An Unknown Indian

Thoughts of a FOSS enthusiast

Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

IRCTC – Crappier than anything that I have ever seen

Posted by Balachandran on February 10, 2012

I had firmly believed that the “cyber” websites that I used to design with my friends were really crappy. But today IRCTC proved I am wrong. I gave my credentials and logged in and got this:

javax.servlet.jsp.JspException: Unable to rename class file f:\bv1to1_var\scratchirctcstruts\app24_bv60_34\booking\_0005f_0005f\common\_0002fbooking_0002f_0002e_0002e_0002fcommon_0002fnewtemplate_0005fplanner_0002ejspnewtemplate_0005fplanner_jsp_0.class to f:\bv1to1_var\scratchirctcstruts\app24_bv60_34\_0002fbooking_0002f_0002e_0002e_0002fcommon_0002fnewtemplate_0005fplanner_0002ejspnewtemplate_0005fplanner.class
	at org.apache.struts.taglib.template.InsertTag.doEndTag(InsertTag.java:133)
	at booking._0002fbooking_0002fplanner_0002ejspplanner_jsp_0._jspService(_0002fbooking_0002fplanner_0002ejspplanner_jsp_0.java:535)
	at org.apache.jasper.runtime.HttpJspBase.service(HttpJspBase.java:126)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:853)
	at org.apache.jasper.runtime.JspServlet$JspServletWrapper.service(JspServlet.java:174)
	at org.apache.jasper.runtime.JspServlet.serviceJspFile(JspServlet.java:274)
	at org.apache.jasper.runtime.JspServlet.service(JspServlet.java:387)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:853)
	at com.broadvision.servlet.ServletContainer.service(ServletContainer.java:404)
	at com.broadvision.servlet.BVRequestDispatcher.forward(BVRequestDispatcher.java:133)
	at org.apache.struts.action.ActionServlet.processActionForward(ActionServlet.java:689)
	at org.apache.struts.action.ActionServlet.process(ActionServlet.java:581)
	at org.apache.struts.action.ActionServlet.doGet(ActionServlet.java:140)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:740)
	at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:853)
	at com.broadvision.servlet.ServletContainer.service(ServletContainer.java:404)
	at com.broadvision.servlet.ServletContainer.processRequest(ServletContainer.java:348)
	at com.broadvision.servlet.ServletContextContainer.processRequest(ServletContextContainer.java:819)
	at com.broadvision.servlet.BVServletEngine.service(BVServletEngine.java:246)
	at com.broadvision.servlet.BVServletConnector.service(BVServletConnector.java:141)
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Posted in Computers | 1 Comment »

Homage to Dennis Ritchie

Posted by Balachandran on October 14, 2011

Dennis Richie(dmr), the father of the C language and one of the co-founders of the UNIX passed away on 8th October, 2011. And that came a few days after the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The news of Dennis Ritchie’s death was a big shock, and saddened me to a great extent. I thought I must pen down a homage to this man who contributed so much to technology as we know today.

To start off with, he gave us the C language. He is the ‘R’ of the famous ‘K&R’ C programming book, the ‘R’ stands for Ritchie. That book has been used over and over by people across the world to learn C.

And, he was one of the founding fathers of UNIX. To make sure that people understand the importance of UNIX, everything from GNU/Linux, *BSDs, iOS(yes, the iPads, iPods and all such stuff), and most likely MS Windows has taken at least something from UNIX.

