Category Archives: Linux in Sinhala

Debian the clear winner-The Gold for Light and Heavy Weight Championship

Now that the industrial action is over, we brought the Hero to Gyro (not giro and we could not be bought by money circulating on illegal hands or corruption) except perhaps few individual who had vested interests and wanted to be heroes at the expense of the general body politics of our action perpetuated by sheer needs and not aspirations (fell far short of aspirations of accountability, transparency, fairness).
These instant Heroes had unassailable lead and they had to be pulled down to base level and gyrate them on the correct path lest all of us would be heading for disaster.
We never had the political will to bring Heroes to Zeros but the vision to come to the base level we reached way back in 2008 and gyrate in correct orbit instead of asking for miracles which we will never achieve the way we sink into dirty tricks and manipulations by undesirables.

I hope senses will come to body politics of the country, unless of course the voters will bring the Heroes to Zeroes in double quick time at the correct gyroscopic orbit and time and they are not stupid or donkeys who carry burden.

We are of course in the minority in that context and what we can provide is wisdom if not vision.
We came to equilibrium position neither zero nor hero but a position of comfort from where we can gyrate to greater heights if correct recognition is extended.
Otherwise history will take us backward (like in cricket) instead of forward.


Coming to IT industry where there are commercial heroes but the clear winner which gyrate at the correct orbit is Debian.
It was no surprise.
Score of above 3000 and well above the Gold Standard of 2500 for the standard CD.
For the heavy weight category it is within the Gold Mark where no other distribution has all the components at hand with over 30,000 package well tested.
It has gParted which is around 100 MiB with partition and security features.
It has Blender, Scribus and Inkscape.
Only missing component was O.E.M. component.
It did not have a printed book but thanks to French and the English translation is due soon and available on line as open source.
It has all the versions from Mini to KDE to Server.
It has multi-language support including Sinhala.
It does not pretend to be a (commercial) hero but the wise counsel to all the other distributions which include Ubuntu and extending a hand to Linux Mint currently.
Additionally it is forging with FreeBSD too.
It is the clear winner.
If I said without my marking scheme everybody will say I am biased. Now it is vindicated and flame wars are not the necessity but a feature of Linux and its multi-faceted distributions..
Now I can say with or without bias it is the one that guides us and the Gyroscope for years to come.
If you need a solid, stable and secure enhanced Linux, there is only one and only one.
It is called Debian.
It is not for the lazy souls and it is the one who wants to dig a lot, sweat a bit and enjoy a lot of the hard labour.
Nothing is easy in the IT World.
One has to go into simple command line and give commanding orders till midnight commander sleeps like a sleeping beauty!

Sinhala Linux-Who started it and where it is now?

I can categorically say one thing for certain, it was our own Anuradha from Kandy who started Sinhala Linux, way back in late nineties and early this century but it went into hibernation after tsunami in 2004 but now it has emerged in 3 or 4 Linux versions I have tested.

They are as follows

1. Fedora 13
2. Debian 6.0.0
3. Sabayon 5.5
4. Hanthana Linux
5. Fedora 15 Alpha ( believe-downloading 15 KDE alpha currently)

My profuse apologies to FEDORA Team for jumping the gun and giving the credit to Debian as the first distribution supporting Sinhala Linux.

I was wrong and apologies are with this little update on Sinhala Linux.

I have dissociated with Fedora from Core 3 but did not use it for 10 versions (3 to 13) for many reasons but it is not the purpose of this writing.

First thing first, it was Fedora 3 that allowed the Sinhala font to be used, and I am proud to say I used it with open office a decade ago when nobody was interested in Linux.

Then Mandrake (not Mandriva) allowed the Sinhala font installation but I was never expecting the Sinhala capability of Linux until now with Anuradha drawn into other work by accident.

I have changed myself a lot and given up all and gone to PCLinux which is only in English and 32 bits version.

Reason being the introduction of Live CDs which it was pioneer from Big Daddy stage.

It has FullMonty and there is a version of it named (not by them, texstar tells me) as apartheid (it means what it says) which has brought bad taste to Linux community (only for white people-Mr.Shuttleworth of Ubuntu must take action now to wean the bad eggs in Linux community even if they are not under his fold).

