Friday, October 14, 2011

The Sad demise of creator

Linus Torvalds wrote in coding style for Linux kernel that Kernighan and Ritchie are prophets and further elaborated that:

"but all right-thinking people know that (a) K&R are _right_ and (b) K&R are right.".
This was in reference to one true brace coding style.
But the influence of Dennis Ritchie is much more that just coding style. He is the father of C language and Co-Father of Unix operating system.

Here is how I think the conversation between Ritchie and Thompson would have been
"Let's write UNIX, Oh see I have written C. Oh then shall we rewrite the UNIX in C"

But today is a very sad day and a sad day indeed. The prophet has passed away. The creator of two of the greatest software products in the history of computing has passed away. 
Every modern programming language is derived from C, may it be C++, Java, C#, perl, python. C is pretty much the first thing anyone will learn to understand structured programming. The efficient nature of C makes it ideal candidate for writing operating systems and low level code. I can go on and on about the beauty of language and its applications. 
Ritchie gifted us with this language of programming poetry, the language which is so simple and elegant yet so powerful and beastly. 
His other gift is a modern functional operating system. Pretty much most of the operating system today owes it to Unix for their fundamental concepts and theory. Has there never been a unix, there would never been a Macintosh or Linux for that matter. 
Linux community is heavily indebted to Ritchie for creating these two great software and probably its one of the reason why most people in community is mourning his death. 
His contribution to computing is immense, entire modern computing is standing on his shoulders. His contribution to The world is not fancy or tangible which a lot of people can understand, but he created pillars on which entire building of software infrastructure is standing. He can be thought as Issac Newton of computing, may be in coming times he will be revered but in these times people are not as appreciative of Ritchie as  the world was to Newton.
 Ritchie will be honoured by writing more code in C language and use of Unix in our lives. His name may not be taken everyday by people, but his creation will benefit mankind forever. 
Thank you DMR for doing this great service to mankind.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A study of GPL voilation cases in 2006 2007

I did this report for my coursework, but I think I will publish it in order to get wider opinion on my work.

Scope: The document is academic in nature and reflects opinion and understanding of author developed from reading of various other related documents. This document may not be legally accurate due to limited technical understanding of law by the author, however author has tried to keep it factual to best of his beliefs. The document uses GPL’s version 2 as “the license”, which is most widely used and applicable for the cases presented in this document.

Referencing: The name of authors appears along with the year of publication separated by comma(“,”) inside a square bracket [author name, year], the author name and year are italicized for emphasis. The full details of references are expanded at the end of this paper in reference section.


Following three stories are selected for study in this report:
1. Free software foundation’s legal committee sues Monsoon multimedia for GPL violation [out-law page=8490, 2007]
2. British Telecom accused of violating terms of GPL on their broadband home router [out-law page=7685, 2005]
3. Fortinet UK does not comply with terms of GPL [out-law page=5620, 2005]



a) Risks

The risks involved in these three stories:
i. Violation of GPL leads to infringement of copy rights of authors of the software licensed under GPL.
ii. Such violation risks the existence of free software and rights of community to promote such software.
iii. The legal hurdles in enforcing GPL due to its different nature as compared to other licenses.
iv. In case of legal action against GPL violator, it may send wrong signals to companies planning of using open source software in future.
v. The legal action may lead to big financial damage of the violating organization causing bilateral damage. Such damage is bad for promotion of open source software in business.

b) Issues

Before we actually look into what are the issues related to GPL violation, we need to define what constitutes a violation as understood from [faqs at, 2010]

GNU’s General Public License allows an organization and/or individual to copy a software, modify it and redistribute the software freely or by charging a fee. But the redistribution of the software should be covered under GPL and the source code need to be provided either through a medium or website link. The source code could be provided either on request or voluntarily [Kuhn et al, 2008].

GPL will be considered violated If the organization and/or individual
i. do not ship the software under the same license or
ii. denies the recipient of software the source code on request or
iii. tries to hide the fact that software is licensed under GPL by some form of encryption or similar techniques.

