June 28, 2011

What do You Love: Linux

My Linux Mint 10 Julia Desktop :)

I love Linux. I feel proud to be a Linux user. I am also a Linux preacher.

And here I am going to maunder why I love Linux and why you should try it too. But before I move forward, I should tell you that if you are happy with using whatever OS you are currently using (most likely to be Windows), then probably this blog post may not be so much useful to you (if you still decide to read it, thanks :)

I am going to divide this blog post into 2 parts. In first part, I will give (only some of) the reasons why I liked Linux *before* using it regularly, and in second part *after* I became a regular user.



1. Linux is not Windows
Well this is one of the chief reasons I liked Linux and wanted to use it. That it was not a product of MSFT. Not long ago, I simply despised everything related to M'Soft. I thought by using its products we were becoming its slaves ('Don't have MS Office, Notepad, IE? You are doomed'). And this led to 2nd reason.

2. Linux is Free
Here Free as in 'Freedom'. Freedom from using M'Soft products. Linux gave me a choice. And there was no single Linux. There were thousands of distros to choose from. You can even make one of your own if you wish (which I even did along with group mates during a college project).

3. Linux is Free (at least I think so :)
And here Free as in 'Free Coffee' (I would have said 'Free Beer' but I am a non-alcoholic :). While I have indulged in piracy in some form (shh.. don't tell anyone, I can get arrested. No, I am serious :), I have always believed that one should avoid it, if possible. Linux gave me chance to ditch my pirated Windows copy (other pirated softwares inside it) (buying was not an option) and the guilt associated with it.

4. Linux is Free
And here, Free as in virus-free, spyware-free, crapware-free, and mostly maintenance-free. And it is only after you use it and find out that you don't need to be afraid of opening an attachment or even an infected copy of a flash drive, you realize what that means. Of course, if you just don't give a damn about your security and are hell bent to screw yourself then even Linux (or God or even next God) can't save you!

5. Desire to be in Minority (an exclusive group)
If I use Windows, I would be another one of those 90+% of PC owners using Windows. If I use Linux I would be in an exclusive group of less than 2% Linux users. I also wanted to see if I really can do without Windows. And now I can safely say that (mostly) I don't need Windows to use my computer (just like I do not need mobile and Facebook to live ;)


While the above mentioned reasons do remain valid, ever since (last 1 year or so) I started using Linux as a primary full time OS, I have got a lot more reasons to like it:

1. Linux is NOT perfect
Before actually using it properly, I thought Linux was a silver bullet to all the problems that exists in the computer world. I was wrong, and I am glad I was. Because it again validates my thinking that "Nothing is perfect", but you can always strive towards perfection, getting better all the time. Anyways, the problems that I encountered have always motivated me to find solutions/alternatives to it.

2. Linux taught me to use Windows again
It may come as a surprise, but after using Linux full time for a period of time (even forcing my brothers to do it, by locking Windows :), I realised some things were better done in Windows (playing games, or using some 'Windows-only' softwares like PS). So, I was happy to go back to Windows and rediscover it all over again (I am a happy Windows 7 user now).
3. Linux gives you alternative
Not only is Linux an alternative OS, it gives you a whole new world of alternative softwares. I have discovered so many apps (all free mind you) inside Linux, that are so simple, useful and enjoyable to use, that now I try and run them on Windows also if possible!

4. Linux gives a sense of community
You may have heard about it; it feels just nice to hear. But if you see 2 regular Linux users, you can see them bonding big time (sometimes fighting too, over their choice of distro and softwares, but that's democracy you know :). They feel connected by something (at least I have felt it). Now, how many times have you seen the same for Windows users (OK, probably when they discuss OS problems :) Of course, there is also a real online community out there, that is quite comprehensive and useful and will be happy to provide you solutions to any kind of problem you are facing.

