Monthly Archives: February 2011

Who says one day cricket is dull?

Who says one day cricket is dull?

We had a fascinating game of cricket today.

The match was between cricketing fanatic India and the game’s originator England.

It was nice to see England captain Strauss takes the man of the match award beating, the legend of India, Sachin Tandukar.

There is is no match for the young blood of England and it was no fun for Sachin and his weary legs.

I suppose when time comes one has to retire and there were guys in this side of the Palk Straight who wanted to join the team and we were were wise enough to spare him the agony.

Trying to entertain your fan base all the time is not good for your physique and health  Master Blaster Sachin  who also will retire and become a sporting ambassador to the Asian continent spectators who are keen on betting and bringing a bad name to the game.

I hope Indian spectator would be nice to him the day he fails or retire.

Anyway cricket was the winner taking the game to the wire and making a tie was a big achievement neither side deserved to lose this match.

It was a good stater for the tournament.

A star was born and that is Andrew Strauss and English fan should be proud of him.

Not only he brought ashes home (team game)  but brought the 50 over game to its heights.

But you boys must make sure you beat Australia in this tournament.

We will be cheering for England all the way.

We are fed of Australian’s arrogance and  I saw somewhere somebody write of  England as an under achiever.

I predict a final with England and South Africa and it does not matter who wins if you make it upto that point even though I favour South Africa.

Good Luck boys and do not get injured or dehydrated and the weather is at its extreme and pretty warm.

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Blessing in Disguise-Linux Games

I have avoided using games as a plus point or a weakness of Linux.

You may wonder why?

Whether we like it or not games are essential for life.

Too much of any game or demanding sports may break a marriage.

Similarly lack of games can terminate a marriage.

So when I talk about games, I always start with that advantage point which is neutral to begin with.

We tend to associate games with children and young adults and as a growing up process.

But I would like to disagree.

Even animals love games as young ones and they start playing with the mum and the litter and not only that process teaches them cooperation and learning to avoid dangers when the leave they adults as solitary animals.

Dogs digs the earth when they are bored.

For them this process is essential and leaving some stuff dug up and hidden and getting the dog to discover the bones is a standard game.

That takes the boredom out of their system.

The very same pattern of boredom sets into adults if we do not occupy with some gaming activity.

The Cricket World Cup is now in full swing and every body who is somebody is now slowly making their entry into the fray.

If you cannot play at least watch the game.

It is good for your health if you are not gambling with the outcome of the game.

Regarding Linux of course one of the weak points as I saw in the early stages was its lack of games. For me who had by that time almost addicted to DOS and Windows was a blessing in disguise.

That made me to delve deep into Linux and I am now almost daily writing something or teaching somebody its virtues or doing some activity with Linux (in dropbox) and the 24 hours of the day not is not enough for me.

Similarly if one is introducing computer science to a young one not having games is an advantage. So the child can concentrate on learning nitty gritty points of computing.

In the same tone in very young child, the games can be a vehicle for introducing learning techniques.

What is important is that the games should be age appropriate and should be of short duration and easy to perform.

There are lot of little games in Linux but but there is paucity of very advanced games.

The context is so bad I bought a book that dealt with Linux games thinking one day when I have time I will start making an attempt to produce at least some elementary games for kids.

Mind you making games for very young kids is difficult. There attention span is short unlike the bigger children. In the bigger children their attention span is so intense and they get absorbed so much gradually game becomes an addition.

I have a very simple solution for that.

When we played it was a habit that the entire extended family get involved in the game and the computer games that we played were of the group category. We used to take turns, those watching will help with the clues.

Most of the Waltz Disney games come under this category.

Tarzan, Lion King and Zero to Hero were few of them and gradually migrated to Italian Job, Raider of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones.

Mind you all of them were windows based and none of that intensity was found in Linux.

Then I discovered Tux Racer, Pinguy and a few others in Linux.

 

There are big Linux game packs.

I have not seen a single yet.

It takes at least two weeks to download them. When I have finished addressing the Linux 100 and Linux Extras, I may consider downloading.

I have eventually decided to download the big game pack even if it takes a month to do so.

Or else if I happen to go abroad I will keep two days for that activity.

