Thursday, December 25, 2008

Null function pointer trick

Few days ago Ayush posted the following code to our class' mailing list. What does the following C code do??

unsigned char *virus;
virus = (char *)(((int) virus + PAGESIZE-1) & ~(PAGESIZE-1));
((void (*)())virus)();

Cracked me a while, but here's the explanation:

Line 1 is pointer to unsigned char, straight forward..

Line 2 looks a bit confusing but is a brilliant technique for 'ceiling'ing integers. This converts the address of virus to next multiple of PAGESIZE. The code is working with memory location, so I assume PAGESIZE is some power of 2. Suppose say if PAGESIZE is 1024, then for

*virus = 123 => 1024
*virus = 2000 => 2048
and so on..

Hope u got the point. Just some bit-arithmetic to change the location pointed by virus to next memory page (assuming PAGESIZE = size of one page)

Line 3 involves simple null function pointer. From line 2, variable virus contains location to start of a page (the page might contain virus code, written by some means like buffer overflow exploit ;)). Now (void (*)()) is null pointer to function. so the above code will execute the function at memory location pointed by virus with no arguments.

Gnome: drag text to file

Got this one by accident. In Gnome, if you drag some text and drop it to desktop or nautilus, it creates a file with the dragged text in it. Simple, but might come handy sometimes..

Drag the text

After dropping, you land into file rename mode :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The init Magazine Issue #3

The third issue of The init Magazine is out. Grab your copy now!

Direct Link:

Old Issues:

Please send your feedbacks/suggestions at


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nepali Spell-check Dictionary for Firefox

Under Linux, if you have Nepali Spell-check enabled for (instructions here), Nepali spell-check works in Firefox as well. But for those who want it just for Firefox (or, Thunderbird), I've created a small extension which does the job.

Installation Instruction

  • Download the installation package here or from Firefox Addon Page.
  • Drag and drop the file to Firefox and follow the instructions
  • For Nepali spell-check, right click in the textbox and select Languages > ne_NP
Choose ne_NP from Languages menu

The extension is currently experimental at
Firefox Addon Page. Please drop your valuable review/comments there.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

URL Validity

Few days ago NewsFromNepal was asking me for some help on some URL validation code. The task was to verify a list of URLs and print the title of the page if it's valid/working. Here's a simple Python script to do that. The URLs are stored per line in url.txt

#! /usr/bin/python
# URL Validity

import urllib2
import re

urls = open('urls.txt', 'r').readlines()
badurls = []

print "Working URLs:",
for url in urls:
handle = urllib2.urlopen(url)
html =
match ="<title>(.*)</title>",html)

print "\n", url.strip(), " -> ",
if match:
print match.groups()[0],

if badurls:
print "\nBad URLs:"
for bad in badurls:
print bad.strip()

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fedora Lucky Draw Code

The lucky draw for t-shirt and pendrive distribution for Fedora 10 Release Party was done using a software. It's a mere ~100 lines of code written in Python using wxWidget. The participants' name is kept in a file participants.txt with one name per line. Get the original code from here (a total hack but it works :)). It was further modified by Ankur for use in the event.

Lucky Draw interface

Fedora 10 Cambridge Release Party

Last Tuesday (Nov, 25th) marked the release of yet another edition of Fedora (v10, Cambridge) and today we gathered at IOE, Pulchowk Campus to celebrate the Release party.

We had several events to mark the celebration. Apart from the introductory and 'formal' stuffs, we had a race (yup, a real one), lucky draw for Fedora t-shirts and pendrives (which fortunately I didn't win, that obviously would be against nature's will) and a candlelight display of Fedora logo. It was awesome!

Although Ubuntu is the distro of my choice nowadays, I was a loyal Fedora user from the very first to the sixth edition. The one thing that still fascinates me about Fedora is the incredible and vibrant artwork it has. Provided a good marketing and more easier installation methods (like wubi), I believe Fedora has the potential to be the ultimate killer-distro!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Merging PDF files in Linux

Sometimes you might have to merge two or more pdf files into one single pdf document. While there are commercial softwares like Adobe Acrobat or something similar to do the job, it's much simpler in Linux using commandline. There are several softwares for the job and most of them require simple one line command!

The following commands merge first.pdf and second.pdf to merge.pdf. You can also merge more than two files using similar command.

