Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy new year...

Yesterday was Ma'al Hijrah marking the beginning of the year 1431 in the Islamic calendar. So with a new year comes new hope and a fresh new start. Even for my computer. I bought my acer aspire 4810tg a few month ago before the release of windows 7. Even then they already promised there will be a free upgrade once it is released. When I finally applied for my upgrade, found out that the software itself is free, but you still have to pay for the shipping (USD 18 to ship to Malaysia). I applied for it anyway. It arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago but I was too busy then to actually do anything about it. But Alhamdullillah there's a bit of change in the pace of our work in Inigo and finally I've decided I've got enough time to risk it. And risk it I did. After making a full backup of my /etc, /var and /home directory of course.. :P

It took a very long time to upgrade to Windows 7. It was searching for incompatible software, gathering settings and things like that I guess. And after a whole night (well, I started after 10.30, and by 2 I felt I needed to sleep already, so it might have completed sooner but I wouldn't know.. :P) I finally have a fresh install of Windows 7 on my trusty Delorian (it's a timeline model ok.. that's the best name I can think of in regards to time.. >.< ). But after a reboot I realised something which I should have known but completely forgot "Windows overwrote the MBR, now no more grub..". Ugh, and I didn't have any arch linux cd handy. Had to download the iso. I did have a copy of Fedora 12 iso already though so I thought I'd try to install that. It stoped booting with an error and mentioned something about the hardware. I didn't write it down, neither did I bother to google it, so not sure whether it's just my machine of for aspire 4810tg in general. Anyhow, I tried to boot with the latest arch linux iso, also said there was a problem. It was starting to not look good. I downloaded an earlier version of arch and that one finally booted. So I was able to access my old linux partitions and all but I didn't know how to just configure grub. After around 3 hours of googling and trying various things (going into the grub console and all) I just gave up and said "What the heck, I've got a backup anyhow". So I did a fresh install of arch linux on my laptop... Completely clean install. :)

As you might have known already from my previous post, I've been on a minimalist streak for quite a while already. Using xmonad as my windows manager and even going so far as installing vimperator to control my browser completely by keyboard. So since I'm already pretty comfortable with that setup, I thought that "hey, why not dump gnome and try to have an installation without the WHOLE gnome thing". I mean I even use wicd (it has a pretty cool curses interface when you really need it) as my network manager of choice so I don't even need the networkmanager. But seriously, I don't intend to use xmonad completely. I only use it for work when I need to really be efficent. When I'm just slowly browsing and enjoying my computer, I like to slow down a little and doesn't really need all the efficency a full fledge keyboard bounded setup could give me. So after some deliberation, I choose xfce. So now I've got a super light desktop for play and a super efficent setup for work. Hohohoho.. and oh yeah, I've got Windows 7 (/me do a little chicken dance to the dismay of my fellow open sourcians.. :P).

Why on earth would I want Windows 7 you may ask when I've already got the best setup a man could ask for? Well... sometimes a man like to play games.. :P Yes, I only use Windows to play games.. :P Since I'm trying my best to be clean and since although I respect RMS very much I still think there is still such a thing as software PIRACY, I only play free games (at least till I can afford original ones.. :P). My favourite game currently, SOLDIER FRONT.. :D It's a pretty cool game, and if you decide to join in, look out for me.. jebat.. :D But sometimes I play extremely badly, when you see that please know that most probably that's my son playing using my account.. >.< (yes I know, I'm a bad father..)

Ok. That's pretty much what's new with me in this new year. So to all my muslim friends "Happy new year.. ". I'm looking forward to a great one insyaAllah, hope you are too.. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

After all that, there is more...

I remember in my younger days when I actually had time to sit for hours and hours in front of a computer to play, just play, and had lots of fun. Some of the games that I still remember fondly is like the classic Digger, Doom (especially Doom 2), Monkey Island (1 and 2 was the most memorable to me), Days of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Command and Conquer, Warcraft, Starcraft, Baldurs Gate, Outlaw, Fallout. I miss those days. Those easy times. Then it was a busy day if you only get to play for just 1 hour. And "balik kampung" was probably the worst time. You can't play for days on end.. :P

And I remember strolling around Imbi Plaza (there wasn't any Low Yat yet back then) and just looked around. I couldn't afford ANY of the things I adored back then but just being able to window shop made me quite knowledgable. Friends and family come to me for advice on what computer they should buy, or for this price what are the recomended specs. I barely know it now. I have no idea what's the latest and greatest graphics card, or CPU, much less their prices. Those were the days.

Now most of my days I'm pretty much stuck in front of a computer. Doing 'work'. And more of it. And once that is done, there's more where that came from. Living close by the seaside, I watch in awe at the waves and wonder "Maybe I should try to be a fisherman". When I said this to my wife, she just laughed and said I wouldn't last a day. The hard labour would probably kill me. I think she's right.

I love programming. Don't get me wrong. I love doing my work. But when I think about my 'work', I've been doing web based things for almost 4 years already. As long as there is any sort of data mining and manipulation involved I would say 'I could probably build you a web app for that'. I know python, php, html, css, javascript, ajax, mysql, zodb, apache and stuff but when I think about it, I barely know C anymore, nevermind java. I look at all the jobs on jobstreet and find that they want a 'java' programmer. If I had to learn it back, it'd be pretty quick, but who's going to beleive just someone off the street that he's that good? Maybe I'm just tired. Or maybe I'm just a little bored. But anyhow, I'm thinking of ways I could diversify more of what I do and know with a computer. Not just software but also hardware. Not just web apps but also stand alone application optimized for the desktop. Not just another day of 'work', but an expression of an artistic soul. Maybe...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

xmonad settings

One thing that I did like about using gnome was that for most things, it was very discoverable. You click a few menus, try this and that. But with something like xmonad, it's much more configurable for sure but you certainly have to know your way around. So after seaching the internet, I've finally had a setup which I pretty much like. Here it is for future reference. For ~/.xmnonad/xmonad.hs:

import XMonad
import XMonad.Hooks.DynamicLog
import XMonad.Hooks.ManageDocks
import XMonad.Util.Run(spawnPipe)
import XMonad.Util.EZConfig(additionalKeys)
import System.IO

myManageHook = composeAll
[ className =? "Gimp" --> doFloat
]

main = do
xmproc <- spawnPipe "xmobar"
xmonad $ defaultConfig
{ terminal = "urxvt"
, modMask = mod4Mask
, borderWidth = 3
, manageHook = manageDocks <+> myManageHook <+> manageHook defaultConfig
, layoutHook = avoidStruts $ layoutHook defaultConfig
, logHook = dynamicLogWithPP $ xmobarPP
{ ppOutput = hPutStrLn xmproc
, ppTitle = xmobarColor "green" "" . shorten 50
}
} `additionalKeys`
[ ((mod4Mask .|. shiftMask, xK_z), spawn "xscreensaver-command -lock")
, ((controlMask, xK_Print), spawn "sleep 0.2; scrot -s")
, ((0, xK_Print), spawn "scrot")
]

That will, amongs other things, make sure that gimp does not tile but stay float, it will start up xmobar, set my default terminal to urxvt, use the win key for meta (better than using alt since alt is used by most programs), logHook to create an output to be used by xmobar, make sure xmobar stay visible eventhough the screen is full of other programs, set win+shift+z will lock the screen with xscreensaver.

