Sunday, December 02, 2007

100 Things To Do Before You Die

Something to laugh about taken from the Internet...

1. Sucker-punch your boss.

2. Become a member of the Mile High Club, even if you have to do it alone.

3. Go to your high school reunion dressed as a homeless guy.

4. Stand outside the Today Show window and moon Al Roker for two straight hours.

5. Drink an entire keg of Guinness by yourself (no time limit).

6. Test-drive a top-end sports car and lead the cops on a high-speed chase.

7. Rack up $5,000 on your Discover card, then tell them you just “discovered” you don’t have any money.

8. Befriend George W. Bush and try to get him to start drinking again.

9. Interview a female intern on a trampoline.

10. Visit Don Knotts’ grave site. (Keep in mind that he’s still alive.)

11. Make it through an entire porn video.

12. Survive a bar fight.

13. Watch two women bring each other to fake orgasm in person.

14. Jell-O wrestle Britney Spears.

15. Hike through a jungle, armed only with a machete.

16. Learn all the words to “Louie, Louie.”

17. Grow a handlebar mustache—just to see if it might look good on you.

18. Go to the top of the Empire State Building, then hit all the buttons in a crowded elevator on the way down.

19. Take the Steelers +3.5 and the Jets -2.5 and have the Jets beat the Steelers by three so you win both bets.

20. Hit a hole in one (with witnesses).

21. Hold auditions for a posse.

22. Wake up In a Frickin’ Gutter
Joe Alaimo, 32, Queens, NY:
“My five buddies and I arrived in Paris at night and decided to buy a bunch of wine. Soon after that I was walking across the Notre Dame plaza in my ’wears. Next thing I knew it was daylight and I was facedown in a gutter above the Seine, being shaken awake by some guy wearing a beret.”

23. Restore a Classic Car
John Heidenry, 34, Hoboken, NJ:
“I picked up my ’70 Cadillac convertible for $2,500. Over the next six years, I spent $16,000 on a new engine, rear quarter panels, a killer paint job, the interior, and rechroming. What the hell? I can fit five girls in the backseat—try doing that in a Porsche.”

24. Spend a night in jail for a semicool reason and talk shit about the screws.

25. Have sex on your boss’ desk. Don’t clean up afterward.

26. Get banned from a casino.

27. Get drunk in Tijuana and goad a tough yet disinterested Mexican to beat you up.

28. Go to karaoke night and sing “Free Bird,” regardless of what song’s playing.

29. Kick your dad’s ass.

30. Pleasure yourself in a voting booth.

31. Spray-paint “Scooby Rules!” on the Great Wall of China.

32. Backpack across Europe wearing loud Hawaiian shirts and a cowboy hat. Offer everyone ketchup.

33. Put all the money you have in the world down on a blackjack table. (This should be the very last thing you do before you die.)

34. Have an all-night orgy with all your ex-girlfriends, then present a trophy to the Most Improved Lady.

35. Foil a crime in heroic fashion.

36. Make Mike Tyson flinch when he’s old and punch-drunk.

37. Eat chunks of cooked dolphin off a naked woman’s body.

38. Smoke a joint in synagogue and yell out, “This is my High Holy Day, you bastards!”

39. Hurt yourself badly while working around the house.

40. Catch a home run at a baseball game—even if it’s just batting practice.

41. Visit Graceland and ask to see the bathroom where the King’s blue suede shoes were stepped on for the last time.

42. Grab the P.A. system at a department store and keep repeating the words “Blow jobs, two for one in aisle seven.”

43. Drive cross-country without a map.

44. Land a Big ’Un
“Wild Bill” Skinner, 53, Clovis, NM:
“Early one morning, in the Gulf of Mexico, I noticed a school of sharks. So I decided to do a little fishing. I hooked up a big chunk of bait, and as soon as I cast it a 12-foot hammerhead bit. Holy shit! I thought. I quickly climbed into the lifeboat and pushed off. For the next half-hour, that shark just wore himself out dragging me in circles. Then I rowed back to the main boat and spent 30 minutes reeling him in. However, the captain didn’t want a 600-pound fish thrashing the side of his boat. So I had to cut it loose.”

45. Do doughnuts on the White House lawn in a monster truck.

46. Give your girlfriend an enormous candy-diamond Ring Pop and try to convince her it’s the real thing.

47. Sit in the stands at a Packers game in December without a shirt.

48. Name a pet “You Filthy Whore” so when you yell, “Come back here, You Filthy Whore,” the whole neighborhood pays attention.

49. Invite friends over for dinner, then mail them a bill for everything they ate.

50. Pick up a piece of road kill with a stick and chase a child with it.

51. Learn to bowl overhand.

52. Run a marathon and stop at 26 bars along the way for refreshments.

53. Watch every second of every game of March Madness at a sports bar in Vegas.

54. Visit Australia…nah, strike that.

55. Stand outside a bar pretending to be a bouncer and collect a “cover charge” from clueless tourists.

56. Drop by an ex-girlfriend’s for a booty call even though it’ll cause a serious headache.

57. Convince a girlfriend to get a tattoo of your name on her butt.

58. Secretly record your girlfriend having an orgasm. Then put it on the outgoing message of your answering machine.

59. Enjoy a competitive game of “Where’s My Finger?” with the cast of Charmed.

60. Make double the salary your father made. If you can triple it, hire him as your personal valet.

61. Get drunk and cut someone’s hair.

62. Go to an all-you-can-eat buffet the moment it opens and stay for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

63. Be a guest voice on The Simpsons.

64. Take a bank robber’s gun from him and blow his brains out…or, whatever.

65. Play a hurtful, unfunny practical joke on an office rival, where apologizing for an earlier unfunny practical joke is part of the gag.

66. Watch all 100 of Maxim’s “100 Greatest Guy Movies” (March 1998 issue) in one week.

67. Frequent a local bar so much they’ll let you cash a paycheck there.

68. Tour a brewery wearing your underwear outside your clothes.

69. Jell-O wrestle Britney Spears, again.

70. Wait in the express line of a supermarket with too many items. When someone complains, take out a glue gun and start combining your purchases into one giant bundle.

71. Own a house that has a basement bar and rec room.

72. Expose yourself on a nationally televised sporting event.

73. Be a Champ!
Bob Hamm, Pana, IL:
“About five years back, I decided to become the world’s greatest six-gun twirler. I practiced five hours a day, every day (with prop guns). Three years later, when I climbed onstage for the World Gun Spinning Championship in Deadwood, South Dakota, I entered a state of pure concentration. I threw my guns for six minutes, culminating in a 15-foot-high Montana Big Sky Flip. When announced as the winner, I was overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment. To celebrate I went out with my friends for a big T-bone steak.”

74. Have sex in complete silence, with your in-laws in the next room.

75. Get banned from San Antonio (like Ozzy Osbourne did in 1982 for urinating outside the Alamo), then try to break in. (Hint: Try the Rio Grande.)

