Friday, December 12, 2008


HI all.. This is to inform you that I no longer blog here. Check out my new blogs at and

Saturday, August 9, 2008


C programming has the same beauty whether it is in Windows or Linux. But Linux provides much more possibilities for developers. The main reason being that Linux is entirely coded in C.

C programming can be done on the UNIX interface as well as on any Integrated Desktop Environments (IDE). Anjuta is a common IDE which can be used for the same. But I would recommend using the non - graphical environment just for the sheer fun of it. Here I am explaining the steps for C programming in Linux. This one too like the last post is STRICTLY FOR BEGINNERS.

Step 1:- Go to the required directory where the c program file is to be created. The UNIX commands necessary for this step would be

cd abc
- to change directory to abc
cd .. - goes to the parent directory
pwd - shows the present working directory
mkdir abc - To make a directory named abc in the present working directory
ls - lists all files and directories in the present working directory
ls -l - gives a detailed list of files and directories in the pwd
mv ab ../cd - moves the file ab to another directory cd which's in parent directory
mv abc def - renames the file abc to def
rm abc - removes the file abc

Use these commands where necessary. If you are just checking C programming, it won't matter which directory you are creating the file in. In that case avoid Step 1.

Step 2:- Create the C file. For this any editor available in Linux can be used. I use vim. The command to be used is

vim abc.c

This creates a C file in the present working directory named abc.c and takes us to the editor. Or opens the file in an editor if it is already existing. In the editor we can write the content or make any change. In some cases you might have to press the insert key before typing.

int main()
printf("HELLO WORLD\n");

This is the "Hello World" program for C. Hello world program is the first program introduced to any student who is learning any programming language.

After typing the program press escape key. Now press the colon (:) key followed by wq if you want to write and quite. If you want to quit without saving just press :q and so on. Editor is closed now and the UNIX screen comes.

Step 3
:- Compiling the C Program. The command cc is used to compile a C program.

cc abc.c

This compiles the file abc.c and creates an executable file too. If there is no error in compiling, then no message will come. Else the error or warning messages will be displayed.

In certain Linux distro's like ubuntu etc use command gcc instead of cc.

Step 4:- Running the compiled file

The earlier step creates an executable file name a.out. To run this use this command


The program will run now. Just remember that whatever be the name of the file, the name of executable file will always be a.out. So its better to change the name of the executable file to a unique one after it has been compiled. Otherwise after another file is compiled, this one will be replaced.

cc abc.c
mv a.out abc

This commands will rename the executable file to abc. So now the executable file can be executed as


The steps are summarised below
1. Go to the directory needed.
2. Create the C file vim abc.c
3. Compile the C file cc abc.c
4. Run the executable file ./a.out

Friday, July 25, 2008

Linux Installation - Only for Beginners

This is a step-by-step installation procedure for Linux, specifically Ubuntu 8.04. This is only for those who are doing this for the first time. And those who have installed any other OS will feel this really useless. But for the "others" who have not installed any OS, I hope this will be useful.

All those who have previous experience in installation please go through this and point out the mistakes.

I am trying to explain the installation procedure by which your can use dual booting, i.e. you can use both windows and Linux in the same computer. For that the computer should already have windows installed in it. You can't install windows after linux and then use linux because Windows doesn't detect Linux. But there is a procedure to do that too. By using SuperGRUB, you can do that. But I have not used it and knows nothing about how to do it. So its better to leave it at that.

Arrange for a CD/DVD of Ubuntu 8.04 or the latest version available. It is sent for free to home for personal use by Canonical.Search "Ubuntu ShipIt" in Google for more details.
Or download the image of Ubuntu 8.04 from net. Again search in Google for image links. I would recommend using torrent for downloading. Write the image to a CD/DVD.

Turn on the computer and start the BIOS edit. Usually its DEL,F1,F2,... key to start the BIOS. There change the BOOT device priority and set CD Drive as NO.1. In most computers it will be the default setting. Save and quit BIOS, insert the CD and restart.

The black screen with a choice for language appears. Select English or use others only if you are very comfortable with that language. I recommend english.

The computer will now boot from the CD/DVD. Now the black screen below will come. Click on the Install Ubuntu button.

Wait for some time while the Linux Kernel loading box cruises to 100%. Then the real installation procedures begin. Its a 7 step process.

STEP 1:- The first step is the language selection. As usual select the English option. The click on the forward button to proceed.