Using Ghostscript
Ghostscript is a PostScript and PDF language interpreter and previewer. You can do quite handful tasks related to ps and pdf files with Ghostscript; merging happens to be one of them.

gs -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOUTPUTFILE=merged.pdf -dBATCH first.pdf second.pdf

Using ImageMagick
ImageMagick is basically an image manipulation software but it also handles pdf files.

convert first.pdf second.pdf merged.pdf

Using PDFTk
If PDF is electronic paper, then pdftk is an electronic staple-remover, hole-punch, binder, secret-decoder-ring, and X-Ray-glasses. Pdftk is a command-line tool for doing everyday things with PDF documents.

pdftk first.pdf second.pdf cat output merged.pdf

Using pdf2ps and ps2pdf
pdf2ps and ps2pdf comes with Ghostscript. The former converts pdf file to ps and latter the reverse. We can use them to first convert pdf files to ps format, merge all ps files and then converting ps file back to pdf.

pdf2ps first.pdf
pdf2ps second.pdf
cat first.pdf >
ps2pdf merged.pdf

If you are looking for some GUI version, there's a Nautilus script which acts as frontend to PDFTk. If you are on KDE, Kommander script is also available (also depends on PDFTk)

NOTE: To install Ghostscript (already installed in most distros by default), ImageMagick or PDFTk in Linux,

sudo apt-get install ghostscript
sudo apt-get install imagemagick
sudo apt-get install pdftk

FOSS Nepal wins SFD 2008 Best Event Award

FOSS Nepal has won Software Freedom Day 2008 Best Event Award among over 500 teams in almost 90 countries for second consecutive year. Congratulations and hats off to all FOSS enthusiasts who made this possible. Also, kudos to Bibek for such a wonderful report.

The winning entries were selected for the scope of their SFD activities, the number of people reached (particularly from the wider, non-technical community) and the quality of the reporting. The other winning teams were SFD Nicaragua and DabaweGNU.

Although this time SFD was celebrated with much less preparation, we had an incredible event. We had a FOSS Awareness Rally, Candlelight vigil and SFD main event. Hope this award will bring even more enthusiasm to the FOSS movement in Nepal.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Computer trouble? Try pulling the plug!

Let me refresh this very well known joke:

Three people had carpool: a mechanical engineer, a electrical engineer and a Computer engineer. But the car suddenly broke down.

Mechanical engineer said: "Hey! It has to be the fuel injection. Lemme fix it."

The electrical engineer didn't agree: "It's magneto probably. I'll fix it."

Computer Engineer shoke his head and said: "Hey guys, I have a simpler idea: Let's just close all the windows, get out of the car, then get back into it, and it should run!"

Well, it's very common to turn your computer off and on (or restart) if you ever encounter any problem. But don't you think that's the traditional method?? Better try pulling the plug while computer is ON!!!

You think I'm joking?? I have two situations where this always works..

1. kacpid eating all of my CPU

This happens time to time in my PC's Linux installation. The CPU is almost exploding at 90% load and it turns out that it's kacpid process eating all the CPU. Passing the kernel option to turn off the acpi altogether solves the problem, but it also turns off the hyperthreading.

After a lot of googling, this came up..

After booting windows when boot linux kacpid starts, to stop it just cut the power supply to your PC including UPS if any , without shutting down (obviously after saving data) when linux desktop is active. yes i am saying that take the power cord out.

Now switch on the power of ur machine & boot linux, kacpid will not appear.(hopefully)

Yup, when you hear the fan shouting too loud, just pull the plug!

2. CDboot memory overflow error

Recently i also got this one out of the blue. I was trying to install Windows in a machine and while booting from CD, i got the message, "CDboot memory overflow error". Googled again and found a wonderful solution:

.. Don't laugh but it turns out that somehow the power plug came loose (I had a fan plugged into the cd prongs and then the power supply plugged in behind it.) so I took it out and plugged the power supply directly into it and viola.

Yup, pull off the plug again!!

Reminds me of this 'Magic' with MIT AI Lab's PDP-10. Computers are crazy machines.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gmail Themes rock!

Seems like I'm one of few lucky ones (atleast for few hours/days to come perhaps). I'm getting Themes Tab under Gmail Settings and they are awesome. Currently I'm using Mountain Theme with Kathmandu as location. Sweet!

No more boring standard Gmail interface.. finally!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The init Magazine Issue #2

The second issue of The init Magazine has been released.

You can download this (and past issues) from here:

Direct link:

Mirror: (Thanx to Dhruba Adhikari)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Facebook deactivated, i'm on Twitter

Finally i managed to gather some guts to deactivate my Facebook account. I'm most of the time infront of computer and internet is always on and I cant resist checking out the stuffs that happens there.. Not exactly a 'Facebook addict' (I've seen extremes) but it sure was wasting a lot of my time.

It's been more than a week now and I'm feeling much productive now.

However, I'm much of a Twitter user now. It's simple, short and is really effective. Aint a time waster like Facebook too.

But Facebook Deactivation aint permanent though, I'll be back on it if I get less busy. Facebook was good for killing time when I was hell free some time back.