There is Linux dedicated to Bible and I see no problem with it but Obama in high office this propaganda is something not for the current century.

What I am getting at is, all Linux Distributions including PCLinux should have multi-language capability and I give lot of credit and marks for that.
It is now happening in, French, German, Spanish and Russian.

Linux is global and for everybody unlike Microsoft or Apple Mac and multi-language capability is a must.

Coming back to Fedora when I realized that it has Sinhala capability and it is changing fast I decided to download all 5 CDs of Fedora 13 and DVD. I downloaded all the versions of Fedora 14 and I was not impressed and did not check Sinhala capability since Fedora 15 was round the corner.

After nearly 3 days of downloading I managed to have a DVD in my hand and tried it and found the Sinhala capability ( I now invariably check for that ability now) in installation.
So my ignorance was exposed and I have to correct that right away.

In defense of Fedora, I have all the versions of Redhat from 7 to 9 and Fedora Core from 1 to 3 and now Fedora 13 and above.

Suffice is to say, the most number of books and CDs I have are from Redhat and Fedora even though I did not use it for my work recently. My entry into checking 100 Live CDs was a harbinger and the Rediscovery of Linux Potential and for two years I have been downloading and testing Linux and I am in the final (stage) lap of honours to all Linux Distributions and Communities, especially with multi-language capability.

Not only that I found a Fedora Bible (the book) with Fedora 6 version CD / DVD and bought it to add to my collection and for reference purpose and I am gong to support Fedora with all my heart from now onwards in spite of forgivable misgiving with Redhat Team, sometime ago.

My only concern is that Redhat is introducing so many changes in so little time, will it be possible to have a stable edition like Debian ( with many derivatives) for me to use.

I might even consider dropping PCLinux if they are resistant to other languages other than English.

It is time for other distributions to take the lead from Debian and Fedora and take Linux to new heights with muli-language capability.

Sorry for me being political here.

I hate politics of all types whether, it is economic, power, race or language.

Update on Fedora 15 Alpha KDE
I have now downloaded and tested the pre-release alpha version and it has no Sinhlaa capability in installation.
In addition it has some difficulty in detecting hardware.
It appears sleek and my genuine fears already compounded by its rapid change in many areas including file system and program selection make me feel hesitant to recommend for a newbie, especially in Sri-Lanka.

Best bet is to use Fedora 13 and see how it works but download DVD version, (or 5 CD version) and not live CDs (see how it works for you).

This is the same reservation I have for Hanthana Linux which is based on Fedora 15. I have not been able to download it beyond 700 MiB but I will keep trying.

Fedroa 13 took almost 3 days with one or two seeds.
Debian multi arch is taking about 7 days with one seed.
It is painfully slow even with K-Torrent if seeds are not there.

In the mean time I have downloaded many others including CTKarchlive, Trisequel, Astrumi and Puppy and many other small utilities, including sound drivers for Microsoft.

I am also happy to report I managed to download Taylor Swift Swift Linux after about 40 (forty odd) attempts.
That was something based on Debian and AntiX (Mepis) and plays a Taylor Swifts song at boot time which was very pleasing.
It is meant for low RAM of 256 or so and old computers.
Download and try it please if your internet is fast enough!

My Selection of Linux Utilities that should make a standard-Utilities for Visually Handicapped-03

One of the features I always look for in a distribution is whether it supports blind and the visually handicapped persons.

Ubuntu is well known for supporting blind users with Orcas which is a Debian based utility for keyboards and Linux support for braille is unsurpassed by proprietary operating systems. Most of the stable version Debian support visually handicapped users.

Along with this facility multi-language support is essential and many Linux distributions are only in English and some are only in French or Spanish.
But lately many distributions are supporting several languages. Debian is the leader in this and it now supports Sinhala too.

Third utility should go with this is virtual keyboard.

Often with the frequent use keys of the keyboard some of them get stuck and if this happens when entering a password one may not be able to get started which is a little embarrassment to say the least.

Virtual keyboard is value added utility.

All these must be bundled out in the accessibility corner.
I am not sure where the sweeper, the cleaning utility should be placed and I prefer it with the accessibility option. The sweeper removes unnecessary and temporary files and  the history tree which tend to accumulate and get bigger and bigger in almost every Linux distribution.

