Linux Technology

Ban on sales of MS Word – Another nail in Microsoft’s coffin

Finally, I get my retribution. Microsoft is banned from selling MS Word and/or any applications that can open DOCX/DOCM/XML files in the USA!! Whee!! ๐Ÿ™‚ The ruling that made Bill Gates Steve Balmer pee in his pants came from a judge in Texas โ€“ a landmark for GNU/Linux, I might add.

i4i Inc – a company operating from Toronto, is the root cause behind M$’s latest fitfall. The firm succeeded in winning an injunction against M$, concerning gross violations of its XML patents. To quote from the ruling, the judgementย  โ€œprohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XMLโ€. The incident is reminiscent of the old IE frazzle has kicked Microsoft out cold! The breather for this monopolistic giant is the mere 60 day time window to implement the injunction.

So, does this mean M$ is goanna be the next dead duck?

Not really.

M$ has the money and muscle power, not to mention access to all the movers and shakers. The doyens of the company are taking the news in the stride and have decided to fight back against the small-time company i4i with all might. It’s going to be tough time for i4i, whichย  might, in all probability, go the Netscape way – to dysfunction, considering the might of the corporate conglomerate pitted against it. However, it must be said that i4i has some brave dudes out there who’ve achieved great success against M$ – a victory none else has been able to secure. If things go the way they are actually supposed to be (provided i4i gets a super-awesome lawyer and/or protection from M$’s corporate espionageย  – if any), we might see the first days of M$ doom. I’m goanna celebrate that with crackers! ๐Ÿ˜›

Image Courtesy: XKCD

All this brings out the main reason why I all of us GNU/Linux enthusiasts hate M$ Windows – Their highly monopolistic, derogatory and user-hampering principles!! It’s a fact that M$ pays the highest paychecks to its employees and harbours the world’s most brilliant Computer Scientists/Engineers. Yet, just see the countless bugs in Windows Vista!! ๐Ÿ˜ If a group of ‘hackers’ could collaborate and create a very user friendly operating system that has all the goodies of Vista and consumes a tenth as much memory (Kubuntu 9.04), why can’t M$ do the same? The glaring answer is there in the question itself! The bugs are deliberate. Had M$ been as stable an O/S as GNU/Linux, a major chunk of the antivirus/’protection’ software companies would go bankrupt! Unless M$ finds a solution to the countless bugs in its software and do some serious rethinking about its policies, it’s a downward lane for the company. The indicators have already started pointing to that fact. ๐Ÿ˜€

As far as I’m concerned, I’m content with my OpenOffice 3.0 and Kubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope! ๐Ÿ˜›

Computers Linux Technology

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) at Windows 98 Demo by Bill Gates

William H Gates III – He shares a birthday with me, (and I hope I’ll someday share his company too – and make Windows fully FOSS! ๐Ÿ˜› ) The man is known for being a geek and has his share of blunders, very public gaffes.
Here’s once such gem. It’s not Gates’ fault actually! At least, not directly so. But the product he was presenting on international Television (CNN), got a deadly Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) and that too, LIVE, before millions of eyeballs competing for attention.

No points for guessing the product: Windows 98! Yeah, this happened some eleven years ago. Stumbled upon this video in YouTube and I had the laugh of my life! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Check it out:

This happened at COMDEX, Las Vegas on April 20, 1998. The guy operating the PC in this video is Chris Capossella, (now Corporate VP in the information working business unit).

And, that would be Reason #234 to switch over to GNU/Linux – a very stable O/S that makes Blue Screens a thing of the past! ๐Ÿ˜›

Living breathing proof of the above statement: My PC, which runs sturdily on Kubuntu 8.10 with Vista like display and blazing speed in just 768 MB RAM, and that too with blown-up on board-graphics! ๐Ÿ˜›


If that wasn’t enough check out this blue screen from theย  Windows Vista launch! This one’s a spoof though, but it’s nice, even beats the shits out of Bill’s gaffe! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Computers Interview Linux Technology

An Interview with Richard Stallman

Richard Mathew Stallman is the rightful father of the Free Software movement and an international celebrity by his own right. The man behind the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation, it was he who propounded the General Public License (GPL), also dubbed ‘copyleft’ – a license that quite literally sets software free. Stallman is fully dedicated to his cause of liberating the world from the shackles of proprietary software. Anoop and I caught up with him at the International Free Software Convention held at the Mascot Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on December 11. The otherwise-irascible Mr Stallman gracefully opened his mind, even revealing tidbits of his famed sense of humor in between. ๐Ÿ™‚

Richard Stallman

How did you get yourself acquainted with computers?

Richard M. Stallman: When I was nine years old, I got access to computer manuals at a summer camp. I tried learning them by myself. The manuals were similar to general-life puzzles and I found them fascinating. It was only later, at around 1969 when I first saw and used a real computer. Then on, there was no looking back

Could you differentiate between Free Software and Open Source? We’ve heard a lot of versions, but it’s always delightful to listen from the horse’s mouth!

RMS: (Smiles) This is the question I answer the most! Both movements are based on entirely different philosophies. In the free software movement, we try to share and collaborate. The free software movement is a social faction. Non-free, paid software literally binds hapless users with chains. We help people break free. Open source is just a technically superior model which gives technically enhanced results by freeing the source code. Its values are narrowly practical, though. Still, both Free Software and Open source converge at the technical level.

How has the Free Software Foundation evolved, since its inception?

RMS: It all started with a small coterie of programmers along with me, devoted to the creation of the GNU operating system, in 1984. With time, we moved on. Now, the organization has shifted its perspective to one synonymous with a social movement rather than a technical lobby.

It’s commonly seen that most Free Software tends to imitate existing software. What’s your take on this?

