The world, how it works, surroundings, myself, etc.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Reservations and its irony

The AP state government has given the GO for 5% reservations for Muslims
in government jobs. Though the decision was taken a few days back, some
hopeful soul had challenged it in the High Court which did what it does
most often -- refer the matter to a committee, AP commission on backward
classes to be specific.

I don't understand what charm the so-called secular Congress govt finds in
effecting such quotas. When will they understand that such measures only
tend to widen the gap, even if it is assumed that all this was done out of
sheer public upliftment and benefit and not for filthy vote-bank politics?
For the past 55 years, India has had reservations for SC/ST/OBC and god
knows how many other classes. Wherein a temporary initiative helps in some
cases (perhaps most effectively in only so far as breaking a tie), a
prolonged benefit illusion such as this only hollows the core of the
social fabric. They talk of reservations for SCs, they talk of
reservations for STs, they talk of reservations for every damn wooable
minority. When will they even think about reservations for the general
With precious little leftover, I think it's high time they contemplate
reservations for the general masses as well -- for God's sake, they
comprise the bulk, dont they?

Add to it the irony that people think (or are made to think) that such
efforts actually help. By keeping the demarcation of castes, creed, etc
alive in all such excercises from birth ceritificate to death ceritificate
the govt has nothing but kept the flame of non-unity alight -- after all
it provides vote support! The core theme of democracy, which is supposed
to correct anti-welfare measures, is crippled, baseless and unrealistic
(more on this democracy crap later).

British, the history books said, divided India along religious lines --
the "Divide and Rule" policy which we always hated and considered the
outsiders as shrewedly talking advantage of the divide. But here what are
WE doing? At least the Britishers were outsiders. No damage can be more
irrecoverable than politically-motivated division in the garb of

Friday, June 24, 2005

It's black and white everywhere

I don't have to find myself alone anymore with the 32 black and white
pieces. The chess bug has bitten more people in my wing, inspired by
infamous me. Today, Manjeet and Pushpam were having a match in my room
while Ketan was onlooking. Tintin, exhausted after being back from M$
was busy on And he actually won a suicide match! He was
lucky to get someone other than the computer bots seeking for suicide
matches. Amal too came walking in a moment and joined the troop. The
whole point is that the excitement of chess (esp. the online chess
servers) has infused itself into a lot of people (not just me).

Since the freechess port 5000 is blocked by the firewall, we have to
connect to it via the students server.

xboard -ics -icshost -icsport 23

This needs one to login to first and then one can
"telnet" to unleash the doors open for all the blitz,
standard, suicide, crazyhouse, bughouse, lightning, and tourney matches.
It's black and white squares and chess pieces everywhere.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Sometimes it happens that the mind gets preoccupied so intensely that you
cannot think of anything else. This can be due to reasons of affection or
equally plausibly due to reasons of detestation from some other thing. In
my case it's the latter.

Well, I need to admit, I'm overly obsessed with Chess these days. I play
it online continuously for long hours. Yes, I've improved. Now I can't be
beaten by absolute idiots :-) But I can't call myself a good player yet.
But I will one day.

When prolonged, malafice determination,
Or hapless, hopeless detestation,
Makes a presentation,
Of the mind's imagination,

Outpours the manifestation,
Loaded with frustration,
In the garb of passion,
And the moves of addiction.

We call it obsession.

Installing FC3 on Athlon x86_64, SATA hard disks

We wanted to install Fedora Core 3 (actually even FC2 would do) for the
ACCV server. The system was a 64bit Athlon on a K8S MX ASUS motherboard.
Now here starts the trouble. I knew it wasn't overly trivial to get the
SATA hard disks working on the 64bit systems with FC3, and this
motherboard was all the more too new (and sophisticated) to have working
drivers in the FC3.

Meticulous fooling around with my head inside the open cabinet showed me
that it had a SiS 965L onboard SATA controllers. Luckily, I was able to
find the driver at, but that needed me to compile
the module, and that required a working FC3. With the promise RAID card, I
knew, the drivers would be found and the hard disks would be detected, but
the PCI bus would force sluggishness to the server which, of course, is
undesirable. Just to be able to compile the sata_sis.ko kernel module, I
installed FC3 with the Promise RAID card on. I needed RAID, but not with
the PCI RAID card. Having compiled the hard disk's kernel module
(sata_sis.ko), now I was to carry out the actual install. I got this
driver on a floppy (somehow found a floppy!).

I started the installtion with:

linux expert text askmethod noselinux selinux=0

I disabled selinux coz it's more of a painful paranoia than anything else.
When I was warned that the drives hadn't been detected (as expected) and I
had the option of choosing the drivers, I loaded ata_piix coz this would
load libata. sata_sis was mentioned as one of the options but it didn't
work for my Seagate 80GB SATA disk(s). With the libata loaded (with
ata_piix), on tty2, I had to mount the floppy and insmod sata_sis.ko.
dmesg just confirmed that the module was loaded properly and showed the
disks. Now the installation would proceed as usual.

However, the first boot was another problem. Surely enough, since I had
chosen ata_piix, this was used for installation, and not sata_sis. The
/etc/modprobe.conf had an alias entry for ata_piix as scsi_hostadapter. I
had to rescue the system (again the HD driver disk was required) and
change this alias to use sata_sis instead. This done, I copied my
sata_sis.ko to /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/scsi/ and the system
was ready for a normal boot now.

All this messing around, finding the drivers, forgetting something or the
other, trying to figure out things, etc took me a day and a half. RAID too
was to be configured. Hardware RAID would have been great but I settled
down to software RAID with the handy mdadm tool. I still don't know if the
Hardware RAID is supported on this motherboard or not. Even though I had
enabled RAID 1 in the BIOS and had mirrored the disks, I could still see
two disks in my linux. Even the software RAID for the whole disks
(/dev/sda & /dev/sdb) wouldn't be done coz the disks were in use and busy
when booted. Finally, I was happy with raid on two unused partitions
/dev/sda5 & /dev/sdb5.

Friday, June 10, 2005

My second job offer

I had been to Bangalore on 3rd last to solve a problem relating to a
video-streaming project with Trianz. Though I had planned the trip for 2
days, I had to linger on for no lesser than 5 days. I worked at
Dexcel Electronics Designs. Fortunately, the trip did not go vestigial, as was a very large possibility. We were able to demarcate the memory leak in the streaming application on the Zaurus PDA.

On the last day, before leaving, the CEO of Dexcel Electronics Designs, Amit Sinha, gave me a always-welcome job offer at his company.

The trip was amply useful. I learnt with the help of Amit how to solve
memory leak problems. With the ARM architecture of the Zaurus, I was
having a tough time since no memory leak detection tools like valgrind,
dmalloc, etc could not be run on the PDA.