious conversion”. I wish to question those ignorant fools as to where the hell in their scriptures are they asked to promote violence against people of other faith.

    Just as the terrorists who bomb various places in the country are not people of islam, but people who belong to a religion called “terrorism”, these people are not fit to be hindus, but must be dumped as terrorists. They must understand that just as living in India is a right for them, so it is for those innocent christians. What ever the religion of the person might be, He comes under the law of the land, and the law of this land says that “ALL RELIGIONS ARE EQUAL” and that “NO DISCRIMINATION SHOULD BE MADE BASED ON RELIGION” (Yes, I am indeed shouting).

    I hope that those people come out of their slumber soon and understand the gravity if their own misdeeds. I hope against hope that these people mind their own religion and if they want to spread the message of their religion, let them do it among the people of its own religion, but after they understand what the message really is. 

   Indian constitution allows all its citizen to practise a religion of his/her choice. And if those fools don’t know that, let them read the constitution of their land before reading and mastering their religious scriptures. And above all, a message to people of all religion: There is no purpose/use in merely reading and learning the religious scriptures by heart. It fulfils its prupose only if you start living by them. And to the best of my knowledge, no religion promotes violence and everything calls for peace. Either you fools understand this basic truth or leave the country in the hands of its peace loving people and get the hell out of here.

People must know that this is not a anti-hindu or pro-some religion post. I am as good a hindu as any other in the world. But I know how to respect another’s religion. Atleast thats what i learnt from religious lessons that I had. People must understand that religions are a tool for reaching a higher spiritual state, which of course can be reached even without religion(I don’t know how to). They are definitely not tools to promote violence among people. For athiests who now claim that religions must be abolished, this is my answer: just like a useful tool in the hands of terrorists can become a deadly weapon, religion in the hands of mindless will result in violence. It is those fools who must be punished and not the religion.

Posted in General, My days | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »