Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto assassinated...

This news comes as a hard blow..not that it was not expected (this threat was looming large on her from the moment she set foot in Pakistan once again), but hard to come to terms with it. I was shattered when I turned on the TV at around 7:10 pm today. At first couldn't believe it...

I am yet to read her autobiography "Daughter of the East', but she sure was a courageous woman to risk her life and come to Pakistan at this time. Wonder what drove her to come would surely be to vindicate herself. Then there is the legacy of her father Zulfikar Bhutto to carry forward and establish democracy in Pakistan. She surely would not have liked 'being in exile' as the last of her memories...but alas, these were not to be.

Can there still be hope? News channel say that the PPP has confirmed her death, though there is still no official announcement...can there be a chance still?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Recently I bought a sphygmomanometer to track my parents' blood pressure. Thanks to Vinnie, I can now proudly claim that I can measure blood pressure using the manual instrument!! A couple of doctors advised me against going for the digital apparatus, saying that with time, the readings become unreliable. Moreover, its fun learning something new ;) Turns out, there is more physics involved in this than the knowledge of bio!

Heres a nice online guide that I just found.

Jingle Bell, Jingle Bells...

Feliz Navidad... Feliz Navidad...
Feliz Navidad
Prospero ano y felicidad.

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas.
I want to wish you a Merry Christmas.
I want to wish you a Merry Christmas
From the bottom of my heart!

Heres wishing everyone A Merry Christmas!! I simply love this festive season...esp the plum cakes, the rose cookies, the 'kalkals'...ooh, mouth watering!! Nice :) Heres a pic of my christmas tree...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Heard of eatables being prosecuted?

This is one of the many funny and meaningless messages that we come across so very often :) Aravind drew my attention to it though...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Are you part of the movement yet?

The highlight of 2007 for me was meeting developers like Rusty Rusell, Thomas Gleixner, Ulrich Drepper and many more and to understand the value of 'getting involved' and how simple it is and this is the topic of this post.

My journey in the world of open source started a couple of years back in college. Back then, it was mostly about using Linux as my primary desktop..using it for doing everything I wanted to do. I always thought that I did not contribute to any open source project. Its only now that I realize how wrong I was !!

What does it mean to contribute?
Well, first things first.

Contribution != code.

There are umpteen number of things you can do to claim that you contribute to the open source projects. Its not just about code. Rusty conducted a brilliant session at the close of the ceremony at to emphasize just this (though he gives himself 6/10 for it, IMO, he deserves a 9/10!). So what does indeed fall in this category...broadly..

  • Using foss : Having a large number of user base is the first step towards making foss popular and better. So, simply by switching to Linux as against using Windows, you are playing an important role in this movement. The more the number of Linux desktop users, the bigger the market would be and that will help in convince the PC makers to ship Linux as matter which distribution. So take pride in using Linux.
  • Evangelizing foss : The reasoning is similar to the above...influence people around you to switch to foss..
  • Helping in making any open source software better : There are many things that one could do to make foss better. Provide documentation, report bugs, help in resolving the bugs, feature enhancements and testing. Don't keep quiet when you come across an error in an application that you are using, for eg, amarok. Report it to the amarok community and rest assured, you will have a fix! This will improve the quality of the software and will be an encouragement in itself for many more people to switch over to foss.

So the important point to note here is, you needn't be a programmer to call yourself a contributor. I met several such eople at I met a woman working in a NGO, an open source fanatic and has played an important role in making her NGO use foss for their day to day activities. I also met a graphics designer who does all her work using open source software. There were some teachers who are advocating open source in their schools. Each of these individuals, in my opinion are making as valuable role in this movement as the code developers. After all, what use is the code if there are no users!!

Getting involved...this is the key if you want to make a difference. Actively participate in any of the above...get that code fixed or fix that code! Its your software and you can make it better...the onus is entirely on you...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Batti Bandh Initiative !!

