Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another example of Microsft's Evil

I was trawling through Planet SUSE and came across this interesting post on Microsoft's plagiarising some small startup's microblogging service.

Microsoft is innovative...yeah right...

Bash script...

Well was playing around with Inkscape and decided to copy all SVG opencliparts to another dir:

find /opt/openclipart-0.19/ -name *.svg -exec cp {} /home/eyeoh/svg \

Ahh...the simple elegance of the bash script.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Scientists Create Artifical Meat

It seems a bunch of Dutch scientists have managed to create pork meat from a petri dish.

This means that meat can one day be potentially "vegetarian" as it is not obtained from slaughter.

To me the easiest problem to solve are the scientific ones; it's the theological ones that are the deal breakers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

openSUSE 11.2 Release Party.

The myopensuse Community will be holding an openSUSE 11.2 Release Party on December 5th 2009 at UCTI (formerly known as APIIT) at Technology Park Malaysia, Bukit Jalil.

Admission is free and all are welcomed. Lunch will be provided.

More info please refer here : http://en.opensuse.org/OpenSUSE_11.2_Launch_Party_Locations#Malaysia

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Installing additional Apache modules in SLES 11

Sometimes you need to install additional Apache HTTPD modules that are not in the main repos (maybe mad_proxy). Rather than rebuilding from source just add the following:

zypper ar http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/Apache:/Modules/SLE_11/Apache:Modules.repo Apache-Modules

In fact there are numerous extra repos you can add to your SLE or even openSUSE installs. Just navigate to http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/ and add the relevant repo.

Checking your openSUSE / SUSE Linux version

A simple :

$ cat /etc/SuSE-release
openSUSE 11.2 (i586)
VERSION = 11.2

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Windows AppLocker in R2

I was reading an article in SearchWindowsServer.com about the latest "breakthrough" in Windows security named AppLocker.

It sounds a lot like AppArmor. Not surprising since the founder of Immunix Linux, Crispin Cowan has joined Microsoft. AppArmor was first used in Immunix Linux, which was acquired by Novell in 2005. For some unknown reason, Novell axed the entire AppArmor team in September 2007.

AppArmor is an alternative to SELinux and is available in SUSE Linux, openSUSE, Mandriva and Ubuntu.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tomboy and openSUSE 11.2

Well, one of the things I absolutely can't live without is Tomboy. Since I upgraded to openSUSE 11.2, everything was restored except for my Tomboy notes.

Lo and behold1 There is no ~/.tomboy directory. It seems that since openSUSE 11.2 is bundled with Tomboy 1.0 they have decided to lose the ~/.tomboy directory and put notes in ~/.local/share/tomboy.

Extracted my previous tomboy notes and dump them in there, restarted Tomboy (or logoff then login again) and I have my notes back!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Health is wealth

Year 2009 has so far turned out to be my worse year as far as healthis concerned. I have never taken so many sick leaves in my entire career!

Flu is getting the best of me this year.

Maybe it's time to hit the gym again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

openSUSE 11.2 is out!!

The newest incarnation of the Geeko is upon us. openSUSE 11.2 is can be downloaded from http://software.opensuse.org/112/en

First 10 minute impressions, the latest KDE seems to have seriously kicked some GNOME butt. As a die-hard GNOME user I am impressed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A better to install Google Chromium browser on openSUSE

I noticed that I forgot to install Google Chromium on my netbook. Unforgiveable.

Off to http://software.opensuse.org/search 

Key in Chromium in the search box and hit Search.

You will see the 1-Click install button a little lower. Click on it, sit back and enjoy your ride.

Note if you have missed it, this is for openSUSE only.

And they say GNU/Linux is hard...sheesh

Credits to http://ariya.blogspot.com/2009/10/chromium-on-opensuse.html

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ubuntu to store copies of all users' address books

Everywhere I turn to nowadays it's always cloud this and that. To those clueless people, IT IS NOT NEW!

What is called cloud computing has been around for ages. If you have ever used an online FTP/File server to up/download stuff, used Gmail as your primary office and email suite, then you have been a cloud head all these time.

And now Canonical in all their effort to take a piece of the cloud action decides to sync all address books and Tomboy notes to the one.ubuntu.com. An excerpt from Elliot Murphy's mailing post :

This release was uploaded to Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) a few hours ago, narrowly beating the final release freeze, so it will have a LOT of new users. We're putting the final touches on the server side of https://one.ubuntu.com and by the time Ubuntu 9.10 is released on October 29th every single Ubuntu user will have an address book stored in CouchDB that replicates with one.ubuntu.com, and Tomboy notes that are replicated via a web API at the application but then stored in CouchDB and carried along in the CouchDB replication that we have set up. Optionally they can also store all their Firefox bookmarks in CouchDB and have those replicated as well. We'll be doing our best to help teach application developers to use CouchDB in order to "cloud-enable" their apps. A couch on every desktop!

You can read the full post here.

What are they smoking? Ubuntu so far has done much good to the FOSS world. Is this a sign they want to be evil? I certainly hope not.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Malaysian Government FOSS Conference - MyGOSSCON 2009

OSCC MAMPU will organise MyGOSSCON 2009 from November 5th to 6th at PICC (Putrajaya International Convention Centre).

This this the Government of Malaysia's premier FOSS event that bring together government organisations, OSS community and the industry to share on how OSS is being used to transform the public service delivery and create unprecedented value proposition for the business organisation.