Only in PCLinux I find the utility that removes temporary files at boot time which one can select at the time f installation.

Unlike servers where every data and every little movement are necessary for recovery purposes when a servers fails but all these details of history tree are not necessary even though very valuable when break into a system is suspected for a desktop.

Archiving utilities are universal in Linux distributions and if one uses them judiciously may be able to save disk space.
In my case it is not the hard disk (which I format once a year) that I use but CD and DVDs and burner utility either K3B or Brasso is essential for this purpose.

So I have lumped all the good housekeeping utilities in one category which are useful if one is using one computer for all the day to day activities.

Sinhala Linux anf Sabayon Linux-5-5

I am pleased to inform you not only Debian but Sabayon which is a Gentoo based Linux distribution with many excellent graphic features let you install Linux on a laptop in Sinhala.
it has XMBC.
Unfortunately Gentoo Live DVD has not got a script to install on a computer.Make sure you have Sabayon but not Gentoo but if you want to demonstrate Linux features especially XMBC use Gentoo but I prefer Sabayon.

Thanks Guys and Girls at Sabayon for introducing Sinhala capability.

What to look for in a Standard Linux Distribution-Introduction

I have talked about practically all the possible combinations of Live and Standard Linux it is time for me to wind up with a guide for selection of a distribution without giving a particular distribution.I will not go into hardware compatibility even though it is a major issue since what innovation are round the corner is difficult to predict after this iPod and mobile utility craze is over and done with it.

But before that I must tell you my favorites without any order of merits.

I go for several light weight distributions and for one Gorilla Edition.

The Gorilla Edition is PCLinuxFullMonty which is almost comprehensive and lacks only XBMC but that also can be downloaded.

For Sinhala Linux Lovers (SLL) it is Debian 6.0.0

They are as follows

1. Puppy Linux and its various editions. you can simply carry in your front pocket (carry when I go abroad-an use it as an Acid Test of the computer, laptop or netbook I may buy-not that I want any more with all the assortments i have at home an office.
If I cannot boot it it with Puppy, I won’t consider buying the stuff, whatever the vendors gimmick may be.

2. Knoppix the 10th anniversary edition to show off its graphic capabilities including compiz and cheese the web camera. Now it has found a permanent place in my computers in spite of its finicky requirements for hardware configuration.

3. Gparted (Debian’s), the best companion to partition my computers when I reformat. Mind you it is light weight and does not say no to any complicated partition composition within the framework of the standard laid down principles.

4. KDE base nothing to choose between Mepis and PCLinux but I prefer PCLinux since I got a good hang of its versatile performance which SuSe lacks.

5. SuSe for my long association with it after Fedora in spite of craving for RAM (the new with Venation blind appearance but in vertical orientation of strips)I. It has the the best configuration utility called YAST (I call it Yet Another System configuration and teaching Tool) but the partitioning is limited to 15 which is a handicap when I want several distributions installed in the same computer.

6. Debian for its versatility and the ability to recognize all the hard disks of various make (SATA, SCSI, IDE) and the ability to write the partition table without getting confused when a fellow like me install assortment of operating systems in my own finicky ways.

It has taken a special place now with Sinhala capability of its installation.

7. Fedora for its ability to take on board changes which commercial operating systems resit and for my yesteryear long association with it and the Hanthana Sinhala Linux which is a derivative of it.

It was the first Linux distribution that I have used which could accommodate Sinhala fonts way back when other Linux distributions were learning the tricks of the trade.

8. GoBO Linux for its innovative approach but no new version for a long time.

9. YOPER for trimming, shedding dropping extra fringes to get it running fast but it has a big problem with its GRUB file.

10. Pure KDE without a brand name since it is the one made Linux desktop eye candy and a market force of its own and still introducing new innovation but one need at least 1 GiB of RAM and still more RAM for it’s better performance.

11. LXDE is my favorite even though I am hooked to KDE and its plane and bird like logo.

12. Cloud Linux

13. MeeGo

14. Pendrive Linux

15. PureOS, Saline OS, Peppermint, LinuxMint, Console Linux, Morphix, MYAH, ADIOS and the lot I forgot because of my bad memory.