STEP 2:- In this step you see a world map with a lots of dot and a question "Where are you". They are asking for the time zone of your location. You just got to click on the the red dot near your place or on the drop down menu select it. For Indians the only option is Kolkatta GMT+5:30.
Proceed FORWARD.

STEP 3:- The third step is the keyboard layout. Just click on your keyboard layout. In India we use the USA layout. If yours is different, you just got to select it and type on the box given below and see whether the same key as you press is appearing on the screen. Its another of the silly steps. Again FORWARD.

STEP 4:-If you ask me, this is the only difficult step of the whole installation procedure. But its not that difficult. After you do this once, its a piece of cake. Its a bit dangerous step because one mistake and you can lose your complete data in the hard disk. You get an option Guided or Manual. In guided they help you do it, but I would recommend you to take Manual because you get more flexibility here. When you press forward they scan the disk and the partition table comes. This table has the Device partitions, its type, mount point, format option and size used. Linux's file system is ext3 and windows use fat32 and NTFS. Linux detects all these file systems. But windows doesn't detect ext3. So for dual use its always good to use ext3 for only one partition in which Linux is installed and to use fat32 for all other partitions. Leave the partition where Windows is installed as such if you wish to facilitate dual boot. You can remove the rest of partitions and create new partitions. Create one partition in ext3 format and set the mount point as '/' backslash. Its better to give around 5 GB for this partition. A swap area is also needed. The size of this should be around double of the size of your RAM. For most computers 1GB swap area would be sufficient. Create that partition, set its type as Swap area. This should be enough. Now press the FORWARD.

STEP 5:- This is again another of the simple step. "Who are you". Give here your name, the login name and password for your account in the computer and a computer name, which is the name of your computer as seen by other computers in your network. Now click on Forward.

STEP 6:- Step 6 unfortunately got no screenshots. But again, this too is a very simple step. They ask whether you want to migrate your user settings like user accounts from your existing OS which would be Windows in most cases. I never select this option. But if its needed you can do it.

STEP 7:- "Ready to Install". The most beautiful step of them all. You see all the selections you have made in the first six method and see an install button. You can verify them, change them if needed by going back. When all changes have been made, press on INSTALL button.

This should be it. Now they start the installation procedures. They set up the partitions, format it. Copies the necessary OS files into the / directory or root directory. It should take some time, around 15 min in the computer in which I installed.

When it reaches 100% you see this screen given below. ITS NOW TIME FOR CELEBRATIONS.

Hang on!! Just a moment before the celebrations. They ask you to restart the machine before that. So click on the Restart now option and wait for restarting. You can remove the CD/DVD this time before booting because CD/DVD drive is given the first priority.

They booting up procedures can be seen now. Unlike in windows where you see a loading windows screen, here you see all the steps that are being done. There is also an option of booting like windows too. The login screen comes now. Login using the username and password given during installation.

The linux screen is opened. The mind blowing beauty is bound to leave you speechless for a little while. But don't be so for long.

START ENJOYING THE WONDERFUL OS. AND REMEMBER INSTALLATION SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS A HARD JOB. ITS QUITE AN INTERESTING JOB. WHENEVER NEW VERSIONS GET RELEASED TRY IT. Debian, Ubunty, Mandriva, Red Hat, Kubuntu, Mint etc. are some of the mostly used Linux versions. From my limited knowledge I have felt Ubuntu as the most user-friendly linux OS, especially for those who are new to Linux.


P.S. Please do comment. I am sure there have been many mistakes. As editing is possible, if you mention some of the mistakes, I can edit it as soon as possible, lest those who read this be led the wrong way. Thank you.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The First experience - Part III

“Either the CD is corrupt or the hard disk where installation is taking place has some problems.” I suddenly felt 10 eyes on me. Hang on two of them were my own as I was busy looking at my hands. Then began a series of silent but very unbearable phrases all directed towards me. But it didn’t last long as I soon reasoned, “The Live run worked so why not the installation? It got to be the problem of their hard disk.” We tried again. The computer provider’s man who was working on some other machine came to deal with the server. He was sitting next to us. This time’s installation too went on well. But the result was the same. The man seeing this error message told that it was the problem of the CD.