The conference theme for this year, “Leveraging OSS To Ride The Economic Wave” focus on information technology implementation in the current global economic scenario where governments and business organisations are continuously seeking innovative, practical and viable solutions. It is especially in times such as these where the value proposition and case for OSS can be demonstrated.

The call for papers is now open.

For further information please go to the conference portal http://mygosscon.oscc.org.my/2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Of being sick and the timing

Great, just woke up about an hour and a half ago. Now what? Responded to some mailing list post, in retrospect may not have been the best decision for someone who is still hazy.

The medication for my fever indeed worked so well that I found myself sleeping most of the time the last couple of days; if only it was continuous sleep and not waking up every few hours or so and feeling gloomy. Seriously, why can't the doctor just gave me something that will knock me out for say 6 hours at a stretch or something?

My fever came about at the worst possible time of the month, I missed two workshops back-to-back. Why can't I get sick over a long weekend or something?

Ok now I am mostly cured of my fever and am wide awake at 230am in the morning. Simply marvelous. Got a text message from the boss reminding me of an important meeting at 9am (any meeting that is ever unimportant?).

Maybe popping another em pills will do the trick? Great, chemically induced slumber. Ah well, time to get some water and perchance to sleep.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some Stuff for Nasir

An excellent guide here for enabling your Broadcom wifi:


Just gotta watch out on the kernel version. If you are unsure check it out by typing :

uname -a

For us HP Mini 2140 users, it is usually the pae kernel.

For multimedia stuff :

you can easily turn it into a rocking multimedia machine....Just navigate to :


And then choose you desktop environment click on the the codecs-gnome.ymp or codecs-kde.ymp files.

By default GNOME is the selected at installation time for openSUSE 11.1.

Select open with and just follow the prompts.

One-click install is an extremely cool feature for the openSUSE platform. There are many one-click installs available for instance:

Broadcom Wireless

NVIDIA Drivers

ATI Drivers

There are lots more one-click installs on the Net. Google is your friend.


Friday, July 24, 2009

SLED 11 on my HP 2140 - Part Deux

I finally removed SLED 11 from my HP 2140 Mininote. What happened was a case of itchy fingers. I added openSUSE OSS and Non-OSS repos and accidentally did a "zypper up" without looking.

Urggh, it updated alright just that after a shutdown it refused to boot cited some issues with the / (root) partition. Ah well, it worked well while it lasted.

No noticeable performance issue when I was doing SLED 11. It was getting kinda boring coz it just worked! But I was pleasantly surprised that it was bundled with OpenOffice.org 3.1; IIRC, OO.o 3.1 was not even released when SLED 11 was launched back in March.

Yeah I know it's quite sad to be so darn excited over a boring old office suite....

On the other hand, the same firewall issues from its openSUSE upstream is still present in SLED 11. It seems that when the firewall is up you can't connect to a SMB share or a CUPS server (though port 631 is explicitly opened for incoming, just like in Fedora).

I just pulled down the firewall and downloaded and installed Shorewall. Ahh..at last some sanity.

The multimedia support in SLED 11 is quite spotty at times. Well, the playback was superb with no issues of lagging or video artifacts but the available codecs available are just very limited.

While Moonshine was installed to allow playback of WMA and WMV files, I found that more esoteric file formats such as MKVs and RMVBs simply wont play nice with Totem or Xine. Heck even some xvid (or divx AVIs) files won't play. I have tons of AVIs and RMVBs, that won't do.

So I added Packman's repo:

#zypper ar http://ftp.skynet.be//pub/packman/suse/11.1 Packman
Added the "restricted bits" like gstreamer-0_10-plugins-ugly and gstreamer-0_10-plugins-bad and libxine1-codecs.

And back to multimedia goodness.

But then a thought sank in; since each openSUSE version only has support for 24 months and SLED 11 could potentially be used for far longer than that, what will happen when Packman decides to dump the 11.1 repo?

I mean if I never format the netbook then perhaps I could live with it. But never is a big word and the techie in me will never hear of it, never formatting my Linux installation means I hardly do stuff to it. I cannot say for others but sometimes my frack ups are so huge it requires nothing less than a rebuild.

At least with a RHEL Desktop there is the RPMFusion repo. Hmm..unsure about going all Shadowman for my netbook since Fedora 11 absolutely hates the on-board Marvell LAN and decides to ignore my Broadcom wifi. At least with only one connection I can do a yum for wl-broadcom.

Ah well, back to the green embrace of the Geeko.

Well, bye bye SLED 11, it was a joy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

If only it was a joke.....

Today's lunch was an elightening affair. A good friend of mine shared with me an interesting story relating to his beloved's job interview for a science officer in an un-named Government agency.

Well, this lady have years of experience in her line and was not all bothered by a pre-interview test. So off she went to book up on the impending test. Seems all are normal.

Until she saw the questions. Instead of questions to test her technical competency or some of those mind-twisting IQ questions supposingly to see how smart or sane you are, she was presented with retarded questions like, "What was the motto of the PM's first 100 days", "Which country did the PM went to last?".

WTF? Seems like it's more of a loyalty test than anything else.

I really hope it is a joke. I really do. But then again the ruling regime no longer surprises me with its foot in mouth policy.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

SLED 11 on my HP 2140 - making it work!

