Category Archives: Linux Should Have Utility



In spite of work, Cricket World Cup, I found time to test Knoppix 6.4 CD/DVD and both are equally good and can be installed into the hard disk.

In the past after various tricks I managed to install Knoppix in a FAT partition of my laptop.

Since I have number of distributions in all my computers getting any new distribution installed is a bit of a hassle.No wonder the developers cannot keep pace with my finicky behaviour.

This is equally true when I have two hard disks.
I am yet to find a distribution except perhaps Debian which can detect multiple distributions in the same computer and the correct boot record.
Each distribution has its own way to figure out and configure the boot record. Distribution counts  hard disks a and b , c for hard disks and in one distribution a become b and b become a and another a is a and b is b at boot time.

This is confusing for me and I have to figure out how to sort it and edit boot message. I do not like this happening.

If you have no distribution in your hard disk the installation is straight forward but my installation are very complicated since I have to figure out how the distribution configure thing and sometime try trial an error method.

I never give up but after many trials I get the distributions to behave in the way I want them to be.

New Knoppix was no different I had several failures but finally I got it in my hard disk cohabiting with various other distributions this time in a native Linux partition not FAT.

It is derivative of Debian squeeze and is pretty good.

Who says Debain is bad.

It has no administrative constrains, like Puppy can do anything without root permission sometimes with superuser status. Please do not get angry with me these are Linux vocabulary.

So be careful (it gives a brief warning every time it does something drastic).

It needs a swap partition and at least one reiserfs partition (big enough to accommodate the wast resources it has). Small partition for CD but a very big one for the DVD.
It need at least 1 GiB swap in the first partition, but I gave 2 instead.
It’s partition tool Gparted sometime find it difficult to partition the hard disk.

So I booted Debins Gparted and did the changes and booted Knoppix.

Its actions are almost automatic and instantaneous and moment you press  ENTER it gets down to work so if you have data in your hard disk please take special care.

It’s compiz is excellent and I will install it in every one of my computers when they are undergoing major changes. I went down for a cup of tea and when I returned the monitor was going berserk with scintillating graphic and thought the graphic card has gone. Not so its graphics are pretty good.

It has lot of games too.

Pingus is excellent. I kept playing it while it was being installed which one can never can do when windows are being installed.

Lost Opportunity for Indians-Cricket World Cup

I am made to believe that India is the home for computer experts and it has a home base of IT literate who can dish and dash Linux at the drop of a hat.

I have to reserve that judgment now.

I have been looking at who is grabbing the opportunity that Linux has opened up.

It is not India.

It is not Pakistan.

It is not Sri-Lanka.

It is not Bangladesh.

To my surprise who is leading the field.

It is America.

Obama is quietly but effectively spreading the message of wisdom.

Education, Education in IT.

I won’t tell you how I gather the information.

That is top secret.

Even though, it is not at all significant statistically and in numbers who are the people who visit my blogsite with Linux information.

It is again Americans who top the list.

I have been very vocal and forthright with American diplomats and their way of dealing with international affairs.


If one is an American he or she would be very annoyed with what I usually write about Americans but I am glad I have to complement the Americans who would search, gather information and reach for anything that is useful academically.

Then who are the people who disseminate this information to others.

It is again Americans.

It is not these big Universities like Harvard that spread the message.

It is the up and mobile ordinary Americans.

Thanks guys, even though some of your diplomats and politicians are bringing bad name to America you guys are spreading the message of goodwill, especially related to Linux.

Why I say Indians lost a trick.

This is the time all the guys from the West come here to watch cricket and enjoy the warm holiday.

All of them love to carry a netbook or a laptop with them.

Indians could have sold large number of netbooks and laptops to these guys for a very cheap price, if they mastered the Linux Operating System and Utilities.


The idea that the operating system is free could have galvanized them and the amount of saving on each buy / or purchase would have made them to buy not one but three for the price of one they pay in their countries.

Once they got the idea of the price and the use of Linux they would be coming back to Asia for bargains for the next 10 to 20 years to come.


All they have to do is to entice the buyer with wireless dongle and a Flashy Linux Distribution installed in the laptop or the netbook. If they provided a flashy media player to watch the matches (recording and playback) and the value added would have been infections.

This could have been easily accomplished in India, Bangladesh and Sri-Lanka.

But nobody wanted to explore and promote Linux in this part of the world.

In Sri-Lanka the reasons are many and I do not want to waste my time discussing that.

Why Indians lost this trick is my amazement.

There is no incentive to learn Linux in Asia because of pirating of software.

There has been an explosion of Linux utilities from last December to now, to Music, to Guitar, to Video to Graphic Rendering like Maya.


