Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Breaking the monotony


I has other interests too !!!

And now, for the complimentary my life is as screwed up (if not more) than yours link!

This post brought to you by the people complaining of extreme geekiness in this blog
Yes, I know I cheated, but I'm in a hurry here :p

Friday, October 31, 2008

GDM 2.24 aka SMB (Shoot Me Bloody)

That's the name of my proposed WorkOut for FOSS.IN/2008.

What is it about?
It's about getting GDM 2.24 in good enough shape to be considered for adoption by Ubuntu, Gentoo, Mandriva, Debian, *BSD; and not just Fedora and Foresight.

What's wrong with GDM 2.24?
Strictly speaking, there's nothing *wrong* with it. It works flawlessly on my system (except for the daemonisation bug/regression, which I had to patch up manually). I've been using it as my primary display manager since 2.23.1, and it has improved to the point of bug-free-ness.

However, there are reasons why most distros are shipping the older 2.20* series GDM instead. The aim of this WorkOut is to make inroads into fixing those problems.

That's all fine, but what *exactly* is wrong with GDM 2.24?
Oh, right. I should impose a hand-waving embargo on myself ;p

History: Sometime around the GNOME 2.18 release cycle, the GDM developers decided that it was high-time someone fixed all the problems with GDM and rewrote it from scratch. For this reason, a rewrite of GDM was started; aiming for the 2.22 release cycle.

However, during 2.22 cycle, GDM 2.20 was shipped due to several regressions. When GDM 2.24 was proposed, it caused intense debates involving the release team. However, it was included since the feature regressions were deemed minor enough.

Some of the regressions are listed below:
  • Lack of Themeing support: The architecture of the new GDM is very different from that of the old GDM. And hence, there is no way to "port" the older themes to the newer GDM, and there is currently no inbuilt support for themeing either.
  • No `gdmsetup`: The older gdmsetup had several security bugs, and hence was not ported to the new GDM. The configuration file is still the same however, so this is not a really large regression since there's no theming support anyway.
  • No XDMCP Chooser in the login screen: This is quite self-explanatory
  • No support for timed-logins: This is being worked on actively in-trunk
  • No support for backends other than PAM: This means that distributions like Slackware, *BSD, etc cannot use GDM 2.24

The aim of this WorkOut is to fix the above listed regressions, and some of the other regression bugs, TODOs, Visual Glitches, etc. And maybe even add some new features ;)

Details about the How, and When will be posted soon. Stay tuned!

~Nirbheek, hoping to see you during the discussions and @foss.in :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An important announcement

We interrupt your regular lazy-webbing to make this two important announcements:

A) AutotuA 0.0.1 released! Try it out and report bugs (if you can't follow the instructions in the link given, your services will be required when 0.0.2 is released :)

B) IMO, the two best distros in this world are:

  1. Foresight Linux
  2. Gentoo
    • The GNOME Team
    • Brent Baude (ranger): master-of-the-PPC-arch
    • Donnie Berkholz (dberkholz): X11, Council, and Desktop Team Emperor
    • Raúl Porcel (armin76): generic bitch; maintains half the arches and Firefox
    • Robin H. Johnson (robbat2): Infra demi-god
    • Zac Medico (zmedico): Portage demi-god
All these people are just too awesome (and too overworked) for words. If I hadn't got myself deep into Gentoo (which led to SoC too), I would've gone to Foresight :)

Who has high hopes for AutotuA, and also hopes the best of Foresight and conary can be brought to Gentoo.

PS: Donnie, congrats once again! ;)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The much-delayed post

*Very* late, this post is. I hope it's not too late yet :)

I'm talking about something that was much-talked about, and people are probably following some of the suggestions made about this, but I think there should be some sort of standardisation.

Here's the header I use for all my GSoC code:

# vim: set sw=4 sts=4 et :
# Copyright: 2008 Gentoo Foundation
# Author(s): Nirbheek Chauhan <nirbheek.chauhan@gmail.com>
# License: GPL-2
# Immortal lh!