I have tried few friends outside.

Unfortunately the are not versed with Linux.

Ten (10) plus nuances that annoys the desktop user

From its origin Linux was developed by developers for the developers.

Its architecture and file hierarchy is archaic and resistant to change.

I have been using it long enough, it is stable, robust and I do not need to worry about it except running it 24 /7 schedule in spite of electricity bills going up to get its maximum. Since I am doing regular download of Linux distributions for testing (a hobby of some sort) this rigmarole is OK. All the CRON jobs are (regular maintenance) done for me and I do not need to worry about configuring it to suit my needs.

Since I am not a Server Master but only a Desktops User (perhaps as workstation) how the developer can figure out what I do with my computer in the 24 hour schedule is something I ponder.

I would like the computer to be my slave rather than it masters things for me.

 

1.That is one of the weaknesses. Linux is a work horse but my horse is very finicky in its behaviour what he eats and what schedule he follows .

He follows the developers schedule and not my finicky behaviour schedule. One can say in that case you configure it yourself. That is a good argument but with file architecture being streamlined, rigid and resistant to change, one cannot change a cabinet and put it in an less obtrusive place for me. If I do that whole file system crashes and even with the root permission when the system boots next time it goes back to its preferred protocol.

I need to know like a developer every bit of file structure and of scheduling routine. I love to do that but I am a professional in another field not computer field. My field needs and structures are completely different form automatic response of a computer.

 

2. My needs are customer based. That is the second nuance. The file hierarchy and resources are good for a Server but not an ordinary human being like me.

I do not want to go to the loo exactly at the same time and same place and void exact amount of void. In other words I need some personality to my voiding or consumption habits that vary from day to day.

Not the way the developer voids and eats.

The file hierarchy is stable and is not customizable.

3. The sames goes with programs. I cannot change a system program and go for a more flexible program. In that case I have to go for a different distribution or for a different desktop (Gnome or KDE or LXDE).

I cannot interchange desktop experience. It can be done by installing Gnome and KDE versions in the same computer separately but one can use only one session at a time. They do not speak to each others library systems and GTKs are different. That is the third.

4.The real disadvantage is its package management system. One has to be satisfied with one grand package version and and cannot go back to old or new one without radical change to the system and install procedure. One has to wait for the rolling system or to a new radically changed system. For example I have been using Redhat for years (not really I cut my teeth with it and changed with Fedora evolution and migrated to PCLinux) and the company changes its protocol from Fedora 13 to 14 with sea of changes (like Microsoft) and file formats. The other distributions resident in the same computer cannot mount them or effect changes to the files in the home partitions. This is ridiculous change for the user who had being doing something as a routine is changed without his feed back.

It is a corporate decision not a community decision or request.

I am not resistant to change. I am for it but uses are not scape goats or made vulnerable like what Microsoft or Apple does to its customer base.

This is the change that make Microsoft user looking for other avenues like Linux. If Linux distributions also on commercial bent use that strategy it will certainly misfire.

 

GoBo Linux had been trying to address this issue by radically changing the file architecture and ability to use old and new in versions (say Open Office and Libre Office libraries are organized in a structurally different architecture with sharing (common) and not sharing independent (Java Suite).

This can be done but this distribution has not received the backing of the rest of the community. In fact I have been waiting for its new release over last three years and it does not seem to be coming. It is long overdue.

I hope Libre Office coming it to its existence they should attempt to reorganize the library system (at archive level and user level) and make innovations.

It is hard work but worth a try.

Then we can have long term (LTS) support for 10-15 years instead of the present 3 to 5 years instead.

 

5. Other nuance is the release cycles. It is at its extreme from months to years to decades. There is no agreed protocol and they have this rolling system also. It is OK for distro-hoppers but not for old people like us. I of course hopped distributions at a regular interval and I have 5 to 8 distributions in my laptop, that does not mean that I use them regularly.

They are for a particular purpose.

I keep GoBo Linux and Yoper because of their original approach and I love their changes and that gives me some opportunity for research material to engage in.

Then I can give perhaps some visionary advice.

GoBo thinks of the file architecture and its rearrangement.

YOPER thinks of truncating file extensions and throughput.

