Archive for 2003

[2003-11-16] PlayStation Too?

The PlayStation 2 game console from Sony is finally available in India now. However, not only is the console exorbitantly priced, the games available for it now are also priced way beyond the average enthusiast's reach.


[2003-11-09] Crash Landing

This afternoon I saw “The Matrix: Revolutions” for the second time in five days - I was so eager to watch this final installment in the series after the suspense created by the last one that I was there to see the movie first day, first show! I thought I might have missed out something the last time around.


[2003-11-01] APM and Graphics Card Again

Since APM was a nice feature to have, especially given the ability to properly power-off the machine with a "shutdown -h now" under APM, I enabled it again in the kernel but turned off the "Enable console blanking using APM" option - this seems to work perfectly well.

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-10-31] APM and Graphics Card

The graphics card upgrade caused me immense trouble with Linux - the machine would freeze whenever the X server exited or when virtual console blanking kicked in. After much troubleshooting and hunting over the Net, I finally managed to solve the problem by disabling APM in the kernel. Phew! I was not terribly excited by the knowledge that the card is made by "Robanton", apparently a Taiwanese company whose site works no more.

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-10-29] nVidia GeForce 3 Ti 200

After several months, I finally laid my hands on the nVidia GeForce 3 Ti 200 that I had bought off eBay. With this upgrade, my system now scores 3968 on the 3DMark 2001 gaming benchmark - an increase of more than six times over my original configuration! I hope this is just about enough to play Half-Life 2 and Uru. :-/ I noticed that the LexarMedia JumpDrive 256MB USB drive that I bought sometime back was actually capable of storing only 245MB! Sure enough, this was because they use 1000 bytes per kilobyte and 1000 kilobytes per megabyte to advertise storage space provided by the device like hard disc manufacturers do, instead of 1024 bytes/KB and 1024 KB/MB that is used by almost all operating systems. Uggghhh!! By the way, the replacement for the defective Visoly Flash Advance Xtreme 128M Card arrived and is working perfectly well. I am extremely pleased with the great service from Success Compu (HongKong). My hacking on GCJ has been quite erratic and inconsistent - I feel really bad about it. I hope to get to speed on this shortly (don't we all?).

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-09-17] “Expert C Programming”

I have been reading Peter van der Linden's excellent book "Expert C Programming: Deep C Secrets" - it is thoroughly enjoyable and is the first book on C after "The C Programming Language", Second Edition, by Kernighan and Ritchie that I really liked. Otherwise one only gets to see such horrendous titles as "Let Us C" (which is sadly a textbook for C in a lot of Indian colleges) and "Teach Yourself C in 24 hours". van der Linden has a cool and humourous style of writing and obviously knows what he is talking about. Very highly recommended to anyone who likes programming in C. My LexarMedia JumpDrive Secure USB 256MB Drive arrived yesterday after I won it in an eBay auction - what a cool and really nifty thing! Unfortunately, I had to literally hack out a portion of the drive so that it could fit into the weirdly designed USB port of my office machine, but it works perfectly well otherwise. I now have "deferred broadband". :-)

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-09-10] “Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix”

The fifth book in the “Harry Potter” series by J. K. Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is so much better than the previous one (which was the worst, in my opinion) in the series “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”! It is the biggest book in the series and yet manages to keep the reader interested throughout by various turns in the plot.


[2003-09-09] Replacements

I bought a Visoly Flash Advance Xtreme 128M Card for the GBA and it turned out to be defective! Uggghhhhh... I have sent it back to the store for repair or replacement. I have also bought a Lexar Media JumpDrive 256MB Secure USB Drive off eBay and am waiting for its arrival. Let us hope this one does not turn out to be a dud!

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-09-01] The Seven Year Itch

Ananth and Surabhi (“Hey Mr DJ...”) finally got married on the 7th of August after seven years of pursuing each other! Let us just hope a certain other couple does not have to wait that long. ;-)


[2003-07-28] PC Upgrade

Yay! I upgraded my home PC with some RAM (512MB that should have been recognised as 784MB - see my previous diary entry) and a 750MHz P3 bought off eBay and I can see the dramatic improvement this upgrade has brought to my system compared to the 128MB RAM and a 450MHz P2 that I had on this PC. My system now scores 1280 on 3DMark 2001 compared to 585 before the upgrade! More importantly, GCC 3.4 now does a clean bootstrap in ~2 hours instead ~3.5 hours earlier! I now eagerly await my GeForce 3 graphics card, also bought off eBay, so that I can enjoy Half Life 2!