I decided to install SLED 11 (once again) onto my HP 2140 last night. I was watching an interesting documentary on WW1 and was replying to some tweets. Suddenly the machine froze and just wouldn't work and the screen started to flicker (totally like a blinking idiot!).

A hard reboot and a couple of more times of doing various things and the same freeze and flickering....urgghh.

I knew I shouldn't have mucked around with openSUSE Build Service repos...aiya. I searched the whole apartment and couldn't find a working openSUSE 11.1 DVD (the Live CD won't do due to some weird X issues).

Found the SLED 11 DVD, should I? No Fedora 11 DVD as well; ah what the heck, took the plunge, registered with my previous key and updated the netbook via Ethernet cable to the WiMAX router.

Some one hour later, added the Packman repo for openSUSE 11.1 and walla, got the broadcom-wl and codec packages. Sweet....

Although the packages are a little "dated" in comparison to openSUSE 11.1 and Fedora 11; SLED 11 seems to work better than when I was running openSUSE 11.1. SLED 11 picked up all my hardware and does hibernation as well. The video playback is smoother and has lesser artifacts when I move my cursor over the playback screen. Though the boot-up seems slower in comparison. Impressive nevertheless.

Should I take the plunge and fork out some serious dough for a Linux distro? Hmm...let me just run it for a couple of weeks and then I'll decide.

My HP Mini 2140

I am still gaga over this cutesy little performer. As a true to God 933k, I knew we were meant to be together when I saw it during MSC OSCONF and it came without Windows! Sweet! While many of my fellow brethren were busy checking out the attractive ladies selling the netbook, I was more intrigued by the gadget then with the cleavage.

Also later when I found out my wife was expecting our first kid, it was a good, me thinks, to let her use the netbook for computing (and catching up on her serials) rather than that beast HP gave her for a notebook during her confinement period/maternity leave.

It arrived a little more than 2 months later with SLED 10 pre-installed. SLED 10 is a fine OS but it's dated and it doesn't work with the latest Wireless HSDPA dongles.

The 2140 runs excellent with openSUSE 11.1, but sadly it came with pre-built with a Broadcom 43xx wireless card. No deal with cajoling it working out of the box, heck even SLED 11 couldn't deal with it. This was unfortunate as I really wanted to support Novell with buying SLED 11, seems like it was a no go. Put in a search and all I got was some feedback on how to do it via compiling the driver tarball....no challenge for me but hey, it's the 21st Century now man, and since compiling drivers into the kernel requires a recompile after each kernel upgrade, that is a hassle I do not need. Where's the freaking RPM man?

openSUSE has better community support and a short detour later to http://www.susegeek.com/networking/fix-bcm4311431243214322-wireless-in-opensuse-111-and-earlier got my Broadcom issue resolved effortlessly.

The keyboard for the HP 2140 was what got my attention in the first place. I mean a netbook is a netbook is a netbook. I don't expect to run jaw-dropping 3D stuff on it. But at least I can type comfortably and in that aspect, the HP 2140 does not disappoint. The literature says 2140's keyboard is 92% of a full keyboard, I did not measure or anything but the keyboard does have a nice feeling to it (and it's silent) and big enough for me to do my stuff comfortably.

The LCD is 10.1" wide-screen type and is somewhat is "shorter" that other 10-inch screen netbooks like the Asus 1000h. openSUSE 11.1 and SLED 11 had no problem configuring it "automagically" and compiz works! Graphics is powered by Intel 945GME.

The openSUSE 11.1 Live CD didn't work however (it could not load X) and that was an extra hassle when I needed to connect my netbook to an external DVD drive to get the DVD version installed.

It's not a openSUSE only issue as I tried making a Fedora 11 Live USB and it didn't load as well. Odd. Must be the xorg drivers.

The on-board webcam worked liked a charm and the capture was pretty clear and crisp. Cheese worked like it should.

The on-board speakers performed well enough for me to view some AVIs and listen to my MP3s without resorting to my earphones. Not Dolby 3D or anything fancy but hey, those who expect to get real 3D effects on a netbook are unrealistic to begin with.

In all, it is an excellent device, light enough (1.1kg) to tote around and powerful enough to do most stuff. And mine has 2GB RAM and 160GB HDD. Sweet!

The extra RAM me thinks is part of the promotion at OSCONF.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bon Odori

To my many Japanese culture fan-boys/girls friends, today's bon odori celebrations at the Matsushita Stadium in Shah Alam is a must attend bash. While I am not a huge fan of Japanese culture, I can certainly understand their enthusiasm for an ancient and colourful culture as well as the modern flashy J-POP culture of music, animes and manga.

Many of my Ah Beng mates are also crazy over anything Japanese. The Japanese and Chinese culture are very similar, heck even the katana and kimono had their roots in Spring & Autumn period of Chinese history (8th BC to 5thBC); and much of the "modern" Japanese culture is essentially a different branch of same ancient one. Many even in mainland China admire Japan of what China could have been, notwithstanding the bloody history between the two nations during WW2.

Now back home in Malaysia, I am delighted that many of my Muslim friends are flocking to bon odori. It shows maturity and sophistication to accept and join in the celebration of another people's culture.

Sadly while there is such a ready acceptance of a foreign culture, I often wonder if they would be so accommodating if I were to invite them for a Chinese do, say the Mid Autumn Festival (also erroneous referred to as the Moooncake Festival).

