Category Archives: Lateral Thinking

I am running out of ideas in Linux

This is the penultimate stage of my blog activity and I would now concentrate on marketing aspect and perhaps academic aspect later.

I must write few lines about

It does some things which I would have liked to do myself in the Third World and in my country.

It sells live disc and live USBs of all the Linux distributions.
You do not have to do what I do.
Download and test and write something here.
You go to that web site and order what you want after having read some of my comments.
All the items are low priced.
One only needs a credit card.
It also does something very good part of the sale is contributed to Open Software development.
So every time you buy something you are indirectly contributing to the developers.
Mind you in this credit crunch and debt crisis which is global we must not stop innovation things.
Credit crisis should open for new innovation and not for grumbling.
This is where Linux is way ahead of the pack.
Web site is very simple and nicely organized and has ranking of sales which is good thing before purchasing.
It has book section also and if you wont one investment for all go and my choice is given below.
Mind you I have several copies of this book.
I have paste the product description below.
Product Description
The most up-to-date guide on the latest version of Linux Linux is an excellent, low-cost alternative to more expensive operating systems and its popularity continues to remain on the rise. This comprehensive resource offers more than 100 pages of the most sought-after Linux commands, provides new tutorial chapters aimed specifically at Windows desktop users and Windows administrators, and includes a new chapter on using Linux on gadgets. You’ll get up to speed with Linux so that you can install secure, fully functioning Linux server systems.

* Shows you what Linux is capable of, how to install it, how to make the most of its features, and ways to make use of its commands
* Provides step-by-step instructions for transitioning to Linux and explains how to choose which distribution is right for you, find and use the applications you need, set up the desktop to be the way you like it, and more
* Walks you through transferring your stuff (music, documents, and images) from Windows to Linux

Whether you’re making the transition from Windows or Macintosh and need to choose which distribution is right for you or you are already savvy with Linux and need a thoroughly up-to-date guide on its newest features, Linux Bible 2011 Edition is a must have!
Try out 18 different Linux distributions to see which is right for you
Inside many stock exchanges, mobile phones, and Internet servers is an operating system that many people haven’t even heard of—it’s called Linux. Today, you can run this open-source software on your personal desktop, on an Internet server, or as a programming workstation. In this complete guide from Linux expert Christopher Negus are all the instructions and software you need to install, set up, and use Linux.

* Install, set up, and use the latest Linux systems for desktops and servers
* Configure the perfect Linux desktop system for you
* Launch all your music, video, images, and documents in Linux
* Set up your own print, file, e-mail, and Web servers
* Get a stable and secure system using Linux security tools
* Create your own cool apps with useful programming tools

A total of 18 different Linux distributions are included on the DVD!

* To try out Linux, boot directly Ubuntu, openSUSE, KNOPPIX, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, Gentoo, BackTrack, and other live Linux distributions
* To keep Linux permanently, install those and other distributions to your hard disk

What’s on the DVD?

* Ubuntu Linux (live/install)
* Fedora Linux (install)
* openSUSE (live/install)
* KNOPPIX (live/install)
* Gentoo Linux (live/install)
* Slackware® Linux (install)
* PCLinuxOS (live/install)
* BackTrack (live)
* AntiX (live/install)
* INSERT (live)
* Puppy Linux (live/install)
* Debian GNU/Linux (live/install)
* Damn Small Linux (live/install)
* SLAX (live)
* System Rescue CD (live)
* Coyote Linux (floppy firewall)
* TinyCore (live)
* CentOS Linux (live/install)

System Requirements:

* All software built for x86 computers
* See chapters on each distribution for system requirements

Turn your PC into a Linux desktop system
Learn to use Linux as a system administrator
Find and install loads of free software apps

How to Freeze a American Credit Card

It is very difficult to be a very SMART credit card user.

About 12 years ago when I returned from sojourn abroad and decided not to go back in spite of the many risks involved (including losing my life on public transport or in a public place like Central Bank of Ceylon-now it is no more public, it is almost private where few cronies make all the decisions, or while watching a cricket match) in Ceylon. 

I had six credit cards and a small saving abroad.

Unfortunately those cards were international and one can use it in this country in spite of the war.

I was without a job and was not hunting for a job wanting to take a welcome respite since the sojourn abroad was lot of work covering for three local doctors who did not want to work where I worked but was a beautiful, place now almost wretched by the recent earth quake.

I was enjoying the welcome respite but I could not resit the indulgence with the credit cards.

One day when I looked at the credit balance abroad and the amount of money I owed and the interest accumulated, and it dawned on me I may not survive even a year.

That night I took all the cards and cut them in half and went to sleep.

I have made a few smart decisions in my life and very many structurally poor decisions (including returning to my mother Lanka and watching absolute corruption at all level including schools, health sector (both public and private) and electioneering.

But this was one of those SMART decisions.

I could foresee the credit market collapse (but not so soon though) even though I was not a financier.

The decision was to live within my means and not bloated like the mega politicians on credit loans from abroad.

I have some information for you how to FREEZE your Credit Card that you got the other day, thanks to the Lifehacker International for sharing their wealth of financial advice with me.

They are as follows

1. Take the card in your hand and oil it with some Sri-Lankan butter and wrap it with a tin foil. It may be useful to swipe a strong magnet over it to demagnetize the inner foil.

2. Buy 12 plastic containers that fit in inside the other and gradually become smaller that would have the capacity to hold a small piece of fish cake sold at Rs.100/= in a super market food stall-For example Majestic City.

3. Now put the credit card nicely foil covered in the inner most container and place other containers on top of it. By doing this you are going to save on the electricity, bill .
The innermost will have the coolest air trapped which cannot escape and the outermost will have the warmest air.

4. Now switch on the freezer and put the lowest cooling rate and place the credit card containing cartooned cartoon deep inside the freezer compartment and put all the reused or rotten food you eat on top with few onions and garlic to sanitize the rotten food.

5. Now you have to pay your electricity bill with cash and not by credit card.

This way you can Freeze your card till you become old enough to say good bye to this world.

Do not forget to put a note inside stating that “I do not owe the bank any money”.

This will stay put and a STATUS SYMBOL for your name since you may the only one under the hot Sun in Sri-Lanka who does not owe anything when you died.

All the rest are pawned for another 60 to 100 years by our caretaker politicians.

SuSe Community and making an Image for Archives

Edited on the 14th, March, 2011

I am not sure whether the comments i have mde below is correct, since I have found the same problem with Debian 6. DVD. Unable to copy the DVD image. It is 4.3 GiB (same size as SuSe) and Linux unable deal with a file size above 4 GiB in one file and has to be broken into two which can be done only with torrent.

PCLinuxfullMonty has restricted itself to 4 GiB and Gentoo with 4.4 GiB has  probably divided the file into two (32 bit and 64 bits ) and  by doing that has accommodated above 4 GiB.

I hope since the SuSe DVD has Gnome KDE, LXDE and xFce by dropping one of the latter two SuSe should be able to reduce the DVD lod to $ GIb in future so that image can be saved for posterity.

I hope somebody enlighten me on this issue.

SuSe community has the peculiar habit which they have acquired form Novel and Microsoft annoys me a lot, to say the least.

They let you download (which takes more than 36 hours or more from K-torrent in Sri-Lanka) a single copy of the image and and won’t let you copy the image as an archive. In the final seconds of the copying it has a script to abort copying which only commercial companies can use as a ploy to protect the copyright (which I am in total support).

This is not a Linux Tradition even if they are commercially operational.

In fact violates the principles of FOSS and true spirit of open software and OS systems.

When it happened for first time I deleted the image and kept the DVD for installation.
If I want I can copy the DVD but always have two copies one for use other one for safe keeping.

Mind you DVD cannot be kept indefinitely and if the image is copied to a external hard drive, a CD/DVD can be written if the DVD in use is damaged.

For example for an emergency but not for re-sale. I am not interested in copying and selling it to a third party.


My intentions are are academic and only for archival and retrieval purposes..

Unfortunately most of the old distributions are not in any archives or servers. The servers and linux tracker included have the habit of deleting not used (frequently) distributions from the sever to accommodate space in the server for new distributions.

They write automatic script to do this house cleaning job without archiving them.

The point I am raising is relevant now.  Currently LinuxTracker is down but gradually adding the images to it’s servers and it cannot retrieve even the most recently used distributions quickly enough to get the sytsem running in double quick time and it is a headache and lot of heart burns for many system administrators.

There should be a way of transfwring the infrequently used into a system category away from the main stream and thereafter after a lapse of a period  if still not used can be transferred to an archival medium. All these cost time and money.

I was once downloading BigDaddy (my favorite PCLinux’s original successful version) from a server. If I remember right it was softpedia. Half way through my download (which takes ages from Sri-Lanka) it was no longer avialable and I was heart broken. I could not finish the downkload it.

I made a humble request at PCLinux forum and one nice gentleman let me directed to a server and I quickly downloaded it for archiving. It is live and cannot be  installed but I use it for demonstrating the humble beginning of  very successful distribution.