Now they took me outside and started telling me loud all those things which they earlier said silently. I replied, “Why are we wasting the time? Now that we have begun the installation, they can’t use the windows in this machine. We got to install some wretched thing in this machine soon. Else we won’t be going from here anytime now.” Jain as usual took his mobile. “Mobin Chetta, do you have any Ubuntu 8 DVD with u? OK. So If I come now can you give it to me. Fine. Thank you chetta.” He went without a word. We went back to the machine. As we were doing the installation from Live run, when the installation crashed, the live run continued. As expected as soon as we reached there some one started Orkutting. I, being the culprit sat thinking what I had done wrong. Don’t remember why, buy my eyes kind of reached the drive which contained my CD. The CD drive looked very beautiful outside. But how heartlessly is it behaving at us. Hang on! There is some problem somewhere. Oh! Yes. It’s a CD drive. And Jain has gone to bring a DVD. Call it the Problem No 4.

I said it to Aswin. The were together for long I guess. Some of the habits of the former are now being seen in the latter too. He took his mobile phone and called Jain. How would have world survived had mobiles been not there? He said some things through the phone. He came back and said, “They have only Ubuntu 8.04 DVD. They doesn’t have the CD. But they have a CD of the older version 7.10. I don’t like the idea of installing the older version. But still there is no other way.” And there was it. A non-elegant way to solve a problem.

We waited around 15 minutes and called Jain again. He said he will reach in a few minutes. Aswin said,” If only we could have downloaded from here. Then we can download the latest version, write it into a CD and install it.” I replied,” Don’t be stupid. It takes one or two hours. And more importantly its not right to ask the people here to allow us to download something from here.” Then followed a 10 minutes silence. Silence as never before in our college life. Silence as when two or even more people sit together each having lots to tell still nothing to speak.

I decided to change the subject. “Is there any problem if we write CD's at 52Ks?”. Aswin, “ Nothing much. That CD won't work. Why did you ask?” Me, “Oh! I wrote that Ubuntu CD @ 52K cause there was no time to wait.” He replied, or rather retorted, “Da p_ _ _ i, does anyone in their right senses write a CD at 52K's let alone a boot able CD. That's the problem.” I replied, “ If the CD wont work when written at 52K, then why are they giving such an option? Aswin replied, “ Now. Don't go on asking questions which I don't have answers to. Just understand never to write CD's at 52. Always do it at 24 or 16 to be safe. If only we could download the image and write the CD again!!!”

I decided it was enough about this subject. Subject change. I giving my pen drive,said to Vipin and Shibin who were busy with orkut, “ Da please delete the Ubuntu image in this pen drive. I have to copy some movies into this.” Aswin who appeared to be sleeping on his chair jumped up. “Da _____ are you saying you had that image with you all this time? Then we could have just wrote another CD. You ________, are you really that stupid or are you trying to be funny.” I remained answer less but there was no answer expected. The phone was taken and usual procedures repeated. He said, “We are now going to Pallimoola to buy another CD and you are going to pay. We will come here and write the CD.” Call all the above together as problem no 5.

We went and bought the CD and not much problems occurred except Rs 12 going from my pocket. We reached back. Jain was already there with ubuntu 7.10 CD. Now everything started to happen in a fast forwarded manner. The image in my pen drive was copied to a computer, written to that blank disk and installation was again started by Jain. It reached 50%, 51%, 52%, 53%, 54% and then “EITHER THE CD IS CORRUPT OR THE HARD DISK WHERE INSTALLATION IS TAKING PLACE HAS SOME PROBLEMS.” - PROBLEM NO. 6.

Aswin, “It looks like its after all the image's problem, not the Cd's.” I looked at him triumphantly. He ignored it. “Come on. Shut down the system. We will install the 7.10 which our seniors gave.” Vipin and Shibin wanted to go to have tea as it was already 4:30 PM. They went out. Me and Aswin went till the door. I said to him, “I think I know the problem. Its because Jain is clicking on the Install button. There is some kudothram(black magic) on him which will always create some problem when installing linux.” Aswin said,”Yeah. Maybe. So I will do something. I will call him outside. Complete the procedures of installation before he comes back.”

“Done Mate”. And he called Jain out saying there was something important to tell and asked me not to come as I was not yet “THERE” to hear it. As soon as they were out of sight I started the procedures. The first six steps out of seven went without much events. Just when the last step started Jain came back. He shouted, “What are you doing. Da stop it. Some problems will come.” I blocked him with my left hand and clicked the start install button. He gasped.

The installation started. It reached 50%. It went on to 54%.“EITHER THE CD IS CORRUPT OR THE HARD DISK WHERE INSTALLATION IS TAKING PLACE HAS SOME PROBLEMS.” This was a message i was dreading.

