Thursday, September 21, 2006

Software Freedom Day 06

The software freedom day 2006, on 16 Sep 06, seemed to be quite successful, considering the crowd seen on that day. However the success will lie upon the coming days and how FOSS Nepal tries to create FOSS-awareness in Nepal and among the Nepalese. It's going to take time; well Richard Stallman has been in this movement for 2 decades and still advocating for Free Softwares and believes that there's still a lot to done to make his dream come true. Now his dream is not his anymore, thousands of people around the world share the same dream.

What I like about FOSS Nepal community is that they also have such communities in colleges, mostly technical/engineering colleges. I think college students are the best target group of FOSS movement. If FOSS-Nepal can arouse the needs of FOSS, then no body can stop them from embracing the FOSS philosophy. And the future world can see the proliferation of FOSS, though it may take a long time, say 10 years from now.

On that event day, there have been several paper presentations on various subjects, mostly related to FOSS, there was also one technical paper on IPv6. Most presenters was novice, many from colleges. I didn't attend last two presentations. Well i had a comment then. They didn't manage time for lunch. So i reluctantly left the presentation hall.

Then there were open space discussions and I was one of the initiators of Drupal Community in Nepal Group. Our objective was to create a drupal user group where we would be sharing our views on one of the most popular CMS, discuss on ways to create awareness of drupal in Nepal, possibly by organizing writeshops (this was an idea proposed by Bibhusan from Bellanet), helping our nepalese drupal developers learn eachother. We have also created a google group to further discuss on drupal and help drupal community grow in Nepal.

The SFD ends with a documentary on code-breaker. I could not stand heat inside the hall; unwillingly left the show. I also bought a FOSS T-shirt, costing Rs.250/-. Fair enough!. I liked the penguin :).

This is a hard yet must-do job. I think FOSS Nepal should come up with some strategy with what they are going to do next, say for another year to lessen their distance from their goal. As i have mentioned before, students are the easy yet effective target group of FOSS. Their focus should go beyond technical/engineering colleges to other faculties (commerce, social-science...) also. Other effective step would be convincing governmental organizations; they are wasting huge amount of money paying for MS products. And this is almost impossible unless people start FOSS as their business, well there should be plenty of choices to choose support from. The most important thing is to create FOSS entrepreneurs in Nepal and at the same time create an environment to make the FOSS business posible. I don't see this as an easy task. Long and difficult road ahead. I just hope they don't abandon it before.......

Monday, September 18, 2006

Firefox...sometimes annoying

I am an open source advocator whenever, wherever possible. Nodoubt Firefox is one of my favorites and have been using since v1.0. Full CPU consuming happened at times in the past. It's been several months that FF is running without a hitch. My simple solution, then, was to close and open it [I can't afford to look in the code. I downloaded it once when I tried to write FF extensions, but unfortunately wasn't able to give time.]. Two days back i downloaded Firefox 2 Beta, installed and using side-by-side with Firefox 1.5. Since then, i am again experiencing full CPU usage, with both the versions. I wonder why, these two versions reside at different locations. Process Explorer shows jpeg_fdct_islow thread is actually consuming CPU. Googling shows other FF users having some problem but not any address from the FF Community yet, as of 18 Sep, 06.

Bhairab Risal...we salute you!!

Today I read an interview of journalist-turned-activist Bhairav Risal, who got one of the country’s most prestigious awards, Jagadamba Shree Puraskar, which also includes a lump-sum of Rs. 200,000. That's a huge amount of money for any Nepali but not for selfless Risal. I am pretty much struck with his altruistic words.
"I am capable enough of earning my own living to sustain my life and my family, so why should I spend the money that I receive through the award on myself? Of course, if I pay back my loans with this amount, I would be relieved but I have decided not to do so. This has come to me all of a sudden. Had I not received this would my life be ruined? Definitely not… I believe if my small effort can bring a difference in society then why step back?"
I wonder there are still people like these in this world and particularly in Nepal. I am not talking about billionaires. The simple person living in Nepal, who earns enough for his family is going to donate that huge amount of money to social cause is much more than what Gates Foundation is doing, at least for me.