(Psst.. this was the main reason, i felt like real unlucky.. :D)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Muktinath Trek Journal

Prajwal and Mahesh have published the journal of our Muktinath - Thorang Pass Trek in D2's blog site EverestUncensored along with all the photos. Have a look..

PS: My Flickr gallery of the trek is here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

GNOME auto-dim timeout

Since version 2.22.2 GNOME has introduced a new feature in power management - Autodimming the screen after some inactivity. Although this feature is direct copy from MacOSX, it's a really nice one. But the default timeout of 30 sec seems too short for most cases. I was wondering how to increase it and here's how:

  1. Run gconf-editor. (Press Alt+F2 and enter 'gconf-editor')
  2. Go to /apps/gnome-power-manager/backlight
  3. Change the value of idle_dim_time. It's in seconds, 60 seems to be reasonable.
BTW, gconf-editor is like regedit in Windows. A lot of system tweakings can be done through this.

Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex Release Party

Last Monday we celebrated the release party of Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) at IOE, Pulchowk Campus. Although the most of the participants were from Pulchowk Campus itself, the program was fun in overall. We even had a candlelight vigil and lucky draw. Release party as good as the new version of Ubuntu!

Details of the party here. Photos: Shankar's Gallery.

Movie Mania

Lately I've been watching some of the best movies Hollywood has offered and I've missed to watch. It's not like I'm watching movies all the time, but I've been digging the Oscar winners and Best-Movies lists and taking out time to watch the best listed ones. Here are some of them (with no particular order, they all are the best in their respective genre).

This movie is in five languages. English, Japanese, Japanese Sign Language, Mexican and Arabic. Story of different lives connected together.

The Departed
This one finally gave Martin Scorsese an Oscar. Perhaps one of the best in its genre (crime-thiller).

Love Actually

This movie is like Best-Collection CD. The best of love stories all in one. Makes you wonder the different ways ppl go 'stupid' together. :)

21 Grams
Sean Penn is my fav and I love non-chronologically edited movies. And now I wonder how did I miss this one.. I also didnt know this movie is from the same director (Alejandro González Iñárritu) who directed Babel too and is a part of his 'Death Trilogy'.

They say we all lose 21 grams... at the exact moment of our death. Everyone. And how much fits into 21 grams? How much is lost when do we lose 21 grams? How much goes with them? How much is gained? How much is gained?

When Harry met Sally
This one is classic. But I still feel like they shouldn't have married.

I usually take animation movies from comedy perspective. But this movie is so full of soul. And yes, 'anyone can cook'. That includes me too. (But plz dont taste my soup! ;))

Kundan had recommended this movie to me long time back saying this is perhaps the most accurate portrayal of America. Donno if it's true, but if it is, America is a horrible place to live..

The Kite Runner
This movie is straight on to my all time favorite list. Didnt know it's based on an award winning novel of the same name by Khaled Hosseini (should have read the novel first). But still it's a brilliant movie and the cinematography of kite flyings are simply breathtaking! If i had to choose the best one from all the movies i have mentioned, i'd choose this one.
For you, a thousand times over!

On my to-watch list:
No country for old men
(Please recommend..)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Getting out of Failsafe mode

Few days ago, for no implicit reason my GNOME installation refused to start. Failsafe mode worked but normal login would throw me back to login screen. Online forums recommended me to check my session scripts and all. But lazy me, i did the following in the terminal.

cp -r /etc/skel/* ~

What i did was recovered the skel(eton) home folder files and it worked! I lost few settings related to Compiz but rest were all in place.

Muktinath Trek

Last week I went to the trek of my lifetime, the Muktinath Trek. It was the first time I trekked beyond green mountains towards the Himalayas and I was startled to witness the wonderful world out there. It's no green but is full of colorful vegetation. Red, yellow, and orange trees, the barren mountains and Himalayas you can almost touch. If you wanna see Nepal, don't miss this.

Check out my Flickr Photo Set.

The init Magazine Issue #1

I was in such a rush that i even didn't get time to blog about the release. Well, if you (still) haven't grabbed the first issue of The init Magazine, get it (and upcoming issues) from here.

Scribus was used for layout designs, and i must say that this software really rocks. Although not as fast as its proprietary counterparts like Adobe Pagemaker, this one is really stable. I never encountered a single crash while designing the whole thing (Pagemaker crashes like hell). If only this software gets little responsive, I'd be recommending it to everybody.

The next issue will be out on 15th of November, so keep tuning..

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hike to Duguna Fort and Tatopani Visit

Making long story short, Shankar, Bibek and me went to Duguna Fort Hiking on last friday (thanx to Prajwal for recommending, D2 team had gone there last week) and to Tatopani the next day.