The most common issue is treating a GPL’d software as public domain software. In case of British Telecom issue was lack of awareness, however Monsoon multimedia disregarded the license itself. If propriety code is included with GPL’d code, the issue would be the difficulty to provide these codes separately. Another important issue is to educate customer if they receive any GPL’d code to redistribute it with the same license [Moglen, 2001].

c) Problems

One of the biggest problem faced by reporters of gpl-viloation is proving that any piece of software is indeed derived from an open source software [cnet news, 2005].
Due to distributed nature of software development, one of the problem is to finding the rightful owner of copyright. The next problem is her ability to actually carry out legal actions against the violator.
Another problem is the lack of funds for filing a court case, most of the open source projects are donation driven or sustaining from the individual income.

d) Consequences

The consequence of GPL violation is hindrance in process of sharing the knowledge and benefit of knowledge for the society. The consequences of problem faced due to violation makes it difficult to implement. The consequence of free nature of license makes companies ignore its terms.

2. Stakeholders

The primary stakeholders

i. Free software foundation’s different agencies
ii. various software companies which violated the gpl terms.
iii. The shareholder and investors of these companies

The secondary stakeholders
i. court of law for these cases
ii. developers from Free and open source software(FOSS) community.
In fortinet and BT cases the agency involved is whereas in case of Monsoon multimedia Software freedom Law centre(SFLC) is involved. Herald Welte acted on behalf of in the courts, he holds copyrights for “netfilters” and busybox(after transfer by original authors).

3. Possible Actions

According to legal primer by SFLC[Fontana et al, 2008] the very first action is sending a letter informing the violator about the possible violation of GPL(which may be unintentional). If the letter is ignored, then sending a letter of injunction obtained from the court restraining further distribution. In most cases a out of court settlement is preferred, however if the offending party is not willing to comply, then only legal battle should be fought. The real motive of any action is awareness and enforcement for protection of copyrights of FOSS community.

Professional Aspect:

a. Responsibilities of decision makers

i. The organization should
a. understand the terms of GPL and decision to use the open source software should be conscious and consistent with company policies.
b. communicate the same to employees, in case they try to use open source software in the product.
c. provide mediums to provide source code to customer and communicate the terms.

ii. FSF is responsible for enforcement of GPL. It should educated organizations and developers about the requirements and actions related to GPL compliance. In case of violation, it is responsible for taking corrective actions.

b. Applicable sections of code of Ethics:

ACM code of Ethics and professional conduct:
i. Section 1.5
ii. Section 1.6
iii. Section 2.3
iv. Section 2.6
v. Section 1.3
IEEE/ACM Software engineers code of ethics and professional practice:
i. Section 2.07
ii. Section 2.09
iii. Section 5.09
iv. Section 6.01
v. Section 6.06

2. Rights of stakeholders

Stakeholders have right to
i. freely share the knowledge and distribute the open source software freely, but in accordance with GPL.
ii. copy, modify it and redistribute it further.
iii. seek copyrights on their original work.
iv. seek a legal action, if the user do no comply to conditions of the enclosing license.
v. ask for clarification from the party claiming the copyrights and seeking legal action.
vi. do legitimate business with software and make profit, while giving credits to original creator of the software.
vii. compensation for expenses and damaged caused by infringing party.

3. Impact of possible actions on stakeholders
i. For FOSS developers: the process of software development gets a more legal status.
ii. For FSF: enforcement of terms of license and thus safeguarding the interest of open source community.
iii. For companies: change in strategy for usage of free software and decision for promotion and contribution to FOSS. Any legal action can effect their reputation negatively.
iv. For legal community: such case will provide new areas of application for existing laws.

Legal Aspects:

1. UK act of parliament
Application of Copyright, Design and Patent Act 1988 and amendments made through The Copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations 1992:
These software are covered by section 3 (1)b as valid candidate for consideration. The author or joint authorship is defined as per provisions of section 9(1) and 10. The authors have right to make copy of the program and issue it to public under section 16 1(a) and 16 1(b). The receiving party can make copy of the work in lawful way under 50(c). While the software is redistributed in any form, it should be redistributed with same license(i.e. GPL)