Always the first question, will the food be Halal? WTF? Do I look so bloody ignorant as to serve non-Halal food and drinks to my Muslim friends? Mooncakes sold nowadays are already Halal. In practically all of the previous places I have worked at, some of my Muslim brothers get so upset if I ever were to eat non-Halal (even if it's just chicken rice with zero pork) in the office, citing a lack of respect; but the same people will NEVER think twice gulping down a Big Mac in front of Hindus and beef-abstaining Buddhists.

As a mark of respect, I will usually excuse myself from the presence of my Muslim brothers if I was to eat or drink during Ramadhan.

The 1-Malaysia concept looks good on paper. If some of my Muslim brothers cannot even stand their non-Muslim brethren eating non-Halal food in thier presence, then all will be just a pipe dream.

To those who considers what goes in a man is more imprtant that what comes out, I ask this, when was the last time any of your Hindu co-workers complained you ate beef in their presence?

End of rant.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Running Google Chrome on openSUSE 11.1

Download and install the RPM here:


or for 64-bit


Then as root do the following :

ln -s /usr/lib/libnss3.so /usr/lib/libnss3.so.1d
ln -s /usr/lib/libnssutil3.so /usr/lib/libnssutil3.so.1d
ln -s /usr/lib/libsmime3.so /usr/lib/libsmime3.so.1d
ln -s /usr/lib/libssl3.so /usr/lib/libssl3.so.1d
ln -s /usr/lib/libplds4.so /usr/lib/libplds4.so.0d
ln -s /usr/lib/libplc4.so /usr/lib/libplc4.so.0d
ln -s /usr/lib/libnspr4.so /usr/lib/libnspr4.so.0d

And you will have Google Chrome running. It doesn't show up on my menu, but you can launch google-chrome from CLI. Note that this an experimental software, so it may be unstable.

Culled from Nubae Hubari's blog.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Killing the sound server

I was finishing watching another excellent episode of Category 5 TV when I did a normal Alt-F4 to kill Totem. That's when the sound system decided to continue running ala Max Headroom.

As root:

/etc/init.d/alsasound unload

and a later

/etc/init.d/alsasound reload

did the trick.

I use OpenSUSE and am unsure whether it will work on other distros.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

D-Day in a few hours

It's 0235 now. I am sitting at the sofa trying my best to finish up my slides for tomorrow's SELinux in a Nutshell talk. Maybe I shouldn't agreed to do it in the first place. Ah well....so a moment of temporary insanity will cost me another sleepless night; nothing new there.

The MSC Open Source Conference will begin in a few hours. I will be manning the OpenSUSE install desk on the first day and will generally be doing everything OpenSUSE for the rest of the conference. Exiciting indeed. And man what a rush! So much effort has been made by MDEC for us community people. We are not exactly the easiest people to get along with; or perhaps we tick and dance to a different rhythm than what they are used to. The fact that MDEC, a "Windows-soaked" organisation is willing to engage us is nothing short of a worthy standing ovation.

Open source has always been unfairly made out to be a fringe movement, populated by narcissists and anti-social types. Somehow, there are many who feel that if you are not using Windows there must be something seriously wrong with you. A rebel without a cause.

Well, come tomorrow we are gonna knock their socks off with the sheer power of what the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) world has to offer. For perhaps the very first time, a Malaysian FOSS event was given a slot in a televised breakfast show and a radio interview. That's mainstream exposure. With MDEC spearheading the task of organising the conference, it adds "legitimacy" to FOSS. Suddenly if MDEC is looking at FOSS, then to the rest of the Windows dependent people, there must be something FOSS than meets the eye. They will begin to see it in a more deserving positive light. 

And now back to my slides. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Maybank2u.com a phishing site?

This is really rich. I got this warning message from Opera when I tried accessing Maybank2u.com.

So Malayisa's largest bank's web portal is registered as a potential phising site.

Hmm..Malaysia Boleh!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Resolving Display Driver issues with Ubuntu Jaunty with Envy

Alberto Milone's wonderful tool, Envy, makes installation of ATI and NVIDIA display drivers a breeze. I had a shock when I installed Ubuntu Jaunty Jakalope (9.04) and there was no prompt for me to install the NVIDIA drivers for my PC's 7800 card.

Got me wondering for a while, remembering kaeru's and GunbladeIV's issue with ATI cards; could Jaunty be broken for non-Intel videos? I mean, it installed well on my lappy's Intel 915.

An hour and numerous searches later yielded nothing. Then Envy popped up in one of the forum replies.

sudo apt-get -y install envy && sudo envy -t got my drivers installed correctly.

Remember to install the recommended driver.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

According to RH we are on par with India

Red Hat published a world map of the Open Source Activity. From the map we see that OSS adoption in Malaysia is on par with India and surpasses Russia. Pretty good for a country of 28 million.

The map is here

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oracle's buying of Sun

Well, the long odyssey of Jonathan Schwartz's cap-in-hand with a "please buy me" sign is over. Now Larry Ellison will own Sun. Yeah there will be paperworks (lest the lawyers and bureacrats be out of jobs) and it will only be finalised by summer, but it's more or less a done deal at US$7.6 billion.

Sun and IBM would have been a better fit. IBM does Java better than Sun and has been one of the first companies to invest more than US$100 million into open source. IBM has a good relationship working with open source (except for IBM Malaysia; mention open source they'll run helter skelter) and doing great works on ODF.