Today I heard about this wonderful initiative called "Batti Bandh - Mumbai Unplugged". The intention is to increase awareness about Global Warming and also to combat. What it means: City like Mumbai goes for a blackout for 1 hr from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm on 15th Dec, 2007. Quoting from the Batti Bandh site:

"Batti Bandh is an entirely voluntary event taking place on the 15th of December between 7:30 & 8:30 p.m. This event is aimed at requesting all of Mumbai to stand up for a cause that is greater than all of us. All you need to do is switch off lights and appliances in your home, shop, office, school, college or anywhere you are for 1 hour to take a stand against global warming. Just 1 hour.

What will this 1 hour do? This 1 hour for just 1 day is not our only aim. This 1 hour is to set an example to the world, to every person who witnesses it, to show that together we can make a difference. This 1 hour will save a lot of electricity as well as pollution and if done regularly can go a long way in reducing pollution that is released by electricity plants as well."

The mayor has also endorsed the initiative including so many more conscious citizens. For those of you who have been to Mumbai, imagine how the beautiful marine drive would look without light! But who cares....this event has a goal and a noble one. Think about the amount of carbon dioxide that will not be released into the atmosphere?! The website quotes it to be 24.86 tons!! It also says that this would be equivalent to taking 48,613 cars off the road!

The agenda is not only to observe the blackout. It has another motive. To encourage people to switch to a better lifestyle that would reduce that carbon using CFL bulbs, switch off your computers when not in use, avoid using cars for shorter distances, plant more trees, stop using plastic bags and the like.

But why only Mumbai? I feel each one of us should take a cue from this movement and do their bit to save our planet. There has been a lot of buzz around this for quite sometime now. We have seen innumerable articles in the paper talking about the dos and donts. But do we heed? Some of us have switched over to the healthier options. But, we have a long long way to go. And I sincerely hope, we will get there sooner than later.

The government needs to step in and do its bit. For example, ban usage of plastic bags...bring more re-cycled paper bags into usage (afaik, most of the supermarkets still use plastic bags). Increase taxes on the neon/ordinary bulbs and make CFL cheaper (ok, I did read in the paper sometime back that the Karnataka government has mandated usage of CFL bulbs in all government offices...but I wonder if it has been implemented).

Anecdote: The other day I was out near the airport runway...just watching the planes land and take-off. I noticed a car (a silver Lucida) moving very slowly with two people walking right in front of it, a man and a lady. I didnt give it much attention. After another 10 minutes, I see it again, heading in the opposite direction this time. The same two people again in front of it. I will not reveal the identity of this man, but suffice to say, that he is a very well known figure of Bangalore (you can be maybe guess by the decription of the car...not too many Lucida's in blore). So I then figured out what was going on - the man was on his evening walk and the so was the car!! The car followed him all the way instead of being parked somewhere. I was very upset at this. I still repent for not having gone and spoken to him about it. The big guys are supposed to set an example.

Anywaz, lets hope this initiative is a huge success....not only in terms of more people pledging to turn off their lights, but also pledging to change their way of life :) And for all of the non-mumbaikars, do your own bit and reduce your carbon footprint...its for your own good!

Note: Bangalore doesnt need a special event of this nature..thanks to BESCOM, we generally are left without power at soo many times in a day...its like a regular event in our lives ;) We unplug so very often!!

More pics here

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fun with Light

Only after I bought my digital camera a couple of years back, that I discovered my passion for photography. Soon, I found myself clicking pictures whenver I had even little free time. I do not know a b c of photography, but just the joy of clicking newer and different pics caught my fantasy. Have been rather lazy in uploading the pics some place...thought would do so here :)

Pasting a collage of some of the abstract pictures that I have clicked. Mostly played with candles, lamp shades & bulbs. Try guessing how some of these were clicked ;)

Have uploaded a few here. Let me know what you thought about these...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

T A L K is C H E A P

Just ask someone to suggest a way in which a particular problem can be solved...also emphasize on the fact that you have not been able to solve it. And you will have a huge number of solutions suggested by that person! We see this a number of times on mailing lists when people review patches sent by peers.

But next time you do something like this, always remember that it is very easy to talk... Linus put it very aptly "T A L K is C H E A P, S H O W M E the C O D E"

This was also the theme of 2007.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I love Bowling!!

