Ok. So we have a good thing going…

We are on a roll. We have:

o a first cut site up and running
o a decent number of hits to the site
o a ranking that we wish would go up a bit
o a plan to start coordinating with HPLIP

Now comes the part of getting a sustaining dialog going on with the Hardware partners. These include manufacturers of printers, webcams, scanners and the like. While we will put out the list of the next batch of devices we plan to attack (while releasing refined versions of the already out drivers), the proposed way out seems to be something like:

o keep talking with the vendors as to why it is necessary to release drivers under appropriate Open Source licenses
o collect and collate the minimum information that is required
o procure hardware, test and of course release drivers for the devices

The bare minimum information that can help a project involved in printer device driver creation could be:

o a list of the printer models that are known NotGood
o a list of the printer models that are known to work in a functionally incomplete way with existing drivers
o a list of printer models which require emulation (or more specifically Epson emulation) to work
o a list of printer models which work Well with proprietary/binary only drivers

The above information would enable the classification of the printers into various classes and also allow target devices to be selected. The entire objective of this exercise would of course be to push stuff upstream. For example, take a look at the CUPS site and search for TVSE – be pleasantly surprised.

How difficult is it to comply to Open Standards ?

Something so minor has become a considerable problem for relief workers, who are attempting to setup as many kiosks as possible for refugees. Workers on the ground have told Ars Technica that they would prefer to avoid setting up Windows XP workstations because they take longer to setup, and even longer to properly patch and configure for use. You may recall that in an experiment performed last year, a Windows XP SP1 box put on the Internet was compromised in 4 minutes flat. While Service Pack 2 and recent updates undoubtedly improve XP’s defenses, techs are wary of using the OS in this situation. Read more

Someone was recently complaining about the IE tie-in for a Visa application portal and of course Air Deccan is (in)famous for not really allowing any other browser to pass through for an online transaction. For details look at this Hall of Shame

Firefox and Thunderbird : Beyond Browsing and Email

Found this nice book on O’Reilly pitched with just the right mix of content that makes a book good. It is not a great book. What it lacks in punch it makes up in the mix of topics and the ease with which they are writtent. While the initial parts might come out to be a rehash of old known facts for the old timers, the new readers would do well to go through them since they provide an understanding of the whole concept of the Mozilla Project and of course perhaps the two best products (barring Bugzilla) that have come out of that stable.

Very end user oriented – this is not a crash course in getting up and running with Firefox and Thunderbird. Rather, this is a nice stroll through end UseCases that any user of the two applications will have and sure enough there are screenshots a plenty to make them feel at home. The last part of the book deals with writing extensions for the applications. This is a section that really does not fit into the scheme of things. Writing extensions while fun could have been taken either as an online section or as separate book altogether. In short, this is a useful book to have while using the two applications.

An old favorite – lost and found

Few battles in history have been waged with greater ferocity, desperation, bravery, and atrocity than the battle for Berlin at the end of the Second World War. No one can tell a story better than Ryan, and he is at his very best here. In this book Cornelius Ryan brings his masterful powers of description and discerning eye for extraordinary detail to bear with force and elegance. This is a wonderful book, immensely informative, densely packed with facts and figures, and told in a compelling way by a best-selling author who can vividly recount seemingly countless tales of the most ordinary of individuals caught in the unforgiving and often deadly embrace of total war.

I had a copy of Cornelius Ryan’s The Last Battle picked off a street side vendor. That copy was precious since the author had autographed it and presented it to some dear friend. A classmate of mine had nicked it from my shelf (and even went to the extent of keeping it hidden when I was in their house). I found a copy of the book (not my copy) at a bookshop again. Riveting read more from an understanding of the characters involved rather than the historical sweep of events.

Here there and everywhere

Returned from here. This was the first time I had been to Goa and it was fun. There was an offer for a full day tour of the local sights and scenes which we opted for. Eventually, the full day tour was curtailed into a half day one due to the pressing sun but that did not stop one from enjoying the serene nature of the beach near the hotel. Might be a good idea to actually figure out if one can go again… Picked up a book – With Their Backs to the World: Potraits from Serbia by Asne Seierstad – whose earlier book The Bookseller of Kabul was one I liked a lot. Just started off on it and amazing fact is that Amazon does not seem to have any entries for this book yet. While on the subject of books and Amazon, the hard copy of this book finally arrived. Satish is happy.

Planet FLOSS India is up for a new look so suggestions are welcome. We also have a lot of new feeds on the planet so be sure to check them out. This is a recent development. The earlier idea that the participants talked about was maintaining an Indic Enablement Package that would be distribution independent but as a group will contain components that will help in making distributions Indic Enabled. The current way of doing things they have chosen is this and of course a LoCo. The IndLinux mailing list archives have some details about Ubuntu and IndLinux forward looking plans.