English language has always been a passion for me in terms of its beauty, depth, sounds, accents and etc. I’ve also been privileged to read some wonderful works in English language and still want to go ahead in that direction very often. This passion burst out into a huge flame when I had a chance to hear the native speakers speaking the language so effortlessly and fluently imparting it a charm on it that left me dazed.With such a good quality of English with the so natural accents, pronounciations, modulations, I fell in love with the pure language again.

Of course in India, we seldom get to hear such wonderful English ( even if the speaker is only speaking small and simple sentences) and there is always an overdose of Indianized English – Hinglish, Tanglish and etc.. I know for sure that non-native speakers of English like Indians can never even come near the natives and that makes hearing such a language even more wonderfully attractive. Of course, Indians can talk and write correct and good English with our own distinct flavour, but still English at its purest is the very best.

P.S.: I was so charmed by hearing to the speaker that I didn’t even realize that the function in the auditorium was over and he was asking me to leave! πŸ˜€

I have always been unlike most of the students who are so crazy about social networking in its various forms. And the fact that a lot of popular social networking sites are banned inside my campus where I am residing has ensured that I’m away from social networking. But suddenly out of nowhere I started to use Twitter and gradually revived my Facebook activities too. Nowadays I tweet regularly and I’m close to the 200 mark and in Facebook too I perform a lot of activities out of which Mafia Wars takes up the majority of time. πŸ™‚

My Twitter profile is at http://twitter dot com slash LGuruprasad

Searing pain at the sides of the nose where the eyebrows and the nose meet, inability to sit in front of the computer for reasonable periods without headaches, sugar level that is everywhere except under control and more things have clearly ensured that my health is really really poor and is going down.
Being a diabetic, I am supposed to very restrictive and careful with my health, but my health condition rarely ever lets me do so. Though I want to sit in front of the computer and work/learn/waste time, my present health condition doesn’t let me. I feel frustrated with it and increased frustration isn’t going to help anything. With the exams approaching, I have loads to memorize and make up for my poor performance at memorizing and writing loads of pages in the test, also known as preparing and doing well in the exam! I can’t take it anymore and I quit!

Normally we download Sun JDK installation binaries and install them. Then we configure the PATH environment variable to point to our JDK installation. But some times there will be conflicts between the native gcj and Sun JDK. So it is always better to install Sun JDK through debian repositories.

But unfortunately, the Debian repositories have Sun JDK in non-free repositories and do not always have the latest JDK.

So this is how we can install the latest JDK natively on Debian.

Steps to be followed:

1. We have to download the JDK or JRE binaries (a .bin file) appropriate for our architecture.

2. Then we have to create a .deb package from the Sun JDK binaries we have downloaded

*Requirements:

a.Install java-package which will help us to convert the Sun JDK .bin file to aΒ  .deb file installable on Debian.

b. Install fakeroot.

3. Then do as non-root user,

fakeroot make-jpkg <Sun JDK binary filename>

If there is an error like ‘Plugins not found’ or similar errors, it means that the version of the Sun JDK you are trying to install may not be supported by ‘java-package’. Fortunately, there is a work-around for this:

Edit usr/share/java-package/sun-j2sdk.sh like this:

Add the following to that file:

"<Your Sun JDK/JRE bin file name") # SUPPORTED
j2se_version=1.6.0+update<version>${revision}
j2se_expected_min_size=130
found=true
;;

at the end of the list of similar directives for various versions of JDK/JRE and save the file.

Now repeat step 3 and it will not give the ‘Plugins not found error’ and a .deb package will be created with some warnings which you can ignore safely.

4. Then install the .deb file as a root user by the command:

dpkg -i <generated .deb file name>

5. After the JDK is installed, we have to configure the installed Sun JDK as the default JDK. So we use the following commands:

update-alternatives –config java

This command will show a list of Java installations available (including gcj) and prompt for a choice.

