After installing Debian, one of the problems that I faced was which version to use. Version as in stable, unstable or testing. Since I personally knew a Debian developer, Praveen A, I turned to him for guidance. The reason why I got into this state was because I found out that Debian squeeze stable had python 2.6 in its repositories. However, I wanted python 2.7 for my work.
I asked him what these versions mean and how I could switch between them. He gave me the following explanation:
“Sid is where all development happens, all new packages come there. Then it moves to testing when certain requirements are satisfied. At a certain point focus is shifted to fix all bugs in testing and this is called freeze.
So main distributions are stable, testing and unstable. There are nicknames for each. Unstable is always called sid – that kid in toy story who always break things. Current stable is squeeze, testing is wheezy and next testing is jessie. When wheezy becomes stable, squeeze becomes old stable and jessie becomes testing. A copy of testing is made and it is called stable, testing is renamed and freeze is lifted for next release cycle.
So change to testing means change stable/squeeze with testing/wheezy in /etc/sources.list and do apt-get/aptitude update and dist-upgrade. If you choose wheezy, you’ll get stable when it is stable, if you choose testing, you’ll always be on testing. Same for sid as well.”
Since testing sounded stabler than unstable, I decided to go with testing. So here is how my /etc/apt/sources.list looks like:
# # deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 6.0.5 _Squeeze_ - Official i386 CD Binary-1 20120512-13:45]/ squeeze main # Line commented out by installer because it failed to verify: deb http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main # Line commented out by installer because it failed to verify: deb-src http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian testing main deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian testing main deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian testing-updates main deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian testing-updates main
I’m still not sure whether I should add any other repositories, but as of now, this has worked well for me. Once you make the changes to the sources.list file, you have to run:
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
Prepare yourself for long hours of download. It took me almost 8 hours to have my distro upgraded. Have fun!
After six long years, I have finally let go of Ubuntu. For three years I had stuck with 10.04, which was stable and had a really good performance. 12.04 came along and ruined it all. Bad system performance, bugs every which where and crashing almost all the time. It was an LTS release and I had decided to stick with it whatever happened. I tried my best to get along well. However, I simply could not let my old laptop take anymore punishment. I had to help him out and I did.
Debian was the answer of course. Old and mature, stable and more than everything, apt! The real question was which desktop manager to use. Gnome was out of the question. Since the time they changed the old Gnome into Gnome classic, I had hated it. Since I had heard about XFCE from quite a few people, I decided to go with it.
I just have one thing to say – No wonder why people don’t use Linux distros. There was one serious hacker in my office while I was attempting it. I went to him for advice on installing a certain package and his first question was, “Why would you do this to yourself?”. That really ticked me off into getting this thing working. Finally, I’m happy to say that I have done it.
Of course, it took me almost five days to get the thing up and running. Googling, tweaking, persistence and what not. The first issue that I faced was of course, networking. However, it was the same old story and you can read about it here.
I’ll write about the different tweaks that I did and other issues that I faced in my coming posts. Otherwise this one will go on and on.
Cheers folks! The Debian days are here.
Life has changed for me and suddenly I have this feeling that I’m at the driver seat. Till now I was just a passenger and the paths were already laid out. I just had to go with the flow and I was sure to reach where I was heading. However, today it is not like that anymore. There is no “system” that I can just blindly follow. I have to think, figure out what I am doing and what I should be doing.
It feels good.
One of the things that I have missed is writing. The frequency at which I blog has come down considerably. I used to think that I wold naturally find time for it. I understand it is not so. Keeping things in perspective and finding time for what you want to do is becoming a more and more challenging task with each passing day. Time is flowing by and unless I act quick, things might reach a point where the currents would be too strong to swim back.
I find myself in the company of a man who has a vision. The yearning to bring about a change in the way things are. A strong and silent man who does not even show any signs of the slightest of frustrations on his face. I find myself in the company of a man who follows his dream of bringing together a community. I’m still ignorant of how all it came to be. But what I am sure of is that he is not alone.
I see a woman who loves her husband dearly. A woman who sacrifices her time and her career just to see her husband succeed. From many have I heard how lovely it was to behold such a relationship among all the hurried life in the city. She is always in search of what her place in such a surrounding is. Her thoughts go far beyond the pleasant smile that she wears all the time on her face. Her thoughts go here.
A motherly figure to all of us, I see a woman who strives to teach her two little children the ways of life. A kind hearted and empathetic person whom you could turn to whenever you feel life is too much to take. She will bring you back to reality, advising you for the best.
