Tag Archives: FOSS.IN

Content is King…

…and it is not confined to the corridor!

Ever wondered what happens at FOSS.IN? Well wonder no more, just head out the official website and take a look at this post.

Conferences happen all the time, but few provide the excitement and more importantly the quality of content that FOSS.IN provides.

Come be a part of it. See you in Bangalore.

Date: November 29 – December 1, 2012
Venue: NIMHANS Convention Centre, Bangalore


Long time no post

Gosh! its been so long since I have posted, that at times I forget that I actually have a blog and need to write stuff more often. Well, its been a long and hard time since my last post, which was at the end of October. Lets see if I can quickly sum up whats been happening.

Firstly, FOSS.IN/2008 happened. And it went off well, which was really a relief for all of us, those who participated and those who manage it. Lots of stuff happened there and the final report should be out on the site “real soon now”.

During FOSS.IN however, I had a disaster! My laptop which also happens to be my main and only machine decided to die on me. It had been giving the signs for a while but there was not much that I could do about it. The CPU was overheating and despite the fact that I got the fan checked and cleaned, the machine eventually died. I used it for the rest of that trip as a netbook. In fact, I will post a summary of what I did on the laptop separately.

Well, with a dead laptop I was not going to survive for long, I had to get a new machine and I had to get it soon. I looked at all possible variations, since for the last 10 years I have been using ThinkPads, my natural first-choice would have been a ThinkPad. The first shock that I got was that none of the manufacturers now make machines with non-widescreen formats the good old 4:3 screens do not exist anymore.

Quite sad really, I like a nice sharp screen with a minimum resolution 1400×1050, but all I see around me is a maximum resolution of 1280×800 (Ugh!). So the hunt for a new notebook was not easy. It finally boiled down to three machines, a ThinkPad T-61, A Dell E6400 and a MacBook Pro.

Well, the MacBook Pro won!

The story from here on, gets to be even more exciting and certainly demands a few additional posts. I am now running Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) on my MacBook along with Mac OSX. Setting things up has not been all that easy, but I think for now I have a reasonably stable environment again. Hopefully, I can get back to some serious blogging đŸ˜‰

Keep a look out for some additional posts.


PS: I should mention that the site was updated to WordPress 2.7 with its super-slick admin interface, not sure what changes for readers, but manging the site is a pleasant experience!


Twenty-five days to go for FOSS.IN/2008. I have been so busy with some of the arrangements that I have ignored my blog and not even announced the various activities related to the event. The story so far, the event was announced and created a bit of a stir in the community. I do believe in the end what we are trying to do this year will be good in the long run. It raises the bar and that is a good thing.

Here’s the original announcement at the FOSS.IN/2008 site. Well, that is now history and its time to move on, today the first shortlist of talks was announced. The workouts and talks both look quite exciting. The speaker list so far is quite impressive and I am sure attendees will have a great time.

Registrations are also open, so if you plan to attend, you’d better rush over and get going.

To follow the event, visit the website on a regular basis and if you twitter then follow fossdotin.

I will be at FOSS.IN/2008, will you?


Updates, upgrades and older news

Lots has been happening (apart from the fact that I am lazy), the iPhone 3G was launched in India and everyone went gaga over it. I was asked for an opinion for NDTV and I am sure what I said they would not have aired! I did actually want to blog about the iPhone but in retrospect I decided against it. I don’t much care for the device or the phone. But I will say that the iPod touch is certainly a nice gadget, A friend of mine said “if only they put a phone in it…” and I said “Thank God, it does not have a phone…” so you can see both sides of the story. A few days of intense hype and then everyone has forgotten about it. The streets don’t seem to be filled with people using iPhones, Apple, Airtel and Vodafone may need to rethink on how they are going to sell it.

Next big wave was Google’s Chrome! I enjoyed reading the comic but thats where it ended. No linux version and though it is now reported to run on wine I have not yet bothered with it. I’ll stick with Firefox for now and revisit this at some point of time. I do have access to a windows desktop, but have not yet tried Chrome or IE8 on that as yet. There are more important things to do. đŸ˜‰

This morning I woke up to discover yet another WordPress update. my last upgrade was excessively smooth and painless, not that I have ever had an issue on the upgrade before. But last time I used a neat plugin which deserves a special mention – WordPress Automatic Upgrade its just brilliant. It forces you to take a backup, deactivates all plugins, upgrades from the latest WordPress and then reinstates everything. Literally, a few clicks and you are done. I just love it, since I somehow seem to be volunteered into maintaining a bunch of WordPress sites.