And the C programming language, which has been in high demand and use since its day one, has been the basis for lot of new languages that were developed in later years. Though it might lack a string API, C, which came it existence in 1969, has almost all features that is needed to create a High-Available, Mission critical applications. C++, Java, PHP, Perl,  and may be Python are a few languages that owe a lot to C. And most parts of the Linux kernel, most UNICes are implemented in C. So was the impact of the creation of dmr. C might be dreaded by many; It might be easy to make mistakes in C; But still, there is a kind of beauty that is associated with the language. And that, is something that I love

Death, be it to anyone from a most wanted criminal to a sadhu/sanyasi is sad and so were the deaths of Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie. But I have never been a big fan of Jobs. He was a CEO, who ran a company that created products that were bought by a lot of people. And true, the devices from Apple have excellent user interfaces. But what he did was to inspire his team to create such products(either through threats or excellent leadership qualities, I don’t know which). I really don’t know if he personally invented any of the technologies that his company owns. Another thing about Jobs is that he had a mad desire for patents and Apple under him file lots of law suits based on patents. On the other hand, Dennis Ritchie was an out and out technology guy. He wrote a new language, that is among the most popular if not the most popular. He wrote the first ever popular operating system. Yet, he was never after patents. He firmly believed that it should be open(mostly because there was no such thing called proprietary those days). What pained me a lot in Ritchie’s death was that there was absolutely no media coverage. He passed away on 8th October, and the world came to know about it(mostly) from a Google+ message that Rob Pike(his fellow colleague who worked on UNIX) shared. Not even slashdot made a news entry until 13th October. But, for Steve Jobs, there was extensive coverage in all sections of the media. There was a first page article in the news paper that I read regularly. And that paper hasn’t yet reported dmr’s death. I can understand if the common man doesn’t know Dennis Ritchie. But if the media, which tries to go as techie as possible, doesn’t know/report Ritchie’s death, it really is painful.

He gave a lot of things. As Linus once said, it is one the shoulders of giants like Dennis Ritchie that the present day world stands. And he is definitely among the tallest of those giants. He was someone who was at the very center of the changes that gradually has the brought the computer-related technology to what it currently is. If not dmr, someone else might have found another new language, Yes. And likewise, if Ken Thompson and Ritchie had just worked on the “word processor” which was their assigned task, we might not have had UNIX, but someone else would have come up with some other OS. But the world would most probably be much differently from what it currently is. Thanks for all your contributions DMR. RIP.

Posted in Computers, General | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

An evening well spent – BOSUG meet

Posted by Balachandran on September 13, 2009

Hello folks, BOSUG met after a long time and I went for the meet, again at Sun offices Bangalore. It was again an interesting evening, well spent, learning lots of new things. Moinak and Anil spoke on interesting things that held my attention all through the evening.

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Posted in Computers, FOSS, OpenSolaris | 3 Comments »

My first BOSUG meet

Posted by Balachandran on June 16, 2009

Hello folks, I attended my first BOSUG meet last Saturday(13th June, 2009) at the Sun office(Divyashree chambers).  Though the turnout was less, it was really a nice meeting and learnt quite a bit. And of course had the chance to attend the session of Max Bruning and had a chat with Moinak.

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Posted in Computers, FOSS, My days, OpenSolaris | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Page up and Page down patented – by Microsoft :(

Posted by Balachandran on September 2, 2008

Hello folks!! When I logged into Gmail today, the first mail I read was the slashdot subscription and it had the news that M$ has got a patent for the Page up and the Page down keys of the keyboard. Now, if this continues, I think in a few years(Or even months, who knows), M$ will apply for (and may even get) patents to things like booting the PC, login process and even for every keystroke/mouse click that is made. I dont know where this ugly greed for patents will end. For those who had not read the news, here is the link

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/31/2224217

At least now I think users of PC will realise how bad a company M$ is and the threat that it poses to the world.

Posted in Computers | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Google App Engine

Posted by Balachandran on April 9, 2008

Hello folks, Now more from google. Google has released a new service called the Google App Engine. Google App Engine is a service that lets us run our web applications on goolge’s infrastructure. So, we can be free from tasks setting up and maintaining servers for our apps, i.e we will be able concentrate more on our apps than on the underlying support systems. Moreover, the app engine provides a dynamic load balancing environment, supporting nearly 5 million hits a month for an application. Initially, as it is a trial run, 500 MB of space is given (all accounts are free now) and once the full version is released, additional space can be purchased.