BUT NO. NO PROBLEMS. It reached 55%. I stood up shaking hands with all. (By then Vipin and Shibin were back). I guess I was like that scientists in movies who, after the satellite have been launched successfully, stands up and shakes hands with all. The % counter slowly advanced to 100%. When it was reached there was a silent victory celebrations. OUR FIRST COMPLETED MISSION. It was already 5 in the evening. For me who was supposed to be home by 2, it could be called late. So I left,.................... VICTORIOUSLY.

What is remaining is hearsay. I was not there.

They connected to internet after I left, and added the compiz plug-in.”Compiz is one of the first compositing window managers for the X Window System that uses 3D graphics hardware to create fast compositing desktop effects for window management. The effects, such as a minimization effect and a cube workspace are implemented as loadable plug ins. Because it conforms to the Inter-Client Communication Conventions Manual standard, Compiz can substitute for the default Metacity in GNOME or KWin in KDE.” This is what wikipedia tell about Compiz. So I believe it and tell you the same.


They left for the day. The next day Aswin arranged for the original 8.04 CD, that canonical had sent to his home and came and installed it. They added the plug-ins and patches and all the stuff and made the computer at its best possible state or so they say.

After a week, we went to that cafe for browsing. We were happy to see that the computer we installed was being used by the staff. They appeared to be happy seeing us. The owner came and said he was indeed impressed by Linux. He continued, “You can install it into all the machines.” Now the ball was in our court. We said,” We are having exams now. So you will have to wait. Maybe in two or three weeks we will be free. So we can help you then :).” He said, “OK. That's fine. Thanks for the help.” We were stark silent waiting to hear, “You can use internet here free for the help you have been to us.” But none came.

Nevertheless we were happy. The first “MISSION” didn't become a failure. So a happy starting. END OF ALL PROBLEMS.

Will it be like that for long? Wait and see.


Friday, July 11, 2008

The first experience - Part II

We took a few deep breaths and went inside the building to which we had been looking to for the past few minutes. The white three storied building with a board outside shouting out “IMPULSE – internet cafe”. The geography of the area and the design of the building is such that we enter straight to the second floor of the building. But georgraphy doesn't matter.

I carefully put my right leg inside, saying a small prayer in my mind for everything to go right. I felt uneasy. Looking to my right I saw Aswin. Suddenly I realised the problem. It has been ten or so minutes since Aswin said his last chali. I understood he was under great stress and tension. If some problems or troubles occured during this!! Aswin is the one who was most involved in this project. His hostel is the next building and he was one among those who went to brainwash this cafe owner. Jain too was a bit tensed it looked but I don't vouch on it. I must say I wasn't anyway tensed or so because this thing if failed didn't directly affect me. I wasn't there when they brainwashed the man and I was just coming as a friend of theirs who can, if needed, act as someone who came there to browse and saw others on the way. But I wanted it to be a complete success as this was our first 'MISSION' and didn't want it to be 'MISSION IMPOSSIBLE' nor 'MISSION 90 DAYS' because failure is a word which is not in my dictionary (which is a thick Oxford one I assure) and I didn't have that much time (90 days.. just imagine.. that’s half a semester).

Inside was quite a compact room. 8 computers in which 6 have cabins and the rest two are outside. One of them I presumed would be the server. Next to this room was small classroom with a board which could accommodate 8 students. Tutions for school and college students are also available there. I was happy to see that he had good tables and chairs which was the main reason only 8 students can be accommodated. In any other tution centers, there would have been atleast 20 chairs crammed in there.

There are two new characters this time along with Me, Jain and Aswin. One is Mr. Vipin Johney, our class mate. Then there was Master Shibin (Although he is 18 and can be legally called Mr., I still call his master because he still has got many childish passions which i prefer not to be named). Another first year but from EEE. He shares the room with Jain. The room in which the master plan had originally unfolded.

We entered the place and met the cafe owner. He didn't look much like what I had expected him to be. He certainly didn't look a businessman, there was still some kindness in his face. And at that point I didn't know all the kindness he would be having would have to be spared for us soon. He was quite happy with us coming. He introduced us to the non-GECian computer expert he talked of last day.

