Tuesday, November 23, 2010

debian GNU/Linux "Install once" OS

Debian GNU/Linux from its inception had one idea embedded very strongly into its structure. "Install once and once only". In fact there is no need to download the entire os ( n number of cds or n-20 number of dvds or a complete blue ray ). There is a netinstall cd, which when installed will install the basic, barebones, command line front end. It is upto the user to install the packages/applications as per his requirement by connecting to the internet. aptitude is the friend u will need to pull the packages/applications from the internet. I would state that the first thing to install after installing the netinstall cd would be to install X and a window manager( gnome and kde for full blown window managers. lxde, enlightenment or other light weight window managers)

Now install synaptic with the above window managers. synaptic will be ur package manager with the familiar windowing environments. This is ur app market(but here every package is free unlike that of apples). U choose the app u want and click on install. Thats it. Just keep updating the apps once every month/week or whenever u have time and bandwidth. U never have to install the OS again. just keep updating and install any security update given out by the debian developers.

Give way for "release when ready" "Install once" OS. Way to go.

Friday, November 12, 2010

10 years of MPlayer. yipee to that.

10 yrs of Mplayer ... The ultimate multimedia player for GNU/Linux.

1. Mplayer is my darling app on GNU/Linux. After XMMS, its debacle and inumerous forks, I settled down with mplayer for all my multimedia tasks on GNU/Linux.
2. Many people using media players on windows do not know that they are running mplayer for majority of their decoding and encoding tasks. mplayer classic hosted on source forge is used by many windows users without knowing that the backend is mplayer.
3. mplayer, after 10 yrs is not out with version 1.0. It is not doing the mistake which Linus did with linux by shifting the version no to 0.9 without the networking code. The versioning scheme is excellent indicating the vision of the developers(mentioned in their tagline.
4. No front end has utilized the complete command line magic available with mplayer or mencoder.
5. mplayer and mencoder are in full flow when run from the command line. It is a swiss army knife for all the multimedia tasks.
6. mplayer multi-threaded builds use the multiple cores of the modern computers efficiently and fully.
7. The file formats and containers supported is going up every moment.
8. Normally, it will play any file format you throw at it.
9. compiling mplayer for the specific processor and the number of cores would result in an executable which will make u grin from ear to ear.
10. Long live the mplayer project. Thanks to all the developers for making my GNU/Linux experience more fun.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What the hell is "open core"

Now form where has this term come from, I am unable to fathom. This is the "class 1" evil, the free software community has to keep out of the freedom ecosystem. This will bind the freedom core(FLOSS base system) and encapsulate it with a proprietary shell. Much of what we are seeing with Android devices is basically this piece of shit. Every system manufacturer is having his own proprietary UI on the android(open core)

Android is a lesson for the freedom evangelists of how any license can be twisted to meet the proprietary requirements. I have always bothered about this happening whenever I come across a realtime or embedded os based on GNU/Linux. Android played safe to see the effect of backlash from the GNU/Linux community by creating a layer of java for the apps to communicate. With this google made sure that the apps developed for the android platform are always safe to run though the OS beneath the java layer can be changed for any other alternative like Mach or a combo of Mach and bsd(available in a nearly public domain licence, much of what apple has done with osx). The move has backfired in a very bizzare way, on an issue which google did not anticipate at all(ie, oracle going after google for java itself!!!!!!!).

If that layer has problems from IP infringements, there is a huge task ahead of google, that of replacing that particular code with self implemenation.

Now, the discussion is about open core. All glitzy and fancy names are given to the UI(particularly touch screen UIs). But contribution in this field from any of the proprietary manufacturers to the FLOSS world is zero. Google has a successful fork of the Linux kernel, apps created can run only on the java implementation of google(this has constrained the apps, which otherwise would be available to the freedom world). So, open core results in "constrained" freedom

Well, we now have a variant of freedom, ie, constrained freedom. Freedom w.r.t google java implementation only. The same apps would not run on a meego mobile, since its java implementation would be different.

I hate the concept of open core, I hate and desist the whole ecosystem being developed with that as the basis. This is the reason I am not buying an android phone. I hope that when meego is released it does not have any concepts of the open core. Right now, I love the way N900 is created and hope that when a complete implementation of meego runs on it, the resulting freedom is the same. This hope is because that is my next freedom phone.

As in Sri Mahatm Gandhis' words only "sampoorna aazaadi" (complete freedom) is my demand and right.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Is wayland the way to GNU/Linux's mainstream entry?