16. Scientific Linux of course is my ultimate goal and that is where I belong to as a professional and where my personal biases are rooted, which I am trying to wean off and become an ordinary man again with taste and flair.

If I have left any other distribution, it is all because of my finicky behaviour and lack of space.

It is a fact that any one of them do the day to day work for me.

Please excuse for my bias since I am an ordinary human being with lot of personal deficiencies and lapses in my memory with geriatric age approaching fast.

Young ones are the live blood of Linux, you need to keep on innovating and also have a pause and listen to ordinary uses too.

Next few editions will be based on the packages one should have in a distribution that may vary from person to person.

I will start with K-Torrent and gParted.

I am afraid I may have to group them since there are over 60,000 of them, if one takes Debian as a base.
With that exercise I may finish my engagement with the wider world and go back to my normal life of gardening, fish keeping and looking after my dog.

Installing Debian in Sinhala-Debian-6.0.0-Update

I am glad to report to the wider world that I have tested Debian 6.0.0-32 bit and 64 bit versions on my desktops and the laptop and they are running amazingly well.

Now I am getting a hang of Sinhala terminology, installing went on while watching the cricket match and without making any mistakes but “alpili” and “papili” are still in awkward places but can read them without a problem.

They are not of print quality.

Bit better than the Sinhala fonts of the government web site.
So with a sigh of relief I go to bed with our boys getting a good win at cricket,too.

Thanks to guys and girls at Debian for doing a wonderful job.

Thanks to our cricketers for a creditable win.

Make sure you download CD/DVD from LinuxTracker and they are also doing a wonderful job.

Both DVD and CD (2 CDs at Linuxtracker) are Sinhala installation capable, now.
Make sure you use K3B and not Nero for image burning.

Linux in Sinhala and Installation of Debian 6.0 in Sinhala

I can now report to you that Debian DVD 1 (one of many) has Sinhala capability and is available at LinuxTracker with many seeders and one can download it in less than 24 hours.

Please do not go for point to pint download or

The good news is that I have now installed Debain in Sinhala with Sinhala dropdown menu  (mixture of Sinhala and English) and it is amazingly good.

It is Gnome but I will miss K3B but  the Debian Sinhala is going to stay in my main computer from now onwards and I will be reporting bugs if I detect any.

I hope, in its next edition, it drops Openoffice and go for LibreOffice.

In any case, it is going to improve my Sinhala leaps and bounds.

Thank you Debian and the Translator Team.

I have no hesitation in recommending it’s use but with one or two advices and some warning is in order.

Please get a proficient Linux guy / girl to install it and do not copy the DVD with Nero.

For best use one must have an internet connection when  one installs it and Debian configures the card automatically (better have a router instead of telephone connection) in its initial install and please have patience, it takes a fairly long time to install (do it in the night when internet is not busy).

With those provisos HAPPY SINHALA LINUX for all.

Mind you this was edited with Sinhala Linux activated and Debian’s Iceweasel on the web track.

Old Note on the CD

Now I have tried installing Debian 6 in Sinhala, I can report back and say it can be done but prior understanding of Linux and how Debian does things is essential.

I also have to report that the 4 CD / DVD that I downloaded is not available in Linuxtracker due to unfortunate incidents there.

It is up and running but it will be sometime before all Debian CD/DVDs are restored for download.
Moment I have good news I will be posting it here and elsewhere.
I  have to tell you that I had  to format my hard disks and redo all the installations new.

It is all fun and game in Linux but took lot of my spare time and not having interesting cricket matches to watch was a bonus.

Everything went on smoothly and I was expecting to work in Sinhala after the installation but sadly it was not to be.

I could not select Sinhala at boot time and none of the Linux distributions let  you do that currently  and even though many of the Linux distributions have the multilingual capacity, Sinhala has not been promoted in the web world outside Sri-lanka.

I am afraid lot of translation work has to be done  in legible and lexicographical world of Sinhala and enough Sinhala fonts have to be installed in the usr/src folders.

Coding for fonts and character map is now available but translation of computer terminology is extremely difficult and many thanks for the guys and girls for trying it.

I enjoyed installing it in Sinhala with my limited ability in Sinhala but lot of guess work, in doing so but having known Debian for a long time and had sweated a lot learning Linux, a little over decade ago, the guess work (Sinhala terms) did work.