We were given seats behind the two computers which were not in cabins. The owner and two other people who looked like staff there crowded around us. I am not sure whether to say we crowded around them or vice-versa. Jain began the proceedings by informing them about the version and OS Ubuntu which we were going to install there. He along with Aswin then went on to give a full length description about how Linux people is brilliant and Windows people fools. I for one didn't seem to be able to open my mouth as there was nothing much I can contribute here. They didn't look like they would ever finish. After some time, the owner pointed to a white and slightly older machine and asks us to install it in that machine marking the end of their solo. There were some from our college browsing in the cafe. One of them from Mechanical dept stopped browsing and came to ask what we were doing. When we told him the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, he too joined the crowd behind us. Jain stands up from his seat and goes to one near the white computer. He saw a windows screen and looks aside while the things was being restarted.

“ The internet connection has going again”, a sound came from one of the cabins. The owner, swearing the providers, went to look something and replied “No. Connection is fine. You try again.” I just couldn't believe our luck. We had barely started. Problems were coming even before that. I thought whether to take a note of the number of problems in my rough book as there was a chance it was going to outrun my fingers. But decided against it as there were just 4-5 pages left in the book and I wanted to use it for future necessities. But Let me number it here. That was the beginning of Problem no 1 which was not going to be as long and troubling as its succeders are going to be.

The computer provider's guy came to look what the problem was. He saw it quickly. We had restarted the server. The connections to all other computers came from the server. So it has turned off all the connections. “Oh! Why hadn't I thought about it?”, said me. We restarted the computer and connection became ready again. So we went to the computer next to the white server. That was it. END OF PROBLEM 1.

We turned on that computer. We first decided to give them the Live CD demonstration. I took the CD. It had ubuntu written it by me and my sign too. This is one of the beauties of Free Software I like. You can download an OS and name it Alex's Linux and keep it. And still the credit of OS will go to the ones who made because it will be known in the programmers level that it is not mine but that someone with quite a few things in his brain has made this. And at the same time I can feel secure than no one is going to sue me.

Jain put the CD into the system and started it. BIOS was checked to confirm that the first boot device was the CD Rom itself. Then the linux screen came alive asking whether to download/Live run and many others options which I haven't read till now. The moment the Linux screen comes you start to feel the difference. Its like as if the beauty of Linux is in the bones. The background(plane black screen), the logo and the color all complement each other. Why aren’t the Windows people feeling a need for a change? If they had brought in new BG’s atleast it could postpone the inevitable by a few days. The inevitable being the 100% linux and the Free World.

The OS start music came which seemed to be a Fur-Elise for me. My chest swelled with pride seeing that the CD I download was doing all this. Aswin began with the softwares available here.

Then someone from the “crowd” asked about the files they already had in windows. Replies comes soon this times since there are around 5 heads working for answers this time. “You get substitutes for almost all softwares used in windows here. All better than or equivalent to the windows version and at the same time less valued as they are free. And these softwares supports the windows files. That is in Open Office writer you can work perfectly with .doc files of Microsoft Word. But at the same time Word doesn't accept .odt and other extensions used by Open Office. So those shifting to linux from windows needn't have any concerns.”

The live CD came live and the first glimpse of Ubuntu 8.04 caught everyone off balance. I am sure I heard many 'wow's and stuff. We showed them the softwares there was available in Linux. Then the cafe owner asked about whether internet explorer was available here. Aswin retorted, “ Who uses IE nowadays? Even the windows users use Mozilla Firefox only. IE has very comfortably been outdated to give way for Firefox.” He opened Firefox and entered in the address bar and pressed enter. A beautiful page which said, “ This page cannot be displayed” came. I don't know why but something told me these kind of problems are not going to stop that easily today. That was the Problem No 2.

Even before we could tell something, Jain had taken out his phone and called Mobin chettan. And as always, “Where people thought twice before doing, here's one who did twice before thinking.” Mobin chettan is our three years senior. His class on Linux was our first introduction to this Free Software World. If he can't help none can. He told something to Jain through phone and Jain did those things. He asked Jain to enter the IP address, DNS server etc. We were lucky that the man from the computer provider was there. He gave these details and in around 5 minutes it was all ready. Google didn't fail us this time. The “less is more” site got opened. And the 2nd problem thus ended, a bit more dramatically than the first.

Now the crowd started asking, “ Is there any equivalent software for Tally, Autocad, etc.” If it had been asked to me I would have been answerless. But we searched in google “Tally software for Linux” and got some pages with softwares which can be used as constituents.