76. Teach a monkey martial arts and then kick its ass.

77. Drink vodka in Moscow, smoke a cigar in Cuba, eat some Peking duck in Beijing, and take a dump in North Korea.

78. Whenever your girlfriend’s father starts to say something at dinner, pretend you gotta sneeze and say, “I’mherdaddy.”

79. Ride in the ambulance with Keith Richards on the way to get his transfusion.

80. Go into a gun store and ask the guy, “What do you recommend for teaching someone a lesson?”

81. Light a fire using only sticks. Then find a volleyball and befriend it. Next ask yourself if you’re a fucking wacko.

82. Secretly Date Two Women Who Know Each Other
John Kings, 34, New York, NY:
“The girls and I met at New York University. Besides a mutual dislike for each other, the only thing they had in common was a desire to get me into bed. Mandy made the first move. One night after a party, she took me back to her place. The next day, as I left her apartment, I ran into Sue, who lived only three buildings down. I knew it was bad, but up to Sue’s I went. Then things began to get weird. I was sleeping with each girl twice a week and I’d wake up forgetting where I was, worrying about saying the wrong name! After about a month and a half, it just became too damn psychotic, so I decided to break up with both girls.”

83. Eat between six and nine White Castle hamburgers for lunch every day for a week.

84. Snip the ponytail off a Hells Angel in a dive bar, then make a quick exit and tip over that row of bikes out front.

85. Go to a strip bar with your girlfriend and get her a table dance.

86. Date a coworker, break up, and ride out the awkwardness.

87. Jump from the second story of a building into a dumpster full of Chinese restaurant trash and fluorescent light bulbs.

88. Get a woman to pay you for sex. Or at least try.

89. Smoke opium in the jungles of Thailand. (Maxim categorically denies having just suggested that.)

90. Sneak into the Playboy Mansion while Hef’s alive. Work for the caterer if you have to.

91. Go to Vietnam and have a drink in a small dingy bar in memory of the guys.

92. Lock Emo Philips and Gallagher in a room together with nothing but two carrot peelers and a flatulent donkey. Leave them to die.

93. Call a cop a “doughnut-eating fascist” to his face. When you get out of the hospital, send him a dozen doughnuts.

94. Buy a round for a packed bar.

95. Meet Mr. T and thank him for helping keep you off the streets.

96. Discuss the latest advancements in superstring theory with Carmen Electra.

97. Pull off a hoax that gets reported as truth in a newspaper.

98. Knock on a random door in every country you visit and try to talk your way into a home-cooked meal.

99. Karate-chop a board in half with your bare hand.

100. Send your gorgeous sister to the Maxim offices so she can brighten up the lunch meeting with a striptease.

Nine Women Every Guy Should Hey-Diddle-Diddle

1. A flight attendant
The theory: A cute stewardess under 200 pounds is as rare as a fiery plummet to earth.

2. A farmer’s daughter
The theory: Outfoxing a shotgun-toting father is the original extreme sport.

3. A nurse
The theory: She knows where it hurts and how to make it feel all better.

4. A broken wing
The theory: While she may have problems, screwing your brains out isn’t one of them.

5. A friend’s sister
The theory: It’ll kill your friend, and you and your other friends can high-five.

6. A teacher
The theory: She likes baby talk and naughty boys, and knows how to use a ruler.

7. A Foreigner
The theory: Remember—you’re in a band, and your phone number is 555-1212.

8. A cheerleader
The theory: Pompoms, short skirts, and white panties can bend time and space.

9. A work superior
The theory: She seduces you and then tosses you aside like garbage. Yes!

I'm 23 now...Phew

As the time passes by we all become old... A friend of mine ones said growing old is mandetory and growing up is optional..pick your choice?
Anyways my 23rd B'day was soo remarkable with a suicide bomb blast near my house. And i still pray God for saving my mom's and sister's lives with his mercyfullness.

People, Thank you very very much for all the warm birthday wishes…posted on ma wall, fun wall, super wall, post-it items, booze mails and sent personal messages, instant messages, emails, e-cards, letters, post cards, phone calls, anonymous phone calls, MSN personal messages, Jolly Greetings, and SMSs... as well as for the free gifts, graffiti, hatching eggs, growing gifts, actual gifts, pre-paid pizza deliveries, gift vouchers, Audio CDs, more live fish for my fish tank, aliens for my solar system, surprised lunch outs and not so surprised dinner outs :) …and etc. etc.

.. & .. man.. all those cakes thrown @ me.. yum yum yum & yep yep yep... i'll surely remember to throw... some @ you as well.. on your coming b'dayz. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Letter from a Tamil in Canada

The comments by various people show how foolishly we, Tamils continue to glorify violence, suicide and terror. We began all this in 1939 with G.G. Ponnambalam attacking the Sinhalese in a virulent speech in1939, resulting in the first Sinhala Tamil riot.

After the war SJV and others used every chance to gore the government instead of building bridges. They spurned the left leaders who stood for parity and preferred to hob-nob with their Colombo-7 capitalist leaders.

Our Colombo, Tamil leaders arrogantly started the ball rolling, and even claimed that they are "ready for state terror". The local militants realized that they were being bamboozled by the Colombo set, and they captured control, killed those leaders, our best men and women, and made cannon fodder out of our children.

Look at this partial list:

1. The JR government in 1977 granted all the demands on language etc. that the previous Tamil organizations had asked for. But we could not profit from it, because by then we were under the gun of Prabakaran.

2. India came in and merged North and East two provinces, and provided an honourable framework. But we reengaged the whole thing and started another war. Prabakaran would have been annihilated by the IPKF if not for Premadasa.

3. Further accommodation was possible under Premadasa. But we reengaged him and killed the 600 police who surrendered.

4. Under Chandrika we had the far reaching constitutional proposals by Neelan Thiruchelvan, but we replied by assassinating him.

5. Incredible concessions were made by the Ranil Wickremasinghe government with the Cease Fire agreement. But we used it to stock up arms, get ready for another war and made sure of such a war by preventing Ranil's Victory.

This list of 5 does not include the innumerable other chances that had been offered. Why would any politician think that a political solution is possible with Prabakaran?

So, why are were talking of a political solution?

LTTE has always worked for a military solution. This Anuradhapura attack is the same old Killinochchi wine that Bishop Chikera is now peddling and desecrating even the Eucharist. The LTTE does NOT want a political solution. It wants a military solution from the barrel of a gun. In the process it will destroy the Ceylon Tamils by destroying the future generation. How many Tamils are now left in the Vanni? What is the percentage of Tamils in Sri Lanka today? The CIA world fact book says that there is now only about 5% Tamils in SL!

Instead of executing this attack on the Anuradhapura military camp, if Prabakaran had declared that HE IS FOR A FEDERAL SOLUTION and that HE WILL PEACEFULLY CONTEST ELECTIONS EVERY WHERE IN SRI LANKA, do you think ANY SINHALA POLITICIAN of any worth could OPPOSE IT? Even the most extreme "unitary man" would have to take up this chance. Even many Sinhala might vote for Prabakaran if he had the capacity to the right thing. But a "Venkai" does not change its spots.

