It is a war we come to fight
Some of us call it life
In it some get off light
Some face a deadening strife
Yet we want to live it all
Not leave it midway through
Sometimes we rise, at times we fall
It tiltillates us like a shrew.
It is fun at times to fight this war
Till we reach its sudden end
To live it well we hold no bar
Let's enjoy this God-send
War they say has no winners
In this case it isnt so
Here all win all become stars
Every dog has his day before we go.
Although I had picked up a few new and interesting weblogs along the way(Sayesha, Twisha, Knotty knight, Soham, among others) with the spattering of a few FOSS blogs(cyberorg, zonker, o-reilly, helios, ...) but familiarity is a feeling which is very difficult to compromise with. On a somewhat disappointed note, I caught up on my reading using Brief, another of those RSS readers the guys came up with for FF3.5(FOSS rocks, again). Although there were beautiful pieces(both tech and linguistic), I felt myself yearning for writings I had grown up with in my cyberlife.
As I swept through Jua's blog, I found a promise for more stories somewhat hollow given the fact that no posts had come up in over three months. Shrink's quips seemed missing, with 2 months of abyssmal emptiness. The FOSSmeister Debayan's post, rare as they were, had become too FOSSy for comfort, with his stories of college life lost in the misty travails of time. Roshan too, in this respect was too FOSSy, but thats what he's always done, so full marks for consistency, not to mention quality. The 'new bloggers' Shouvik , P*da & Jiten had self confessedly underfed blogs. Sherry never quite switched over from FOSS to VLSI, getting left strangled in between. That left me with the now defunct Abhi squared [Kelasis][Nash], who would find it difficult to remember when either last posted.
I dare not chastise any of the aforementioned people for their inactivity, for to be fair, they make better use of their time than I do, and I have myself blogged in grossly inadequate quantities over the course of this year. But the mind yearns for those eagerly awaited and diligently followed blogposts that never fail to bring a smile to my lips or a wrinkle of thoughtfulness to my forehead, as the situation might call for.
So, dear blogosphere of mine(both erstwhile and current), do not abandon me. Post for the sake of your readers, if not for your own.
P.S. The links/names included are suggestive, not exhaustive. Someday I will post a fuller list of what I read in cyberspace.
Today was a day which passed to fast for my liking, but as it drew to a close, I came across a book on the life of Bill Gates. As I leafed through, I thought of why, despite all the roadblocks he faced, and with half the intellectual world turned against him as if he was the devil's cousin, he managed to build the largest ever personal fortune and one of the largest business empires in the world. Even that on a concept considered flawed at best and fascist at worst.
As a FOSS enthusiast, whatever that is supposed to mean(ever heard of people developing or popularising the use of ATMs being called ATM enthusiasts), I strived to understand why, despite the best efforts of some of the best minds of today, GNU/Linux never quite faced a formidable threat to the quintessential, albeit repressive, MS Windows.
GNU/Linux was the first great attempt at a free OS that I know of(no, I'll not humour certain people by explaining what free means), giving end users extreme usage flexibility and security, but with great power, as they say, comes great responsibility. I feel(repeat... I feel) that most contributors to free software have been found lacking in this respect.
The previous statement may sound blasphemous given my own humble status. But it is not a statement I am making without rhyme or reason. I had once attended a talk by Richard Stallman, the guy who started it all. At that time I was not aware of the so called factions in the Free Software community. I found his words on freedom and its moralistic aspect in software development very inspiring, and there was hardly a point one could disagree upon. However, since then I have come across several people putting forward the same views, but their words, instead of further convincing me, rubbed quite the wrong way.
This is because of two main reasons, one being that they spoke of issues like nomenclature, which any end-user would consider secondary, if at all, the other being that they offer arguements of RMS, never their own.
RMS, in his own right, can argue all he wants, followed by his infinite contributions, but people with no idea of what he means menacingly echo his words at grossly inappropriate places at even worse times. This in turn scares away potential new users and angers(pisses off, rather) developers who have much more pressing matters in their minds. If all this effort was spent at developing more software or going out and telling new people about this wonder, I think these ends would be much better served. If it was all about freedom, should people not be free to call stuff they have helped create, whatever they want to? Moreover, it would go easy on those people who are entering this world if instead of bickering within, someone bothered more about welcoming the newcomers. After all, isn't the whole idea pointless if everyone fights over it and no one uses or improves it. The humongous wastage of precious time and bandwidth recently on the openSUSE-marketing mailing list angered and saddened me to no end. But then, everybody's free to their all important opinion, even if it messes up the very things the perpetrators purportedly stand for.
In all that I said, Gates' success was attributed primarily to our failure as Free Software evangelists. But to say that this is the only reason would be unfair to both him and his detractors.
First: Bill's side:
His enterprise and vision are exemplary, but in his own words - "Vision is free, so it gives no competitive edge whatsoever". He worked hard, mostly because he wanted to make money, which I must say is not so great an incentive for Free Software people, but at least a bit for the love of it.