Three brothers. One who has traveled around the world much. Biology is at his heart, knowledge he has of almost everything, enthusiastic he is about tech and more than everything, cool he is! Whatever problem pops up somewhere, let it be tech, life, logistics, inventory, people, everyone’s first option would be to turn to him and the wonderful thing is, he always has an answer, and that too, a really sensible one.
One who loves mother Earth. His love for her reflects in his ways with the ones around him. A cute brother, always watching out for you, ready to help you at any moment. People like him increases your trust in humanity. You start to understand what it is like to be there for someone when you are with him. Relations, what ties the whole world together, he holds each and everyone he has, close to his heart.
One who loves to be one among us. His tech thoughts as well as jovial nature deep behind all the well kept. cool looking hair, beard and mustache, he is always ready for a laugh whatever mind boggling thing was up. Always ready to lend a hand, he hates bugs. Both in software and in real life. He exterminates both of them quite skilfully.
Last but not the least, imagineer. The silent, creative girl who works magic out of her fingers. Designs and art are her mastery and she conjures them up from thin air. Extremely quick in picking things up, a guaranteed wonderful designer who is soon to be famous. She is blooming to one beautiful flower from the cute bud that she was.
Kiran, Zainab, Radha, Ashwan, Sajjad, Krace and Praseetha, respectfully. HasGeek. Oh, and yours truly too.
It was amazing to see the dedication and sincerity with which everyone performed their roles last month over the two huge events. Perseverance, I saw in all of them. Mentally taxed, physically tired, ill, none of them were ready to quit and take a rest. There were things that needed to be done and they knew they were the ones who had to do it. There were no backseats. Working late into 3am, they sat and slept when everything was finally set. I realized that there was more to life than just watching out for yourself.
Sacrifice. That is how you work as a team. One for all and all for one. You are there for him and he is there for you. That is how it works. Of course you can call in sick and go lie down. But that was not a decision any of them were ready to make. They stuck together and pulled through. Many had lost track of time and many were taken ill. They got over it, and they did it.
However, all this comes with a price. All of these has a side effect. A beautiful one at that too. The bonds that were made. Small jokes in between rush hours, little chats over dinner and tea, they found themselves amongst a group of people who had something in common. They all wanted to make this happen. And they did.
I never expected to be a part of something this diverse. I still wonder where I am going to fit in. Hey, but what’s the rush? Life has just started for me and I want to make this happen as much as all of them.
Me and my friend were coming back after having purchased a lot of stuff for the party next day. Both of us were not in the best of moods as it had been a long day. The market place was so crowded, dusty and congested that the words “personal space” did not have any meaning there. As if all this was not enough, the hot noon sun did not help the cause at all.
With all the goodies in hand, just when we reached the place where we had parked our vehicle, my friend remembered that he had forgot something. He asked me to stay with all the stuff over there so that he could hurry over to the market once again and get it. I agreed and he went back.
The Animal was God to the people there. They worshiped it and would spend a few seconds in prayer if they were to see it standing somewhere. Some would even touch it and take its blessings. Some would even go to the extent of running upto it when it pees. They take a little in their hands and drink. A little bit more they would take and rub on their heads.
When my friend left me waiting for him, The Animal was lying down in front of me. I saw people hurrying here and there, busy with their jobs and errands, people who were carrying things from one place to another, people who were running to make both ends meet and others who were simply out shopping. All these people, without fail, were paying their respects to The Animal. I kept staring in awe.
After waiting for 10 minutes, The Animal, which was lying there in front of me, slowly got up and to my amazement, it was really huge. It remained calm and it was a nice experience to see the huge Animal so close. I closely looked at all its features. Even when I was at it, people were coming, paying their respect in the middle of all their hurry, and leaving.
I kept on looking at it. Finishing its head, body and tail, I finally reached its legs. I was always fascinated by hoofs. How it stood out from the rest of their body. I had a sort of belief inside my conscience that they were even made of metal! So in all that amazement, I looked at its hooves. The legs in the front and the left one at the back was fine. However, what met my eyes when I looked at its rear left leg made me twitch.
It was sort of disintegrated. Powdered and loosely held together, you could say. It had swarms of flies all over it and covering it entirely. They were buzzing around its hoof too, trying to find a place to sit on it. The Animal stood on its 3 legs and the one with the rotten hoof just touched the ground.
It stood there for 5 minutes and then, I noticed that it was trying to move. It slightly made a forward gesture, strengthening its front legs. However, when it came to the point where it had to exert pressure on the damaged leg, it could not. The flies were still swarming on it and The Animal now and then moved its leg a little to shoo them away. Still all of them came back on it instantly.
