Posts Tagged ‘Free Software’

I am not explaining the way to download youtube videos.

  1. Install ffmpeg package if not installed yet. Fire up a terminal and issue this command to install ffmpeg
  2. sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

  3. Steer to the folder where you have downloaded the youtube video (the .flv file) and issue the following command (match the command parameter colors with output chara)
  4. ffmpeg -title Some_Title -i Input_video_file_name.flv -acodec vorbis -ac 2 -ab 512000 -vn -y output_audio.ogg
    ==> This will give a 2-channel ogg-vorbis file with 512 kBps bitrate (most recommended)

    ffmpeg -title Some_Title -i Input_video_file_name.flv -acodec libmp3lame -ac 2 -ab 512000 -vn -y output_audio.mp3
    ==> This will give a 2-channel MP3 file with 512 kBps bitrate (least recommended)

I personally prefer OGG over MP3. Quality-to-size ratio is pretty high for OGG-VORBIS as compared to MP3. Try it out yourself.

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Q0. Why the fuss?

A free software activist and former student at CUSAT, Anivar Aravind was manhandled today (16/11/2008) by the “National free software conference organizers” @ CUSAT with assistance from the states police forces (UPDATE from Anivar: State Police force wasn’t used), for his peaceful protest against the “Novell Sponsorship”. The free software conference is backed by CPI(M), the ruling left party in Kerala.

Read an FIR on the incident here , here and here.

Q1. What is a free software?

According to GNU, “FREE SOFTWARES” are those softwares which gives its user the following freedoms (Read More).

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Q2. What is the problem with NOVELL?

Novell doesn’t respect the free software philosophy and works against the interest of the community. In short we are against Novell because of the following.

  1. Novell helps Microsoft more than it helps GNU/Linux.
  2. Novell still insults competing GNU/Linux distributions and Sun’s Openoffice.org. (Read more)
  3. Novell & Microsoft’s software patent agreement betrays rest of free software community, including the very people who wrote the Novell’s own system, for Novell’s sole financial profit. (Read more)
  4. Novell helps Microsoft’s fight against Ajax, web standards, SVG by supporting Silverlight & implementing its GNU/Linux version. (Read more)
  5. Novell supports Microsofts proprietary standard OOXML.
  6. Novell is pushing Microsofts patents to GNU/Linux and cheating Free Software Community.
  7. Novell is the biggest promoter of MONO in Free Software Development.

Q3. What can I do?

There are both short term and long term goals. Short term goals include protesting the organizers’s act either by forwarding this to your friends or posting about the issue on your blog.

The long term goal includes creating awareness about the “Evil Novell” and boycotting all Novell products. Read about the boycott in this site.

Q4. I heard you were an ardent Communist and now you are talking against CPI(M)?

Yes! what you heard is right and I am still a Communist. That doesn’t mean I will be supporting CPI(M) for all their deeds. This case is a clear hijacking and dilution of Free Software Philosophy.

I would like to see CPI(M) and the left parties supporting and spreading free softwares. But before that they should understand what exactly is a “Free Software” and respect the community.

Related Posts:-

1) ‘Boycott Novell’ boycotted from Free software conference!!! by aswinatgec.

2) Free Software Activist Man-Handled by jainbasil.

3) free software activist man-handled at free software conference ! by Bobinson

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NOTE:- This post is not just for Indians, but for every men and women who cares about FREEDOM and SOVEREIGNTY.

(1) This company is infamous for the dirty tricks it played to monopolize the market. (Link1, Link 2, Link 3)

(2) This company is famous for its “idiot-friendly” products which claims to be user-friendly dumbofying smart people.

(3) This company is infamous for its poorly written softwares which crashes every now and then, even during when it was first presented to the world!!!

(4) This company produces softwares which require heavy hardware resources (which benefits the hardware vendors), the output of these can be obtained from free softwares at a much lower hardware configuration.

