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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

watching netflix previews

By default, watching netflix previews in firefox on Debian Etch (currently testing) gives "click here to download plugin" error. The error looks like

Even if you click on the green button nothing productive happens. Firefox just complains that "No suitable plugins were found". Duh!

The solution is to install the mozilla-mplayer package.
rajudell:~# cat /etc/apt/sources.list
deb etch main contrib non-free
deb-src etch main contrib non-free

deb etch/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src etch/updates main contrib non-free

deb etch main

rajudell:~# aptitude update

rajudell:~# aptitude install mozilla-mplayer
At the "Do you want to continue? [Y/n/?]" prompt, just press 'y' and then 'Enter'. Pressing 'Enter' alone will also work as 'Y' is the default here.

Once you do this, the videos embed nicely in firefox. The audio works fine too!

Hope that helps all you multimedia folks. Tested this on Debian Etch (testing) running firefox (1.5.dfsg+, mozilla-mplayer (3.21-1). As usual, comments on whether the article has been helpful, errors, feedback etc., are most welcome.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

list of all debian developers

A complete list of all Debian Developers (DDs) can be found at . The entries are sorted according to email address.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Burning ISO files in Windows XP

Imagine you are on a machine running Windows XP. Now you want to install Debian on that and make it a dual boot so that you can use both Windows and Debian as and when the need arises. There are many ways to do this. Most people start by downloading the net install image from . However Windows XP, AFAIK, does not come with an iso image burning software. In order to burn the .iso file on to a CD/DVD, you can use any one of

  1. DeepBurner Free
  2. CDBurnerXP Pro

Both softwares are free (but not opensource). The only problem with "CDBurnerXP Pro" is that it does not work with files larger than 4.2 GB. So you cannot really burn a DVD images of say Etch distribution which are normally greater than 4.2 GB and less than 4.7 GB. However, "DeepBurner Free" has no such restriction.

According to , "CDBurnerXP PRO" is also free from adware, spyware etc.,

PS: I was not able to find any free CD/DVD burning software for Windows XP, which has the facility to burn iso files and is released under GPL or is opensource. If you know of any, please let me know.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Uncle Ezra now has an RSS feed!

Sometime back I suggested to Uncle Ezra that having an RSS feed for their website would be nice. Now they have one. Cool! The feed is at I already added it to my RSS reader and it is working perfectly! Thank you Uncle Ezra!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jack Bauer Vs Santa

For the fans of 24, here is a nice version of what happens in the world of Santa! This video is awesome. You gotta check it out!

update1 : On Feb 2, 2007 I found that this video has been removed from youtube! Sorry folks!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

atom vs rss feeds

For some reason google reader is not working correctly with the atom feed of this blog. Even when I updated some articles on the blog, the reader is not showing the new articles. So now I created a RSS feed for this blog. Both feeds are available in the Links section of the sidebar. Use the one that works for you. Please let me know if you are still having problems reading this blog ...

running ssh from web browsers

It is possible to access your Debian Linux machine from a Windows machine using just a web browser + ssh. In order to do this, start the sshd daemon on the Debian Linux machine by using either

$sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart
Restarting OpenBSD Secure Shell server: sshd.

or by doing
$wajig restart ssh
Restarting OpenBSD Secure Shell server: sshd.

This will restart the ssh server if it is not running already. Next on the windows machine go to to run the ssh client. That's it!

Tested on Debian Etch (testing) running ssh 4.3p2-2, windows xp running firefox

Useful links:

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ithaca DMV office

Once in a while, some of my friends ask me about where DMV office in Ithaca is etc., Instead of repeating the answers again and again, I thought it is better to summarize the info in my blog.

If any of the above information is incorrect or if something else can be included etc., please email kamaraju at gmail dot com. If you found this information useful, please leave a comment saying so and that will make my day :-)

Monday, July 31, 2006

gmail feature suggestions - 6

Today I suggested the following feature to gmail at

Currently there is no facility to forward an email as an attachment. At present gmail forwards email only as "inline". The "forward as an attachment" option would be useful, for example, if one wants to report spam email to spamcop .

