Saturday, November 18, 2006


Ok, it all started with my friend Chetan letting this out yesterday:

"Windows will never be virus-free. Those anti-virus companies need to survive, don't they?"

Hmmm. That one reminded me of this one:

"World will never be rid of wars. The weapons industry needs them!"

The mention of war led to remind me of this one:

"Not everything man does is evil to nature. After all, some of us DO try and help and preserve animals. There ARE sanctuaries."

Right. Like there would be a need for sanctuaries if man hadn't threatened their existence in the first place!

This led to Vika remembering someone saying this:

"Americans didn't massacre the Indians. They're helping them preserve their culture.."

Like Vika says... nifty!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Running Faith

This is Amanda.

I started doing this one on 5th November and finished it on 10th November. Took nearly 8 hours.

Pencils used: HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B, 2H, 4h, 6H.

I used the eraser quite a bit for highlighting.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A bash script to post on pastebin(s)

OK, ed-209 referred me to this script by zer0python, located here:

I ended up adding features to it and in the process, making it ugly :-/. Anyway, here it is:

# A Script that automates pasting to pastebin(s)..
# Thanks to ed-209 for this wonderful idea.. you can see his version
# which is located at .. :>
# Author: floyd_n_milan
# Date: 08th November 2006
# Comments: Added features to the original script by zer0python
# Changelog:
# 08/11/06: Removed an unnecessary [ and added timeout to curl
# Usage: [-n nick] [-t type] [-s service] [-d description] \
# [-f source] [-h|--help|help]

function showusage
cat 1>&2 << EOF

nopaste: Automatic posting to pastebin(s).

$0 [-n nick] [-t type] [-s service] [-d description] [-f source] [-h|--help|help]

Default nick is randomized.

type is one of the following:

"C89", "C", "C++", "C#"
"Java", "Pascal", "Perl"
"PHP", "PL/I", "Python"
"Ruby", "SQL", "VB"
"Plain Text"


Default is Plain Text.

service can be one of the following:

rafb -
sh -

Default is rafb.

Description must be quoted (""), if more than one word.

Default source is read from the keyboard. :-)

-h or --help or help shows this usage summery.

Mail comments, suggestions, bugs etc to


if grep help <<<"$@"; then
exit 0
elif [[ ! $1 ]]; then
lang="Plain Text"
desc="shpost Post"

while getopts ":n:t:s:d:f:h" opt; do
case $opt in
n )

t )
lang="${OPTARG:="Plain Text"}"

s )

d )
desc="${OPTARG:="shpost Post"}"

f )

h )
exit 0;;

? )
exit 64 #E_WRONGARGS (What's that?)

lang="${lang:="Plain Text"}"
desc="${desc:="shpost Post"}"

if [[ $service = rafb ]]; then
curl -i --connect-timeout 10\
-F "lang=$lang" \
-F "nick=$nick" \
-F "desc=$desc" \
-F "cvt_tabs=2" \
-F "text=$input" \ 2>/dev/null | grep -i location)
echo "Your paste can be seen here:${url:10}"
exit 0
elif [[ $service = sh ]]; then
curl --connect-timeout 10 -F "code=$input" -F "poster=$nick"
exit 0

exit 0

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

bash Quoting

I thought I'd compile a list for bash's quoting rules for my own easy reference. I guess it might help others as well. Here goes then..

Escape Character (\)

Backslash (\) is used to remove the special meaning of the following character.
For example, \$ prints a $ instead of it being interpreted to signify a parameter.

An exception to the above statement is \. In the case of this sequence, bash looks for line continuation. Essentially, the character is removed completely.

Single Quotes ('')

Single quotes ('') are strong quotes. They bypass all the expansions. Everything inside single quotes is untouched.

You cannot have single quotes inside single quotes. Not even when backslash escaped. Use '\'' instead.

Double Quotes ("")

Double quotes allow parameter expansion, command substitution and arithmetic exansion. In short, all the expansions associated with $.

` is the archaic way of command substitution and is allowed inside double quotes.

\ inside double quotes is allowed only when used for \, `, $ and . In short, all the special characters which retain their special meaning inside double quotes.

Double quotes inside double quotes are allowed with used with a \. That is, \"

If history expansion is enabled, it'll be performed when ! is encountered inside double quotes. This can be bypassed with \!. The backslash preceding the ! is NOT removed.

Note: This can be annoying in your interactive shell when you get an error about history expansion when doing something like echo "Hello world!". The way to bypass this is to do "Hello world"\! or 'Hello world!' or Hello world\!


