the insecurity of religious people

Well, yesterday I attended my first ever Christian wedding. I guess it wasn't a true Christian wedding; the bride (Indian) and groom (Canadian, or Quebecois, as he would remind me) were members of a church called "the international church of christ".

Anyway, I took an instant dislike to the person who was officiating in the wedding. He talked patronisingly of India traditionally having many barriers against inter-caste, inter-language, and inter-state weddings, etc., and patted himself and his church on the back that this wedding was therefore unique or at least very special.

Of course, he conveniently left out "inter-religion". Probably because his church expressly prohibits it ;-)

Anyway, I'd say http://carm.org/what-international-church-christ (esp the last 2 paras) is more accurate than Wikipedia's wimpy "it is difficult to make any generalizations about the organization collectively". Google around for more if you're curious. Add the word "banned" to see even more interesting results.


Which brings me to my subject line. Why do most ultra-religious people feel the need to convince *you* of it? Or at least to praise it/themselves? Are they trying to justify their choice, maybe? Convince themselves, more than you?

I'm not against religion. I'm against the public display of religion. With few exceptions, my experience has been that people who feel compelled to *show* their religious affiliations overtly are, to put it delicately, very "imperfect".

There are two very good reasons I'm putting it "delicately" :-)

And oh... "against the public display of religion" also means "I won't tell you whether I believe in God or not" :-)

switching from Mandriva to Fedora

Well... all good things must come to an end, and so -- very regretfully, I should add -- I parted ways with Mandriva. I'd been a Mandrake user since '99 or so, and a die hard fan and evangelist since not long after.

Today I switched my work(horse) desktop from MDV to Fedora. The upgrade went amazingly smoothly, partly because ever since I started using git, almost everything I have except "documents" is in git; all I really did was restore my repos, my mail, and a "workdata" directory that contained all the ODT/ODP/ODS junk. A few commands here and there and it's all set. Pidgin, FF, TB, all setup exactly as they were before.

So.... why?

Well, it's not just that Fedora is using gitolite, it's also that Linux itself has come far enough in the usability department (much more thanks to Fedora than people realise due to Ubuntu's machinations of the press) that a "developer's" distro can probably be used by the neophyte now.

My focus has always been to help completely non-techie users switch to Linux, and Mandriva was just perfect. For a looooong time. But some issues linger...

(1) Every time I install MDV, I have to go to urpmi.zarb.org and setup the repos for plf to get libdvdcss and other goodies. With Fedora and livecd-creator, I just create a custom spin that already contains all of that and I carry that around. Done.

(2) MDV's repos for India suck. Actually, I take that back -- something that doesn't exist can't suck :-) And I hate the bloody Chinese mirror that MDV always ends up picking from geolocation.

[And I'd hate it even if the Chinese weren't trying to hack everyone on the planet. Fedora people: please give us a choice to exclude certain locations if we wish to. Or make gpg-signature checking mandatory if the packages are coming from certain locations. (And yes, I know "locations" is hard to pin down easily)]

(3) Curiously, 2 of my "non-technical" users have the Tata Photon or equivalent USB modem. And MDV's network control center just does *not* like that card. wvdial works fine, so it wouldn't be so bad if MDV supplied wvdial on the liveCD, but they don't. Catch-22, in the worst case.

stay off my master branch, off-shore dude!

someone on #git posted a link to a neat little website with a bunch of
git tips. One of them was
http://ryanflorence.com/git-hosting-solutions/ , which uses the phrase
"stay off my master branch, off-shore dude!" as an example of
gitolite's main feature (per branch permissions).

I'm sure he didn't know that gitolite is *written* by an "offshore dude" ;-)


with all due respect ;-)


what's with this fad of putting "open" in front of everything to do with the FOSS world? Openssl, openssh -- fine. Openoffice I can understand.

Openrespect? Is there also closed respect somewhere then?

And whatever the hell it means, I find the concept totally hilarious, and I can't see *any* possible use for such a fruitless exercise. It almost sounds like a Government project of some kind -- like Tom Lehrer's "National Brotherhood Week".

Anyway, for the record, I've been increasingly getting pissed off by Mark Shuttleworth and his gang. Installing mono by default is a big no-no for me. That's almost black-list worthy in itself -- wilfully enabling Microsoft's future lawsuits. [And if you have kept up with news in the FOSS world in general for the past few years and still believe MS will not -- ever -- sue the open source community, or a major player, over Mono, well... I *respect*fully call you a moron. A blind, deaf, and illiterate moron, actually. I think that was respectful enough ;-)]

And then there is their copyright policy for contributions -- horrible; it's like MySQL all over again...

So... with great *respect*, Mark: let me say you're a freeloader off of other FOSS projects. Or, in Hindi (English cannot convey respect the way Indian languages can): Mark-ji, aap chor hain. Choron key badshah hain. Aapki chori ki jitni taareef ke jaye, utni kam hai!

Let me break the respectful words down to explain. A "-ji" suffix is loosely like "-san" in Japanese, for those who know that. It denotes respect -- taking the name without a "-ji" attached (or equivalent in other languages) is... not disrespectful, but a sign of familiarity. The "aap" is the respectful version of "tum", which is "you". All Indian languages have respectful variants of the second and third person pronouns.

Chor is thief. Hain means "are", but again, the respectful variety. Without respect, that sentence would be "tum chor ho".

Choron key badshah is "king of thieves". The next sentence basically says "however much praise I heap on your thievery, it falls short" or something like that.

Phew... I think that's enough respect for one day.


best rant against C++ I've ever seen


I don't even know enough to summarise!

[edited to add a link to an excellent rant by Linus on C++ :-)


(job) security

context: some features of gitolite, and in this case of git itself -- the fact that in git, every developer has the entire repo on his machine.

<someone> wrote:

> In fact, our security team worries about having the full
> development history on "everyone's machine".  

At least in a corp. env., I think this is somewhat specious.  Even if you were using SVN or similar, it is trivial for a dev to just collect daily snapshots anyway.  Actually, in terms of IP, even one snapshot has all of it, if it's the latest (it's rare that only old versions have IP and new ones don't).


That's what I replied to him.  But if I could, I would add this to my response above:

I've always maintained that most "security" is about the job security of the person responsible for security :-)  Security people are a lukcy lot, by and large.  They get to make a lot of noise, cry wolf far more than 3 times and get budget, so when nothing happens, they get an attaboy for "doing so much to protect us".

And if something happens, ironically enough, the fact that they cried wolf so many times and spent so much money works in their favour -- the logic being "he did far more than you could have expected him to do, and if something happened even after all that, who can blame him?".

The secret to this brilliant escape from the consequences of attacking the wrong problem (forcing passengers to take off their shoes *after* Richard Reid, for instance!) is that no one else actually feels he is qualified to do the job properly anyway.  Everyone is too busy thinking "<phew> there but for the grace of God go I" and so they cut him a lot of slack!