For about ten minutes, it tried hard to move forward, but failing in its attempt each time when the point came where it had to use its damaged leg. All this time, people were coming and going, paying respect to it. Only a few of them taking time to notice its leg and not even one coming forth to help their God. After ten minutes of staggering, The Animal once again lay down at the same place, again to be worshiped and respected by many, but not to be helped by any. My friend returned and we were on our way.
The Animal was the forsaken God.
I actually started writing this post a week ago. However, I got caught up in my work and had to postpone it till now. So it has been two weeks since I’ve been here and the next three paragraphs were written a week ago.
This might be the most treacherous thing to do – sitting and blogging on a hacknight day! But hey, everyone works on what interests them and I work on what interests me. So I guess I’m good.
Now, coming to my first week at Bangalore, I’m living. I mean, life at hasgeek has been so much fun that I actually feel that I’m with a family away from family. After sitting at home crawled up in my bed for almost three months, my life sure has taken one heck of a turn at this point. I have walked almost 13 kilometers within three days since I got here! Not only that, but being at CIS (the Center for Internet and Society) itself is absolutely wonderful. The lovely house with a lawn at the back and a really calm atmosphere…
However, for all the loveliness at work, the commute in Bangalore is killing me. I mean, at home, when I figure out I have to travel 7kms to get to someplace, I think, “Okay, just a 10 minute trip. I can make it anytime I want to and get there”. Ah! Little did I realize that such was not the case in Bangalore. It takes me a minimum of half an hour (if everything is well) and a maximum of one hour and thirty minutes to get to my office.
Coming back to the present. The above is the basic story of my commute. Well, that is going to be a problem only till I get a cycle/motorcycle or until I move to a place near to my office. So I guess that is fine.
What comes after traffic, my office, if you could call it that, is a really nice place. For one thing, it is not an office building or anything. It is a rented house. Hence you have the lounge, the office room, the kitchen, toilets, bed rooms and most pleasant of all, a lawn! At times when sitting at the office gets too monotonous, we get the bats and the net, and play badminton. It is sort of an open building. “Open” as in anyone can come in anytime, get the wi fi and work from there. Pretty cool. We are on the top floor and on the ground floor, it is CIS.
The time I decided to join the company was awesome as in they had two of their biggest events lined up within 4 weeks! Days got suddenly busy and before I knew it, I was talking to serious geeks, handling participant registrations, working on logistics and working on what all were coming up. All the work was made enjoyable by the ones whom I was working with. 8 of us HasGeek is going strong.
I had a pretty tiring day.
Being at the town, I started walking from a certain point, under the blazing hot noon sun, visiting each and every slipper shop on the way, trying to get hold of a certain brand which I had been using till now. I walked and I walked and to my surprise and dismay, reached back at exactly the point that I had started, without any luck whatsoever. Tired and wounded, not to mention disappointed, I went and had a drink. I sat and rested my overworked feet for a while. I got up again and started walking towards the bus stand in order to catch a home bound bus.
Just when I had taken 4 or 5 steps, there was this shop to my left. Out of inertia of having asked at each and every shop that had slippers in them, I simply stood outside and with an air of sarcasm , asked the owner whether he had the brand that I was looking for. I got what I was looking for from there.
The lesson that I learned from this happening is that always start the things that you want to do just before you are actually going to start doing it. In the philosophical sense, this thought has many implications. However, having experienced this first hand in real life, I’m bound to start applying this thought to the various aspects of life.
Anyway, that was just the icing of the cake and the above three paragraphs were not in my mind at all until I thought about how to begin this post that I wanted to write.
Reaching back home, I turned on my laptop and checked my mails. I happened to stumble upon this thread. I simply went through the replies and happened to click this link, with no particular reason. That was Diaspora page of Jishnu. Since I was tired from the day’s happenings and wanted to rest, I was simply browsing and as such, scrolled down along his posts. There I stumbled upon the following video, which is the primary reason for this blog post.
Usually I had this idea of talks by technical people getting boring and monotonous. This was exactly the opposite. Moreover, this was not a talk but rather a sort of Q&A session. I was not planning to sit through it completely, but the more I listened, the more I got interested to listen to the rest and hence, I finished it in one shot.
Mind you, I’m not saying that Linus is the epitome of perfection or anything of the sort. He maybe, he maybe not. I just wanted to think and improvise on some of the things that he mentioned during that session and that is exactly what I am going to do.
The fist and foremost being the title of the blog post. Is execution more important than vision? Vision as in, a dream of how something should be.