Expression Value

$testvar hello
\$testvar $testvar
'$testvar' $testvar
"$testvar" hello
"'$testvar'" 'hello'
""$testvar"" hello
"\"$testvar\"" "hello"
~mrugesh /home/mrugesh
"~mrugesh" ~mrugesh
'~mrugesh' ~mrugesh

$' and $"

$'string' expands the string and the backslash escaped characters are replaced by the ANSI C standards. The expanded result is equivalent to being single quoted, as if $ is not present. Here are the characters expanded:

\a alert (bell)
\b backspace
\e an escape character
\f form feed
\n new line
\r carriage return
\t horizontal tab
\v vertical tab
\\ backslash
\' single quote
\nnn the eight-bit character whose value is the octal value nnn (one to three digits)
\xHH the eight-bit character whose value is the hexadecimal value HH (one or two hex digits)
\cx a control-x character

As an example:
$ echo -e 'Hello\nworld'

$ echo $'Hello\nworld'

$" translates the quoted string according to the current locale. For C and POSIX locales, the $ sign is ignored. If translated and replaced, the replacement is double quoted.

$* and $@

These two special variables are used in terms of positional parameters. They produce the same output when unquoted. When double quoted however, "$*" produces one word with all the positional parameters separated by the first IFS character; while "$@" produces different words, separated by spaces.

To elaborate, if "$*" is fed as an argument to a command, it is just one single argument ($# will show you 1). If "$@" is fed as an argument, it is several different arguments($# will show you N, where N equals the number of positional parameters provided.).

Most times, you'd want to use "$@".

When unquoted, the output of both is grounds for word splitting.

For example,

$ set -- "first argument" "second argument" "third argument"

$ for i in "$@"; do echo ">${i}<"; done
>first argument<
>second argument<
>third argument<

$ for i in "$*"; do echo ">${i}<"; done
>first argument second argument third argument<

$ for i in $@; do echo ">${i}<"; done

$ for i in $*; do echo ">${i}<"; done

This post is for a quick reference. Look here for a proper explanation: This document is not restricted to just bash.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Two Birds with One Stone!

I had this problem with KDM while I was using amd64 on this Sempron64 machine. KDM would work fine for a while and then would become very slow on startup. By slow, I mean nearly 20 seconds. The NVIDIA logo would show up, followed by a blank screen with a busy mouse pointer in the middle. Normally, this screen would last only for a couple of seconds and KDM would show up. But here, it would keep showing for all of those 20 seconds. After that KDM would appear. During the blank screen period, there would a lot of disk activity.

The problem was very irritating. But I never bothered to solve it on that system.

I replaced the amd64 system with x86 last month. KDM had been fine till the start of this week. Then came the same problem. 20 seconds to start up. Very frustating. Today, I actually went on about investigating it. So here's how it went.

First of all, I needed to check the 'span' of the problem. I had had an X server crash today (Beryl and NVIDIA beta.. "Shit happens" ;-)). I noticed that after the crash, KDM started up normally, in no time at all. I logged out and the same thing happened. It started up normally. So apparently, the problem was only with the initial startup.

I next checked if KDM was the last thing starting on bootup, just to make sure that it isn't some other init script that starts up after KDM that causes this. After a few changes using rc-update and a reboot or two, I managed to conclude that the problem was with KDM itself.

Next, I removed xdm from the runlevel. Logged in as root and tried to run xdm. No go. No X and this in Xorg.0.log:

(II) Loader running on linux
(II) LoadModule: "bitmap"
(WW) Warning, couldn't open module bitmap
(II) UnloadModule: "bitmap"
(EE) Failed to load module "bitmap" (module does not exist, 0)
(II) LoadModule: "pcidata"
(WW) Warning, couldn't open module pcidata
(II) UnloadModule: "pcidata"
(EE) Failed to load module "pcidata" (module does not exist, 0)

Fatal server error:
Unable to load required base modules, Exiting...

(WW) xf86CloseConsole: KDSETMODE failed: Bad file descriptor
(WW) xf86CloseConsole: VT_GETMODE failed: Bad file descriptor

Ok. That didn't actually come as a surprise. I was unable to start that init script manually on the amd64 system either. X wouldn't start, syslog saying that VT7 was not available. I had ignored this too, back then. Well, I decided to fix it today.

I don't know why, but I opened up /etc/conf.d/xdm file. I didn't even know it existed before this. I found this in the file:

# Tell X to always start on VT7. Otherwise it autodetects the first available
# VT, which means it has to wait until all gettys are started so it doesn't suck
# up a VT that should have had a login prompt (very slow).
# If XSTATICVT is on, the login manager will start as soon as possible during
# the boot process. If you want X to dynamically start on the first unoccupied
# VT after all gettys have started and you are using xdm, also remove the "vt7"
# from /etc/X11/xdm/Xservers.

