Wednesday, August 24, 2005

AMD Ad in Bangalore Times of India

Well, well. I just saw an for AMD 64-bit PCs in today's Times of India. May be some body was reading my blog ;-).

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Why is it so hard to buy AMD in Bangalore?

I am a big fan of AMD. I have a Athlon XP based system for my parents in my home town, Coimbatore. I have a Pentium 4 based Home PC that given by my company at my home in Bangalore. My company has a nice option of two desktops (one at office and one at home ) or one laptop. I don't like lugging around laptops, so I had opted for two desktops. Recently I have been considering buying my own laptop or switching to a laptop at office and building my own system at home. I decided to switch to a laptop at office and build my own AMD64 based desktop.

I am planning to assemble mine, so what I am going to say now is not a problem for me personally. However, I am very puzzled by the complete absense of advertisements for AMD based systems recently in Bangalore Times of India. I used to see frequent ads a few months back but recently I haven't seen a single one. LG started advertising AMD based LG MyPC but now you only see LG ads with a Intel Inside logo. Same story for HCL. I don't even see the occasionaly ads that I used to see for non-branded AMD based systems. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but is this Intel's literal monopoly marketing muscle at work? Why are there so many advertisements for Intel based systems when AMD based ones give much more value for money?

Next Bangalore Debian Developer's Conference

This year's event was somewhat low key. Prof Sadagopan has thrown a challenge to increase the number of Debian Developers in India from 2 to 20 by the next conference. The date for that has been already fixed as Aug 19th 2006. Looking at the enthusiasm of the people I met in yesterday's conference and the enthusiasm of the so many Linux enthusiasts that in BLUG that I haven't had a chance to meet, the target is certainly very much achievable.

Debian Developer's conference in Bangalore

Yesterday's first Debian Developer's conference went off very well. Many thanks to Prof. Sadagopan, S. Nagaran from HP and all the other organisers that worked in the background. The event did not have high visibility, so I was pleasantly surprised when about a hundred people turned up. You can read more about the event in Natarajan's Blog and Ramki's Blog.

The meet was a wonderful experience for me and I met a lot of interesting people. I have been wanting to meet the folks behind the fantastic IndLinux effort and I had the good opportunity to meet Ramakrishna Reddy. We happen to live pretty close to each other and I hope to attend their developer meet the coming week.

I met some very interesting GNU fans, I don't remember all the names. I do remember Alok. We were talking about GNU Emacs and emacs-multi-tty. I would've loved to chat some more, but unfortunately I had a train to catch to my home town. Speaking about my home town, I met some guys from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore. I was happy to find some users of my tamil-gtk2im package :-).

They are a very enthusiastic bunch of people, and that's the thing I've been missing about these meetings. You meet so many so many like minded people at meet ups and it's a lot of fun. I think I've missed out a lot by not attending such meets, including the Bangalore Linux User's group meets that used to be regularly held a while back. The BLUG meet is back the coming weekend and I'll definitely try to attend this time.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Sending HTML mail through mutt

Why would you want to do such a crazy thing? Well, I like the ability to blog by just sending a mail through mutt and sometimes it's convenient to throw in a link or two. I tried various tricks, including setting a send-hook like this in my .muttrc like this:
send-hook '~t <blog_addr>'           'set content_type="text/html"' 
But nothing seems to work. I have to set the content-type manually by typing "^T" in the Compose menu :-(.

First Annual Bangalore Debian Developer Conference

The website isn't completely ready yet, so I thought I should post this on my blog.


First Annual Bangalore Debian Developer Conference

Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:30pm-6:30pm (Pre-announcement)

The first annual Bangalore Debian Developer Conference will be held at the

International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT,) Bangalore on Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:30pm-6:30pm. Debian and Free Software developers from Bangalore meet for a half-day interaction on Debian. The conference focus will be technical in nature. Being the first conference and with very few volunteers, we are organizing this conference as a low-key, techie conference. The main objective of this conference is to create a network and ecosystem for Debian Developers in Bangalore.

The target audience is: current or aspiring Debian developers, interested and sophisticated users of Debian GNU/Linux distribution from Bangalore. During the conference a few of attending developers will give talks about particular topics about or otherwise affiliated with Debian GNU/Linux.

Prof.S. Sadagopan, Director, IIIT-Bangalore has kindly agreed to inaugurate the conference.

The schedule will be published during the conference and isn't finalized yet. The broad topics will include discussions on potential development initiatives Debian developers could take up, sharing experience by Debian developers who have contributed and other experience sharing. This conference also aims at defining goals for the next one year among participants for Debian GNU/Linux based activities. The conference registration is free. However, interested participants are expected to be pre-registered. Please visit to register yourself for the conference. You can also register by sending mail to: Please visit the IIIT-B website for details of the venue and how to reach.