Well, according to Linus, he personally was in favor of getting things done rather than thinking and dreaming constantly of a bright future and end up doing bits and pieces. He takes the analogy of a man walking, looking at the stars. He has vision. However, unfortunately, he fails to see the potholes that are in the way that he walks because he is not looking down. Hence, he stumbles upon them and falls down. Linus does not completely criticize visionaries too as it is possible that the path that guy is walking upon might not have potholes and as such, he will achieve his vision.
This is a very interesting point because everyone can have ideas. People can have tons of awesome ideas. They can dream of things that should happen and keep on dreaming. As much as I admit that you should dream until your dreams come true, sometimes (most of the times), people simply end up only dreaming. That does not help.
What makes you different, or better, worthy of being alive, is when you get things done. Linus even quoted Edison where he said, “Success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration”. That is more or less true. Passion, inspiration, dreams, ambitions, etc all are just thoughts in the wind until you work hard for it, and achieve it.
With this thought in mind, I thought about how I have been over the past year and it was quite interesting to see the difference.
- Started my blog – “Yet another guy who has access to Internet registers yet another blog on wordpress”
- Wrote posts – “Yet another blogger who has to put in his blog, everything that happens to him”
- Wrote posts consistently – “Hmm… Yet another consistent blogger”
- Wrote stories – “Most definitely not a personal diary”
- Technical posts – “Not just philosophy and stories. Useful posts”
- Crossed 100 posts in a year – “Wow, I did not expect this guy to keep at this for so long. Still…”
- Published a book – “Awesome. This guy is actually getting things done”
I sure as hell would like to meet that omnipresent dude who commented on my stages of blogging. However, the point that I was trying to make was that even though I hadn’t realized it till now, I was following my passion and getting things done. I needed this push as I have in my drafts, 4 incomplete posts that I started writing and half way through, started thinking about how it should be and the impact that it should bring about to a reader. That thought is good, but it should not be as strong so as to pose a hindrance to what you are doing. Otherwise it ends up as the case mentioned earlier. I have these amazing vision and thoughts but I’m not actually doing anything for it. Now that I have that idea in my head, I’ll be finishing those posts soon.
Hence, as much as it is important to have a vision, it is as important to get things done as well.
Another interesting thing that he mentioned is being open about your feelings regarding something. He quoted his own example for this statement which was that one guy who worked on a certain kernel feature, got suicidal when Linus told him that the kernel did not want that feature. This would not have happened if people clearly knew about how Linus wanted the project to be.
I was not a big fan of extremism. However, taking into consideration the above scenario, there are times where being an extremist pays off. I mean, him being like that in regard to his project does not mean that he is like that with his family. The point being that there are occasions where you should stand like the Pole star and there are occasion where you should be diplomatic. I mean, Linus could have called that guy for a cup of coffee and started the, “Listen, I knew you’ve worked really hard” thing, but seriously, that attitude would have left the entire kernel project in once heck of a mess.
To the question of whether all the students should be made aware of the open source movement, his answer was thought provoking. The point is that everyone need not be made to learn programming or anything of th sort. However, the ones who have the spark in them should be given the chance and the proper encouragement for learning and improvising on it. He mentioned the cheap Raspberry pi board available where out of 100 boards, 99 of them might be lying in the dust. Still, the important thing is that one board gave an interested person the opportunity to learn and that is what matters.
This is true in real life also. When you try to do something for the people, instead of worrying and spending time on getting everyone involved and interested, you should be more set and concentrate on helping out those who are genuinely interested. We tend to forget that in our path of achieving a “noble cause”. Once you get through to those who are interested and when they start to do wonders, the influence will become bigger and will spread.
Well, that’s about it I guess. That session was something that I desperately needed and I’m glad I did not stumble upon it any later.
Each time being at that college among those students, you really feel rejuvenated.
On September 29th, MatriCS, the association (an awesome one at that!) under the Computer Science department at MES College of Engineering had it’s inauguration as well as was the host for the SMC annual meet. These two days are those that I don’t want to forget in a hurry. Hence, I thought I’d just write down about how it went so that next year when we meet, we might be able to have a nice laugh at what all happened this year.
I was not actually expecting a formal event and as such when I suddenly came to realize that the event was at the auditorium, it felt a bit weird. However, the moment I met Riyas, the third year CS student there who was extremely enthusiastic about getting things done, I knew things were going to get better. He had this friendly way of welcoming people and getting them to fit in without any trouble. I hope he keeps that spirit up because the society needs people like him. There was Hiran ettan (met him for the first time) and some other lady and Riyas took all the three of us into the hall.