Took a bus to Barhabise, then to 8 kilo - 3 hrs hike to Duguna Fort through Yarmasing village - met a nice Buddhist nun on the way - reached the Fort at the top of hill - back to the village - had tea and potatoes - to another home for the night stay - awesome local wine - unforgettable smoking and guffs on veranda - next day to Tatopani - soothing hot spring water shower - crossed Miteri bridge - stepped on China!

Longer version? Well, pictures say thousand words..

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The day i felt like Neo..

Ok, by Neo i mean The One in the movie 'The Matrix'. If you havent watched this epic movie, i suggest you do. This is one movie you surely dont wanna miss. Well, what happens in this movie is that this hacker aliased Neo lives in a virtual world called 'Matrix' and the people from real world try to contact him by sending messages to his computer.. 'Wake up, Neo. Follow the white rabbit!' [trailer]

Similar kind of message had started to appear my computer since yesterday. I was away from computer n when i came back, there was a libnotification popup message saying 'haha', 'happy birthday.. ' n like that.. i felt like being hacked coz my computer is always connected to internet. More worried than being hacked, i was interested on how it was done.. Read everything from libnotification api to hacking dbus through tcp/ip. I shared this situation to Ankur and Shankar too, and they too were quite puzzled.

But what happened this morning was out of proportion. The message appeared again! I woke up at around 8 in the morning, unlocked the screen to see if there's any new mail. No messages. Then i went to wash my face, and when i returned back, there was this popup message:

"The milk is on the table. Go and get it."

I was clever this time to take the screenshot.

The message..

You can see that the internet is disconnected. Surely, it hasn't come through the network. But lets not go into how it was done, lets focus on the message. I took a look at the other table, there was no milk cup too. But still i was confused about the message. Then i got up, turned around, n WTF, THERE WAS A CUP OF MILK ON THE TABLE NEXT TO THE WINDOW!!!

Are you kiddin me? I had this run over my spine but still i tried to control myself. Okay, "Go and get it." I was still confused. But i went and drank it (without coffee). Was something to happen to me? Well, nothing happened (but i sure had a terrible headache).

Then there were these plethora of questions that ran down my mind. Is 'somebody' 'watching' me? BTW, also look at the fortune cookie quote on the desktop. Does that imply anything? Also note the SETI satellite wallpaper!

The fortune cookie..

I was scared to death for a while and shocked till evening. What the hell happened? Also checked if i have dual-personality thingy too ;) Checked all logs, shell history.. nothing! Also wrote a mail to Shankar and Ankur explaining the situation. Ankur was already busy reading books on Conspiracy theory n what not (he always does :)). The whole thing went over-heated among us.

And finally during dinner i was asking mom n my sis on who touched my computer during morning. Mom def has nothing to do with my computer. And there was my sis, at first was playin cool but later on was goin like 'haha..' She was the one playing all the pranks with me!

Whenever you lock the screen in Linux, there an option to leave a message n i didnt know that.. Seems like she knows more linux functionalities than me.. She was the one behind yesterday's strange messages too..

The whole day i was like, 'OMG, i'm being contacted.. this Matrix thing DOES exist..' haha.. Felt like a total moron later on.. damn! My sis pranked me on my own computer, n i still didnt have a clue about it.. :) But nevertheless, feeling like being a Neo for the whole day was really cool!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

debugfs and rdump

If you have broken ext2/ext3 filesystem, these two commands can be your lifesaver. Atleast it brought my friend Abish's HDD 'out of coma' ;)

He had his important files in an ext3 filesystem which wasnt being mounted. It turned out that it had its journal broken. Did everything from disabling the file system's journal to trying out alternate superblocks. Even tried to convert it to ext2 format. fsck.ext3 didnt seem to repair a thing and hacks using tune2fs also didnt turn out good. We were on verge of finally letting go of data and formatting the hdd.

Then i found debugfs. The man page reads,

debugfs - ext2/ext3 file system debugger. The debugfs program is an interactive file system debugger. It can be used to examine and change the state of an ext2 file system.

Surprisingly debugfs seemed to list the files and folders of the filesystem. Cool enough, it also has a tool called rdump which recursively dumps a folder to another mounted disk.

So after invoking

# debugfs /dev/sda1
debugfs: rdump /home/ /mnt/externalhdd

and all the files were dumped to the external hdd safely. Simple, yet awesome!

PS: Me, Abish and Tushar were together when the recovery happened. Abish was so happy he took us all for a tea party right away. But no shops were open. Can you guess why? It was 2 at night!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Dharan FOSSification

The day i was supposed to go to Dharan, it was terai bandh and i was at Biratnagar. Really got numb on how to reach Dharan. But fortunately, Prahmod (of PUSET) managed a bike. Dilip (also present at FOSS Orientation Program) dropped me upto Itahari. From there took a bus to Dharan.

