An Unknown Indian

Thoughts of a FOSS enthusiast

Archive for December, 2008

FOSS and data privacy

Posted by Balachandran on December 23, 2008

Hello folks, A few days back, there was an OT thread in the ilugc, which eventually ran into the topic of data privacy and FOSS. A few people on the list were commenting that data privacy was of supereme importance in FOSS.(The original post).

       I had raised my views over there and wish to highlight them.

File access permissions:

In GNU/Linux, or any other UNIX, the default file access permissions are 755. This means that, the owner can read, write and execute the files. The users in the same group as the owner can read and execute only, and the other users in the system can also read and execute only. (The file access is actually the decimal notation of the bitmask for the r-w-x, where 1 means allowed. So 1-1-1 means read, write and execute and 111 in binary is 7 in decimal).

So this 755 permission by default essentially means that, anybody who has a login in that system can read and execute your files. So the concept of supreme data privacy is lost. Infact, with default settings,any user can read any file in a GNU/Linux system.

There are ofcourse ways to modify the defaul permissions and make it such that the owner can read-write-execute and others can’t do anything, by setting the permissions to 700 using the chmod command. To make this as the default property, the users can also make their umask to be 077. by default umask is set to 022(umask XOR 777 gives the file access permissions).

            There were references to RMS opposing could computing etc. citing that data privacy is lost. In my view,  the probable disadvantage of cloud computing is that data ownership might be lost. But from my understanding, there will be no changes to the privacy.

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Posted in FOSS, GNU/Linux | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

What a match!!!!!!

Posted by Balachandran on December 15, 2008

         Hello folks, It was the greatest test match I have followed in recent times. What a thrill it was. Not even a 100 Twenty20s can equal the thril of this first test betwwen India and England at the great MAC, Cheapuk, Chennai. 

       It was thrilling right from day one and it should be said that India pulled a victory from the jaws of defeat. Or Englad lost very badly from a great advantage that they had at the close of ay 4 and the beginning of the first session of day 5.

      Thanks to the start by Shewag and Gambhir and the firm partnership between Sachin and Yuvraj, that was unbeaten till the end, India now has the fourth highest successful 4th innings run chase, worth 387 runs.

      Hope this develops an interest in test matches among the Twenty20 loving poeple.

Posted in Cricket | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

World’s first LTE mobile phone chip

Posted by Balachandran on December 10, 2008

          Hello folks, Having joined Moto, I am getting in touch with the latest developements in the mobile phones and wireless communication sector. And the news of the World’s first ever LTE mobile phone chip is a positive sign.

          LG has announced that it has created the world’s first ever LTE chip. For people who or not in this domain, LTE is the abbreviation for Long Term Evolution, a 4G technology aimed at high-speed wireless broadband and AIPN(All IP Network). It has promised really high data rates and the chip has not disspointed with 60Mbps download and 20Mbps upload rates. Also, theoritcally, mobile handovers are possible even while travelling at a few 100 kmph!!!

          Good time for movie addicts. Once the phones are out and the service is in, no more full night downloads are required. Theoritically, a 700 MB movie(one Compact Disk) can be downloaded in less than  a minute. Well, technology is fast developing and lets grab it with both hands.

Posted in General | 1 Comment »

Science, Mathematics and Engineering

Posted by Balachandran on December 9, 2008

          Hello folks,  a blog after a long time. This time it is the reflections of my thoughts as a result of a look-bask of four years of engineering. I agree that I might be at fault and am not attempting to push the blame around. But the complaint this time is the quality of Maths and Physics in the syllabus. 

         I had always believed that an engineer must be good at Maths and Physics, apart from his/her discipline. Actually in fact all engineering disciplines grew out of these 2 fundamental domains.

        But during the four years of engineering, I never was happy with the mathematics/physics that we had. In fact our(at least the BE CSE) knowledge of contemporary Physics is close to zero and that of application of Mathematics is no better.

        Most of the universities with engineering concentrate only on pass/fail of the students. No importance is given to understanding of the subject. I confess that I still don’t know one practical application where multiple integrals or partial differentiation is currently being used. All our lectures were centered around scoring marks in the exams and not on understanding the subject.

      The state of Physics is still worse. The only Physics course we had in our first semester was on some traditional concepts and after that we never had anything on Physics. I really don’t know how people understand architectures of computers without knowing much on the underlying Physics.

        Hope that the situation changes soon and people realize the importance of Mathematics and Physics to engineering courses.

Posted in My days | 2 Comments »