Choose the choice which corresponds to your Sun JDK installation. In my case it was something like this:

/usr/lib/j2sdk1.6-sun/bin/java

Now your Sun JDK installation will be the default JDK. πŸ™‚

I have got so used to life with Internet at college that when at home without hi-speed internet connectivity, I feel so uncomfortable. I can’t check emails very frequently, I can’t download stuff, I can’t google and find out answers, I can’t do this and I can’t do that etc.. Life away from the Internet now seems so alien to me and without google I only feel half alive.

When at home I have to go to nearby browsing centers to surf the internet at moderate speeds, whereas at college I have unlimited, free, hi-speed internet round the clock which I am so used to using. Life without Internet seems so different and eerie, but I do realise that I live a more orderly, proper life at home without Internet connectivity than at college.Of course Internet is a great boon and an unlimited reservoir of knowledge and information, but most of the times I am so immersed into the Internet that I spend too little or no time for other essential things.’

Thus, the stay at home is kind of a welcome break for me from the Internet and I do realise now that such breaks are really good for me than bad. So I am shelving my plan to get a broadband Internet connection at home for now, so that home remains home!

This year has been so tortuous for me with regards to academics and the trend clearly reflected in my results of the 6th semester exams. I scored 8.39 GPA, my lowest ever! This semester subjects involved a lot of memorising and writing loads and loads of pages. Unfortunately for me, I am miserably poor at memorising stuff. I can write pages and pages of stories, but even that is inhibited by my small handwriting due to which I write in 1 page what my friends write in 2-3 pages. So memory-wise and pages-wise I had a severe handicap. Also I didn’t do my internal tests properly which resulted in poor internal marks which virtually ruled out scoring above 90.

In fact, my highest internal mark was in ‘Numerical Methods’ subject at 25/30 which tells a big story in itself. The subject was one of the enjoyable ones in the semester and we had our beloved Dean who taught us so wonderfully that we didn’t realise the semester ended and the course for that subject was over. Hats off to the great man!

I didn’t do the exams well as my preparations weren’t there at all. I am happy and relieved that I didn’t fail in any of the subjects which would have been a big indelible blot that would have affected my life totally in all possible ways. Even in the last semester, I had noticed the beginning of the downfall but I didn’t do anything about it. Even in things that were in my control, I went astray and out of control and as a result, the results are there for all to see.

I am getting more and more interested in the real learning rather than what & how I learn in college courses. Being a server administrator in my college helps me learn a lot of wonderful things than the things which I can’t memorize from the book and reproduce verbatim in the exam.

All this apart, I have to pick myself up from the free fall I am in and score some very good marks to satisfy myself and all my near dear ones and of course for a better career.
Luckily for me, my CGPA has not gone below 9 and I am glad about it as probably this is the CGPA which I have to enter in my resume when I face placement interviews in this semester and immediately after this semester hopefully.

chart

On 13 May 2009, I participated in the democratic process of the world’s largest democracy. The election process has become so cliched and ripped apart by the insatiable politicians that electors feel in fool’s paradise only till they cast their vote. This time I cast my vote and felt somewhat emotionless and empty. Come whatever may, the political parties will woo the voters during the time of elections and make political issues out of anthills and bend truth as they wish and create so much of a ruckus to fool the normal ignorant Indian voters.

The moment the results are out, we get to see a different persona of the politicians. I can’t help feeling like crap as whomever I vote for, even if he is going to get elected, is not going to any good at all or the good-bad ratio is going to be hopelessly bad for the good things.

So when a provision like ’49-O’ was present, I was hopeful that many people could use it to express their displeasure at such a meaningless exercise called ‘General Elections’. But unfortunately, the voters have to fill in a form and submit it to be able to cast a ‘Do not wish to vote for any of the candidates’ vote, which is starkly against the secret ballot system being followed in our country. An individual casting such a vote can be at mortal peril too as his choice of vote is not a secret.I heard rumours that a button for ’49-O’ option will be present in the EVM itself from the next elections, I don’t know if it will be implemented and even if it is implemented, how effective and useful it will be is a big question.