Coming from a week long stay at Biratnagar, Dharan was a heaven for me. Clean and cool. Abish and Tushar had managed me a room at BP Koirala Institute of Health Science (BPKIHS)'s Boys' hostel. Again impressed by the size of the college. And another impressive thing: no mosquito!

I'd already met with Tushar and Abish previously in Biratnagar and had infact known Abish since a long time, so no introduction required. During dinner we talked about the FOSS Training to be conducted the next day. I kept babbling about FOSS and stuffs. Tushar was especially interested on LTSP and Freedom Toaster. These guys were already making up their mind of taking LTSP to schools and cyber cafes.. Especially i found Tushar to be hyper-excited about all these stuffs.. We all stayed late night preparing for the training the next day.

BTW, one thing about Abish. He's a medical doctor and a computer geek. Multiple personality disorder, as he admits.. haha. We've been online frens since quite a while and even if there was no FOSS Training program at Dharan, i'd have gone there to meet him.

Well, about training, it was supposed to start at 10am, but there was power cut-off. So had to get a generator. And then again a voltage stablizer. The program finally kicked off at 11:30am.

We were to cover the following topics:
  1. Introduction to FOSS
  2. FOSS in Nepal
  3. Linux Installation (Ubuntu, using Wubi)
  4. Linux Desktop Basics
  5. FOSS Softwares
  6. LTSP Introduction
  7. Shell Basics

The linux distro for installation was Ubuntu and it was done through Wubi. Previously we also had plans to teach partitioning and other hells but later thought it'd jus scare the newbies. We also demonstrated the whole installation process and it went smooth. Nobody even had a hint of how hard it used to be to install linux couple of years ago..

Linux Desktop Basics basically dealt with general functionality of Linux Desktop (Gnome). It was fairly easy for the trainees to grab the concept. Not much different from Windows when it comes to GUI. Jus point and click. And we should really appreciate the latest distros, who have worked hard to make the shell as obsolete as possible.

About FOSS Softwares, almost everybody were familiar with Firefox and VLC. Few of them also had used before. Lots of them seemed to like Disk Usage Analyzer (baobab).

Each topic was followed by a query session. There were questions regarding security of FOSS to how to hide files in Linux ;). Each query session went soo long, we had to cut off the final topics on LTSP and Shell Basics. Everybody were so hyper-excited! There were just one or two guys who knew about FOSS before, but i think they are pretty much ignited now..

I think the training went pretty good. Everybody present there got a copy of Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 -- the CDs we'd burned during Ubuntu release party. Some of them took Fedora 9 CDs too. And ofcourse, i strongly encouraged them to SHARE the software and the CD.

During evening, the organizing team also had a meeting on forming a FOSS Dharan Community and they are going to register it very soon too. We at FOSS Nepal, Kathmandu now need to discuss on how to give affiliation to FOSS Dharan (and others that may form in near future) in a legal way..

In overall, i should say that FOSS Training at Dharan totally rocked! Finally, thanx to Dharan FOSS Team for the beautiful token of love.. Special thanx to Tushar's mom and sis for the wonderful food!

More photos are here.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Terai and Rickshaw

There are few things i really dont like about terai. The first one being the heat. I was brought up in a cool weather (of Baglung and Kathmandu) so cant tolerate heat. The second thing being the dirt and the foul smell. Not all but most places in terai has a peculiar smell that doesnt cope well with my nose. ;) I can point out few others but nothing beats my dislike for rickshaws.

I agree that rickshaws are convenient means of transportation on flat lands of terai and has provided employment to a lot. But dont u think they are inefficient and inhuman??

Yup they are environment friendly but what about efficiency?? It takes ages to go from one place to another. Most people think rickshaws are fastest means of transportation in terai but how fast is 10km/hr??

And i think rickshaws are jus too inhuman. A human or two enjoying the ride in the shade while another human pulling them sweating his breath out in that scorching heat for such a low fare.. how human is that? You ride a rickshaw and the whole time you see sweat dripping from the rickshaw-puller's face, it makes you wonder - what's the price of sweat, BTW?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

FOSS Orientation at PUSET, Biratnagar

I was at Biratnagar for a workshop/training from my job and for FOSS Training program at nearby Dharan. But since guys from Purwanchal University, School of Engineering and Technology (PUSET) were interested, i ended up giving an orientation presentation on FOSS there too.

Prahmod from Third year, Computer Engineering took the lead. The date was set for 2nd July, Wednesday. Actually they were having their final exams running and also had an exam on Wednesday. The exam was to be over at 4pm, the program was scheduled for 4:15pm.

