Install Firefox 4 in Ubuntu

Firefox 4 was released and it definitely looks better and is faster than the older versions. I tried it out by downloading the version from the site and wanted to replace my old firefox on my Ubuntu. Here is how you can get the latest firefox on your Ubuntu box installed through apt-get.

Goto your terminal and type the following:

  1. sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-stable
  2. sudo apt-get update
  3. sudo apt-get install firefox

That’s it. After the big download, you will have firefox 4 installed on your ubuntu machine.

Here is an explanation of what happens.

  1. You are adding the mozillateam’s stable personal package archive repository to your Software Sources.
  2. You are updating your local packages for the new sources.
  3. And you are installing “firefox”. Doing an apt-get install of an already installed package just upgrades it.

Bonus: Look at the cool graphics to show the live download stats on the glow.mozilla.com site.

Upgraded to WordPress 3.0

It has been a very long time since I blogged and the only thing I was doing with the blogs was paying the hosting bills. So, I decided to do something useful and decided to upgrade to WordPress 3.0 finally. The manual upgrade process was smooth and was over in less than 5 mins.
Running the new version of the software might close the numerous bugs and holes which might have been exposed on this blog for long. I recommend other wordpress self hosted users to upgrade to 3.0 – it is neat.

MontyLingua3 – GPLed fork of MontyLingua

MontyLingua is a popular Natural Language processing tool which can understand english language and also correct it based on common sense – used by many people around the world for research. It did have a small problem – licensing. The author released it under two licenses which states that:

If it is your intent to use this software for non-commercial,
non-prioprietary purposes, such as for academic research purposes,
this software is free and is covered under the GNU GPL License,
given here: <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt> and in the
APPENDIX of this document.

If you are interested in this software for commercial purposes,
commercial licensing information is available.  Please email
([email protected]) for more information.

In my company, we have been trying to get to the author for the commercial license but he hasn’t replied to any emails. So we decided to make use of another NLP tool and move on. But a few days back there was a discussion at Reddit where it was noted that someone can get the software for non-commercial use under GPL – which gives him the full right offered by GPL. So he can copy, modify and share the software to anyone and the person who gets the software from him (not Hugo) can get it under GPL. This essentially avoids the commercial license path of MontyLingua Version 2.0 license.

I thought since I was already working on improving the code, why don’t I fork it, do the bug fixes and release it under GPL. This will allow anyone else to come up and fix the code and improve the project. Since the author isn’t actively working on this project, I think using this fork will benefit everyone to get a better version.

I have created a public repository in bitbucket called MontyLingua3 (the old one is in version 2.1). Right now I am going to clean up the code and since I am not a NLP expert there won’t be any new additional features. If someone can contribute with new features/functions then I would be very happy to include their patches.

To get the source code, install mercurial and clone the repository as

$ hg clone http://bitbucket.org/cnu/montylingua3/

So, please contribute to the project.

WordPress MU vs MovableType

For almost one week I have been setting up Blogial Networks and have played around with WordPress mu. I decided to use WPMU after trying out MovableType. I created a MT blog for FSLog and imported all the contents into it. With just about 350 posts, it created so many files for various views – single post, monthly archive, yearly archive, category view, etc. In total it took about 25 MB for all these files for just one blog.

Here are some of the basic reasons for not choosing MT and using WPMU:

  • MT is huge. The zip file costs about 5MB and extracting it gets a 21MB monster out. Whereas WPMU is only 1.5MB – 6MB when extracted.
  • Ease of use – during installation and for creating post.
  • MovableType needs rebuilding so many files for every update to a single post. Missed out a word there, save it and republish the entire blog. This is unacceptable for a blog network which wants even technologically challenged people to blog. Not many would understand the republishing process (unless they are the old blogger type). I agree that plain html files are blazingly faster than executing more than 30 SQL queries for every request, but wp-cache does a great job in caching the rendered HTML pages in wordpress.
  • Lot of plugins written in PHP. I can get my hands dirty with the plugins if I want to as I have seen and understood the WordPress architecture more than MT’s.

Regarding the last point, I would be running a series of posts about the various plugins that we use here are Blogial and the problems and incompatibilities we faced while installing it in WPMU.

FSLog now a part of Blogial networks

I am happy to announce that FSLog is now part of Blogial networks – a small blog network started by me and Sudarsan. We decided to start this blog network so that we can have a platform where people can cross post across various blogs thus creating good quality content.

If someone comes up and suggests a new idea for a blog – we will be happy to create a blog and make them the owner of it. He should then build the blog and most important of all, build a community around it. Any reader who wishes to contribute to a blog, can register and ask for becoming an author in it. This is all about trying to get more people to post in a single blog and to build the blog more social.

This blog network isn’t about making huge money or to compete with the big players. We are just simple minded people who want to blog about things passionate to us. Of course we would think about monetising and would also love to get donations(paypal:[email protected]) so that we can sustain running this network.

I have this network running on a WordPress-mu installation which is very easy to get a blog network up and running in minutes. I have it hosted on NearlyFreeSpeech and tried to bring fslog.com also into that. I know that wpmu supports multiple domain names and I tried using this Multi-Site Manager plugin – but couldn’t get fslog.com work in NFShost. Also for creating a blog in blogial, I should manually create an alias in NFS. This needs to be changed asap and we are looking at moving onto a better host (maybe a VPS). If someone can give us some good offer for a VPS, we are listening to you. Till we can fix this, FSLog is going to be on a seperate WordPress installation.

I am in the process of setting up the blog, installing plugins and creating blogs. Right now we have 3 blogs under blogial.

  • FSLog – This one
  • Codelog – about programming owned by Sudarsan (previously ProgrammersLog)
  • OZ – about living in Australia owned by Anish

I am open to any other blogs that you may want to be here.

I am also looking at creating some good themes for the blog and also a logo for blogial. If someone can help us in it, we would be very happy.

Since we now have more people to post in this blog, you can be sure to get good, quality content here on the network.

Opensolaris and Ubuntu Dual boot

Open Solaris LogoYesterday I decided to try out the live cd of Opensolaris 2008.05 and decided to install it on my laptop after playing around with it for some time. The install process was painfully slow, but was very easy. If you already had Ubuntu (or any other OS for that matter), then OpenSolaris’s Grub menu would not have autodetected the other OS like Ubuntu does. There would be only one single entry for Open Solaris.

Ubuntu logoI wanted my Ubuntu back and so searched the web for info regarding this and found one. He has given steps to first install Solaris and then Ubuntu, but this holds true the other way round too.

You would need the desktop live CD of Ubuntu for this, so that you can recover Ubuntu’s grub.

  1. After booting to Ubuntu Live system, open up the terminal and type sudo grub.
  2. You will get a grub prompt – here type
    find /boot/grub/stage1
  3. Use this information to set the root device (this may be different for you)
    root (hd0,0)
  4. Then install grub
    setup (hd0)
  5. And quit

This would get back the Ubuntu’s old grub, but now you have to make an entry for OpenSolaris.

Edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file and add this new entry at the bottom

title	Open Solaris
root	(hd0,1)
chainloader	+1
makeactive
boot

This would enable you to boot to Open Solaris too now. There were problems with my Atheros drivers as usual and I have to find a way to install the madwifi drivers as I did on my Ubuntu. If anyone got wifi working on Acer Aspire 5050 with OpenSolaris, please do leave a comment here.

Clean Windows virus from Linux

Yesterday we noticed in our windows samba share machine that it was infected with virus. This is the kind of virus which became common 2 years back which created an executable file with the name same as the current directory name. In a windows machine, the icon was set in such a way that it looked exactly like a windows directory. If you double click that file (thinking it is a folder), you are sure be infected.

So, I had to delete the files and the shared directory was having numerous folders. I then wrote a bash one liner (not exactly 1 line) to delete the files.

First I used find to get the list of all the exe files in all folders and stored it in a file (exe_files).

This was the command I then used to delete all the files.

cat exe_files | while read line;do l=`ls -lh "${line}"`;size=`echo $l| cut -d' ' -f5`;if [ $size = "604K" ]; then rm "`echo $l| cut -c"47-"`" ;fi; done

What it does is reads each line in the file and finds the size of each file and if the size is ‘604K‘  then remove the file.

Deleting based on the filesize was not that good, as we might have lost some original file which was correctly 604K. If you wanted a better solution, you would have to write one more if clause to check if the filename is the same as the folder name – better to create a shell script instead of trying a one liner.

Thanks to linux, we could delete all the ~6000 virus files in a simple command without the fear of infection.

Feedly – social, magazine like start page for firefox

Today I found this excellent firefox addon called feedly – which calls itself as a more social and magazine-like start page for firefox. I see this as a great RSS feed reader which is integrated with Google reader, twitter and other social thingies.

This is very well integrated with Google reader that any feeds you subscribe here automatically is reflected in Google reader. Reading a post here marks the post as read in Google reader.

You can recommend, tweet and annotate articles which enables your friends to know what you are doing with your feeds. One important feature is allowing the user to view the post from the site directly in an IFrame. So, I can comment on a post without leaving my feed reader.

They also have a feedly API which lets website owners to write custom views for their content. They also have a plan to allow the owners to better design ads for displaying in their feedly UI.

Overall this is a nice way to read my feeds and I think I am going to try this one for some days. It is available as a free Firefox extension and you can install it by going to the feedly website.

Update: They even have got it integrated with del.icio.us.

Skribit: Suggest topics to write about

Skribit is a product I found out today in news.YC. I think this is one tool which is essential for bloggers like me who can’t find interesting topics to blog about. This product will help solve the problem of writer’s block by engaging the community into the blog’s content.

People can suggest new topics which they would like to be covered or they can vote on topics already added by other members in the community. It is non-intrusive and takes just a simple sign-on (they have openid too) and adding a widget to your blog. A very simple idea.

So, if you want me to write about any particular topic, just use the widget in the side bar and suggest new topics.