Okay, next is setting for xmobar. This is my ~/.xmobarrc:

Config { font = "-*-Fixed-Bold-R-Normal-*-13-*-*-*-*-*-*-*"
, bgColor = "black"
, fgColor = "grey"
, position = TopW L 90
, lowerOnStart = True
, commands = [ Run Cpu ["-L","3","-H","50","--normal","green","--high","red"] 10
, Run Network "wlan0" ["-L","0","-H","32","--normal","green","--high","red"] 10
, Run Network "eth0" ["-L","0","-H","32","--normal","green","--high","red"] 10
, Run Memory ["-t","Mem: <usedratio>%"] 10
, Run Date "%a %b %_d %Y %H:%M:%S" "date" 10
, Run StdinReader
]
, sepChar = "%"
, alignSep = "}{"
, template = "%StdinReader% }{ %cpu% | %memory% | %wlan0% | %eth0% * <fc=#ee9a00>%date%</fc> @ %hostname%"
}

Ok. This will create the xmobar on the top 90% of the screen. Another 10% we want to reserve for trayer for our programs that require a system tray (eg Pidgin) if we use any. It display a few useful info, but I think on of the most useful ones is the date, and also the output from xmonad which would show what workspace you are currently on (very very useful) and also the title of the window you're currently viewing (not so useful but still nice to have).
Next is I want my urxvt to look nice. So here is the settings for my ~/.Xresources:

URxvt*background: #242424
URxvt*cutchars: BACKSLASH '"'&()*,;<=>?@[]{|}
URxvt*colorUL: #86a2be
URxvt*foreground: #ffffff
URxvt*geometry: 80x25
URxvt.cursorColor: #86a2be
URxvt*internalBorder: 0
URxvt*jumpScroll: true
URxvt*loginShell: true
URxvt*perl-ext-common: default,matcher,searchable-scrollback
URxvt*pointerBlank: true
URxvt*saveLines: 4000
URxvt*secondaryScroll: true
URxvt*scrollBar: false
URxvt*scrollTtyKeypress: true
URxvt*scrollWithBuffer: true
URxvt*termName: rxvt-unicode
URxvt*underlineColor: #86a2be
URxvt*urlLauncher: /usr/bin/firefox
URxvt*color0: #242424
URxvt*color1: #bf7979
URxvt*color2: #97b26b
URxvt*color3: #cdcda1
URxvt*color4: #86a2be
URxvt*color5: #d9b798
URxvt*color6: #a1b5cd
URxvt*color7: #ffffff
URxvt*color8: #cdb5cd
URxvt*color9: #f4a45f
URxvt*color10: #c5f779
URxvt*color11: #ffffaf
URxvt*color12: #98afd9
URxvt*color13: #d7d998
URxvt*color14: #a1b5cd
URxvt*color15: #dedede
URxvt*font: xft:Terminus:pixelsize=15

I found this in a Ubuntu forum. I changed the font to Terminus with size 15 though. Much nicer on the eyes not to have to squint so much trying to read a small font. Then finally to put it all together, I have this in ~/.xinitrc:

xsetroot -cursor_name left_ptr
if xrandr -q | grep -q "VGA1 connected"; then
xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 1024x768 --left-of LVDS1 --output LVDS1 --mode 1366x768
fi
trayer --edge top --align right --transparent true --width 10 --tint 0x191970 --height 12 --expand true --widthtype request --heighttype request --SetDockType true --SetPartialStrut true &
xscreensaver -no-splash &
xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources
exec ck-launch-session xmonad

Amongst other things it detect whether I have an external monitor connected and automatically make xrandr extend to that if there is one. It sets up trayer (using the 10% we preserved earlier). It starts up xscreensaver. It actually load the .Xresources (normally this would be done by the gdm, but since I'm not using the gdm so this is how you load it and finally it launches xmonad. Phew.. That's basically it. As long as this blog post hold up, I can reformat my machine and recover the settings which I pretty much like for xmobar and gang.

Disclaimer: None of these settings are my original. Some of them I've got from xmonad and xmobar faq's and tutorials, others I've got from other various pages on the net.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

argouml in xmonad

Recently a small window manager war broke out at the #archlinux irc channel. Not much to say about it because it's been done dozens of times already, but it did got me interested in trying out a tiling wm again. I've tried xmonad before and liked it quite a bit back then so I thought I'd give it another go. And sure enough I LOVE it.. :P Not having to touch the mouse (or the touchpad which is even worse) at all is a great feeling. You just want to go faster and faster. Then I fired up firefox and lo and behold, I have to use the mouse again. That's a cannot. So I installed the vimperator plugin. Now I can navigate and use firefox just like using my favourite editor.. :D

But of course that's just the beginning, I had to look for replacement for a lot of other software I normally use too. So now:
1. pidgin -> finch (ym client)
2. xchat-gnome -> weechat-curses (irc client)
3. evolution -> alpine (mail client)
4. exaile -> herrie (mp3 player)
5. nautilus -> mc (file manager)

Then I faced another problem. When I started out argouml all it showed was a grey window. Nothing, nada. No display whatsoever. I really thought I had to go back to gnome already. Then I did a bit of googling and finally found this at the awesome wm wiki (another tiling wm). Basically the problem is with jvm in a non-reparenting window manager. So to fix it, we can emulate another window manager which jvm thinks is a reparenting window manager. Just install 'wmname' (yes.. that is.. pacman -S wmname) and run:

$ wmname LG3D

And walah.. argouml running once again. Even though you close the terminal and start just argouml, it'll work. So far I'm loving this slimming down of my desktop, now if only I could start slimming down my own body.. :P

Sunday, October 11, 2009

foss.my is back

Last year it was awesome and now it's back again. Yes, I'm talking about the free open source software conference by the people for the people, foss.my, on 24th - 25th October at UCTI, TPM. This year with even more reasons for you to attend. Personally for me, just one reason is enough. RMS (Richard M Stallman) himself will be there. Yes sir, the legendary founder of the Free Software Foundation. The man responsible for liberating mankind from the shackles of propietary software to the freedom of free (as in freedom, not free teh tarik) software. He will be giving the opening keynote on the second day, 25 October. So don't miss it.

What other reasons you should come? There's no reason why you shouldn't. It only costs RM 20 for a barebone ticket. You don't get any lunch or t-shirt, but hey, if you just wanted to listen to great talks on free software, I think that's a great deal. Most probably would be too busy to have lunch anyway. And there's no one stopping you from bringing your own. :D

There's a line-up of great talks and activities all about sharing the free software love. And if you register before 15th October, you are even in the running to bring back a free (free as in free teh tarik) netbook. So what are you waiting for? Register now.

And I'll see you there.. ;)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Virtual machines

I finally tried to give kvm a try on a core 2 duo laptop. And what great fun it is. :D
Following the instruction from the great arch linux wiki, I installed the qemu package. Once I've done that I added myself to the kvm group:

# gpasswd -a abdza kvm

And then I loaded the kvm & kvm-intel module:

# modprobe kvm
# modprobe kvm-intel

To change the new kvm devices to the kvm group I modified the udev rules (had to create the file) at /etc/udev/rules.d/65-kvm.rules:

KERNEL=="kvm", NAME="%k", GROUP="kvm", MODE="0660"

I downloaded some cd iso's to boot install into the "virtual machines". First I tried ubuntu. Once the iso has been downloaded I had to create a virtual machine image with:

# qemu-img create -f qcow2 ubuntu 4194304

Not sure yet what all of that option is for but that basically would create an image named ubuntu with hard disk size of around 4GB. So I had to 'boot' that image with a cd (the iso image downloaded earlier):

# qemu-system-x86_64 --enable-kvm -hda ubuntu -m 512 -cdrom ~/Downloads/ubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso -boot d -vga std -net nic,vlan=1 -net user,vlan=1

That would boot the machine with the cd "inside" it. It would run the live cd and allow you to install ubuntu on it and everthing. Then once it's already installed you can boot it without the cd with:

# qemu-system-x86_64 --enable-kvm -hda ubuntu -m 512 -boot c -vga std -net nic,vlan=1 -net user,vlan=1

Notice that the boot flag has changed to c. Now with the current `-net nic,vlan=1 -net user,vlan1` you will already get normal internet access from inside the virtual machine. But that virtual machine would not be able to access any other machines on your network and no other machines on your network can access your virtual machine neither. Reason being is that it is actually on it's own virtual network provided by qemu. I've read that you need to set up bridge and tun/tap to be able to make it appear on your normal network. Haven't tried it out yet. That would be for the next part.

Just a little side note. Whenever you click inside the virtual machine display, the mouse would be 'captured' by that machine. To release it like normal press ctrl+alt. That would release the mouse. Sometimes you might even like to view the machine full screen, to toggle that just use ctrl+alt+f.

Another small note, 4GB isn't enough to install Fedora 11. For that I created an 8GB virtual machine.

Another small note (my.. getting lots of small notes nowadays.. :P). To use sound in the 'virtual machine', add:

-soundhw all

to the options. Can even view and listen to youtube from a 'virtual' ubuntu.. :P

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ZeroCD broadband modem

Just a quick note. Recently my father asked me to get a broadband modem to work again after I installed Ubuntu on his computer. The modem was basically a rectangular black stick. The only brand it wrote on it was CSL. And when you plugged it in, it showed up as a thumb drive. This was expected behaviour in Windows because then they'd click on the driver installation of the thumb drive. Once the driver is installed it would detect and register the modem. I had no idea what was supposed to be done with it to make it work. Untill I ran `lsusb` to get the vendor & product number. Vendor was 0x1c9e and product was 0x1001. And I actually googled THAT.