(5) The products of this company is often affected by virus and similar security threats so often that for being safe you have to reinstall the system once at least a month or a costly anti-virus software which eats up the “available system resources”.

(6) This company played a really cheap trick to get its broken standard get accepted as an ISO standard and is still behind the nations which opposed it.

I am talking about none other than Microsoft. If you are not aware about the dirty tricks played by them, then you, your country and your people are in real trouble.

By adopting a pseudo-open proprietary format like OOXML as a national standard (fortunately it is not ) you are actually risking the freedom and sovereignty of your country. The whole of the government transactions will be using this proprietary standard which forces us to use these closed-source softwares which demands direct costs as well as indirect cost in the form of hardware and “related-required” softwares (like antivirus, anti-spyware, defragmenter, registry maintainer etc).

Microsoft had joined hands with Indian(?) companies like TCS, Infosys and WIPRO to get their broken-format accepted by the BIS (fortunately for Indians, it got rejected).I really felt bad when I saw this post which I think everyone of us should read to under stand the low-business-ethics of Microsoft. Quoting from Prof. Deepak Phatak’s blog.

….Microsoft started filing complaints to various Indian authorities in early March 2008, claiming bias on part of several members of the committee because of their presumed membership of a group called ‘ODF Alliance India’. My Institution and its representatives are part of the group which has been falsely implicated in these complaints. Worse, the complaints have painted these organizations and their representatives, including the Indian delegation which attended the BRM, as acting against the Indian National interests. This is the most derogatory accusation to any Indian, amounting, personally for me at least, to intolerable blasphemy…..
….Microsoft continued to make representations to top Indian leadership, pressurizing them to change the Indian vote. This act, in my opinion, goes well beyond the behavioral boundaries for a non-Indian commercial entity, amounting to interfering with the governance process of a sovereign country….

….My first anguish is the way the name of my colleagues and my Institution, along with names of several others on the committee LITD 15, have been maligned and tarnished by Microsoft. My second anguish is that Microsoft persisted in its attempt to pressurize Indian leadership to change the Indian stand, in spite of the fact that a due process established by the Government had completed its job, recommending no change in the Indian vote. These two things, amongst others, have caused me to lose my peace of mind and my sleep over last two months. I share my thoughts (which sometimes have been rather wild), and my anguish in this section.…..

…..I am aware that I am only a humble teacher. I am aware that Microsoft is a mighty, rich, and powerful company. But if I perceive a threat to my national sovereignty and to her honor, this old teacher will simply pack his pen, and pick up a sword for a mortal combat. I believe many more of my fellow Indians may think of doing likewise. Please be informed that If I am forced to join such a battle, then I will never come back defeated. I may come back only dead. That, Mr Microsoft, is my privilege, and that indeed is my honor.…..

….In this 21st century, India is a unified nation of more than one billion people. My countrymen seek to live happily in a just and civil society full of prosperity, love, and harmony. They seek to share knowledge and technology from all other people of the world. They do want to listen to useful advice from every quarter. Come and discuss business and let us negotiate a win-win deal. Do discuss technology and knowledge, and we will be eager to have mutually beneficial relationships. Do discuss economic policies, and we will be equal partners in the humanity’s march to prosperity…..

I have lots of friends and relatives, who are slaves of Microsoft Windows who often made fun of me when I talked about “the change”. Please understand that by using Microsoft Windows, be it licensed or pirated, you are risking your freedom and losing a lot of money as direct cost (in purchasing Microsoft Windows), indirect costs (“required-related softwares” and “associated softwares” like office package, movie/music player, internet browser etc) and maintenance charges (which includes cost of reinstalling, data loss during reinstalling, bandwidth charges for anti-virus updation, bandwidth charges which arises from virus related problems etc). Think about the tonnes of money you will be saving (for you and your family) if you shift to free software technology. Yes, it is in fact a SERVICE to your country, to the whole humanity to change to free software and to spread the message. I am pretty much happy that I am doing the same…..