I changed XSTATICVT to no and issued a /etc/init.d/xdm start and behold! X started up fine. But, again, KDM took a lifetime to start.

This time though, I was already logged in on tty1. I switched to it and ran top while KDM was in that blank screen phase. I could see kdm_greet eating away at the CPU all the while the blank screen was displayed. I stopped the xdm init script and launched it again. KDM startup was normal this time. So the culprit was found. kdm_greet did something on the first startup that it didn't have to do on the subsequent startups..

Here's the solution that popped up:

Nice (!). A simple fc-cache -sv and a reboot and I could see the problem solved! The title of this post justified!

You know, its nice to play Sherlock Holmes sometimes.

Btw, big thanks to SimAtWork in #kde for helping me with the KDM issue. He/she was the one that gave me the link to the solution. :-D

Friday, November 03, 2006


I love bash. I absolutely love it. It is fun. It is great fun! Take this simple script, posted by GreyCat in #bash for example:

x="hello world"; echo "$x" | read a b; echo "$a $b"; read a b <<< "$x"; echo "$a $b"

Quite simple, isn't it? Well, here's the output:

hello world

Hmm? OK. Let's try again.

hello world
hello world

What's going on?

OK. Now here's the beauty of this little script. It teaches so many fundamentals of bash.

We start off with a simple x="hello world". Next we have a pipeline. A pipe feeds the standard output of one command to the standard input of another command, as we know.

So here, we have the standard output of echo, which is 'hello world' (Well, that's written in English. In bash's terms, the output is equivalent to "hello" "world" I suppose..), being fed as the standard input of read. read stores the two words into two variables, a and b.

The pipeline finishes there and then we simply echo the values of a and b. The output, as we can see, is blank.

Now why exactly? Let's check.. Is the assignment of the variables correct? Yes. read takes the standard input by default, so a and b get assigned the values hello and world respectively. But the output of echo is still blank.


The answer is subshell. A pipeline spawns a different subshell for each process. So read a b operates in a different subshell.. different from echo "$a $b". As we know, subshells cannot propagate any information back to its parent shell. Hence, the values of a and b are blank, as they don't yet exist in the parent shell.

In the second case, we've used a form of here document - <<<. <<< expands the argument "$x" and feeds it to read a b's standard input. This time, we get a proper hello world output from echo "$a $b", because <<< doesn't spawn a subshell.

Now, if you run the same command line again, in the same session, you'll get this output:

hello world
hello world

How come?

Quite simple. The values of a and b are set by our previously run read a b <<< "$x". The values already exist in our shell, hence.

I suppose power users will find this information quite rudimentary. But, newbies would do well to understand the concepts involved. No matter how good I may become at bash, such small concepts will always be fascinating!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Bilbo, the butt goes in your pocket!"

This is a little story. It has a moral too. And that moral is very very simple. Something that everyone should follow.

Well, here goes.

It was about 9:30 PM. I was coming home. As I reached halfway up the stairs to the first floor of my building; I saw a man standing there; smoking a cigarette. A stranger. I hadn't seen him anywhere near my building before. The sight annoyed me. You are not suppose to smoke a cigarette, standing in the stairs of a residential building; especially one in which you don't live. But I was helpless as the society had't put up any notice to prevent this.

So I had to ignore him and climb up past him. I reached the first floor and started up on the second flight of stairs; when the man finished with his cigarette. I stood there observing him. And exactly as I expected; he threw the butt right there in the stairs. Then he started climbing up. He threw a blank stare at me as he noticed me observing him.

"Excuse me. Why did you just throw that cigarette in the stairs?" I enquired.

"Oh. Doesn't matter. Its so small!" He exclaimed; because really; this was routine to him and to him it really didn't matter.

"Well, there are dustbins around to throw your garbage into. Why did you just throw it in the stairs?"

"Oh. Fine. I'll throw it in the dustbin next time." He was annoyed; I could tell. This was probably the first time he was being interrogated regarding such an action.

"What of the one that you've just thrown onto the stairs?"

"What? You want me to pick it up and put it in my pocket or what?" He was literally fuming!

And hahahah! Thank you. He chose his own doom hahahah! I merely gave him a stare and he understood. He went downstairs and started searching for the cigarette butt; some two feet away from where he had thrown it.

"Where is it? I can't even see it. It is so small? What of this? This is garbage too!" He had picked up some random string of wool lying there. I'm sure he'd have cut off my head had that been a sword instead!

"Yes, it is. Thanks for picking it up. But your garbage still remains.." I obliged.