It was not long back when I first went to Amoeba, a sports bar that has a bowling alley. I remember being skeptical to walk in there...was sure I was going to make a fool of myself out there :) Somehow convinced myself to participate...thanks to Janta (for those of you who dont know, 'Janta' is my group of friends from engg)...since I knew most of them there also were first-timers :D (ok guys, spare me for this !), I felt a tad bit confident.

I must say my first session was a bit of success in itself. I never even in my wildest of dreams had imagined I could get a clean strike on my first bowling expedition !! Besides the strike, I managed to score a decent total of around 60 I think.

Thus a new story began. I now am addicted to the game. After the first time, been for bowling for 5 times in a matter of just a month!! And I am proud to say am getting better at it...Sure Deepu, DD and Mitra will agree ;) On once occasion, I managed to get 3 strikes and on another, managed one on the last throw (and so my score doubled!!).

Sadly enough, for some reason, I have never been the top scorer :( Not managed to cross the score of 89....and this in itself is enough inspiration to continue to bowl

So watch out Janta...everytime we have a get-together, there will always be a request from me to go bowling!!!!!! And, next time, pl lets click some pictures...I have none to put here.

Windows on Linux!

There were a couple of talks on Virtualization on Linux at, one about 'lguest' by none other than Rusty Russell himself and the other on KVM by Amit Shah. Both these talks made the whole concept of virtualization sound so simple...atleast from the user perspective :) I was all inspired to give both a shot.

Thanks to the number of how-tos available, I finally have windows running on my Ubuntu Gutsy installation. With ubuntu, things are ofcourse much more simpler ;) One link that I found quite useful is this.

You might say what is the use of it? Well, there are still a number of sites which unfortunately require IE. Like, BSNL Dataone site to check account usage. Now, I no longer need to boot into windows...just boot into the virtual machine and voila! I can use IE there :)

Qemu & kqemu simply rock! Thanks to the developers for such a wonderful tool.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

My First Linux Kernel Patch

Those of you who know me, will know that I had a great interest to work on the Linux kernel right from engineering days. I thank my stars...I got lucky and landed up with just the right job! I get to work on the Linux kernel and also get paid for it!! Isn't that cool??

The joy of getting your first patch accepted into any Open Source project is inexplicable, especially if its the kernel itself :) I posted my first patch on 7th September, 2006. I got positive reviews from Andrew Morton and the patch was soon merged into -mm tree, followed by Linus's tree !!

The post can be found here.

Details of the patch-

I wrote a kernel module called Linux Kernel Dump Test Module (LKDTM), which would be dynamically loaded into the kernel. This module would enable testing of the various Linux kernel dumping mechanisms like kdump, mkdump, Netdump, etc. the integrity of the dump captured by each of these mechanisms needs to be tested before concluding anything about the dumping solution. It induces crashes at predefined locations and triggers the dumping mechanisms and then test the dump for correctness.

There exists a Linux Kerenl Dump Test Tool (LKDTT), which was developed to do the same kind of testing. But its functionality has some backdrops. LKDTT is split into two components: user space tool and a kernel patch. One has to rebuild the kernel to make use of LKDTT. Also, since LKDTT kernel component is based on Generic Kernel Hooks Interface, which is not in mainline, LKDTT has not been merged into the kernel. On the other hand, LKDTM, leverages the available kprobes kernel instrumentation infrastructure, to induce crash points in the running kernel. One does not even need to rebuild the kernel!


Just came back from the last day of the conference. Of all the stuff that I have got inspired to do, one of them is to BLOG! For some reason I have stayed away from blogging. Never felt a need..thanks to a close group of friends that I have...moment something happened in my life, I have been lucky to find someone to share it with.

All things change! And so has my perspective on blogging. I have come to realize that there is so much more to blogging than just sharing ones experiences. It is such a phenomenal platform to express your views on what goes on around you...from politics to social issues to technology to markets. A nice way to form a community of like-minded people. Also, to share ones knowledge on a particular topic. Ok, let me not divulge into too much of this, as folks already know all of this :)

So here I am, starting off on this journey of maintaing one. I wish myself all the very best and hope I am regular at this!