Another related feature that would nice to have is the ability to select multiple emails and forward all of them as attachments to a single address in one go. This, for example is possible in thunderbird email client and is very useful when reporting spam emails to spamcop .

Monday, July 17, 2006

gmail feature suggestions - 5

Today I suggested the following feature to gmail at

Currently when I enter a search expression in gmail, it does not search in all the headers of the email. An option to allow searching of all the headers would be useful, for example, to search for email coming from a particular IP address etc.,

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

gmail and spamcop vs bluebottle

I have a gmail address which I exclusively use for mailing list subscriptions, news letters etc., But since the mailing lists that I subscribe to are archived and are searchable by google this gmail address became a haven for spammers who harvest email adresses from these mailing list archives. It reached such a state that I was getting around 100 spam emails everyday.

Normally, gmail does a good job of filtering these spam emails and puts them nicely in a separate folder/label called spam. But there are couple of problems
  1. Once in a while there are couple of emails which are spam but gmail's spam filters are not smart enough to filter them out.

  2. There are some false-positives. That is email which is good, but gmail's spam filters thought they were spam and kept them in the spam folder.
The first issue is easy to solve - Simply train the spam filter by reporting it as spam. The second issue is the real show stopper. I have to wade through hundreds of spam emails to figure out if there are any false positives in there. Adding an email address to the 'contacts list' will ensure that an email from that sender will not end up in the spam folder at a later point of time. However it does not eliminate their occurrence in the future from some other email address. This whole process of checking the spam folder for false positives, adding the email IDs to contacts list is not only time consuming but also frustrating due to its very own mundane nature.

I googled around and found spamcop ( ). After registering, users can report their spam emails to spamcop. Based on a complicated algorithm spamcop then lists the IP addresses responsible for spamming. This list is called SCBL (spam cop blackhole list). If you are interested in knowing this "complicated algorithm" or if you want to know more about how spamcop works, you can read the documentation available on the spamcop's website.

The idea is that once you have a fairly recent SCBL list, an email server administrator can use that to identify spam. When the spam is identified, the administrator can then either reject or tag the spam email. But since I am using gmail, the SCBL list is of no use to me. However, I started reporting spam to spamcop's website using the web interface hoping that it might help others using the SCBL. Since reporting each spam email takes roughly 0.5 minutes, I was spending an hour a day just to report spam. The time would have been well spent, if the spam actually decreased. But even after trying the whole thing for 2 months, spam has only increased and has not decreased even by a single bit.

Does that mean that spamcop does not work? No. Spamcop does work - well, to some extent atleast. To understand what I mean, it is necessary to understand how spammers operate.

Spammers usually do not own their own machines per se. They hack into insecurely configured machines on the net and start sending spam from them. Now if the ISP hosting these machines is a "good ISP" then they care about spam coming from their network. One such example is . Once I received some spam emails from a machine whose IP address is . This IP address belongs to easynet Ltd. I reported those spam emails to spamcop which in turn forwarded the "spam reports" to the abuse team at . They immediately recognized the problem and took necessary action so that no spam email emanates from that machine. This is just one of the success stories of spamcop in action. There could be many more.

But what if the ISP is not a "good ISP"? If the ISPs do not care about spam coming from their networks then the spamcop method does not work for gmail users. The gmail users will still be receiving spam from machines owned by these "bad ISPs". So "spamcop + gmail" approach has some loopholes through which spam will manage to flow into the gmail's account.

Googling again, I came up with bluebottle ( ) which is essentially a Challenge-Response system. The idea is that, if you send an email to the bluebottle's address you will get a challenge asking you to verify yourself. Only if the sender verification process succeds, I receive the email in my Inbox. Pretty cool Uh! Initially one would think so. But the C-R system has its own drawbacks. These drawbacks can easily be found by googling. But the upside is that one does not see any spam whatsoever in their Inboxes. So I need not wade through hundreds of spam emails looking for false-positives.

In bluebottle, emails from unverified senders go into a 'pending' folder. They stay there for a week, after which they will be deleted automatically. The messages in the 'pending' folder will go to the Inbox either if the sender verifies them or if I manually approve the message. The manual approval process eliminates the notorious 'C-R C-R deadlock'.

