Tuesday, February 3, 2015

complete, high-end open source laptop a reality?

Who wouldn't want a good, reliable and cheap? high-end laptop? As a open source enthusiast, I would be happy to have my hands on a complete high-end open source laptop.
Well  it seems my dreams may come true in near future, with Purism successful crowd funded Librem 15  is getting closer to a reality.

As part of making my opensource laptop a reality, I usually had to compromise for mediocre hardware. Even FOSS champion Richard Stallman would agree with me, on this.
With Purism successful crowd funded Librem 15, a portable PC that combines modern parts such as 3.4 GHz Core i7, and an optional 4K display, with software that is accessible from head to toe. Which means the operating system (a variant of Trisquel GNU/Linux), hardware drivers and included apps are all free and open, even the BIOS and firmware.

Librem 15 planned launch is in April, 2015. at a price level starting from $1649 which would seem very expensive compared to other high-end models such as Mac. However, if you absolutely refuse to run proprietary software on your laptop, at least you can give Librem 15 a try.

An expensive yet a dream come true for open source enthusiasts.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oracle XE license issue reprised!

Since Oracle XE (Oracle Database Express Edition) was initially released in January 2006 I believed there was no usage restriction whatsoever with regards to the type of application you could build with Oracle XE and especially in combination with Oracle Application Express (Oracle APEX). 
The "free to develop, deploy and distribute image" of Oracle XE washed away from my brain when I saw this OTN forum thread 
raised a concern over certain usages such as building a hosted applications to store customers data is not covered under Oracle XE license, which really made me think about the usage of Oracle XE.
is Oracle XE really free for any usage?
Here's what I found out from Oracle XE Licensing information & few other blogs 
(http://docs.oracle.com/database/121/DBLIC/editions.htm#BABHHHJE) sound's like its a real open source database, with no usage restrictions. 

A big thanks to DietmarAust, who got an official confirmation from Oracle on Oracle XE license. you can browse through at http://daust.blogspot.no/2012/08/clarification-on-oracle-xe-licensing.html

In addition to this you would still have to comply to all other elements of the license agreement:http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/licenses/database-11g-express-license-459621.html , 
i.e. you have to comply to the export restriction, your end customers would have to agree to the XE license agreement and so forth. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Not able to open microsoft office files using OpenOffice 4.1.1

Issue: Not able to open microsoft office files using OpenOffice 4.1.1

Tit - bits: No need of any extensions/plug-ins to open .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx files in OpenOffice. It does require a JRE 6 32-bit version installed in system and the same should be configured in Open Office  Tools -> Options -> Java


1. JRE environment is not set in OpenOffice 4.1.1
2. No compatible JRE environment in system.


1. JRE environment is not set in OpenOffice 4.1.1

Open OpenOffice 4.1.1

Goto Tools -> options -> Java

and try to select the available JRE.

2. Check any JRE environments (JRE6 or less     and 32-bit) available in system
using the following command:
C:\> where -R c:\ rt.jar
shows the JRE file location in your system. note down the path.

C:\Java -d32

This command searches for any 32-bit jre in the system, if available, it loads it. Otherwise, throws an error as shown below:

for more information on Finding JRE in your system, go to the link: http://rantsnraves4oss.blogspot.com/2014/11/root-folder-for-jre.html

Source Code for open source software components - Oracle

The source code for open source software components such as Oracle Linux and Oracle VM products from the following link:


Oracle also provides source code for many of its in-house products (firmware components) such as jdeveloper, Endeca server, Business Process Management (BPM) etc... as licensed under the applicable open source licenses.

The following is the link to source code of firmware components covered under open source licenses:  http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/opensource/index.html

Friday, January 2, 2015

Top 5 security stories 2014

2014 can be long remembered for epic hacks, major security vulnerabilities.
Thought we had seen all after the SSL vulnerability pierced the heart of internet and raised serious concerns on encryptions, but there are more attacks kept coming such as devastating attack on SONY, heartbleed, Shell Shock which shook the unix scripting world.

