My Remembrall – Emacs Planner

Started using yet another feature of Emacs. The latest feature i am using is the Planner mode in Emacs. I was badly in need of a something to keep track of things as the silly little brain of mine was not able to keep track of everything. What i wanted was some sort of mechanism to remind me about the work i have and tasks that i need to complete. But what emacs gave was something different. Emacs Planner has a lot of features than what i expected. All you need to use planner in emacs is to download Planner and Muse and copy it into elisp folders or home folders and add configure your .emacs file to load planner. Planner requires the wiki feature of Muse so it is necessary to install Muse first. To get planner working for you, there is a detailed procedure starting from emacs installation to installing and configuring Planner. This link contains a step by step procedure to install emacs, install and configure planner and steps to use planner.

If the topic does not make sense to you, read this.

FStival ’07

It was the first FStival i attended as an aluminus. It was a great feeling to visit the college again and meet the juniors and staffs out there. I went a little late after going to my home and i missed praveen’s speech and the installation session. Heard that praveen gave an inspiring speech and inspite of some problems with the installation, juniors managed to finish the session in a good note. When i entered the KS auditorium, Subramani was explaining some cool compiz features and 3D desktops. After that there was a doubt clarification session during which i got the opportunity to poke my nose and utter few words.

After then it was time for the demo stalls. As usual we had stalls like GCC, GDB, Emacs, Databases, CMD, LAMP, GIMP, Games & Multimedia etc. Vim and “Linux Day to day” stalls were added this time.This time Juniors did a fine job with the demo stalls and were explaining with good examples. For the first time i saw juniors explaining Blender with some real animations. Almost all of them did fine in explaining the functionalities of the softwares. Regarding the audience, this time we had a diverse crowd ranging schools and colleges in and around Madurai and from other departments.

After all this it was time for fill the tummy and we proceeded to hotel Bell for the treat that was pending for a very long time.Praveen, Subramani and myself atlast treated our juniors 🙂 After that headed back home to enjoy the remaining one day at home.

Managed to take only very few snaps. Check them out at

Exporting Linux Display to Windows

Never knew something like this existed until i started using it on Friday. As the topic suggests it is possible to get the display of the remote GNU/Linux machine in you Windoze or any other OS. All it needs to do is to install an Xserver in the local machine. For Windoze, Xserver can be installed using the Xming package available in sourceforge. The exact location of the xming xserver is Download and install the Xming server in the machine and run it with the option “:0 -clipboard -multiwindow -ac”. To change the options in windoze, right click the short cut and add “-ac” option to the list of option already available.

The steps to be done in the GNU/Linux machine is very simple, all you have to do is to export the DISPALY environment variable. So execute the command like

export DISPLAY=ipaddress:0.0

where ipaddress is the IP of the windoze machine. Now opening any GUI application like xcalc or xemacs or xterm will open a window in the Windows machine.  Though it is a well known fact that GNU/Linux command line is far more powerful, looks like this finds a use in a number of situation.

Perl6 – A step ahead

Got an opportunity to attend Perl Mongers users meet here in bangalore. Because of my friend Subramani, i was there at the meet and it turned out to be a mind boggling session. The meet was about the features of Perl6 that is yet to be released. We reached the meeting a little late and when we reached the meeting has started and the speaker was talking about “pugs”. “pugs” stands for Perl6 user golfing system. Looks like Larry Wall wanted perl6 to be a community developed project. Pugs is one of the sucessfull implementations of the specification written by Larry Wall. Pugs is written fully in a language called Haskel. Pugs could produce output in Haskell, perl5 or if you want in Java script so that it can be viewed in browser !

One of the most important feature of Perl6 is that, it supports inline C, python and inline java. It was awesome to see a java code inside a perl program. Yet another feature in perl6 was Hyperoperators which helps in exploiting parallelism. An example of hyperoperators is

[2, 2, 3, 5] >>+<< [4, 4, 3, 1] (result would be [6, 6, 6, 6])

Not only hyperoperators, hypermethods are also available. An example would be like [1, 4, 9, 16] >>. sqrt

One more change in perl6 is that, while loop is no longer used. It is also possible to assign multiple values to variable like $city = “chennai” | “bangalore” and check the variable for any of the values like any <$city> == “chennai”. There are a lot other options available with Perl6 but i could not remember a lot that was said in the meeting. The biggest blunder i did was going to the meeting without a scribble pad and pen. Still the meeting was very informative and i am planning to attend more meetings.

With Perl6, it is possible to change the language to match that of the problem. A video in the meet said “it is not reinventing the wheel, but keeping the wheel and reinventing the whole machine”. It seemed to be true. Today learnt it is possible to run pug in the browser without download or installation. Check out this site

The Perl meeting was the only usefull thing that i did during the weekend. The next post would be on what i did after the meet or perhaps “how to kill time during weekend without much trouble” :).

GNU Emacs on HP UX

After a little bit of struggle with using vi for editing files and then with the installation of Emacs, finally figured out how to install Emacs on a HP UX machine. I started the installation with Emacs-21.4 and then switched over to Emacs-22.1, since i could not find anything about the errors throws while compiling emacs-21.4.

Followed the usual rules of ./configure and make to install but faced hell a lot of problems with that. First ./configure should be run with the option –without-gcc as HP UX does not contain gcc. With that option configure runs to completion without error. The next step is “make” and this is where i ran into lot of problems. First thing is that, in the Makefile inside lib-src directory there is a rule to copy rcs2log, rcs-checkin, vcdiff, grep-changelog from ../ to lib-src. These files are already present in the directory, hence HP make reports an error saying that the files are identical but with gnu make there will not be any problem. So was forced to comment the four rules which copies the files to the directory.