Before we can recognize more laws which are relevant to these stories, we need to analyse the nature of GPL as a license. Section 2,3 and 4 of GPL license v2 [, 1991] are considered binding by the law [Hoppner, 2004] as decided by German court in sitecom case. The German court also decided to charge the sitecom guilty of violating German civil code by breaching the terms of contract. However, Eben Moglen, the attorney at FSF made it clear in his article that the GPL is license and not a contract [Jones, 2001]. This complicates the application of contract laws to these cases.
The Author do not have sufficient legal understanding for finding an exact equivalent of German civil code. But Author speculates the following UK acts should be applicable if the court decides in the same way as German court:
Unfair contract Terms Act 1977 section 1(3) defines about the breach of contract by a business, which in this case is violation of GPL during sale of the product without proper license.
Sales of good act 1979 section 12 prevents sale of any item to which seller have no legal rights. In these case, sellers are selling a software product for which they don’t own copyrights. They are infringing the copyright of original author by not selling the product with its proper terms.

2. Two previously resolved legal cases.

As pointed out in previous section, Sitecom was found guilty of violating GPL and sued in Germany[out-law page=4486, 2004]. Another story of previously resolved GPL case is Dlink v/s [, 2006]

Similarities between the stories:

These stories involve infringement of copyrights of FOSS developers. The compliance can be bought by proper understanding of terms without resorting to any legal action. However, if they fail to abide by the terms in spite of being cautioned, all of them can be bought under legal action for copyright infringement.

Difference between the stories:

Some of these companies(BT, Fortinet) complied to the GPL terms on being made aware of it. Some of them(Dlink and Sitecom) didn’t complied until the legal letter of injunction was sent to them.
Dlink agreed to terms and condition of license, but refused to pay the legal expenses and other minimal costs. Later court ordered Dlink to pay for the expenses.
Monsoon multimedia went even further by not only complying to GPL but also appointing a dedicated open source compliance officer to monitor and ensure the GPL compliance.

Ethical Aspects

a. Deontological Perspective:
There is very little in actions of these organization which can be justified using Deontological perspective. The violation cannot be justified as unintentional since the organisation should understand the terms of License before using the software. The source code have a copy of GPL in it or a READ-ME file pointing to location of license online. The action of hiding the fact is immoral and action is equivalent to theft.

b. Consequentialist perspective:
The amount of happiness or utility increased by not giving proper credits to original authors of code seems very little. The only advantage one can draw from not providing source code is competitive advantage from rival companies. However this advantage is insignificant since other organization can also use open source software for their code. And if the rival organization complies with GPL, it can get stronger ties with FOSS community. Even if we consider that it can lead to happiness of Employees of organization by some profits, it will cause a much higher loss to FOSS community and thus there are no real gains.

Both ethical perspectives condemns the action of GPL violators, because neither the action nor the result is morally right or advantageous. This causes a lot of trouble to people who are creating software for general good of society and sharing their knowledge.

a. Negative rights:
i. Freedom to copy, use, modify and collaborate for creating open source software .
ii. The use of free software for business or any legal purpose.

b. Positive rights:
i. Providing the same license when distributing the software.
ii. Providing the source code, when required.
iii. Creating awareness.
iv. reporting a case of gpl violation.

As it can be seen there are very little conflict in negative and positive rights in these cases. The only conflict is usage of open source software in business purpose and providing a source code can cause misuse of software, since it will be easy for attackers to understand the working of software. However this issue is more related to software development and security features than related to GPL.

My proposed solution

While the solution options are provided differently for each case each of them can be applied to all of them for the same reason as stated.

Case 1:
Monsoon multimedia should pay compensation to for the legal fees and equipments and efforts required to prove its infringement. It should also create awareness about Compliance of GPL to customer and employees by creating policy document and conducting training on regular basis.

Professional rationale:
This will be consistent with organizations duty as listed in ACM code of conduct for doing greater good for society and creating awareness related to license terms and conditions.
Ethical rationale:
Providing a compensation for a legal fees and other costs is ethical from both perspectives since its a good act and increases the net happiness of everyone. The compensation is a very small amount in comparison to the worth of profits earned by usage of an open source software.
Legal rationale:
Fulfilling GPL requirement is necessary legal requirement, however in order to stop any
employee of customer from unintentionally violating the term of license, training and
awareness is necessary.