The following are the top 5 security stories of 2014:

1. Go(ing) to fail bug:
Apple fixed a bug in the implementation of iOS 7.0.6
It seems Apple programmers forgot to add validation steps :-D
An excerpt from Apple support portal on go to fail bug
For more information go to: http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202934

Lesson to learned: Silly mistakes like these often puts big companies at risk.

2. Sony: insider track attack.
We do fret about digital security and often forgets physical security, it is this mistake by Sony made the whole business world rethink about their security policies in and around office premises.

Lesson to learned: secured office premises are equally important as digital security

3. Heartbleed:

security loop hole in encryptions used to avert data risks.
What an irony!

Lesson to learned:  testing is very very important

4. Shell shock:

shocking security loop hole in Bash scripting shell.  :-O
Well! its great shock to me as a linux enthusiast. We all taken unix/linux for granted when it comes to security.

Lesson to learned: Loop holes could be there in any program be it a unix/linux operable script/shell

5. Poodle: also known as SSL 3.0 Vulnerability and Information Disclosure Vulnerability

Though poodle is not too major compared to Heartbleed or Shellshock, but left the Oracle cloud users in a dilemma that whether our data is already leaked or is it still secure. Even Technology giant like Oracle uses the 3rd party software code as is, without proper testing.

Lesson to learned:  know your code, minimize the no of issues by testing the products integrated with 3rd party programs such as SSL 3.0 etc..

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

OpenOffice Won't recognize Java JRE in windows 7

While playing around with OpenOfficeBase 4.1.1, I have encountered a strange error. "There is no JRE environment." even though latest jre is installed in my system.

Cause:  incompatible JRE version.   
OpenOffice requires 32-bit JRE version

Check the JRE version installed in your system, using the following command:

JAVA -version

The above output clearly indicates that the JRE installed in my system is 64-bit, but OpenOffice requires only 32-bit version.

So, download a 32-bit JRE version from the url (http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/jre6-downloads-1637595.html), install it.

In case there are multiple JRE's installed in your system, and the current JRE loaded is not the one which is being referred by OpenOffice, then this issue may a raise.

To locate a 32-bit JRE in your system, run the following command:

Java -d32

If a 32-bit JRE is available in the system, this command shows us that JRE details.

If there is no 32-bit version of JRE in the system, it shows the error as shown above.

Once, the desired JRE version is installed, Open OpenOfficeBase

Goto Tools -> options -> Java

and try to select the available JRE.

Work Around:

Open OpenOfficeBase

Goto Tools -> options -> Java

uncheck "use Java run time environment" 

Finding JRE


$Which java

gives us the required information about which JRE ( Java Run Time Environment ) is being used by the current session.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for Windows users.

Luckily, I have few commands to know which JRE version is running.

we all know that JAVA -version gives us the version number. 

But, if you have installed multiple JRE's in your system, which JRE is being used by current session? is big question. 

Java -verbose tells us which jar file is being loaded when we executed this command. 

The output would be like this:

Which clearly shows which rt.jar is being used to load java run time. This is path you need to give in any other application which requires jre folder path.

Few applications such as openOffice Base from Apache, are incompatible with 64-bit JRE. 
When in multiple JRE's installed in a system, to check whether there is any 32-bit jre in your system, run the following command: 
Java -d32 

This command searches for any 32-bit jre in the system, if available, it loads it. Otherwise, throws an error as shown below:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happy Linuxing..

The desktop OS market is a two horse race between Windows and Mac OS X. But there is one more dimension to this,


It was way back in late 90's, I went to my neighbor's house, he was my computer teacher back then in school, I noticed

That his system is something different. Screen with different different colors. As a school kid, I got attracted to that.  Seriously!!!  That was my first encounter with LINUX

My first reaction was, wow! Colorful screen and it's damn fast. Then I remembered about my windows on my system ( I used windows 95 then). Probably, some of you might have had used it, whoever used it would know how horribly slow it was.

Like everyone else in this room I was also trained to use Windows desktop in school. Every time it boots, makes me think of that colorful, high-speed OS which I saw in my neighbor's house.