I encourage all of you to adopt the last two lines in your headers as well :D

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

AutotuA Weekly Status Report - I (and more ;)

Yes, I am alive and kicking. Although at a much slower pace than I would've liked ;)

So I sent my first weekly report over yesterday, you can either read the (excessively long and probably boring and or confusing) weekly report or you can, well, do something else :P

And guess what, next time onwards, all you have to do is checkout the AutotuA news page or subscribe to the "gsoc" label on this blog to stalk me.

Oh, right, this will also probably be my first post on the FLOSS India Planet!

Hello everyone!~ I'm Nirbheek Chauhan (also called as "slacker #1" by some). I was one of the co-ordinators of this tiny little event in IIT Kanpur's tech-festival Techkriti.

You might have heard about it and maybe seen the awesome speakers (and posters ;) of the event.

You've probably had the pleasure of conversing with the mastermind behind the whole event.

And maybe, just maybe, you've heard about "FOSSKriti" :D

PS: We'll (hopefully) be back next year, so this is shameless advance publicity ;p

Sunday, April 27, 2008

<3 X, PulseAudio, and DAAP

So, right now, I'm sitting at my comp listening to Norah Jones. But this isn't like any other music-listening time. Right now, I'm:

  1. Logged into a lab computer via XDMCP: I could've used VNC, but that would've required someone to be logged-in on the lab comp.

  2. Using my laptop's PulseAudio as the lab computer's default PulseAudio sink: This makes the lab computer's PulseAudio send all sound to my laptop's PulseAudio by default.

  3. Connected to my laptop's DAAP share from the lab computer's Rhythmbox: The music on my laptop becomes accessible from the lab computer's Rhythmbox.

This setup results in me playing Norah Jones on the lab computer, and listening to it here :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Google Summer of Code, Gentoo

Right after the GSoC results were announced, Anant Narayanan sent an email to the gentoo-soc ML welcoming the students with lots of good advice about how to proceed, what all they can expect, and what all they're expected to do. Thanks Anant!

The only thing about that email that irked me was that third party source code management systems such as code.google.com, sf.net, and repo.or.cz were recommended for hosting the source code. Now, for a small project that does not have much in the name of Infra, this would be acceptable, but for a full-fledged organisation with a dedicated infra team, this looks quite shoddy (this probably happened due to insufficient communication between gentoo-soc and gentoo-infra). And on top of that, projects getting distributed across several repositories makes it impossible to find the code during and after SoC is finished. For instance, I am completely unable to find the code for a lot of the SoC 2007 projects.

Now, I understand that Gentoo Infra is very short-staffed and overworked at the moment, and hosting dedicated Trac setups for all the students is not an easy task. So I poked my mentor Patrick Lauer and asked him if he could host Redmine at gentooexperimental which could then be used as a central place for tracking/hosting all the Gentoo SoC projects. He agreed, but his dislike of Rails meant that I would have to do the setup and manage it.

And so it was done, and an email sent to the list. soc.gentooexperimental.org now hosts Redmine for project management.

After a small chat with Donnie Berkholz on IRC, we agreed that hosting the source code under Gentoo Infra and using Redmine for the rest of the stuff would be best. OTOH, Alec Warner was in favour of giving the students full freedom with hosting their projects as long as the place of their choice was usable. I replied to his email suggesting that in the interest of keeping the projects accessible from one place, people who want to do their development somewhere else be asked to create a dummy project at soc.ge.o which points to the place where the actual development is taking place.

Let's see how things turn out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


So today was the day.
An insane night, on an insane channel.

So we were promised Cake.
Which got a bit delayed,
but the end we got a plate
Which was truly worth the wait

Translation: I've gotten accepted into GSoC, and the community bonding period has begun!