Soon three of four girls came into the cafe. They went into the classroom and two from the crowd went to take classes to them. He said, “Well this OS looks fine. You do one thing. Install this in this machine. I will ask the staff here to get acquainted with this and if it's ok we will install it in all machines after one week. Please don't remove Windows right now. Install Linux in some other partitions. There is Debian installed in this computer. Use that partition. It is currently used by some state syllabus students who come here to study Open Office, Gimp, etc.” All the government schools have their computer labs changed from Windows to Linux. This change is one of the few decisions taken by the present government I liked. We should appreciate our dear VS (Achumamman) for that.

We were quite surprised to see that Debain was installed in this machine. Till now we were talking as though these were people who were seeing Linux for the first time in their life. We didn’t waste more time being surprised. The cafĂ© owner left us. And we were left there alone with no one to inspect what we were doing. It was Jain at the computer. I told him not to start the installation as I was the lucky one around, its better I do it. But he stay put at his seat and started the installation. (I am leaving the details of installation right now. But I will make sure it will be posted here in detail for all those who shall need it.) The steps were all finished in a few moments and the actual installation procedure with a percentage counter moving began. It was going unexpectedly fast. This made me a little uneasy.

But it didn’t take that much time to realize that being uneasy wasn’t at all needed. No sooner than the % counter reached around half a message came. “ERROR.” It was followed by some text which I don’t remember now. But its meaning was something like, “EITHER THE CD IS CORRUPT OR THE HARD DISK WHERE INSTALLATION IS TAKING PLACE HAS SOME PROBLEMS.” - PROBLEM NO. 3.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Continuing from the last. The very next day after I went home the other two Aswin and Jain went to a internet cafe near the hostel named 'Impulse'. I guess they went on an impulse with nothing particular to do. There they saw a cafe with 8 computers and each single one among them had windows in them. And to their greatest displeasure there wasn't Mozilla Firefox even in the system they took. For people who wanted to believe anything connected to windows was their previous life this was too much. They stopped browsing after checking the scraps and mails. While paying the cafe owner, they didn't forget to mention that to him.

He being someone who was interested in free software and linux during his study time suddenly remembered the good old days. He gave seats near his table to both of them and asked more about Linux. He said, “I was very interested in free software some time back. But they have yet to make a perfect OS. I can't put such a OS here cause people will simply stop to come.”

It was Aswin who jumped at him, “You are thoroughly misinformed respected sir, have you ever heard of an OS called Ubuntu?” seeing the effect of the name on the owner and understanding he had never heard that name our dear Aswin continues,” Its the best OS out there. I had been a windows user all my life. I changed to Ubuntu just a few months back. Now I practically hate using Windows machines. Its like going back to DOS just after using a Windows. But in that case DOS can help you in certain cases but here Windows can't help you in any way that Linux can't.”

He pauses. No questions. “ And Ubuntu has come up with a new version a month back, Ubuntu 8.04. You should see the effects they have there. The one I particularly like is window burning to ashes and the window being folded into a 16th part. The real Windows and even Microsoft will be folded into a 16th part and put into Linux's pockets in a few years time.”

Another pause. But this time Jain starts without looking at Aswin who looks particularly displeased at being interrupted. “Sir, you have made a great cafe here. Good computers, good facilities, nice rooms, nice cabins and a great location(next to Vimala College hostel) and how can you despite knowing of free software install Windows here?”

He looked dumbstruck for a moment. But he is a businessman and can't afford to be answerless for long. So he replies, “ Those days Linux I knew was only for the programmers and technical people. It was not user friendly. I didn't know it had grown so much. But as I have never read Bible I can't believe without seeing. Can you please bring me a laptop or stuff with Linux installed and show me how it works?”

Replies for Linux fanatics aren't hard to get I guess, because even before the question finished answer came from Aswin, “ We can install it in your computer itself. You can see for yourselves and if you like, which I don't have any doubts on, we will help you install it in all computers.”

The owner didn't seem too convinced especially as they were first years and wouldn't be knowing much about these. He said, “I have spent a good enough amount on networking this place and the connected is given only to the server. From there it is split and given to all computers. Therefore if some problem arise it will affect the whole system right. I will do one thing. There are some things left to be done in the computers by the providers. I will call them and ask them to come day after tomorrow. You can come that day so that if there is any problem, he will be able to handle it.”

Jain as usual didn't like an “Non B. Techian” to handle a GEC CSE student. But since we are yet not proved he let it go for this one time. He said, “ Its not that necessary to call that man. We have an option called Live CD. From which we can run the OS. None of the settings or setup of the computer will be affected. As soon as the CD is removed your computer will be the same. But it will be a little slower than the installed version.”

