Archive for May 2005

pkgadd – the good citizen which cares for security

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I installed GNOME 2.8 from blastwave onto my Solaris Ferrari laptop. This is as easy as:

# pkg-get install gnome

The problem is it also fetches and installs a lot of husk, in the process. pkgadd – the tool to install software packages on Solaris – actually does quite a number of checks on the package before installing. For example it checks if the package contains anything that would be installed as setuid. If so it prompts the user if he really wants to do that. I really appreciate this feature since just before GNOME games were going to be installed in setuid mode, it asked me if that was I really wanted. And I said NO!.

I do not see a good reason why games need to be setuid. (I guess it might be for keeping scores in a central root owned file). One has to be really really careful while writing setuid programs. Its is even more risky if these games are networked. If you installed GNOME from blastwave check for any setuid programs that really do not need to be setuid.

After all this trouble of installing GNOME 2.8, I was disappointed. The reason I wanted to use GNOME 2.8 was that I wanted to use latest Evolution. The reason why I wanted it because the evolution website says, and I quote : “Evolution automatically indexes messages so searching for that long lost email is faster and easier than many other mail clients”. Either this feature is not working or it really does not do what it says, a search for a single word over my thousands of mails took quite along time. I thought it took time to index the mails, but a second search too took time… :-(. It would be a killer app if evolution can maintain a really good inverted index and update it when mails are synched.


Written by chandanlog

19 May 2005 at 9:50 pm

Posted in Security

Solaris Transparent Screen!

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Tried this trick on my Ferrari laptop running Solaris. Solaris has all the tools you would need to do it – gimp and digital camera browser. Boxes in the back are my collection of Solaris packaging material over the releases.

Written by chandanlog

18 May 2005 at 6:21 pm

Posted in Art

Mission Peak

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Saturday we (me Anil and Phani Madahv) hiked to the Mission peak that over looks the bay area. The hill range that makes Sun’s SantaClara office scenic had always attracted me. Here is the map of the region.

We started at the base on Stanford Avenue at about 2:00 in the afternoon, to reach the peak about 4. It was most part motorable path, leading to a spot from where gliders jumped down. We could see many gliding down the hill, it was probably crowded as it was a weekend. The wind there was heavenly and refreshing. The peak is about 2500 feet above MSL; in fact, we could see the whole bay. There is a pole with tubes welded to it. Looking through the tubes you can see various named mountains and cities. The hill was abundant with bright orange flowers. A local told us that it is California’s state flower.

We left the peak to hike on a different trail, which was narrow and not well trodden. We saw a water spring, washed our faces and drank a bit of water naturally cold spring water. Soon mislead by a path made by cows, we lost our trail. Although we could see our parking lot below and the scared face of the peak above, we were in uncharted territory with about 1.5 feet tall grass. We had to make our way in the grass. When we saw a house in the near distance, there were two options, either to keep going down the hill or reach the house and return the path we used during ascent. The spring we saw before, had turned into a creek, we had to cross it, and jump the fence into the house. There was an abandoned ghostly house. A map provided by park wasn’t much useful when wander away from marked trails. Satellite map shows the area

We returned to the base by 7:00 pm. An advantage in this side of the hemisphere is that there is Sun light till 8:30 pm (or later) during summer. That is a great advantage for outdoor adventure.

Written by chandanlog

16 May 2005 at 10:53 am

Posted in General

Changing Latitude, Altitude and Longitude

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For past one month I am walking upside down, traveling on the wrong
side (aka right side) of the road, turning the switch OFF to turn the
lights on.
It has been four busy weeks since I moved down from the safe and secure Deccan plateau to the edge
of Pacific ring of fire. (right on the edge!) to work at Sun’s Menlo Park Office. Here are my observations so far of the land around me:

    Roads – I am surprised at the amount of time and effort that might
    have gone into building roads here. Roads are also of great convenience to
    cyclists and pedestrians, but state of public transportation is quite bad.
    Punctuality – Everything seem to run in a clockwork universe –
    accurate up to a minute, buses and trains arrive and depart at
    pre-tabulated times. Even shopkeepers dont mind loosing a few waiting
    customers, they have to close their shops at the time that is written
    down on their boards – not minute earlier, not a minute later.
    Insurance – It seems everybody has to compulsorily take an
    extortionistic medical insurance scheme. So do other schemes like vehicle insurance look greedy.
    It appears to me, that you would end up paying a lot
    more money to insurance than if you actually paid your expenses
    out of your pocket, over the years.

    1. Commercial ads: I am yet to see any quality television
      advertisements. Either the advertising industry here lacks creativity or
      they think they are doing a great service to the viewer by shouting
      various discount and toll free numbers. I think the other way – I am
      doing the advertiser a great favour by spending my valuable 30 seconds
      watching it. Either you should entertain me by showing a hilarious joke or a
      great spectacle – worth watching, or I shall never buy what is being shouted.
    2. News. I am quite disappointed by the low quality of TV news
      coverage on most news channels. Most presenters seem to be shouting all the time.
    Dot coms – Every small business, be it bicycle store or a park,
    seems to have a website of their own. Can be quite useful and informative.
    Banks seem to have a lot of fine print charges and fees!
    It looks quite primitive. Majority of Indian banks do not charge you anything
    except for the fact that you have to keep a nominal minimum balance
    which might vary depending on the cheque-book/credit card facility.
    Here banks even charge you for a cheque-book! Kimberly has more to tell.
    Cellphones seem to charge you for incoming calls! That sounds pre-historic!
    House rent advances are only about a month’s rent compared to
    ten times the monthly rent in Bangalore. Though most people require you to
    have a lease for at-least 6 months.
    Government offices Having had to wait more than two hours in a Government office to submit an application, I had the most saddening experience here so far, seeing the aged persons treated quite disrespectfully. There were queues of elderly people
    who were waiting for their turn. The clerks were very slow in their work and would take frequent breaks or keep chatting on cellphones. Once an elderly lady, who’s name was called and who missed her turn (since she may not have heard her name clearly), was very impolitely ordered to go back to the end of the queue.
    Newspaper portraits on Wall Street Journal are really neat and look great.
    These are called Hedcuts! quite a scary sounding name.

    Hoping that things which can be improved, improve sooner or later.

Written by chandanlog

10 May 2005 at 2:35 pm

Posted in General