Finally, only 76 days to go for FOSS.IN/2008. Thats one of the things that is keeping me a bit busy and awake at night. Do keep a look out for announcements and other happenings on FOSS.IN.

In the meantime, back to work…


Belated Independence Day Greetings

While the country was gearing up to celebrate the 61st Independence Day, I had a sheer dependence on technology. I was helping a client migrate their mail server, (it had to be shifted from one data centre to another) which was taking a little longer than usual. I finally landed up staying up almost till 0400 hrs. Not that its unusual, but I do like to get to bed before dawn.

Anyways, while waiting for some things to happen, I kept wondering if there was an easier way to manage the three servers in question. In particular, I needed an easy way to type the same command on all three machines at the same time. They are identical servers, just that they are in three different locations. Google to the rescue and a few minutes later I was installing ClusterSSH on my notebook. Now that I have seen and used it, I really wonder how I’ve survived all these years without it.

As the name suggests, its essentially meant for cluster administration, where the need for issuing the same command on all nodes is a very common requirement. The good thing is that its not limited to clusters. If you add a bunch of hosts either on the command line or in the config files, fire up cssh and you get a separate Xterm for each host you add, except that you also get a little box in which whatever you type is echoed on all the terminals. Just what the doctor ordered. Very nifty indeed.

I was then able to check the mail queues, configure the SMTP servers, restart the mail services, all from one place simultaneously on all three servers. A real time saver.

So what kept me up till 0330 hrs, was one of the servers not clearing its queue. Once everything was working, I just couldn’t enough of ClusterSSH and stayed up playing with it till Jyoti came in search for me and dragged me away from it.

With that as a start of the Independence day for me, I finally got some rest, but clearly not enough. I was woken up at 0830 hrs to fix yet another mail server. Why, oh why do these servers have to misbehave on a National holiday. The issue turned out to be minor and got solved rapidly. Now to actually get back to holidaying.

wanted to fly some kites so we went out in search for some kite flying experts. Jyoti’s brother Navin is quite an ustaad at it and with his help we managed to get three of our kites up and rather high at that. Some of the kids from a neighbouring village watched in amusement as we tried to get some more kites up and finally came to our rescue.

We ended the day with a long awaited annoucement – FOSS.IN/2008 dates and venue. November 25-29, 2008 at the National Science Symposium Centre, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.

Hope you had a good Independence day too!


PS: Some important info on ClusterSSH that I left out:

I use Fedora 9 on my laptop and found ClusterSSH in the repositories, a simple “sudo yum install clusterssh” worked great for me.

Use cssh -u > $HOME/.csshrc to create your default config file.

Adding the cluster and server tags to .csshrc did not work for me, I finally used /etc/clusters for that, the syntax is simple:

clusters = myboxen

myboxen = username@hostname1:port username@hostname2:port

It helps to have your SSH keys already copied on the target hosts.

Poster Boys (and Gals)

You can never keep all of the people happy all of the time! And when it comes to communities its a nightmare. A few days ago, Team FOSS.IN/2007 released some fabulous posters in order to help with the promotion of the event. The posters are essentially the work of Hari who has been doing the artwork for FOSS.IN for the past few years and absolutely excelling at it. He did have some help from a few photographers to get the photos but he manages to change them magically into these wonderful posters.

Would you believe the amount of negativity that is floating around these posters, starting with “…were these created using FOSS tools or not?” and “…why have you only got developers?” and “these only talk about the presenters, whats in it for the audience/participants” the list just seems to go on and on.

I am not even going to attempt to answer any of these questions, all I’d like to say is that in the past few years that I have seen Hari working with graphic tools, I have seen a conscious effort to move from proprietary software tools to FOSS tools. He does sometimes, use a few filters and effects that he can’t as yet get with the FOSS tools, but by and large he sticks with FOSS. His laptop runs only Ubuntu the last time I saw it.

So for anyone wanting to criticise the posters, please think again. They are great works of art and the artist is doing the best he can to use FOSS tools to create these works. And after all that, he also releases the works under a Creative Commons license. What else do you want?

Anyways, here’s a sample of the work:

<a href="http://foss.in/2007/content/images/thumb/1/1c/Gopal.jpg/400px-Gopal cialis moins cher en france.jpg” rel=”lightbox[posters]” title=”Gopal”>