Acknowledgement: This year's Bangalore Debian Developer Conference is being organized in collaboration with and support from IIIT-Bangalore.

This posting was made by S. Nagarajan ( who's driving this effort to and I am posting this here to reach a wider audience.

As some of you may be aware there are only two Debian Developers in India. This is an abysmally low number, and I have to admit that I personally haven't done much to address this problem. I thank S. Nagarajan for taking this up and hope this mini conference helps to get more developers involved.

Has Perl 6 missed the boat?

I read that Dan Sugalski has left the Parrot project (Parrot is the VM for Perl 6). Perl was my first scripting language. I started with Perl 4. Till date Programming Perl First Edition by Larry Wall and Randal Schwartz happens to be one of my all time favorite technical books (the other one is Unix Programming Environment by Brian Kernighan and Rob Pike). I immediately fell in love with Perl and I still like it enough to occasionally program in it. I think some of the charm was lost in Perl 5. Though references and other features were a good thing, I think Perl became a tougher language for the newbie. CPAN is amazing, but writing a module, particularly an object oriented one in Perl was a bit like black magic.

By the time Perl 6 project started, I had found Python and more or less switched to it for most of my programming needs. Even though I missed the crispness of perl, and had trouble accepting whitespace significance in a programming language long after I stopped programming in Fortran, I learnt to appreciate Python's clean design. However, I still followed Perl development and used to read Larry Wall's Exegesis talks on Perl 6. IMHO Perl 6 changes the language too radically and it's simply taking too long to release. I am sure Perl 6 will be released sooner or later, but it's so different from Perl that I wonder if it will be really relevant. I think many people have or would have moved to Python or Ruby tired of waiting for Perl 6.

Mind you, I am not saying that Perl is dead. Far from it. C has managed to survive mostly unchanged for over 25 years. Perl is a wonderful language and I still believe every Unix programmer should learn the language. I am sure Perl would be in any good Unix programmer's toolbox for a long time to come. My only question is whether that'll be true for Perl 6? Or would people migrate to Ruby which is closer in spirit to Perl than Python.

In case you're wondering, I did spend some time with Ruby. I think it's a nice language, but I didn't find a compelling advantage over Python to switch. Python's evolution is very well managed and I believe Python has and will continue to borrow some of the nice features from Ruby.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Evolution vs Thunderbird

Kumar Appaiah comments "If you are really bothered about resource-hungry Evolution, how can you prefer Thunderbird, which is, if anything, worse than Evolution when it comes to resources?". Well, that's not been my experience. Evolution starts other processes in the background (evolution-alarm and evolution-data-server) besides launching it's own copies of spamd if I turn on junk mail checking. Still, I decided to give it another try and configured three IMAP accounts and a usenet account (same as my thunderbird) and here's the resource usage

30984 rganesan  16   0  170m  79m  17m S    0.0 15.8   1:37.58 evolution
 8428 rganesan  16   0  223m  51m  22m S    0.0 10.2   1:36.69 mozilla-thunderbird

Even though the VM size comes up smaller, combined with the other background processes, evolution's VM size comes up much higher. Besides, I guess it doesn't really make sense comparing the VM size, it's the RSS which really matters. Evolution also shows up other quirks when talking to Myrealbox IMAP server. Myrealbox's IMAP server doesn't appear to be fully standards compliant but still Evolution's quirks are very strange. Some folders appear twice and the Sent folder doesn't show up at all. The second quirk is especially annoying and strange because when I try to subscribe folders the missing folder shows up as already subscribed. On my other E-mail account on Fastmail, Evolution does not appear to take into account the folder prefix that I give (I tried both INBOX and INBOX.). Any way, despite these issues, I am actually beginning to like the look and feel of Evolution. It's a really polished UI, I'll probably play around with it some more.

I switched to using IMAP because I wanted an account accessible from multiple machines (I don't like carrying a laptop). But IMAP has the added advantage that I can easily switch between mail clients as I please :-). Kumar also comments that he prefers mutt any day. I like mutt too and I use mutt for all my pop accounts (including gmail). However, mutt's IMAP support is not good enough for me because, first it doesn't cache and second working with multiple folders is not easy.

Calculating Loan EMIs

In addition to technology I am also interested in money (who isn't :-). I really like the financial calculator that comes with the Handspring line of PDAs. I couldn't find a singe Linux App that matched it's flexibility, so I wrote a spreadsheet which I hope captures it's essense. Here's the spreasheet and description.