Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Does Google Chrome mean Firefox is not good enough?

Google released its own web browser based on WebKit today. Well, it's too early to take Chrome seriously and also GNU/Linux and OSX support is not even ready. Nevertheless, Google's choice of WebKit made me wonder why.

It seems WebKit is easier to port to devices of different size and resource capacity. I read a while ago that KDE and Epiphany were moving to WebKit too. I'm not an expert in browser's engine technology but I think such interest in WebKit might be technical as well as greater flexibility with its license.

But what does all these mean to Firefox and its engine, Gecko? Does this mean soon everyone will abandon it just because big names are not interested in it? Or not too far in the future, its usage shrink significantly?

Although these are not particularly good signs for Mozilla, I think Gecko is more than a layout engine; it powers one of the most popular web browsers (I wanted to say the most but some loosers might argue why the IE is more used!!!). Firefox has a wealth of features in addition to its technical merits and Google need a lot of time to build a similar one. I guess by the time other catch up with Firefox features, Mozilla has perfected its Gecko further to stay competitive.

In the mean time, Firefox the web and support the browser that brought some joy to the net.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Got My USBs Back in VirtualBox

Well, since I upgraded to Hardy, I couldn't get my USB devices to work in VirtualBox and I was almost forgetting it once had such feature : )

I've been very lazy because if I just had googled it like I did today, my life could have been more colourful. If you suffer from the same problem and haven't bothered fixing it yet, here is a fix I found on ubuntu-unleashed.

After adding yourself to vboxusers group and uncommenting a few lines in /etc/init.d/, find group id of vboxusers and add the following to /etc/fstab
none /proc/bus/usb usbfs devgid=VBOXUSERS_ID,devmode=664 0 0 
Mount it and celebrate the reunion.

Link to full article:>

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pidgin and ICQ

Today, ICQ authentication using Pidgin on Hardy died all the sudden with an error message complaining about the version of the software.

Well, as suggested in the error message, I compiled the latest version, 2.4.3, and it did solve the problem. I've uploaded the new version in my PPA but alternatively you can grab the deb files from getdeb now.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What Are We Thanking Bill Gates For?

Since Bill Gates retirement from his full-time job at Microsoft, I read a few articles praising him for his role in making PC a commodity today among others.

Indeed, rise of Microsoft caused PC sales to increased significantly to become affordable enough to reach billions today but so did access to human right organisations and other pro-justice groups is easier today as a result of horrific events of the past. Maybe I'm exaggerating here but I hardly think people thank cruel kings and dictators for causing revolutions to form or inhuman employers for making people cry for unions.

My point here is not to say that Bill Gates is just as evil as Saddam Husein but I like to question his motivations that helped Microsoft to become evil monopoly. Did he really wanted PC to reach is every classroom in the world just for the sake of education? Or was this the plan he engineered to earn billions?

In my opinion, poeple's motivations are far more important than simply the result of their actions. You might disagree but computers becoming a part of everyday life was inevitable with or without Microsoft. Well, no doubt that it could be a bit slower but we would get there in a healthier environment.

Bill Gates indeed was the reason for many changes but like invention of nuclear weapons, changes were natural consequences and shouldn't be credited to those who don't deserve them.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wahooo! 8 Millions

Yes. We did it and it's well over expected 5 millions. It's great that people's interest in Firefox has grown up so much and I look forward for sharper rise as further improvements gets into the software.

Well, Firefox 3 has been in Ubuntu repository for sometime now, from Beta 5 to final release a couple of days before 17th. I'm happy that by the official release date, most add-ons I use were ported to the version 3 and now it truly replaces its older-self. I found the new version much faster and less-memory hungry (I'm not concerned much about memory as I have 4GB but still appreciate lighter applications) specially when Firefox 2 with Firebug was extremely slow and fat! (memory-wise)

Anyways thanks to all the developers and beta testers of Firefox for producing such a superb software.

ps. the download map at is very interesting. Only 214k for China!!!?? What a shame. We didn't do any better here at Australia; 167k.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

GMAIL for mailto Links

Today after happily downloading Firefox 3, I noticed a feature that seems to be new in Firefox; the ability to add a webmail service such as GMAIL as a mailto link handler. Well, I might be wrong but it seems version 3 is the first to do it without an add-on.

OK. I read the instructions in an article on but since it's very short I briefly add it here.

First type about:config in address bar and after passing the warning message, find gecko.handlerService.allowRegisterFromDifferentHost entry and change its value to true.

Then type javascript:window.navigator.registerProtocolHandler("mailto"," & amp;url=%s","GMail") in the address bar and confirm adding it.

Go back and change the value of gecko.handlerService.allowRegisterFromDifferentHost to false.

Now if you open preference, in application tab for mailto handler, you'll have GMAIL as a choice.

Link to original article:

Monday, June 16, 2008

apt-get wife!

I saw this in a chat room and thought it's definitely worth having it in my blog : ))

Poor maintainer have to look after so many dependencies : ))

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Tiny Tool

These days file or directory names aren't as important and descriptive as they once were and relying on them to guess their content is likely to fail. Yet, there are times that we still need to work on bulk of files and run different commands based only on their names.

Well, to cut a long story short, I wrote a small python script to run arbitrary commands on files or directories, matched using a regular expression pattern. All I can say is that it works and its syntax kinda simple but If you know how to use other standard tools like sed, grep, find, awk, ... and don't mind typing a few words more, don't try this script and then yell at me.

Just remember to run the script somewhere unimportant and/or use --dry-run option before working on actual files. I didn't program it to wipe out your hard drive but shit happens.

Link to the script:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ignorance or Propaganda?

I just came across an article on Legal Technology which to say the least was irritating. The article is about new risks for businesses using free software in their products. Here is my opinion on the arguments the author presented:

First, despite its title, the article is strictly about GPL and its new version GPLv3. Anyone who has ever visited FSF website knows free software has a precise definition for them.
A philosophical debate over the meaning of 'free' software is quickly turning into a dangerous real-world business dispute
I found the 3rd paragraph fascinating where the author says that users of a GPL software can't violate the licence terms and comes up with the spectacular conclusion that ...the freedom belongs to the software, not to users.

In the following paragraphs, he discusses how none-GPLed software could be linked with older version of the licence and not possible anymore in GPLv3. Well, clearly the author haven't read either licences. Only LGPLed software can be linked to incompatible source codes and nothing seems to have been changed about the linking.

Patent clause of GPLv3 is mentioned in remaining texts, rendering the requirement as excessive obligations whereas lack of having such terms in a modern free software licence should come as a surprise. Several other free software licences have adopted similar patent clauses well before GPL.

Well, it is obvious by now that I'm biased toward free software but still I think the author failed to emphasis that GPL has always meant to be a legal contract and not a wishlist and violating its terms is like violating EULA of any other software. I guess it's time for big software companies to know that free software developers, too, can afford lawyers!

Link to original article:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Launchpad's PPA

Hey. I was updating my previously made transmission package to version 1.21 and in between I came across Launchpad's Personal Package Archives (PPA), which gave me 1GB APT repository with automated binary build for x86 and AMD64. It has web interface for searching packages and was very easy to use. All I did was uploaded a signed source package and the server did the rest; building binaries and indexing and adding packages the repository. Well, that's the first time I use such service, so maybe that's why it's very interesting to me : ))

Here is what you need to add to your software sources to get updates:
deb hardy main
deb-src hardy main

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Transmission 1.20 Hardy Packages

Hey. Yesterday I thought of setting up a small repository of Hardy packages as an exercise after reading Debian New Maintainers' Guide. So, I grabbed the official source package of transmission from Hardy's repository and the new 1.20 source code.

At first, it looked like I had to do a lot of configurations but thanks to free software community, all I needed to do was copying old control files, updating package info and issuing a single command, dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot to build the package. Of course, it could have been harder if I didn't have the previously made source package ready but fortunately in most cases someone else has already built a version of that software.