I could sense the tension of the organizers to get things started in time, realizing at the last moment that certain people who were supposed to talk at the event, were not going to show up (Boy, I really hate when people do that). I had myself been in similar situations before and it was heart warming to see everything, more or less, going smooth. Shamsir, the current chairman of the association was getting everything together with an air of command. A jovial, innocent fellow who is as much enthusiastic as Riyas in getting things done.
My wishes and prayers to both of them.
I’m not going to go about describing each and everything that happened. You can find the itinerary of the event over here.
It was an awesome auditorium and there was a small session regarding OCRs, which were helpful for the blind people to use computers. I marveled at how the organizers thought of incorporating such a talk into the event. To know that the time had come where Computer Engineers had a real part to play in the society, gave us a feeling of responsibility.
29th of September was a special day because it had been exactly a year since Jinesh had passed away. The SMC members did an excellent job at collecting all the articles and blog posts written by Jinesh and compiling them into one single book under the name of “Logbook of an observer”. A hard copy of the book was handed over to his Father at the ceremony and people who knew him personally as well as through the net talked about him. Another person named “Shyam” was also mentioned who had this sincere love for our mother tongue. Knowing that people like them existed and how much they had influenced the world around them in the short time they were here, was really inspiring.
One of the other mention worthy (really mention worthy) things about the event was to get to see people in real life! And that is awesome. I mean, a few days ago, a guy called Ani Peter asked for help regarding translation on the SMC mailing list. I decided to help him out and with my inexperienced typing, helped out a tiny bit.
I was looking forward to meeting him at the event. With this thought in mind, I was sitting there in the second row of the auditorium pretty much alone. The speeches were going on and when it got monotonous, I happened to get a glimpse at the laptop of the lady who was sitting beside me. She was the one who was with Hiran ettan earlier. Her laptop booted and displayed the login screen. Just above the login screen was written “Ani Peter”.
The point being, it is nice (and necessary!) to meet people in real life. Hrishikesh (a really jovial and friendly guy), the artistic Ark Arjun, Hiran ettan, Manoj, Rajeesh ettan (An ultra cool guy with an awesome attitude), the sisterly Ani Peter, Adhil (whom I had briefly met for Chakkakuutaan), Manu (the renowned MES geek) were the ones among the newly-seen-in-real-life people.
It was heart warming to see Praveen ettan, Ershad, Nakul, Musfir, Sadiq, Anish, Kiran (well, I’ve been seeing this guy everyday for a month now, but still I was glad to see him at MES). Also the guys from MES itself. I’ not that good with names, so forgive me if I have accidentally left someone out. Yahul, Rahul, Navin, Sohail and the other young hacksters there who all added to the bright and wonderful atmosphere there.
The afternoon sessions of the first day were informal ones and I felt right at home. Anish talked about the Free Software philosophy and Hrishi came forward with introducing Diaspora and the free movie initiatives. Well, one of the troubles that the speakers always face is the problem of making the session interactive. When they ask something and the audience sit as if they had no clue what was going on, it usually becomes a bit depressing. However, little did they realize Musfir was one among the crowd!
He just would not sit taking everything that the speakers said for granted. He shot out with his questions and the whole session was completely interactive. It was nice to discuss and talk about philosophies. The Open movie initiative was really interesting and we all sat and saw the movie tears of steel.
However, there was something that bothered me with the whole ordeal. I was quite worried about the message that was reaching the students. I mean, the people who were giving the talks were really good programmers and developers. They gave talks on the matters that affected what they were working on. I felt that the technical part of the message was not getting through to the students. The feeling that the free software community was growing as a political party based on ideals and philosophies without the hacker spirit actually being there was somehow becoming more and more evident. I’m sure there might be an alternative explanation to this, but I’ve been seeing this trend (with me too!) growing up.
As if to counter my thought, the second day witnessed two wonderful workshops. One was on Shell scripting by Rajeesh ettan, which was extremely informative as he explained in detail many aspects of how the shell worked and its configurations along with the basic, practical funda of how to use the shell to script something. It has ticked me off into learning it and I’m sure be giving it a shot now.
This was followed by Ershad’s workshop on git, which was superb as usual. The sessions were wound up at about 1.30 with trophies being awarded to the SMC people who helped out with the events and sessions. We all had a few informal chats and I bid my farewell to everyone then.
I missed the hacknight on the first day which, as I was able to gather from the people who attended it, was extremely fun. I also missed the afternoon session on the second day which was on Remote Desktop and Networks. Hoping to read the details of both from some place else.
All through the event, I really missed Sajith sir. I’m sure all the students there missed him too. Here is praying and hoping that he will have his troubles settled and his wishes granted.
A heart warming experience. Something that students of MES can be proud of. I hope that they keep the spirit and enthusiasm flowing in the future as well.