Category Archives: FOSS

Another GSoC on the air

Ok, here is another post after a long desert – no excuses here, I’ve forgoton that I even have a blog.  But now feel like writing something after seeing the new WordPress dashboard 🙂

First thing on the agenda is GSoC 2008. As you all know Google Summer of Code 2008 is on the way this year too and in case you have been living under a rock, here is the event.

GSoC is a good breeding ground for fresh FOSS developments and had been one for me last year when I tried GSoC for the first time. Even though initially I wasn’t planning to try out for GSoC this year, after seeing some cool ideas from few organizations I felt like giving a try.

I found 2 ideas from Eclipse foundation and Apache very exciting but finally had to leave out one because I hadn’t enough energy nor time for 2 proposals. So I tried for Eclipse – creating a new plug-in for XQuery syntax editing which I found the idea is most appealing. One reason is I had been working with XML and Java stuff for a longest of my time and second one is I’ve been using Eclipse for my python works, so felt like returning the favour.  So I prepared the proposal, submitted it and got accepted this year round too 🙂 All thanks should go to my mentor David and congrats to my fellow Vesess colleague Sameera, who also got accepted for GSoC this year for Coppermine photo gallery. By the way, if this helps any future GSoCer, here is my complete proposal.

But beyond my not-so-dramatic GSoC tale, I was able to give something else for GSoC.

First thing is I submitted a translated Sinhala version of GSoC flyer this year. The second is I was able to put a small guiding doc for Gnome GSoCers, doing my things right as a responsible Gnome GSoCer last year.  Other than that, I was able to encourage few of my buddies to apply for GSoC rather than trying for evil MS Imagine Cup 😀

So the end of the line is that I’m hoping for another nice, fruitful 3 months with GSoC working for Eclispe and hope the experience will be great as was in last year.

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RMS in Sri Lanka

It’s one of the (may be ‘The one’) greatest free software event that has been held in Sri Lanka. RMS – The founder of the FSF (free software foundation), GNU project & the licence and Emacs is now in Sri Lanka which in itself is pretty cool, but today I got the chance to attend one of three public gatherings organized in his tour of Sri Lanka and it’s an unforgettable experience in my life.

I always liked reading about prehistoric free software details (in 1950’s when software was inherently free because computer wasn’t an industry yet) ,how commercial software came to the arena in about 1970’s, downfall of MIT and born of GNU, born of GNU/Linux and born of OSI and such, but it’s just that – “reading”; but hearing from a person who has been the main figure or a catalyst of all these events is so wonderful, it’s like meeting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle after reading all Sherlock Holmes stories 🙂

But this doesn’t mean that I agree 100% with RMS. I don’t believe proprietary software are inherently evil or Open Source is bad. Some technologies such as compression technologies may be hidden from the public eye because the owning company may completely depend on that technology and releasing the source may mean basically the destruction of the firm. So my opinion is that sometimes we should be flexible enough to work with proprietary software and also Open Source should be used when adapting free software to a business model. But that’s me anyway.

However it has been a privilege to meet with this visionary man and to hear his speech. I sincerely hope that his speech today has turned many more young hearts to free software ideology.

RMS group photo

(From left) Nadun, Sameera, RMS, Lakshan, me

Btw, also got a chance to play with a OLPC lap. Pretty cool stuff considering the price and very cute (eew, sounds …).

OLPC lap



More Photos

Vista to Ubuntu (100%)

I had enough with eating crap with Vista. My last line of patience warned off when I happened to wait about 5 seconds when changing from one MS Doc file to another and also happened that I was running with time to finish a project report. No, I’m not running on 256 ram, it’s 1 GB and this kind of a time wastage is totally unacceptable. You may ask why I put up with Vista in the first place. That’s thanks to HP’s decision to embrace Vista so my laptop was pre-built with Vista and no chance to downgrade because there are no drivers. So where to go now ? Easy….Gutsy.

So I’m now another guy who left windows permanently because of their own defects. I was playing dumb with Vista for this long had nothing to do with Vista being better, it’s because of substitutions not being available for some applications that I was used to in Windows environment – mainly Macromedia(now Adobe) Dreamweaver and Fireworks. Now before biting my head off, yes – there are good web developer editors in Linux such as NVu or KompoZer but they will need another few developing years to get into the same line as Dreamweaver (which had a long time to develop into the state now in) and I have to have some thing until then.

But my worries were groundless as Wine now supports Macromedia 8 series like a babe. Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash all works perfectly with Wine – installation to Execution. Another great thing with Gutsy is that my Broadcom network card support is inbuilt and with some additional applications I can search networks and connect to them like a charm. Also I’m using AWN manager to manage desktop (here is a great article on desktop styling – thanks to Lakshan) and now it looks like a hybrid between Leopard and Vista. So what else I can ask for ?

Here is my application list in Ubuntu.

Web developments = Wine + DreamWeaver 8

Web images = Wine + Fireworks 8

Photo Editing = Gimp

Java editor = NetBeans for Linux

Python = Eclipse with PyDev plugin

IM client = Pidgin

Wifi manager = gtkwifi and wifi radar

Skype = Skype for Linux

Btw, My machine is AMD 64 X2, therefore had some issues and had to do some tweaks when installing some applications but nothing I can’t handle with some effort. The catch is that I can work with all comforts like in Windows with half the memory usage as in Windows.

Vista-Leopard Look

DreamWeaver in Ubuntu


Favour returned to Drupal

As I mentioned in an earlier post we, people at Vesess now use Drupal heavily for our developments. We built our new job protal Plex using Drupal as the base and through heavy use of modules provided by Drupal community. Therefore we felt we need to make a return contribution to the Drupal community.

While we were building the Plex site we had to make considerable amount of module customizations and also created some new modules. The best way to pay back the favour was contributing our home made modules to Drupal community. So here is my first Drupal module release ( and hope it will be only one in many to come).

Name : RequestInvitation

Dependencies : Invite

Licence : GPL

Backend and front of requestinvitation module


MySQL South East Asia Roadshow 2007

Yesterday there was a summit organized by hSenid and the speaker was David Axmark, Co-founder and Vice President of MySQL. He talked about the future versions of MySQL and enhancements about to come.

According to David, MySQL 6.0 beta should be released in February next year and 7.0 should be released by the end of 2009. More attention will be given to Falcon, the new DB engine and into optimizing sub queries. In fact, improved 6.0 version should perform a sub query in 1.8 seconds which now takes 12 minutes.

But as a web developer most intriguing fact is the online backup function that will be available in next version. Now when there’s a need to give the ability to create a online backup option I use an export script from phpMyAdmin. But it’s a messy job. So next version of MySQL should make developer’s life bit easy.