My 2 paisas

Posts Tagged ‘tech

Last weekend, CMRIT GLUG along with IBM and FSMK conducted a 2 day workshop, “FOSS for Budding Developers”. This workshop was completely technical in nature and among the many FOSS workshops that I have attended, one of the most useful one for me. The professionalism of IBMers could be seen during the workshop which was also the main reason for the huge success of this workshop.

The workshop covered the following topics,
Day 1

  • Linux Kernel Developement
  • Eclipse IDE and how to develop plugins in it
  • Day 2

  • Linux Test Project
  • Apache web server and developing applications in it.
  • OpenPegasus
  • I was interested in Linux Kernel Developement and the Linux Test Project sessions. I had taken my laptop to make the best use of the workshop.

    I have been using GNU/Linux since last 2 years, but never did I get the courage to compile and build the Linux kernel. Only around 6 months back, I had for the first time with help of Naresh, installed the new linux kernel on my system using apt-get. The main reason for not trying out building my own linux kernel was that I was afraid that I would loose all the data I had in my system. However for the workshop I had decided that I will try it out. So when the Linux Kernel session started, I was very excited.
    In the pre-lunch session, we were introduced to various tools that any Hacker would require while trying to read the source code or build from source code. We were introduced to gcc, gdb, make, makefiles, strace,ltrace and cscope tools. Though I knew little about gcc and gdb, I realized the importance of the other tools. I particularly was marveled by “cscope” and “strace”. Optimized use of cscope will surely decrease the time taken to go through the source code for any developer. I remember it had taken me around 2 months just to go through the Evolution source code. If I had used cscope then, it would hardly take me 2-3 days for the same. We were given a very brief introduction to cscope during the session, but I will learn more about it myself and write about it in the near future.
    The pre-lunch session thus prepared the ground for us to venture in to building the linux kernel.

    Post-lunch we started with Building the Linux Kernel version. I was amazed by the simplicity involved in building the kernel. It is just a 7 step procedure, if you are building the kernel for your own desktop or laptop.

    It took around half an hour to execute. After this I just need to update my grub if it has not been done by the above steps already. Just confirm it by having a look at /boot/grub/grub.cfg. If the new kernel lines are added then you are ready to Reboot and use the new kernel which was just built.
    Thats all.

    After booting into the new kernel, we started writing simple codes for new kernel modules and drivers. Again the simplicity of writing a new module or driver and loading it amazed me. However a lot more has to be explored and I will definitely try them in future.

    On day 2, I attended the Linux Testing Project workshop. It was again wonderfully planned by the IBM team. We were first given a brief introduction to the history and importance of the Linux Testing Project with the team making it very clear that the testing cycle is as important as the development cycle. After this we had a hands on session.

    In the hands on session, we started with building the Linux Testing Project in our systems. Than the IBM team had come with some tasks for us. We were asked to run a test case which was written such that it fails intentionally. This was done so that we could study the test case and come up with a solution as to why that particular test case was failing. I had teamed up with Saket and together we were very close to finding the solution. It was quite fun and really a good Hacker workshop.

    There were many interesting points that we noted while trying the Linux Testing Project. One among them was, I was using Linux Kernel 2.6.31.x where as Saket was using Linux Kernel So when we executed the Containers Testcases on our systems we found that some test passed successfully in my system but failed in Saket’s system. This clearly showed us that Linux Kernel had some bugs. We did not dig into the matter due to lack of time. However I need to check it soon.
    I have skipped lot of technical details here as I will give the technical details later when I try it again myself.


    This is for those who work usually on systems through VNC, I am one among them. It was very cumbersome for me to select tabs in the VNC system using mouse and not able to use ALT-TAB functionality. Hence when I searched in Google for any solution, I found a very simple soultion.

    Just change the ALT-TAB key binding in your linux machine to something comfortable for you. After you have done this, whenever you select ALT-TAB, the system passes that key-binding to the VNC window.

    The solution is just that simple. :). Enjoy.

    Well since CentOS, in the name of stability never has any latest package installed, it is very difficult to do small things in it which is a matter of few clicks in some other distributions like Fedora or Ubuntu.

    However since I had CentOS installed on my laptop, I had to find a way to get my wireless up. So I started searching different ways to do it. First I had to get the system to detect my wireless. For this I followed the wiki given in CentOS,

    After this I installed latest wireless-tools package which I downloaded from here,

    Then I started my wireless using the following command,
    ifconfig wlan0 up

    After this I tried to find the available wireless connections which I could connect to. This can be obtained by the following command.
    iwlist scan

    After I found the wireless connection which I used to connect usually, I checked its features. However in CentOS did not give any option for me to enter the configuration in its wireless configuration.