And then I within those pages I found this gem. The post clued me into a utility called usb-modeswitch which can actually switch the modes of the detected usb device. A search of ubuntu packages I found a deb for karmic. Eventhough the computer is Jaunty but it seems the package works. I had to modify the installed /etc/usb_modeswitch.conf and /etc/udev/rules.d/usb_modeswitch.rules so that it would enable the modem device (use the vendor & product number, just uncomment the right one). The udev rules also needed to add so that it would load the usbserial module when it detects the modem. But the problem with Jaunty is that the module is already compiled in and cannot be unloaded and loaded. So I actually had to modify the kernel line in /boot/grub/menu.lst to have 'usbserial.vendor=0x1c9e usbserial.product=0x6061' (the device change from 1001 to 6061) to make it work (according to the notes in a bug report, this behaviour has been reversed. So insyaAllah in Karmic it would be a module once more). So once it detected the modem on ttyUSB0,1,2 I was able to use wvdial to connect to celcom's broadband. Contents of /etc/wvdial.conf is:

[Dialer Defaults]
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
Phone = *99#
Idle Seconds = 300
Modem Type = Analog Modem
Stupid Mode = 1
Baud = 460800
Auto DNS = 1
Dial Command = ATDT
Ask Password = 0
ISDN = 0
Username = 'Celcom'
Password = 'Celcom'

And then to connect to celcom I just had to plug in the modem. And run:

sudo wvdial

And it would connect.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mounting LVM on external hard disk

Uh oh.. Fedora laptop cannot start. Need to copy data out of it. Take out hard disk, put into usb external hard disk adapter and BAM!!! when you try to mount it says:

mount: unknown filesystem type 'LVM2_member'

Alhamdullillah there's google. A quick search and I found this little gem which basically says to install the lvm2 package and as root do:

#pvs

which would display the partition lvm, for example:

PV VG Fmt Attr PSize PFree
/dev/sdb1 R51 lvm2 a- 10.72G 0
/dev/sdb5 R51 lvm2 a- 26.31G 32.00M

And then use the lvdisplay command to show the volumes like so:

#lvdisplay R51

Which would give more greater details about your lvm:

LV Name /dev/R51/home
VG Name R51
LV UUID VfabJ0-E2hS-HLw4-3Swc-tnkm-SesH-fFxlUB
LV Write Access read/write
LV Status available

And then you should use the LV Name to mount your partition. But... it didn't work for me.. a little bit more googling found this site which tells you to use the command:

# lvscan

Which would display the state of the LV. And all of mine was inactive. To activate them all do:

# vgchange -ay

And then alhamdullillah the partition was mountable. Fuh.. time to do some backup..

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Once upon a time...

Another chapter of my life closes today. I have been at OSCC for almost 2 years. And those 2 years have brought so much memory of struggle and joy, pain and happiness, friendship and love. From the first time I saw the job on JobStreet I was already thinking, "Yeah, this is what I want to do. Open source for the good of the Malaysian public". Patriotic sentiments were oozing through my pores like sweat after a heavy workout (ok, probably that's not the best metaphor for that.. :P). So I applied and was quite suprised I actually got it.

Almost immediately once I was in OSCC I got involved with MyMeeting (Version 1 at that time). And before I came to OSCC while working with Abdullah Solutions I was creating my own CMS, here at OSCC I finally had to learn to use Joomla. I hated both products at first. Joomla was confusing and foreign for me. And MyMeeting... well.. MyMeeting was quite a big mess at that time :P. But soon I got used to how Joomla was organized and became more comfortable with it. So comfortable to the point I even though "If one day I was to redo Abdullah Solutions again, I'd just package for my customers Joomla and customize it with some add-on products to meet their needs. It's so much easier than crafting your own each time." And MyMeeting? Well... MyMeeting grew. It grew till it can hit 2.0. We refactored the whole thing to cater for multiple committees using CakePHP as the framework. Now it is something that I'm rather proud about and would recommend to people heartily. And would actually be supportable because of the clean codes. Extensible even to those who can code PHP because it's so easy to follow the logic of the application. JPA did this and I was amazed. I'm not being very modest here but when I saw their demo, it flashed in my heart "Oh my baby have grown.. " :)

Of my co-workers, what can I say? They are the best team anyone can ask for to work with. We sticked together through rough and easy times, we stayed back late at night working furiously to get the products ready for demo or some other things, we came over on weekends when it was too obvious we could not get the job done on time otherwise. We did what it took and never backed down. And through it all, we were glorious (ok... ok.. I've got to work on my being modest a bit more, I know :P) Seriously, it couldn't have been better. Eavay, Saro, Nuhaa and Mr Foong. I can never find the words to express how much I appreciate what we've all been through together. Thank you. And not only that, I personally consider Eavay and Saro as my students and they have made me proud. :D

And of course OSCC doesn't consist of only the App Team. The whole of OSCC was one big family. Jacob was almost like a father figure to us. Watching over us as we play our little games of mischief :P. Kak Ct like a mother, so garang but loving and always available to refer to whenever we needed anything (like printing CD's and pamplets :)). Cikgu Haris teaching us things we didn't know and even something extra ;). Fauzi, Nicholas, Ella, Achik, Indhran, Shima, Leen, Eric, Ejat, Yana, Hafiz, Gopi, Kak Aida, Correen, Stanley, Nadia. They've all played their part into making OSCC that magical place where Open Source happens in the Malaysian Government. And not forgetting also the alumni of OSCC, Jamal, Alin, Hisham, Maisarah, Khairil, Firdaus, Amir, Azizul and many others (and there is many of them). I've now also joined their ranks :P. To all from OSCC, thank you.

But OSCC wouldn't be there if it wasn't for MAMPU. And who else in MAMPU whose name, in regards to Open Source in the government, would stand out like a glorious beacon of light in the middle of a storm if not Madam Tan King Ing? Oh.. so many memories. Oh so many memories... ooooooh... oooooh.. *faints* ( I kid.. I kid.. :P) . Seriously, she was a tough customer. But only because she cared so much to make it the best it can be. Yes, I know a lot of people might argue there's certainly better ways to do that, well.. all I can say is that she can sing Frank Sinatra's "My Waaaaaaaaay" :D. And who could forget her protege, Jaja. Fuh.. now that's a work of art. I have no idea how she handles things the way she does. Balancing all the stuff at work (which she had a lot considering she was Madam's right hand man (woman actually) at that time) with all the stuff in her life. Just read her blogs. It's amazing. And of course to everyone else at MAMPU too. Ananthi, En Omar, Yana, Joseph, Tn Hj Rosli and many others. You've all made Open Source a serious consideration in the Public Sector. Thank you.

They say, when one door closes, another one opens. For me, it was more like, one door opened so I close this door. Working at OSCC, I finally met and worked with Khairil. He's a legend. An open source rock star :D. And when he asked me would I like to join Inigo and make it the BEST open source company on this side of the globe (well he didn't actually word it that way but that's the impression I got.. :P) I immediately said YES... :D So that's where I'm going off to. Making Inigo the BEST open source company on this side of the globe and maybe even more. So I quit OSCC not because I loved it any less, but because I loved Inigo even more. And so I ride off into the sunset (actually it was already dark when I rode home)

Opens a new chapter...

Friday, July 17, 2009

More reading

Last weekend my family went to my in-laws. Because there is no comfortable working space there, I did not bother to bring my laptop along so I have quite a lot of time on my hands. Alhamdullillah I brought along and finished a book. It's title was "The Darkeing Sea" by Alexander Kent. It's written there on the cover, "The Master Storyteller of the Sea". Now I'm not much of a sea adventure fan, but decided I'd give it a try when I saw it at Carrefour last week. Especially one written by the "master storyteller". Well... I didn't enjoy it as much as "The Isle of Joy" but it was pretty enjoyable. And Alexander Kent being the "master storyteller of the sea", the details given were quite.... well.. detailed. Specific name of types of ships and all their parts and how the crew worked them. It is quite impressive I guess if I was a fan of ships and sea adventure.

The story revolves much around a certain Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho. Set in the year 1809, Britain was at war with France. In the midst of things even America got involved and the British trade route was at stake. It was up to Sir Richard Bolitho to make sure of it's safety. It was quite interesting to read how battle on the high seas was done. The decision and maneuvering involved. Quite interesting.