"I can't even see it! It is so small and irrelevant!!" He stomped around a bit.

I went to where he had thrown that butt, picked it up, handed it to him. He took and put it in his pocket.

"Happy now?"

"Yes sir! Absolutely. Thank you. Now just remember to use the dustbin from now on." I said pleasantly and started climbing upstairs.

A few seconds later; I head him banging the door of the first floor residents; whom he had apparently come to pay a visit.

That's about it.

Moral of the story? Don't smoke a cigarette in a residential place. It annoys people like me. No; I am fine with people smoking. All my pals do; even I do, seldom; but not in the stairs of a residential building. If you do have the urge to do so; however; make sure that building isn't mine. If the building is mine; make sure you don't throw the butt anywhere other than into a dustbin; especially; when I'm around. Oh and make sure you scuff it out. Because if I find you at this; that butt might just burn a hole in your favourite shirt's pocket.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Ah finally! This is my first portrait ever!

This is my friend Ketaki.

This one took some real efforts. I had to span it across two days. On the first day, 15th October 2006, I finished the face. On the second, 21st October 2006, I dealt with the hair. Pretty tough work. Anyway, I think it looks pretty decent. Not bad for the first effort.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Another step closer to "Bye bye Windows!"

Alright. Wine is seriously cool! The only problem is that it takes a LOT of time to compile and it took out nearly 400MB from my /usr!!

Anyway, its way too cool to cry about all that.

The thing is, Guitar Pro 5 works great in wine. All I needed to do was to install timidity++. I had to go ~amd64 on it, because the current stable 2.13.2 didn't compile. I was not in a mood to debug it, so I just changed the keywords and the testing version 2.13.2-r2 worked perfectly. I went with the default timidity-eawpatches.

Next came wine. It failed during ./configure because /usr/X11R6/lib/libGL.a existed, which, from what the error message said, prevented linking against the OpenGL libs. I thought of going -opengl for wine, but then felt like experimenting and moved the libGL.a file somewhere else. exists in the same location anyway. Wine got installed fine then.

Once, done with winecfg, I launched the Guitar Pro installer with winelauncher. It installed fine, even with that RSE thing selected.

With RSE however, it doesn't play the sound properly. I had to remove RSE and it worked perfectly. Also, do not touch the Change Skin button in GP5. Trashed mine. Plus of course, the Windows Volume Control button doesn't work, which is kinda obvious.

I have slight performance problems when a KDE notification pops up while playing a file in GP5. But that's a minor. Maybe I wouldn't have the problem if I disabled XGL. Who knows?

Anyway, so there I am. Another step closer to "Bye bye Windows!". The only thing that remains now, is running Pro Evolution Soccer on Linux and this will be a single boot box of Gentoo! :D

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Chosen One?

Well, here's Vader and Sideous. This is a scene in Revenge of the Sith. Done with poster colours on a normal A4 size drawing paper. Took me nearly 5 hours. Vader's face alone took nearly 4 hours. By the time I reached Sideous, I was totally spent, because I had been running a high fever during the whole time I was painting this. Hence, Sideous hasn't been done properly. Otherwise, I'm happy with the way Vader's face turned out.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Kelkar Naka"

My first painting after nearly 6 years. Done with poster colours on a standard A4 sized drawing paper. It's 12cm by 16cm in size.

Its the Mithagar Road in front of V. G. Vaze College in Mulund East. That's our "Kelkar Naka" hehehe. :-)

Done on Sunday 10th September 2006. Took nearly 3 hours.

Friday, August 18, 2006

fsck automatically on reboot

Here's a nice little trick I found.

I had a couple of hard reboots, due to power failures and I wanted to have all the ext3 filesystems in my fstab to be checked during the next reboot. Here's what I did.

There's an option in tune2fs, -C, which allows one to manually set the mount count for an ext2/3 filesystem. By default, on my Gentoo installation, all the ext3 filesystems are checked automatically after 38 mounts or 180 days, whichever happens earlier. By using tune2fs, one can set the mount count of a filesystem to be greater than this value and the filesystem will be automatically checked when the system boots up next time..

I did a
tune2fs -C 50

for all the ext2/3 filesystems in my fstab and they were all checked upon the next reboot.

Another way of doing this would be to change number of days since the filesystem was last checked to be greater than that value of 180. This can be done with the -T option of tune2fs.

In case you're wondering, you can change the default values of the mount count or the day limit using the -c and -t options to tune2fs respectively. As always, check man tune2fs for details ;)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Alright, by far the most amusing thing I've seen recently.

r00723r0 comes into #gentoo-amd64 complaining about his init scripts failing to start due to "too many links" in /var/lib/init.d.

