Archive for the 'Rant' Category

Elephant Rentals and why I *hate* bollywood!!!!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Dear Lazyweb,


Today, Ms. Robbin Wilber (potentially my future mom-in-law) demanded that I find out about the cost of renting a trained Indian Elephant for the purpose of wedding that is likely to be held in Kolkata sometime next year (2009), with everything else remaining equal.

The aforementioned elephant should be trained to carry both the groom and the bride to the wedding reception, should not smell too bad and the elephant agency should preferably accept American credit cards. Those were her stipulations. If any one has an idea about elephant rentals, please drop a line of comment.

Apparently its the Bollywood movies that has done this harm. Arghhhhh!!!! I’m wordering if I can get out of this one by saying that we have a Pre-nuptial Agreement which stipulates “NO ELEPHANTS” ;-)


PS. I do not know what it is about Americans and Indian elephants… if someone does please leave a comment to enlighten me.

Is this what Free Software or Open Source is?????

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

“Free and open source software have been gaining ground but many people are not aware of them. One of the primary aims of the centre will be to spread awareness on free and open source programmes, which do not have licensing or intellectual property rights issues,” said Partha Pratim Biswas, a senior teacher and a member of the university executive council.

The above is from a report published in The Telegraph, Kolkata edition. The initiative - IOTA is sponsored program of Dept of IT, Govt of West Bengal.

I’m truly appalled by the quote and the understanding of Free Software!

FOSS contribs from India… where are the local mirrors?

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Debarshi “Rishi” Ray came over to my workplace today to collect the Fedora 8 x86_64 DVD iso. I set the disk to burn and went out for a quick lunch. It was all done by the time we’re back, thanks to the fact that it was readily available from the local mirror on the intranet.

Officially today is the end of the 3rd month of operation of the FOSS mirror at WBUT (for the pedantically inclined its more like 2 months and 20 days). The mirror has come a long way since Susmit & I started tweaking it in the early days of September. It started off quietly with a Fedora 7 mirror for (i386 and x86_64) and CRAN - The Comprehensive R Archive Network. The choice was driven primarily by “selfish” interests. It was to serve as resource base for the series of Amazing R Workshops by Dr. Arindam Basu, jointly organised by us and WBUT, and the first series of large-scale Linux InstallFests in this part of the country (a joint effort of WBUT-LUG and ILUG-Cal.ORG).

The mirror, which rsync updates itself at least once daily, how hosts :

b) Fedora 7 / 8 mirrors
c) Ubuntu (Feisty Fawn)
d) Debian (Etch)
e) Mozilla
f) OpenOffice.Org,
g) the Linux Documentation Project

So much for the background, here are some interesting facts that the server stats throw up. Do keep in mind that the mirror is physically located on an aging IBM x206 box, sharing a 3 MBPS pipe with around 250 desktops with about 80 - 120 simultaneous users at any given time during the peak working hours.

Stats snippets for November

Unique visitors Number of visits Pages Hits Bandwidth
Viewed traffic * 691 1526
(2.2 visits/visitor)
(14.73 Pages/Visit)
(32.16 Hits/Visit)
373.68 GB
(256768.12 KB/Visit)
Countries (Top 10)
Countries Pages Hits Bandwidth
Unknown Unknown unknown 10974 11335 26.19 GB
in India in 9145 34710 341.22 GB
at Austria at 545 547 15.21 KB
us United States us 398 486 3.57 GB
cn China cn 201 283 323.97 MB
ir Iran ir 183 280 243.99 MB
it Italy it 182 233 552.14 MB
pk Pakistan pk 100 139 161.97 MB
jp Japan jp 67 94 74.42 MB
bd Bangladesh bd 62 89 161.87 MB
Others 631 894 1.22 GB

File type (listing on the type with highest download percent)

iso 118 0.2 % 352.46 GB 94.3 %

The last stat, imho, tells the most interesting story. That 94.3% or 352.46 GB out of 373.68 GB comprised of ISOs.

During the last 12 months or so, I have had the opportunity to travel, meet and work closely with a lot of young engineering students in West Bengal. Of those I interacted with, many were interested in exploring / learning more about FOSS. This interest I consider to be the first step towards creating the users, some of whom are also potential contributors, given the proper hints and nudges to the right direction.

The primary question I faced was how / where do I get hold of updated distributions / software. Setting up of the mirror was our bit in trying to meet that challenge, that the bits that are required for contribution are available to the potential developers irrespective of the connection / bandwidth quality.

For sure, it will be *really* nice to have “Official” country (IN) mirrors of the distros and other major FOSS software in India. For example, taking up Fedora Project as a case in point, I seriously doubt how soon we are going to have one in India (Fedora requires a minimum of 100Mbit connectivity for being a official fedora public mirror).

In fact, instead of “Official Country Mirrors“, IMHO, we need several “local” (read regional / state-wise) mirrors in India. Our Indian community requires up-to-date access to new software, including access to _unstable_ developmental trees and branches. For example, I met quite a few enthusiastic FOSS users in the small town of Siliguri in North Bengal, all using Fedora Core 3 or 4 - the latest available with them.
The bottom line, ensuring distribution of Free / Open source software, include the developmental branches is the key to the Indian Contrib to FOSS. Developer attention is primarily focussed on the devel branches. So, let 100 mirrors bloom! ‘Nuf said!

Goodbye Dominos! You just lost my orders!

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

I live about 1 min of driving distance from Ruby General Hospital, on the EM Bypass, Rashbehari and Garia Connector Crossing. I’ve earlier ordered a few times from the Domino’s Jodhpur Park outlet, which is approximately 6 - 7 km from my residence.

Today I was planning to order for 2 large pizzas as a treat for a family lunch. I was told by the customer care person - Dibyendu (i called at the # 24837471), that this was outside the service area.

This was rather surprising as the same outlet has earlier serviced my orders. Dibyendu being “ever helpful” offered me the number of the Lake Town outlet, saying that it would be closer to my place. Well, the Lake Town is like 16 - 18 KMs from my home. I’m sure that it will be closer!!!
Naturally pissed off more with the “helpful advice” as well as the new definition of the “service area”, I decided to send in a feedback through their website. Wonder of wonders, after typing in the text and on hitting the submit button I faced this:


This is clearly a company that doesn’t care whether they retain their customers. Neither could I find any other email address to send in a regular email. Earlier I had signed up for their “WoW! Club” membership, although I doubt if I’ll be using that anymore.I intend to do no future dealings with Dominos, where the customer service is manned by such people without a sense of direction or distance, or websites that are supposed to interface with customers with a screen full of errors.

Goodbye Dominos!