Instead, for 30 years, he has led the Tamils on the path of destruction and suicide. Foolish Tamils, drunk with the venom of hat sing in his praise. I lay the whole blame on Prabakaran for destroying the Ceylon Tamils. He is the biggest friend of Sinhala Chauvinists. Prabakaran has done what no Dutugemunu could ever do - reduce the Tamil areas to a prison for the Tamils, reduce the reputation of Tamils all over the world, kill our next generation and convert the remainder into war-mongering youngsters unfit for civilian life. The adults have been reduced to displace persons.

School principles and Temple dignitaries have been assassinated. Only the Tamils living in cozy comfort in the foreign lands can continue to rattle their swords, mesmerized by Prabakaran's war games which have destroyed the Tamil people, and impoverished the Sinhala as well.

Nothing is possible for the Ceylon Tamils until Prabakaran is a factor in the balance of power. Tamils need educated leaders with a vision fit for today's global village.

Dr. C. Rasalingam

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rational: To be or not to be?

The question to be examined here is whether we should "wear rose-colored glasses" or not. That is, given the choice of whether to structure our lives so that we realistically apprize our options at all times or to try to filter out the harsh realism of life and to focus on the good points. This is not a trivial question. We are daily subjected to the continuing arguments between the liberals and the conservatives, the Larry Kings and the Rush Limbaughs, about what is best for humanity.

The arguments between the two groups are never resolved. It is as if they were on different planes of reality. Their views seem to be "orthogonal" to use a mathematical term. It is impossible for any argument to be resolved because of this disconnect. The conservative says, "But we are broke. We have no money for these massive welfare programs". The liberal responds with, "Why are you so hard? Why are you so cruel to these poor people?". Nothing can be resolved when their discussions remain on different planes.

But who is right and who is wrong? Or, if we are hesitant to assign "rightness" or "wrongness" to these approaches to life, then let us at least consider which way maximizes the enjoyment of life? In this essay, I will try to examine these two approaches without bias. I will try to be objective about these two highly emotional issues that divide society so much. I believe this to be a fairly novel approach. Just kidding.

The Two views Objectively defined

The Realistic View

In this section, I will try to describe the realistic, rational approach toward life (for our purposes here, I am equating the two terms). It is recognized that no person is always rational -- that there are degrees of rationality. "Full rationality" will be defined as a reference point, while acknowledging that most humans will be somewhat less severe than this.

A rational person would make a strong effort to determine all the significant facts necessary to make a particular decision before that decision is made.

A rational person would look at the facts behind every issue before making a decision no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable it might make him or her feel.

A rational person would clearly establish the criteria from which she will make decisions. The rational person would not knowingly have hidden agendas.

A rational person would accept the environment that she finds herself in and not try to mentally make it into something else, more desirable or less desirable.

A rational person accepts the reality of her ownself:she accepts her shortcomings as well as her talents.

The Blissful View

Many, if not most, people in the world are not comfortable with looking at life in such a hard realistic fashion. We, after all, are humans -- not animals. We have imagination. We can make the world appear better than it really is by our on way of looking at things.

A blissful person will try to mentally filter out the unpleasantness of life where possible.

A blissful person will take every opportunity to interpret events in a positive light if at all possible.

A blissful person believes that humans are inherently good, that life is good.

A blissful person attempts to avoid unpleasant things, discussions, etc. even if they are factual.

Characteristics and Differences of the two approaches to life

First off, we need to decide what do we really want out of life. Would you trade having greater happiness for having greater knowledge? Some people would and some would not. It seems that happiness, or just feeling good, is not necessarily the criteria for evaluating life's qualities for many people. Why do we like to watch scary or sad movies? Maybe we like to experience emotions that feel "bad" as well as those that feel "good". In any case, other than to point out this puzzlement regarding what is desired in life, I will leave the detailed discussion for another time.

Defence of the Realistic View

The principle defence of the Realistic approach is that it allows you to plan and to live a more purposeful life. It allows you to intelligently evaluate optional approaches.

On the negative side, it tends to destroy cooperation. Social studies confirm that a purely rational person will defect, or not cooperate, in many social situations. A rational person would not vote, for instance.

Certainly more realism is needed in dealing with politics. History has proven time and time again that the blissful disregard of the growth of political forces can be very hazardous to your health.

A disadvantage is that the truth may be most painful in some situations. More about this in the next section.

Defence of the Blissful View

Much of the reality of life is painful to accept. It may be that knowing the true characteristics of humans is just too depressing. Consider the situation with differences in races -- if there are real differences between the races are we not better off not knowing about them?

The mind is powerful. Why not take advantage of it. What our mind actually delivers is quite filtered. These mental "rose-colored" filters can make life go a lot easier.

For example, falling in love can certainly be a lot of fun! Do we really want to know that the concept of "falling in love" may be nonsense? The truth is, most of the great works of art -- especially the great love stories in books, movies and music -- that have given us so much pleasure, depend on assumptions about the natural sexual behavior of humans that do not hold up under close scrutiny. Maybe it is best to avoid any truthful analysis of that subject!

"Pay me now or pay me later." Many people live the blissful life in their youth to only have to pay some really costly dues later on. That is, the pleasure of blissful ignorance often is paid for, at a dear price, later on in life. That would say then that we really should look at the lifelong ramifications of wearing those rose-colored glasses.

It is obvious that erroneous beliefs sometimes provide pleasure and happiness. For example, suppose that I believe that my father and mother are the epitomes of virtue. This gives me great pleasure and makes my life fuller. Suppose then that, later in life and after they are gone, they are both exposed as being cheats, secretly addicted to drugs, and their wealth was obtained by fraud. Would that improve my life in any way? Would I not be better off not ever knowing about that?
Social Acceptance

If our friends and associates tend to have this particular view, we will be a lot more comfortable if we go along with. The truth is that this is the overriding factor for most people. The desire to be accepted by our group determines which church we chose, our dress and our philosophy.


So which life style should we chose? It would be best to leave this decision up to each individual. Certainly, much more study would be needed before I would make a recommendation. However, I will try to summarize here some of the more important ramifications of choosing one lifestyle over the other. If I have done my job here I will have created more questions than answers for it is apparent that most people have never considered the possibility of choosing between these two options. Instead they just blindly follow one approach or the other!

But first, let me point out, there is a problem with my attempts at helping you make a decision between "rationality" and "blissfulness". You will need to be rational to be able to make such a decision! What a dilemma that is!

Do we really know enough about life to make our decisions on purely rational, deterministic factors? I think not. Any aspect of philosophy, when examined closely, has a few holes. Facts about our surroundings are only roughly perceived.

How we are perceived by others has a big impact on the quality of our lives. To be realistic is to be perceived as a hard person. You will be constantly reminded to "Wake up and smell the roses". This can be annoying and diminishes the benefits of living the rational life.

On the other hand, to be blissfully ignorant about many of the hard realities of life and to make choices based on "filtered" or erroneous information, can be dangerous.

With many thanks to Leon Felkins

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


In Loving Memory of RJ

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Because I'm A Girl - Kiss (Korean)

I found this video a long time ago, and didn't know anything about it... except it was an arresting "mini-movie" length Koren music video. It's either amazing romantic or insane, depending on your point of view. KISS broke up shortly after the album was made. Something people still talk about...