Now Ellison is known to be hard to play nice with. It's always his way or the highway or he'll just bully or brow-beat you into submission. So I do not see it will auger well for open source world.

He does not care for freedom (other than his own); only for dollars and cents. Since he can't own Linux he'll just make a copy of RHEL and slap an Oracle label (Oracle Unbreakable Linux) on it.

First thing that crossed my mind, what will happen to MySQL? It's free in both sense of freedom and cost and it works well enough for most but the most demanding users, and even then there is MySQL Enterprise.

So it be a "rechristened" a lower-end Oracle database or will it be left to wither? I do hope not. Perhaps it will be good time now to take a peek what MariaDB and PostgreSQL have to offer.

OpenOffice.org - no direct competition to any of Oracle's stuff but will Oracle continue with OpenOffice.org's community commitments? Will Oracle still be willing to pump in money for its developers to freely offer OpenOffice.org? OpenOffice.org is practically the standard bearer for the Free/Open Source desktop, while nobody can kill it with the code available and all, but the fact is, with Sun behind OpenOffice.org it gave the latter credibility, meaning many non techies were at least willing to give it shot. If it is purely a community effort it may not be that easy to convince 'em muggles otherwise. People are still more trusting of brick and mortar companies.

Java - easily the most versatile language around. Runs everything from portals to games on my cellphone. Evidently Oracle runs many of their stuff with Java. So that's a great buy for them. While it is not hard to make it freely available, but will they will work with the JCP (Java Community Process)?

What the root of my concern is that, will Oracle close source stuff? Will it make existing projects harder to grow? While that maybe premature but seeing what Larry Ellison does to his competitors and the general playground bully persona he has, I think that is justifiable.

Just another long rant.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Queens of Langkasuka - great movie!

Well I am still high two hours after the movie ended. One word....cool. The trailer here

First of all I am a history buff and am a sucker for movies that depicts historical events. During my schooling days, I studied about the early Malay kingdoms, Srivijaya, Majapahit, Kedah Tua (Ancient/Old Kedah) and Langkasuka. Nothing much was discussed about these kingdoms other that they were Malay and they were either Hindus or Buddhists.

To me then, it was just another bunch of place names and dates with names of dead guys to memorise for the exam. Nothing spectacular.

How wrong I was. After moving from home to KL, one of the first things I sought out were libraries. A history buff who also happens to be a book worm; betcha didn't see that coming!

It was one of the things I could afford during my college student days. That was during the days you can seriously use a hand phone crack someone's skull. The Internet was then well...still far away from these neck of the woods. And after reading through the many books, I began to see the splendour and the importance of the seemingly useless names I studied. I began to fully understand and connect the dots. Finally Hikayat Raja Pasai, Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa made sense.

And yeah I do read classical Malay!

What was sad was, I learned about my country's history through the writings of foreigners. The local authors, often presented the "official" version of history; not by choice mostly.

Well, seems like nothing has changed. I watched Puteri Gunung Ledang and it was basically a chick flick with righteous warriors and a Sultan who believed in the "right" God and such. Never mind the Malaccan Sultan in that time line was rumoured to be Hindu. Nevertheless it was a good production. Too proper I would say. But I am sure the local authorities loved it that way.

Queens of Langkasuka is a Thai production, stated to have a US$20 million budget. Since Langkasuka was a Malay kingdom, one thing that struck me was how the Thais, a Buddhist people and have been unfairly accused to be genocidal towards its southern Malay populace, were so detailed in the costumes (very similar to the dresses of the northern Malay states even to this day), the court protocols and even the fighting sequences have a hint of of Pattani Silat. The characters even have Malay names, Bintang, Pari, Ungu, Biru etc.

Again, foreigners outdid us in making a movie of our heritage. It is embarrassing to say the least but boy, the Thais really really know how to spin a tale.

Queens of Langkasuka is a fantasy historical epic. Sorcery, court intrigues and a love story...cool. So don't take it too seriously, everyone looked so pretty and nice, no matter how much cannon fire they take, everyone looked so good with scarsely a hair out of place!

Sadly some time back, in their infinite wisdom, the Government wanted to ban all fantasy and ghost stories from all TV programmes, rationalising that Malaysians should not be held back by such superstitions.

There were as are now, the self-professed and self-appointed religious defenders hold that the Malays have always been Muslims and nothing else (Don't know what they have been smoking but many daily used Malay words are Sanskrit in origin). To question that line of reasoning will somehow destabilise the country and they will lock you up in ISA and throw away the key!

Sounded like crap from Stalinist Russia.

Fact is, all cultures of this world have their own stories and legends; it's the stuff that gives each culture its unique identity its unique flavour and colours.

Even the Iranian never disowned their Zoroastrian Persian Emperors, the Arabs have their fables with the Jinn and even the Germanic people have stories like Nibelungenlied that formed the basis of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf. But somehow the local firebrands are so ashamed of their glorious ancestors.

To deny your own legends and fables is to deny your culture and people!

Watch Queens of Langkasuka. See the splendour (as interpreted by the producers) of the Malay civilisation, cool fighting scenes and hey they even have a very Hindi movie-like plot, the poor guy-rich girl angle, minus the dancing and running around meadows.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I passed Novell's CLP

I am now a proud bearer of the Novell Certified Linux Professional title. A three-hour hands on exam that will seriously test your Linux skills. Though the exam is based on SUSE Linux Enterprise, the commands, approaches are applicable to any distro.