A couple of people I know got accepted as well -- Satya, Ramnik, and Siddarth. This will be a fun summer *grin*.

I was going through the abstracts of the accepted applications in orgs that interest me, and I found the following to be *very* interesting (in no specific order):

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

portage/pkgcore rhyme

Please don't kill me for the bad rhyming :)

I sit down to emerge -av
It churns through the dependencies
I get frustrated in 2 minutes
pmerge -a is what was amiss

I alias `emerge` to spit out a warning
that a crappy PM is what I'm invoking
Now I'll remember to always use;
pmerge so my time's not abused!

Comments on the crappiness of these lines are welcome.
More such rhymes revolving around Gentoo are even more welcome ;)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

'tis a time to rejoice

net-libs/xulrunner-1.9_beta5 and www-client/mozilla-firefox-3.0_beta5 are in-tree!

If you wanna pat someone's back, hop onto #gentoo-bugs and holler for armin76 :)

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Give them to me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Far too true:

Listening to: I am Turning Into God by Trent Reznor, remixed by chris_himself

Monday, March 31, 2008

A Few of Today's Webcomics...

...made me laugh unusually hard =)


xkcd: Convincing Pickup Line
Convincing Pickup Line



if (understood ${UserFriendly_joke} || understood ${xkcd_tooltip}) \
&& is_girl; then
    sendmail ${blog_author}

rohitj and #fosskriti

So it all started sometime ago when rohitj said that someone should kick him from #fosskriti because the channel was distracting him too much

<rohitj> kick me from this channel. else I am seeing it again and again
<hippieindamakin8> :)))
* ChanServ gives channel operator status to devilsadvocate
* devilsadvocate has kicked rohitj from #fosskriti (User terminated!)
* devilsadvocate removes channel operator status from devilsadvocate
* devilsadvocate grins

So, it was all started by devilsadvocate, and now rohitj can't spend too long on the channel without getting repeatedly kicked :D

* rohitj (n=rohitj@ has joined #fosskriti
<hippieindamakin8> hey rohitj welcome back
<rohitj> thank you thank you
>ChanServ< op #fosskriti
* ChanServ gives channel operator status to bheekling
* bheekling has kicked rohitj from #fosskriti (bye bye! :P)
* bheekling removes channel operator status from bheekling
<bheekling> This is fun :>
* rohitj (n=rohitj@ has joined #fosskriti
<rohitj> thank you bheekling
<rohitj> now stop it
>ChanServ< op #fosskriti
<rohitj> :P
* ChanServ gives channel operator status to bheekling
* bheekling has kicked rohitj from #fosskriti (again! wheee)
* bheekling removes channel operator status from bheekling

This is phun >:->

Sunday, March 30, 2008

portage-talk, gsoc, gentoo, ntgwn, and more

A lot has been happening in the past two weeks, but I'll (try to) keep the post relatively short.

  • portage-talk - A "library" of bash functions that can be used to talk to Portage (the tree + package db). It's basically for use in bash scripts to get data about installed packages, ebuilds, etc. It aims to be blazing fast and have minimal dependencies (nothing beyond bash + coreutils). This also means that the code isn't very pretty ;)

    I've been hacking on it on and off over the past week, and hope to have it good enough shape to shamelessly boast about it to more people :)

  • GSoC - So, tomorrow is the deadline for submitting apps (which is likely to be extended following tradition ;). I submitted my abstract and proposal yesterday, and I'm currently keeping my fingers tightly crossed (along with the occasional running around in circles screaming and giggling at the same time).

    Steev and Patrick & Patrick and Steev have expressed interest in co-mentoring me (Gentoo projects have two mentors); let's see how everything turns out :)

  • Satya also applied for GSoC this time. Her proposed project is the deceptively simple-looking idea to rewrite/extend Bootchart using Systemtap. Her mentor-if-she-gets-selected is Eugene Teo, who (going by what she's been telling me) has been an excellent (pre-project-acceptance) mentor; who is extremely patient, understanding, and an overall gem of a guy.