 

Linux is a visionary approach.

It needs new vision and dimensions for the current century.

Live CDs was a vision (demo to begin with) but now it is a universal approach.

Try it before you use it.

Then speed of booting is another vision.

 

6. With big hard disk coming we must make not 15 to 60 partitions but 1000 or more partitions.

Linux can handle it but not Microsoft. The number of partition a distribution uses (the minimum and the maximum) changes constantly.

7. Hardware compatibility is a major issue. This is not due to the fault of Linux. It is the manufacturers and vendors ploy to support one particular operating system over the other. It is time we should have legislature to regularize this at least in the European community if not America and UK.

8. Cloud Computing is taking a corporate stand now with Google taking a bigger bite. Linux User must be ready for dual purpose. One is browsing, the other is using Linux utilities like Gimp, Sribus and Inkcape and Blender for personal use. We must not let these excellent utilities disappear with Cloud Computing.

9. There are over 300 very good distributions and reviewers review only a few and the reviews are also not balanced, They do not do it at a research level. They do it at the level of blogging not professional to say the least. Gut feeling like in politics and daily papers.

Review means reviews (pros and cons and neutrals) and not shoddy hasty writing. There is professionality attached to this word.

Nothing more nothing less.

10. Last but not least. many distributions do not have a multilanguage capability. Only recently Sinhala has two distributions supporting it. This is essential for children programs doudoulinusx is attempting it.

    Others should follow.

    11. The lack of commercial software or similar equivalents applications(Flash, Java) is another handicap.

    There are many other minor matters but this is to highlight no operating system is perfect. We only have to know the good and the bad and drop all the ugly ones.

LinuX Discussions, Forums and Flammes

I Love this Lovely Discussion going on at the beginning of the year, unfortunately Cricket World Cup is on, hence, my contribution is mild and muted.
Being a medical man I look at problems in a practical way.

Poor patients need simple solutions not elaborate diagnosis and surgery.

This applies to Linux community and computer users too.

I feel Linux community’s service to it user base is better than what the WHO offers to medical fraternity.
There (WHO) contribution, I feel us very, very poor.
Because there is no scrutiny.
We are experts and “nobody can contribute better” is their attitude.

When it comes to Linux (not Microsoft) everybody is an expert in one sense or the other as a user who has some good and some very very bad experience (pain and suffering of medical patients).
Unless Linux Guys and Girls voice their frank opinion (if patients do not tell us their difficulty we cannot help them) we cannot improve.

We should not pretend we are the best.

If we assume that scenario like WHO we are going to be doomed.

One voice had opined that Linux biggest strength is its wide variety of choice. And he turns round and say its biggest weakness is also that.

That is a professorial comment but taking a cue from Professor De Bono it is Lateral Thinking at its best! (Read his books Lateral Thinking, Beautiful Mind).

Linux Guys and Girls have beautiful minds (not like Microsoft) and Ideas.

That is why I love this forums and lively arguments (for and against).

Some people are not good at Lateral Thinking but I think these “flame wars” are part and parcel of Linux Evolution. I am of the opinion it is essential for the generation of new ideas. It is the Live (Love / Hate) Wire as long as nobody takes it personally (keep the evolved opinion “floating” for some time, till it finds a suitable land to settle).

That is why we have over 300 Live distributions.

There are over 200 inactive ones where discussions have ceased or died a natural death and new directions are not sort for.

That is where I come in and promote Live Linux 100 (like the 100 fortune companies).

MYAH, MORPHIX, TAOS, Video Linux and ADIOS are examples of good distributions that have gone inactive.
I push young ones to go to the dormant repository and have a good look at them and jump start them with new direction or fork them to new offspring.

They are too good to be in the archives.

My vision for future Linux is every one should be customized to individual (like medicine is tailored to young, old and the pregnant) needs,

We were going in that direction and unfortunately Cloud Computing is making a definite twist and turn to this need with corporate (not community) influence.

Keep on “bashing a bit” we are going to be none the wiser at the end of the exercise.

I work with young people and their enthusiasm lasts (unlike old ones like us) only a brief period. If we do not tap them at the right moment they are lost for ever.

In my case I go to the grave with a several inactive distributions in a sealed PENDRIVE (somebody could discover their potential a century later like Myahs of old Americas.

Good luck with your future discussions.

Sinhala Linux-Hanthana Linux Included-Debian Update

Reproduction from Distrowatch

(by Dr.Asoka Dissanayake (Medical)

on 2011-02-22 22:52:30 GMT from Sri Lanka)

I have to confess now I support Light Weight Distributions and PCLinux is my my favourite,

But I love its Gorilla (dearly) Edition PClinuxfullmonty too.

I use it (PCLinux) as a Gold standard (not bench mark) for 32 bit hardware and Texstar is about to release the 64 bit version but he is keeping it close to his heart.

Coming back to Sinhala Linux Debian is the winner by neck and half length (horse racing terminology). I downloaded all of the CD and DVD and had a trial run of them and they are pretty good and elegant especially the KDE.

Again I confess I am a KDE fan especially because of its looks and the K3B burner which does not harm the hardware. Before I started using it I used to lose a CD/DVD writers almost every two to three months.

Both PClinucx and SuSe are KDE based. Suse is damn slow like windows but PCLinux is pretty fast.

Unlike you guts I have about 8 distributions in my laptop and I use them in rotation to get best out of them.

I have Debian also and I will tell you now why I use Debian.

It is the only distribution which can cohabit with all the others distributions and arrange the partition table so nicely in the GRUB and boot all the others.

Unlike Windows and Ubuntu, Debian does not fear other distributions.

SuSe cannot read more than 15 partitions and in the beginning they used to have over 60 (I stand to correction) partitions. PClinux some time cannot read FAT partitions and its partition formats are limited.

So I install Debian one before the last distribution and to get a nice boot flash I use PCLinux the last.

Debian make it easy for the PCLinusx to read the partition table.

There are many other strong points about the Debian that is why we use it in the Server Level in the University.

Regarding the downloading of Hanthana Linux I just checked it a few minutes ago with only two seeders it takes 3 days plus.

Fedora 13 (the 6 CDs) version with many seeders it takes little over one day. I will download Hanthana Linux after the Cricket World Cup which is my preoccupation currently.

Following is a summary of download times for your perusal.

Last there (3 days)
1. Bodhi 3 hours
2. Kubuntu 7 hours
3. EB4 9 hours
4. Pinguy 4 and a half days
5. Monty 2 days
and fastest was ArtistX one day and probably Fedora 13 too (also little over one day (according to estimate).
These are facts and not gut feelings,
I am struggling with pixie which has taken one day but still not finished.

Linux In Sinhala-Hanthana Linux included

I have waited over a decade to see a Linux version in Sinhala and finally it has arrived.

Our own Anurahdha who was an expert in Linux and especially Debian initiated it well over a decade ago and he produced an experimental version named Sinhala Linux(I still have a copy).

 

Then after 1994 tsunami he was drawn into presidential task force (had nothing going on at that time) to steer all web applications and e-commerce and the Sinhala project was push to a back burner.

 

I have been testing Live CDs (over 150 now, except Ubuntu) for the last 18 months and when I tested Debian 6, I accidentally discovered Sinhala Installation Capability which was a pleasant surprise. I downloaded all the Debian CDs and some DVDs for testing and they were pretty good.

Immediately blogged this fact at parafox and asokaplus (using them for promoting Linux 100) my rambling spaces in the web.

I am trying to distribute these Debian CDs / DVDs after thorough testing.

But I personally prefer to install them in English which is second nature to me and activate the Sinhala capability afterward since the Sinhala terminology is somewhat GREEK to me.

Mind you Debian is not for the weak minded and certainly not for a newbie or a novice.

And today I find Hanthana (I live down the Hanthana Range- on the other side of the University) Linux 3.6 GiB DVD released which is Fedora 14.

It takes 3 to 10 days to download a DVD in Sri-Lanka and very few will bother to download it.

Now I have tested all Fedora 14 releases and Fubuntu (installed only Fubuntu for further testing) and all Fedora CDs freeze in installation (tried on several of my computers) but did not bother to see Sinhala capability.

In fact because of this nuance in Fedore 14 I decided to download all the 6 (5 CDs and one netboot) Fedora (13) CDs for posterity.

It has some problem with the Grub file too.

I cut my teeth with Redhat 8 and 9.

Debian I learned many moons later.

Then again Fedora 3 was the first Linux to allow Sinhala font in Open Office and later Mandrake.

I wonder whether the introduction of Sinhala font into an experimental Linux distribution is a wise decision (hope my reservation prove wrong).

Anyway we have two robust distributions having Sinhala capability.

I hope Ubuntu will pick the trend and run faster than both of them.

I won’t pass my judgment just for a little while!

Ten (10) Plus points about Linux Distributions when in Use

It is time I should write some important things about Linux that you may not read in books but only experience with regular use.

Even though most of the proprietary guys do not provide the necessary drivers for Linux or support Linux, the modules that are used in new kernels are robust and reliable and never fail. They look after the hardware without breaking them down even if you use the system 24 /7 schedule unlike Microsoft counterparts.

Linux kernel is made to run 24 / 7 schedule without braking down (except normal maintenance). The maintenance jobs are done in the early hours of the day (they are called CRON jobs) when system is not in use but with idling with power on. One of the biggest mistakes Linux newbies do is to switch off the computer in the night. Unfortunately running 24 hours is not practiced in our university setup since by evening and over weekends servers are switched off and junk that should have been removed automatically get collected, overnight and over the weekend.

1.One is able to run your computer 24 / 7 schedule is its strongest point and its strength. No need for restarts every time a minor configuration change is made unlike in windows. These changes are done in real time and no delay is contemplated, the moment a command is activated.

2. Linux look after the time scheduling to nanoseconds. For example if one is using K-torrents for downloading several files, it shares time allotment with the files. Faster files get a bigger share and slower files get a smaller share and the full band width is used. One can limit the upload and download speeds if it is used in a network.

3. Looks after the hardware and the processor well and if there are problems they are reported at boot time (one should be able to read these messages at boot time which are displaced for a fraction of a second). Once a major problem is detected the Linux has the canny habit of switching off instantaneously.

Once after a lightening and power outage (it ran through even the UPS battery) one of my computers had some electrical burns. They system never ran more than few seconds after this power outage, not even for me to read the boot menu. After three days only I realized the problem but it had been telling me that the cooling had gone wrong on the first few seconds which I was not able to read fast enough. This problem was solved with the help of a young guy but I was all the time thinking of a boot virus since I fixed a second hand sata hard disk 3 days before to up the capacity. Linux boot and grub file have a good warning systems, if one is careful to read them at boot time.

Not only Linux is a work horse it looks after minor injuries tiothe horse.

4. What I really like about Linux is it looks after CD ROMs and CD/DVD writers well. It usually run on default setup but at write time it tests both the CD/DVD and uses the best and safe formula and writes the job in incremental or decremental speed. It does not start writing even if there is a minor fault in the CD or DVD. It does not do a job blindly, it assesses the process and resources even to minor seconds.

5. It is really a multitasking Operating System unlike Windows and work with other computers in a network and synchronize work.

6. It is multiuser operating system (Ubuntu lacks this due to changes to the desktop system and that is one of my reasons not favouring it in spite of the wider user experience).

7. It records (keeps a history) and everything is measured to nanoseconds.

8. It uses RAM efficiently and when things are not favorable uses SWAP partition (not swap file as in Windows) to swap files and data. This is why it is much efficient than Windows.

9. It is secure from attack if the firewall is properly configured and it is almost free of viruses.

10.It keeps everything in a designated place and file structure is stable even though rigid and your data is in (need to be partitioned accordingly) a home partition. I can upgrade or reinstall the system without any changes to the home (data) partition. That was one reason I really liked it when I was testing many distributions in the early days of my Linux adventure.

I have never lost a file for 10 years. Would you believe it. Only problem is now I am short of short term memory and I forget with what name I have named the file. I have downloaded over two (200) hundred images and made mistakes in only 3 out of the fist 100 and nothing after that. It is almost zero after I started using K-torrent.

If you want a work horse to do your jobs. It is always Linux.

I will come back with minor nuances of Linux sometime later.