I prefer this approach rather that the dour (but excellent) LPIC papers; maybe it's just me but writting down Linux commands on a piece of paper feels kinda weird as compared to actually working on a terminal. LPIC somehow feels like a test on memory skills and technical English.

Finally, I can sleep soundly tonight. But first, a celebratory dinner.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dumb cops and Linux

Well, I was reading through Planet Ubuntu and a post by Matt Zimmerman of Canonical caught my eye. Read it here.

This brings back good old memories of Sheriff Lobo and Deputy Perkins.

I do not envy the taxpayers of Boston!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Formatting a Thumb/Flash Drive in Linux CLI

The ubiquitous flash/thumb drives, once a luxury among the geeks and techies is now staple among any self respecting computer user. Most Linux users are adept to use something like gparted or the Yast partitioner (in SLE/OpenSUSE) to format and/or rename the drive, but how to do it in CLI?

Insert the drive in the computer. It should automatically mount. To check which location and device assignment, from CLI use the mount command and it should display something like below:

/dev/sda3 on / type ext3 (rw,acl,user_xattr)
/proc on /proc type proc (rw)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw)
debugfs on /sys/kernel/debug type debugfs (rw)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,mode=0620,gid=5)
/dev/sda1 on /windows/c type fuseblk (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev,allow_other,default_permissions,blksize=4096)
securityfs on /sys/kernel/security type securityfs (rw)
fusectl on /sys/fs/fuse/connections type fusectl (rw)
none on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw)
gvfs-fuse-daemon on /home/eyeoh/.gvfs type fuse.gvfs-fuse-daemon (rw,nosuid,nodev,user=eyeoh)
/dev/sdb1 on /media/disk type vfat (rw,nosuid,nodev,shortname=lower,flush,utf8,uid=1000)

So the thumb drive is mounted to /media/disk and the drive assignment is /dev/sdb1. The VFAT filetype is usually a dead give away as practically all thumb drives are formatted with VFAT (or FAT32).

Switch to root and unmount the drive:

#umount /media/disk

To format the drive to FAT32:

#mkfs.vfat /dev/sdb1

Rename the Flash/Thumb drive, ensure that mtools are installed:

#rpm -qa | grep mtools (in Fedora/OpenSUSE/RHEL/Centos/Mandriva)

#dpkg -l | grep mtools (in Debian/Ubuntu/Mepis)

Renaming the drive:

#mlabel -i /dev/sdb1 ::Thumbdrv

Where Thumbdrv is the name.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Burning ISOs in CLI using OpenSUSE 11.1

Graphical tools are nice, just point and click. Makes life easier for most. But what if the damn button just won't play ball? Windows users will be sweating copious amount right about now.

Well, GNU/Linux users, take heart; there is always more than one way to do stuff.

In this case, what if Brasero or K3B both tell you there is not writable media in the writer in the drive and you know that ain't true? CLI to the rescue!!!

Check for the device your writer is connected to:

#wodim -scanbus

1,0,0 100) 'HL-DT-ST' 'DVD+-RW GSA-H31L' 'W616' Removable CD-ROM
1,1,0 101) *
1,2,0 102) *
1,3,0 103) *
1,4,0 104) *
1,5,0 105) *
1,6,0 106) *
1,7,0 107) *

Burn the ISO image to DVD-R at 4 speed:

#cdrecord -v -pad speed=4 dev=1,0,0 CentOS-5.3-i386-bin-DVD.iso

If you didn't catch on already you need to have root privileges to do it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

WTF has Exchange mail routing gotta do with us?

Note : The following is an inside joke with copious amount of disrespect. However, memebers of MY's OSS Community might understand its insinuations and innuendo.

Well, a member of mucky-muck capable agency kept on biatching about its email system not being able to send to someone.

Note to reduced intelligence person, we do Free/Open Source software and thus MS Exchange does not fall under our care.

After all, taxpayers like me have been funding your mail admins for trainings and such. Perhaps it is high time to live up to expectations.

Being someone who made his living managing (baby-sitting is more like it!)MS Exchange, this Ah Beng already know what's wrong but your admins are as thick as 3-inch concrete. I told them once before.

Guess they are just over zealous in locking down the mail server.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

OO.o 3x has over 50 million downloads

As of February 2009, there are more than 50 million downloads of the OpenOffice.org 3.x suite. This number does not include OpenOffice.org that are bundled with Linux distros nor does it include downloads from non-official mirrors.

Truly astonishing stuff. Have a look at http://marketing.openoffice.org/marketing_bouncer.html

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

OpenOffice.org 3.0.1 SVG clipart import bug

The much vaunted SVG import feature of OO.o 3.0.1 seem to be broken, for Linux systems at least as I don't do Windows.

I frequently use cliparts in my documentations and slides, (downloaded from Openclipart.org). I usually download the full tarball weighing in at about 111MB.

After extracting it, I do my clipart import as usual from the Gallery (create a new theme -> Find all files -> Add all) and lo and behold OO.o took >98% of my CPU resources! After over numerous retries, I finally narrowed it down to issues importing svg cliparts.

So I I just delete all 'em svg's:

# find /opt/openclipart-0.18-full/ -name *.svg -exec rm -rf {} \;

And managed to import all my other cliparts fine i.e. png's, wmf's etc.