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-07-25] Unnecessarily Obsolete Hardware

The PC Hardware scene is crazy - my home PC is around 3.5 years old and it is already very difficult to find upgrades for it, especially CPU and RAM. I thought I finally got a great deal on two PC133 256MB RAM modules off eBay, but to my utter dismay found out that my PC recognised only half the capacity of each module! After much research on the web, I found out that not all PC133 256 MB RAM modules are the same as far as the Intel 440BX chipset, that lies at the heart of my ASUS P3B-F motherboard, is concerned. The most irritating thing about this is that there is no easy way of telling whether a particular PC133 256 MB RAM module is suitable for the 440BX or not, even by looking at the normal module details given on the site of the vendors. When I had bought my ASUS P3B-F motherboard, it was one of the best and most scalable motherboards I could afford and it has already been obsoleted and has become the primary bottleneck in my system. This is so sad. My PC is still immensely useful to me and performs most of the tasks that I throw at it quite well.

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-07-20] Matrix Mania Mantained

I got my Animatrix DVD from last week and I finally got around to watching it yesterday. It would be an understatement to say that I was not disappointed at all. The DVD comprises nine short movies in eight different styles of animé, a short documentary on animé, production notes on the included movies and a trailer for the “Enter the Matrix” game.


[2003-07-07] Long GCC Bootstrap Times

Yikes! GCC 3.4 takes 3 hrs 35 mins to bootstrap C/C++/Java on my machine compared to 2 hrs 30 mins for GCC 3.3 - that's an increase of 40% in compilation times between adjacent releases! Not good. That said, improving compilation times is already a high priority item identified by the GCC maintainers, so by the time 3.4 is released, we should hope to see much better times. Two clean bootstraps and a libjava testsuite run - and more than 8 hours of my weekend were gone. Uggghhh! :-(

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-07-04] GCC Mainline Snapshots

Oh Joy! Mainline snapshots of GCC have also become available now apart from the normal release branch snapshots. This means that people on slow and unreliable links like me can keep up with GCC development. On the other hand, trying to wade through two large underdocumented code bases - one at work and the other at home (GCC) - is somewhat taxing and I invariably end up too tired to hack on GCJ on a weekday by the time I reach home. :-( Michael Tiemann's account of how Cygnus was created and sustained itself makes for fascinating reading! IMHO this company, now merged with RedHat, singlehandedly contributed immensely to the GCC/binutils/GDB projects and really laid the foundation for them to become what they have - we in the Free Software world really owe them a lot. Kudos to these cool guys.

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-07-01] Package-Private Access in Java and GCJ

I managed to get package-private access checking partially working again in GCJ - as Tom tromey had predicted, this did turn up a bunch of illegal accesses in libgcj that were not being caught all this while! Some of them are trivial to overcome, some not so. Things like foo.Bar.snafu( ) still manage to slip through GCJ though if foo.Bar is a class in a different package with package-private access and snafu( ) is a method with public access. Ditto for fields. This made me try to go through the front-end code to figure out where to make the change for checking this and Tom was proved right once again - though the parser proper is simple to understand, the analysis stage went straight over my head and repeated attempts to comprehend it have proved futile. That doesn't mean that I am going to give up yet, but it does mean that I am filled with immense respect for people who have been able to work their way through the front-end code and actually improve it! It also tells me how mistaken I was about my programming capabilities. :-(

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-06-29] Two Mat(t)hews and a Chandrasekharan

During the “Bang!inux” Linux Conference held here in Bangalore in February 2000, my friend Ananth Chandrasekharan and I managed to get RMS (Richard Matthew Stallman) to pose with us for a photograph.


[2003-06-09] GCJ Bloggers

For some wonderful and happy reason, tromey, mjw, Anthony and Jeff have all suddenly become active on GCJ again, all at the same time, after being dormant for several weeks! For some weird reason, they had also all gone dormant at about the same time. This weekend I finally found out that the intermittent and increasingly irritating crashes on my home PC while building GCC on Linux was actually due to a defective RAM module - after removing the offending module, everything was back to normal, even after extended stress testing.

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-06-07] Saying “No!” to Windows

I do not want to code for Windows any more!


[2003-06-06] No to Windows Programming

I do not want to code for Windows any more! As a developer, I have always enjoyed working on Linux and have hated working on Windows. In the recent past, I have been exposed to all sorts of Windows ugliness trying to make GCJ work on Windows - I did not enjoy it at all! This just is not my cup of tea - I love working on Linux and that is what I shall do.

(Originally posted on Advogato.)

[2003-03-02] The Art of Coding

I recently received my copy of MindCandy DVD, a superb collection of PC Demos that includes some all time classic demos like “Second Reality” by Future Crew. This DVD is the result of an almost two year long project and is truly a labour of love, especially considering the technical hurdles faced by the creators of this DVD in recording these demos. If you ever thought you were a great coder, take a look at some of these demos and consider the hardware they could run on - and be humbled!

[2003-02-23] Snap It Up!

Mohan Embar has kindly provided updated GCJ 3.3 snapshots for all of us to play with.

[2003-01-28] A Rolling Stone

I have changed jobs and now work for Oracle India.

[2003-01-09] More GNUs

I am now an official FSF developer!