Now, here's the fun and how people neglect the most basic of things..

So me and some other people in the channel take him on a tour that included re-emerging of baselayout, editing config files properly (especially /etc/conf.d/rc), checking the system clock, making his bash handle some pipelines.. ("find / -print 2>/dev/null | xargs ls -ld | tr -s ' ' | sort -t ' '+1 | head -n 50 | less" courtsey of codermattie) and a few reboots. Nothing works. We even wondered about a misconfigured kernel. But nope.

So then comes the most basic of things that was needed to be done. A simple ls -lR into /var/lib revealed this gem...

drwxr-xr-x 4294967294 root root 4096 Aug 15 06:26 init.d

And here's the response it got in the channel..

[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:46:36] [r00723r0] i'm pretty sure it's my kernel
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:46:43] [floyd_n_milan] look at that link count on /var/lib/init.d!
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:46:49] [floyd_n_milan> drwxr-xr-x 4294967294 root root 4096 Aug 15 06:26 init.d
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:46:54] [r00723r0] wtf???
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:47:00] [r00723r0] how do i fix it
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:47:07] [codermattie] holy poo !
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:47:10] [codermattie] that's it !
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:47:15] [floyd_n_milan] yeah LOL
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:47:17] [r00723r0] wow
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:47:19] [r00723r0] lol
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:47:24] [r00723r0] owned
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:47:30] [codermattie] man, that's the freakin 32 bit limit !
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:47:35] [r00723r0] haha
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:47:38] [r00723r0] oops?

Right. So the simple solution was to boot from a livecd and do an fsck.jfs on that filesystem...

[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:59:21] [r00723r0] AHHH
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:59:30] [r00723r0] incorrect link counts have been detected
[Tue Aug 15 2006] [15:59:35] [r00723r0] will correct


So from now on, please remember to do the simple and the most basic things first :P Oh yeah, and always, always, be very very careful with etc-update!!! ;)

I must say though that, the origins of that 4294967294 are definitely worth exploring. :D

P.S. Here's the comment r00723r0 left on the original livejournal entry:

The origin is from me rebooting (obviously during fsck) because I forgot to compile in framebuffer support.

Nice post, might be my home page for a while :P

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Birdslave, I!

Hehehe, yeah that's right! I now have birds coming to ask me for things they need. :D

We have a small terrace attached to our flat. There are a few plants and stuff. There used to be many more plants, but the damned society objected. Anyway, that's a different matter.

So.. for a couple of years now, my dad has been placing two trays filled with water in the terrace for the birds to use. Every morning a pair of Robins and a Sunbird visit the tray and enjoy a nice bath. Then during the day quite a few Sparrows, Crows, Pigeons and an occasional pair of the rare Golden Oriols come looking for a nice drink.

Today, my parents had to catch an early train off to Talegaon. So the tray wasn't filled. At about 2 pm, this crow comes screaming into my bedroom window. I wondered what he was doing, because they never approach the window so openly. He was nearly inside the room. Then I realised what the problem was. I looked outside and for sure, the trays were empty. So I just filled them up and fellow shut up.

Hehehe, that was so sweet :D. Birdslave, I :D

P.S. I forgot to take snaps. I might do it later..

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Kubuntu on HP NX6125

Right.. that went great :D

Now I would have lost had I given up halfway through the process..

Oh, I'm talking about Linux right now. I was installing Kubuntu on this HP/Compaq NX6125 laptop. I got very much frustrated halfway through the installation because of the damned 3D acceleration. What happened is, during the initial upgrading of packages, apt installed a new version of the kernel 2.6.15-26-386. This version didn't have the linux-restricted-modules package associated with it. As a result, even with a proper 'aticonfig' version of the xorg.conf, I didn't get direct rendering. The simple solution was to boot with the older 2.6.15-23-386 kernel, which had the restricted modules installed.

Once direct rendering was working, I simply followed the wiki instructions and went on to install XGL and compiz. That was risk, because I had no idea whether XGL worked on the ATI Radeon XPRESS 200M 5955 (PCIE) card on the laptop. It turned out that XGL ran fine. Now that's pleasure! All the night's hard work bore fruit and what a fruit!

So now I'm off to edit the wiki page for Gentoo and update the Radeon XPRESS 200M 5955 (PCIE) section. And since I haven't slept the whole night, working on this thing for 12 hours straight and its nearly 7 am, I'll go to bed.. or maybe get some breakfast and then go to bed.

Btw, these links will definitely prove useful if you're installing Linux on this laptop:

Updates from HP:
Kubuntu on NX6125:
Gentoo on NX6125: