BarCamp Mumbai 6

I am attending BarCamp Mumbai 6 at SP Jain Institute of Management on the 11th of October. For the uninitated a BarCamp is a developer unconference. A BarCamp is an ad-hoc unconference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees.

Starts at 9 AM and ends at 6 PM. I have registered for a session on SCALASCA and the Division algebra that I am working on for SCALASCA.

So be there. 🙂


The next generation file manager

A file manager is a ubiquitous bit of software. In windows you have the much outdated Windows Explorer and Nautilus in GNOME. I think file managers need a major shift.They have been doing the same things for many years now, managing files. Managing files were good when all you had were text files and binaries and very small storage space. Now, we have various forms of media (music, images, videos) including media that we watch, tag and bookmark on the Internet. And we have excess of 300 GBs of storage space. All that means that files are really easy to store anywhere and its even easier to forget their location.

So what would my ideal file manager be? Well below mentioned are a few requirements

1. Tagging of content(files). Many File managers already allow this. But its more important to make sense of the tags. For that we will need to understand the semantics of the data in the files. And that means a semantic file system. Lots of projects are working toward this viz, WinFS, GNOME Storage etc and none have really succeeded. With a semantic file system, your OS will “understand” the contents of your data, like which pics of your contain which friends and how they are related to the contacts on your address book. That would also simplify search.

2. Do away with directories. Directories should only be there for the OS and programs to stores the binaries. For the user, there should be no directories.I should be able to put a file anywhere in my home directory and I should have access to it based on the tags attached to it. These tags will also form ad-hoc and/or permanent directories.

3. I should be allowed to manage my online media (photos on Flickr or Picasa, videos on Youtube) as if they exist on my local hard drive. My online bookmarked content should appear on my local folder. Also I should be able to search online media right from my file manager. All of this is possible with many of the APIs provides by Yahoo and Google etc. Basically my online and offline content should be merged. I should be allowed to drag and drop media from my local drive to any of these sites.

4.I should be able to view my orkut scraps, facebook wall updates and twitter content right inside my file manager and reply to them as well.

5. Online docs and files should be visible locally. Of course you will still require an internet connection to view the contents.

Basically, I think that the next generation file manager should be Web 2.0 enabled. I should be able to access web services without using a browser. However, the architecture should be modular so that newer plugins can be added for different types of media and services as and when they come up.

The opinions mentioned above are my own. You many not agree with them or you might have better ideas. In either case, you are welcome to share them here.

Its been a long time

Came across this while googling up my own name (yeah I do that from time to time to gauge my own popularity (or the lack of it))

This was a post I made in 2001, when I started my own Linux User Group at Tezpur, a sleepy town in Assam. I called it Tezpur Linux Users Group (TLUG). I was 14 then. And everyone in my LUG was older than me by at least 8 years. We went on for more than a year before I (or rather my mom) closed it down so that I would study for my board exams (10th Standard exams).

Felt funny reading it after so long.

By the way, end semester exams round the corner. So I will take a break for a few days. A break from blogging and coding and everything good that there is in life.



Finally I have decided to take up a free software project. Well its not my idea. It has been going on for quite sometime but has stopped now. It called GLScube(GNU/Linux Semantic Storage System). Its aim is to implement a semantic file system for GNU/Linux. Already Microsoft WinFS and Apple’s Spotlight are being readied which has the same aim as GLScube. This project was started by 4 egyptian programmers as part of their college project. However, they dont have time now, so the project is nearly dead. I want to take it up. And I have Sunayana to help me out. She is the most promising person (apart from me of course) in this entire college. It would have been my bad luck (actually her bad luck) if we would have never worked together. And she is quite deep into Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. So that would really help. So keep waiting. We will soon be out with a newer version of GLScube which is currently in 0.1.

Ubuntu 7.04 on my Sony Vaio C15

Dunno why, but Ubuntu and my Vaio have suddenly stopped responding well to each other. I had installed Ubuntu 6.10 on my Vaio long ago and it worked without a hitch. But I again switched back to Opensuse 10.2. Now after a long time I decided to completely switch over to Ubuntu. But I guess Ubuntu didn’t want it to happen. First I could not boot from the LiveCD.Finally I booted by using the “Install restricted drivers option”. Then ubiquity, the Ubuntu installer failed to start giving cryptic errors. Then when it finally started, installation halted once at 33% and again at 73%. I got my RAM and HDD checked and they showed no errors. The problem seems to be due to my Intel Pro Wireless Card 3945. Something is causing the graphical login window to crash.I had almost given up all hope when I tried the age-old technique…..Alt+F1 to bring up a login window.And voila, it worked. Now I get a text based login screen and I have to manually start the GUI(X Server) using startx. But I am relieved. I expect to solve the problem fully very soon.

Now I am downloading all sorts of packages from the Ubuntu online repository and will make a DVD of it.