Friday, January 18, 2008

Takeaway of the Symposium

We had a Symposium at office and the best takeaway came as a big surprise.

I was one of the organizers for the product line I work for. I visited the product line I used to work for and saw this interesting but small poster - "Are you interested in Open Source?". It had some other words below but, I couldn't hold back myself and said - Yes, I am. I was immediately presented with a CD of Ubuntu 7.10 and a DVD too!!!

Guess what, this was totally unrelated to what the Symposium was all about. This was done just out of the passion for Open Source.

For some, Open Source is not a way of life, it IS LIFE.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Getting Flash to work with Firefox on Ubuntu 7.10

Me's had problems with getting flash to work with Firefox. Whenever a page with flash content is opened in Firefox, it complained that it can't find a flash plugin, even though it was installed already. When you try to install the flash plugin again, it would complain that flash is already installed and that Firefox requires a reboot.

Here's a solution for this problem that Me came across, on the net ofcourse. ;-).

This is what you've to do:

  1. Get the flash player plugin from this link.
  2. Open a command prompt, navigate to the folder where the above file is downloaded.
  3. If you want the fix to be available across all users, run
    sudo ./flashplayer-installer
    To enable it only for the current user, run
  4. The installer would prompt the user to close all existing browser windows before proceeding with the install.
  5. Installation is done, Firefox is ready to take in flash pages as well!

However, please do note that the above plugin from Adobe is not free (as in GPL free). To try a free flash player plugin, do try out Gnash - more about it in some other post.

Adios Amigos!


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Surfing the Internet via Ubuntu and WiMax

I took a Reliance WiMax connection at home and guess what, the guys who came for installation did not know how to configure the connection in Linux although it was just a LAN connection. But, one of the guys had heard of Linux.

I was having trouble with getting an IP from the DHCP server, so, after a few phone calls, 2 tech guys came home. One said - If it were someone else, they wouldn't even help you in fixing the problem! That was some statement to make. All that he did was to telnet into the WiMax receiver and change its configuration to stop signals from interfering with the good one.

I told the guy to learn new things instead of refusing to learn :-) Also told him that everything I was using was free and showed him the website.

I just wonder, these tech guys might be visiting at least 4 customers each day and in all these days, they haven't even seen one single Linux machine! Well at least now they have :-)

Monday, January 7, 2008

How I got into Linux

Saw a friend of mine install RedHat around 1999 I suppose and I don't know why, I got interested to try out. Did not do much for a long time after that except installing it at home and burning fingers (because of my own inexperience). I tried something on Karthik/Ram's machine in Mysore and crashed the entire thing! They were graceful to let me go without abuses. I have an old workstation in office running Linux for a long time. I was tempted to give it up, but upgraded to Ubuntu Gutsy and I still use it.

Right now, I've setup the Old HP Pavilion PC at home entirely on Ubuntu Gutsy which works amazingly well for me. I have another PC newly assembled that will serve as the host for some of our ideas. We will post those experiments here.

Radha breathed life back into my Linux passion and it is an honour to be partnering with him. He pointed me to the in Bangalore which brought me memories of attending LinuxBangalore in 2002 with Bhatta, Niranjan and Sunil.

At I was fortunate to attend these talks:
* Giving back to the community: how does Debian perform by Sam Hocevar
* Contributing to Debian for dummies, Internationalization in Debian by Christian Perrier
* Why/How you should become a Kernel Hacker by James Morris
* lguest by Rusty Russell
* Demystifying GCC by Abhijat Vichare
* From User to Hacker in 90 minutes (in unison with Shreyas Srinivasan) by Andrew Cowie
* Contributing to the Runtime by Ulrich Drepper
* talloc - the power of C by Rusty Russell
* The realtime pre-emption path by Thomas Gleixner
Each talk left me inspired, nothing less.

Talks I wish I could've attended:
* Openmoko talk by Harald welte. (I wish to buy the Neo 1973 for my next mobile)
* Talks by Lennart Poettering, Rasmus Lerdorf (creator of PHP), Naba Kumar (creator of Anjuta)

p.s: I guess all this will be a surprise to Radha himself ;-)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Slow Ubuntu Bootup

What to do to when Ubuntu is slow in booting up:
1. edit the /etc/usplash.conf to use xres=1024 yres=768, then
2. sudo update-usplash-theme usplash-theme-ubuntu

If you are unable to get XOrg working, use Ctrl+Alt+F1 to get into tty1, login and follow steps 1 and 2.
[Thanks to the Ubuntu Forums]

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hail Ubuntu!

Me bumped into Ubuntu about an year and a half ago. Around the time when news was doing rounds that Windows Vista required new hardware to run in its full splendor (read eye-candy) and Me was in no mood to upgrade from a PC that Me prided as having the then best configurations.

Actually, my experiences with Linux hadn't been that great till then. My first attempt was with Red hat Linux, but that experience had left me sour - really sour. Probably Linux as a destop hadn't evolved enough back then. Configuration of devices wasn't easy enough, finding information on the net was quite tough and help wasn't readily available. I think Gnome wasn't that pretty too.

What prompted me to move to try Ubuntu was actually, one of these videos. And then, there was Ubuntu's website which claimed that really good eye candy could be experienced even on older hardware. That you didn't have to install to experience it - live cd provided the capability to run it without having to actually install it. That it wouldn't require much hardware configuration. And that it came with this variety of software - office, image editing, media players, etc... - that came along with it. All free. That it boasted of a good user community. Enough stuff that pushed me to try it out.

Downloaded Ubuntu 6.10, burnt it onto a CD and tried it out. Must say, was in for a very good surprise. We will list out all the features in detail in the coming posts, but was pretty much convinced that this is what Me'd be using. Its been a good one and a half year since Me's started using Ubuntu on my home PC. Only a handful of times has Me booted into Windows XP. These days, Me feels strongly about 'Openness'. Me uses open source software as much as Me can and would like to contribute as much as Me can too.

Must mention here about the Ubuntu Philosophy, and the way Ubuntu influences people's thinking. Me thinks that it stands for freedom of software in specific, but could generalize it to freedom of knowledge in general. Me thinks when Ubuntu talks of Freedom, they refer to it in the Gandhian way. Me always believed that Knowledge flourishes when its shared freely, and would foster innovation in a way that no other strategy would.

There's this interesting statement that Ubuntu prints on the CDs it distributes - "You are encouraged and legally entitled to copy, reinstall, modify and redistribute this disc for yourself and Ubuntu. Share the spirit of Ubuntu". Now, compare that feeling of freedom when you read this statement with the one that you get when you read licenses of conventional software that restrict the user to make copies/ distribute it. That feeling is what Me thinks, the very essence of freedom.

Fortunately, a friend of mine, Raghav and me realized that we share similar views. These days, we discuss a lot about Ubuntu. We realized we could just pen it down into a blog, and the result is this blog. We would be posting all our learnings about Ubuntu in general and hope that it would be useful to other folks too.

While this blog would contain details about Ubuntu, we would like to extend it to include stuff about other open source stuff too.

And here we go!