5. Linux is Fun!
And I can't emphasize on this well enough. I mean, what's the point of using something if you can't have fun using it? I can use Linux for the sheer fun of it (tinkering with it for hours, without doing any real work). May be that's just a geek inside me. But don't take my words, use any modern Linux distro and you will realize that it actually is fun to use.

You may be thinking, I am being a jerk here by boasting about being a super-Linux user and all. Well you are probably right :) But:
1. I am not a super-user and I have years of Linux usage remaining before I can think of calling myself one.
 2. The real reason I wrote this is to motivate someone to at least give Linux a try (an honest try with open mind).

Goto any of the popular Linux distro sites like thisthis or that, and grab one of their Live CDs, have fun using it and decide if you want to use it in future or not.


If this post can make at least one person, even a secondary Linux user, its purpose will be served. Preaching about Linux is my way of giving back something to this wonderful OS. After all, love and affection are better served 2-way, isn't it? :)

June 26, 2011

Not Your Wife’s Daughter

“A newly-born baby girl was found abandoned behind the Ram temple near a garbage depot in Dehu Road on Saturday around 7 am.....”

This is the news I read today in TOI newspaper. And I was really-really disturbed after reading that gruesome news, thinking about that tiny little heart, and wondering what could she possibly do in less than 24 hours that her parents decided to just leave her to rot in garbage. I am filled with pain for that little girl who isn’t even aware of where in the world she is. And there is furious rage for those uncaring and soulless bastards who had the heart to just dump their little daughter, literally like a piece of trash, letting her die a slow and painful death.

Sadly this is not the first time I am hearing this kind of story. I have heard and read about several such instances, where girls are choked to death, buried alive, burned, given sedatives, thrown in burning oil and what not.

I was left wondering how can someone do such a thing their own child. I could only think of these 3 reasons (would like to know if you have any other theory):

1. She was an ‘illicit’ child (like the above report suspects) who would never get accepted by our so called “Indian” society with its “moral culture”; so she was conveniently thrown away. But an abortion would have been even more convenient; unless the parents just wanted to enjoy the pregnancy phase and then kill their child in the name of “honor”.

2. Her parents were so poor that they couldn’t afford to feed her 3 times a day. Well then if you can’t afford to raise a child, go get those free condoms that govt. distributes. Can’t you afford those also?

3. The child was a GIRL. I presume most likely that was her ‘fault’. That she was not yet another male in this male dominated society.

I don’t give a shit, what those so called women oriented TV serials and films try to portray. To me they seem more drama and less reality. They seem to be actually glorifying these kinds of events and such people should be sent behind bars.

But when I hear and read about such sinful acts in real life, I really worry if we are really progressing as a nation? We say that we are way better than Pakistan, Afghanistan and other such countries where women are still treated as slaves to men. But when the same mentality and partiality is seen in here, I don’t find our great nation to be that great. These are some moments I don’t feel that proud to be an Indian.

“But not everybody is like that.”... Yeah, that’s right probably. And we should be thankful, these people who let their girl child live! But is it any good? They still impose their choices about the clothes to wear, people to talk to, places allowed to go. She is still treated 2nd rated to her male sibling, still not given all the facilities provided to a son. She won’t probably go to the same school, she won’t get the same kind of fancy clothes to wear, she will be expected to do the house hold chores (like a servant) and get scolded/beaten mercilessly for not “obeying orders”.

“But that usually happens in rural areas”.... Really? Because I live in a metro, and I see that happening all the time in my own neighborhood. The above mentioned incident happened in a city. And according to the latest census, the sex ratio of urban areas is way lower than rural areas. Still think it's a rural phenomenon?

“So, what’s the solution, you suggest”... I honestly have no clue. I am not writing this as an article to get marks in some kind of competition or test, where I will give magic suggestions and everything will be OK. I honestly feel disgusted and shamed by such acts. And things won’t change until this society’s bias towards a girl child doesn't change.

I frankly laugh at us Indians’ hunger for a son; one who can take their clan/family legacy forward, who can help the father in his business... my ass. I have seen instances in real life where the parents will go on conceiving 3-4 times, in the hope that they at last get a son.