Despite exam, the turnout was nice i should say. Around 30 students were present in the program and were mostly computer and electronics engineering students. There was no projector so i had to display the slides directly from my laptop. The conference hall was also small for the number of participants present there. Most of them stood the whole time.

One funny thing though, some guys already knew me. When i told them my name, some guys were like, aren't you the one from Kantipur FM? They were refering to the Cybertime program on Kantipur FM where i used to represent FOSS Nepal some time back. Felt like a celebrity ;) Really weird! Didn't like it..

Okay, back to presentation. Very few had heard about FOSS before and they were more interested on Linux than FOSS. Maybe the flashy Compiz effects did the trick. But nobody had used linux before. There was a guy named Ranjit (the geek there, as others told me later) who was familiar with Linux theoretically but never had used before. He was skeptic about Linux on being harder to use and softwares being difficult to install. But i showed him the friendliness of Ubuntu and how desktop environments have become simple to use.

The presentation went one hour long and despite exam fatigue and the heat, most of them managed to stay and bombard me with questions. Again, more interest was on Linux than FOSS. FOSS - they kinda get it, but they wanna try out Linux ASAP.

Gave them few CD/DVDs of Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenCD and Nepalinux. Also encouraged them to SHARE.

I think the students are really excited and have shown a strong commitment to form a FOSS Community in the Campus. They are also planning to organize a FOSS/Linux training workshop as soon as their exam is over. Some guys really came forward to take the responsibility of forming the community, namely Prahmod, Himalaya, Parbat and Madan.

I also talked with other computer professionals and found out that computer literacy is pretty good in Biratnagar (I was amazed with the number of cyber cafes here, they're almost everywhere). But nobody knows about FOSS or Linux. I hope the FOSS Community at PUSET works to change this..

More photos are at here.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Nepal Bandh, FOSS and the walk to remember

Despite New Nepal promise, Nepal Bandhs (strikes) are here to stay. And the long walks during strikes have become a common devoir. But the walk last thursday is worth remembering and sharing.

I was to go to Biratnagar the next day (friday) and i was supposed to take the last flight of the day. But unfortunately due to bandh and some other reasons the ticket was confirmed for the morning.

And i had to rush.

I had promised the Ubuntu and Fedora CDs to the guys in Biratnagar and Dharan so i had to get them anyhow. Got outta house. Previously arranged gtg with Shankur was cancelled too. I had to collect: Fedora CDs from Prabin, Ubuntu CDs from Suraj, Nepalinux CDs from MPP and Ubuntu Apt-on DVD from Surmandal.

Four people to meet and it was already 5 in the evening. I was freakin out already but still started walkin. Met Shankur in Old-baneshowr; we three went to New Baneshowr to meet Prabin. He was with Fedora CDs (from Fedora release party). Prabin gave me a lift upto Shankhamul Bridge on his scooty. Walked from there upto MPP. Met Dayaram dai. Nepalinux CDs were already out of stock so he'd burned me few DVDs. Got that from him and also few Open CDs. Called Suraj and asked him to come to MPP with Ubuntu CDs.

APTonDVD remaining. Called Surmandal but the DVD was still not done. Waited for him for a while. Almost dark, we finally met. Still had to burn the DVD. And can you believe? We did it on the footpath of Pulchowk with a super-stinky dog sleeping beside us.

Surmandal dropped me upto New Baneshowr on his bike. Walked from there again. And then it rained! It was already 9pm i guess, so no question of stopping. I jus tried to enjoy the rain. Back home totally wet and tired but i had a bag full of CD/DVDs to distribute at Dharan and Biratnagar.

Guys from Dharan / Biratnagar, if you are reading this, i jus wanna let you know that i've done my best to help u guys. You better adore FOSS and spread it all over your place. Plz dont let me down.. ;)

My Firefox family

It does feel good that to say that everybody in my family uses Firefox.

My mom n sis share a laptop which i maintain, so obviously has Firefox. I wonder if my mom even knows whether any other browsers exist! But i had no idea about my dad.

But turns out he's also a Firefox user. I'd suggested him Firefox long time ago, but had no idea whether he was using it or not. But last time he downloaded Firefox 3 (thanx to my own blog), it screwed up Flash on his laptop and he was askin me for help.

And then he revealed that he uses Firefox all the time. Out of curiosity i asked him why.

"It's fast", he said.

I've always believed that it's the quality that makes FOSS so ahead of others and now i have a pretty good proof too. I still have a long way to go to convert the OS in my dad n mom's laptop to Linux, but at least Firefox is also a big feat to me.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Download Firefox 3, be the part of World Record

June 17th. Yup, tomorrow! The day Mozilla has set as Firefox 3 Download day to set the record of most downloaded software in 24 hours. And you can be a part of it!