RMS: Are you suggesting that free software is plagiaristic? Not really. But it’s true that Free software does imitate, quite often. The prime reason behind this is that the main goal is freedom. Originality and innovation are secondary.

It’s a fact that Non-free software dollars actually drive a major chunk of today’s economy. Consider a hypothetical scenario where the entire world was to embrace Free Software one fine morning. What would happen to software companies in such a case? Wouldn’t this result in pinks slips delivered en-masse?

RMS: There are thousands of jobs people can have instead of writing non-free software. In fact, in a macro-perspective, only a minor fraction of the coders work for the development of non-free software. Most paid programmers work towards building custom software based on specific user demand. That leaves only a minor section of programmers writing non-free software: a job they can easily avoid. When a society decides to break free from proprietary software, not a single job gets pruned in the process. Flawed economic policies are the root cause behind the increasing unemployment rate. Needless to say, embracing Free Software clearly involves negligible revenue loss and gargantuan benefits.

Has Free Software caught up with Non-free software?

RMS: To a great extent, yes. But, there’s still ground for progress.

Having taken the Free Software movement to a social perspective, you must be having strong political views. Where do you stand, politically?

RMS: I stand for freedom and democracy. I believe in the role of a welfare state which takes care of all its citizens and promotes general well-being.

How do you fund yourself?

RMS: My speeches constitute my prime revenue source. People pay for my food and travel if I’m going over to some place. They also pay me a small fee. Now I’ve started a new model of revenue generation. I auction Linux collectibles for a living. Yesterday, I made some money for myself, selling a few cute Tux penguins.

What is the future of Richard Stallman?

RMS: The Stallman of the future will be a liberator of the cyberspace.

Richard Stallman

It’s a previlege to eat with you, Richard! ๐Ÿ˜›

Thank you for your time, Sir!

RMS: Happy Hacking!

Computers Linux Technology

Break free!

Ever since I started computing at around the age of 11-12, I’ve been using MS Windows. At that time, the computer topped a pre-teen’s wish list. I reigned over the PC, triggering missile launches, racing obnoxiously-fast cars, maneuvering fighter planes; even plundering aliens. I felt like Neo himself with my own cyber identity; logging in and out of the Internet ‘Matrix‘, rescuing the world from satanic villains… I didn’t realize I was inexorably and inseparably being trapped into Microsoft’s own matrix! I would snub out the slightest talk about alternative O/Ses. Mac was too hi-fi for me, GNU/Linux was too anti-user and was no match to Windows even with all Stallman‘s “free-world” philosophy backing it. Perhaps the fact that Mr William H Gates III shares my birthday added brownie points to my perception about Windows!

Only if I could realize how DUMB I was then!

They say, age moulds a man’s brain progressively. And yes, I learned it the hard way, after losing Gigabytes of music, photos and personal documents to a vicious virus attack in mid-2006. Thankfully, I had backed up most of the data, but fate it is, I lost a lion’s share of my documents! Ever since, I’ve been skeptical about Windows. Later that year, I got my first taste of Linux when I joined GEC Barton Hill, which loquaciously promoted Open Source. The shift to RedHat Entreprise Linux, though bumpy proved fine. I was amazed by the sheer scalablity of the O/S: it ran perfectly even on drastically-outphased PII systems! The user interface wasn’t as bad as hear-say. Gradually, I grew more used to GNU/Linux and started contemplating being an active Linux user.

Well-researched articles by the celebrity-blogger pR@tz acted as the final catalyst. After some research on my own, duly assisted (indirectly) by subz3ro I chose Ubuntu and ordered the 8.04 Hardy Hernon disc in late April. The CD arrived by mid-May, and in no time; I became the 473947th GNU/Linux user in the cyberspace! Installation was a breeze and it took me hardly fifteen minutes, even with my run-of-the-mill P4 system with a measly 512 Megabytes of differentially-speeded RAM.

My Ubuntu GNOME Desktop

No, I’m don’t intend to diss Windows with this post… Windows still owns more than 90% of the Desktop User’s market with its repertoire of memory-hogging but user friendly O/Ses thanks to aggressive marketing and the first-comer advantage. But I must admit that hardly a week after Ubuntu, I feel extremely elated at the computing experience. Though I had initial hiccups including non-availablity of codecs and Internet connectivity issues, I managed to tide over them with the help of Linux geeks. The feel of the O/S is simply mind-blowing. Gnome almost matches Windows with its user friendly features. And yeah, there was a whole lot of bundled applications; from a bundle of cheeky games to a full-fledged torrent manager! The image editor Gimp actually renders effects that are at par with Photoshop. Of course, there was the latest edition of OpenOffice which has all the flexblity and features of MS Office, minus its memory-hogging ones.

All in all, I actually feel reluctant to use the scroll keys of my keyboard to select Windows in the O/S choice menu while booting my system these days! Ubuntu scores way better in answering my day to day needs like music, movies, internet, and coding. The sluggish drawl of the ever-damned Windows applications was a far by-gone thing. Besides, the ever-essential “anti virus” is now redundant! To top it all, there’s the Free Software Philosophy which reaffirms that I’m not violating any copyright when I download free software from the internet.

So here are five reasons why I think you should embrace GNU/Linux (if you aren’t a Linux buff already) ๐Ÿ™‚

1) Linux is fast.
2) It’s reliable and safe, so say good bye to viruses!
3) Distros like Debian are utmost scalable (which means they’ll work even on low-end systems)
4) If you’re a coder, you can tweak Linux to your liking.
5) You’ll end up having more fun than the average Windows user! Of course, you’ll miss those mad-graphics games, and a plethora of apps. But life sans viruses, worms and spyware has its merits, no? ๐Ÿ™‚

[This blog post was conceived in a system that uses Ubuntu. Join the Ubuntu community at]