Saturday, June 23, 2007

Installing FreeBSD 6.2

FreeBSD is really really getting cooler with each release. Here is how it went, I downloaded CD1 of the FreeBSD (just for base and no ports) and then proceeded to install as follows. Chose 1 to BOOT, Select Country, Select Keyboard layout. Later the diskmanager comes, went to the partition on which I had installed 6.0RC1. I wanted to do a fresh install so I deleted it using 'D', then Create using 'C' and press 'Q' to save-and-quit diskmanager. The next screen is for slicing the newly created FreeBSD partition (with number 165), chose using up-down arrow keys and press 'A' for auto-slicing (works well for quick and dirty install like this), pressed 'Q' to save-and-quit slicemanager. Now comes the next screen for selecting packages, I chose the 'custom' and then selected 'ALL'. It also asks if one wants to install 'ports' tree with a cost of 440MB, since it is worthit, I say 'yes'.
Create the root password and a normal-user account as the installer asks.
Install the bootloader too at MBR. This will allow to boot any other OS you have.
My WinXP is coming as option F1 and FreeBSD as F2.
Now reboot. Chose F2 to boot FreeBSD and press enter... one more time to avoid 9 s lag!
Now I logged in as root and did the most important thing, getting the wireless card working!
I have this Motorola bcmwl5 card which does not have the FreeBSD driver. I repeated what I did for making it work in FreeBSD 6.0 [ follow and may be ].
To enable my sound card, I had to edit /boot/defaults/loader.conf and replace NO with YES at the snd_drv_ich using vi and card worked like magic. is a nice tutorial to enable SUDO [bob, bunny ALL=(ALL) ALL]
For autologin, I followed
To install Fluxbox -
For xmms-wma -
For mplayer, the security vulnerability thing has to be closed.
For playing the DVD, I found ogle and ogle-guimplayer very good [remember to disable quicktime using make config in /usr/ports/multimedia/win32-codecs].
PS: I tried to install the Mintlinux [ , Cassandra Light ] and Fedora7 [ ] live-cds, but seems like they are not meant for older pc anymore! I have 256MB RAM and PentiumIV, but it takes ages to boot these live cds!
clipped from
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1905 - Annus mirabilis, Latin for 'extraordinary year'

Einstein in 1905, while working in the patent office, published following papers:

1. "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions" (Doctoral dissertation)
[30 April 1905] - download from
• Buchdruckerei K. J. Wyss, Bern, 1906.
• Annalen der Physik, 19(1906), pp. 289-305.
Considered least interesting and most cited work amongst these papers!

2. "On the motion of small particles suspended in liquids at rest required by the molecular-kinetic theory of heat." (Brownian motion)
[May 1905; received 11 May 1905] - download from
• Annalen der Physik, 17(1905), pp. 549-560.

3. "On the electrodynamics of moving bodies" (Special relativity)
[June 1905; received 30 June 1905] - download from
• Annalen der Physik, 17(1905), pp. 891-921.

4. "Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy content?" (E=m*[c]^2)
[September 1905; received 27 September 1905] - download from
• Annalen der Physik, 18(1905), pp. 639-41.

Written as a brief follow-up to the special relativity paper, this short note derives the inertial of energy: all energy E also has an inertia E/c2.

5. "On a heuristic viewpoint concerning the production and transformation of light." (light quantum/photoelectric effect paper)
[17 March 1905] - download from
• Annalen der Physik, 17(1905), pp. 132-148.

Later after completing the theory of General relativity in 1916, he wrote a book on the Theory-of-Relativity. This can be freely downloaded [ ] from Project Gutenberg [ ].

[Source: , , ]
clipped from
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany, on March 14, 1879. Six weeks later the family moved to Munich and he began his schooling there at the Luitpold Gymnasium. Later, they moved to Italy and Albert continued his education at Aarau, Switzerland and in 1896 he entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich to be trained as a teacher in physics and mathematics. In 1901, the year he gained his diploma, he acquired Swiss citizenship and, as he was unable to find a teaching post, he accepted a position as technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office. In 1905 he obtained his doctor's degree.
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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Science in India

I was reading the latest Nature and saw this news article [Nature 447, 764 (14 June 2007) doi:10.1038/447764a; Published online 13 June 2007, "Indian scientists battle journal retraction", ] which says:
The arguments centre on a 2005 paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), which examined signalling pathways in the development of skin cancer (Rangaswami, H., Bulbule, A. & Kundu, G. C. J. Biol. Chem. 280, 19381–19392; 2005). It was authored by Gopal Kundu — 2004 winner of the India's highest honour in science, the Bhatnagar prize — and two colleagues at the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) in Pune. The journal retracted the paper in February 2007 after an investigation prompted by an anonymous email. The authors were told that the paper contained "data that was reproduced without citation and with different labelling" from a paper the same group had published in 2004 (Rangaswami, H., Bulbule, A. & Kundu, G. C. J. Biol. Chem. 279, 38921–38935; 2004). Journal editors claimed the errors amounted to "deliberate misrepresentation".
I don't know who is saying the truth? Very confused. As I flipped pages, I note the ENCODE [ ] consortium does not have any Indian or any Indian Institute as a member [ ].