Similar incident happened with Pendrive Linux. These was a defect (I got it downloaded from a Microsoft machine with Nero) in the imabe,

This was the first time I got a bootable Linux Image in a Pendrive.  Now even Pendrive site does not have a copy of the Original Image and I cannot get it from distromania or from Linuxtracker. It is like collecting old stamps and coins.

It has become a hobby and a pastime for me keeping the archives.

Coming from an academic (not commercial) background, simple thing like these matter a lot in the long run.

Commercial investors when they want to introduce a new system they begin by not supporting and then destroying the old system by default making the user vulnerable. Microsoft does this very well.

I cannot understand why Linux does this and good example is SuSe who has got under the fold of commercial CEOs.


Coming back to my story what I did was to make a copy of the image (this is something I used to do for old Distributions without an image but only a CD/ DVD for archiving) with K3B and saved it instead of deleting after the image is written to the CD/DVD.

When I tried and used the saved image for writing to a DVD it gives an annoying warning that the Image ” file size is different from the declared volume”.

Linux (K3B) checks the file size before writing and gives a warning before it writes to prevent one from copying a bad image and wasting a CD or DVD.

This warning or the deterrent cannot be true since the file image property goes as 4 GiB.

These are some of the nuances of SuSe and Mandriva which are driving Linux fans or uses away from them.

I cannot simply agree with this ploy and that is why I am moving away from Oracle, SuSe and Mandriva.

A CEO with commercial interest makes these decisions and my concern is why can’t they openly say DO NOT COPY but use these underhand methods.

The Gadgetmania or a Matter of Choice

There is a Gadget Mania going on unabated in the West.

While in some developing countries having a square meal for a kid is something wanting, the craze for gadgets is something evident, like in the West.

It is not the work the gadget does but it is the status symbol that carry with it that matters.


For a fancy iPod or a laptop may costs a lot. The money spent can be better utilized to buy some school equipment to help children’s education but again the money somehow get channeled out.

For example money spent on a flashy Apple Macintosh computer could have been converted to about 25 to 30 OLPS (one laptop per child) but what matters again is the profit per each item sold but not the number of uses or users the item provides,.

This is true in the developing world too, unfortunately.

Following is a summary of gadget mania, I once suffered but somehow I transmigrated this phenomenon.

I have gone through this phase of mania in a mild and moderate manner as a young one.

I had to buy the correct brand , when I buy something new, say a camera.

Then when the camera prices came down I had several and found that if one has a “good camera eye” it does not matter what camera one uses.

One can always catch the moment in a snapshot with any makeshift camera if one is prepared.

In came the video camera, the whole ball game changed.

This was the time I was a bachelor.

The money and choice were not a problem then.

Then came the computer.

They were expensive but I had to buy (Commodore 64-128, Amiga, Atari) what was available.

When the notebooks of old era came I could not afford them.

I thank god for that.

I lost interest in them till Windows came into existence.

We were hooked to it and trapped beyond our control till I discovered Linux and meaning of freedom and correct choice.

Then followed the period of transition in my mind along with struggling with money matters.

When there are money matters there is no choice left, one has to survive preserving only a few of one’s favorite hobbies that included computers to me.

Common sense, pragmatism and rationalization take precedence over the trends, emotions an attachment.

When the comparatively cheap laptops hit the market, I had to make a choice.

My calculations told me I can have there desktops for the price of one laptop. One for me in office, one at home for me and one for the kids, all assembled to my specification with the hardware available at the time.

Now I have 6 out of 7 old computers all doings (thanks to Linux) some useful function at home.

One computer busted while recording Cricket World Cup in 2007.

The rationalization that was, I don’t have to carry any heavy luggage (laptop) on the move.

Then I bought the first laptop (I needed one to test Linux distributions) IBM of course, one third the price in Singapore without an operating system and booted it with Linux at the airport on my return home.

Another second hand laptop (for testing Linux) and new netbook (for my daughter) were added to my armoury without feeling the pinch.

This is my rationalization going berserk.

I carry a cell phone (it is a hindrance to my peace and wellbeing) only when I travel abroad and feel like dropping it into a dustbin in the airport but resisted and gave it to my wife instead.

I boil my transmigration to 3 phases.

1. Choice with lot of spare money in hand

2. Pragmatism with barely enough money in hand to survive

3. Rationalization while enjoying all the intellectual freedom that one get with Linux.

If Linux did not come into existence I would not have known what I mean by freedom of choice.

Key Point-01

What is the best place to hide a key?
I say in the key hole!
Then who is going look after it?
I haven’t got a clue!

What is the best place to keep a car key?
It should be inside the car and locked!
Then who will drive the car?
I guess car key should!

I wonder, if the world is without keys and locks?
Then evolution and innovation of man would stop at that point of time!