Can it be any easier than this? No eating glass or juggling 50 bowling pins. Jus click the link below and download Firefox 3. Besides setting the record, you know what the best part is? You'll get a brand new Firefox browser - the best internet browser in the world!

Download Day 2008

PS: While you download, i suggest you listen to Coldplay's new album Viva La Vida or, Death and all his friends which has jus been released. My current favorite!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Rafting @ Trishuli

The adventure i wanted to do since a long time. Didn't get chance till 20th Annual Rafting Festival. Trishuli it is.. Everything was in a rush. Got ticket in the last hour. But the point is - we did it.

The team members were - Shankar, Ankur, Suvash, Rajiv and me. At the river, a Dutch couple joined us - Jan-Jaap Van Den Hoek & Tamara Jochemsen.

From Trishuli Rafting
Our rafting team. A Dutch couple joined us - Jan-Jaap Van Den Hoek & Tamara Jochemsen.

From Trishuli Rafting
Take me to the river, Dip me in the water..

From Trishuli Rafting
Shankar jumps..

No doubt, rafting was hell lot of fun. Our captain Katak dai led us to the scariest splashes in the rapids. But at the end, we all felt like we deserve even more rapids. Bhotekoshi or Kali Gandaki next??

From Trishuli Rafting
Rafting's over. And everybody's exhausted and HUNGRY! Lunch time..

The Dutch couple were really cool. We had a really nice time talkin to them. These guys were on world tour for a year and after rafting they were touring Nepal on motorbike! They taught us some Dutch too.
- Huth Khatet Khut? (How are you?)
- Meth Meh Khatet Khut. (I'm fine)

Photos are at my Picasa Album.

- More photos are at Shankar's Album
- Rajiv has a more elaborate blog here

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ubuntu Hardy Release Party on Full Circle Magazine

Issue #13 of Full Circle Magazine is out now! Bibek, Nepbabu and I had written an article about the Ubuntu Release Party that we celebrated sometime back. The article has been published too. :)

The party's photo also made to the cover page..

Download the magazine from here:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flavors of Entanglement

Some off-topic this time. My addiction lately. The latest album of Alanis Morissette -- Flavors of Entanglement. Well, this album is supposed to be released on 2nd June worldwide and on 10th in US. But what can i say, it got leaked over internet! And here i am listening to it on n on. When it's out, i'm sure gonna buy the CD too.

I've always liked Alanis Morissette songs, but i believe this is her best album ever. Her previous albums were more focused on lyrics accompanied by usually melancholic piano music. But this is different. Lyrics are strong as always, this time even the music is soo well arranged (Guy Sigsworth ??). Lyrics also have subtle changes. Songs like 'Citizen of the Planet' and 'Underneath' have more global feeling than her signature self-oriented songs. The point is, i'm hooked..

My favorite song in the album: 'In Praise of the Vulnerable Man'. At first i didnt get the lyrics, but later it occurred to me - this song is about her ex! Under similar situation, songs on previous albums would have been more of whine and curse. But this time she seems soo calm.

This is in praise of the vulnerable man
Why won’t you lead the rest of your cavalry home
This is a thank you for letting me in
Indeed in praise of the vulnerable man

How to get your own personal for FREE

Actually this was originally an e-mail but since a lot of my frens have been asking me about the procedure, i thought it would be helpful to others too to put it here.. The following steps apply to personal webpages, but can be followed to obtain a for other purpose too..

First of all, some background. The official registrar for .np ccTLD (country code top level domain) is Mercantile Communications and it provides it for FREE! The official website for the registration is However there are some paperworks involved too.

Most importantly, you need to be a Nepali citizen and you need to submit the photocopy of your (Nepali) citizenship ID to get the domain.

Keeping that in mind, here are the steps to get a

  1. First of all you need a webspace ready. It's good if u have a webspace already, but since here we're talkin about getting a for free, lets opt in for some free ones. You can choose any but make sure it supports domain parking facility. Awardspace and 110MB are some good ones that i know. (But as you know free are free. If you want a solid and reliable hosting, i recommend paid ones).
  2. Register for the webspace and get the DNS addresses. Look somewhere in the settings of the hosting site. It usually has ns1, ns2, etc as prefix. For example, for, the DNS addresses are and
  3. Now you also need to get the IP addresses of the DNS server. To get that, go to shell (command line) and enter something like 'ping <address>'. It'll give you the IP address..
    eg, ping
    Get IP addresses for all the DNS servers of your host.
  4. Now the registration part, go to and check the availability of domain. Remember, you can register only the name that corresponds to your actual name. For example, i can get or but not anything else. So be careful while choosing name. Put it exactly what your citizenship says. Anything different and chances are your application is gonna be rejected.
  5. Ok back to registration form ( Enter all the details. In the primary and secondary name server, put the DNS addresses that we got from step [3]. No need to fill up ternary name server. Or if you want, just copy secondary name server.
  6. Submit it and the name will be reserved. (It's only reserved, not registered).
  7. Now put the domain name you just reserved in the domain parking option of your webhost. [important!]. For example, if i reserved the domain name, i'd put that in the domain parking option.
  8. Write an application, get your citizenship photocopied and take it to Mercantile Communication's office at Durbarmarg, Kathmandu.
  9. It'll take around 2 days to process the application and perhaps 1 more day for the DNS servers worldwide to be updated about your domain.
  10. Congratulations, you've got your personal!
BTW, don't forget to visit my website: :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