Case 2:
Though BT responded immediately to the letter from FSF[out-law page=7685, 2005], however it should appoint a team of developer which should work in providing GPL compliance along with possibility of contributing code back to FOSS community.

Professional rationale: For being more trustworthy and contributing to society while using software meant for same purpose is very much in accordance with ACM guidelines.
Ethical rationale: Its a very ethical thing to contribute back to community, it also increases net utility and happiness. BT is a huge organization, its action are followed by others, and thus it should set a high standard of moral responsibilities.
Legal rationale: BT fulfilled its legal obligation by accepting the terms. However in order to avoid any legal issues in future the compliance committee is a good step.

Case 3:
Fortinet should stop shipping of its product until all the compliance is issued. It should also send notices to existing customer telling the new license term of the software.
Professional rationale:
This will be consistent with ACM professional code by informing the customers of possible issues they may have to face due to usage of that particular product.
Ethical rationale
Its unethical from both perspective to ship a product without properly attributing the credit to the original authors.
Legal rationale
Shipping of products infringing copyright for business purpose is illegal. Also its in best interest of customers to be aware of terms of product license in order to avoid any legal hassles.

References are made in text as indicated on cover page under section referencing. The full details are provided here.

Outlaw news, page 5620, “Software firm settles GPL violation lawsuit”, 28/04/2005. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Outlaw news, page 8490, “First US lawsuit to test GPL open source licence”, 24/09/2007. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Outlaw news, page 7685, “BT's Home Hub runs on Linux”, 23/01/2007. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Outlaw news, page 4486, “German court upholds open source licence”, 26/04/2004. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

GPL Violation case archives, “Dlink verdict”, 22/09/2006. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Sara Baase, 2008. A gift of fire: social, legal, and ethical issues for computing and internet 3rd edition, New jersey(U.S): Pearson Education.

Dr. Lee Gillam, 2010. Challenges for computing professionals, COMM006 [online via ulearn], University of Surrey.

S J A Robertson, 'The Validity of Shrink-Wrap Licences in Scots Law Beta Computers (Europe) Ltd v. Adobe Systems (Europe) Ltd', Case Note, 1998 (2) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

J Höppner, "The GPL prevails: An analysis of the first-ever Court decision on the validity and effectivity of the GPL", (2004) 1:4 SCRIPTed 628, Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Bradley M. Kuhn, Aaron Williamson, Karen M. Sandler, “A Practical Guide to GPL Compliance”, Software freedom law centre, 2008. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Richard Fontana, Bradley M. Kuhn, Eben Moglen,Matthew Norwood, Daniel B. Ravicher, Karen Sandler, James Vasile, Aaron Williamson, “A Legal Issues Primer for Open Source and Free Software Projects”, Software freedom law centre, 2008. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Eben Moglen, “Enforcing the GNU GPL”, GNU publications, 2001. Available at Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Frequently asked questions from GNU’s official site, 2010. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c. 48), UK Statute Law database. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, UK Govt Legislations. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Sale of Goods Act 1979, UK Govt Legislations. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

GNU General Public License version 2. 1991, Massachusetts(U.S). Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

ACM /IEEE publications 1999, “Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice”. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

ACM /IEEE publications 1992, “ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct”. Available at[Accessed 04/12/2010]

Pamela Jones, 2003 “The GPL Is a License, not a Contract”, published at online linux magazine. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Stephen Shankland, March 16, 2005 “Open-source programmer alleges Linux misuse”, CNET News. Available at;txt [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Final Judgement of the District Court of Munich I, issued 19 May 2004 – 21 O 6123/04. Translation provide at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

Copy of complaint lodged by Software freedom Law Centre against Monsoon Multimedia Inc. on Sep 19, 2007 at District Court New York(U.S.). Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

The Wikipedia, 2010. Online open source wikipedia, “Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom”. Available at [Accessed 04/12/2010]