English translation of the lyrics:

I just can't understand the ways
Of all the men and their mistakes
You give them all your heart
And then they rip it all away

You told me how much you loved me
And how our love was meant to be
And I believed in you
I thought that you would set me free

You should've just told me the truth
That I wasn't the girl for you
Still, I didn't have a clue
So my heart depended on you, whoa

Although I'll say I hate you now
Though I'll shout and curse you out
I'll always have love for you
Because I am a girl

Been told a man will leave you cold
Get sick of you and bored
I know that it's no lie
I gave my all, still I just cry

Never again will I be fooled
To give my all when nothing's true
I won't be played again
But I will fall in love again



I loved you so
Now you leave me in the cold
How could this be
I thought that you'd only love me

Into the night
I will pray that you're alright
You hurt me so
I just can't let you go

You took advantage of my willingness
To do anything for love
Now I'm the only one in pain
Will you please take it all away

Never thought being born a girl
How I can love you and be burned
And now I will build a wall
To never get torn again

(CHORUS) [2x]

Friday, August 31, 2007

Software Freedom Day: Taking open source to the streets

Thousands of open source advocates and enthusiasts from around the world are expected to take the message of free and open source software to the streets on September 15 for the fourth annual Software Freedom Day.

On Software Freedom Day, teams of enthusiasts hold local events to educate their local communities, supported by the parent organisation, Software Freedom International, and sponsors such as Canonical and the Free Software Foundation. It's an advocacy event whose the primary motive is outreach -- promoting free and open source software to local communities.

The event is growing. The inaugural 2004 Software Freedom Day had around 12 teams. Pia Waugh, president of Software Freedom International, says, "We had about 180 teams last year, and this year we are expecting about 250."

Events on the day vary from team to team. Activities usually include informational seminars, software demonstrations and training, and product giveaways. Some teams have been known to dress up in Tux costumes to gain attention and direct people to the action.

Running a Software Freedom Day event is beneficial to Linux and other open source user groups, as the impact can last beyond the actual day.

At Mawson Lakes, a suburb of Adelaide in Australia, Paul Schulz' 2006 Software Freedom Day event brought together different enthusiast groups. The most notable result has been the continuing interaction between local Linux user groups and Air-Stream, an Adelaide-based community wireless initiative. Their cooperation recently included a speaker interchange between the LUGs and Air-Stream. Several new LUGs have also been formed in the area due to the interest sparked from last year's event, and the organizers say they have seen a greater level of open source involvement in the local community center.

Another lasting effect can be seen in neighboring New Zealand, where past Software Freedom Day events in Christchurch have paved the way for a Linux and Free Software training programme. "Since we found a more permanent home for our SFD events, in a suburban library ICT teaching centre, we have been able to maintain the positive relationship through monthly Ubuntu and free software live CD-based evening classes," says Rik Tindall, a member of the 2006 Christchurch team. "Many new users have seen this series advertised, and come along for CDs, tuition, and installation help. Thus we also gained a regular schedule and base for training our SFD volunteers. From SFD, the profile of FOSS in the community has therefore been doubly lifted."

Best Event Photo 2006The training programme is so popular that there is also a need to cater for children. Tindall says, "This experience has also identified the need for a creche-like facility on SFD, for the many small children that attend a library with parents or grandparents on any weekend. We will prepare a section of our teaching suite accordingly, as a 'penguin creche,' with several games and puzzle packages ready."

By Melissa Draper

Lucky Lips - Cliff Richard

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Software Freedom Day 2007 Sep 15h --Bigger than Ever

September 15th marks Software Freedom Day, the world's largest celebration and outreach effort about why transparent and sustainable technologies like Free & Open Source Software are so important. Community groups in more than 80 countries organize local activities and programs on Software Freedom Day to educate the wider public about free software: what it is, how it works and its relationship to human rights and sustainability. We already have over 140 teams around the world registered: join them in spreading the word! Registrations for Software Freedom Day teams that want to receive a free SFD team pack close in two weeks, so register now!

"Software Freedom is about creating a digital platform for trust and longevity, particular in a future where more and more of our lives are dependent upon technology" explains Pia Waugh, President of Software Freedom International, the organization behind Software Freedom Day. "It is important we can participate in and trust the software we use in the same way we need to be able to participate and trust in a political system. Ultimately our basic freedoms are only as free as the tools we use, and thus our commitment to Software Freedom."

Support for this year's Software Freedom Day event is fantastic with Google, Mindtouch and the Free Software Foundation coming on board as sponsors as well as long term sponsors the Danish Unix User Group and Canonical. The event also has support from The Open CD, OsCommRes and the International Open Source Network.

"Software Freedom Day is a fantastic event that demonstrates the global reach of open source software." says Jane Silber, COO of Canonical. "We at Canonical are proud to sponsor the event and encourage everyone in the Ubuntu community, as well as the open source community writ large, to participate in this important global event."

Registrations of teams participating in SFD will continue right up to the event however teams who wish to receive a free SFD team pack, including stickers, t-shirts, CDs and balloons must register before the 31st July! So get in quick! There is also an online shop where anyone can purchase t-shirts and packs of The Open CD. Teams get a 50% discount on all prices marked. Teams that have difficult circumstances can write to the Software Freedom International Board with special requests for additional goodies.

Already this year's event is looking bigger and better than ever before, so what will you do to help take Software Freedom to the world. After all, freedom isn't just for geeks.

[ Thanks to Pia Waugh for this article. ]

Thursday, June 28, 2007

FOSS-ed for Windows

While there is a trend in the industry moving towards GNU/Linux and Free and Open Source Software - FOSS - Microsoft Windows is still a dominating force. Many applications have been developed around it and many continue to do so. Most of this software is also proprietary and includes heavy license fees. Proprietary software may cost anything from a few hundred dollars to millions of dollars for licensing fees alone. As a developing country, most individuals and even companies cannot afford such prices and resort to using illegal copies of software. Pirated software may cost only a fraction of the actual price but the implications can be far greater.

So are there viable alternatives to be used in the Windows environment? The answer is YES! Alternatives that don't have exorbitant licensing fees and will not result in intellectual property violation lawsuits being slapped against you! Alternatives that do not involve high maintenance costs either, are customisable, regularly and quickly provide security fixes in response to feedback and also have community driven support. What are these wonderful viable alternatives? It's Free and Open Source Software that run on Windows too! A large and wonderful catalog of FOSS applications exist for Windows users today. From Web browsers and mail clients to graphics software and content management systems, it's all out there ready to download and use! If you want to know more come check out FOSS-ed for Windows: THE event for all you decision makers to find out how YOU can benefit from FOSS while still continuing to use Windows.

Who should attend:
  • Enterprise Users
  • System Administrators


  • Learn about available FOSS applications and solutions in the Windows platform

Why should you go for this?