If the can at least sell some netbooks with GutaristX installed, that will get the ball rolling, even now.


It is not too late, even now but one should sell the hardware for OEM price and show that you are a good an honest businessman.

We are lacking that type of gentleman businessmen too due to pirating.

For the visitors who come to enjoy cricket and holidays I have a warning,

Please do not buy laptops and netbooks with pirated copies installed.

You cannot take them back to your country. You will be charged at your airport of entry. Same for videos and music and films. Watch them, listen to them while you are here but drop them to a dustbin before you leave.


But if you get a computer with Linux installed, buy that without any fear or get somebody to install Linux for you here. We have few guys in the University (undergraduates) who can do that for you and most of our Sri-Lankan vendors are clueless as regard to Linux.

But please make sure to install KDE desktops like PCLinux, Suse, Mepis in additions to Ubuntu which is Gnome and perhaps Pinguy for glamor.


For information as regard to Linux visit my blogspot at Google (parafox) or WordPress (asokaplus).


In the 6 weeks you are here if you can learn Linux (it can be achieved in 4 weeks) that is something that you can take home without any fear.

Good Lick with Cricket and Linux.

Monty Python and Python Programming Protocol (P.P.P.)

I never thought Linux has any relationship to Monty Python’s playacting and his scripts.

Now I discover python language’s name comes from his acting skills and not due to any programming language as long as a reptile called python.

In my case any programming language is a python to me whether it is C or C++ or Java or Beans (they never spell or spill the beans or code in anyway comprehensible to human mind but to computers only) and sometimes with cobra venom installed in them and any sane guy start hating them.

All these changed when I discovered Linux. Whether you like or not one needs to know few starting scripts and rooting responses, booting and Grubbing files, if one wants to embrace Linux.

So I did.

Now I hear suddenly from nowhere ‘A’ Level students are made to learn python in schools and act like Monty Python of BBC.

BBC Basic was the first language I started learning before Sinclair’s Basic and long time before I discovered there is something called C and later Unix.

By the way, the language is named after the BBC show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and has nothing to do with reptiles.
Making references to Monty Python and acting skills are actively encouraged by the Linux community.

Some of Python’s notable features:
Uses an elegant syntax, making the programs you write easier to read.

Is an easy-to-use language that makes it simple to get your program working. This makes Python ideal for prototype development and other ad-hoc programming tasks, without compromising maintainability.

Comes with a large standard library that supports many common programming tasks such as connecting to web servers, searching text with regular expressions, reading and modifying files.

Python’s interactive mode makes it easy to test short snippets of code. There’s also a bundled development environment called IDLE.

Is easily extended by adding new modules implemented in a compiled language such as C or C++.

Can also be embedded into an application to provide a programmable interface.

Runs on many different computers and operating systems: Windows, MacOS, many brands of Unix, OS/2.

Is free software in two senses. It doesn’t cost anything to download or use Python, or to include it in your application. Python can also be freely modified and re-distributed, because while the language is copyrighted it’s available under, an open source license.

Python is an easy and powerful object-oriented programming language. It was originally created back in the 1980’s, but saw it’s first public release in 1991. After the release of Python 1.0 in 1994, it quickly became one of the preferred programming language for the creation of web applications in the Internet, alongside with Perl and PHP.

It’s creator, Guido van Rossum has played a major part in the Python development from it’s first release and has a central role in deciding the direction of the Python development.

Python is often used as a scripting language for web applications in combination with the “mod python” module for the Apache web server. Python’s easiness of use and ability to integrate with different SDKs allows the creation of many different programs for Windows, Linux, Маc ОS and other operational systems.

This is what Eric Raymond gas to say about Python

I had already heard just enough about Python to know that it is what is nowadays called a “scripting language”, an interpretive language with its own built-in memory management and good facilities for calling and cooperating with other programs.

So I dived into Programming Python with one question uppermost in my mind: what has this got that Perl does not?

Perl, of course, is the 800-pound gorilla of modern scripting languages.

It has largely replaced shell as the scripting language of choice for system administrators, thanks partly to its comprehensive set of UNIX library and system calls, and partly to the huge collection of Perl modules built by a very active Perl community. The language is commonly estimated to be the CGI language behind about 85% of the “live” content on the Net.

Larry Wall, its creator, is rightly considered one of the most important leaders in the Open Source community, and often ranks third behind Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman in the current pantheon of hacker demigods.

To say I was astonished would have been positively wallowing in understatement.