IRC conversation at #gnu at, 28/11/2010. Discussion “Laws safeguarding GPL in various countries”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

why do u wear a red hat

Frankly speaking the biggest reason, I stick with redhat Operating systems is I am quiet comfortable with them and I know them inside out. And as long as I remember Linux, they have been around, and been loyal to what they started with. I don't think ubuntu is bad, but I don't like it. I started my days with Redhat 7.3 and then Redhat 9 and then Fedora 3 and then EL 3 and EL 4 and then everything upto Constantine. I am baffled by the fact that I have to look elsewhere in my /etc to find out where my stuff has suddenly gone and other distros stare me with that dirty look, when I look into those standard files, I have been editing(or shall I say viming) for years now. I know "system config _variable_" is not the standard. Purist run around saying that its not the linux way, so is apt and so is yum or for that matter any utility. RPM is not worse than .deb or .dpkg, they are just different conventions. And I think RPM package management is one of finest out there. I know ubuntu is doing wonderful thing, its kool and its easy to use. Repo support in ubuntu(with synaptic) is seamless. But but but, to me that is not charming enough to leave Redhat. I have tried Sabayon and Mandriva and Suse, I would say Suse is the coolest, they can bloody recognize all OS and add entry to MBR/grub and u don't have to worry. And interface and display look neat. I had some trouble with Fedora being not able to recognize other distros, but may be its not being thought of it yet.
Redhat is making good progress. The significant number of people working in any list(dev or testing) are from Redhat. I am quiet surprised by the fact that Redhat files and please note that fixes maximum number of security bugs in Linux. Okay, debian is not far, but Redhat ELs are bloody Garrisoned castle. From EL4 onwards they introduced SElinux, which is just amazing. As far as security goes, Fedora wins hands down.
Now one more aspect of these new breeds of distros is assuming user is totally ignorant and they try to disable everything. That is a good thing for security reasons, but to me its not worth the try. I want gcc and bin-utils right there as soon as my system is up and running. I am bit puzzled by sendmail though, as to why is it "up" all the time. As what I understand its not required most of the time(but I could be wrong). Its bit too much of a hassle to get everything on the fly especially basic development tool. I can't think of my life without having a kernel headers in place. And I shouldn't be dependent on internet all the time. Right, I don't live in bunker, but still dependency on internet for basic system functionality is a disease. Ok, I know ubuntu have DVD version, but I haven't tried it, and I don't think anyone else had(bit far fetched assumption, I know). Everyone depends on stupid live CDs. Sorry I am old school I like full distro on my DVD.
Ok, repo support was bit clumsy in fedoras, but I can handle that. I have been resolving weirdest of the dependencies for a long, and at times it could be frustrating, but its a good exercise to understand working of packages. And in recent times yum is improving like anything since F10, things are very smooth. With addition of repos like livna, rpmfusion, everything imaginable is available. Well, I am not saying it has highest number of packages available, but it has pretty much everything I can imagine. Well, I know debian is like holy grail of package support, Debian's port style package management is one of the finest. But its tad slow. And release cycle are not worth the wait. With some commands here and there, I have consolidated that fedora has around 18k packages, debian more than 18k and ubuntu somewhere around 16k plus. So I don't think packages supported in fedora is lacking or missing in anyway. You get everything what you want.

As far as shiny new packages are concerned, I recently came to knew that until Redhat team is satisfied by its security and stability, its not released. And that is best thing to do. What is the point of porting a package, which crashes and which makes system vulnerable. I am not saying that fedora is shipping everything pretty tightly, but not risking much security for new fancy cosmetic packages not properly supported. They now have live CD, its not all that difficult thing to implement. yeah but ubuntu had it first, so credit goes to them.
There are few hiccups with wireless and graphics and all, but that is general Linux problem and not Fedora issues. Few distros provide third party non-GPL packages, where as Fedora generally refrains from it, but they are not absent or something. Its just u have to dig a little harder.
So, instead of running around and learning new structures of where is what? And Since I am command line person, I can live without much of gui. I don't want fancy interfaces to do the same thing which just need one command, with these new distros command line has become more confusing than being helpful. I see no reason to move things from grub.conf or changing rc.d structure is some mysterious way. So Redhat it is, for me.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Security framework for embedded system kernel: post alpha

Hence forth this site will be dedicated to work done by me with respect to work I will do on security framework for kernels for embedded system, that will include static code checking and module based dynamic injection of attack methodologies.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Elvis of editors.