A daughter is the greatest gift someone can receive. I have always believed that girls are stronger and better than boys in so many areas. Everybody deserves a fair chance. Nobody should suffer because of their gender.

And yes, I just so wish that the butcher parents of that child die the same painful death they chose to give their little daughter.

June 24, 2011

Why I don't Like FaceBook (Anyway!)

Well I have been getting numerous requests for joining Facebook for months now. I had to make a filter in my inbox to keep all requests away (but I still get one or 2 a month anyway). No, I am not a celebrity whom people would be delighted to see. It's just that a lot of my friends are on the "The" Social Network and they want to see me there too. And that's pretty understandable because I want to see more and more people in my own little network, interacting, participating and sharing stuffs. So what's the big deal in joining (or not joining) FB? Well, this post is a PR blog that explains the same:

1. I already use a social network: Orkut anyone?! I joined Orkut in 2007 and have used it a lot circa 2007-2009. In fact, I even coerced a few people to join me there. A lot of people (we Indians at least) were a fan of Orkut at that time, so it was a lot of fun interacting with long lost friends (especially since social networking was a new thing). But over the years, people moved on to Facebook (and for right reasons I think) but I was stuck using Orkut (though I did delete my previous account and made a new one, removing clutter (read 'unwanted friends')). Most people I believe still have an Orkut account. If you really want to join me on a social network, come Orkut! I check my Orkut account at least once a week.

2. Too many friends: People like to have friends and this is what online networking is all about. But it may come as a surprise that I don't like to have too many friends. I just want to have a close set of friends with whom I am comfortable interacting and discussing anything under the sun, and can do so on a daily basis. I made a lot of 'friends' over Orkut (big mistake!) and when they don't interact, don't reply back; they just become a hassle, a kind of formality that you have to complete by exchanging greetings every Holi/Diwali/Eid/Christmas/New Year. I don't want to come on Facebook and face the same old situation again.

3. No Time: It's not that I am not active online. In fact, I may be more active than a lot of people. I check (and reply!) emails, chat on IM, read RSS feeds, maunder on Twitter (too much!), share stuffs on Buzz on a daily basis. Sometimes I ask questions on IRC/forums, now even watch YouTube videos here and there (what about blogging?). I don't want to join another network if I can't give anytime to it. What's the use of making an account and forgetting to visit it for months?

4. Do I need another network?: And this is the most important thing. I still believe meeting one-to-one is the best form of buddying, followed by probably making calls/sms. And everybody will agree that I reply to their mails as soon as I can. Or you can use tons of mediums I noted down above to interact with me. The simple fact is that I can easily contact anyone whom I want to interact right now. So why use FB? You may remember when I wrote "Why I don't have a Mobile". It's all about requirements. When you can do without it, what's the need?

5. I am a bit skeptical of it: I don't know, but I don't get a very positive vibe when hear about Facebook. It's a lot like when other people think about Google and it's products. I have heard a lot of negative things about it (though I have to admit, every good thing has its shortcomings) and their privacy loopholes. I feel like it is a big monster waiting out there to engulf me. May be it has something to do with Big Company Syndrome.

Now I know it is a bit lame to expect everyone to leave their favorite network just to interact with me (after all I don't do the same!). And I also know that I miss a lot of good things by not being on Facebook. So I do believe, I will join Facebook someday. May be tomorrow, may next week, this year or a few years down the line. I just don't know exactly when.

And I would also like to make it clear that the reason I don't have an FB account is  NOT because I don't know how to make one! To tell the truth, I do have a Facebook account! In fact, I have made 1 or 2 accounts few years back, when I was trying everything (including MySpace!). I made the account, checked its interface, found it a bit difficult to use, found no friends, stopped using it. And now either I don't remember the password, or have deactivated the account.

But I would really like to hear arguments in favor of Facebook (other than what I have already mentioned). Please motivate me to make an account!