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Some days back, I happen to see this post which boasts the share of M$ products in market. It is really pathetic to see people using the statistical data in an unscientific way (maybe due to their ignorance) to mislead people. In this case, this person has used the statistical data from W3 Schools, to project the market share of Microsoft Windows. At the first sight, upon seeing the stats given by him you will get an impression that M$ Windows is really ruling the market. But after some analysis is done with the raw data, the picture becomes clearer.

First I have added the Windows family for each month (i.e Win 95+Win 98+Win NT+Win 2000+Win XP+Win 2003+Win Vista). I gave them a moderation (for Win 95 in 2008, 2007, 2006 & 2005 and for Win NT in 2008 & 2007), the maximum value of 0.5% if they weren’t listed in the table. This is because the W3 Schools shows only those platforms with market share greater than 0.5%.

The data was available only for alternate months till January 2008, hence I allotted the previous months data whenever the data was absent. Then I plotted graph between the market-shares of M$ Windows family and the rest (GNU/Linux & Mac) from 2003 to 2008.

The results:-

1) Windows Family Growth (?)

Trend of Microsoft Family Operating Systems from 2003 to 2008

From this graph it is clear that the curve has a general negative slope though it stabilizes in the final months, whose future is still in question. The huge share of M$ products in world market is because of the high percentage of software piracy in India and China (which according to some is a conscious attempt by the M$ people, which should be true as they have a dark history of such nasty business tricks)

2) GNU/Linux family growth

Exponential growth of GNU/Linux family from 2003 to 2008

It is quite evident that over the years the number of GNU/Linux users are increasing. The improvements in user interfaces, awareness on FREEDOM of free softwares, flexibility and scalability of free softwares, security and stability of GNU/Linux platforms made the crowd to move to GNU/Linux, even in case of F1 racing where precision and speed are both required without any compromise. In the coming years we can see the exponential rise in the usage of GNU/Linux due to the faster development of the GNU/Linux distros compared to the contemporary ones. The best example is, Ubuntu developed by Canonical is released every six months, still offer better stability, security and facilities compared to the 6 year gap between Microsoft Windows XP and Vista.

3) MAC growth

Growth of MAC systems from 2003 to 2008

No wonder in rise of eye candy Mac systems on a web designer fundae site like W3 schools. The data from the W3 Schools may have been collected from the clicks to the site. But there is no way from the data to correlate the decline in Windows family to individual growth of MAC.


  1. Windows is *NOT* growing.
  2. GNU/Linux and MAC are steadily growing.
  3. You cannot trust the click tracking from such specialized sites, unless they are from sites like Google or Orkut which attracts all classes of people.

I am quoting the words of Benjamin Disraeli which I found in the W3 schools statistics page.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics”

Future Works: To do some neural network simulation (or some prediction algorithm) to predict the death of Windows. Read this too.

UPDATES: (1) It was just now my firend Srinivas asked me this question “JUNK fellaw, how much time will it take for GNU/Linux to overtake M$ Windows. See, Windows is nearly 90% and GNU/Linux is hardly 5%…
A genuine question, but with an answer…”Not more than 5 years, India was well below Iran at the initial stages of Orkutting, at one stage everyone thought US would overtake Brazil, but now its INDIA overtaking US to claim the second position and soon we will see INDIA on top. WHY? Because of population, software piracy is really high in India and China, which magnifies the market share of Windows. If we move onto GNU/Linux, you can see a drastic rise in GNU/Linux users and a more deeper decline in Windows users

(2) The world’s fastest-growing economies reject Microsoft by Matt Asay

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At last an Orkut-free post. As per the request of ‘Madhavan sir‘ I thought of posting something related to Linux. So, when I speak about Linux, don’t think that I am a Linux geek. I am a free software enthusiast, and had worked with Linux many times in the past. But, still I don’t think I deserve the name ‘geek‘.