A few nights ago I went to Carrefour again to do a bit of shopping and realized the second hand books pile was left only 1 (before this there was 2) and now the price is only RM 3 (before this was RM 5). So bought another 2 books. Would write about it later once I finally get round to finishing it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sending out email by python gaierror

I had to debug an instance of Plone that had an error to send out email today. First there was the whole problem with configuring sendmail to properly relay email. Finally I gave up, uninstalled sendmail and installed postfix.. :D Once I've verified the server can actually send email out, the problem still persist. It came to my mind that since the program (Plone) itself can send out email on other machines, it must be something else specific to that machine. Maybe python itself cannot send out email from that machine. So a quick google and I copied the code to send email out using python. It gave out the error more verbosely:

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "tryemail.py", line 24, in ?
server = smtplib.SMTP(SERVER)
File "/usr/lib/python2.4/smtplib.py", line 258, in __init__
addr = socket.gethostbyname(socket.gethostname())
socket.gaierror: (-2, 'Name or service not known')

Googling some more and I found this thread which basically says that python smtplib requires the hostname to be resolvable to send out email. So after some more googling (don't you just love google? :P) I found out how to change the hostname. So basically you need to change the HOSTNAME setting in /etc/sysconfig/network. But that requires a reboot. To avoid reboot just echo the hostname into /proc/sys/kernel/hostname. Finally. Now it's all done.. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I am Caine, I will help you...

Waaaaaaah... I haven't felt like this for so long. What feeling am I talking about? You know when you read those Kung Fu comics and the masters meet up in a lone path in the valley and as they pass each other they both know, "He's a master of his craft". Last time I felt this way was when kaeru was still a "Marketing" manager at OSCC. Now my replacement at OSCC is able to give off that kind of vibe, I know OSCC is in good hands.

His name is Chang Phui Hock or just "pH" as he likes to be called. He's well versed in Java & Python. I know he must be pretty good but wasn't sure how good he really was. Until today. We were doing some modifications to the TaskManager this afternoon. First thing I noticed, this guy is quick. I didn't need to explain much, he's already got it and doing it. That is already pretty cool. Then while editing the files I saw it... his vim-foo was better than mine. OMG!!! He was editing the files like a beatiful dance, and fixing the tabs and spacings with grace and speed I've never seen before. I was awe struck. Okay... so maybe this is too early an assessment just based on his competence on using my favourite editor, but just seeing him work it dawned on me that "This is a master of his craft".

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Reading

I haven't read a good fiction for a long time. It was the 'usual resistance' (tm) like I'm too busy, I have no time, I've got better things to do and stuff. But last week I've finally decided enough is enough. I've got to get a more balanced and less (much less) critical view of my life. So I picked up a book at Carrefour for 5 Ringgit (LOL... even then I didn't want to invest too much into something which I considered as 'a waste of my time'). The book was 'Isle Of Joy' by Don Winslow. It was only 296 pages but took me a week to finish. Just last night I've finally finished it.

The book is about a Private Investigator by the name of William Withers who was assigned as a body guard for the young presidential hopeful Senator Joe Keneally. Things went wrong and the Senator's girlfriend got killed and everyone was trying to pin it on Withers. With his cool charm and sharp wit he handled it all. The book started off pretty slow at first. But once it picked up pace it was a very nice read.

But what I actually liked most was the effect of reading the book on me. I haven't exercised my imagination for quite a long time. And to see the action in the eyes of my mind (as compared to the eyes in my head), it was great. It made me more relaxed as my mind loosened and didn't grip too much on whatever problems I was working on. And I think this is actually important and rather than being a 'waste of my time', it was a pretty 'good use of my time'. Not sure when I might just pick up another random book to start reading, but I'm hoping it'd been soon.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Testing out Chromium

Finally I had time to install the AUR version of Chromium from the Chromium linux build. And it is running ever so sweetly on my Arch Linux... :D Been waiting for this for such a long time. Now it's not even close to being complete yet but it is usable enough for just normal browsing the web. The biggest thing not done yet? Flash... Yup.. No youtube or even fancy in browser multiple file select upload for flickr. Not yet anyway. But apart from that it's GREAT!!! :D


Chromium
Of course I had to try the standard fare. Gmail & GDocs of course works flawlessly. I was even able to login to Maybank2u (yup.. full https here baby. Not like if you run it under wine). And facebook works too. Normal browsing of web pages and planets of course work. Even dragging out the tab works. That was very-very cool. Only thing is that if you have 2 windows open, and one of them have only 1 tab, don't drag that single tab out to the next window. It would not close it gracefully yet and crash the whole thing. Bookmark manager doesn't seem to show anything for now (I guess not implemented yet). But you can already import all your bookmarks from Firefox. And that's good enough for me to make this the browser of choice for normal web browsing. Of course Firefox would still be my favourite for dev work mainly because of Firebug and of course in Firefox you can watch youtube.. :P

Some of the other quirks that I can really feel is the whole dragging text and middle click paste and all doesn't work. But that's pretty minor. You can still right click copy paste. All in all it's pretty fast pretty nice looking. Good job Google (as if they need me to tell them that.. :P).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Buildout with python2.4

I've got to write this down before I forget. With the newer distros, python 2.5 or 2.6 is the default python version of choice. But plone and zope currently still use python 2.4. And if you want buildout goodness you have to get buildout working with python 2.4. So if you're on ubuntu, first install these packages:

python2.4
python2.4-dev

And then google for ez_setup.py. Download it. Then run in your terminal:

abdullah@codebase:/$ sudo python2.4 ez_setup.py

That would install the 2.4 version of easy_install. Then to install buildout you just have to do like so:

abdullah@codebase:/$ sudo easy_install-2.4 zc.buildout

That would install buildout into your system. And then inside your plone or zope folder run:

abdullah@codebase:~/taskmanager$ buildout init

That would create a local instance of buildout for you to run specifically for your app. All eggs will be downloaded into that folder and would not pollute your system. To run the app specific buildout just do a :

abdullah@codebase:~/taskmanager$ bin/buildout -vvvv

That would run the local buildout. I just like it very very very very verbose.. :P

update: Sarogini found a link which deals with the problem of developing plone on ubuntu 9.04 in a more comprehensive manner here.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

More browsers

As a web application developer, one of the more annoying things that have to be done is to test out workflow and permissions of the system, thus requiring to login as one user, do a certain action, then login as another user, do whatever action that other user can now do. This is extremely tedious if you are only using 1 web browser since even though you can open many windows or many tabs, they will share the same cache and thus login only 1 user per site. So I like installing many web browsers and running them at the same time being logged in as different users.

Usually I like the other browsers pretty light because I just need the basics. So the alternative browser of choice is usually epihany. But recently I stumbled upon this article which talked about the midori web browser. I immediately installed it and tried it out. It is very fast and very light. Flash sites like youtube works. Even heavy ajax sites like gmail, gdocs and facebook works. And most importantly, maybank2u works too.. :)

So now I've got a new favourite alternative browser..

Friday, June 5, 2009

Things have been happening

A lot of things have been happening lately. This week tops it off with the MSC Open Source Conference (mscosconf). I was there for only 1 day (monday) but really felt the open source scene was coming alive here in Malaysia. Open Malaysia blogged about it already. And since I wasn't involved very much with it, I'll just leave it at that I am very happy with the overall direction we're going in Malaysia in regards to open source and hope that it will only get better and better (prep yourselves for foss.my 2009 and MyGOSSCON 2009.. Coming soon and it's gonna ROCK.. :D )

I was lucky enough to also be around for the lauching of OSDC.my dinner. Tun M was there and everything (first time I've seen him 'live' in person so that was fun). I'm not sure yet exactly what's the direction that osdc.my is going to take. Again I hope it would be successful at gathering the strength of all the various open source developers community we have here in Malaysia (you know, the whole single straw and many straw thing).

I was also fortunate enough to be able to join this month foss.my meetup at MSC Malaysia Cybercentre - Incubation Centre, KL Sentral. Talk about google's use of python by Anthony Baxter. That was very fun. Yay for python.. \o/ Shame that I was pretty tired and blur blur at that time till I wasn't able to ask any questions or participate much in the discussions. But it was still great fun.

So now it's already the end of the week. I'm taking some time out for a while writing out this blog and just chillin out. Things have been pretty hectic lately and I fully expect things to get much more worse before it get better.