What is more is that, the app engine presently supports only the Python programming language. This goes on to tell how popular python is and how important it is as well. The app engine currently supports all features of python (system independent) and apart from that it supports the popular python web-framework – Django.    Since a sandbox kind of environment is given,  the environment is secure and only limited access id provided to the underlying OS. The App Engine also provides a non-relational datasotre that acts as the back end. But it comes with a powerful query engine and transaction support.

More can be known about this from the official google site http://code.google.com/appengine/

Posted in Computers, General | 1 Comment »

Google’s Code University

Posted by Balachandran on April 7, 2008

Hello folks,  Though I came to know of this very late, I thought it would be useful to post it. Google has yet again done what it, can to spread knowledge. It has a “Code University” or a place in the web, where anyone can access lecture notes, assignments and reference materials for any topic related  to computer science. These have been contribute from various universities across the globe. This apart, it has a few video tutorials as well. It seems to be really useful. All the lecture notes are in the form of presentations( ppt, unfortunately. Many university prof. still go for MS office it seems. ) The link to the site is

http://code.google.com/edu

Posted in Computers, General | Leave a Comment »

FossConf ’08 @ MIT,Chennai

Posted by Balachandran on February 5, 2008

       Hello folks, It was an wonderful weekend at Chennai. ILUGC, NRC-FOSS and others organised the first FossConf ’08 at the Madras Institute of Technology, Chrompet, Chennai. The event started on February 1st and concluded on 3rd. It had demo stalls with tool and project demos and then sessions on various topics.

Myself, Ashok and Vins participated in the event and had the opportunity to attend a few sessions. We had put up a demo stall as well. Initially it was on “Networking” where we explained stuff on DNS, Proxy server etc. Then, on seeing that the crowd that came there needed more basic stuff, we renamed the stall as “GNU/Linux basics”. We handled the stall only for a couple of hours that day and went to attend sessions. First, we attended the session on Djanjo handled by Mr. Ponnusamy. But unfortunately, for me, the session was not impressive; I dont really know why. Then, we attended a session on “PHP attack and defenses” which was handled by Mr.Bala Vignesh from Lucas TVS. It was really interesting as he spoke on code injection, sql injection, XSS and remote execution. The session was followed by an interesting argument between the participants.

Then on the final day of the event, we attended two more sessions, one on parallel programming and the other on ruby basics. We were also present for the session on KDE 4.0 by Mr.Pavithran, but didn’t sit for the entire session. On the whole, the sessions were really nice. But, I still don’t get the difference between python and Ruby as both of them seem to be same from what we all learnt in that Ruby introduction session.

For the concluding session, we had a surprise guest, Mr. Brian Behlendorf, the founder of the Apache foundation. He gave a wonderful talk on how open source tools are in fields other than Operating systems, Servers and web browsers. He gave a few examples as well like opens source academic content preparations tool, and opensource tool for editing video content of the wikipedia etc. He also mentioned how open source can get into the field of medicine by creating collaborative tools.

The closing day also had an open-to-all-participants quiz conducted by Mr.Ramdoss amachu and another guy.  Those who answered correct were rewarded with a Ubuntu pen. The grand moment was when our college won the prize for the best tool demo. Also, GLUGOT’s contribution was spoken about were highly and more is being expected from it.

The only disappointment that we had there was that a few stalls that we had planned to attend got canceled due to some unavoidable reasons or overlapped with other sessions . Else, we would have attended sessions like iptables and web 2.0 optimization.

We also found time to go to the City Center. There we had our friend Venkatesh waiting for us with his nephew. We spent some good time there eating some stuff and then taking a few snaps (with my digicam) with him.

Finally, a great many thanks to Ashok and his aunt’s family for the three of us stayed there. We had some really nice food cooked for us on all three days. It really saved us from looking for some boarding and lodgings elsewhere.

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