To quote some numbers, my gmail account typically receives 100 spam emails a day where as I receive 25 ham emails per day. So the ratio of spam/ham is 4. Yahoo's spam/ham ratio is even worse. Compared to this, in the pending folder of my bluebottle's account, I receive about 25 emails per day (waiting to be approved) of which around 5 turn out to be spam. The ratio of spam/ham is 5/20 = 0.25 . Coupled with 'no false positives', this makes bluebottle very attractive.

There are many drawbacks with bluebottle as well!
  • While gmail offers more than 2GB, yahoo offers 1 GB, bluebottle's free account offers only 0.25 GB.
  • Only Inbox folder can be POPped in bluebottle. In gmail, emails under any label can be POPped. Better yet, gmail offers IMAP facility which is much more useful.
  • There are ads attached to every email sent through bluebottle's SMTP. This is very annoying.
  • People sending the email do not usually answer challenges. So most of the messages have to be approved manually.
  • The bluebottle's servers (both POP and SMTP) are not as reliable/fast as gmail's servers.
  • There is no facility to search the CC fields of emails in bluebottle. Bluebottle's search facility is limited to the "To:" header and does not extend to the "Cc:" header.
One area where I had doubts about bluebottle's approach is the mailing list subscriptions. Will I be able to subscribe to mailing lists like debian-user through the bluebottle's email address? Will there be any problems? So far the results are somewhat it mixed. It works with some email lists (ex:- debian-user, debian-devel, debian-qa etc.,) and does not work with some other mailing lists (ex:- vim, texmacs-users, subversion-users etc.,).

Whitelisting all the emails from debian-user mailing list to your bluebottle's account is as simple as adding the following email addresses to your "Allowed Senders" list.
However adding to the "Allowed Senders" list does not whitelist all the emails from vim mailing list. The unverified senders who send email to vim mailing list still receive challenges.

So far, in terms of spam inconvenience, false positives etc., I can say that using bluebottle's free email account has yielded better results than using gmail+spamcop or gmail alone. But I feel that bluebottle's or any other C-R system is a short term solution to spam and does not scale well for large number of users. Spamcop's approach though interesting, needs some modifications for it to be effective. For now, I am adopting both the approaches - use bluebottle's address for mailing lists, report spam from gmail to spamcop as and when time permits. Only time will tell which one would succeed!

Comments, criticisms, typos, suggestions etc., can be sent to kamaraju at gmail dot com.

Last updated : Apr 10, 2008.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

installing packages from marillat's repository

Marillat's repository contains useful debian packages like mplayer, acrobat reader etc., To install let's say libdvdcss2 package from this repository follow these instructions.

1) Go to the end of

2) Copy the appropriate repository address. For example if you are running Debian Sid (unstable) on an i386 machine then you need to copy this line

deb sid main

3) paste this line into /etc/apt/sources.list . Note that you need to have root permissions to edit the sources.list file

4) update the sources by doing

wajig update

5) Now install the necessary package(s) by running

wajig install libdvdcss2

This method is much more easier compared to downloading the package and installing it by hand using 'dpkg -i'.

Comments/corrections/criticisms/typos etc., can be directed to kamaraju at gmail dot com

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Getting a GUI

After installing Debian, often one is left with just a command line prompt waiting for the user to enter login and password. If you are coming from Microsoft Windows environment, this command line prompt looks similar to the DOS prompt. This article explains how to get a GUI environment after installing basic Debian.

Since I have experience only with KDE, I will try to focus just on installing KDE.

In order to get a working GUI as quickly as possible, run the following two commands as root.

apt-get update
apt-get install xorg kde kdm

This will fetch all the required packages necessary to run KDE.

During the installation of the packages, there will be some questions regarding configuring X environment etc., Once you finish answering all the questions, you will get a working KDE environment.