The political parties try to woo the voters by showering them with illegal bribes and compete fiercely with competing parties. It is no longer the agenda of the parties, what they have done for the people and what they promise to do, that matter, but only the damn money! In a world where extremes like counting more votes than polled happens so silently and easily, bribing voters is absolutely normal and sane.

The ink mark on my nail hasn’t vanished yet and it is still dark and black looking to stay on a lot more days. It will go off in some time, but our nation is getting newer indelible and permanent blackmarks every instant that people like me tend to lose faith in democracy. I can’t help feeling that good-bad ratio is far more better in cases of a monarchy or a dictatorship rather than β€œDemocracy”

I wanted to install OpenSolaris 2008.11 in a machine that had 512 MB RAM which is just about enough to install and use OpenSolaris. But to my misfortune, GNOME Desktop environment took too long to load from the LiveCD and the system hung up every time I tried starting the installation. I was irritated and wanted to try the Text mode provided in the LiveCD and wanted to see if OpenSolaris has a text-based or ncurses-based installation available but to my misfortune, it left me at a login shell beyond which nothing happened. On googling, I found out that OpenSolaris doesn’t yet have a text-based installer and there were a few workarounds that were given like ssh X forwarding which was Greek and Latin to me and I couldn’t do it either.

So I decided to post this issue to BOSUG and immediately Moinak Ghosh, the man tirelessly and enthusiastically working for Belenix replied by telling me how to start the installation without loading the GNOME stuff at all and it worked perfectly. Here are the steps.

1. Boot into Text mode in the Live CD.
2. Login as user ‘jack’ in the login prompt that appears. (password is jack)
3. See if there is a .xinitrc file in the home directory. If there is, delete it.
4. Type the command ‘xinit’ and it will start X with a terminal.
5. Click on the terminal and type the command ‘pfexec /usr/bin/gui-install’ and the installer will start fine.

Thanks to Moinak and BOSUG for letting me know about such a way to install OpenSolaris on machines with just about enough RAM. With this, I was able to install OpenSolaris 2008.11 on a lot of machines.

“FOSSConf will focus on new users and contributors to FOSS together with advanced learning sessions. People can improve their knowledge and gain experience in speaking on and presenting FOSS related topics” – so says the official FOSSConf website (http://www.fossconf.in).

Yep, this year’s FOSSConf was held at my college and the organizers were the ever-enthusiastic and cooperating ILUGC, my college FOSS Community and NRCFOSS. Last year, FOSSConf was held at MIT, Chennai and with feedback from the organizers of that event, we at TCE, had valuable feedback about the issues faced and areas to improve.

Sun Microsystems sponsored the prizes for the Quiz contest to be conducted during FOSSConf and myself & Venkatachalam designed a web application for the Quiz contest.
There were a lot of technical talks from expert speakers and budding students and there were also demo stalls on various FOSS technologies and FOSS projects. Perfect arrangements for the same had been planned and made well in advance.
We had thousands of visitors throng FOSSConf and participate in Tech-talk sessions and visiting the demo stalls.

Since I was held up with organizing Quiz contest, I was unable to involve myself much in other activities. Here I must thank Venkatachalam for creating the web application for the Quiz contest in no time at all and without him, the automated quiz would not have been possible at all. Hats off friend!

I wanted to attend a lot of tech-talks but could attend only a couple – Parallel Programming by Mr.Rajagopal from Yahoo and Badam Halwa of Embedded Systems by Mr. Shakti Kannan and they were excellent and interesting to say the least. Amidst all this, I also conducted a Ubuntu installation session for the audience.

FOSSConf 2009 was a great learning experience in terms of FOSS, team work and organization and I would cherish it forever.

I will soon post the link to the FOSSConf 2009 gallery here.