  • Avoid penalty fees and lawsuits
  • Cost benefits : Reduce high costs involved in purchasing and maintaining commercial enterprise software
  • Customise : Tailor software to suit your specific needs
  • Security : Bug fixes are turned out regularly and quickly in response to feedback
  • Support : Large knowledge base available along with support contracts if necessary

When: 26th, 27th and 28th of June 2007

Where: 22nd Floor of the HNB Towers

Registration Fees:

Rs. 4500/= for two day conference
Rs. 1000/= for 3rd day of tutorials

Rs. 200/= for two day conference
Rs. 100/= for 3rd day of tutorials

Payment Points:

Sahana Lab, UCSC
WSO2, 7th Floor, BOC Merchant Tower, St. Michael's Road, Colombo 3

Cheques should be addressed to : Lanka Software Foundation


Day 1

0800 – 0830 Registration
0830 – 0840 Opening Ceremony
0830 – 0900 Welcome Address Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana
Session 1: Front Office
0900 – 0945 OpenOffice

Eranga Jayasundara

Srimal Jayawardena

0945 – 1030 Adobe Photoshop Alternatives – GIMP Rajkumar Ganeshan
1030 – 1100 Break
Session 2: Security
1100 – 1145 FOSS Desktop Security Tools Suchetha Wijenayake
1145 – 1230 Server-side Security for Antivirus and Antispam Buddhika Siddhisena
1230 – 1330 Lunch
Session 3: Email and Collaboration
1330 – 1415 Thunderbird, Evolution and Firefox Mifan Careem
1415 – 1500 FOSS Messaging and Collaborative Alternatives Srimal Jayawardena
1500 – 1530 Break
Session 4: Network Services
1530 – 1615 FOSS File Server Deependra Ariyadewa
1615 – 1700 Free Instant Messaging via Jabber Suchetha Wijenayake

Day 2

0830 – 0900 Registration
0900 – 1030 Keynote – Brian Behlendorf
1030 – 1100 Break
Session 5: Databases and Content Management
1100 – 1145 MySQL and PostgreSQL Kanchana Welagedara
1145 – 1230 Content Management with Drupal Anuradha Ratnaweera
1230 – 1330 Lunch
1330 – 1415

Case Study 1: Embedded Wireless Authentication Gateway

Case Study 2: TBD

Gayan Suranga De Silva


1415 – 1500 Lightning Talks

Suchetha Wijenayake

Mifan Careem

1500 – 1530 Break
1530 – 1700

Panel – Switching to FOSS and Getting Real with IPR

Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana

Day 3

0830 – 0900 Registration
0900 – 1030

Tutorial 1 – Free Media - VLC, VirtualDub, IceCast


Suchetha Wijenayake
1030 – 1100 Break
1100 – 1230 Tutorial 2 – Adobe Alternatives Chamil Thanthrimudalige
1230 – 1330 Lunch
1330 – 1500 Tutorial 3 – LAMP on Windows Kanchana Welagedara
1500 – 1530 Break
1530 – 1700 The Open CD Project – An overview of what's inside Suchetha Wijenayake

For more details please check out the brochure and the poster for the event.

Platinum Sponsors
Google Logo
Gold Sponsors
Intel Logo Microsoft Logo
Silver Sponsors
Ceylon Linux Logo
Bronze Sponsors
eBuilder Logo THINKcube Logo WSO2 Logo
T-shirt Sponsors
Virtusa Logo WSO2 Logo
Supported By
AMCHAM Logo ICTA Logo National Intellectual Property Office Logo

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

History - of - Religion

How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!




Thursday, June 07, 2007


The ICT industry in Sri Lanka lost its most valued member after Professor V.K. Samaranayake passed away on Tuesday, 06thJune 2007 aged 68.

Prof. Samaranayake was the Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka from 2004. He was also the Emeritus Professor of Computer Science of the University of Colombo. He was the founder Director, University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) of the University of Colombo. He served the University of Colombo for a continuous period of 43 years since his first appointment in 1961 immediately following his graduation from the same University. He was the founder of the Department of Statistics and Computer Science (DSCS) and of the Institute of Computer Technology (ICT) of the University of Colombo. These two institutions were merged as the UCSC in 2002. He was a Fellow of the Harvard Information Infrastructure Project and the National Centre for Digital Government of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. In 2005 he was a Visiting Fellow of the Digital Vision Program of Stanford University, USA.

Prof. Samaranayake served the Council for Information Technology (CINTEC), the apex National agency for IT in Sri Lanka as its Chairman for a period of 12 years. In the field of IT he has pioneered work on IT Policy, Legal Infrastructure, EDI/E-Commerce, Security, Internet Technology, Computer Awareness and IT Education. He was actively involved in the formulation of the ISO 10646 standard for Sinhalese Characters and in the development of multilingual web sites. He was also instrumental in helping to apply computers in many areas of governance, including in national elections. He was also actively involved in introducing ICT to rural communities and is engaged in developing Multipurpose Community Telecentres. He was a member of the advisory panel of the Asia IT&C program of the European Commission. He chaired the National Y2K Task force that coordinated the very successful crossover to year 2000. More recently he initiated the External Degree of Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) of the University of Colombo which in its very first year of operation has attracted 5000 registrations. He is the Chairman of the Project Management Committee of the SIDA funded project to enhance internet connectivity of Sri Lankan Universities. He was the President of the National Academy of Sciences during 1998-1999 and the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science during its golden jubilee in 1994. He is also current President of Infotel Lanka Society.

The Government of Sri Lanka has honoured Prof. Samaranayake for his contribution towards IT by the award of Vidya Prasadini in 1997 and the national honour Vidya Jyothi in 1998. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has presented its President's Award for International Cooperation to Prof. Samaranayake in 1996 in recognition of his contribution. At its convocation held in January 2005, the University of Colombo conferred on Prof. Samaranayake the Degree of Doctor of Science ( Honouris Causa ) for his outstanding contribution to the University.

Reshan Dewapura, COO, ICTA said: “Everyone in the ICT industry in Sri Lanka has either met or worked with Professor Samaranayake. It was his sense of commitment towards ICT development in the country coupled with his boundless energy that set him apart and allowed him to make lasting alliances and friendships both personally and professionally around the world. There is no doubt that Prof’s tireless commitment to the ICT industry has made his contribution over the years remarkable. He will be greatly missed.”

His remains will be brought to Sri Lanka and funeral arrangements will take place in Colombo.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Wife 1.0 Tech Support

Some funny stuff i got thru mail :)

Dear Tech Support:

Last year I upgraded from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0. I soon noticed that
the new program began unexpected processing that took up a lot of space and
valuable resources.

In addition, Wife 1.0 installed itself into all other programs and now
monitors all other system activity. Applications such as Poker Night 10.3,
Football 5.0, Hunting and Fishing 7.5, and Golfing 3.6 no longer run,
crashing the system whenever selected.

I can't seem to keep Wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to run my
favorite applications.

I'm thinking about going back to Girlfriend 7.0, but the uninstall doesn't
work on Wife 1.0. Please help!

A Troubled User

REPLY: Dear Troubled User:

This is a very common problem that men complain about.

Many people upgrade from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0, thinking that it is
just a Utilities and Entertainment program.