It’s remarkable enough when implementations of simple techniques work exactly as expected the first time; but my first metaclass hack in a new language, six days from a cold standing start?
Even if we stipulate that I am a fairly talented hacker, this is an amazing testament to Python’s clarity and elegance of design.

There was simply no way I could have pulled off a coup like this in Perl, even with my vastly greater experience level in that language. It was at this point I realized I was probably leaving Perl behind.

Now Guido van Rossum who has a major role in development in Python will join the elite three mentioned above.(Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman and Larry Wall).

It is not easy to master a computer language but one who has background knowledge and basic understanding of several language would benefit from it.

Jumping into it straight away may not be the best way.

Learning C and Unix, Linux and how scripting done and modules used to take advantage of Linux kernels is necessary before embarking on this adventure.

In any case Linux is the winner.

It is an object oriented interpretive language with graphic capability may be better than Visual Basic but if one needs to advance in programming language one need to know the code and syntax behind the ant graphic interphase.

There are lot of language wrapped behind the Linux kernel and scripting. It is far better to master Linux and simple commands and scripts before delving.into an advanced language with powerful capabilities.

I still prefer to call it a python with reptilian image because it is a very very long language behind the big modules.

Enjoy Linux and one will enjoy Python too but do not let it wrap round your neck and squeeze your wind pipe and suffocate you.

Better learn few piping tricks in Linux and put the python inside a pipe and tame it.


Knoppix Linux has celebrated its 10th anniversary with a smashing LXDE CD/DVD version.

Unlike previous version it can now be installed to hard disk.

Knoppix is the best Live CD available for a newbie.
It boots up fast and now I am writing this for everybody to see.
It can be mounted on a Flash drive.
Unlike old editions it can be mounted on the hard drive too.
If you decide to mount it on your hard drive make sure that you have saved all your important files!
It has virtual box and can mount other operating systems if one wishes.
The memory for the virtual box can be allocated depending on the system’s availability. I am one who does not fancy this scenario. It is far better to dual boot rather than taxing the resources one has (RAM).
Well done boys and girls!


Recovery is Possible is the mission of R.I.P. Linux and stands true to it’s name.

All the utilities packed in its 100 MiB Live CD is something a Linux savvy should have in his pocket Live CD.

I have not tested any of the utilities since my PCLinux 2010 does not give any headaches in spite of 200 odd downloads and the daily use and testing of other Linux distributions.

It is something a Microsoft guy should have to solve Microsoft’s problems including many viruses.

It’s release cycle is fast and updates come by the minute.

It rivals only the Damn Small Linux = DSL (which of course is Debian based and have very slow release cycles) which I use when I am in any trouble.

Well done!

Blessing In Disguise-nFLux-OpenBox-XBMC-

The Window Manager that produced the frenzy activity in the early days of Linux to produce something similar to Microsoft has now come to term with functionality instead of the the flashy looks.

nFlux is the one which has taken root with Slackware, Debian, Ubuntu and Arch Linux and it is much attractive than the the Openbox.


Openbox has its own virtues of saving valuable MB when making a live CD and its trigger happy mouse click activity that opens dialog boxes was a welcome change to heavy KDE but here comes nFlux with a bang.

The live wires of early Linux distributions Debian, Arch and Slackware adopting it to dispense the Light Weight Live CDs is not an accident but the next logical step. 

I like all the distributions with nFlux and I hope there will be many more followers including PCLinux. 

Writing about XBMC (Multimedia package) is inappropriate here but I have one reasoning that were not answered by both Sabayon and MonomaxOS.

Even though they have incorporated XBMC (which is good and encouraging to say the least) in their distributions XBMC drains a lot of resources for its functionality.

There is no coordination of mouse activity and XBMC and mouse often freezes.

The solution to this is to dispense XBMC as a live CD distribution with light weight window manager like Openbox or nFlux.

If it still has enough MiB left to fill a CD-700 MiB limit one can add some light weight games and abiword to push its boundaries for general use.

Adding general utilities should be a marketing strategy well worth investing with sportsmen in mind ( carrying laptops with Linux).

We missed the Football World Cup but we can come up with a Linux for the Cricket World Cup.

Players need to relax before an important game Laptop with videos and games and XBMC would be most welcome away from (this idea is free to exploit but you must send me a few Linux laptops to sell and make few bucks while U/I wait in between games) media men.

Since Linux is far behind in games this “games console” with video output is a blessing in disguise for developers to log onto.

Once they got the CD right, the next stage is to expand and make a DVD distribution with added load and functionality

That is my futuristic thinking.

Slow but sure we can close the existing gap and come out champions!

Hope Sabayon and MonomaxOS shows us the way if not Morphix, Arch or Debian!