Is the decision to include wayland as the display architecture into the GNU/Linux atmosphere the only way to ensure the entry of GNU/Linux on to the mainstream?

When i talk about "mainstream", I am talking about all the dumb users who use the computer as a tool and not to be bothered about the functioning of the back end and whatever happens with the interaction b/w the hardware,os,apps(including webapps) and of course they are not bothered how it happens, whether whatever is happening is optimum and more importantly "Not bothered about the freedom aspect of computing"

The majority of the computing power users are not bothered about the fact they are strengthening a few, in fact very few Big companies. Now why are we discussing freedom when we are talking about wayland? hmmm. let us see

1. The X server is a boon to the educational organizations particularly those run by govt organizations or NGOs. This would convert an inexpensive computer to a client which could connect to a more powerful server running the Xserver.
2. The X server the favorite tool of majority of the server admins owing to its Network architecture which is built into it during its design itself.
3. The X server has served the GNU/Linux and the proprietary Unix systems well during all these years. People/corporations have borrowed heavily from the X server in developing proprietary ones owing to the standard being public domain.
4.The standards being publc domain, nobody bothered to give the improvements back to the project.
5. The Xfree86 project has been the driving force behind whatever GNU/Linux is at present.
6. Instead of optimizing this implementation people have decided to support a nascent stage product(wayland). The only incentive being the that the wayland stack sits just above the graphics card. This is aping what microsoft is doing with directx.
7. With this Sri shuttleworth is expecting that he will be shuttled to sell GNU/Linux with his proprietary mp3 store and mainly, his proprietary high handedness.
8. In fact, he wants to ape whatever apple is doing with its os. He wants GNU/Linux to be a "dumb computing power user's" Mac osx.
9. It is also astonishing that these moves are supported by people who projected the death of the pdf format 2 yrs ago.
10. Sri shuttleworth should keep his eyes open and see what happened to all the distros who tried to ape windows.
11. I am not against waynad or any path breaking technology. But declarations like this is not right. Ubuntu is tried by many of the dumb users who just want to come out of the virus filled proprietary os.
12. Sri shuttleworth dont expect these users to be the guinea pigs of ur experiment. U are going to remove whoever came in late with ur buggy and incomplete implementation of waynad which i am pretty confident based on the amount of development ur company has put in in improving the true GNU/Linux in terms of RMS's philosophy.
13. Experiment with waynad in ur house, crash it down, rebuild, debug and do all the developmental activities inhouse(I know u have enough money to keep doing it) and dont put this step on users.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is unity good for the freedom movement?

Unity, the visual shell which is supposed to replace the gnome shell( which is the most radical redesign of a desktop environment i have come across )in the next release of Ubuntu GNU/Linux. Will this augur well for the freedom movement? Let us see. To be clear we will present the scenarios and discuss at will without any order.

1. Unity is developed, right now, only by ubuntu. Gnome developers are wide spread across the globe but for it to reach its stage i would credit RedHat more. I am still at awe at the improvement it recieved during redhat 7 and 8.
2. None of the distros have talked about unity until now. Even those developed on ubuntu have not commented on this. On the other hand majority of the distros are betting big on Gnome 3.
3. Seeing the capability of shuttleworth's developers over the years, I have a doubt regarding the final product. Going by the ability of the Gnome developers I am pretty confident of them releasing a stable product( release when ready, instead of releasing a crap product with a time bound frame)
4. Unity "may" be good for touch screens but pretty bad, infact worse for desktop and notebook products. Gnome is excellent for the desktop and notebooks since "usability" is at the core of its design.
5. Instead of designing one more visual shell, ubuntu developers should have concentrated on making gnome 3 a better product aimed at usablity. Ubuntu already has a netbook edition, by developing unity, it has put whoever used their netbook edtiion to shame. They could always use the "ubuntu" branding and develop features which are indeed different. If users are happy then it would be absorbed into the main Gnome tree.
6. Shuttleworth is trying the iron hand approach in trying to make ubuntu to stand apart from the crowd in the freedom os world. brand ubuntu will draw flak if an idiotic product is given to the public and tell them it will improve in time. This would be the joke on the freedom os world.
7. Shuttleworth should stop aping Apple, and instead try to buy majority shares of this company and run it instead. Here none of the users are to be taken into confidence.
8. If unity is just a visual shell for gnome 3. ubuntu would be better of by modifying gnome 3 itself to suit shuttleworth's silly developers.
9. I am not a person with high inertia, I am not for re-inventing the wheel.
10. shuttleworth is not clear as to why "Gnome is not for the future"