OSSCamp Delhi SE01

OSSCamp Delhi Summer Edition kicked off this morning. There was a movie called “Revolution OS” that talked about the beginning of the Free Software Foundation and GNU. It spawned a few discussions about GNU, Linux and the various distributions built around GNU software and the Linux kernel. Interesting movie – NOT an Open Source documentary.

We then had a talk given by Prateek Saxena on Blue Print and Drafter (Code not yet available online). Very cool stuff for quickly doing some design layouts and prototypes.

After Drafter, Manu Goel gave a very interesting talk on the concept of CSS Specificity. The idea being that there are certain elements or attributes in CSS that take precedence over others. We should be able to determine what elements take precedence, hence, being able to attain a finer control over your design.

Tennyson Kaniampady has given a very interesting introduction to Ingres. Ingres is one of the oldest commercially available relational databases. Ingres, unfortunately, doesn’t have a large following in India but Postgres came from Ingres and, thus, it can be relatively easy to move from Postgres to Ingres.

Tennyson is now giving a talk on Appliances.
Update 15:45
I am trying to upload videos of the Blue Print/Drafter and CSS Specificity presentations but there isn’t enough bandwidth to upload two <4min videos.

Tennyson is discussion Ingres’ BI Portfolio. it’s a bit tough to read from the back of the room so I’ll link to the presentation once its up online.

Ingres BI Stack

  • Apache/Tomcat
  • Java
  • Ingres 2006
  • Linux
  • Ingres Icebreaker
  • The Jasper reporting engine sits on top of the Ingres Icebreaker stack.

    Update 15:52
    Tennyson is introducing us to their Alfresco Collaboration Suite also built on top of Ingres Icrbreaker.

    Ingres CAFE is an integrated stack of application development.

  • Eclipse IDE
  • Ingres Database

I just asked why Postgres shouldn’t be used instead of Ingres. Tennyson mentions that Postgres is not multi-threaded and support, plus future roadmap of Postgres isn’t clearly mapped out.

Update 15:58
Tea/Coffee Break to wake up all the food coma victims

Update 16:33
We’re back from our tea/coffee break and Prateek has given a Introduction to Ruby on Rails with a great selection of pictures in his presentation.

Update 16:36
Prateek is giving us an example of an application that he’s developed on his localhost (an Apple MacBook). It’s an online shopping cart that took 2 days (18 to 20 hours).

Update 16:52
Mir Nazim is giving a an Introduction to Artificial Intelligence in Python. Python is a 100% Object Oriented language and not just a scripting language. Python is concise and it looks like English.

We’re having a bit of trouble getting the Python console up and running on Apple OS X Tiger. Making the switch to a LinuxMint machine now but we’re having issues with the projector so time to reboot.

Update 17:01
Ok, we’re up and running and doing a quick demo of “Hello World” and now moved onto demoing an “if” statement. All of the other basic operators and data types are being discussed. Immutable Arrays = Tuples in Python. Tuples are very very fast and great for temporary arrays or an arrays containing values that never change.

Recommended Python Books

  • Dive Into Python
  • Bite of Python

Update 17:30
Mir is about to start Part II of the Python presentation, though, time might be a problem.

OSSCampDelhiSE01 comes to a close.
Thank you all for attending and contributing.

Update 21:48
A few of the videos I took at OSSCampDelhiSE01 are up on YouTube.

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Ubuntu Feisty Fawn on ThinkPad T60

After the release of Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, I decided to try upgrading my installation of Edgy Eft directly using Ubuntu Update Manager. It wasn’t working for various reasons so I used the command line to run apt-get upgrade. That was a big mistake. It downloaded and installed a few packages which upon reboot, broke Gnome. I was able to only get Ubuntu to boot into run level 3. I poked around a bit and couldn’t fix the problems mainly because I didn’t have a wired Internet connection and I couldn’t effectively connect to a Wireless Access Point using Network Manager from the command line (I need to figure out how to connect to a wireless AP from the command line, especially when I can’t remember the WEP or WPA passcodes).

After a frustrating night, I decided to use my MacBook to download the Feisty Fawn LiveCD. I started the download at night via BitTorrent and by the time I woke up, the download was done. I burnt the iso image to a CD and popped the freshly minted CD into my ThinkPad T60. During the installation, I decided to do a completely fresh install of Ubuntu so I wouldn’t have to worry about all the broken dependencies from Edgy Eft and how they might make Feisty Fawn unstable. I did, however, preserve my home partition and mounted that into the installation of Feisty Fawn. The installation process was very easy and allowed me to get my T60 up and running within and hour.

Feisty Fawn picked up all the necessary drivers for the ThinkPad T60. The Intel 3945 wireless drivers were also installed and setup. The Ubuntu installation also allowed me to use the ThinkPad keys for volume control and brightness control with complete OSD. It didn’t appear to install the tpb packages but managed to provide similar functionality.

Feisty even recognized the proprietary ATI drivers that are necessary for the Radeon X1400 in my ThinkPad T60 and made it very easy for me to download and install the drivers, though, they aren’t open source. The open source drivers for the ATI video card were loaded by default and worked pretty well. I’m not doing any gaming on Ubuntu so 3D graphics aren’t a major concern.

I have wanted to play with Beryl and Compiz for a while and now I finally got my chance. It took a bunch of tweaking to get going. Unfortunately, Feisty Fawn has a broken package that doesn’t include the beryl-xgl package. I was able to download an older package and extract the relevant binary and put it into the right place. After a few hours of fiddling with driver updates and getting to the bottom of the whole beryl-xgl problem, I have the ATI drivers running with XGL on Feisty Fawn. Though, I’ve read it’s pretty unstable to use the proprietary drivers with XGL, I’ve yet to see any major problems. Beryl is pretty slick but it’s a resource pig. Even so, I haven’t stopped using it. The only thing that’s a bit annoying is that every time I login, I have to reload the Beryl Window Manager. If I don’t reload, my Metacity mobile themes load up and Beryl doesn’t. This is apparently caused by Beryl crashing immediately upon login but not crash when I reload. I’ll get around to writing a full post on my experience installing Beryl on the T60. Below are some screenshots of Beryl under Ubuntu on my ThinkPad T60.

The obligatory spinning cube
Desktop Under Beryl
Water Effects in Beryl
Wobbly windows effect

Upon booting up into Feisty Fawn, I didn’t notice any significant changes. Luckily all my settings were saved in my home directory and I was quickly attached to my wireless network. I did find that the Network Manager Gnome applet had an option to create a manual configuration which I don’t think it did before.

The sleep functionality is still broken. I can put the T60 to sleep using the hotkeys but waking up from sleep is a problem. However, applying this fix solves the sleep and hibernation problem on Feisty Fawn (unless you are using Beryl).

Overall, I find Ubuntu to be the best desktop Linux distro I’ve used thus far. Though, I’m still more comfortable using and developing on Fedora, I find that the basic things a distro should do work very well on Ubuntu and not so well on Fedora or OpenSuse. There’s a lot more tinkering involved with these other distros. Hence, I’ve decided to install Fedora 7 from the LiveCD into a VMWare appliance. Below are a few screenshots of Fedora 7 running in a VM.
Fedora 7 in a VMFedora 7 Welcome Screen

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Setting up the ThinkPad T60

The first thing I did after I got the T60 was to format the drive, keeping the rescue partition, and resize the first boot partition to give Windows XP 15 GB. I’ve decided to keep XP on this laptop for being able to do firmware upgrades to the Nokia E61 and to be able to access the Motorola SLVR with the Motorola Phone Tools. Other than that, I don’t need XP and I might eventually do away with it.

I manually partitioned the drive into multiple partions. I created at 15GB partition to hold my home directory as I expect to share it between multipe Linux distributions. I created at 2.5GB Swap partition and a 20GB partition to hold Fedora Core 6.

Installing FC6 was as normal as any Linux distribution goes except it crashed when I tried to customize the package installation. Once I ran a standard development environment install, it went smoothly.
fc6_desktop_3.png

After everything was installed, I got to configuring this puppy. I found there was a bit of manual intervention beyond what was required for my old T40. No big deals other than not being able to get the bluetooth working well enough that I can synch all my contacts and calendars from my Nokia E61 to Evolution. I’m not entirely sure where the problem is but I think it’s somewhere in the libsync libraries. Still trying to find an expert who can help me with this.

Configuring the Intel 3945 wireless was pretty painless – for one specific network. Fedora, in my humble opinion, still does not support location based network profiles very well. And for some ver weird reason, running NetworkManager is the only way to get DHCP working on the laptop with the wireless. It’s very weird, but at least I know I have to keep it on if I want to use DHCP. Conversely, if I don’t want to use DHCP (wired or wireless) and I want to employ a static network configuration, NetworkManager MUST be turned off.

fc6_desktop_2.png
Overall, I’ve been very happy having my ThinkPad T60 running Fedora Core 6 but the little things like synching my phone with my calendar and addressbook are things that Fedora is just not cut out for. I’ll see if i can get it working with Ubuntu when I get some time to install it.

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Fedora Core 6 Delayed Again

Take a look at the Fedora Core 6 Draft Schedule. They’ve delayed general release by two more days. The original release date was Oct. 10th (I believe this was the initial date), then Oct. 17th, and now Oct. 19th. I’m anxiously waiting to see if I can install FC6 on my MacBook using an external USB drive that I can carry with me on my travels.

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Effective Emacs

Interesting article on Emacs but most people using Emacs today are using it on Intel Hardware ( and PowerPC base Macs ). I think the writer is misisng the one major point that people love about emacs – The ability customize your environment to work the way you want. The author proposes making keyboard bindings that make your PC work more like a traditional unix workstation, e.g. IBM RS/6000 or Sun Sparc station.

I’ve been an Emacs user since 1996 and carry my .emacs profile to every computer I use…all being Intel based PCs. This is the power of Emacs, I can have keyboard shortcuts for just about any application or command I run within Emacs. The only downfall is when someone who doesn’t know my key bindings suddenly starts using my Emacs session.

Read more at opal.cabochon.com/~stev…

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