Last activity: Jan 24, 2007

Friday, May 26, 2006

control kmail sounds

In kmail, the default keyboard shortcut to send messages is ctrl-Enter. When this command is entered, a pop up comes giving the options "Send Now", "Send Later" and "Cancel". However, When this popup comes up, an annoying sound is played. To get rid of this sound use

kcontrol -> Sound & Multimedia -> System Notifications

In the tab on the right hand side, select

"A warning message is being shown"

and remove the sound icon by clicking on corresponding icon. Then click on Apply button on the bottom right hand side and close the kcontrol window.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

move tabs in konqueror

On the tab that you would like to move, click with the middle mouse button and then drag it to the required place.

This tip has been tested on a Debian Sid machine running

$konqueror --version
Qt: 3.3.6
KDE: 3.5.2
Konqueror: 3.5.2

Sunday, May 07, 2006

How to view changelogs of a Debian package over web

Every installed package on a Debian machine has changelog.gz and/or changelog.Debian.gz depending on whether the package is specific to Debian or not. These files are stored in /usr/share/doc/packagename.

For example, since firefox is not specific to Debian, it has both changelog.gz and changelog.Debian.gz . OTOH, since wajig is specific to Debian, it only has changelog.gz. There is no changelog.Debian.gz for wajig.

changelog.gz refers to changes done by the upstream author where as changelog.Debian.gz refers to changes done by the Debian maintainer.

/usr/share/doc/packagename/changelog.Debian.gz contains the changelog for the installed package. If a new version of package is available in Debian repositories then sometimes it is useful to have a look at just the new changelog without downloading the whole package. In order to see the latest changelog of a package, you can use

So to see changelog of the latest firefox package available in Debian repositories use

As usual, Comments and suggestions can be emailed to kamaraju at gmail dot com.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

subversion migration

On Oct 17, 2005 I posted about gcc being converted from cvs to subversion.

In that post, I also stated that I should be migrating to subversion. Well, It finally happened after about 6 months :-) I finally created a subversion repository and migrated couple of my previous projects to subversion. Things look very cool so far!

The documentation for svn is available at

In particular, I was impressed with which gives an headstart for CVS users.

Go subversion go! You rock!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

bug reports summary

The reports are organized in reverse chronological order so that the latest stay on the top.

Bugs reported and not yet fixed
Bugs reported and fixed (sorted in the order when they are fixed).
This post is last updated on Jan 18, 2007.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

"adsense for search" now included in this blogspot

Of late, I have been posting a lot of stuff on this blog. Now I am at a stage, where, I cannot recall all the articles/issues/musings that have previously been posted. So, I decided to put a google search box in my blog. This search box is a bit different from the default search box provided by blogger.

The default search box that comes with blogger provides two functionalities:
  1. Search this blog
  2. Search all blogs
But it does not allow me to search the web.

The google search box also provides two functionalities:
  1. Search this blog
  2. Search the whole web
As the second option is useful to me, I decided to have google search box in my blog.

Google calls this search box as "adsense for search". Yesterday, I did some css hacking and now my blog is "adsense for search" compliant. The search bar should appear on the right of this blog in the "sidebar".

Any comments regarding this move are most welcome.

On a related note, Sometime ago, I have included "adsense for content" - ie advertisements in this blog. The related post can be found at


Monday, April 10, 2006

gmail feature suggestions - 4

Please provide instructions for accessing gmail using kmail as the email client. The relevant instructions can go into

Currently there is only

But this is very unclear. Should one use TLS or SSL when using kmail as their MUA? Also kmail provides 6 different authentication mechanisms such as LOGIN, PLAIN, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, NTLM, GSSAPI. It is not clear as to what authentication mechanism one should use with kmail.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

gmail feature suggestions - 3

Today I suggested the following feature to gmail at

Whenever I search for a word or a phrase in my gmail account, only 20 results are displayed per page. This is very inconvenient when there are lots of results. I think it would be cool if there are options to display 20 results per page, 50 results per page, 100 results per page, all the search results in one page.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

reporting emails from petsupermarket as spam to gmail

Whenever I post an email to , I get a spam email from AntiSpam UOL . This email looks something similar to

I cannot just mark this message with "report spam", since that will delete the whole thread. I wanted to save the whole thread for later reference, but at the same time I wanted to report this stupid email as spam. To do this, I discovered a work around which might work, if enough gmail users train their spam filter.