I wont compare vi with any other editors, there are religious issues once I say that vi is better than emacs or vice versa.
But I would certainly like to say that vi is much much better than any editor i know of(sparring emacs). Okay, initially when u start learning vi, its terse and its quite unlike any other simpler editor, one might have came across. Even to edit one need to change the mode. But once you cross that level, where u can easily switch between modes and understand its fundamentals well. It is the most powerful tool a developer can think of. I cannot comment how many of them actually use vi, but its quite popular among kernel developers.
I mean with vi in hands, u feel like a elitist , u feel the power of creation. Vi stays so much close to the philosophies of unices, it is one of the most simple ones, it just do one thing with one command, and it does not bug u with questions. vi is so much compatible with so many other utilities in unix. Its clean design has made programmers life easy and lovable for last few decades. The powerful regex parser and its capability to gel well with other processing languages like sed etc. is so sublime that one will feel as if sed is a part of vi.
Vi cannot be instant love, but once it starts growing its an addiction. When first time I used sp: and vs: capability on my console, I gasped and gawked with awe.
vi is indispensable tool, a real friend and moreover one of the finest piece of code ever written. I consider it to be the best editor till date.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

One Laptop Per Child

All right this is so much around the web, you can't remain unaware about this one. But still only open source people like me are aware of it. Some people from MIT media lab dreamed of making a small $100 laptop for kids of poor countries for educational purpose.
But they have many hurdles like hardware, funding and biggest was software. I donno when, but hardware thing was shelled out by AMD and for funding many Biggies like News Corp, Google etc jumped up. But real pain was writing software. So here is where Open source came into picture, the good guys from Redhat(yeah I know that is a cliche, but open source is so much consistent.) dedicated an entire team of developer to port Fedora 5 (Linux distribution from Redhat)for this laptop.
Now as everyone know fedora is one of the heaviest of known OS, so it was mammoth task for developers to port it to save power, efficiency etc. Secondly many other open source developer collaborated for this good cause and created a nice GUI. GUI is very very intuitive and kids have responded well to it. Then, they placed servers which will be used for wi-fi internet! yes, that's true someone is funding for that as well.
The laptop is a green machine and it is powered by a handle which can be rotated to power the laptop(wow! that's the innovation.). Its keys and interface are beautifully designed.
Many countries have already starting using the same for their kids. I am not sure, but I would like everyone visiting this place to take note of this effort and if possible persuade some NGOs or Govt bodies to support the cause and find out if this can be used to benefit the needy. And if you are developer of any kind, right from embedded to web designed, you can directly contribute.
Please check any of the below sites for more details

Wikipedia had dedicated an entire section to OLPC :

The site for olpc is

In India following place has adopted the laptop for use in a school:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Code Linux

I came across this Finnish movie about development of Linux operating system.
Movie portrayed many things like :
Free software and Open source, how they are different and what is their basic philosophies.
How loosely knitted programmers across the globe can work together.
How can some one make business out of open source, in fact they portrayed many organization's early history like Redhat, VA Linux works and some Chinese Linux company.
They also challenged some basic principles of software organizations like closed source system.
And yes as usual loads of Bill Gates and M$ basing(I love this part.)
Some portions of interview with RMS and Linus were kool, although very contrasting personalities but have similar ideas.
The movie have some part of Linux being dragged into political controversies things, but Linux has came out of all this.
The Idea of a hacker is presented very well.
I loved the movie, kinda inspirational

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


"Hey Man, you are _THE_ Man!". Well these are my words of appreciation for the great hacker who thought the concept of man pages. As far as I know any help available on this planet can not be more standardized or comprehensive than the man pages of unix. The format of man pages is fixed all through out the generations of all sorts of unixes(linux included). Man pages are most readily available and I find them much much more convenient than googling around. Man pages are precise. clear-cut, comprehensive and very very well written and the great thing is they even report the bug or any other such flaw, if it exists. In the vast world of unixes, where each command itself is a utility, the number of commands has increased to a surprisingly large number and remembering all of them is difficult and not very productive, also they have switches and options for each command. So, I can think of only resort to this problem is to just remember one command, that is "man" and here you are, the undefeated warrior of unix world.
Man pages are well divided with respect to kind of users using them. They cater to all kind of users may it be a normal user, an admin or an application developer or even a kernel hacker. Everyone in unix is so-much in love with man pages, that one cannot imagine his or her day without doing "man X something".
Some people think unixes are cocky and elitist kind of OS's, well yes, they are just great and everyone loves it that way. Similar concept is applied to man pages, man pages seems very cryptic to many people, but they are very standardized and always follow a fixed pattern and hence are consistent throughout.
So people, whenever in doubt in unix just be a "man".