After this is done, i tried to start emacs but got the most common error “Segmentation Fault (core dumped)”. Looked like a bug in the emacs source code. Found this link where RMS has discussed this problem. The problem occurs since the uninitialized static pointers. All it required was set the initialize the static pointers to NULL. See this link for more details regarding the solution. So atlast i had the opportunity to correct the Emacs source code 🙂 . Did that and ran “make” and now I have the most powerfull editor in almost all the machines i work.

Rocking With Emacs :)

Atlast configured Emacs to play songs also. The only useful thing that myself and subramani did during this weekend might be this. We did that in Subrmani’s system, a HP Laptop with Ubuntu Fiesty Fawn installed. Fortunately it had ALSA installed and configured. Yet to check whether OSS was the problem in my system. But  it was good to configure Emacs to play songs and hear songs using Emacs.

For those who are not able to understand anything from this post, Emacs is a powerfull editor in GNU/Linux with a lot of features  that makes it impossible to call it as a editor. Emacs can also be made to play songs using EMMS, Emacs Mulitmedia System.

All it required was to install emms package and other packages like emacs21-el, emacs-extra. Then we need a console media player like mplayer or mpg321. In our case, we had MPlayer installed in the laptop. Then the following lines are to be added in the .emacs file to enable Emacs to play songs,

(require ’emms-setup)

There are a lot of options associated with EMMS and with Emacs-Lisp it is possible to fine tune it. But learning Emacs-Lisp still remains as a distant dream. Anyway check out  the EMMS homepage for more information about EMMS. Remember my guru telling me that “With Emacs nothing is possible, the next step with Emacs is making coffee with Emacs”.  Who knows in the near future Emacs can do that also.

Winscp: Transfer with ease

Winscp, is a FTP, SFTP and SCP client for windows. It reduces the pain of transferring file and folders between windows and GNU/Linux to a greater extent. There are a lot of ways of transferring files and folders in GNU/Linux and Windows but to transfer file between a windows machine and GNU/Linux machine the only option i knew was FTP. Since FTP does not support directory structures, it was really painful to compress the directories as single file and transferring them and uncompressing them in the destination. Winscp seems to make the job a lot easier. It provides a secure and easy way to transfer file between and windows and GNU/Linux machines. For more information about winscp and to download winscp,check out Winscp’s home page at The windows installer is just 1.8MB. The most
interesting feature about winscp is that it is released under GPL and is a free software.

Emacs: goto

How to go to a specified line in Emacs. Though i had this doubt for a very long time i never searched for it. Today got the answer when i was searching for some GDB stuffs. Anyway here it is. Add the following two lines in .emacs and restart emacs.

(global-unset-key [?\M-1])
(global-set-key [?\M-l] ‘goto-line)

Now pressing Alt+1 or Esc+1 will prompt for the line to jump. Don’t know whether there is anyother way but this is the first way i found.

Dtracing to kill time

After a nice weekend with much shopping and roaming around main places of pune, i was virtually locked in my sister’s home on monday without much to do. If not for the computer i would have found it difficult to kill time. Tested the opensolaris starter’s kit and tried a bit of Dtrace. Though i dont know how to write even a single line of Dtrace script, the Dtrace toolkit in Belenix provided me a option. No wonder why there is a lot of rustle about Dtrace. Dtrace is awesome. Found the following script to be interesting. The script finds the total number of system calls made by each process.

dtrace -n ‘syscall:::entry { @num[execname] = count(); }’

Found that init was making 61 system calls, fam made 4251, dtrace 7948 and xfce-panel process made 27163 system calls in a span of pproximately five minutes. Thought of installing opensolaris express but since the installer required around 704MB RAM, silently  removed the CD and sealed it for future use. Finally my mind drifted to gaming and started playing super tux in Belenix. Sometime later found Harrypotter and Warcraft games in windoze and from then haven’t touched those Solaris DVDs at all. Dtrace is like a drug, it takes you to a different world and it is difficult to stay away from it for a long time.  Dont know when i will be Dtracing again but will surely do.


September 16th, a big day for the FLOSS guys around the world. When the whole world celebrates it under different names, we celebrate it here in Madurai under the name FStival which means Free Software Festival. FStival is jointly organized by GNU/Linux user group – Madurai and GNU/Linux user group of TCE. It was special to us for two reasons, one it would be the last FStival we organized as students, second due to the presence of most of the seniors or say founders of GLUGOT.

This year FStival was a great success with students from all over Madurai attending the event. The auditorium was packed with a overwhelming crowd of around 350. The chief guest for this year FStival was Mr. Kenneth Gonsalves from NRC – FOSS @ AU-KBC, chennai. Mr. Kenneth, a renowned geek in the FOSS world, gave an inspiring talk on “How FOSS makes you a great programmer”. This was followed by the on stage Installation Debian session. Then it was time for XGL to steal the show. With cubes rotating while switching desktops, wobbling windows and menus, XGL looked great.

After all this came the most interesting part, the demo stalls. Thanks to the second year and third year students. They did their job well. They explained about the various tools in GNU/Linux starting from FOSS, Basic commands, Emacs, GCC, GIMP, GTK+ Glade, Games, Live CD & Education tools, Scilab, XGL, Latex, LAMP, Databases, CMS etc. They were also bombarded with a lot many questions from the enthusiastic crowd. It was a tough job indeed, explaining the same thing to more than 300. The CD burning students were kept busy all the time as they continued to receive CDs for burning various distributions. Hats off to all the juniors. The software freedom day ended with the demo stalls closing in the evening. In the mean time Sriram and myself managed to take some snaps of the whole event. Sriram also has a video of XGL demo. We would be publishing them soon in glugot and glug-madurai site.

On sunday it was great to see the software freedom day celebration as a news item in Dinamalar and Dinakaran. Thanks to the press people for spending their valuable time with us.