  • GNOME 2.22.0 is (mostly) in-tree - The Gentoo GNOME Herd has almost completed moving GNOME 2.22 from the overlay to the tree. They have done a wonderful job by fixing a ton of bugs in just this month. As soon as all the bugs blocking the GNOME 2.22 tracker are resolved, and a few more reds converted to green on the gnome-2.22 status page, GNOME 2.22 will be unmasked, and users will be able to revel in the joy that is 2.22 :)

  • Not The GWN - New issue released by Patrick!

  • xulrunner-1.9 and mozilla-firefox-3 will be added to portage (p.masked) by armin76 when the beta5 is released :-)

  • rohitj wrote an XChat plugin for dpaste (and has been bugging the rest of us to try it out for the past two days ;)

  • More stuff that I can't remember :-/

  • Update: Another NTGWN issue released by Patrick :D

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Raghu Dixit's Tribe...

... a very apt name for the social network of a band with aptitude (some folks might see the horrible Debian pun here ;P).
So, today (or yesterday?), the Tribe was opened to public.

And it looks darn good for a website created by one man. I would have refused to believe it was coded in just a few weeks while juggling 5 different things at once, but the dirty secret made the story believable ;)

So, all of you guys who have listened to Raghu Dixit, go and join right now.

And, all of you guys who haven't listened to Raghu Dixit, go and listen now.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The beauty of Pearl Jam

Riot Act - sends a shiver through my entire body whenever I listen to the album.

Midsems - II got over today. The exam I did best in was CE452. This really doesn't tell you much about my performance if you think about it. Marks will come soon, but I'll be home for a week by then. A very short week with 4 days spent travelling.
But I'm not complaining. I've long since learnt that vacations, no matter how long, are always too short. Now I just take whatever I get and don't complain.

Midsems usually have a very peculiar effect on people in the campus. The Newsgroup's activity peaks with posts longer than some people's notes being posted every couple of minutes. The most interesting threads are always during the midsems.

People start to behave oddly and message people things such as below:

someone: I AM AN IDIOT

And other people somehow find themselves mirroring the same feelings..

I don't know why I suddenly find Pearl Jam so blissful again. For 2 whole months, I didn't listen to Pearl Jam because it used to make me too depressed. Now I can't get enough of it. Radiohead still depresses me though, so I'm not listening to that. It's been 4 months I think.

In any case, I guess I should go out and roam around aimlessly for a while. The weather is too beautiful.

If only I could take Pearl Jam + Altec Lansing Bass with me outside as well...


PS: GNOME 2.22 releases today.



Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I love you guys

Creationists can't fail Earth Science: Oklahoma

That's the spirit lads! I'd love to see more bills like this passed in the US, it's excellent news for the rest of us. Who wouldn't want to see the Big Bully shoot itself repeatedly in the foot without even noticing it? Anyone not in the US who currently feels dismayed by news items such as these should instead whoop for joy! Remember, anything bad that happens to the US is good news for everyone else :-)

/me hosts a party in honour of this

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Gosh, it's been a month since I last blogged, and that too while this has been a very blogpost-philic month. FOSSKriti started and got over, freed.in was attended and praised for high-quality talks while the Indian FOSS community was boo-ed for low attendance at the same. FOSDEM came and went, and left several hundred hangovers in Europe.

I became aware of LinuxChix's Indian Chapter, was delighted to know about it, and decided to become a part of the community, and spread the word :)
I also became painfully aware of how much damage a vocal minority can do to a community that's starting up. I constantly winced during the flamewars on the Gentoo mailing lists during it's "Great Fall", as some have come to call it (though I disagree with them). Seeing the same munitions being deployed on the LC-IN ML gives me a depressing premonition of disaster.

