Saturday, December 31, 2005

HappY New Year


Let the blast begin....

Wish you all a very Happy New Year.

>>> 12:00 am January 1,2006 Indian Standard Time

New Year's Eve Post : Eminem and the music of conscience

Hello Everyone,

I decided to celebrate the transition of 2005 to 2006 blogging. I'll make a post on December 31 and a post on January 1. So here goes...

What has Eminem got to do with conscience, you ask... Well, I believe him to be one of the greatest singers of this age and someone who composes music with his conscience as an inspiration.

These days MTV plays an Eminem song all the time. It is called "When I'm gone" and it's from his new album "Curtain Call - The Hits" . If you get an oppurtunity to listen to it, do it. And listen closely to the lyrics.

This song is about his daughter Hailie Jade Scott. It tells of how his daughter doesn't want him to sing and instead spend time with her. He refuses her attempts to draw attention , but he realises his mistake. He decides to spend more time with his family .

It sounds pretty stupid and dull when I say it, but this is one of the most heart-warming songs there is. Listen to it and you will be moved.

This is not the first time that Eminem has sung a song that has meaning in it. In fact most of his songs are a commentary on social life today.

Keep up the good work Eminem... We all love you.

#Wikipedia article on Eminem :

>>>I finished this post on December 31, 2005 11:45 pm

Friday, December 09, 2005

Sonia Gandhi and the Propoganda Machine

December 9 is the birthday of Sonia Gandhi, the chairperson of the United Progressive alliance(UPA) - the ruling coalition of India. The chairperson of the ruling coalition is usually the Prime Minister of the country, but in her case it is not so. There is a story behind this.

Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India . Chacha(Uncle) Nehru, as he was fondly called by children, was handpicked by the father of the Nation - Mahatma Gandhi, to be the Prime Minister . Some years after Jawaharlal Nehru's death, Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister of India. Indira Gandhi was considered by many to be ruthless in her rule and in her handling of political opponents. She established the Nehru-Gandhi parivaar(family), a political dynasty, as the most powerful force in politics and overlords of the Indian National Congress Party. Her son Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated and her widow was , over time, made the President of the Congress Party. Now there is a slight problem here. You see, Sonia Gandhi was born (if memory serves me right)Shania Maino - an Italian. This led to protests after the Congress party won the elections in 2004. Because this would mean that Sonia Gandhi would now become the Prime Minister. A lot of people were not very happy to see a foreign-born person heading the country. In a very shrewd move , Mrs. Gandhi relinquished the office of the Prime Minister and instead, installed the economist Dr.Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister.

If you had any doubts on who the real Prime Minister is, a peek at Doordarshan News- news channel of the state broadcaster- would provide enough evidence. I switched on the Hindi news at 8pm and was shocked. There was a small photo/logo of Sonia Gandhi in the corner of the screen. The normally dry and uninteresting reports were replaced by a slick promo of Mrs. Gandhi. It made my eyes pop out. Was Doordarshan actually capable of producing this stuff? The report went on to sing great glories of Mrs.Gandhi. It sang praises about her "great sacrifice" and her huge heart . It also showed her children - Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi/Vadera - in a , to put it mildly, favourable light. The propoganda was sickening.

There is a possibility that she is not behind this propoganda . Doordarshan has a history of licking the feet of its political masters. The Government of the day is the overlord of the supposedly autonomous broadcaster. Everyone from the executives to the reporters know that portraying the Government in a favourable light is the only way to earn their bread and butter and ensure their promotion. This is reflected in the massive propoganda unleashed by the channel.

Mrs. Gandhi would be well advised to keep Doordarshan in restraint. Overdoing propoganda could backfire very badly, as the NDA government found to its dismay in the 2004 elections.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Open Source" and "Free Software" - 2


I am back after a long leave. Exams are finally over(almost). What a relief!

Last time we looked at the difference between Proprietary software
and Free software + Open Source software. We will now try to see what the philosophical differences between the terms Free Software and Open Source software are.

Open source generally means just that. The source code is openly available. Anyone can see what it is and modify it if he/she wants. The reason people support Open Source software is that they believe it to be better than propreitary software. This is, they believe, because "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow" or the famous Linus Law as given by Eric S Raymond. Consider this situation - there is a particular piece of software, say a browser. You have 25 people working on the browser. The source code is only available to these 25 people. This is something like the propreitary model. ( Actually, I suppose it is very unusual to have everyone on the project being able to see the whole code in the propreitary model) . Now consider the Open Source model. Here you have more than the 25 people, in fact thousands, being able to see the code. So if there is a bug, it is more likely to be found in this model of development. You might think otherwise, but that's what the supporters of OSS claim.

The key difference between the term "Free Software" and "Open Source Software" is the question of ethics. The supporters of the term "Free Software" link it to ethics. To them the decision to allow people to view the source code is not a question of making better software. It is a question of ethics. They link software and society. They belive that it is the right of society to use a piece of software for its good. For this to happen the users of software should have the following rights:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
This is a qoute from .Basically, it is all "help your neighbour" stuff. The stress is on the ethics.

A point to note is that more often than not, "Free Software" and "Open Source Software" are terms. What I mean is that different people call the same thing different names. Linux is both Free Software as well as Open Source. So is Mozilla Firefox.

For more information check these links

Disclaimer : Note that I am not an expert on these stuff. Also, these stuff are pretty controversial. It all depends on how you look at it. So please don't blame me for any inaccuracies or differences in opinion