Well, I've just opened a free account on freehostia and uploaded the packages there. If you are interested, add the repository and enjoy the bleeding-edge Transmission on your Hardy ;)

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add - 
sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/hot.list 

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Brother MFC665 New Linux Drivers

I've been using version 1.0.0 of Brother MFC-665CW multifunction printer on Gutsy (AMD64) for over a year until recently I upgraded to Hardy. I thought I better give the newer, 1.0.1, drivers a go since the older version package installation was cumbersome and printing itself was slow.

Unfortunately, a bug which also existed in previous version still exists and causes the installation of Debian packages for both LPR and CUPS Wrapper fail to complete. Fortunately, the fix is just a simple directory creation this time, /var/spool/lpd/mfc665cw and /usr/share/cups/model, before installing the packages. Well, no native packages for AMD64 yet so the usual --force-architecture option to dpkg is required. If your printer is attached to a network, you need to set "Device URI" in Printing.

I forgot to mention that printing speed is considerably faster than previous version but I don't know who should get the credit, the cool new driver or the superb distribution. Both rock : ))

Below are the direct link to drivers:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Awesome Cupcakes

It's been more than five years I haven't visited Iran and yesterday I felt I've really missed Yazdi Cupcakes! You may ask why from all the people I love, places I've been to and foods that I've tried in Iran, I'd miss Yazdi Cupcakes!!! Well, I asked the very same question too but after all, Google ranked Yazdi Cupcake at the top of my search result and I felt I should miss it more than American Brownie. I'm a bit confused now, did I googled it before or after I missed it!!!?

Despite the proven record of failures in preparing Iranian cuisine, I was sure it'll be better than the one I baked last time because I couldn't remember how bad the previous one was.

So I found a recipe on Sweet Napa which was originally from a book called New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij. The ingredients were easy to find and preparation steps was simple to follow. It took me less than 20 minutes to have everything ready to put in oven and another 25 minutes before I've had the best cupcakes that I'd ever baked.

OK, they might look a bit different from the photo in Sweet Napa but certainly good for the first attempt. Have a look at the recipe and enjoy!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Remedy For HDD Issue

I've just posted a detailed configuration and procedures that I followed to solve the clicking noise of my laptop's hard drive in oxplot. So check it out if you have the same problem and I hope it'll help you too.

Also if you are interested in more detail about this, check out this bug report on launchpad. You can find several useful links to discussions in the bug report comments.

The Unpleasant Clicks

If you happened to run Ubuntu on a laptop, you've probably noticed the annoying hard drive clicks every few seconds. I've only recently got a laptop so I didn't know this problem existed so long without any out of the box solution. However, it didn't take me long to find a reasonable workaround for it.

The whole issue is around the fact that hard drives with aggressive power saving feature park heads after just several seconds in idle but a frequent disk access in Ubuntu causes it to unpark the heads shortly after. This leads to an annoying click noise and shorten drives' life. In Gutsy, enabling laptop-mode with noatime and hard disk power management option and disabling Tracker daemon fixed the problem for me. I actually changed the power management on battery mode from 1 to 128 because I didn't want it to spin down the disk too often. I'll post the configurations in more details soon.

I just want to add that the issue is still not solved in Hardy as of this writing. In order to get rid of the clicking noise in Hardy I had to change disk power management up to 192 but keep in mind that Hardy is still in beta and the issue might be solved by the time it's released. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Let's get started!

Hey. This is going to be difficult since it's my first post and I should add that this is my first blog too. So things may turn out really odd! Despite my poor English and lack of writing skills, I try my best to make these posts as readable as possible. I've been living on this planet for a long time and so far haven't understood the purpose of it! In contrast, I've learned and understood to various degrees a lot of other stuffs which might be useful to other species like me. In short, I thought it'll be a good idea to share with you some of the things that I've learned and return back something to the people and the society that have taught and tolerated me so much.

Well, I guess it's not that bad for the first post. I'm a university student of computer science and naturally computer is my no. 1 hobby, so expect many posts about it.

I found this wonderful wallpaper on deviantART, you better have a look at it too.