The stock OO.o 3.0.1 from Sun's site may seem fine at first glance by importing all of the downloaded cliparts including the svgs's; however, closer inspection will reveal that it simply ignores the svg's.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Red Hat and Microsoft to partner on virtualisation

An interesting post by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports on the partnership between Red Hat and Microsoft. Yup, after much scorn has been poured on Novell's decision to be on friendly terms with "the Great Satan", it will be interesting to see over the next few days what the community has to say on this.

Granted there was not agreements on patents, but to the more zealous members of the Free/Open Source world, any good feelings towards Microsoft is deemed a capital crime.

On a saner note, this agreement aptly demonstrates that Linux is no longer merely a hobbyist's plaything and it's mainstream now.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fedora 10 SELinux User Guide in PDF

Finally, the SELinux guide in a single easily printable format. From the blurb in the intro it seems it was written for those without prior SELinux know-how. Yay!

You can get it from here

Thanks to a post by Murray McAllister via Planet Fedora.Link

Death of Democracy in Perak

What would you call an MP who decided to defect to the other side mainly because of a car? Sounds too crazy to be true right? A former office clerk who made it good and became a MP and the Assistant Speaker of the State Assembly because of the faith of the rakyat placed on her. And so that seems pales in comparison with a Camry. This only shows the shallowness of the person. Note - I do not mean to sound demeaning to the many hardworking folks out there, it is just that a promotion from one who is a mere cubicle dweller (like me) to the powers that be is a huge step however you see it.

Also we have the official son-in-law who calls for the stripping of Datuk Nizar's citizenship. Well he can call for anything (teh-tariks, roti-telur tambah bawang etc.) but at least Datuk Nizar did not get to become the Chief Minister via the bedroom.

Also, the said bedroom to boardroom individual incited his less-than-intelligent "pak-turuts" (yes-men or women or anything in between) to use violence (because in the good old days of yore, they can just lob off your head if you go against the Ruler) against the duly elected representative of the State Assembly should they attempt to ignore the orders of the said official son-in-law that the duly elected State representatives attempt to report in.

By the way, what is all this about Hidup Melayu? Aren't my Malay brethrens flourishing? Or are they insinuating that us non-Malays are prosecuting the Malays? Since when it is only a Malay issue? Democracy is everyone's issue. Does Perak belongs only to these self proclaimed defenders of the Malay rights? Since when does this has anything to do with race? Sheesh. Talk more, do help yourselves to dig a deeper grave. This Ah Beng will tell with his vote. Nationalists/racists sentiments are so last century. It is however pleasing to see, from a scientific perspective, living fossils in action.

It seems now that the official son-in-law has also roped in the state police to do his bidding. While true the police are just enforcing the edict of the Sultan, the fact that the official son-in-law has timed his rally or pow-wows to make it look as if they are "ordering" the police chief around.


However, although I do not agree with Tuanku's decision, as a Perakian I will not derhaka to my Sultan, no matter what His decision is. Datuk Nizar perhaps had miscalculated this when he said "Patik mohon derhaka".

One of the things perhaps the Pakatan Rakyat people must learn is this, get some PR gurus for the love of God! Or at least stay quiet and act like adults and stop playground arguments. Doing what seems to be the right thing may not be the best. This "derhaka" fiasco is one.

You guys are just giving the ruling regime ammunation. Sheesh.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thoughts of late

Of late I have been troubled by the political turmoil in my home state of Perak. Sadder still is the obvious underhanded tactics of the ruling regime deployed to gain a slight majority in order to launch a coup of the State Assembly.

Whatever little respect I might have for BN is now gone. Poof! I may not be a bigshot. Just a Joe in the street. But I am a Joe who can vote. And with my limited clairvoyant skills, I predict that currency induced defections will not stop in Perak.

Linux and Free Software
RHEL 5.3 promises to bring a lot of goodies. Centos 5.3 is still in active development, but for those who cannot wait to see what are new, download Startcom Linux. Startcom Linux is a rebuild of the Source RPMs of RHEL with enabled multimedia features. I tried Startcom sometime back and it was rock solid. Unfortunately as it is based on RHEL (and Fedora Core 6), there were issues with my wifi dongle (a Zydas 1211 chipset) and while it perfomed admirably it was just no good for me.

Ardour, the venerable Free/Open Source audio workstation suite is closing its doors. Its project lead Paul Davis is now looking for a job after Ardour's longtime sponsor SAE decided to suspend its support indefinitely. Although I am not into AV stuff, I have read enough about it to know that it is a damn shame to lose such a valuable asset of the Free/Open Source universe.

Also the Free Software Magazine has just published its last issue.

And of course Microsoft is up to its tricks again in scaring another dumb company into paying into its protection racket.

And also, apparently Microsoft is afraid of Ubuntu Linux.

Zionism and such
The Gazan invasion by Israel was tragedy. Thousands of people lost their homes and many hundreds lost their lives. Who among us hasn't been touched by the Palestinians' plight? Sadly thugs who professed solidarity with the noble Palestinians chanted anti-Jewish slogans and performed many disgraceful acts against the Jewish people.

However, Zionism and the Jewish people are different. Zionism is a nationalistic political ideology that hides behind the facade of Judaism. It is like calling all Chinese communists or all Germans Nazis. How lame is that?

Also not all Palestinians are Muslims. No less than 10% are of the Christian faith. But lo, from the press one gets the feeling that it is a purely Jews vs Muslims conflict.