In this antispam UOL email, select the "More options" link (towards your right), then click on "Delete this message". The mail will still be there under the Trash label. Now go to the Trash, select this antispam UOL email, choose "Report as spam" under "More actions" menu. That's it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Captions for the photo please!

For convenience, you can refer to the male as M, female as F. Leave your captions in the comments!

1) Even the 'King of the Jungle" has to go through it - every day!

2) A wife is a wife!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

bugs reported today

I reported the following bug on Texmacs today. I requested to make the pdf version of the user manual available on the texmacs documentation website . Currently only ps version is available there.

More details can be found at

Sunday, March 12, 2006

gmail feature suggestions - 2

Today I suggested the following feature to gmail at

Currently gmail either shows all the labels or does not show any labels. But there is no way to tell gmail to display 'only the labels with unread emails in them'. If there are lot of labels in one's gmail account, it becomes difficult to see where the unread messages are. In such case, I think this feature would be very handy.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

gmail feature suggestions - 1

Today I suggested the following feature to gmail at

Currently it is not possible to search for emails across different labels. This would be a cool feature to have.

Let me explain it more clearly.

Say I have 10 labels in my email account. Let these be named as label1, label2, label3, ... label10. Now I would like to search for emails which are under label4, label7, label9. Currently this is not possible. But IMHO is a very useful feature to have.

Monday, March 06, 2006

How to generate thumbnails

To create thumbnails use the -thumbnail option of the convert command. This option preserves the aspect ratio of the picture. So you need to specify just the width or height of your thumbnail.

Sample commands look like

convert -thumbnail 160 original.jpg thumbnail.jpg
convert -thumbnail x160 original.jpg thumbnail.jpg

The first one creates the thumbnail whose width is 160 pixels. The second one creates a thumbnail whose height is 160 pixels.

Ref :- Linux Multimedia Hacks - Tips & Tools for taming images, audio, and video by Kyle Rankin

On Debian GNU/Linux machines, convert command is part of imagemagick package. You can install the imagemagick package using apt-get

apt-get install imagemagick

Feedback, comments, suggestions are most welcome and can be left in the comments field of this blog.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bugs reported today

I reported the following bugs today

Monday, February 13, 2006

definition of Hacker

Hacker is someone who loves to program and enjoys being clever about it. It does not necessarily mean "someone who breaks into computers".

Source: "Producing Open Source software" by Karl Fogel.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

passing function names as arguments in Fortran 90 programs

Sometimes it is desirable to pass function names as arguments to another function. The following code gives a simple example on doing this in Fortran.

! Author : Kamaraju S Kusumanchi
! Email :
! Last edited : Sun Feb 5 2006
! Sample program demonstrating the use of external attribute. This program
! shows how to pass function names as arguments in Fortran 90 programs.
! Compilation and execution steps
! $gfortran passing_functions.f90 -o passing_functions
! $./passing_functions
! beta = 5.500000
! beta = 1.500000
! I would appreciate any comments, feedback, criticism, mistakes, errors etc.,
! (however minor they are)
module dummy
implicit none
function func1(a)
implicit none
real :: a
real :: func1

func1 = a+5
end function func1
function func2(b)
implicit none
real :: b
real :: func2

func2 = b*3.0
end function func2
function func3(dyn_func, c)
implicit none
real :: c
real, external :: dyn_func
real :: func3

func3 = dyn_func(c)
end function func3
end module dummy
program passing_functions
use dummy
implicit none

real :: alpha=0.5, beta

beta = func3(func1, alpha)
write(*,*) 'beta = ', beta
beta = func3(func2, alpha)
write(*,*) 'beta = ', beta
end program passing_functions

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

format the whole file with vim

Vim is a powerful text editor. Debian users can install vim using the command

apt-get install vim

To format the whole file using vim, use the command gg=G in the normal mode.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

not surprising except for the 100% english part

You scored as Engineering. You should be an Engineering major!





























What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!<3)
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