And finally, during the Diploma course I did, I had to learn UNIX for 2nd year. It was then I was introduced to UNIX/LINUX. If you ask me frankly still I am confused what is the difference between UNIX/LINUX. Anyway, moving on.. I was too good at writing shell scripts. My love for Linux has gone up by one more notch. Back then I used to play with a normal Live CD like 'Knoppix' for system recovery and backup activities which requires a minimum knowledge of mounting, copying files etc.. While studying engineering, one of my professors Raju  garu, gave us Ubuntu initial version in late 2004. I installed it in my system, needless to say that I feel much better using Linux rather than windows. Wait a minute... Then a great thing happened in Linux world...  The release of PUPPY LINUX in 2005, which is the smallest Linux OS with all necessary apps provided in it.  Anybody here can guess the size of it?  Just 128MB.
I used Linux as an alternative to windows, whenever a windows crash/ whenever backups needed, I used Linux. This went on till 2008. Then came Ubuntu hardy which is the first best Linux OS to be in competition with windows.  I left home in late 2008, to join Corporate world. Since then I have been using windows only.

When I said, I bought my laptop and yet to install Linux, this was my roommate's reaction. :-O
Though, I had a little bit of exposure to the Linux desktop environment, getting started with a full-on desktop Linux installation is a huge decision. I started researching about various Linux OS's. To my surprise, there are hundreds of different Linux OS', after cramming through the blog posts regarding the best Linux distro for beginners, I decided to go with Ubuntu. One of my friends suggested to use Ubuntu for new Linux bees. So, I tried to download Ubuntu, in its website I saw so many different types of Ubuntu itself ( show a screen shot of various flavors of Ubuntu from their website), after a rigorous research on these distributions, I chose Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64-bit.

One main thing I love about Linux is, it's highly configurable. Now, my laptop does not have unnecessary modules like, .net framework updates, which I am never going to use and now I am not scared of unnecessary updates which makes my OS bloat and I can easily switch on to the various sub-flavors like Lubuntu, edUbuntu, Kubuntu, without breaking anything ever. Once the main OS installation is over, we can play with all the other flavors easily. No need to restart every time you update/install softwares.

Updates & Upgrades:
Could get automatic updates, which I am interested in. [With the Ubuntu's decision of exposing unstable artifacts in 2007, one can get automatic updates of their favorite module, even before it's released and they are called as PPA's. My current laptop has more sophisticated PPA's now]. Updates are good in some sense, you get new tools and softwares to use, maximum atomization you get with updates. Now those days were gone where I get scared and irritated by looking at the windows update alert. :-D

Here comes one more major reason, why I love Linux. It's a good platform for networking. Be it video streaming in YouTube, video recording via Skype, name anything, you could make it rapid quickly. I experimented this with my WI-fi connection and a well known broadband connection of same speed rate.
With a little bit of tweaking you could experience high speed networking. Though this may not concern or appeal to most of the people because of the high end network speed era we are living in.

Though, I know and noticed (practically too) that my battery is draining quickly when compared to using it on windows. I am hopeful that I will find a better solution for this. And guess what, Indeed there is a good solution for this. (Will post the solution soon)

General Misconceptions about Linux:

Most of the people have a misconception that, we cannot play games on Linux system. Which is absolutely wrong. There are so many simulations and even better games than the most windows based games. Simply start over and dive into Open source marketing, am sure you will not be bored.

A compromise would be, you should be the sole administrator of your system, no tool would give you 100% relief from stability issues, hardware issues and it will take some time to adjust to the Linux world and fully capable to use Linux machine. A simple silly mistake like, forgetting to set mountable file systems in the configuration file. Would cause make your system useless.
However, every issue you face teaches some new concept to you. Which is the best thing I love about Linux.

It's a wonderful experience of being a Linux enthusiast.
These are just some of the options that are out there for Linux users. Many detractors of Linux may proclaim that the diversity of Linux makes it too complicated to learn, but with a little research and perhaps using one of these distributions as a starting point ( Ubuntu/Linux mint for beginners ), you should find your own Linux experience a rewarding one.

My recommendations to people who want to start using Linux, install and play with Ubuntu or Linux mint first then slowly go to debian/Fedora/Arch Linux. With Ubuntu tech forums Linuxing would be a rewarding experience for computer geeks.

Happy linuxing...