/me praying for the best...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Installing OpenOffice 3.1.0

Finally there is a need for me to actually install the latest version of OpenOffice.org. To do it first install the ppa by adding the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/openoffice-pkgs/ppa/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/openoffice-pkgs/ppa/ubuntu hardy main
And then you need to get the key for that ppa by running the command:
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 0xd2bb86e0ebd0f0a43d4db3a760d11217247d1cff
After that a quick update to update the list of packages:

sudo apt-get update

And then I actually had to remove my old OpenOffice manually because it refused to upgrade it when I ran:

sudo apt-get upgrade

So to remove the old OpenOffice I did:

sudo apt-get remove --purge openoffice.org

And only after that I installed it again:

sudo apt-get install openoffice.org

Now it's ready to be tried out. Hope it all works.

p/s: Yeah. I'm still on Hardy. You should change that for you ppa if you are using intrepid or jaunty.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Just some thoughts

April 24th was the date of my last post. That means I have officially missed last week. Didn't post anything at all. So in the end it's lucky when I actually get to write something once a week. At least that would keep my writing skill in practice.

So what have I been up to all this time? Well, around two weeks ago I actually got to try KMS (kernel mode setting). High resolution terminal from the beginning FTW!!!. No flicker at all when logging into X and it even seems a whole lot faster too. But in the end I opt out because it requires acceleration to be enabled and when I do that, my poor onboard 915 display card just couldn't cope with anything beyond 2048x2048. I needed 2300x800 to stretch over two monitors to be able to work productively so I had to disable it.

Apart from that there wasn't much else about open source that's worth while mentioning. Oh yeah... there was the buzz about the MSC Malaysia OSCONF 2009. You can check it out more here and here. Kinda ironic for me actually the whole thing. Because (and this is from my personal point of view since working at oscc) I was first exposed to Open Source conference by the government of Malaysia with MyGOSCON 2007. Then there was the very cool and very happening community conference Foss.my 2008 (which was held just a few days after MyGOSCON 2008 - the second government conference). And now coming into the ring, conference by the business community.. jeng.. jeng.. jeng.. OSCONF 2009. And the community seems to be buzzing about geekcamp too around that time. So looks like the open source scenario in Malaysia is coming alive with activity. I like this.. :D Change is coming.. :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Configuring webdav and effective user in plone-buildout

If you installed Plone 3.x from their universal installer, there is a default buildout.cfg provided. Edit this to installed cool additional packages and just run `bin/buildout`. It will download whatever you need and then ready to be up and running again. The buildout will override your zope.conf so if you want any settings to persist in your zope.conf it should be put into your buildout.cfg.

Inside the buildout.cfg there is section for client1 and client2 if you installed the default cluster settings. So to configure the effective user for client1 (so that root can start the instance) you should add:

effective-user = plone

in the client1 section. And inside client2 section you can just add:

effective-user = ${client1:effective-user}

so that you don't have to edit at 2 places later. And do you want to enable webdav with that? Then just add:

zope-conf-additional =
enable-ms-author-via on
<webdav-source-server>
address localhost:1980
force-connection-close off
</webdav-source-server>

in the client sections. All done.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The art of writing

I've always considered myself more of a coder than a documenter (if there is such a word). I like writing codes but I hate writing about them. I do write about it once in a while in a blog or something if it's something especially hard and I might have to refer about doing it again but usually I'll just file it in my head as "ooooh.. I can look it up later if I REALLY need it". So some of the stuff that I really hate to write up are user manuals and requirement specs.

Now I've been burned enough times to know that requirement specs are really crucial to a successful software project. If the user does not know what they want, then you'll soon be sucked into the black hole of "user wants" pretty soon and it would take a whole lot of thick face justifying yourself just to save your sanity much less the project. But even then, I'm still very much unmotivated to do it. One of the reasons is that it is so bland and boring. Boring to write, boring to read. And finally nobody would refer to it. But recently I read that you should strive to make it enjoyable to read. Maybe even funny. And I was awestruck. A funny user requirement specs, that'd be awesome. :)

If you know me personally, I think you'd agree I try very very hard to be funny. Is it difficult to be funny? Hmmm.. I practice a lot and still sometimes it's just flat out come out flat. So I guess it's pretty hard. But you know what's even harder? Just becoming consistent in the discipline of writing. Ok.. maybe for me at least, being consistent in being disciplined in anything at all.. :P

I have this blog right here, and I retain the rights to say whatever I want on it, and I could practice my writing skills every single day if I wanted to, but I know that would never happen (yeah... I hear your sighs of relieve for not needing to read my rants everyday). Because I know I'd never be able to stick to it. Maybe once a week, maybe, but anything more than that would be nigh impossible.

You know what's another funny thing about writing in blogs? I used to write without a care in the world because I know nobody is going to read it. But since I know people know of it, and read it, and some even kind enough to leave comments in it, my mindset changed. I write as if I'm writing for an audience. Oh I know it's all my fault, that it is all in my mind, but I can't help it. That's how I feel about it. I don't think it's a bad thing, only that it sometimes makes me take a longer time to write it up. I think more about the words and composition, think more about how the references have to be right, think more about making it acceptable. So in the end, all the speed you get practicing touch typing for hours and hours becomes moot because you just sit there in front of the monitor for 5 minutes to write a single sentence. Of course once the idea comes rampaging through you're glad you can type pretty fast, but most of the time, you're no faster than a 'hunt and peck'er. Oh well... that's all for now I guess. See you again next week, same time, same place.. ta.. ta.. :D

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Joke's on you

I'm a Fedora ambassador, I recommend people to use Ubuntu, but I myself use Arch Linux. I'm not sure what that makes me.. :P But I love using Arch. It is lean, mean and geared towards the more tinkering inclined in the sense that almost everything is default and you have to hand configure yourself... with a text editor :D

So it was really sad for me last week to read that they are going to drop support for the i686. For a whole week I was contemplating which distro would I go to now? I really like Arch's way of a rolling update. Not waiting for a certain dateline but get the newest thing as soon as it's ready. But after reading that news I am concerned because I don't think my laptop support x86_64 (Haven't tried it yet though, but it's a really old laptop). And not only that, if one day I am fortunate enough to get myself a netbook of my own, I doubt those small atomic chips support 64bit either. So where should I go? My choice was 2. Fedora or Ubuntu. I haven't tried the latest (Fedora 10 and Ubuntu 8.10) but heard they have quite a lot of great new stuff. Fedora 10 even boots faster too. I'm still contemplating...

Then today I read this news. I was dumb struck. It's all an april fools joke? Wow.. they even mentioned about it in the forums and everything. I really thought it was real. But I'm glad it's not... :D So now I can be rest assured I can still use my favourite distro for quite a long while to come. I'm such an idiot.. :P Kudos to all the Arch Linux dev for pulling off such a convincing trick. And next time I'll be more careful to wait for a few days to confirm news heard on the 1st of April.. :D

So finally I guess the joke's on me.. :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Starting a script after NetworkManager

I need to access a VPN. But to be able to start the VPN I need a network connection. How to know when NetworkManager has already created your connection? By refering to here, you can add scripts into the /etc/NetworkManager/dispatcher.d to be run by network manager everytime an interface go up or down.

#!/bin/bash

IF=$1
STATUS=$2

if [ "$STATUS" = "up" ]; then
/etc/rc.d/openvpn start
else
/etc/rc.d/openvpn stop
fi

So that openvpn will start straight away whenever any interface (IF) has the status up.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lesson learned

Sometimes I just wonder, am I an idiot or just stupid. Last night was so bad I feel I've got to write something about it so that I'll never forget and repeat the same mistake again.

Yesterday was my birthday, and my lovely wife decided she wants to take me out for dinner. When I asked where, she asked me to choose. My first mistake, I didn't decide something that I KNOW would be good. I'm not a choosy eater. I eat almost anything that's halal (almost.. things like tapai and tempoyak have a way of making me not really want to eat them.. :P). So anything like going to Nandos, Kenny Rogers, Pizza Hut, McDonanlds or even the Utama restaurant at Desa Serdang would have all been good. But I was undecided. Rather than picking something I know I like I said 'Why don't we drive around at Bangi and see what might be good to eat?'. And since she's adamant about me choosing the place she accepted the idea. Why I didn't choose anything that I already know I'll like? I have no idea.. Maybe wanted something different?

So anyway we ended up going to this restaurant called 'Selatern & Western'. I saw the shop around a year ago and it was pretty empty then but of course that shop lot just opened so maybe there wasn't much customers yet. But when we came there yesterday it was pretty empty still, that should have sent me a warning like a shot to the head. But did I heed that warning? Oh no.. I thought lets give it a chance... (maybe I'm just a hopeless optimist?).