Wife 1.0 is an OPERATING SYSTEM and is designed by its Creator to run

It is also impossible to delete Wife 1.0 and to return to Girlfriend 7.0.
It is impossible to uninstall, or purge the program files from the system once
installed. You cannot go back to Girlfriend 7.0 because Wife 1.0 is
designed to not allow this.

Look in your Wife 1.0 manual under Warnings-Alimony- Child Support.

I reccommend that you keep Wife1.0 and work on improving the situation. I
suggest installing the background application 'Yes Dear' to alleviate
software augmentation.

The best course of action is to enter the command C:\APOLOGIZE because
ultimately you will have to give the APOLOGIZE command before the system
will return to normal anyway.

Wife 1.0 is a great program, but it tends to be very high maintenance. Wife
1.0 comes with several support programs, such as Clean and Sweep 3.0, Cook
It 1.5 and Do Bills 4.2. However, be very careful how you use these
programs. Improper use will cause the system to launch the program Nag Nag
9.5. Once this happens, the only way to improve the performance of Wife 1.0
is to purchase additional software. I recommend Flowers 2.1 and Diamonds

WARNING!!! DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Secretary with Short
Skirt 3.3. This application is not supported by Wife 1.0 and will cause
irreversible damage to the operating system.

Best of luck,
Tech Support

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Four Wheel Drive Club of Sri Lanka

The FWDC web site has been launched on its new domain

The old one will continue to work.

With many thanks to AR.

Microsoft takes on the free world

(Fortune Magazine) -- Free software is great, and corporate America loves it. It's often high-quality stuff that can be downloaded free off the Internet and then copied at will. It's versatile - it can be customized to perform almost any large-scale computing task - and it's blessedly crash-resistant.

A broad community of developers, from individuals to large companies like IBM, is constantly working to improve it and introduce new features. No wonder the business world has embraced it so enthusiastically: More than half the companies in the Fortune 500 are thought to be using the free operating system Linux in their data centers.

But now there's a shadow hanging over Linux and other free software, and it's being cast by Microsoft (Charts, Fortune 500). The Redmond behemoth asserts that one reason free software is of such high quality is that it violates more than 200 of Microsoft's patents. And as a mature company facing unfavorable market trends and fearsome competitors like Google (Charts, Fortune 500), Microsoft is pulling no punches: It wants royalties. If the company gets its way, free software won't be free anymore.

The conflict pits Microsoft and its dogged CEO, Steve Ballmer, against the "free world" - people who believe software is pure knowledge. The leader of that faction is Richard Matthew Stallman, a computer visionary with the look and the intransigence of an Old Testament prophet.

Caught in the middle are big corporate Linux users like Wal-Mart, AIG, and Goldman Sachs. Free-worlders say that if Microsoft prevails, the whole quirky ecosystem that produced Linux and other free and open-source software (FOSS) will be undermined.

Microsoft counters that it is a matter of principle. "We live in a world where we honor, and support the honoring of, intellectual property," says Ballmer in an interview. FOSS patrons are going to have to "play by the same rules as the rest of the business," he insists. "What's fair is fair."

Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and licensing chief Horacio Gutierrez sat down with Fortune recently to map out their strategy for getting FOSS users to pay royalties. Revealing the precise figure for the first time, they state that FOSS infringes on no fewer than 235 Microsoft patents.

It's a breathtaking number. (By comparison, for instance, Verizon's (Charts, Fortune 500) patent suit against Vonage (Charts), which now threatens to bankrupt the latter, was based on just seven patents, of which only three were found to be infringing.) "This is not a case of some accidental, unknowing infringement," Gutierrez asserts. "There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed."

The free world appears to be uncowed by Microsoft's claims. Its master legal strategist is Eben Moglen, longtime counsel to the Free Software Foundation and the head of the Software Freedom Law Center, which counsels FOSS projects on how to protect themselves from patent aggression. (He's also a professor on leave from Columbia Law School, where he teaches cyberlaw and the history of political economy.)

Moglen contends that software is a mathematical algorithm and, as such, not patentable. (The Supreme Court has never expressly ruled on the question.) In any case, the fact that Microsoft might possess many relevant patents doesn't impress him. "Numbers aren't where the action is," he says. "The action is in very tight qualitative analysis of individual situations." Patents can be invalidated in court on numerous grounds, he observes. Others can easily be "invented around." Still others might be valid, yet not infringed under the particular circumstances.

Moglen's hand got stronger just last month when the Supreme Court stated in a unanimous opinion that patents have been issued too readily for the past two decades, and lots are probably invalid. For a variety of technical reasons, many dispassionate observers suspect that software patents are especially vulnerable to court challenge.

Furthermore, FOSS has powerful corporate patrons and allies. In 2005, six of them - IBM (Charts, Fortune 500), Sony, Philips, Novell, Red Hat (Charts) and NEC - set up the Open Invention Network to acquire a portfolio of patents that might pose problems for companies like Microsoft, which are known to pose a patent threat to Linux.

So if Microsoft ever sued Linux distributor Red Hat for patent infringement, for instance, OIN might sue Microsoft in retaliation, trying to enjoin distribution of Windows. It's a cold war, and what keeps the peace is the threat of mutually assured destruction: patent Armageddon - an unending series of suits and countersuits that would hobble the industry and its customers.

"It's a tinderbox," Moglen says. "As the commercial confrontation between [free software] and software-that's-a-product becomes more fierce, patent law's going to be the terrain on which a big piece of the war's going to be fought. Waterloo is here somewhere."

Brad Smith, 48, became Microsoft's senior vice president and general counsel in 2002, the year the company settled most of its U.S. antitrust litigation. A strawberry-blond Princeton graduate with a law degree from Columbia, Smith is a polished, thoughtful and credible advocate whom some have described as the face of the kinder, gentler, post-monopoly Microsoft. But that's not really an apt description of Smith; he projects intensity, determination, a hint of Ivy League hauteur, and ambition.

We're sitting at a circular table in Smith's office in Building 34 on the Redmond campus, with a view of rolling green lawns splashed with pink-blossomed plum trees. In the 1970s and 1980s, Smith recounts, software companies relied mainly on "trade secrets" doctrine and copyright law to protect their products. Patents weren't a big factor, since most lawyers assumed that software wasn't patentable.

But in the 1990s, all that changed. Courts were interpreting copyright law to provide less protection to software than companies had hoped, while trade-secrets doctrine was becoming unworkable because the demands of a networked world required that "the secret" - the program's source code - be revealed to ever more sets of eyes.

At the same time courts began signaling that software could be patented after all. (A copyright is typically obtained on an entire computer program. It prohibits exact duplication of the code but may not bar less literal copying. Patents are obtained on innovative ways of doing things, and thus a single program might implicate hundreds of them.)

In response, companies began stocking up on software patents, with traditional hardware outfits like IBM leading the way, since they already had staffs of patent attorneys working at their engineers' elbows. Microsoft lagged far behind.

As with the Internet, though, Microsoft came late to the party, then crashed it with a vengeance. In 2002, the year Smith became general counsel, the company applied for 1,411 patents. By 2004 it had more than doubled that number, submitting 3,780.