An interesting article (in Malay) is written by Hishamuddin Rais here detailing the differences between the ideology Zionism and the Jewish people. Now for those who read Malay, I will advice an open minded attitude if you should want to read it.

When I was in college, most of my teachers were from the Middle East. One of them, is from Palestine. I have heard much about the bad blood between the Jews and Palestinians from the local media and was intrigued enough to ask about that. I was as thick and politically insensitive as that!

What he told me was this; he has nothing against the Jews, fact was he has a few Jewish friends. What he and his brethren hate are the Zionists. Note the differences. Nobody likes an army that, whether it's a foreign one or one of our own; when they throw their weight around with fully loaded guns.

I am not pro-Jewish or anything. Heck I don't even know anyone's Jewish. We now live in the 21st century, but yet the ugly spectre of racism still haunts us. We have thousands of years of arts, philosophy and even the belief in a divine deity that love all humans, but yet there are many among us who would judge others based on their skin colour, religious beliefs or just look different.

Perhaps even with all the progress we humans have achieved and all the clever inventions we prided ourselves with, we are no different than the first ignorant peasant who decided to hate the guy in front of him just because he looked different.

Monday, January 26, 2009

MS struggling with free

Read an interesting article by Matt Asay on why MS will try anything to destroy and distort Linux, including using its lackeys IDC to "educate" users on the "true" cost of using Linux.

Cost is of course an interesting aspect of going Linux but it is not the only concern.

Well let the propaganda wars begin.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Downup, Conficker, Kido or whatever

Hmm, all the major news portals have had their piece on the current "viral epidemic" that is sweeping all the computers of the world.

Ehh...I don't run Windows so how does this news affect me? Heck, sad to say I only knew of its name like 15 minutes or so ago.

Since running Linux full-time, I never had to actually bothered to check the latest and the greatest from the wonderful world of Windows worms and viruses. Such bliss!

Sometimes I wonder whether the "security" industry is solely based on the premise of how bad Windows is. I mean if Windows one day releases a super patch that fixes all its vulnerabilities (ok, stop giggling and let's play pretend ok?), I wonder do companies like Trend Micro or Symantec will be relevant.

Symantec tried to be relevant in buying Veritas, well, all they did is to make Veritas even crappier than before. And God help the user who bought into Symantec's marketing campaign. I don't need AVs anymore, but Symantec's NAV has got to be the worst in the market. I would draw a parallel to Maxis' 3G service.

Of course back in the good old days of being a penniless and starving freelancer, Windows was my favourite platform. I mean, I used to pray that all my customers' computers will somehow be so badly infected or messed up that they will call me. Alas, there is a God because he blessed me with Microsoft Windows.

Now back to my blissful existence.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

RHEL 5.3 is released.

Three weeks or so from now the Centos project will follow suit. The full list of improvements are here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Boycott of US goods?

Of late there are many calls to boycott US made goods. While I can understand the anger towards the on-going atrocities in Palestine, fact is practically everything we use or eat everyday has something that comes from the US of A.

An ex premier started the call for boycott, starting with all things, the venerable Coke. While I have for all intents and purposes have stopped drinking sugar water, perhaps he should start by do a live demo of ripping out his US-made pacemaker! C'mon man talk is cheap. Be a man and not a KJ!

Hmm, perhaps we should stop buying and start ripping out MS Windows or MS Office (good idea!), burn all our US artistes' CDs and DVDs (after all most are bought from the neighbourhood Ah Beng anyhow, right?), tell our bosses to stop buying Dells, HPs or IBM because if they do,they are supporting a terrorist state!

Since we are at it, fellow freedom loving OSS people, remove all Fedora/RHEL, Novell SLE/OpenSUSE installations, and perhaps get yourself some Ubuntu love!

Smash all your Thinkpads, Inspirons, HP notebooks. Buy Acers or the many Cap Kapaks or Chinese knock-offs instead. Stop supporting a terrorist regime by buying an American brand!

Excuse me now for a moment now, I need to get the fire axe and my IBM server farm real acquianted now. Hey I am not mad just doing my part answering the call to not use US stuff.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Security add-ons for Firefox

Firefox is currently the fastest growing web browser in the world and at last count commands over 20% of the browser market share. Firefox is popular not only because it costs us nothing to download/use/distribute but it also seem to have an inexhaustible array of add-ons/extensions to enhance its looks and funtionality.

What many may not know is that, Firefox can also be used as a pen-test/auditing tool. The Hackbar add-on contains several tools to test XSS, SQL Injection etc, pretty nifty toolset especially for programmers who want to audit their apps before going live.

A smaller set of utilities for just auditing SQL Injection is also available.

There is also Firekeeper an IDS for Firefox that works with definable rules that are Snort-like.

There is an interesting paper entitled Turning Firefox Into an Ethical Hacking Platform that showcases FireCAT (Firefox Collection of Auditing Extensions), a collection of add-ons/extensions that will turn Firefox into a security toolset. FireCAT 1.4 is the latest release and can be downloaded here

The entire tarball is about 9.4 MB.

For GPG users like me, I rely on FireGPG to allow me to sign/encrypt when I use my Gmail account.

Note that while most Firefox extensions are generally workable across computing platforms (Win/NIX), I have tried them on my GNU/Linux machine running Firefox 3.x only.

Happy Hacking!!!