Ubuntu problem rectified.

Last Sunday evening, I was checking some photographs in my SD card in my Ubuntu 11.10 Dell laptop. After 20 minutes the battery backup indicated too low and I got the red signal warning. So that I was about to shutdown the system using the tty commandline “shutdown -h now”. But the “u” key did not work. Q,R,T keys also were not functioning correctly. In stead of giving the assigned characters, those keys were printing some numeric values on monitor. Initially I thought this may be something related with keyboard assembly, so that keyboard assembly should be replaced soon. Then I reboot the system using cntrl+alt+del. The same problem repeated after I logged in to the graphical terminal. Then I reboot the system, and logged in the tty. To my surprise, all the keys were working properly. But whenever I log into the graphical terminal the same problem repeats.
What should be the problem, anyone guess?
It was silly. It was not the problem of keyboard assembly, nor keyboard layout. And what? It was nothing but the user profile was corrupt. I renamed the home folder of the current user and logged in again, all the keys started working fine. It took more than 2-3 hours to find the real issue. In my experience silly issues like profile-related problems may consume more time to identify than complicated problems.

Linux: Whats the real fear factor?

Android is Linux
Android would have been a big flop, if it were named “Android Linux”! But Android is a BIG success, because fortunately, its name is just “Android” only. So think, where does the actual problem lies? What’s the fear factor that Linux makes?
The name is the fear factor. People get away from Linux when the moment they hear the name. Why people fear such a cute penguin? And whats the real fact? Among all the operating systems which exists today, the GNU/Linux ones are the most user friendly, intuitive and secure. Once it was not like that; user should be a geek to operate and tame a G/L system. Over the years it evolved to serve even dummies and common people. Unfortunately folks are not aware about the change; they still fear that cutie penguin and still in love with the old and insecure systems.

If the name “Linux” is a fear factor for common people, whats the point we add that name along with the distro name? No doubt, Linux is a cute name; just as GNU! But for the sake of free software, we should abandon such words like “Linux” and “GNU”

So, listen all distros who distribute Linux, remove the suffix “Linux” with your distro name. Just as “UBUNTU” instead of “UBUNTU Linux”. Or “DEBIAN” instead of “DEBIAN GNU/Linux” . DEBIAN. UBUNTU. MINT. TRISQUEL. Enough. The end user need not know whats inside, unless they are not bothered about it. (Why should they know?! Who’s interested in such questions?!) The kingdom of real Free Software will come on earth only when you remove “GNU” or “LINUX” from the distro name.
There is a naming controversy exists between Linus / OSS community and Gnu.org. While Gnu.org claims to spell the system in full as “GNU/Linux”, Linus Torvalds / OSS community / Linux foundation laughs against it. If both of the names are removed, there would not be any such controversies. Let’s make the path for Free Software to conquer the Desktop segment.

Linus Torvalds speaks: [Watch at 0:23:46 in the timeline]

The Malayalam font related issues in GNU/Linux systems

This is a story about four people named Everyone, Someone, Anyone and No-one. There was an important job to be done and Everyone was expected to do it. Everyone was sure Someone would do it. Anyone could have done it, but No-one did it. Someone got angry about it because it was Everyone’s job. Everyone thought Anyone could do it, but No-one realised that Everyone wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everyone blamed Someone when No-one did what Anyone could have done.

Fixing the issues are everyone’s job. And there are so many issues are there with GNU/Linux systems that handles Malayalam Unicode and so called ASCII / ISCII fonts. Most people in Kerala who use Malayalam fonts suffers this issue. Majority publishing houses and newspapers still use the non-standard ASCII fonts. This ASCII Fonts are nothing but a gimmick done in the ISO/IEC 8859-1 code table.  This code table handles the complex characters in Latin script.  What ASCII Malayalam font does is really funny – it replaces Malayalam glyphs instead of the whole glyphs in the ISO/IEC 8859-1 code table! So the computer system identifies the text just as some junk characters in Latin script.  So what is ISO/IEC 8859-1 code table? Wikipedia says:

ISO 8859-1 was based on the Multinational Character Set used by Digital Equipment Corporation in the popular VT220 terminal. It was developed within ECMA, the European Computer Manufacturers Association, and published in March 1985 as ECMA-94, by which name it is still sometimes known. The second edition of ECMA-94 (June 1986) also included ISO 8859-2, ISO 8859-3, and ISO 8859-4 as part of the specification.