The GDM 2.22 rewrite wasn't finished in time for inclusion in GNOME 2.22 (Hard Code Freeze), but gvfs managed to port more stuff and also get a "working" ftp backend, removing another bug from the 2.22 blocker bugs list.

The Xorg people were shouted at for not taking care of hald/dbus restarts, and patches were committed to fix the issue.

Gentoo Trustees were elected, and the results were expected and hilarious at the same time :-)
GSoC '08 was announced, and applications were invited from the various Open Source projects.
Diego 'Flameeyes' Pettenò framed his (and coincidentally my) thoughts about devs participating in GSoC (better than I could have) in a mail to the ML.

Beagle is still pondering about GSoC -- let's see how that turns out :)

*bheekling realises that the above paras are probably missing stuff, are somewhat anachronistic, terse, overflowing with links, and lacking continuity, but he believes that a jumbled-up link-eyebleed post is better than a forever procrastinated one :P

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


See that logo on the right at the bottom of the side-bar?

You don't? Scroll down a bit.

Arey, the one that's Black and Orange, (was made by me =), and looks like this:


Yep, that's right, we're having FOSSKriti at Techkriti '08 (IITK's Tech festival) from 13th to 17th Feb.

We're going to have Talks, HackFests, BoFs, Workshops, and goodies. If you're going to Techkriti, be sure to drop by.

It's the first time it's being held, so it'll certainly be an interesting event - especially with the Beagle/dashboard Hackfest Arun and I plan to organise ;)

Planning on having loads of fun that weekend,

~bheekling :^)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Right Where It Belongs

If you haven't, listen to the song and read the lyrics. They contain such power that can only be exuded by NiN songs.

Two versions, listen to both of them if you can, else the first one.

Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth

See the animal in it's cage that you built
Are you sure what side you're on
Better not look him too closely in the eye
Are you sure what side of the glass you are on
See the safety of the life you have built
Everything where it belongs
Feel the hollowness inside of your heart
And it's all
Right where it belongs

What if everything around you
Isn't quite as it seems
What if all the world you think you know
Is an elaborate dream
And if you look at your reflection
Is it all you wanted to be?
What if you could look right through the cracks
Would you find yourself
Find yourself afriad to see?

What if all the world's inside of your heart
Just creations of your own
Your devils and your gods
All the living and the dead
And you really are alone
You can live in this illusion
You can choose to believe
You keep looking but you can't find the words
Are you hiding in the dreams?


Friday, January 25, 2008

げんしけん (Genshiken)

The title is the name of an Anime about a club called 現代視覚文化研究会 (Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyūkai). The English translation usually used is Society for Study of Modern Visual Culture.
However, the Modern era was the 1980s-90s, and hence I prefer the translation Society for Study of Contemporary Visual Culture instead. This opinion is, of course, not entirely my own (hah, almost had you fooled into thinking I was an expert on this stuff), but was brought around by two separate pieces of information I gathered from two completely different sources.

The story is long, so please bear with me.

It started off in September of 2007- oh, wait. I think I can make this shorter. There you go.

Hmmm, that link isn't very descriptive. Oh well, I'll just explain it.

Well, it started off sometime in Sept '07 (ah, the past gives me such nostalgia.. though since it's such a recent past, this probably isn't a good sign O_O), nareshov and I simultaneously had a sudden burst of energy, and decided to form an Anime cum Manga Club. There were several examples of precedence, so we knew it could be done. Plus, the Films and Media Council was undergoing a restructuring, so it was the best time for a new club to bloom.
So, we went to Prof. Suchitra Mathur for advice on how to proceed. Why? Simply because she was only person related to non-technical stuff that we both knew well enough to approach, and who we knew would actually be interested in it too :)

We talked to her, she told us that although she cannot back us officially (since she was already into the Book Club, Meander, and countless other things), but that we were welcome to come anytime for advice, and that we had her "blessings" so to speak ;) For official backing (which is good/required while forming a club), she advised us to meet Prof. Satyaki Roy who was (and is) the Faculty advisor for the FMC. Coincidentally, Naresh knew him quite well, having done a course under him. We then discussed (at length) the aims of the club with Ma'am, and she convinced us (to cut a long story short) to broaden our scope to include several kinds of Visual Culture; not just Anime and Manga, and as a consequence, forming a bridge between all the clubs under the FMC (since it covers all forms of contemporary culture), and other clubs as well, such as the Book Club (manga/comics).