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fiesty Fawn

Today, I have seen this open source project called as Beryl.
Trust me guys, it is the coolest desktop I have ever seen
Now the same effects has been used with new release of Ubuntu call as Feisty Fawn.
Some of the feature i found are really very kewl and It seems like altogether a new generation of desktops is coming.
First and fore most it can be converted into a 3-D box like desktop and 4 desktop can be sides of the cube.
All windows open like as if hanging in some liquid medium.
All the movement of windows is very smooth and movement seems as if paper is being moved.
Raindrop and water effects are very very neat.
Developers have done a very good work and two major developments are: OLPC eis going to use it. And Dell has said that it was also make Ubuntu used with its Laptop.
So, Now M$ will have to start copying Ubuntu's stuff to keep up with them, but that will not change the future of open source desktop.

Friday, April 20, 2007


UNICES are beautiful operating systems, in every sense. They truly represent the freedom and independence of human intelligence and knowledge, as to it is no one's property; but human knowledge belong to society.
There is much more to unix than what i can describe here, but with such meager amount of shallow knowledge, i cannot say everything about their greatness.

I will rather start with 3 basic principles of unixes:
1. No captive interfaces:
Now this the thing, which is loveliest of all. The very assumption that the user knows what he is doing, makes me feel great about myself. This gives a feeling of power and control.
Every time, i do
#rm /tmp/file
I am not bugged, by the obvious, that whether was that an intension or not. Yes, off course i mean to do it; why the hell are you asking?

The simplicity of interfaces leaves me awe stuck elegant interfaces like menuconfig are clean and thrifty and still very very powerful. And again they do not bother for doubly conforming every move of yours, just clean.

2. KISS(Keep it simple stupid).
All unix utilities are meant to do just one thing and they do it well. Entire philosophy of unix surrounds around making simpler utility, which just does one task.And for every other task rather than loading the program with multiple enhancement, which makes it difficult to use and leaving the user wondering about the result, they would rather make an another simple program.
grep is one such simple, yet powerful tool, it just searches string, but it does it so well, that i consider it most handy tool for many of my searches.
There are numerous examples of such utilities, but I think "grep" will suffice here.

3. Everything is a file.
This is what i call a pure work of genius. I bow before all you lords of Unices, who have such a great vision. Now look at this: you know every thing is written in form of text file and your most utilities and apis have a symmetric and simple method of manipulating the file. You simply do not worry what kind of file it is. By that, i do not mean you treat all kinds of file in same manner, off course there is a semantic for different kind of files. But the very fundamental that behavior of file system and related utilities are transparent makes file system management very easy.
Now one such extension of this concept is device files, a hard disk or a cd rom is a special file, which is manipulated in different manner than other files, but still stored and listed in same manner as any other file. Gosh! Unix is just great.

Not although fundamental principle of Unices, but yes they are the adopted conventions that leaves me speechless in the way they are implemented. First thing is clean file system, everything lies here my boy ---> "/". You just can mount anything to everything, under this very "root".
Unices provides immensely potential environment for software development, they just have prefect editor, perfect debbuger, perfect compiler. What else do i need? Can anyone beat that?

Lets consider security. By the very nature of their existence, unixes and networking has been so close and been developing together that networking support in Unices is seem less. With such strong networking support, the security becomes an important aspect. And on this front also, unices are much more secure than other operating systems.
Unices are safe, secure, stable, simple, clean, powerful for all sorts of applications and yet they are flexible, portable and scalable. Shall i need to say more.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The fundamental aspect of starting this blog is writing about my love with unixes and C programming langauge.