I started my Linux days with Red Hat 9, the first install lead to full formatting of my hard disc. The next time onwards, I was very cautious about it. So, in from then on I used to partition my hard disc manually from windows, using partition magic, or you can even use freewares listed in this page. The interface, I liked very much, though it gave me lot of ‘shocks‘ like,

  • I was’nt able to play my mp3 files.
  • I was’nt able to execute .exe files (this was back in 2004).
  • I was’nt able to install any games.

So, I was just going through all the menus, checking all the games and other softwares there. After, some days, I formatted everything and reverted back to Windows. But, after that I have also tried Suse, Knoppix, some could play my mp3 but was wondering why I can’t install any software. Sometime later, from one my juniors, ‘lightX’, as he is famously known, I came to know that you can’t execute exe files normally, but using Windows emulators like wine which even allows you to install and play games like half-life (Read more here). And, again I started becoming a fan of Linux.

It was then I started using CAD softwares like I-deas, ANSYS and all, as a part of my coursework. Very unfortunately, I was again forced to depend on Windows. That was a tragic end to my honemoon with Linux.

Later, I found that there are free CAD softwares, specially made for Linux. But, it was too late, I did’nt had any installation CDs, and was packing bags for my Hyderabad life. Also, because I lost much of my interest in design field, I did’nt want to waste my time in researching and studying free CAD alternatives.

Before leaving to Hyderabad, I got my free Ubuntu CDs, but I could’nt install for obvious reasons. One year passed, I came back from Hyderabad and now Ubuntu released their latest version, Feisty Fawn. I got the CDs, and was ready to give a try. Unlike my first attempt, I created an ext3 partition from Windows, and booted from the CD, installed succesfully.

Still, the mp3 problem worried me, and for 2-3 days I was listening to ‘Agar tum kaho‘ from the movie ‘Lakshya‘, which was the only .ogg (OggVorbis) file I had in my system. I did a search on net, as a proud owner of 2 Mbps broadband connection, I managed to find a solution to the problem very quickly. I downloaded Automatix, and the installation of required files were done without much effort from side.

One month later, in a mishap I lost my ethernet card, which forced me to use PPPoE via USB. Very unfortunately, Ubuntu did’nt support it well, and I did’nt had the tech-know-how to solve this. And, again someone advised me that Suse will help you in connecting to net, I managed to get the DVD (its still with me for last 2 months), from my fellow moderator at Kollam/Quilon community at Orkut. Alas! Suse did’nt help. Lastly, I got the Fedora CDs ‘imported‘ from Singapore (ahem! from my friend Anand). Installed it, had huge expectations, but all in vain. I still uses PPPoE via USB, and I don’t want to invest Rs.200 for a new ethernet adapter. Hence, I reverted back to Windows XP SP2, and now evangelises the  cyber-youth to dump Windows and walk with Linux!!!!

From my experiences with Linux let me tell you a few things,

  1. Linux may not be as user-friendly as Windows, but for sure its not idiot-friendly (Courtesy to one of my friends who told this story that happened during his training, I forgot his name).
  2. You can do almost all things in a Linux system, even more than that, a Windows system can do. Check this link, which tells you ‘Why Linux is BETTER?‘.
  3. ‘LINUX ONLY WORLD’ is a fact, even if you say it is not, and time is going to prove it.
  4. Convert all mp3 files to Ogg Vorbis and show your support to free software philosophy.
  5. ‘Even’ in your Windows system, there are many free alternatives available. Check this link to know more. Pirating is really bad when you have free softwares available doing a better job than the proprietary ones.

So, if you feel like asking ‘hey, I feel like trying Linux, which is the best distro’. I am no one to judge the best distro award, but if you are new to Linux, the best one for you, is Ubuntu. Check this link for a list of tips to make your life with Ubuntu peaceful, free of troubles.

And, there is something against Ubuntu, which does’nt really matter if you are not that strict on ‘free software spirit‘.

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