In 2003, Microsoft executives sat down to assess what the company should do with all those patents. There were three choices. First, it could do nothing, effectively donating them to the development community. Obviously that "wasn't very attractive in terms of our shareholders," Smith says.

Alternatively, it could start suing other companies to stop them from using its patents. That was a nonstarter too, Smith says: "It was going to get in the way of everything we were trying to accomplish in terms of [improving] our connections with other companies, the promotion of interoperability, and the desires of customers."

So Microsoft took the third choice, which was to begin licensing its patents to other companies in exchange for either royalties or access to their patents (a "cross-licensing" deal). In December 2003, Microsoft's new licensing unit opened for business, and soon the company had signed cross-licensing pacts with such tech firms as Sun, Toshiba, SAP and Siemens.

At the same time, Smith was having Microsoft's lawyers figure out how many of its patents were being infringed by free and open-source software. Gutierrez refuses to identify specific patents or explain how they're being infringed, lest FOSS advocates start filing challenges to them.

But he does break down the total number allegedly violated - 235 - into categories. He says that the Linux kernel - the deepest layer of the free operating system, which interacts most directly with the computer hardware - violates 42 Microsoft patents. The Linux graphical user interfaces - essentially, the way design elements like menus and toolbars are set up - run afoul of another 65, he claims. The Open Office suite of programs, which is analogous to Microsoft Office, infringes 45 more. E-mail programs infringe 15, while other assorted FOSS programs allegedly transgress 68.

Now that Microsoft had identified the infringements, it could try to seek royalties But from whom? FOSS isn't made by a company but by a loose-knit community of hundreds of individuals and companies One possibility was to approach the big commercial Linux distributors like Red Hat and Novell that give away the software but sell subscription support services However, distributors were prohibited from paying patent royalties by something whose very existence may surprise many readers: FOSS's own licensing terms.

Yes, free software is a more sophisticated concept than many people think, and it is subject to a legally enforceable license of its own. That license was written by free-software inventor Richard Stallman, who anticipated 20 years ago all the threats free software faces today. Foremost among those threats, Stallman understood, were patents.

A gifted developer and prickly, uncompromising individual, Stallman, 54, quit his job at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab in 1984 to found what he considered to be a social movement guided by ethical principles. He set forth those goals in the GNU Manifesto, where GNU (pronounced with a hard "g" and rhyming with "canoe") was an acronym for "GNU's Not Unix." (It's a "recursive" acronym, an inside joke that programmers get. Trust us.) Free software would guarantee users "freedoms" that were ordinarily forbidden by proprietary software licenses, including the ability to see the source code, alter it, copy it and redistribute it.

But while many people assume that Stallman simply ignored intellectual-property law, he actually mastered it and enlisted it in the quest to achieve his goals. He demanded that all contributors to GNU projects assign their copyrights to the Free Software Foundation, which Stallman set up and controlled. That meant that anyone who distributed free software covered by those copyrights had to abide by a license Stallman wrote, called the GNU General Public License (GPL).

The GPL has teeth: Lawyers for the Free Software Foundation have been able to force developers who incorporated free software into proprietary products to open up their source code, for instance.

By 1991, Stallman and his collaborators had conjured an entire free operating system, which is today known as Linux. Though large portions were created by Stallman's GNU developers, the kernel was the work of an independent project led by the then 20-year-old Finnish student Linus Torvalds, after whom the system is now named. (Stallman insists that "GNU/Linux" is the proper name, and he refuses to give interviews to reporters unless they promise to call it that in every reference. In part for that reason, he was not interviewed for this article.)

Businesses loved free software. But they had no use for Stallman's noble sentiments, and neither did the many developers who began to write free software specifically for businesses. They chafed at some of the requirements in Stallman's GPL, so they devised their own licenses, called open-source licenses. Those often gave them a freedom Stallman forbade: the freedom to keep secret any improvements they made in free software, turning them back into proprietary code. (Stallman has scoffed that such licenses confer the freedom to sell oneself into slavery.) Popularly, "open-source software" became an umbrella term for all FOSS, but, again, Stallman bars reporters from using it that way as a condition of being interviewed.

Thus there is a schism in the free world between the more business-oriented advocates of open-source software - who simply think that community authorship makes for better, cheaper software - and the more ideological champions of free software proper, who see themselves as advancing a social movement.

While the open-sourcers have produced lots of good applications, crucial portions of Linux remain governed by Stallman's GPL. For our purposes, the key aspect of the GPL is that it expressly forbids what Microsoft general counsel Smith wanted to do: cut patent royalty deals with distributors of Linux.

"Any free program is threatened constantly by software patents," Stallman wrote in a 1991 revision to the GPL. "We have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all." This restriction became known as the "liberty or death" clause.

Smith was not to be deterred. Since the GPL covered only distributors of Linux, nothing stopped Smith from seeking royalties directly from end users - many of which are Fortune 500 companies. He would have to proceed carefully, however, because most of those users were also major Microsoft customers.

"It was a conversation that one needed to have in a thoughtful way," says Smith, with obvious understatement. In 2004, Microsoft began having those conversations, and Smith claims they were cordial. "Companies are very sensitive to the importance of protecting intellectual property," he says, "because ultimately they know that their own businesses similarly turn on [such] protection."

Some customers actually entered into direct patent licenses with Microsoft at that point, Smith says, including some "major brand-name companies" in financial services, health care, insurance and information technology. (He says they don't want to be identified, presumably because they fear angering the FOSS community.) Others wanted Microsoft to work out the patent issues directly with the commercial distributors like Red Hat and Novell. (Red Hat has about 65 percent of the paid Linux server market, according to IDC, while Novell has 26 percent.)

Microsoft did approach distributors, bearing both a stick, the unspoken threat of a patent suit and a carrot, the prospect that once patent issues were resolved, more customers would sign up for Linux.

By spring 2006, Red Hat and Microsoft were engaged in serious patent negotiations, according to one source with direct knowledge. Red Hat deputy general counsel Mark Webbink will say only this: "I've spoken with folks from Microsoft for a number of years, and ... we've had discussions about IP and other matters of mutual concern."

In June, Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian reached out to Microsoft and was put in touch with Smith. (He'd heard that Microsoft was talking to other Linux distributors, Smith says.) Hovsepian wanted to find ways to make Linux and Microsoft server products work together better - a top priority for customers as they consolidate their computing onto fewer machines. Smith would not talk about technical collaboration, however, without a commitment to also address Microsoft's patent concerns.

Over the summer Novell and Microsoft hammered out a clever, complicated - and highly controversial - deal. They knew that if Novell paid Microsoft a royalty in exchange for Microsoft's promise not to sue Novell for patent infringement, Novell would be in violation of the GPL, Stallman's farsighted free-software license.

So they came up with a twist: Microsoft and Novell agreed not to sue each other's customers for patent infringement. That would be okay, because it's something that the GPL does not address. On those terms, Novell agreed to give Microsoft a percentage of all its Linux revenue through 2011 (or a minimum of $40 million).