We then proceeded to meet Prof. Roy with a renewed sense of purpose, and with a grand design in mind. A design with a purpose, and a design. Wait, I already used those two words didn't I? Crap, too tired to change them too.

Damn, I should hurry up and finish this post before I collapse on this keyboard.

Right, so he extended it even further to include things like the artwork on the back of trucks, and accepted it with open arms :P

And, then the FMC Secy got über-excited about the whole thing, and we talked about various stuff, and then put a preliminary writeup about the Club infront of the Students' Senate at the next meeting. Happy Ending: We'll be an official club starting next sem :)

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the whole point of this post; the name of the club is SSCVC, pronounced Genshiken :}

Oh, and the Modern/Contemporary thing I mentioned before was revealed to us by Prof. Satyaki Roy.
The second piece of information (that I found out about in passing), was that the translation was not "official", and was merely the one that the fansubbers had used. So, the proper meaning was probably "contemporary".


Monday, January 21, 2008

TesseracT and the Techkriti T-Shirt

Well, it got over a few days back, and now I can relax... Oh crap, exams this week >_<

Anyway, here's a limerick, and if you can solve it (and you weren't playing TesseracT), you're allowed to.. bah.

A firefox extension, a fountain of memes,
the abode of randomness, and pervy dreams.
'twas hacked, and a movie made,
people were banned, and anons hailed.
Copies exist, but the original's the same,
all that's posted is completely insane!

On a somewhat-related note, people from my college are going insane on a google doc, frantically brainstorming on quotes for the Techkriti T-Shirt =)

Some samples (mostly original):

"They googled geek... and found me."

Front: "Resistance is futile."
Back: "(when < 1 Ohm)"

(all bloody and gory) "We fragged the punchline"

"In case of Big Crunch, follow me"

"I have a fractional Erdos number. And I don't know what that means."

Two T-Shirts:
1. Front: "Theoretician," Back: "Warning: Experiments may fail with me around."
2. Front: "Experimentalist," Back: "Warning: Proofs may develop fallacies with me around."

"Made entirely from recycled atoms"

"Don't be a Carnot Follower, believe in 100% efficiency"

"Watt is the unit of power?"

"Rome was created in 7 days; We create tomorrow in 4" (Techkriti goes on for 4 days)

"Absolute zero is cool"

"Heisenberg: Schrödinger's Cat is Dead. No, wait. Schrödinger's Cat is Not Dead. No, wait..."

"Art is 'I'; science is 'we'"

"I am all that is left of a witty quote."


"A Physicist is someone who averages the first 3 terms of a divergent series"

"This quote was generated by a program"

And, towards the end, a meta quote/haiku ;)

Hundreds of quotes,
On a google doc,
The haiku made it. ~Nirbheek

And then more quotes :P

"Heisenberg rules - probably"

"Haven't Lost My Mind; It's Backed Up on a Disk Somewhere"

However, it's been hours, and they still haven't decided on a final yet. I guess that's relegated to the next blog post then ;)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tekkon Kinkreet

Sunday. The most dreaded day of the week, for it's followed by a new work week.
Sundays make me sad.

If you're thinking of watching a movie sometime soon, put Tekkin Kinkreet at the top of your list. I watched the movie today morning, and the movie has the best animation I have ever seen in any animated movie. The art style, though very different, reminded me of the form characteristic of Mononoke.

Snaps really don't do justice to the movie, best is to watch a few minutes snipped from the starting of the movie:

High-res version