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. - no direct competition to any of Oracle's stuff but will Oracle continue with's community commitments? Will Oracle still be willing to pump in money for its developers to freely offer 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 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 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 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.