November 29, 2002

Source Perfect

I was reading this article and its prequel that was posted on /. As the title of the story suggested, the author makes a point that all software source should be open. That is, programs should not be sold without bundling the source that was used to produce it. The point he is trying to make is that, just as buildings and bridges do not hide what they bring along with them, so should software not hide what it was built from. He does advocate crippled source to make sure that people dont recompile and all that, but that idea still being that only by making source open can one actually make sure that people dont write sloppy code.

I like that idea. As in the point that source should be open to make sure that programmers do their work properly, and dont hide behind the compiler for producing bad code. But the idea as he has presented is not, according to me, viable. The reasons are simple.

  1. The analogy between buildings and software is not correct and does not hold. Firstly since seeing a building or a bridge is not the same as seeing a source. The analogy is more like blueprint and building. Secondly, what one can do with source, one cannot do with a blueprint - like reusing a part of it, copying it ad-infinitum and so on.
  2. Even if we do make it open, who is going to check it? How qualified is he going to be to have to see source that does not compile and tell you if it is good code or bad? When was the last time you saw source code and judged it?

But coming to back to what I was saying. I do find myself agreeing with that fact that source should be made available. Only then can we get some sort of responsibility as far as building source is concerned. And this is a major flaw in the entire process of software building which i believe is fundamentally creating problems with the software (read IT) world. So this is what I suggest. What should rather be done is that we should have some sort of third party certification. Just like html is checked for adherence to standards, code should also be checked for adherence to standards. And companies should be able to proclaim that their software is "Source Perfect". I dont really know if we have such an idea lying around, but this sure is worth trying.

Of course, this has its drawbacks. The standards that need to be checked adherence to. That is the need of the hour. We need to define what good software is. Everyone knows the properties of good software. We should be able to standardise that and make it platform, implementation independant. Then we can be on the first step towards building a world having software that is "Source Perfect".

We had a recent meeting, for some work. There we were meeting these alumni, who were 25 years down the line. I was making a presentation to them, and said "And that is the reason I think I can safely say that we might be having one of the the best websites in the world". To which the answer was "That is precisely the problem with you new generation. Have faith. Say 'Ours _is_ the best website in the world'"

Amen to that


November 22, 2002

What was that again?


just a thought


a. ppl can control it

b. it gives u an easy temporary escape route for sometime as compared to the tougher alternative of goin thru a process and maintaining ur cool...and by getting away from painful situations, a person can concentrate on the main things on hand..that else get bogged down due to worryign abt them..

c. taken infrequently, shldnt do grt physical damage in short run, and in the long run all of us are anywys dead..

if one can use it to buy some time to deal with life so that other imp things can be done more efficiently, then

why shouldnt a person drink/smoke?...

I have never done this before. I mean posting other people private stuff on my blog. Ah well, everything has a first right? And this is fine, I guess, simply because there is little personal about this.

I dont smoke or drink. In the words of people who know me, I have the best dope profile. I have long hair, work on computers, read and believe in 0wnz0red, I listen to hard rock and death metal and front a scowl for a neutral face. That meant that no one ever fully believed me when I told them I dont really do em dope. That explains, I hope, to the third party reader about the italicized post earlier.

The answer to the question is just this - No he should not stop drinking or smoking

The world has people, and people are humans. Humans have consciousness and since time immemorial you have had this consciousness in trouble. There is pressure, there is pain. These negative feelings have been the bane of conscious thought ever since the first guy figure out that rolling is different from dragging. And humans have taken a zillion ways of dulling this all pervasive, all powerful consciousness. They drank, smoked, doped, took drugs, injections, morphine, invented GOD, started religion, invented prayers, formed associations, for institutions, established schools and colleges. All designed with one objective in mind. To dim the consciouness and dull the intellect. No, dont take me at face value. You think, prayers are different from drinking? Think again. What do you do when you are unhappy, or otherwise feeling down. Have you ever heard about the healing effects of auto-suggestion. Or the narcotic effects of the same. Ever seen Fight Club? Do you know what Oxygen is? My dear reader, the whole life structure you have been exposed to one that is designed to not let you be at full capacity. Music - Ah well, this is one of the most powerful of narcotics available to all of humanity. What are the only things that dont depend on language, customs, place of birth, color of the skin and sex? Music, sex, narcotics, religion. See the similarity?

Why? I have no idea. But this just makes me feel that we were not be be born on earth at all... But that is another story.

Back to the point of discussion. There is nothing fundamentally evil about smoking and drinking. Okay there is the angle of health right? I mean you will die sooner if you smoke and all that. Well here is the deal. You think the other solutions are any less deadly? Religion - kills inventiveness, kills the spirit, kills innovation, kills motivation and lets you live longer - why? Music - eats into time, halves effective ability to focus. Society - one of the biggest ills of the recent society - does everything that religion does and worse, makes you feel good about it. So how are drinking and smoking different - they probably shorten your life, but what if they allow you to make your life more productive?

Okay there are exceptions to all rules, including this one. And the exceptions can be found both ways. So lets forget that for a moment and focus on the thought at hand.

There is no good or bad about smoking and drinking. There ought to be no reason why you should not do them and till stay in a society and practice religion. But the decision not to smoke or drink should stem from what you feel about losing control over yourself. Do you really want to lose it? Then go ahead, you will not be worse of for it. And that is the closest you will get to truth, coz there is none of that out there.


ps: no thought is arbit, it is all in the mind after all.

November 19, 2002


Basically was caught up the last few days. So did not post. Ah! well, that must be obvious. I mean there is little precious that can happen right? Well so here I am back after the break, with a bang.

Okay.. i found this comfortable position for the keyboard by keeping it in my lap. And believe me it is really good considering that I dont have proper furniture for working on the computer. And it does show. I mean, i have been feeling my hands go numb after typing non stop for a long time. And my speed also gets affected. And this position is really good as I can type fast and at the same time I really dont see my hands paining. It is really a win-win.

Dont know why I am rambling like this, but basically I just love the way I can type fast. And I just saw swordfish. Okay, I really dont know how people can buy all this hacking bull shit. It is almost as if people write authentication code in standard html and expect every system to give one of two messages...
If (1) then the printf("Access Granted",green) else printf("Access Denied",red);
Almost pathetic how cinema can make people believe a lot of stuff. Just like timelines for a lot of other stuff gets compressed in the world of cinema, the timelines for hacking, security, for carefully laid systems all get compressed into a few taps of the keyboard. I know I will live to one day see "offline backup systems" being hacked using satellite technology. That day I will sleep in peace.

So what do I write about? There is a lot to be written, but dont really have the enthusiasm for that now. So I will call it a day now and retire, hoping for a better morning.

Bubbly bubbly bye...