Perception vs Reality

Our FOSS Week has finally been slashdotted. With all due respect to Slashdot editors, was a bit disapointed by the original title "Sri Lanka Declares a FOSS Week" being changed to "Sri Lanka Declares an Open Source Weak"! The spelling mistake resulted in replies such as "Microsoft declares Open Source weak". However, this has been corrected now - after much damage has been done. Most comments implied a perception that Sri Lanka is far behind in terms of technology. I was disappointed to see comments questioning how a "small developing nation declaring an open-source week" becomes newsworthy on Slashdot! Cost is a very good reasons for a developing country to use Free and Open Source Software. But a small country like Sri Lanka, there are other more important motivations: flexibility and independence. It's extremely difficult to convince big software companies to customize their products (e.g.: localization) for Sri Lanka because our market is too small for them. By the way, Sri Lanka is one of the very few developing countries that can boast 90%+ literacy rate (check this and this) which is very high when compared to other developing countries. For the last decade or so, we have steadily been improving the FOSS penetration in the country. With the formation of LSF, we are now becoming a big contributor, too. Apache WS work, and the Sahana Project which started to help manage the Tsunami releif errorts and now becoming a generic disaster management system, are some recent developments in Sri Lanka in terms of contribution. Not to mention independent contributions such as Prozilla or Dr Nandalal's contribution towards OIO. Anyway, those perceptions are not easy nor quick to change. I don't care either; there are more useful activities to spend energy on.



Loadavg Exceeds Unity

Time has become a sparse resource with the upcoming FOSS Week and Taprobane. Managed to release Taprobane 0.3 with a script to simplify remastering.

Dr Nandalal agreed to create a Medical companion for Taprobane, and Tyrell, Kamal and Ojitha will [naturally] create a Java companion. Owners for Games and LAMP companions are yet to be defined.

Came across SquashFS which seems to be superiour to zisofs and cloop. Spent yesterday's late night converting Taprobane to SquashFS and results are impressive. Apart from a minor tweek to linuxrc (not the shell scipt, the new parallel one I wrote in C) transition was smooth and the results are remarkable. Compression was higher and booting was faster. Anyway, more testes need to be conducted before making a decision to move.

Asia OSS codefest is going to be bigger than expected. Hopefully, we should be able to sort our some issues with localizations and live CDs.



Torrents of Bits

Finally managed to release 0.2 of Taprobane. Bittorrent turned out to be a far better mechanism than I even imagined. Used Linux Tracker to track the torrent, but The Linux Mirror Project also became a seeder with considerable bandwidth. Got the installer somewhat working. Gtk2 Perl became handy again. Bud pointed out that the Artistic License makes more sense for the distro, and the licensing question at the beginning of the installation doesn't make sense. As FSF had ruled out the original Artistic License as non GPL compatible for its vagueness, we decided to use Artistic License version 2.0 to be used in Perl 6.



Getting the hang of this

Looks like I am getting the hang of this. It feels like I am writing a diary again, with the primary difference that anyone out there can read it, and comment that it's crap. It was a bit shocking in the morning when Suchetha broke the news that the Cinema Lounge of BMICH we "booked" for the SFD event was given to someone else. It turned out that we had to fill the official form, which I through was only a formality. Anyway, Dr Ruwan and Prof Sam managed to get a committee room and the restaurant for the events. Managed to do some late evening Plonning on the new LK-LUG site (which is penguin.linux.lk for the moment). After getting the raw mbox archives of the mailing lists and running mhonarc, managed to convert some of our recent work into news items. Taprobane 0.2 is almost ready, a cloop file is being made while this is being typed. Only change today was to install alsa-utils. Now Debian depends on hotplug/discover to do the needful and the startup script in alsa-base is almost bogus. However, alsa-utils still has the old initscript. Until we figure out a way to restore mixer level and all that, this initscript is going to be there. Chamindra was proposing some analogies between Alice in Wonderland and real world, and thinks he is the Gryphon. I strongly disagreed with him, for it's very clear that he is the White Rabbit. However, I he quite agrees about me being the Chechire Cat and Harsha Zen as the Mad Hatter... ;-)


So it begins!

After a lot of waiting, finally I decided to follow the trend for a change; blogging. And so here I am, typing keys into a WYSIWYG editor, for a change again. Let's wait and see how this whole thing turns out.