Thursday, December 16, 2004

Performance is a goal, correctness is a constraint

While writing my last post about Solaris, I never imagined that just two days later I would be programming kernel modules for solaris. I have conciously kept away from Solaris over the last few years, as I did not wish to have divide time from Linux, and get confused over the similarities as a side effect.

They say 'The more things change, the more they remain the same' . On similar lines I think 'The more things appear the same, the more different they are' . Take C & C++ and Java as examples. I started my programming career with Java, then learnt C++ and finally learnt C ( Of course I am learning assembly now, isn't that natural ?). One would think that when you know C++ already, C would be easy . On the contrary, they are so similar that I had a tough time remembering the differences. Declaring variables as late as possible is one C++ best practices that would always result in my writing C programs that won't compile.

The point of all this is, all *nixes are so much alike (superficially of course), that if you want to go a bit deeper under the hood, you start having a hard time. That philosophy, coupled with the conviction that only Free Software is the technology of future and is worth working on (more ramblings on this later) , kept me away from Solaris. As I program on Solaris now, its heartening and more than reassuring to know that come Feb, and the Sun will shine on the Open Source world. There won't be a GPL style license in all probability, but forcing a Unix company to open even with a BSD style license is no small success.

[If you are still wondering how all this relates to the title, its past 11 now, and I have to get up early tomorrow, so that would come later.]

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Solaris going opensource ?

An article on slashdot suggests that Solaris 10 will be open-sourced. It further raises concerns about the effect of this on Linux. I do not see why it should be a cause for concern.

First of all, linux is not the means or the end, its just an example of a successful FLOSS project. If the success of Linux could really force companies like Sun to take notice, and release products that were not originally developed using the floss way, and they turn out to be better, why should the Free Software community worry ? Let the best OS survive.

Having said that, I still don't see how Free/Open sourced Solaris can be a threat. Solaris for intel has been free for a long time, but has that affected the adoption of Linux ? Not really, because for corporates , 'free' as in beer isn't everything. So If Solaris at all becomes Free & Open, it would only affect those who were hindered in their adoption of Solaris because of TCOs. And besides the primary platform for solaris is sparc, just as the primary platform for linux is i386. We have versions of linux running on sparc, and versions of solaris on intel, and while both are free, they don't really compete. So the only threat that is there, is for those who have a sparc and couldn't afford Solaris uptil now.

In the end, any such news is good news, and its only microsoft thats going to lose, as it becomes more and more isolated.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


After a brief, or not so brief hiatus, I am back. The last few days have been difficult, and I have decided not to switch jobs anytime soon again, if God so wills. Feeling quite relieved now, after some stressful days of decision making.

This is just one of those posts where you let the world know you still exist in a physical sense.

Monday, November 01, 2004

EDA tools

I am on the lookout for EDA tools, simple circuit simulation ones, that can be used in a classroom, to instruct first year engineering students. Something like a GPL'ed Electronics Workbench would do just fine. Since the tool would be used in a Lab Setup, and students would be having only a few hours to get familiar with (and not an entire course), it should have a GUI (must), and it should be intuitive. If you know of one, post a comment here.

Initial search on source-forge yields three possibilities.

The first one is DigitalSimulator, which looks pretty stable (& bloated too) and should suffice for digital experiments. Only thing that surprises me is its Java based, yet glued to MS Windows platfroms.

Then there is Qucs (Qt universal circuit simulator) , thats still in its 0.04 version, and would require some improvements before its ready for prime-time, but shows promise. This one of course, is more oriented towards electrical components (no digital circuits, no transistors/diodes either)

And another one is tkgate (event driven digital circuit simulator with a tcl/tk-based graphical editor). I am yet to explore it and find out what an ED-DCS is. Time to get back to work !!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Stallman is Fed up

Ecol Posted by Hello

You bet he is, with this kind of strips doing the round.

Now I like Dilbert, and could sometimes make some sense out of User Friendly, but Ecol (originally spanish, now translated to English) is just superb. I just subscribed it on my gmail account, and I am going to see if it could be printed by one of the local Linux magzines published here. I hope Ecol is GPL too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Slashdot is carrying a story on Gambas, a Visual Basic kind of a RAD for Linux. It has entered Release Candidate Phase, and I am dying to test it out. Its altogather a different matter that I don't know VB & have never been comfortable with the idea of a RAD. My younger brother knows VB well, and I am sure he is going to like it. One big difference is that the BASIC code is compiled into bytecode, before being interpreted.

And more than anything else, the screenshots feature terrific wallpapers (spoofs on the original Windows XP wallpaper). See this , for an example :- If you know where I can get the wallpapers, do post the link here.

I have a tough decision to make today, and I have almost made up my mind. If you had to choose between doing the work you love to do & job security/brand name, what would you choose ? It would be rather obvious choice for most, but I don't have the benefit of retrospect to say so.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

First Blood

Its time to post the first bits. Time to decide what all is going to appear on this blog.

Many a times have I tried maintaining a journal, with not so spectacular results. I have been thinking of having a blog since quite some time, & actually created a PhoneLog . When the initial charm of my camera phone subsided, and the realisation dawned that neither of those whom I know are going to adopt GPRS/MMS any time soon, I stopped posting.
Let me see how far do I go with blogging.

What I intend to post (& solicit comments on), are my views (however flawed), of the Tech World, software in particular. Disgressions on my other interests, gadgets (cellphones, divx player & the like) are allowed, every once in a while.

I know this sounds boring, but didn't the title warned you !!