Category Archives: postaday2011

New Ubuntu Desktop Unity

I was never a Ubuntu fan and I took sometime before downloading Ubuntu and before that I read couple of web articles and if I had been Ubuntu fan, I can very well understand the logic, frustration and criticism of the loyal fans.
I have gone from Redhat to Mandrake to Suse to PCLinux and Mepis and know very well the pain I went through when Redhat dished us out to Fedora Community Project.
After Fedora 3, I gave up and that change in my attitude and experimenting with other distributions even though troublesome was a very good experience.
After all I gave up Microsoft and giving up a distribution was easy because I used to have at least 5 operating system including Win 98 and XP in my computer and switching and testing and falling back to most stable and useful distribution came second nature to me.
In addition it made me to migrate to Live CDs and over the past two years, I have been talking about almost all of them I have downloaded and tested. Writing about their virtues and sore points has become a habit and when I test I have no preconditions attached to the exercise.

No expectations at all.
Testing Ubuntu Unity (which I have in principles supported due to other reasons ) was no different and no strings attached.
I tested it with my old computer (old IBM Netvista) which was disaster by itself and it booted up with graphic images with no fonts.
I came across this problem with several new Linux distributions including PapugLinux, JULinux and Taylor Switch (KVM switch) and knew immediately to exit and boot it with my IBM Think Center and the subsequent experience was totally different and Unity booted up with a beautiful desktop which looked somewhat liked MeeGo (not that elegant) and getting round was a completely new desktop experience and I could not see any familiar features of Ubuntu.

My first need was the workspaces which I am so used to now without them I will have a heart attack.

With some fiddling I found 4 workspaces and I could open and exchange the programs from 1 to 4 (workspace).
Then I wanted to fill the other 2 workspaces and I could not.
I searched the applications but then I had to leave the workspace and that experience was a very bad one, now that I got used to FullMonty nice desktop arrangement.
Then I hit the web browser and went to distrowatch and looked at the latest downloads of Linux distribution and Ubuntu is now sandwich between Mint and PClinux which has climbed up to 3 from 7.
This was a pleasant surprise for me.
I used PCLinux as the gold standard of Live CDs and an arbitrary reference, coined for testing other Lice CDs.
I can understand the reaction of the Linux users but I have some sympathy for Ubuntu and hope their experiment will succeed.
It ought to since tablets are coming to the market thick and fast and all the looks are Ubuntu is ready with this new innovation.

I have decided to give 300 points (for innovation) of my scale which I am revising now with the latest trends in the super highway.
If not I have no way of promoting Ubuntu as a general purpose Linux distribution.
Switching to LibreOffice was good.
It will be a rough passage for them knowing very well we shift our allegiance when our needs are not satisfied by the latest distribution.
That is what I did with Fedora.
Now after 10 more distribution I have switched back to Fedora since it is one of the few that support Sinhala Unicode.
I hope Ubuntu Unity do the same of supporting Sinhala and then I will be promoting Unity with some new found vigour.

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.

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.

Human Destiny

If man needs to survive in this planet with dwindling resources and utmost pollution he has to take major steps.

The WHO culpable for its inability to forecast and foretell the emerging trends. I is is also culpable in not having a sustainable strategy.It seems it is dictated by the rich nations funding it and the cronies employed to effect the rich nations desired plan of inactivity.

They haven’t got an estimate of what is the sustainable population in which the planet can produce food (with a buffer stock.for major catastrophe).

They let the market forces decide the events.

With inflation, the price of food is going up and that is no concern for them.

They haven’t got a plan for food security.

Above all they haven’t a slightest of idea of how the global warming would threaten food security.

Their performance is akin to UNO which is impotent in formulating any viable preposition to this planet except for dividing land, countries and nations to a level desirable for the rich nations to exploit economically.

Their pseudo-economic aid make these poor countries more vulnerable and this is happening in Asia and Africa.

They have no strategy to make Africa a food basket of the world.

Asia cannot sustain food security due to population explosion in India and China which are following a death trap of new open economy.

For the first time India was not able to produce onion which is not an essential commodity.