Risal, almost in eighties , set an ambition to bring light to Humla, the remotest, impoverished and forgotten village at extreme north-west corner of Nepal, since 2004.
"Other than for a few more kilometers of roads leading to Humla, the entire district has remained virtually unchanged for almost three decades. It still has no electricity, nor tap water and heating for homes except firewood."
Can we even imagine living in such condition?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Perl? ha ha ha Try Python

Well I found this interesting ad by O'Reilly on the net and there's even apology for such sarcastic and harsh remark. I myself had started perl before python. Perl is probably the reason that caused me to look for simple yet powerful scripting language, yes it's python. Especially I don't like using nitty-gritty in manipulating values in variables, arrays, lists in perl. The entire thing is really confusing, and not just for newbies. I won't recommend perl if one asks between perl and python. But if one really wants to understand the simplicity of python, then i would rather ask her to try perl once.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

FOSS Nepal... I am happy and again sad!

Today I found that there is also a FOSS Community in Nepal. I am happy and again sad to hear that. I am happy that people are already aware of it. I am sad that they haven't done much job in creating awareness on FOSS. I went to GPLv3 Conference at Bangalore on 23th, 24th Aug 2006. I was confronted by several participants asking whether I was from FOSS community from Nepal. I said no and i even further said that there's still not such community in Nepal. Now I feel embarrassed to find out that I was wrong and also that there was no one from FOSS Nepal or even from Nepal, except me to attend that conference. I see that there's still a lot to be done in FOSS by FOSS Community and I am willing to be an active member of FOSS Nepal. There's going to be an event on Free Software Day on 16th Sep 2006 and I'm definitely not going to miss that opportunity.

"What is my fault that I am here?" ...

"What is my fault that I am here?" well it's not what I am saying but the old lady citizens counting the end of their lives at Senior Citizens Residence, Matatirtha. It's on the way to Thankot. I visited that place almost 2 months back as a member of Leo Club of Kantipur. We donated some food like biscuits, noodles, toiletries to each of 20 women living there. That plastic bag content would last for not more than 2 weeks. Besides we also donated a sack of rice and other things (like sugar, flour.. i don't remember all now) to the committee working for the Residence.

It was just an idea of some of my friends from Leo club who visited that place and said that we should be doing something for them. Continuing our support to them is not practical for us, as we collected money from ourselves only. It's hard to approach people asking for money, even for selfless work like this. Because there are many people, organizations working on same and with some fake people also, causing such job difficult.

Reaching and talking with them was the only thing that would have been enough for them. I don't remember how many times they thanked us. Many of them were saying, only our presence would have been enough. They get so less visitors, only seeing people beside their beds was much more than food they get. My friends had already warned us not to provoke any stories from them. For they would start crying, and you wouldn't know what exactly to do. Well it seemed stupid when asked not listen to them. My friends didn't mean that. Just don't talk about their history and don't ask why are you here. It was true, their stories would haunt everyday. Ah.. you can't do anything to help them, you have jobs, families to take care of, friends to give time to, so many other things you want to accomplish in your life. Their disheartening stories would never let you concentrate. It had happened to me when I used to tutor at an orphanage, ah... everyone of those boys have their own painful stories. One day I even felt tears in my eyes.

The world is not perfect, it's highly biased. Yet we find ourselves powerless to do anything. There are so many things boggling your mind, you just can't keep yourself happy every time. Family, friends, job.... these things just trick you to give a sense of happiness for a short time. I understand this and yet I am after those. In my heart, i really want to see smile in the faces of people, who have never taste happiness in their lives and those who have forgotten how does it feel to be happy. There are many NGOs, INGOs, foundations established by actors, actresses, that are working to help these staggering number of people. And yet so little has been done and so much has to be done.

I still remember their smiles and gratefulness. Each room contains atleast 6/8 ladies.

There's a beautiful story about a boy throwing starfishes, brought to the beach by the waves,
back to the sea. A grown-up man seeing the futile attempt to throw the starfishes back to their home, smiled and approached the kid, "You see this entire beach is filled with starfishes. You are not going to make any difference." The boy threw one starfish back to the water, "See I make a difference to this one".

There's so much to be learned from that little kid. Why don't all of us start with what we can. We don't have to donate huge amount of money. Like I said above, just a humble visit will provide orphans, homeless senior citizens, a lot of happiness you and I could ever imagine. What we need is a humble, selfless heart to say them "No, it's neither your nor our fault, that you are in this position." and i don't know what to say after. Maybe you can.