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oss vs foss
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lawgon
பொதுவான அம்சங்கள்:

௧. மூலம் இலவசமாக கிடைக்கும்
௨. எப்படி வேண்டுமென்றால் பயன்படுத்தலாம்
௩. விநியோகம் செய்யலாம்
௪. மாற்றங்களை விநியோகம் செய்யலாம்
௫. மூலத்தை மாற்றலாம்.

வேறுபாடுகள்:

oss: மூலத்தை மாற்றி அதனை மூடலாம். ஆனால் பெயரை மாற்ற வேண்டும்.
foss: எக்காரணம் கொண்டும் மூரத்தை மூட கூடாது.

குறிப்பு: 'Free' என்றால் சுதந்தரம், இலவசமல்லா

hourly billing
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lawgon
I could never wrap my head around the concept of hourly billing. It is a strange western thingie that is totally unsuitable to our culture. Possible it is realistic in the sense of purely mechanical work - like ploughing a field or writing php code - one can predict exactly how much can be done per hour and bill accordingly. But in any field that involves thought, research or creativity the whole idea of hourly billing is stupid. In both the legal profession and in programming, I may estimate 4 hours to do some work. I may do it in 15 minutes or maybe in 24 hours - so what do I bill? Traditionally in India we bill per piece of work done. And in estimating how much it costs, there are 2 considerations: how much work is expected and, more important, how much the client can be expected to pay.

language wars
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lawgon
recently ilugc mailing list had an unprecedentedly huge flame war regarding language. This had it's beginnings a couple of years back when one or two members started posting in Tamil. Ilugc is the biggest LUG in India and has a large and active component of members from outside Tamilnadu as well as members within the state who cannot read Tamil - in many cases do not even have the fonts installed so all they see is either junk or little boxen. Repeated requests were made that the mails be tagged [Tamil] and a brief english translation be appended. The posters expressed the opinion that 'this is the Tamilnadu state LUG and hence they have the right to post in Tamil, and also every member should learn Tamil'. At that time no one was opposed to posts in Tamil - all they asked was that the posters do them the courtesy of tagging the posts so that they could filter it out - or give an english summary so that they could know what is happening. This went on for some years - periodically requests were made for tagging/summary, and the requests were ignored.

In India language is a very sensitive issue - but in Tamilnadu by and large there is a lot of tolerance as there are large linguistic minorities - although I remember torrid times in the anti-hindi agitations of the past and the Tamil-Kannada riots in the late nineties (this was actually more a dispute over water than over language). There are fanatics like the MNS in Mumbai that wants to kick out all the non Marathi speaking people - and a few hot heads in other states. Bangalore comes to mind in this regard.

Anyway the issue flared up again a couple of weeks back - and this time due to the intransigence of the tamil posters (actually only 2-3 of them in a 2000 strong list), flames erupted and this time there was heavy opposition to tamil posting itself, along with a much more insistent demand for tagging/translation. Finally the co-ordinator ordained that any language may be used as long as it is tagged and translated. This lead to posts in all manner of languages and a general state of anarchy. In the end the list owner stated that he is willing to start language lists on request, but only english posts would be allowed. Anyone posting in other languages would be warned and then banned.

So why were they posting in Tamil and refusing to tag/translate? Simply because they wanted to impose Tamil on the members. If they genuinely wanted to promote Tamil, they should have been polite, tagged the mails and also provided translations - or even transliterations to encourage people to learn. There was even one moron who suggested that Marathi posts should be allowed in Mumbai, Kannada posts in Bengaluru and Telugu posts in Hyderabad - which shows how much he knows about the languages spoken in the respective cities and the tensions wrt to language there.

Well youngsters will be youngsters - but I hope some of them get posted to some place like Kolhapur or Kannur - then they will learn.

billdesk scamsters?
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lawgon
I recently had to make an urgent journey - so I booked tickets by 2 different trains - when the waiting list did not clear, I also booked tatkal. 3 or 4 of the bookings ended in failed transaction - billdesk deducted the money from my bank account - but did not credit it to the railways. Then I tried air - two attempts, both times money left my account, but billdesk did not credit it to the booking site. Net result: about 12K rupees left my account and is sitting with billdesk. After lots of emails, all parties agree that I have paid the money, that the transactions have failed and that I should get my money back. Now they say 7-8 business days. Obviously there is some scam here - why should a refund take more than a few seconds when the transaction has failed? They are probably earning lakhs in interest from the money they are holding in this way.

how to build your house
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lawgon
Contractor (C): Sir, I will build your house for you - see pictures of all the houses I have built and choose one
Owner (O): I like house B, may I see the plans please?
C: no sir, plans are secret - if others see they will build houses like mine and I will lose business - but I will give 100% guarantee and you may test the construction when complete
O: ok, please build it, but I would like to watch the construction process
C: no sir, construction process is a business secret - if I show then other people will copy. My building process is highly secret - even the workers and sub contractors do not know the full details. Please pay 20 lakhs advance and I will complete construction within a year, then you can pay baaki 30 lakhs.
O: (two years later) Is house ready at least now?
C: yes, it is ready - you may test.
D (special testing team from Israel): sir, only 5 lakhs, we will test construction with latest techniques
O: ok, please go ahead and give result, I want to move in before I die
D: sir, we have completed testing - we used latest hand grenades and bombs to test structure and are happy to report that house is resistant to all but the very latest bombs which are anyway unavailable to the public and can safely say that the construction is robust.
O: where is the house? I only see a pile of rubble.
C and D: sir, best quality testing will do this, but please pay another 50-60 lakhs and we will build and test another house for you

நான் அவன் இல்லை
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lawgon
the other day I was travelling in a bus from Kochi to Coimbatore and they showed the movie naan avan illai. It is about a guy who marries various women and cheats them and their families. He is variously known as Joseph Fernandez, Madhavan Menon, Zakir Khan ... Finally he is caught, but claims his name is Annamalai and that he is not the cheat but an innocent look alike. He is put on trial, but before the verdict the DVD in the bus got stuck and we reached Coimbatore, so I never got to find out whether he was guilty or innocent. Anyone knows?

collaborators
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lawgon
I am now involved in several projects - a little more than I can handle, and am looking for collaborators. None of the projects are yielding much money now, but that could change. I am looking for people in the areas of web design, web applications with django and in GIS applications. Remote working is fine, but location in North West Tamilnadu would be a plus. This is unpaid at present, but if I make money I share it. Freshers are ok, as long as they do not expect to be spoonfed. If nothing else, I am an excellent teacher - no one who has ever worked with or for me is on the streets - this includes people I have chucked out or have left my employ under a cloud.

golf tournament software
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lawgon
Today I released djangogolf - golf tournament management software. The scoring module is ready, draw and handicapping to come. The demo is here: http://greenchilly.in/

change in status
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lawgon
I will be moving from working at NRC-FOSS more or less fulltime to working part time remotely from Ooty.

new foss books
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lawgon
just saw the new foss books brought out by http://fsm.co.in - good work by Ramadoss and his team - although their order form sucks big time! Well worth buying the books.