But what about the staple diet. It is no different. Up until now soya had been filling the gap. While supplementing the staple diet it was a buffer for the poor nations.

Now with bio-fuel taking precedence this commodity is becoming the rich nations darling exploits.

Wind up with water security.

It is common knowledge that this planet is abundant with water and even can submerge some low lying nations with glacial melting.

But we do not have ample drinking water.

The man continue to pollute the rivers and their origins and basins with industries that should be banned for the benefit of mankind.

China, India and Ceylon are good examples.

In Ceylon all our rivers are neglected and allowed to contaminate with dangerous agro-chemicals from up country to low country of the North and North East. The rain forest is gradually destroyed and and disappearing fast and some rivers are actually now drying up in dry season.

The government priority was the war and making the economy running somehow but not having a sustainable plan to protect the forest and the rivers that are the live wire of our wellbeing.

In fact we do not have water security.

In the mean time some politicians are getting ready to sell the last resource we have. That is water for money to foreign capital. That plan is still in the drawing board and with two third majority even that is sold to a company or companies for generating money. I am not surprised judging by the level of intellectual capacity in the parliament. It.is possible in the distant future for the water to be be sold to foreign capital, however much they deny that there are no plans to privatize water industry.

That is a big lie!

Human needs and his Destiny

It looks likes human needs take paramount importance to all the other needs of living beings on this planet.

 

Human needs are not measured by bare existence but by uncontrolled desire, greed and exploitation of the very environment he lives in.

He is not very responsible but very erratic in behaviour.

He explores and expand both in numbers and the spheres of influence.

When the going is good he expands and when the going is bad he perseveres at the expense of all other beings.

Human is the only species known to eats its own beings and all the other edible beings.

He does not spare anything that this earth can offer,

 

When the going is good it is Lancashire hotpot with lamb but when the going is bad it is only potato hotpot.

His culinary desires which includes cannibalism speaks of his destructive nature.

How can we say he is a rational being?

Only rationality is his own existence at the expense of sometimes his own fellow beings.

Rat race and nothing but rat race.

That is the virtue of all powerful capitalism, power and wealth.

There is something wrong in this simple equation.

Expand, exploit and try to gain control at every advantage point.

He does not learn lessons from the past,

40 years ago in 1973, when oil price hike followed after the Middle est conflict he was ill prepared.

I saw what that meant for our children.

Thousands and thousand of children died of starvation and illness.

We are not ready for its repetition.

This time it is the global warming which is going to precipitate it.

40 years ago it was oil and energy and thereafter the food crisis.

When there is scarcity we tend to invest more on the same resource instead of changing to alternative resources.

In fact after the last oil crisis we had being using oil at a rate far more energetic than before.

We were not ready for the global warming.

In fact we did all to precipitate it.

Then there is a Youth Bubble too.

The rich dictators were not receptive to the needs of the poor while piling up money for their own fantasies.

How can we say man is rational.

His greed dictates the front line.

The ones who are behind the line or sitting on the bench have no say.

Unfortunately this equation is going to change.

Be prepared the human, the stupid exploiter.

Lottery

No sane mind
Buys a ticket
Without a wish
For winning

But
The logic of lottery
Or the statistical chance
Of wining is
Inversely proportionate
To number of other wishes
Of the same kind

So every other wish
Of the same kind
Make one less likely to succeed
In wining a lottery
Just like everyone else
Wishes
Peace
Freedom
Harmony
And in turn
Gets war and hate

The logic of democracy
In matters of peace
Does work like
A simple lottery
Unless of course
One is prepared
To use force of nature
And combat

Then when one wins
By force
The peace become
Meaningless
To the loser
But to the victor
It is like a handsome
Win in a lottery

In real sense
Dhamma included
Wining or losing
A lottery
Just only an act
Of coincidence

But one does
With money won
If benevolent
Acquires merit

But it is
Usually the case
With a win
Lust and crave
Increase in leaps and bounds
Along with demerits

This is in essence
The virtue of war and peace
Whether it is
On this land or in any wonderland
But what is lacking is the consistency
Of making a policy viable and lasting

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.