Then when we decided to order my wife asked our waiter "What's the oriental squid?" and guess what his answer was? "I don't know. I've just worked here. Sometimes reading the menu even I don't know what's on it". I should have walked out there and then. I really should have. So after looking up at the menu I decided to order Set B (it was something like siakap 3 rasa, ayam goreng kunyit, kangkong belacan, tomyam) but the set was for 2 pax. There was 4 of us. So I said to the guy we want portions for 4 pax but only 1 fish. Lucky my wife persuaded me to go check out the order again at the kitchen because that guy didn't understand a thing and might have actually gave us everything double (including 2 fish rather than 1). So much bother. At that time the realization of my mistake started to dawn but I was too chicken shit to walk out since I've already ordered.

Then the food came. The food wasn't all that good. And the worst part was that the watermelon juice was already turning a bit sour. Uh oh.. My heart was breaking. My poor wife basically wasted her money completely. None of us enjoyed the food. Fatimah even threw up because she chocked on a piece of chicken (granted that's our own fault for giving her too big a piece but we didn't realize it then because we were kinda depressed by then). And by this morning we all had stomach ache.

What a night.. :(
Happy birthday to me.. happy birthday to me.. happy birthday damn lucky guy with a nice wife.. happy birthday to me...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Running dosemu in Ubuntu Intrepid

dosemu is a great little program to use to keep all those old legacy dos programs you might still use running even in this modern day and age. But in Ubuntu 8.10 (or Xubuntu 8.10 for that matter), running `dosemu` right after installation will give a

LOMRAM mmap: Invalid argument
Segmentation fault

error. Based on the steps written here, you need to edit (with sudo of course) the file '/etc/sysctl.d/90-low-memory-access.conf' (the file might not exist yet, so just create it if it doesn't exist) and add in the line:

vm.mmap_min_addr=0

and then run

sudo invoke-rc.d procps start

Then you are all set. Now you can even run those old dos games of your misty youth or even some old dbase accounting programs if that's what you're into.. ;)

Oh yeah.. and another thing, printing works almost out of the box. Configure your ubuntu box with a default printer and even 'shift-print screen' will work. How cool is that? :D

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tabs in urxvt

Finally had it with opening with so many urxvt windows, I finally googled for 'urxvt tabs' and found http://princ3.wordpress.com/2006/10/01/unicode-terminal-with-tabs-support/. It is only a minimalistic tab (you can't move it around or anything) but it's all that I need. Just run 'urxvt -pe tabbed' and you're good to go. Press Ctrl-Shift-Down Arrow to create a new tab, Ctrl-Shift-Left and Ctrl-Shift-Right to move to previous and next tab. Simple.

Friday, January 9, 2009

As the Arabs see the Jews: His Majesty King Abdullah, The American Magazine, November 1947

This e-mail was forwarded to me from a friend. It is most enlightening
considering the current situation in Palestine.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi guys,

In light of the recent Gaza invasion by the Israeli Armies, I would
like to share with you a letter originally written by King Abdullah,
grandfather to King Hussein, the present King of Jordan.

I have decided in my conscious mind to forward this mail to you
regardless your religion, nationality nor creed.

This piece of thought provoking letter is rather long to read, having
read it myself I find that it is absolutely worth more than your
average tea time. This Article is sourced from
<http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/kabd_eng.html>

*******************************************************

Summary

This fascinating essay, written by King Hussein's grandfather King
Abdullah, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948
Arab-Israeli War. In the article, King Abdullah disputes the mistaken
view that Arab opposition to Zionism (and later the state of Israel)
is because of longstanding religious or ethnic hatred. He notes that
Jews and Muslims enjoyed a long history of peaceful coexistence in the
Middle East, and that Jews have historically suffered far more at the
hands of Christian Europe. Pointing to the tragedy of the holocaust
that Jews suffered during World War II, the monarch asks why America
and Europe are refusing to accept more than a token handful of Jewish
immigrants and refugees. It is unfair, he argues, to make Palestine,
which is innocent of anti-Semitism, pay for the crimes of Europe. King
Abdullah also asks how Jews can claim a historic right to Palestine,
when Arabs have been the overwhelming majority there for nearly 1300
uninterrupted years? The essay ends on an ominous note, warning of
dire consequences if a peaceful solution cannot be found to protect
the rights of the indigenous Arabs of Palestine.

*************************************************************************

"As the Arabs see the Jews"
His Majesty King Abdullah,
The American Magazine
November, 1947

I am especially delighted to address an American audience, for the
tragic problem of Palestine will never be solved without American
understanding, American sympathy, American support.

So many billions of words have been written about Palestine—perhaps
more than on any other subject in history—that I hesitate to add to
them. Yet I am compelled to do so, for I am reluctantly convinced that
the world in general, and America in particular, knows almost nothing
of the true case for the Arabs.

We Arabs follow, perhaps far more than you think, the press of
America. We are frankly disturbed to find that for every word printed
on the Arab side, a thousand are printed on the Zionist side.

There are many reasons for this. You have many millions of Jewish
citizens interested in this question. They are highly vocal and wise
in the ways of publicity. There are few Arab citizens in America, and
we are as yet unskilled in the technique of modern propaganda.

The results have been alarming for us. In your press we see a horrible
caricature and are told it is our true portrait. In all justice, we
cannot let this pass by default.

Our case is quite simple: For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been
almost 100 per cent Arab. It is still preponderantly Arab today, in
spite of enormous Jewish immigration. But if this immigration
continues we shall soon be outnumbered—a minority in our home.

Palestine is a small and very poor country, about the size of your
state of Vermont. Its Arab population is only about 1,200,000. Already
we have had forced on us, against our will, some 600,000 Zionist Jews.
We are threatened with many hundreds of thousands more.

Our position is so simple and natural that we are amazed it should
even be questioned. It is exactly the same position you in America
take in regard to the unhappy European Jews. You are sorry for them,
but you do not want them in your country.

We do not want them in ours, either. Not because they are Jews, but
because they are foreigners. We would not want hundreds of thousands
of foreigners in our country, be they Englishmen or Norwegians or
Brazilians or whatever.

Think for a moment: In the last 25 years we have had one third of our
entire population forced upon us. In America that would be the
equivalent of 45,000,000 complete strangers admitted to your country,
over your violent protest, since 1921. How would you have reacted to
that?

Because of our perfectly natural dislike of being overwhelmed in our
own homeland, we are called blind nationalists and heartless
anti-Semites. This charge would be ludicrous were it not so dangerous.

No people on earth have been less "anti-Semitic" than the Arabs. The
persecution of the Jews has been confined almost entirely to the
Christian nations of the West. Jews, themselves, will admit that never
since the Great Dispersion did Jews develop so freely and reach such
importance as in Spain when it was an Arab possession. With very minor
exceptions, Jews have lived for many centuries in the Middle East, in
complete peace and friendliness with their Arab neighbours.

Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and other Arab centres have always contained
large and prosperous Jewish colonies. Until the Zionist invasion of
Palestine began, these Jews received the most generous treatment—far,
far better than in Christian Europe. Now, unhappily, for the first
time in history, these Jews are beginning to feel the effects of Arab
resistance to the Zionist assault. Most of them are as anxious as
Arabs to stop it. Most of these Jews who have found happy homes among
us resent, as we do, the coming of these strangers.

I was puzzled for a long time about the odd belief which apparently
persists in America that Palestine has somehow "always been a Jewish
land." Recently an American I talked to cleared up this mystery. He
pointed out that the only things most Americans know about Palestine
are what they read in the Bible. It was a Jewish land in those days,
they reason, and they assume it has always remained so.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is absurd to reach so far
back into the mists of history to argue about who should have
Palestine today, and I apologise for it. Yet the Jews do this, and I
must reply to their "historic claim." I wonder if the world has ever
seen a stranger sight than a group of people seriously pretending to
claim a land because their ancestors lived there some 2,000 years ago!

If you suggest that I am biased, I invite you to read any sound
history of the period and verify the facts.

Such fragmentary records as we have indicate that the Jews were
wandering nomads from Iraq who moved to southern Turkey, came south to
Palestine, stayed there a short time, and then passed to Egypt, where
they remained about 400 years. About 1300 BC (according to your
calendar) they left Egypt and gradually conquered most—but not all—of
the inhabitants of Palestine.

It is significant that the Philistines—not the Jews—gave their name to
the country: "Palestine" is merely the Greek form of "Philistia."