In 1985 Commodore adopted ISO 8859-1 for its new AmigaOS operating system. The Seikosha MP-1300AI impact dot-matrix printer, used with the Amiga 1000, included this encoding.

In 1992, the IANA registered the character map ISO_8859-1:1987, more commonly known by its preferred MIME name of ISO-8859-1 (note the extra hyphen over ISO 8859-1), a superset of ISO 8859-1, for use on the Internet. This map assigns the C0 and C1 control characters to the unassigned code values thus provides for 256 characters via every possible 8-bit value.

ISO-8859-1 is (according to the standards at least) the default encoding of documents delivered via HTTP with a MIME type beginning with “text/” (however the draft HTML 5 specification requires that documents advertised as ISO-8859-1 actually be parsed with the Windows-1252 encoding.) It is the default encoding of the values of certain descriptive HTTP headers, and defines the repertoire of characters allowed in HTML 3.2 documents (HTML 4.0, however, is based on Unicode). It and Windows-1252 are often assumed to be the encoding of text on Unix and Microsoft Windows in the absence of locale or other information, this is only gradually being replaced with Unicode encoding such as UTF-8 or UTF-16.

Currently various DTP tools including Scribus, GIMP etc does not support Unicode. Persons like me who use extensive Malayalam text regularly suffers a lot due to such huge issues. And Unicode itself has some disputes regarding the codepoints like zwj, zwnj, atomic chillu etc.

I am attaching a presentation done for a group discussion earlier in 2010. Some png files generated from Oo.Impress:

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

Malayalam Font issues in GNU/Linux systems

The presentation was planned to deliver in Malayalam. But the fact is that I could not present it properly in the discussion because the schedule was so tight so that I could not enough time to deliver my speech. Lets “Everyone” of us  join hands together to fix the issues the Unicode Malayalam.

One and only Android smart phone that does not violate GPL

Its ZaTab. It may not be so popular. But the company claims that they provide 100% pure codes in Android without violating the GPL terms. If it is so, its a great thing. Rejoice! The kingdom of Freedom finally came in the smartphone market too.

Company’s website claims as follows:

The only tablet on the market that doesn’t violate the GPL! Yay!  (You get the source code with the machine, not months later, if at all.)

Here is the Specs of ZaTab.


  • Pure Android
  • Allwinner A10 SoC
  • 9.7″ IPS 1024×768 display
  • 5 point capacitive touchscreen
  • 16 GB internal storage + microSD for additional storage
  • 1 GB RAM
  • WiFi (802.11 b/g/n)
  • Front and Back cameras
  • Sturdy metal back
  • High-capacity 8000 mAh battery
    • 9 hours battery life playing 3D games
    • 14 hours battery life watching videos
  • Ultra-light 630 grams


  • Headphone
  • microSD card slot
  • microHDMI video out
  • 2x microUSB ports

Package includes:

  • Tablet
  • AC Adapter
  • USB Cable
  • User Manual
  • Source Code

Cost of the tab is $ 349 (Rs. 18700 aprox.) as of 12 May 2012. Please refer more details from the official page of the company

Opening note

The word “Hacking” is not at all negative. If you check the word with wikipedia, following result will you get

Hacking may refer to:

Computer hacking, including the following types of activity:
Hacker (programmer subculture), activity within the computer programmer subculture
Hacker (computer security), to access computer networks, legally or otherwise
Computer crime
Illegal taxicab operation
Pleasure riding, horseback riding for purely recreational purposes
The act of stealing jokes
Hacking, an area within Hietzing, a municipal district of Vienna, Austria
Ian Hacking, Canadian philosopher of science

What I mean with hacking is based on computer security.

Hacking means finding out weaknesses in a computer or computer network and exploiting them, though the term can also refer to someone with an advanced understanding of computers and computer networks

As of what wikipedia says, I am not a hacker at all. But I try to learn about the weakness and powers of system security. Thats all. I am running a blog with same name in blogger also. Its address is: http://hackingtom.blogspot.com

This blog is a continuation of that blog. Kindly read on. Happy hacking.