This gives an opportunity to learn how Linux works especially Debian for one who has difficulty in English language.

But my advice for all is one should be proficient in both Sinhala and English to be a successful translator and Learning Linux in that process is an added bonus.

I am not at all good in Sinhala to be of any help to you but I am there to test the capability of Sinhala in Linux and report to the wider web.

Thanks again guys and girls for trying a very difficult task.

With good team work and perseverance it can be accomplished and good luck with your future efforts.

Debian is the best Linux distribution to learn nuts and bolts of Linux, even though it is bit difficult to master it and the learning curve is steep at the beginning but it invariably drops quickly after the first year of trying.

Do not give up your efforts of Learning Linux in Sinhala and English too.

Linux Extras-Debian06.0-08

In between World Cup Cricket, my work and students examinations, I found time to install Debian 6.0 KDE CD version, in one of my old IBM computer with 512 RAM.
Unlike in the good old days new Linux distributions especially the KDE craves on RAM do not ever think of trying it less than 512 RAM and ideally 1 GiB is necessary now.
This computer I fiddled with it to add some muscle (but could not find a SCSI hard disk) and it did not boot up (20 GiB SCSI ans 20 IDE). I installed latest PCLinux KDE and it took ages to install.
This the one that gives me headache in hard disk detection. One distribution does not recognize the nomenclature (a becomes b and b becomes a scenario) of the other distribution and only Debian figure out the architecture and the type of disks.
Sure enough it did a good job of recognizing two other distributions and partition table was edited correctly since Debian was the one I used last.

In distrowatch forum there was so much animosity towards this distribution which follow Free Software principles and for that principle I call it the God Father of Linux (I did not get involved in the flame war).
I now have a special liking for it since for the first time a Sinhala Linux version has come in to being (it can be installed in Sinhala Graphic format) and that is Debian 6.

I went through Sinhala graphic installer and it selected Sri-Lanka as the location, correctly. I stopped at that point and installed it in English (My Sinhala computer vocabulary is next to nothing) and I could not Sri-Lanka as a location.
Now Sri-Lanka is reserved for Sinhala only.
This I found strange since we have Tamils and Muslims in this country and many of them do not work in Sinhala.
In defense of the Tamils Linux can be installed in Tamil but then they cannot select Sri-Lanka as a the location.
I decided to use Singapore as the location since Singapore uses English as their language operation.
I think Debian should allow Tamils and English installers the ability to select the location as Colombo.
This can be corrected after installation but this I found annoying to say the least.

It installs the basic (kernel) system and then let you select the installation type that include laptop and desktop.
Unlike PCLinux installation is fast and user and root passwords are selected in the first time round.

I can understand why many were against its installation mode.
It’s partition tool is not in graphic mode and only in writing mode (old habits die hard).
The instructions are clearly written for any sane person to follow.
1.Create a partition.
2.Format a partition.
3. Mount a partition with or without boot flag and the job is done.
The procedure has to be repeated for root, home, var and user partition.
There is nothing more to it.
Another point of importance is that it always assume that you are connected to the internet.
Missing packges can be installed with apt get and there are over 60, 000 to select.
Mind you if you do not understand partitioning it does it automatically for you.
Why bother1

Its GRUB automatically select what is to boot and the boot splash is very simple and not graphic intensive.
Because it does things in an organized and simple manner once configured it boots and runs program fast unlike other KDE counterparts, say SuSe.

It has no K3B (one of my favorite CD/ DVD writing tool), or openoffice (mind you there is a limit to what can be put in a CD with 700 MiB).

All these are simple routines to me which I learned 12 years ago without any Guru but by trial and error.
If you want to learn nuts and bolts of Linux one has to use learn Debian and in its write mode.
Mind you best graphic partition tool is gParted and it is Debian and it is very reliable and even better than that of Knoppix or Puppy.
Whatever criticism Debian will outlast all its other distributions since its resource base is over 60,000 and may grow up to 100,000.
That is why it had 4o odd CDs and now 8 to 10 DVDs.
One DVD will do the work for you and they are available in 32 and 64 bits.
I am currently downloading the first DVD and it will take two sold Sri-Lankan days for it and I will be back with you soon.

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!