Upcoming exciting news from Tech World

  1. Steve Ballmer throws a car at Eric Schmidt.
  2. Ubuntu L***** L**** just works without any goof-ups.
  3. Apple makes iPhone un-pwnable.
  4. Windows 8 removes administrative privileges from default user. In short, now onwards viruses will run with non-administrative privileges.
  5. Opera re-invents the web again. Bundles an Operating System in it’s upcoming “Opera Fright”.
  6. Flash 11 needs 4 CPU cores to render basic animations.
  7. Internet Explorer becomes the safest browser. Reminds “Connecting to the Internet might expose you to viruses, do you want to go offline?” and shows an OK button.
  8. Sun re-writes Solaris in Java. Amen!
  9. Windows 8 requires just 8GB of RAM to run properly.
  10. Script kiddies write malware for Linux and Mac and affect them badly.
  11. FreeBSD gets fool-proof secure. Asks for password when opening Firefox.
  12. Ballmer boasts “Windows has maximum number of applications” (considering viruses as apps too)

Dousing the Mono Flames

The Free Software community is up in the arms and split into two factions on whether Mono is polluting the ecosystem? The discussions are endless and there is no hope that it will ever subside. I have been following ubuntu-devel-discuss and the topic “shameful censoring of mono opposition” has got the attention of nearly everyone on the list. I think save me, everyone has answered to that discussion. Heck! I am still getting mails now.

I find all these discussions to be getting out of control. Check boycottnovell.com and a tons of other sites. Mono supporters and mono haters are busy discussing whose stand is holier.

Threat

Let me be impartial. There is a threat that Microsoft may one day sue the FOSS companies on the use of it’s IP. Is it true? I don’t find Microsoft can do much as the bigger question is that can they sue each and every single user? They should sue Novell since they are leading the project. Will they sue each and every user out there using Mono?

The threats are more of speculations. Probably Ballmer can tell us what he thinks of Mono exactly, but for that he needs to find time from his busy schedule of dancing and throwing chairs.

Reality

Whatever Mono haters say, the reality is that there is no at par substitute for for GNOME applications like F-Spot, Tomboy and GNOME Do. I would be happy if GNOME is made mono free, but what about these three applications? When it comes to media player, I find Banshee much better than Rhythmbox. Amarok is much better but it is for KDE. I am talking about GNOME apps which don’t need KDE libs to be installed.

I don’t use Tomboy and F-Spot, but GNOME Do is really good. It saves a lot of time. The keybinding saves a lot of time. Everything need not be geek-oriented, but should be such that everyone can be use it. This is in accordance with GNOME Human Interface Guidelines

If anyone wants that GNOME should forget Mono we first need to find good substitutes of the above softwares. An alternative for Tomboy is Gnote. I agree it is lighter, but still it has a long way to go. If Gnote really kicks ass one fine day, that is a day for celebration for anti-mono campaigners.

Middle Ground

Time is money. Let us not waste time by just fighting who is correct and who is wrong. Mono lovers find the other camp stupid and vice-versa. Will the flame ever end? Mailing-lists are too busy these days discussing whether Microsoft can kill Linux by just issuing threats! So what can we do next?

Solution #1

Make it easy to remove Mono stack from GNOME. Probably make it dead easy to do so by including it in Synaptics.

Try issuing this command on the terminal

sudo apt-get remove –purge mono-common

and you get

The following packages will be REMOVED
banshee f-spot libart2.0-cil libavahi1.0-cil libboo2.0-cil libflickrnet2.1.5-cil libgconf2.0-cil libglade2.0-cil
libglib2.0-cil libgmime2.2-cil libgnome-vfs2.0-cil libgnome2.0-cil libgtk2.0-cil libgtkhtml3.16-cil
libmono-addins-gui0.2-cil libmono-addins0.2-cil libmono-cairo1.0-cil libmono-cairo2.0-cil libmono-corlib1.0-cil
libmono-corlib2.0-cil libmono-data-tds1.0-cil libmono-data-tds2.0-cil libmono-security1.0-cil libmono-security2.0-cil
libmono-sharpzip0.84-cil libmono-sharpzip2.84-cil libmono-sqlite2.0-cil libmono-system-data1.0-cil
libmono-system-data2.0-cil libmono-system-web1.0-cil libmono-system-web2.0-cil libmono-system1.0-cil libmono-system2.0-cil
libmono-zeroconf1.0-cil libmono1.0-cil libmono2.0-cil libndesk-dbus-glib1.0-cil libndesk-dbus1.0-cil libtaglib2.0-cil
mono-common mono-gac mono-jit mono-runtime tomboy

Which is enough to scare the shit out of you. Such a long list! Is the system going to break?