Only once, during the empire of David and Solomon, did the Jews ever
control nearly—but not all—the land which is today Palestine. This
empire lasted only 70 years, ending in 926 BC. Only 250 years later
the Kingdom of Judah had shrunk to a small province around Jerusalem,
barely a quarter of modern Palestine.

In 63 BC the Jews were conquered by Roman Pompey, and never again had
even the vestige of independence. The Roman Emperor Hadrian finally
wiped them out about 135 AD. He utterly destroyed Jerusalem, rebuilt
under another name, and for hundreds of years no Jew was permitted to
enter it. A handful of Jews remained in Palestine but the vast
majority were killed or scattered to other countries, in the Diaspora,
or the Great Dispersion. From that time Palestine ceased to be a
Jewish country, in any conceivable sense.

This was 1,815 years ago, and yet the Jews solemnly pretend they still
own Palestine! If such fantasy were allowed, how the map of the world
would dance about!

Italians might claim England, which the Romans held so long. England
might claim France, "homeland" of the conquering Normans. And the
French Normans might claim Norway, where their ancestors originated.
And incidentally, we Arabs might claim Spain, which we held for 700
years.

Many Mexicans might claim Spain, "homeland" of their forefathers. They
might even claim Texas, which was Mexican until 100 years ago. And
suppose the American Indians claimed the "homeland" of which they were
the sole, native, and ancient occupants until only some 450 years ago!

I am not being facetious. All these claims are just as valid—or just
as fantastic—as the Jewish "historic connection" with Palestine. Most
are more valid.

In any event, the great Moslem expansion about 650 AD finally settled
things. It dominated Palestine completely. From that day on, Palestine
was solidly Arabic in population, language, and religion. When British
armies entered the country during the last war, they found 500,000
Arabs and only 65,000 Jews.

If solid, uninterrupted Arab occupation for nearly 1,300 years does
not make a country "Arab", what does?

The Jews say, and rightly, that Palestine is the home of their
religion. It is likewise the birthplace of Christianity, but would any
Christian nation claim it on that account? In passing, let me say that
the Christian Arabs—and there are many hundreds of thousands of them
in the Arab World—are in absolute agreement with all other Arabs in
opposing the Zionist invasion of Palestine.

May I also point out that Jerusalem is, after Mecca and Medina, the
holiest place in Islam. In fact, in the early days of our religion,
Moslems prayed toward Jerusalem instead of Mecca.

The Jewish "religious claim" to Palestine is as absurd as the
"historic claim." The Holy Places, sacred to three great religions,
must be open to all, the monopoly of none. Let us not confuse religion
and politics.

We are told that we are inhumane and heartless because do not accept
with open arms the perhaps 200,000 Jews in Europe who suffered so
frightfully under Nazi cruelty, and who even now—almost three years
after war's end—still languish in cold, depressing camps.

Let me underline several facts. The unimaginable persecution of the
Jews was not done by the Arabs: it was done by a Christian nation in
the West. The war which ruined Europe and made it almost impossible
for these Jews to rehabilitate themselves was fought by the Christian
nations of the West. The rich and empty portions of the earth belong,
not to the Arabs, but to the Christian nations of the West.

And yet, to ease their consciences, these Christian nations of the
West are asking Palestine—a poor and tiny Moslem country of the
East—to accept the entire burden. "We have hurt these people
terribly," cries the West to the East. "Won't you please take care of
them for us?"

We find neither logic nor justice in this. Are we therefore "cruel and
heartless nationalists"?

We are a generous people: we are proud that "Arab hospitality" is a
phrase famous throughout the world. We are a humane people: no one was
shocked more than we by the Hitlerite terror. No one pities the
present plight of the desperate European Jews more than we.

But we say that Palestine has already sheltered 600,000 refugees. We
believe that is enough to expect of us—even too much. We believe it is
now the turn of the rest of the world to accept some of them.

I will be entirely frank with you. There is one thing the Arab world
simply cannot understand. Of all the nations of the earth, America is
most insistent that something be done for these suffering Jews of
Europe. This feeling does credit to the humanity for which America is
famous, and to that glorious inscription on your Statue of Liberty.

And yet this same America—the richest, greatest, most powerful nation
the world has ever known—refuses to accept more than a token handful
of these same Jews herself!

I hope you will not think I am being bitter about this. I have tried
hard to understand that mysterious paradox, and I confess I cannot.
Nor can any other Arab.

Perhaps you have been informed that "the Jews in Europe want to go to
no other place except Palestine."

This myth is one of the greatest propaganda triumphs of the Jewish
Agency for Palestine, the organisation which promotes with fanatic
zeal the emigration to Palestine. It is a subtle half-truth, thus
doubly dangerous.

The astounding truth is that nobody on earth really knows where these
unfortunate Jews really want to go!

You would think that in so grave a problem, the American, British, and
other authorities responsible for the European Jews would have made a
very careful survey, probably by vote, to find out where each Jew
actually wants to go. Amazingly enough this has never been done! The
Jewish Agency has prevented it.

Some time ago the American Military Governor in Germany was asked at a
press conference how he was so certain that all Jews there wanted to
go to Palestine. His answer was simple: "My Jewish advisors tell me
so." He admitted no poll had ever been made. Preparations were indeed
begun for one, but the Jewish Agency stepped in to stop it.

The truth is that the Jews in German camps are now subjected to a
Zionist pressure campaign which learned much from the Nazi terror. It
is dangerous for a Jew to say that he would rather go to some other
country, not Palestine. Such dissenters have been severely beaten, and
worse.

Not long ago, in Palestine, nearly 1,000 Austrian Jews informed the
international refugee organisation that they would like to go back to
Austria, and plans were made to repatriate them.

The Jewish Agency heard of this, and exerted enough political pressure
to stop it. It would be bad propaganda for Zionism if Jews began
leaving Palestine. The nearly 1,000 Austrian are still there, against
their will.

The fact is that most of the European Jews are Western in culture and
outlook, entirely urban in experience and habits. They cannot really
have their hearts set on becoming pioneers in the barren, arid,
cramped land which is Palestine.

One thing, however, is undoubtedly true. As matters stand now, most
refugee Jews in Europe would, indeed, vote for Palestine, simply
because they know no other country will have them.

If you or I were given a choice between a near-prison camp for the
rest of our lives—or Palestine—we would both choose Palestine, too.

But open up any other alternative to them—give them any other choice,
and see what happens!

No poll, however, will be worth anything unless the nations of the
earth are willing to open their doors—just a little—to the Jews. In
other words, if in such a poll a Jew says he wants to go to Sweden,
Sweden must be willing to accept him. If he votes for America, you
must let him come in.

Any other kind of poll would be a farce. For the desperate Jew, this
is no idle testing of opinion: this is a grave matter of life or
death. Unless he is absolutely sure that his vote means something, he
will always vote for Palestine, so as not to risk his bird in the hand
for one in the bush.

In any event, Palestine can accept no more. The 65,000 Jews in
Palestine in 1918 have jumped to 600,000 today. We Arabs have
increased, too, but not by immigration. The Jews were then a mere 11
per cent of our population. Today they are one third of it.

The rate of increase has been terrifying. In a few more years—unless
stopped now—it will overwhelm us, and we shall be an important
minority in our own home.

Surely the rest of the wide world is rich enough and generous enough
to find a place for 200,000 Jews—about one third the number that tiny,
poor Palestine has already sheltered. For the rest of the world, it is
hardly a drop in the bucket. For us it means national suicide.

We are sometimes told that since the Jews came to Palestine, the Arab
standard of living has improved. This is a most complicated question.
But let us even assume, for the argument, that it is true. We would
rather be a bit poorer, and masters of our own home. Is this
unnatural?

The sorry story of the so-called "Balfour Declaration," which started
Zionist immigration into Palestine, is too complicated to repeat here
in detail. It is grounded in broken promises to the Arabs—promises
made in cold print which admit no denying.

We utterly deny its validity. We utterly deny the right of Great
Britain to give away Arab land for a "national home" for an entirely
foreign people.

Even the League of Nations sanction does not alter this. At the time,
not a single Arab state was a member of the League. We were not
allowed to say a word in our own defense.

I must point out, again in friendly frankness, that America was nearly
as responsible as Britain for this Balfour Declaration. President
Wilson approved it before it was issued, and the American Congress
adopted it word for word in a joint resolution on 30th June, 1922.