Also, his one track mind focussed at making his company huge, helped - "Microsoft looks at new ideas, they don’t evaluate whether the idea will move the industry forward, they ask, ‘how will it help us sell more copies of Windows?".
So did his egotist attitude, which helped him believe he was right, even if it meant that the rest were all wrong - "It's possible, you can never know, that the universe exists only for me. If so, it's sure going well for me, I must admit.".
This, though helpful to his bank balance and stock prices, is not necessarily a good way of looking at it, but it sure pays good. Bill Gates did what no one seems to do in what could have been a much better FOSSworld, got his priorities right, and minded his own business(all meanings intended)!
So, time for some introspection, I guess. It is in our hands that we have our future. Will we, in our blinded views, lose our way, or show the way to the 7 billion others, who look to us for deliverance from proprietarity(btw, is that a word?)
checking build system type... i686-pc-linux-gnu
checking host system type... i686-pc-linux-gnu
checking for a BSD-compatible install... /usr/bin/install -c
checking whether build environment is sane... yes
(gnusim8085:8374): Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display: :0.0
Here's a shot of when I started:
And here is the working version:
27/03/2009 to 29/03/2009
See the complete report here :-
This write up took a long time coming. My apologies to all concerned. Nevertheless, this AGM took a long time coming too. When it did come though, it had little if any scope for complaint. The Annual General Meeting, 2008-09 of GNU/Linux User's Group, NIT Durgapur took place on Wednesday, the 8th of April, 2009 at the conference hall of the D.M.Sen Memorial building. It was finely attended, and the faculty was represented at the meeting by our very own S.Chowdhury sir, Sajal sir & S.Das sir, all from the I.T. Department. The meeting, scheduled for 6p.m. started in time. We were addressed by our teachers who shared a few kind words with us and assured us that their blessings and advise would always be with us. S.C. Sir told us that we should keep setting higher goals for ourselves, and be ready to overcome newer frontiers. He gave us examples of various people who had done pathbreaking work despite roadblocks and lack of support, including the illustrious work of S.Das sir. He also spoke of how our GLUG had, despite opposition from various quarters and a non-supportive administration, risen from a low to become a respected FOSS awareness hub, reaching new heights that had never been contemplated earlier, to become one of the best known GLUGs in the country. He praised the vision and tenacity of both the student members and the faculty advisors which had made this possible, specifically mentioning Debayan and Mayank among students. Sajal Sir encouraged us to turn our GLUG into an even larger entity, which would change the face of computer usage and the image of GNU/Linux as a geeky OS, at the least in our state, at the most...well, you know. He spoke of 4 things that had changed the recent world, namely Google, Wikipedia, MIT OpenCourseWare and Youtube! videos, and how we could very well be the fifth. He was followed by S.Das sir who spoke of the various opportunities we have and get and how we should go out and use them to our benefit.
This was followed by a presentation by Debayan, the outgoing head of our Software Development Unit. He spoke of the various shortcomings of GLUG in it's earlier avatar, which had caused it to partially collapse and how it had risen from that low, thanks to the undying enthusiasm and support of the concerned teachers and students. He spoke of the plethora of work done by GLUG, NITD in the past two years and of how this work can be carried on by it in the coming years. He spoke of the grand success of Mukti '09 in achieving it's primary goal, not that of pulling in huge crowds but of reaching out to the right places where spreading FOSS awareness mattered. Thanks to Mukti '09, new GLUGs have come up at several places like NIT Agartala, NIT Jamshedpur and KGEC, Kalyani. The working of GLUG, NITD has matured over its 5 year life, and it has grown to become a resource hub of sorts for the entire region, with other close-by GLUGs calling in for technical and logistic support. He spoke of the extremely helpful role of IOTA, Govt. Of West Bengal, in providing us with psychological and financial support when we were facing difficult times, and in its usefulness to the future plans and functioning of GLUG. He also gave us an idea and useful advice on the future tasks and responsibilities of GLUG, with plans like the FOSS helpline and Freedom toaster. We realised how much we had done recently and how much more needed to be done yet if what we did was really to bring about the change we wanted. Thanks to Varsha's efforts and survey, now 75 of 228 girls in our college used one distro or another of GNU/Linux, a positive tendency, to say the least, at the grassroots level. It was clear from his words that to make Free Software a true success, the basics were where we needed to go back to. The 3 mailing lists(well practically two,)received the much deserved attention in their role in popularising GNU/Linux, both in and outside the campus. The list of common interest would be groups.google.com/group/nitdgplug .
Shreyank, or Shrink as he likes to be called, spoke of his 4yr tryst with GLUG, from its early days to its current state. Entwined though his words were in his characteristic PJs, his dedication and love for GNU/Linux and Free Software was hard to miss. It's people like him, with their delicate balance of sanity and dedication, that our GLUG would miss the most.
The Director shared a few kind words with us, about our future course of action and priorities.
Following this, the new GLUG committee was announced and the outgoing committee was issued certificates of appreciation.
The committees are as follows :
The meeting was then concluded at around 8.