Monday, June 04, 2007


The UNIXHATERS Handbook [download] is a fun to read book. It introduces us to the frustrations of the 80's hackers who were exposed to UNIX of that time [it is presented as virus-with-a-user-interface in the book]. They were not quarantined in time so it simply spread...

Most of the stuff in the book is not valid literally [Now we have GNU/Linux and I must note that many of the bugs mentioned here have been fixed, so you can not replicate them.   But the points of 'being-productive' is still context free :)] but some of the philosophy mentioned, still holds.

But listen to what Dennis Ritchie [Co-creator UNIX and C] has to say about the book:

Here is my metaphor: your book is a pudding stuffed with apposite observations, many well-conceived. Like excrement, it contains enough undigested nuggets of nutrition to sustain life for some. But it is not a tasty pie: it reeks too much of contempt and of envy.

Bon Appetite!

--------------------------"The Answer Lies in Genome"--------------------------

PS: Few quotes from the book

To Ken and Dennis,
without whom this book
would not have been possible.


The original Unix solved a problem and solved it well, as did the Roman numeral system, the mercury treatment for syphilis, and carbon paper. And like those technologies, Unix, too, rightfully belongs to history.

 "Two of the most famous products of Berkeley are LSD and Unix. I don't think that this is a coincidence."


Unix was evolutionarily superior to its competitors, but not technically superior. Unix became a commercial success because it was a virus.

A century ago, fast typists were jamming their keyboards, so engineers designed the QWERTY keyboard to slow them down.

550 chiarell… User unknown: Not a typewriter
-sendmail error message

Sturgeon's Law, which states that 90% percent of any field is crap.

wc *.c
[A UNIX program 'wc' used here over C source files from the book: The Unix Programming Environment]
Yep. That's what much of this programmer's work consists of. In fact, today I spent so much time counting my C files that I didn't really have time to do anything else. I think I'll go count them again.

Yet somehow Unix maintains its reputation as a programmer's dream. Maybe it lets programmers dream about being productive, rather than letting them actually be productive.

If you drop a frog into briskly boiling water it will immediately jump out. Boiling water is hot, you know. However, if you put a frog into cold water and slowly bring it to a boil, the frog won't notice and will be boiled to death.

The noted linguistic theorist Benjamin Whorf said that our language determines what concepts we can think. C has this effect on Unix; it prevents programmers from writing robust software by making such a thing unthinkable.

bugs usually don't get fixed (or even tracked down), and periodically rebooting Unix is the most reliable way to keep it from exhibiting Alzheimer's disease.

Unix discovers this after spending a few hours to dump 2 gigabytes. Unix happily reports the bad spot, asks you to replace the tape with a new one, destroy the evil tape, and start over. Yep, Unix considers an entire tape unusable if it can't write on one inch of it.

Using crypt is like giving a person two aspirin for a heart attack. Crypt's encryption algorithm is incredibly weak—so weak that several years ago, a graduate student at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory wrote a program that automatically decrypts data files encrypted with crypt.2

always going on about how under real operating systems (ITS and MULTICS among others), one never had to worry about losing mail, losing files, needing to run fsck on every reboot… the minor inconveniences Unix weenies suffer

The Unix file system slows down as the disk fills up. Push disk usage much past 90%, and you'll grind your computer to a halt. The Unix solution takes a page from any good politician and fakes the numbers. Unix's df command is rigged so that a disk that is 90% filled gets reported as "100%," 80% gets reported as being "91%" full, and so forth.
Weird, huh? It's sort of like someone who sets his watch five minutes ahead and then arrives five minutes late to all of his appointments, because he knows that his watch is running fast.

So why do people believe that the Unix file system is high performance? Because Berkeley named their file system "The Fast File System."

By design, NFS is connectionless and stateless. There's only one problem with a connectionless, stateless system: it doesn't work.

God has a binary representation is just another clear indication that Unix is extremely cabalistic and was probably written by disciples of Aleister Crowley.

Unix teaches us about the transitory nature of all things, thus ridding us of samsaric attachments and hastening enlightenment. - Michael Travers <>
[Now, I no longer have attachments to my processes. Both processes and the disappearance of processes are illusory. The world is Unix, Unix is the world, laboring ceaselessly for the salvation of all sentient beings.]

In a cryptic statement, Professor Wirth of the ETH Institute and father of the Pascal, Modula 2, and Oberon structured languages, merely stated that P. T. Barnum was correct.

Dennis and Brian worked on a truly warped version of Pascal, called "A." When we found others were actually trying to create real 308 Creators Admit C, Unix Were Hoax programs with A, we quickly added additional cryptic features and evolved into B, BCPL, and finally C. We stopped when we got a clean compile on the following syntax:

for(;P("\n"),R=;P("|"))for(e=C;e=P("_"+(*u++/ 8)%2))P("|"+(*u/4)%2);