    Hence after digging in internet for quite some time, I found out that I need to install wpa-supplicant package . So I downloaded the package and installed it as given in its install file.

    After that I needed to put the wireless configuration in the wpa-supplicant.conf file. Luckily I had saved the configuration details that I used in Ubuntu. This I used along with trial and error method to get the right configuration.

    You can get the explanation for each variable using “man wpa-supplicant.conf”. Following is the content of my wpa-supplicant.conf file.


    Once wpa-supplicant.conf is configured, start wpa-supplicant connection using the following command:
    wpa_supplicant -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf -d

    Voila. Now you have your wireless connection detected and working properly. Enjoy.

    I have to use VNC many times for my work. Everytime to invoke vncviewer, I had to press -F2 and then type “vncviewer”. I didnt want to do this and hence I thought I will write a simple shell script which I can use to run whenever I needed vncviewer. Hence I wrote following two lines in a shell script.


    This I saved on my desktop and used to double click it whenever I needed to run it. However even this used to ask me if I wanted to run it or display it. Also the script had a default icon which I didnt want and wanted it to have the icon of vnc. Also I didnt like it to occupy my desktop area and wanted to keep it on my panel. Hence i searched on google for answers. i found the following mail which gave me a clear idea of how to do it.

    You can create your own icons by creating a textfile and giving it a .desktop
    extension. That’s all an icon is. Go to /usr/share/applications and have a look.
    Anyone of those files can be dragged into you ~/Desktop folder if you use that for
    desktop icons or else directly onto your desktop.

    The format of the .desktop file is fairly simple to follow I have made them for
    url as well as script icons and keep them in /usr/local/share/applications. Once
    you have created the file the “icon” can be used like any other icon, e.g. adding
    to Quicklaunch. Use anything for an icon. Here is what one of mine looks like.

    [root@localhost ~]# cat /usr/local/share/vncviewer.desktop
    [Desktop Entry]
    Comment = runs vncviewer script

    Hence now I could drag this icon on my panel and launch vncviewer in just one click.

    Around 4-5 months ago I had an idea of starting a portal dedicated only to all the errors faced by GNU/Linux users. I had thought that if there is one portal where every user can post and search for the error message that he got while using GNU/Linux, sooner or later these portal will become a good database of all the commonly found errors faced while using GNU/Linux. And then I had thought of using Adsense to generate money to maintain portal and if possible make some profit myself.

    However the main question that I asked to myself before using Adsense was “Can I restrict the Ads that are displayed through Adsense?” Because I didnt want the portal to end up promote any proprietary softwares through google adsense? I knew about Adbard then, but I did not believe using Adbard would help me earn as much as Adsense. Anyways I thought that google must have some way through which I can restrict some ads or allow only a category of ads. So when I asked this question in the Google Adsense help forum they told me that unfortunately they did not have any category for proprietary softwares. Anyways I figured out Adbard was the only solution for my problem.

    I remembered the situation after all these days when I opened a blog by a core developer of Ubuntu Server and I see MIcrosoft Online Services ad, sad isnt it?
    Why Open source enthusiasts should not use Google Adsense?

    I recently has asked my friend to download edubuntu9.10 iso . It was a 3.4 gb iso. After he finished downloading when i had to transfer it to my system, we faced a small problem. His LAN card was not working and we had only 1gb pen drive. So the only option we had was to split the iso into files of size 1gb and then transfer them using pen drive.

    command to split a huge file into smaller file.

    split -b 1G

    is the prefix of the smaller files that will be created.

    After I split the files, i transfered each file in to my system and then joined the files using a very simple “cat” command.

    Join the files splitted by the above commad.

    $cat aa bb cc dd>huge-filename

    The above command will join all the files and create the file huge-filename.

    I need to test whether the order of the smaller files matters in the cat command. Logic says that it should matter. lemme check it out.

    Confirmed it. The order of the smaller files is very importent to get back the original file.

    Thanks to this post, I was able to solve the real player sound problem in my machine.

    1. Enable Alsa soft-mixing as described in post…multiple+sound
    (also setup esd and multimedia system settings as described in that post)

    2. Install realplayer as described in

    3. Install alsa-oss

    4. Open the launcher script realplay located in Realplayer’s install directory (/opt/RealPlayer if you followed previous instructions)

    5. Find lines

    if [ -n “$LD_PRELOAD” ]; then
    echo “Warning: LD_PRELOAD=\”$LD_PRELOAD\””

    6. …and after add this code:

    export LD_PRELOAD

    7. Now you get RealPlayer working with Alsa mixing (and so combinations of Realplay, Xine, Mplayer, Frozen Bubble,…sounds work at the same time )
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