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Science.Technology.Engineering.Medicine.

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2008 January 10 [Thursday]

GraphTheory

Being ill and drowsy with medication, this week I stuck to surfing, and saw this math problem, to be precise its graph theory :) Among the various ideas, i suggested Warshall's algorithm for shortest path. If its planer there is Kuratowski's theorem. Which will work better now?

2008 January 7 [Monday]

indichix needs list admins

Since I am spreading myself thin, i sent out a call for list admins for indichix. The purpose being to encourage grrls who have not started volunteering to make a start somewhere and as i see it, out here its best achieved by putting power and control in their hands.


Nothing huge, just a few minutes per week and as is the custom in "linuxchix.org" the more the merrier. Plan to keep it open till the weekend, which should be sufficient time for 'chix to respond.

BTW, whilst responding to the message (on the list), please do write a little intro about yourself, as much as you are comfortable revealing (ex. name, city, why and how you see yourself as a part of LCIN, how you plan to take this group forward, anything else you think is relevant to Libre s-w...), to help folks there get to know you better.... not mandatory, just courtesy.

2007 December 23 [Sunday]

indichix list and bangalore meetup

Yay ! We just got our new mailing-list (thanks Terri :-)) which is being moved out of the yahoo groups (yahoo appends each mail with spammy links and whatnot, incredibly annoying...)

Last week Archu had sent me a file with all the subscribers, so i just finished mass subscribing them to the new list. But I am not aware if any new folks joined the list since that day (i am not an admin on the old yahoogroups list). Created a netiquette page (borrowed from here) on the wiki, but it needs work on the IRC and wiki editing guidelines. Am too sleepy to do it now [err.. its 4 am and i need to actually log off and get some sleep, rather than just thinking about it..... ]

Some hours ago I had suggested we do a meet-up in BLR. We are open to ideas, suggestions, need place to conduct meets regularly, so feel free to chime in. An oh, if anyone reading this wants to present their technical libre s-w work please reply to this thread. I had suggested this to Kushal (waiting for that mail) and he offered to help us out. See you there Kushal !
Besides the lovely weather in Bangalore, I find its easier to do things when you dont spend half your life travelling (read Mumbai) ...that alone gives some time to pursue other interests in life. I always envied folks back in Chennai (any city besides killer traffic Mumbai) who could catch a theatre or music concert on a week-day... simply unimaginable for a Mumbaikar !

2007 December 19 [Wednesday]

ubuntu-women article in fullcircle

Ubuntu Women is almost two now, so I wrote an article for the Fullcircle magazine (which is a really nice colourful mag :-)) as I wanted to highlight each UW volunteer and their involvement in the different aspects of the Ubuntu community and while proofreading it realised that Ronnie had given me a limit of 350 words and I had written more than double :-(.... Some heavy editing (almost by half, which is not that easy for me) later i was done so hope I did not miss any grrls. Ideally we need to get this done on the UW wiki pages. You can download it from here : http://www.ronnietucker.co.uk/issue8marketingPreview.pdf

Its been raining all day today and has managed to kill my ideal notions of how winter weather should be ... snug and warm in wollens, not rainy 'n soggy and increasing my caffine consumption by litres (literally). Atleast i got to eat undiyo (a nice gujarati dish), something i dont get to indulge in down here. Hmm... my experience with eating north-indian food in south-india has been dissapointing to say the least, so the less i say about it the better.

2007 November 13 [Tuesday]

indichix bof

LC-India is having a BoF on 2007-12-06 as part of Foss.in at Bangalore and Runa had called me yesterday to talk about the banners and stickers that she has done for the event promotion. She has put in a lot of work and I especially liked the stickers ...now if only we could find sponsors for printing the stickers !!

Besides lamenting discussing the lack of female volunteers in India, low interest rates in volunteering as a whole and other aspects of the community, we may also have to deal with low attendance rates at the BoF which kind of kills the very spirit of the whole thing.

Considering the fact that there is no dearth of skilled women in the Indian IT industry I am curious as to what keeps them away from libre software. Is it the lack of motivation or just that companies dont foster a "giving" attitude, rather than a "take" attitude?

This weekend I had a bad migrane thanks to the polluting fumes from all the Deepavali cracker-bursting, not to mention the noise levels. Weirdly a strong cup of kaapi helps but neither caffeine nor chocolates worked this time. Sleep did.

2007 September 16 [Sunday]

not there yet

Ubuntu is on Dell but apparently its not there yet. Aaron writes an excellent article (rant in his words) on why getting Linux on your desktop/laptop is akin to climbing Mt.Everest... whether its the Linux community, hardware issues, upstream, SI/vendors, he has touched upon most aspects, except the part about various distributions available across the Linux landscape. Even if the only thing common is the Kernel between them, it is in name only... at the user level each distro is a studied contrast to the previous one. True, its all about freedom (to choose) and all that jazz ...but this variety is a stumbling block for Linux to rule the desk/laptop world.

As I had posted earlier about promoting Ubuntu to the management types, most people (that includes coders with a Masters in Engg) don't really know the difference between Ubuntu and RH and don't really care just so long as it works. People (and companies) use a machine to get work done asap but if they have to spend time reading how-to manuals each time the machine troubles them, its going to be tough going.

2007 August 19 [Sunday]

ubuntu in corporate india

The perk I enjoy the most is being able to promote Ubuntu/Linux to the folks I meet as part of work. In the booming Indian IT industry, few know about Linux and for most its usually restricted to RH/Fedora or the myth that Linux is meant only for the geeks or nerdy engineers and developers. For many people (besides the sysadmins/techies) in the IT world here, Debian/Ubuntu/KDE or Gnome is akin to the Latin language ....pretty sad !!

Even though RH is well known and used (by far the most famous in my limited interaction's), many companies don't want to experiment and still balk at support issues and don't really understand the concept of community support. Some even ask why I work for free and dont really understand the philosophy behind the GPL and why a developing nation like ours needs it.

Pressure being high as far as productivity goes, not many companies would want to waste time in experimenting with the unknown. I understand where their concerns arise and they are probably justified in thinking so. Many are surprised to hear about the low female participation in the libre world**1, low development rate on libre platforms, low hardware support for libre drivers, lack of knowledge about GPL and the like.

As someone who does not code for a living but yet volunteers in the FOSS world, I usually don't face much opposition while convincing them to start thinking of Ubuntu as a base for developing software. Its fun telling the corporate management types about the benefits of using Ubuntu-Linux while handing out the Ubuntu CD's and usually get to speak to the tech head or any other decision making authority. Currently I am running out of the latest Ubuntu CD's so if anyone has Shipit CD's to spare, leave a comment.

**1. In India a large number of women work in the IT industry. Hazarding a guess I could say its around 40% of the workforce, probably more, but I have no statistical figures to back it.

ubuntu and indian companies

The perk I enjoy the most is being able to promote Ubuntu/Linux to the folks I meet as part of work. In the booming Indian IT industry, few know about Linux and for most its usually restricted to RH/Fedora or the myth that Linux is meant only for the geeks or nerdy engineers and developers. For many people (besides the sysadmins/techies) in the IT world here, Debian/Ubuntu/KDE or Gnome is akin to the Latin language ....pretty sad !!

Even though RH is well known and used (by far the most famous in my limited interaction's), many companies don't want to experiment and still balk at support issues and don't really understand the concept of community support. Some even ask why I work for free and dont really understand the philosophy behind the GPL and why a developing nation like ours needs it.

Pressure being high as far as productivity goes, not many companies would want to waste time in experimenting with the unknown. I understand where their concerns arise and they are probably justified in thinking so. Many are surprised to hear about the low female participation in the libre world**1, low development rate on libre platforms, low hardware support for libre drivers, lack of knowledge about GPL and the like.

As someone who does not code for a living but yet volunteers in the FOSS world, I usually don't face much opposition while convincing them to start thinking of Ubuntu as a base for developing software. Its fun telling the corporate management types about the benefits of using Ubuntu-Linux while handing out the Ubuntu CD's and usually get to speak to the tech head or any other decision making authority. Currently I am running out of the latest Ubuntu CD's so if anyone has Shipit CD's to spare, leave a comment.

**1. In India a large number of women work in the IT industry. Hazarding a guess I could say its around 40% of the workforce, probably more, but I have no statistical figures to back it.

2007 May 28 [Monday]

behindmotu on the fridge

One of the things I always wanted (to see more of) on the Fridge was the work of the MOTU team being featured at least on a monthly basis. MOTU's are the volunteer package maintainers that look after the Universe and multiverse Ubuntu software repositories but they are always short on time and could not do this themselves.

Since Jordan already had a blog feed about them on the planet, I asked him to join us and directly feed this to the Fridge. I think its a great way to highlight the work MOTU's (and hopefuls) on the Fridge by bringing publicity to the packages some members were working on, including personal interviews, or anything else they were willing to talk about.
Ofcourse the Fridge is always looking for varied content that we can feature. So if you are involved in the community and covered any loco events, team events, or just about anything Ubuntu-related, send a quick email to our mailing list [fridge-devel@lists.ubuntu.com] accompanied with a short write-up (atleast a paragraph or two) each week.

2007 May 19 [Saturday]

secure your system

So you just dumped the 'doze system and migrated to Linux thinking its a 100% secure... well, think again .. there is no such thing really !! Probably if you never access another network or ever use any external media, then perhaps you could claim 100% security but that's a killjoy, aint' it !?

If you are using Ubuntu and want to secure it, Brian Provost's interesting article tells you how simple mods can protect your installed Ubuntu system.

2007 May 18 [Friday]

#indichix

The Indian chapter of LinuxChix started almost two years ago, largely restricted to a mailing list. Recently when the main LC site was being restructured we were awoken from our slumber and things started moving. Runa kickstarted the website initiative a few weeks ago and there was talk of building an already registered site but we were unable to get a response from the site owner. So she pinged Aneesha and me about registering an irc channel. I got #indichix registered on irc.linuxchix.org, which she announced this week. Its exciting to see the community grow and move forward together, so come and talk to us on #indichix on irc.linuxchix.org (thanks LC :))

2007 May 15 [Tuesday]

freedom and freewill

I remember reading an interesting post on "freedom without freewill" (which is unavailable now) but IIRC it spoke about "freedom" vis-a-vis hardware, certain aspects which are not really in our control and so on and so forth.

Reflecting on the human side, freedom, extended beyond the tech aspects, being abstract, is not easily defined, certainly open to (mis)interpretation and highly over-rated if not over simplified. I find that to be true for many situations and instances in our lives too.

Last week, Carla Schroder was featured on Ubuntu Weekly News - issue #40, for writing an article in Linuxtoday where she commends the Ubuntu community for enforcing the CoC by not giving carte blanche freedom to abstract notions of "freedom of speech".

There have been instances where offensive behaviour has not been tolerated with swift action being taken asap. I enjoy volunteering for a community which actually listens to less than 2% of its volunteers so seriously.

2007 May 9 [Wednesday]

ubuntu mobile

Update on the "Ubuntu goes mobile" story :

Contrary to widespread rumors, Ubuntu Mobile will not target mobile phones. Instead, the "mobile and embedded" version of the popular desktop Linux distribution will be developed in partnership with Intel, and will target "mobile Internet devices" (MIDs), along the lines of Nokia's N800 web tablet.

I was waiting for this news as there was some confusion if mobile phones were the target or was it just for Internet-enabled devices. Now we can freeze it on the Fridge!

spam

Spam is annoying but even more irritating is finding legit mails sitting in my spam folder. This has been happening so frequently that I am not sure how to stop this in Gmail. I discovered this by chance some weeks ago when I was emptying the folder.

If mails from various Ubuntu lists get dropped there, I wonder why Gmail does that. Randomly dropping some messages from Ubuntu lists (including other lists and private mail) into the spam folder automatically is not nice.

Having to manually wade through the spam box is a real torture but I guess that this probably started when I marked some messages from the fridge-list as spam, where we have had discussions about the spam and are still wondering how to reduce the spam levels.

2007 March 19 [Monday]

learn to squash bugs

No, not of the live variety :-P Read more about it on the Ubuntu-Women mailing list.

2007 March 15 [Thursday]

ubuntu is sexy

Aww.. Stephen, its not "going to be", Ubuntu is sexy, period.

Whilst explaining and handing out Ubuntu CD's I have always enjoyed the range of emotions and reactions displayed by people from all walks of life, and they usually range from surprise, happiness, shock / joy (that one can get free CD's of an OS), nods of agreement, arguers, arrogant types, curious ones and so much more. But I digress and maybe someday I shall blog about it all ...

Having been out of circulation for some weeks now, I just caught-up with all the smoke over his post but then I am not a prolific blogger either and I have still not aggregated my blog on the planet!

Although I have never met Stephen (and probably never will like so many others in the Libre s/w world :-)), I remember exchanging many emails in 2005. I did not feel he was being sexist while encouraging me to contribute to Ubuntu and apply for membership but (besides being shy) the "myname@ubuntu.com" was less motivating that the responsibility of starting Ubuntu-Women and being committed to the work a project entails.

Hey, English is not my native language either and certain linguistic nuances could be (un)intentionally misinterpreted but whoever said diversity and cultural nuances are easy things to handle anyway. Usually I avoid the difficult (and always stress-full) task of judging/reading too much into every word that is uttered, especially online unless I know the individual (as in, atleast exchanged some communication earlier) or unless it is related to volunteering and community to some extent. Ofcourse it may seem offensive to some (perhaps many) readers who think its an offensive or a sexist remark. Anyone with a single track mind can find offense, especially if selective words are quoted out-of-context. Coming from a country**1 that worships the feminine form, it is still a taboo word in families but de riguer lingo amongst youngsters and the media sometimes.

All said, its upto the women (named by Stephen) to decide for themselves and they have already blogged their feelings about it. In my opinion its more important to truly follow the Code-of-Conduct in letter and spirit than merely signing the COC as a part of a formal ritual that has to be completed to be an Ubuntu member. That would be more respectful towards women or should I say human beings !?

**1 - For all the talk of women power and worshipping of Godesses in temples, India also has a high rate of female infanticide and selective gender testing abortions. For the last 11+ years our politicians have refused to table the bill enforcing 33% reservation for women in Paliament where the current representation rate is in single digits (around 8%).

2006 December 26 [Tuesday]

UW meet-up

Its been ages since I blogged, definitely not due to a lack of opinion (ask folks who know me) but right now I just kinda like the silence. Ubuntu-Women is having an open meet-up day soon.... read about it on the Fridge

2006 August 31 [Thursday]

Became an Ubuntu member

* Finally I applied and became an Ubuntu member on 2006Aug22. Timezone sync issues, laziness (having postponed it since 2005) apart, it was the Fridge rule that editors need to be members that did me in this time.

* Keyboards are dirt and dust hoarders and its not surprising to see the rubbish we found while cleaning it. Ever noticed when things go wrong they synchronise themselves to fail together ... duh! Coupled with the problem of finding people for odd jobs, especially during festival time meant a week replacing the plumbing, electrical switches, a bad coil in the geyser which got junked.

* Why dont I feel safe with the newly introduced air-safety rules, rather its annoying to say the least. Local travel has become a torture now-a-days with large stores/malls and just about everyone getting security conscious, insisting on manually checking and frisking each person. Besides the time lost there remain numerous gaps in the improperly executed excercise. While it seems like another onion layer, the crowds here (just over a billion plus) does not make implementation an easy task either.

2006 July 29 [Saturday]

name the ubuntu magazine

Ubuntu-Fridge is having a poll for naming the proposed Ubuntu-Magazine. Lil' late but I added Ubuntu-Vaṇi (" ṇ " is a consonant lingual with a nasal pronounciation).

In Hindi, Vaṇi means "Voice" and Ubuntu is for Humans so it can be loosely translated as Human Voices ! Vote now and be heard !

Update : Abanta means "People" in several African languages.

2006 April 27 [Thursday]

created the Ubuntu-Women website

today i announced the ubuntu-women website, which was largely possible with Jutta (thanks :-)) guiding me with the css over the last 2 weekends. Hmm... no more all nighters even if it means learning something new in the bargain.

I like designs which are free flowing and blend seamlessly, so keeping it simple and minimalistic while conveying the relevant information was a challenge. Besides static pages had to be minimum so that people can use the wiki as a collaborative way of communication.

The old wiki page was translated so i tried to retain the same chunks of data as much a possible which should make it easier to port most of it to the new wiki. The mentoring program will be redone based on the suggestions and feedback received. I do have a lot to say and ask about mentoring since i did benefit from it at DW but that will be upon my return.

2006 March 6 [Monday]

ubuntu.IN loco team

last year i had written the initial wiki-draft for an INdian LoCo team but not finding an appropriate list to post about it, i kept silent.

two days ago, other local ubuntu users saw the potential of having a IN-specific team and things got moving forward. Yesterday i added more ideas and links to the wiki page and now we have quite a few people joining ....isnt that cool :-)  After the CC meeting on tuesday, we will have our own mailing list and a web-site but meanwhile you can hang around on our IRC channel #ubuntu-in on irc.freenode.net :-)

2006 January 16 [Monday]

Ubuntu-Women

The Ubuntu-Women will be setup pretty soon but for now we have a mentors wiki-page where anyone can list their skills, including the tasks they wish to teach or share opinions with others. Pretty soon we hope to get a mailing list too. watch this space ... :-)

2005 October 2 [Sunday]

Sanskrit locale sponsored into Debian

Just finished a last minute correction on the SA (Sanskrit) locale. Too many long nights this past week reading about Unicode and Devanagari support, keymaps and key-bindings, on Linux. And as I write this, its past 2 am yet again.... Volunteering can cause insomnia and sleep deprivation.

UPDATE: My Sanskrit (SA) language locale package was sponsored into Debian by Christian Perrier on 03-Oct-2005, available as a Debian package “belocs-locales-data” and in package “locales (version: 2.3.5-6)”. It feels great to see my first technical contribution to Debian become a part of the larger FOSS ecosystem.

2005 September 25 [Sunday]

Sanskrit locale

Recently, I started working on the Sanskrit (SA) locale with Christian bubulle Perrier for Debian. I'm told it is a long process to get the locale package approved, but I have to write the locale first -- for this I have to also learn how revision control systems work, how and why the system needs a locale, UTF-8 and Unicode, and so much more. Hopefully, I will finish it soon and the next Debian release will include the Sanskrit locale that I am writing now.

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