“Oh! That makes it risk free. But let that man come. I have got some other works for his also. And will the networking work in Linux? I like the way it is now. If someone wants to take a print of a file from any machine, I can do it from this server itself.”

Aswin, “Networking works much better in Linux than in any other OS. Most of the server machines in almost all companies are on Linux. And more than this print out stuffs you can literally control the whole of the other computers from here. You can restrict the CD drive, the files they can access, so on. I have heard networking is quite easy in Linux.”

Jain didn't allow him to finish the sentence, “ Yes networking is very easy in Linux. We can do it for you without any problem”, ignoring the cautious look from Aswin he continued,” Its even automatic. You don't have to do anything at all. Linux does all for you. You just gotta supply the details they ask for.”

The cafe owner was clearly impressed,” That is great. Then you guys come the day after next after noon. I will make one computer ready for you.” And that was it there. They paid and came back.

On the way back Aswin asked, “ Da pulle nee ithinu munpu ee networking enthengilum cheythitundo da??” (you grass you before this networking anything done you?) “Illa” (No) came the reply. “Pinne enthu m_______ kanditada patti ithokke nee cheyyamennu paranje?” (Then how h______ seen dog this all you do tell).

“Oh that's not a problem. If some problem comes we can ask our seniors right.” Jain continues, “ You have the Ubuntu 8.04 they sent you with you right?”

Aswin, “Oh No. I haven't brought that one from home. Hey let's do one thing. We will call Alex and ask him to download it and bring it. He has free download at night and linux downloads give you a speed of around 200 kbps. It should just be matter of one or two hours.”

Unlike the older generation where people think twice before doing, now people do things twice before thinking. Before Aswin finished telling this Jain took his phone and called Alex(me) without remembering that that was a time I usually become very busy solving several political and economical problems India face today. The mobile rings and my PA takes the phone and says, “Hello sir, what can I do for you.” and Jain says to Aswin, “eda avan ee maasathe bill adachitilla enna thonunne. Aro fone eduthittu paraya avan bill adachitillennu.(guess he hasn't paid the bill. Somebody took the phone and said something like that.)

Aswin takes the phone and says, “My dear chechi. I talk Alex. He me class. No bill no money. Monday bill money ready. Give phone.” And my ever smart PA replies, “What nonsense this fellow is talking?” Wondering what is happening he cuts the phone. Then says to Jain,” He is studying now. So she said that he will call back later.”

Hearing a ring tone I rise from my thougts. Or rather rise from my slumber. Or rather urakkam kazhinjezhunettu. Guess hello tune is working properly since the one who called did not wait for long. After a few seconds he disconnected the phone. I went and looked who called. It was Aswin. Oh My GOD. What have I dont. Now I have to call him back. But “paisa namukoru vishayamalla” (Money is not a subject for us. It is subject only for the Economics students.) I called him back.”

Me : “Hello.”
Aswin : “Hallo. Allengil venda Annan Thambi.”
Me : “Athu thanneya nallathu. Enthina viliche?”

Aswin explains it all.
Me : “Da there is one problem my CD drive is not working. So can't write it.”
Aswin : “Doesn't matter. Bring the image in a pen drive.”
Me : “But my pen drive just has got 2 gb. This DVD takes atleast 4 GB right.”
Aswin : “No don't download the DVD. You can download the CD. Just 699 MB.”
Me : “Done mate.”
Aswin : “Check mate.”

Phone line is cut.
Now I am in deep thoughts. I go to sleep early and get up early. Start downloading at 6 in the morning. Just 2 hours left and got about 700MB to download. Download started at 20kbps. I lost all hopes and went to read the news papers. When I came back 30 min later 50% was over. When I looked I found that it is downloading at about 200 Kbps. Torrent kandu pidichavare sammathikkanam. The file got downloaded by 7:15.

As afternoon approached and with just another 15 hours left for physics exam. And me still having not studied anything, I had an idea. Why don't I go to my neighbours house and write the CD. That is just what I did.

The next day after surprisingly easy physics paper (which I don't know who put? Whoever it was I prayed for him to live long.) I went to meet Aswin and Jain. We went to Canteen and had a 9rs meals to replenish our energy. Then we went through the highly dangerous forest route to Kaveri hostel. Resting there some time we left for our destination “IMPULSE” to make that internet cafe an INTERNET CAFE.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


This blog is for a novel idea we had during a combine study session last week. "We" refers to as usual me and then to two more of my class mates from the Compsciz Department of GEC, Thrissur. (I am not naming them. Name and the rest details will be provided only by looking how the program is going to be "implemented".)

Back to the topic. Before I explain the idea we had let me go to the reasons that created them. One of my earlier mentioned class mate named Aswin Sasidharan (let's call him Mr. X as I don't want to reveal his identity) said with great emotions that he wasted his life till now on windows. He had heard of linux and wanted to try it when he was in his school itself. But as there was no one in his locality who knew about Linux, his wish didn't come true. According to him, the classes our seniors took for us on Linux, its ideology, installation, usage etc etc was a dream come true.

This made us think and think really hard as we were planning to study BEE that day. "There are many students like him now. There fore they  X. How are we able to sit in this Golden throne and drink from the Golden Goblet when we know there are million "out there" who knows nothing of Linux nor of free software for that matter.” (What we know of that matter is definitely an askable question but unfortunately I am in no mood to tell that. So leaving it for later.).

The revolutionaries in us woke up. Whatever be the cost, be it a suppli, two suppli or even full suppli, as long as we are not going to be year out, we are going to go "out there" and help others know more of linux and of this excellent concept of free softwares. So we planned to change the world. Bill Gates Beware!! This is your final warning. We are out for the hunt.

Now came a question. How do you define this "out there"? The other colleges was voted against as soon as it was recommended as most "out there" will be knowing more about this than us. We wanted to have a group who knows nothing in computers beyond windows. So came the option of a street side show. This too was voted against as this was too "primitive" and as much as we wanted some guys who know nothing much about computers, we also wanted them to know atleast something about computers. So finally the suggestion came. SCHOOLS. Yes, That's it. That's place where we can manage well and still be effective. And school time is a time when you get loads of time for experimenting with computers. Thus it was decided by 3/3 votes.

The blueprints for the programs soon unraveled in front of us. Contact the school authorities that students from the great GEC are coming with an OFFER that they will take a one hour session on Linux. They will welcome us with both hands and we will do the students a great help. The idea was temporarily postponed till our exams get over.

The idea of one hour session was decided. But what to do that one hour? Question number two. "We will hold a meeting in a seminar hall or stuff for one or two classes" piped in one. And the more we though about it, it became clear that there were no such great orators in our class who can handle about 80 school students for one hour. Ours seniors had taken such a class for us when we first came to the college. But we really lacked experience in these and natural orators are hard to be found. So came another idea "Why don't we split the students into groups of 10 and separately explain the facts like our Super Seniors did for us. Again the 3/3. Bill Passed.

Over the next hour the details like what to tell during those sessions, which all topics to include, which all demonstrations needed etc were discussed. All these things were finalized. Then came the question number three. When do we go for this? We were ready to go on weekends but then the schools won’t be functional and students won’t be there. So we decided to take one session each week for the “total upliftment of the society”. Anyway from what we heard there is not going to be that much of classes the next years. Loads of free hours are going to be there. And we as such don’t believe in classroom education and don’t enter the classes unless they are very necessary. So one session per week seemed a piece of cake.

Then came the publicity part. If we are going to do and if it gets enough publicity it’s good. And what more, we might even end up with having sponsors sponsoring our service. But this was temporarily suspended as we ourselves didn’t know how this is going to turn out to. Publicity will come. But that is only after 4-5 such classes.

Now as I seem to have forgot to tell, Mr. X has some sort of indirect contact with the SPACE group who made a linux distro based on Debian named IT@School. We decided that popularizing that can be good idea to start off with. And X is now busy trying to contact them. We also confirmed on recommending Ubuntu for the home users. Graphics and effects too will be demonstrated using Ubuntu 8.04.

Then came the preparation part. We know we have to be equipped well as these school students can get notoriously dangerous by their questions. So as soon as the exams get over, we use more of these IT@ School and Ubuntu and get experienced with it. Some softwares like GIMP, OpenOffice etc will also be covered just in case someone asks us doubts about them. There are certain tools in IT@ School which though might not be very complex, but still it will interest a school guy. Hence through IT@ School shall we go to the free software concept. Certain e-books have to been downloaded and are being read/referred/learned for getting more knowledge about Linux.

Around this time, someone remembered that we were sitting there to study. So we went to have dinner, came back and slept. So all come here visit this page to know what’s the latest on this program.

Signing off.