The pact also included a marketing collaboration. Microsoft agreed to pay Novell $240 million for "coupons" that it could then resell to customers (theoretically for a profit), who would, in turn, trade them in for subscriptions to Novell's Linux server software. In addition, Microsoft gave Novell another $108 million as a "balancing payment" in connection with the patent part of the deal.

It might seem counterintuitive that Microsoft would end up paying millions to Novell when Microsoft is the one trying to get royalties for its patents. Microsoft's explanation is that this balancing payment was calculated as it would be in any cross-licensing deal: Novell has valuable network-computing patents that Microsoft products may infringe, and since Microsoft's products bring in so much more revenue than Novell's, Microsoft owed a balance.

But FOSS critics of the deal would later speculate that the real purpose of the payments was to induce Novell to cut a royalty deal on Linux that Novell knew was unnecessary Says Red Hat's Webbink: "It allowed [Microsoft] to go out and trumpet that, see, we told you Linux infringed, and these guys are now admitting it"

Microsoft and Novell unveiled their pact on Nov. 2, accompanied by endorsements from big Linux patrons and users like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, AIG, and - most startlingly - an organization called the Open Source Development Lab. The imprimatur of OSDL, a consortium of corporate Linux patrons (which has since merged into the Linux Foundation), carried the implicit blessing of its employee Linus Torvalds - a near-deity in the FOSS community.

(Torvalds has gravitated toward the business-friendly open-source camp of the FOSS world and has openly criticized Stallman's agenda in some contexts. In a March e-mail interview with InformationWeek he wrote: "The Free Software Foundation [Stallman's group] simply doesn't have goals that I can personally sign up to. For example, the FSF considers proprietary software to be something evil and immoral. Me, I just don't care about proprietary software.")

In free-software circles, though, the Microsoft-Novell entente was met with apoplectic rage. Novell's most eminent Linux developer quit in protest. Stallman, of course, denounced it. Not only did it make a mockery of free-software principles, but it threatened the community's common-defense strategy.

FOSS developers, who do not have the resources to defend themselves against a Microsoft patent suit, felt safe as long as powerful corporate Linux users shared their cause. But now the big boys could just buy their Linux from a royalty-paying vendor like Novell, getting protection from lawsuits and leaving the little guys to fend for themselves. What the shortsighted corporate types didn't grasp was that without the little-guy developers there might not be any high-quality FOSS for them to use five years down the road.

"We should talk," Stallman's attorney, Moglen, told Smith in a phone call a few days after the announcement. On Nov. 9, they met at the Software Freedom Law Center's tidy offices on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The Free Software Foundation was planning to prevent Microsoft from doing any more deals like the one it made with Novell, Moglen told Smith. It was drafting a new version of the GPL that would plug the loophole that Smith had just exploited.

Moglen had another card to play. In his view, the fact that Microsoft was selling coupons that customers could trade in for Novell Linux subscriptions meant that Microsoft was now a Linux distributor. And that, as Moglen saw it, meant that Microsoft was itself subject to the terms of the GPL. So he'd write a clause saying, in effect, that if Microsoft continued to issue Novell Linux coupons after the revised GPL took effect, it would be waiving its right to bring patent suits not just against Novell customers, but against all Linux users. "I told Brad," he recalls, "'I think you should just walk away from the patent part of the deal now.'"

Smith didn't, and Moglen kept his promise. On March 28, the Free Software Foundation made public revised GPL provisions, which are expected to take effect in July.

Microsoft and Novell both vow to proceed with their deal as planned. Microsoft claims that its mere distribution of coupons won't make it subject to the GPL, as Moglen asserts. But even if Microsoft is right about that, there's no doubt that distributors remain subject to it, and Moglen's revisions will bar them from trying to strike deals like Novell's.

That may be bad news for big corporate customers, which, judging from early reports, like the Novell deal. Presumably at least part of its appeal is that it provides peace of mind about Microsoft's patent claims. In the first six months, such marquee clients as Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, AIG Technologies, HSBC, Wal-Mart, Dell and Reed Elsevier have all acquired Novell Linux coupons from Microsoft.

Microsoft had hoped that the Novell deal would become a model it could use to collect patent royalties from other distributors of free software. In that respect, its "bridge" to the free world appears to have failed. That, in turn, seems to have taken us a step closer to patent Armageddon.

"The only real solution that [the free-software] folks have to offer," Smith says, "is that they first burn down the bridge, and then they burn down the patent system. That to me is not a goal that's likely to be achieved, and not a goal that should be achieved."

When it comes to software patents, though, Moglen thinks that's exactly the goal to be achieved. "The free world says that software is the embodiment of knowledge about technology, which needs to be free in the same way that mathematics is free," he says. "Everybody is allowed to know as much of it as he wants, regardless of whether he can pay for it, and everybody can contribute and everybody can share."

In the meantime, with Microsoft seemingly barred from striking pacts with distributors, only one avenue appears open to it: paying more friendly visits to its Fortune 500 customers, seeking direct licenses.

If push comes to shove, would Microsoft sue its customers for royalties, the way the record industry has?

"That's not a bridge we've crossed," says CEO Ballmer, "and not a bridge I want to cross today on the phone with you."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Gilchirst cheated in World cup Finals - The match should be played again

"It has been revealed soon after the emphatic Australian win against Sri Lanka in the 2007 Cricket World Cup, that the star batsman and man of the match, Adam Gilchrist used a squash ball to improve his grip in his bottom hand. The confusing gestures he made soon after reaching his century before going on to make 149 out of 104 balls was to in fact, that the person who made the suggestion.

In light of the stellar performance of Gilchrist when every other batsman including Matthew Hayden failed to maintain a strike rate of 100%, this so called `squash-ball grip` becomes quite intriguing, if not illegal or cheating, I dare say. Consider this: Wicket keepers are only allowed to wear gloves with no webbing (except between the index finger & thumb). Fielders are
not allowed to wear gloves that might help them grip the ball better. Bowlers are not allowed to wear plaster on their fingers even if there is a genuine injury. Batsmen are only allowed approved gear for protection. A fielder needs to obtain the permission of the umpire prior to
leaving the field. A batsman must obtain the consent of the opposing captain to get a runner, even if there are obvious injuries preventing him from running.

Need I mention about banned substances that enhance performance? Clearly, Gilchrist used a non-traditional foreign object to enhance his grip. Perhaps even his mis-hits going over the boundary for a six is an example of the undue advantage gained by this enhanced grip. To say that a man who has been in poor form throughout the tournament just came back to stellar form during the all important final, and that the squash ball is just a coincidence is simply naïve.
After all, these are guys who wanted SLC investigated for a mere team selection policy. Had the roles been reversed, and Sanath Jayasuriya was the one with the squash-ball, I`m sure the cricketing world would be on fire now with all sorts of accusations fired at Sri Lanka for cheating.

I am quite surprised that no one has raised this issue yet. I hope that SLC and whoever is responsible will raise this issue, and if nothing else make sure that the rules governing such things are made clear for the future."

Source - BBC, CNN,

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