M$ bashings? Well, they deserve it

We at FOSS world care so much about co-existence. Every Linux installer includes the existing OS in its boot menu. We even have Wubi. I can't believe they have a page like this: How to Remove Linux and Install Windows XP

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Ubuntu Hardy Party

Things really move fast in Free and Open Source world, huh. Umm.. let me check my mailbox, the first mail related to ubuntu-np was on March 15th and it was an announcement by nepbabu about the #ubuntu-np IRC channel at In less than two months, we had couple of IRC meetings, pages mushrooming in our wiki and we even set off for the Hardy Release Party / Gettogether. The gettogether was very much nepbabu's idea and he had some serious fortifications going around. ;)

The basic ideas for the party was discussed in our very first IRC meeting. The date and venue were,

Date: Friday, 2nd May, 2008
Venue: Institute of Engineering, ZeroEnergy House
Time: 4 - 6pm, Nepal Standard Time

ZeroEnergy House at IOE was chosen because the building is self sustained, i.e. it takes no energy from outside sources. Perfect for us in this loadshedding laden country!

Shishir with Ubuntu Introduction

Besides presentations and tutorials in the program, we'd one very important task - distribution of Ubuntu and Extra Packages CD/DVD. Ubuntu CD was no big deal, but Extra Packages CD was something we had to work on. Basically this CD/DVD was an APTonCD consisting of all the useful packages (including restricted plugins). This was very important for us to lure people to use Ubuntu coz bandwidth is a big problem in Nepal and IMHO Linux without proper internet connection is like getting stuck at purgatory. ;)

Ankur with Ubuntu and Wubi demo

Saroj (aka Surmandal) was selected for this task. He works at WorldLink ISP and has enough bandwidth to create the Extra Packages CD. The procedures to create the Extra Packages CD was like this:
  1. Get a Ubuntu DVD ready
  2. Install a fresh Ubuntu (either from CD or DVD)
  3. Go to Synaptic, set the source to Ubuntu DVD, select all the packages and download them to local repository. This would download all the packages in the DVD minus packages in Ubuntu CD to the harddisk.
  4. Now download other useful packages (listed at Extra Packages CD page)
  5. After the download, the local repo contains a DVD worth of Packages. Write them to a DVD using APTonCD
Neat huh! ;)

But we seriously needed money for replicating the CDs. Thankfully, Young Innovations Pvt. Ltd. agreed to sponsor NRs. 4000 (thanx Bibek). We called up the CD Replicating guys, the rate was Rs 15 for CD and 25 for DVD. So the plan was to replicate 100 CDs and 100 DVDs (100x(15+25)=4000). So far so good.

But things didn't go as we'd planned. Saroj got the Extra Packages DVD ready, but due to some misunderstandings, the CD Replicator ppl replicated something else. APTonCD became JPTonCD :D. CDs were good however.

We had quite a participation

Finally the big day. The program started right on time. We were to do the following:
  1. Introduction to Ubuntu / FOSS
  2. Ubuntu Demo
  3. Wubi Demo
  4. Tutorial on Getting Ubuntu more useful
  5. Participating ubuntu-np
First one was handled by Shishir. Ankur did 2nd and 3rd. I did the rest. We had around 40+ participants. It was actually more than we'd expected. Although we had a some advertisement about the event, i seriously wasn't expecting that huge number. The program was short and sweet, i guess. Nobody was caught yawning during the program for that sake.. :D

After the program, we had a brief CD sales session. The CD was tagged Rs. 15 to recover the cost. Most of the participants bought the CD too. Lets hope they'll follow the spirit of Ubuntu - 'Pass it on'.

Subir dai with Ubuntu CD

Light refreshment followed. Tea and Cookies. This also gave us time to mingle up with each other and finding out the real person behind the IRC alias. Everyone was like, "OMG that's you?" It was fun..

Now we've still got some money left previously allocated to burn DVDs. We've decided to use it to burn some more CDs and distribute them at FOSS Stall in Locus Tech Fest. It's a huge event and i hope we'll reach more people there..

Thanx to Surmandal and Shankar for the photos.