In the 1920s, Arabs were annoyed and insulted by Zionist immigration,
but not alarmed by it. It was steady, but fairly small, as even the
Zionist founders thought it would remain. Indeed for some years, more
Jews left Palestine than entered it—in 1927 almost twice as many.

But two new factors, entirely unforeseen by Britain or the League or
America or the most fervent Zionist, arose in the early thirties to
raise the immigration to undreamed heights. One was the World
Depression; the second the rise of Hitler.

In 1932, the year before Hitler came to power, only 9,500 Jews came to
Palestine. We did not welcome them, but we were not afraid that, at
that rate, our solid Arab majority would ever be in danger.

But the next year—the year of Hitler—it jumped to 30,000! In 1934 it
was 42,000! In 1935 it reached 61,000!

It was no longer the orderly arrival of idealist Zionists. Rather, all
Europe was pouring its frightened Jews upon us. Then, at last, we,
too, became frightened. We knew that unless this enormous influx
stopped, we were, as Arabs, doomed in our Palestine homeland. And we
have not changed our minds.

I have the impression that many Americans believe the trouble in
Palestine is very remote from them, that America had little to do with
it, and that your only interest now is that of a humane bystander.

I believe that you do not realise how directly you are, as a nation,
responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for
the present terrorism. I call this to your attention because I am
certain that if you realise your responsibility you will act fairly to
admit it and assume it.

Quite aside from official American support for the "National Home" of
the Balfour Declaration, the Zionist settlements in Palestine would
have been almost impossible, on anything like the current scale,
without American money. This was contributed by American Jewry in an
idealistic effort to help their fellows.

The motive was worthy: the result were disastrous. The contributions
were by private individuals, but they were almost entirely Americans,
and, as a nation, only America can answer for it.

The present catastrophe may be laid almost entirely at your door. Your
government, almost alone in the world, is insisting on the immediate
admission of 100,000 more Jews into Palestine—to be followed by
countless additional ones. This will have the most frightful
consequences in bloody chaos beyond anything ever hinted at in
Palestine before.

It is your press and political leadership, almost alone in the world,
who press this demand. It is almost entirely American money which
hires or buys the "refugee ships" that steam illegally toward
Palestine: American money which pays their crews. The illegal
immigration from Europe is arranged by the Jewish Agency, supported
almost entirely by American funds. It is American dollars which
support the terrorists, which buy the bullets and pistols that kill
British soldiers—your allies—and Arab citizens—your friends.

We in the Arab world were stunned to hear that you permit open
advertisements in newspapers asking for money to finance these
terrorists, to arm them openly and deliberately for murder. We could
not believe this could really happen in the modern world. Now we must
believe it: we have seen the advertisements with our own eyes.

I point out these things because nothing less than complete frankness
will be of use. The crisis is too stark for mere polite vagueness
which means nothing.

I have the most complete confidence in the fair-mindedness and
generosity of the American public. We Arabs ask no favours. We ask
only that you know the full truth, not half of it. We ask only that
when you judge the Palestine question, you put yourselves in our
place.

What would your answer be if some outside agency told you that you
must accept in America many millions of utter strangers in your
midst—enough to dominate your country—merely because they insisted on
going to America, and because their forefathers had once lived there
some 2,000 years ago?

Our answer is the same.

And what would be your action if, in spite of your refusal, this
outside agency began forcing them on you?

Ours will be the same.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

How open source changed my world view

I have been using open source software almost exclusively for more than 3 years now. And quite frankly I am very comfortable using it. And not only that but I like seeing how open source software have improved so much in those 3 years. Leaps and bounds ahead. I nearly laughed myself silly when I first saw Windows Vista at Low Yatt and people were looking at it and going "oooh.. aah.. so 3d.." We had compiz even long before that.. :P

Last year I went into one of those now very rare pirate software shops. And looking at the abundant choices of games available I find that I have changed my world view. It used to be that whenever I looked at all those lovely games I'd think "Oh man.. my computer could never run that. I need more RAM, I need a better display card, I need to upgrade my CPU!!!". But this time I didn't even think about that. In fact I was absolutely not interested in the games at all. All that crossed my mind was that "My OS can't even run these". :P

I know we have wine and cedega and all, but there are so many more interesting things to learn and discover in the open source world that I can't even bother to spend time getting games to run, much less play them till finish. And actually if I HAD time I would have spent it making my own games anyway. But I don't have that much time for now.

And then once in a blue moon someone would ask me to install a pirated Windows on their computer. I hate it when this happens. Because especially since Microsoft started with the marking of "Your version of Windows might be pirated" when they update, people tend not to update. But then that would cause more problems because they would be exposed to all kinds of exploits and problems. I just wish these people would just move on to Linux and forget all these problems. No more trying to download drives because they lost the CD's a long time ago problem, no more have to reformat because computer starting to slow down problem, no more lost data because of virus problems. Just no problems. Either that or learn about computers yourself enough till you don't need me to install the *&$!@*#&! pirated Windows for you. Or buy an original one if you really need your Windows fix.

All said and done, I no longer beleive that Windows is easier than Linux. My world view has changed permanently and I think it has changed for the better.

First post for 2009. Wohooo!! \o/

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A year to remember - 2008

I have spent at least 10 minutes thinking of an opening for this blog post. And no matter what I write it just doesn't do justice. 2008 was probably the most meaningful year of my life. Full of cherished memories and new experiences. There was a lot of very high highs and some very low lows.. And I'd like to think it all made me a better person today. So what happened in the year 2008?

Fatimah... :) My daughter was born on 14th January. Since she's my second child, there wasn't as much anticipation and anxiety as Muhammad. But there was still a lot. And we even had a false alarm a few weeks before. Now she's almost 1 year old and she's already babbling baby talk. Babbling a LOT of baby talk. It's so cute.. :) Sometimes even when times are really trying, just looking at her smile makes it all okay. But of course when she's crying, and double that with her brother.. fuh.. fuh.. :P

My wife's grandmother passed away on 21st June. It was a pretty big blow on my wife as they were very close since her grandmother was the one that raised her up. It was on days like this I missed the days of doing my own thing with Abdullah Solutions. I would have given myself a week off just to be with my wife no question asked. And actually I almost did but of course that ate away most of my emergency leave reserves.

But for most parts things happened around OSCC. And mostly it had something to do with mymeeting. My talks about mymeeting continued. So after the first one given at the MyGOSSCON 2007, there was a seminar at Putrajaya, Miri, Langkawi, Terengganu. At all those seminars I had to talk about mymeeting. Mostly I do not like to travel and leave my family behind. So I really didn't want to go to Miri, Langkawi and Terengganu. But the big boss insist and finally I just tag along. I'm glad I did. Especially for Miri and Langkawi. At Miri we stayed at the Marriot Hotel and the food was EXCELLENT. Actually that's my most memorable thing there. Having roast lamb even at breakfast. OMG!!! And Langkawi was super fun with the whole gang there. I've never been to Langkawi before so even the cable car ride and the trip to the mangrove forest shall be cherised memories forever.. :D
And of course mymeeting also won AIPA (Anugerah Inovasi Perkhidmatan Awam) award. We submitted it for AIPA and APICTA (Asia Pacific ICT Award) actually and both of them caused a lot of late nights and the big boss treating us for dinner. But finally it paid off once mymeeting won AIPA. It would have been great if it won APICTA too but that might be a little bit out of our league for now. So finally I'm able to write, one of the developers of an award winning system, in my resume.

Then there was MyGOSSCON 2008. Ugh.. had a hard time calling some of the speakers assigned to me. But in the end it was okay and all went pretty smoothly. But after MyGOSSCON, came the most AWESOME conference I had ever been to. FOSS.MY.
Again I was invited as a speaker for mymeeting. Because I didn't have enough time to prepare anything beforehand (I deciced I can't use the slides for the OSCC seminars as they were all for the government post. It would have bore the pants off the participants from the community). So I made some last minutes changes and turned it into sharing the experiences we had learned in developing mymeeting rather than just a boring intro to mymeeting. Foss.my was awesome and it's very enjoyable to meet like minded people who loves open source. Even got to know some of the international speakers (Pia Waugh and Pamela Fox especially). Got me all revved up about contributing more for the local open source scene. It was great.

Overall I enjoyed 2008 and I like to thank all the people who made it special, my family, the app team (Eavay, Saro, Nuhaa and Mr Foong), all the staff of OSCC, all the organizing team members of foss.my and all the people who has made a diffence. Thank you all. Thank you.

Haiya ala Solah