To solve the above problem Mark Packages By Task can be a good place to place Mono. Just Uncheck and Voila!

Mono should also find a place here
Mono should also find a place here

Solution #2

Accelerate Gnote development! Gnote is lighter, faster by still behind Tomboy when it comes to features. I personally prefer physical sticky notes at my workplace or at home. I am not here to discuss which one if better, the above is just my persona views and I hope many people agree with me.

I think Tomboy is like a flagbearer of Mono community. Like Linux is for FOSS. Of all my friends who know something about Mono know about Tomboy. Probably it us the other way round – due to Tomboy they came to know that something called mono exists.

Concluding

I have worked on .NET on windows, but prefer Python on Linux. I also think that we can do without mono, but not at this situation when we don’t have better options to Tomboy, F-Spot and GNOME-Do. I always feel that discussing on the cleanliness of mono is required, but it should end somewhere or the other. Why keep it discussing it over ages? Whenever I read a mono v/s anti-mono thread, two thoughts come to my mind which I summarised above.

Indian Technical Education System needs an overhaul

I had my own rant for Indian Education system, but kept mum most of the time. I have read Sayamindu’s post when he posted it on his blog, but had nothing more to add that time.

I would suggest you to just read the following links.

I wanted to write more on these, but resisted that time, was just waiting for my engineering to be over. I felt that it would be better if I provide links to those people’s experience whom I know or have come across.

Speeding up Internet Surfing (Squid + BIND)

I am not writing something very much ground-breaking, but since friends do ask me how to use their slow internet lines, here is the solution: Web Proxy with Cache and DNS Caching.

You might find exhaustive articles all over the net, this one is which I made from my experience. Getting them to work is so so simple. It isn’t a rocket science as you might be thinking.

You basically need Squid to act as Web Server Proxy and Bind9 as DNS Caching.  The work of Bind9 and squid is not limited just for caching, but you might want to know that Bind powers much of world’s DNS servers. Let’s start

You first need squid and squid-common packages for squid and bind9 and dnsutils for bind.

sudo apt-get install squid bind9

squid-common and dnsutils are dependencies of the the two, so you don’t need to specify

BIND

Just open the file named.conf.options in the folder /etc/bind and change the following section

// forwarders {
// 0.0.0.0;
// }

to

forwarders {
208.67.222.222;
208.67.220.220;
};

Here the two IP addresses are those of the DNS servers (OpenDNS in this case). You can even use the IP address of your router if the latter is configured for DNS.

Now restart bind daemon

sudo /etc/init.d/bind9 restart

Bind can also be used for more than just DNS caching. It can be used for Primary Master Server, Secondary Master Server or mix of all of them. The slightly geekish HOWTO is here. It is written for  Ubuntu, but nearly same for all other distros.

Squid

When you installed squid, it has been auto-configured as a caching proxy server. You just need to point your browser’s proxy settings to it. The best way is to set up Network Proxy so that every application can use it.

System > Preferences > Network Proxy

GNOME Proxy Settings
GNOME Proxy Settings
forwarders {
208.67.222.222;

Squid uses port no 3128 as default. You can change it later.

If you want Squid just to surf the internet, then can just change the proxy settings of Firefox.

Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Network

Choose the Settings Button, set up the proxy settings similar to that shown inthe above figure.

You can check the official docs at squid for configuring squid or use this simplified doc at Ubuntu Wiki. Again, it works on all the distros.

Using squid you can customized error pages, shut down network for specified duration of time, block websites and many more.

Suggested Reading: