Linus on C++

C++ is a horrible language. It's made more horrible by the fact that a lot 
of substandard programmers use it...
In other words, the only way to do good, efficient, and system-level and 
portable C++ ends up to limit yourself to all the things that are 
basically available in C.
In general, I'd say that anybody who designs his kernel modules for C++ is 
 (a) looking for problems
 (b) a C++ bigot that can't see what he is writing is really just C anyway
 (c) was given an assignment in CS class to do so.

Feel free to make up (d).

You can read the emails here.


Kaspersky OS

First, it’s based on microkernel architecture, which allows to assemble ‘from blocks’ different modifications of the operating system depending on a customer’s specific requirements.

Second, there’s its built-in security system, which controls the behavior of applications and the OS’s modules. In order to hack this platform a cyber-baddie would need to break the digital signature, which – any time before the introduction of quantum computers – would be exorbitantly expensive.

Third, everything has been built from scratch. Anticipating your questions: not even the slightest smell of Linux. All the popular operating systems aren’t designed with security in mind, so it’s simpler and safer to start from the ground up and do everything correctly. Which is just what we did.

Let’s talk about this. Micro-kernel design? Interesting, but MINIX has had that for ages now. Linux vs MINIX = Monolithic vs Microkernel = Performance vs Security. Yes, going for one kernel design instead of the other does equal compromising one aspect for the other. In short, this decision to use the micro-kernel isn’t honestly innovative.

Built-in security system? Oh wow.. Sure, whatever. Give us more details and then we will consider it’s existence and efficiency.

Everything has been built from scratch? I admire your effort, but at the end of the day, it is going to have to be POSIX compatible. It’s hard to say whether or not it really was worth the effort. And I hate to break this to you, but it would have saved time, and made more sense, to proofread  the code instead of rewriting it.

In short: As of now, it offers nothing too interesting. Sure, I’d like to download an image and give it a go but that’d probably be it.


Fixing the brightness issue on Ubuntu 16.04

  • The issue: Random flickering when changing the brightness using the function key, while the change wasn’t steady. The slider in system settings allowed me to change the brightness normally.
  • The machine: Dell Inspiron N5110

The first solution I tried was creating the /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf file with the following lines:
Section "Device"
Identifier "card0"
Driver "intel"
Option "Backlight" intel_backlight"
BusID "PCI:0:2:0"

This didn’t change anything. So I tried following “dushnabe’s” suggestion on this thread. Which too didn’t make any difference really. The problem, as I saw it was that I appeared to be using both intel_backlight and acpi_video0. Both use different ranges of values to change the brightness. Hence the flickering. It became clear that I had to force the usage of just one, and that’s exactly what the fix in that answer was supposed to do. Except that for some reason it wasn’t working.

After googling further on this, I landed on this page and I saw the list of kernel parameters that had to do with the backlight. I rebooted a couple of times, each time trying a different parameter, and finally,
acpi_backlight=native is what did the trick. I noticed that it doesn’t allow me to change brightness on login screen, but after login, there was no flickering, and when I ran ls /sys/class/backlight/, I saw that it no longer returned acpi_video0. The only issue I have right now is that there is no fixed minimum. Sometimes, it decreases to a reasonable minimum, while at other times, it results in a blackout, and I have to manually adjust it using the slider in system settings or using xbrightness..

To replicate this process, all you need to do:

  • Fire  up a terminal
  • sudo nano /etc/default/grub
  • At the very end of the string GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT, (which in my case was “quiet splash,”) add acpi_backlight=native.
    The final string, in my case, looks like “quiet splash acpi_backlight=native
  • Close and save the file, and run sudo update-grub and then reboot.

In the event that this doesn’t work, it’d be worth your time to try out the rest of the kernel parameters. You don’t have to modify the grub file every time. Instead you can choose to modify kernel parameters before boot. This you can do by pressing “c” on the grub screen and typing the desired parameter, in the correct place, right after “splash.”


Hands on with Ubuntu 16.04 “Xenial Xerus”

Being one of those idiots who started downloading the ISO way before the link was even officially added to the download page, I do have a couple of reasons to regret doing so. I was on a slightly messed up 14.04 that appeared to have deteriorated over time, and I had been considering a reinstall, but had been putting it off because I had decided to wait until after the release of Xenial.

So, fast forwarding to when I was done installing it. As per habit, the moment it was installed I fired up a terminal and at the same time opened Firefox.. The first thing I noticed was that the terminal had a green font on the “[email protected]:~$,” and then I ran an apt-get update, which obviously was stupid as it had just been released, and a while before or after it I also noticed that the terminal seemed to insist that I use “apt” in commands in place of “apt-get.” I don’t honestly know what inspired this change, but just another minor.

Two changes that we had been hearing about since way before the release were: … 


Code-names of Debian’s Releases

Buzz? as in Lightyear?

As if there’s any other Buzz!

Umm, yes. I think there is, but it’s of course too much of a coincidence that every single one of Debian’s releases is code-named after Toy Story characters.

Rex, Bo, Hamm, Slink, they’re all there, not to mention Woody. And guess what? Even Wheezy made it, (though i hope that was after he got his squeaker fixed.) Now to follow is Jessie, but Damn! That’s one long wait for Buzz, but on the plus side, she’s almost there.


W: Duplicate sources.list entry [FIXED] [Ubuntu]

Okay, so ever since I upgraded to Ubuntu 14.04 through the liveCD, i hadn’t once been prompted to update stuff. This seemed unusual to me as I used to get updates every now and then, and then the fact that I hadnt upgraded from 13.04 until right after the LTS was launched and the support for Raring had already been cut off. Also, the fact that I had aborted the installation before the upgrading process had completed.

Still, after a fair amount of days had past, last night i booted it up and ran the sudo apt-get update command. It started fine but then it would get to a part where it would get stuck for several minutes and then would display several occurrences of the same error:

 W: Duplicate sources.list entry xxx/xxx xx(x/x/x/x.x)

Pardon the X’s. The former part of the error is what matters. So, the first thing everyone does is a google search, and the best thread I could find on the subject was this one. I tried creating a new sources.list file after backing up the original just like it says there, and tried again. Still got the same error, so I searched again and this time I used slightly different keywords. Landed on a site that suggested checking the “other software” tab in the ‘software and updates‘ settings for duplicates.  I checked and found that the “Canonical Partners” entry was recursive. I removed one and tried the old command again. And still, it didn’t make any difference.

Then I tried the “Y PPA Manager.” It actually has a tool that is supposed to search for and remove duplicates. Even that didnt work, so I decided to manually look for duplicates in the file.

The file wasn’t a pretty sight, so the first thing I did was to eradicate all those “comments.” which left me with a fine list of sources. (sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list) Next thing, I looked for duplicates. e.g. if there was a line that said:

deb xxx xxx main restricted

then there shouldnt be one that says:

deb xxx xxx restricted

since the former includes both “main” and “restricted.

Since I wasn’t too sure of anything, I merely “commented” the lines that looked suspicious. (All you gotta do is add a “#” at the start of the line.) Once done disabling all possible duplicates, I saved the file and re-ran the update command. This time it worked!

However, later on i noticed that the “Canonical Partners” repo had disappeared from the list present in the “other software” tab. This I then manually added to the sources.list. Just paste the following lines:

deb trusty partner
deb-src trusty partner



Canonical shutting down UbuntuOne

While installing the essentials and all, my eyes fell on the gnome bar which looked bare, without the UbuntuONE icon, and that’s what reminded me of the cloud. I pressed the super key and typed the name in the dash, intending to configure it, but surprisingly, it didnt return any such App. I therefore, blaming myself for not upgrading properly, decided to install it manually when a thought hit me. That’s when I checked the Ubuntu One twitter account and there it was, in one of the most recent posts, my unasked question answered.

Turns out, that it had been announced sometime around the start of April that by June the services would be shutdown, and the client app would not be included in the upcoming release by default. Reason, there isnt one. All it says on the blog is that their aim for Ubuntu is to provide the world with a bla-bla-bla OS, and that they should be focussing more on that, while the free-storage field is not for them to step in.  It was also mentioned that there are services that now provide upto 25GB of free storage, and UbuntuOne would require a bit more investment if it has to compete with such services. Users have until 31 July 31 to backup there data after which it would be permanently shut down.

If you ask me, the cloud was one of the reasons why I preferred Ubuntu. I tried a number of cloud services, no really, quite a number, and I always wanted one that would like always be backing my data up, smoothly, without being much of a bother. U1, though has a crappy web UI is the only one I got comfortable with. SkyDrive, quite frankly sucked back then (though there have been improvements following the release of Windows 8.1 that set it at par with U1), and there’s this peculiar problem with Google’s installers that prevented me from trying the best of Drive. Thus U1, I preferred over all, though it didnt offer the best web-based UI, or a huge amount of storage, or an online office suite, but in what it did offer and what it was supposed to be, it was flawless.. like a charm it worked for me. No, it’s not always the storage amounts that attract consumers, no, it’s user-friendliness that matters more.

I’d rather they don’t shut the service down. It’s one of the things that together with Ubuntu make a great combination.


Trying my hands on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS “Trusty Tahr”

After upgrading using the LiveCD image since you can’t perform a proper upgrade from 13.04 to 14.04 LTS, and using it for like an hour, and installing all the necessities, I decide to do a blog post on what new the LTS has to offer.

First off, It’s a little disappointing, taking into account all the reviews I read about it’s beta releases being way more stable than all the previous releases, and the stuff they said about it’s performance and then just like they did with the release of 12.10 that coincided with the release of Windows 8, there was stuff about it being a great alternative to XP, the support for which has just been cut. Come to think of it, I even got fooled by the screenshots I saw, that had a completely different UI, and i was like, “Damn! this might perhaps be the best thing to happen to ubuntu since ubuntu.”

So far, the only improvements i’ve noticed is the lock screen, which was previously nothing but a floating ‘dialog box’ but now it’s been made to look just like the login screen. Okay! And the language toolbar in the gnome-bar which is more or less similar to the one you get in Windows, and though small, it is an improvement i appreciate. Then of course, there’s some improvement in the lens though they might have been there since the last release, e.g. option to search for messages on social networks right from the dash. Also, now in every guest session, right when you login, it issues a warning stating that all data and files while be lost when you log out, and as far as i remember the previous releases did use to save the files. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the change in the set of default wallpapers. And as for applications, Cheese webcam booth comes preinstalled, and so does an “ubuntu browser”, a web browser app, rather similar to IE10’s metro version, with bits in design that suggest that the app was intended for mobile devices, and is perhaps naught but an experimental example of an app designed for touch, still, it works fairly well. As for Ubuntu One, no it’s not included by default as the service is about to be shut down.

Now to performance, until now, far from satisfactory, lags way more than 13.04 ever did, and seriously if one ever asks me which release i was most comfy with, I’d say 13.04. It’s lagging even as I type this post, though this could be due to the fact that this is just the second session since the upgrade.. but well, I dont see much improvement in performance. If there’s some change, it’s probably de-provement  (though i might be wrong.) And there’s also this slight change in the File manager. I dont remember the Background as being this much “white”  in 13.04, also, the black gradient of the title bar now stretches down further, covering the navigation buttons and the breadcrumbs bar, i mean, wow!

On the whole, it doesn’t have much new “features” to offer. It may have a boatload of improvements on the back end. I wrote disappointed because, after all the reviews i had read about it (not canonical’s fault though that the people exaggerate) i was expecting a bit too much. Some even posted screenshots with modified UIs that fooled me into believing that it had been given a new look too. There have, yes, been certain improvements obscure from a consumer’s point of view, but the initial lag pissed me off.



LXQt: Qt port of LXDE

LXQt, the “next-gen”, upcoming desktop environment, is the product of the combined efforts of the LXDE and the Razor-Qt teams. The output is, in terms of visuals rather similar to KDE, so those who enjoy KDE but find it highly-resource-consuming, LXQt might be just the thing for them. Since I never liked KDE much, I might not like this one at all.
LXQt is to become the default environment in the upcoming releases of Lubuntu which is probably for the best since as much as I like LXDE, it’s too simple for a general consumer to find normal. A simple example could be the trouble they’d have to simply getting the Battery Indicator to work for them (It refreshes slow and all. ) I know it was a lame example but its one of the things that piss me off whenever I use LXDE.
Plus the JetBrains’ tools dont work on any environment other than GNOME or KDE, but they might on this one…


10 “Must-have” Android apps for general consumers

Title says it all, and here they are:

  1. Lightning LauncherFirst things first. Not many android users, especially those dealing with the older versions of HTC sense are content with the default UI. Common replacements are the GO Launcher, and Apex. But the thing with these two is that they can take up a nice amount of memory, especially GO launcher. On phones with high-specs, this may go un-noticed, but even on Dual-cores, the GO Launcher can cause a visible lag. To avoid this, for users that want naught but productivity, Lightning Launcher is a great option. It’s damn light, (at times it may take not more than just 2MB!) It’s extremely simple yet very customizeable, and once you get the hang of it, you can adjust it exactly to suit your requirements, but on the minus side, setting up, and getting used to it can be taxing and time consuming. In my opinion, lightning launcher is to android what lxde is to ubuntu. For those who prefer a more user-friendly, and slightly-less-bland, yet damn-light UI, they can go for Smart Launcher.
  2. Smart LauncherIn terms of weight, this ones my second favorite, and currently my primary launcher application. Smart Launcher is, in terms of design, a bit different. The home screen is more like a lock-screen sort of design, the top half of which can be dedicated to a widget (it features a clock by default), and the lower part can hold a virtually unlimited amount of icons dedicated to applications and shortcuts. Swiping from the edge, or pressing the menu button, or touching the menu icon, all would take you to the  App Drawer, where the apps are all sorted into categories (and you are free to move them from one categ. to another.)  That’s pretty much it. It’s pretty much customizeable too. You can alter the home-screen icons to a number of presets, and you can also apply themes and icon-packs.
  3. Aptoide: Aptoide is a store-of-stores. Especially on Devices that don’t support the Play-Store, Aptiode comes real handy. It’s like a portal where people can create their own stores and upload applications, but that was the developer side. For general consumers, aptoide works great for searching for and installing applications not available on the playstore, or those that aren’t really free. Just try once, and you’d know. It has to be manually downloaded and installed. Available for Download at
  4. Astro and ES File ExplorerRivals, and since i never explored the former much, I cannot say which one’s better but in terms of personal preference, ES is. ES is user-friendly and simply packed with features. And has a clean user-friendly interface. You can use it to access files over FTP, Bluetooth, LAN, and of course you can add your SKydrive, U1, and other cloud accounts. Has an inbuilt App Manager, Download Manager and other usuals. However, the one thing it doesnt have and Astro does is a cool, proper Task Manager. It is however available as an independent app called the ES Task Manager, but I never liked it much. Astro also offers integration for your Facebook account, but it’s the interface of Astro which I just couldn’t get myself to like. Nevertheless I keep both.
  5. Kingsoft OfficeDocuments to Go, and Office Suite Pro aren’t exactly free, and buying such stuff for mobile devices might not exactly be a very cost effective solution for users who don’t really need to use these apps much, and to be honest, i never ever used the full version of either. Kingsoft office offers a Writer, a presentation tool, and a spreadsheet, and that is pretty much all one might need on a mobile device. Not really low on formatting features either, so for a general user, Kingsoft Office won’t be a bad choice. It’s pretty user friendly too.
  6. Inkpad NotepadA simpler alternative to Evernote. Inkpad notepad is a plain notepad, which kinda resembles the iOS notes app in terms of design. All your notes are synced to Free version only allows upto four syncs per day, and this could be irritating for some users, and especially when it keeps on notifying you with every sync. Still for a general user, not a bad choice, since Evernote can take some time getting used to.
  7. Myscript CalculatorIs a fun, and useful application which allows you to write mathematical expressions as you would on paper, and solves them. Does support all the functions your default calculator app does, and only provides an easier way to interact and avoid confusion.
  8. Clean Master and All-In-One-ToolboxBoth are great Optimizers. Clean Master offers an easy to use interface, while the latter might offer an extra tool or two. Both have a one-touch-memory-boost button, and both offer widgets for the home-screen. A bonus feature of Clean-master’s is that it adds a button to your default launchers homescreen after the first boost. Both offer junk, history and AppData cleaners, and App Managers. All-in-one-toolbox however offers a number of features that clean-master doesnt, like an inbuilt file-manager, Cache Cleaner, Apk managers, startup apps e.t.c.
  9. PicsArtThe best photo-editor available for Android. Has everything one might need, but the feature that I really like is the Draw mode, which sort of is a mini version of PS running in your mobile complete with support for Layers.
  10. Offline English Dictionary by LivioThe best Dictionary app available for Android. The definitions are from Wiktionary, but this one works offline.

Creating User Accounts via terminal [Ubuntu]

First off, simply fire up a terminal, and then for root access, type:

sudo su

It’d prompt you for the password, type it in.

Once you gain root access, type:

adduser username

It’d ask you to enter new UNIX password. type one, and retype when it asks you to

That’s it. Now it would prompt you for a few more details regarding the new user, but they arent important, just press enter, and soon, it’d  prompt you to confirm if the information is correct. Type y and enter. That’s it. Your new user account is up and running. To delete it via terminal, type the following command when root:

deluser username