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sankarshan mukhopadhyay
Lives in Bengaluru
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sankarshan mukhopadhyay

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A Few Words on Pets and Cattle. The pets vs cattle metaphor is not a new one, and with apologies to my vegan friends, not mine, but bears briefly repeating. Essentially, ssh-ing into a machine, configuring it just so, and naming it after something cute or an erudite allusion — that's a pet.
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Apparently in celebration of Star Wars Day ('May the fourth be with you') Nasa tweeted a picture of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith being played on a projector screen inside the International Space Station on Monday.
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A few days back I tweeted that logging into +Rang De  was a painful experience (cf. https://twitter.com/sankarshan/status/582818871041662976). Here's what happens on Chrome (Version 41.0.2272.101 (64-bit)) - I am presented with a set of options (I am a citizen of India and I live in India; I am a foreign national and I live in India etc) Selecting the appropriate one and clicking does absolutely nothing. The only way I seem to be able to reach my dashboard is by enabling NoScript on Firefox (and thus reaching the Login screen). Something is not right.

The other thing that is not a bright idea is a chat box like pop-up that does the "Where did you hear about us?" thing. It is perhaps appropriate for a new user, but certainly not for a logged-in user and one who has a number of transactions on the dashboard. That artifact is an annoyance on the screen and completely pointless.

RangDe.org has added a section about delayed payments in an attempt to provide more accurate information (cf. https://twitter.com/RangDe/status/582917424678240257) The idea is a good one, the execution and reality leaves a lot to be desired. For me, most of these have had no updates since January. Unfortunately, this isn't the only aspect which bothers me. I don't recall reading about payment delays and defaults in a regular update email. Thus it was an unpleasant surprise to note the reasonably long list of defaulters. I am not very pleased with how RangDe.org has been handling communications. My small conversation on Twitter indicates that at least another person (+Poonam Sharma ) feels the same way about the delays and defaults. It is possible that this is a minor issue and would resolve itself over time. However, as a principal, I've found RangDe.org lacking the ability to communicate well, accurately and in time. That sucks!
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For a good part of the day I was watching a co-worker patiently package Fedora 21 Workstation DVDs, sleeves into postage-ready packs. As a volunteer for the Freemedia program (and probably the only one from India), he spends, in my estimate, around 35INR for every single shipment. And that is a good amount of money.

I feel it is time we ask "What do we want to achieve through the Freemedia program in India?" Answers like - (a) we want to have more users of Fedora; (b) we want to ensure that everyone who wants a media to install, has the means to receive one; (c) we want more contributors to Fedora etc are all valid ones.

The reason for the (somewhat existential) question is to assess whether sending DVDs by email is what helps us reach that goal. Do we have the means to undertake looking at data to validate the Freemedia based method as a successful and popular path to meeting that goal?

Are the recipients of the Freemedia program (in India) passive or, do we get to hear back from them about participating in the Fedora community via mailing lists and IRC?

I am not sure about the operational aspects of the Freemedia program (I had volunteered for it a long time back). I feel that if it is possible and worthwhile, a good place to start would be to understand the geo-location of the intended recipients. The intent is to understand whether an increasing number of requests are coming from geo-located clusters ('I saw my friend receive a DVD and install; I want one too'). This may help the Fedora community in India build up micro-communities that are hyper-local (to steal the buzzword!). In turn, it has the potential of converting the passive recipients of the DVDs into perhaps active participants (as coaches or, ad-hoc organizers of installation fests). It would also be somewhat easier to keep pulling in new participants to the lists and IRC channel.

This is of course just one way to extract data from the Freemedia trac system and attempt to optimize the process in context of the goal. The important point is to discuss and arrive at the goal - why would Freemedia (in India) continue to exist and how is it adding value to The Fedora Project.
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Revisting https://www.flickr.com/photos/runa-sankarshan/favorites it is becoming obvious that a particular set of tone, mood and style of photographs end up as favorites.
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Recently I was reading a thread (https://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/ambassadors/2015-February/023224.html) on "Promoting other distributions and conflict of interest". And while I think https://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/ambassadors/2015-February/023251.html is the best response on the thread, it does raise a very relevant point.

For any FOSS project the Ambassadors are a public facing crew expected to be present at events large and small; participate in outreach; demonstrate the new and cool bits of the project and live the values of the project. In a manner of speaking the itinerant nature of the group brings them closer together because they would end up sharing stories - road warriors always do. A few years back the folks who were already contributing heavily to a number of aspects of the projects ended up being recognized as Ambassadors. This had the benefit of drawing upon their experience, knowledge and love for the project to do outreach activities. And since FOSS contributors often to participate across multiple projects and organizations, it was not terribly puzzling to see someone being a Fedora Ambassador, an Open Hardware person, an Open Mapping participant and a contributor to the Commons of various kinds.

The 'polymath' was and is a powerful presence. Being able to synthesize a complex worldview for an audience to look at through the lens of a particular project is a compelling storytelling ability. The original post from +Kushal Das highlights a situation when it might be a drawback - being unable to pull together a narrative based upon actual contributions and instead falling back on simplistic either/or promotions. Seasoned contributors and experienced Ambassadors understand the power of AND - being able to learn from projects and identify ways to strengthen specific processes. Those who aren't paying attention or, have been distracted then tend to evade direct questions and provide answers which lack clarity.

The Fedora Project has Ambassador mentors and this is a great place to build in the values to live and demonstrate. Without specific examples of "conflict of interest" it is difficult to make a general assessment of what needs to be addressed. However, it is imperative to understand that the Ambassador role is unfriendly to a new participant in the FOSS culture. Unless there is shared learning, collaboration and a personal story of sustained contributions built out, it is a hard act to transfer the "joy of doing" to an audience who are eagerly latching on to each word and movement to learn how they to can be part of this process because they are convinced about the concept of sharing.
[Ambassadors] Promoting other distributions and conflict of interest. Kushal Das kushaldas at gmail.com. Wed Feb 25 04:23:25 UTC 2015. Previous message: [Ambassadors] [Event Report] I Love Fedora Meetup @ Open Labs Albania; Next message: [Ambassadors] Promoting other distributions and conflict ...
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http://mobihealthnews.com/43499/class-action-lawsuit-alleges-fitbit-misled-buyers-with-inaccurate-sleep-tracking/ - somewhat curiously, most folks who ask me about the Fitbit tend to focus sharply on the "sleep tracking" rather than the errors in "steps tracking". I've always found it amusing that potential users would be so much concerned about that one particular aspect of the device. I tend to forget switching it to "sleep mode" far more often than ever. I guess the dashboard is a reminder of how often I forget than I much I sleep.
Updated below with statement from Fitbit. A California man has filed a class action suit against Fitbit, alleging that the company's sleep tracking is inaccurate and constitutes false advertising. The timing of the suit, just days after the announcement of Fitbit's plans for an IPO, is suspect, ...
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"It's not so much why people aren't switching from another Linux distro to Fedora but a more general theme involving MacBooks. In my experience with a recent migration to Office 365 from Google Apps at my workplace I can tell you that is the weak spot for Workstation.  Most often the choice to use a MacBook is one out of necessity to access Microsoft collaboration tools."

https://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/desktop/2015-May/012028.html

The thread is a great one. Do read.
Why people are not switching to Fedora. Alex G.S. alxgrtnstrngl at gmail.com. Thu May 7 19:31:35 UTC 2015. Previous message: Why people are not switching to Fedora; Next message: Why people are not switching to Fedora; Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ] ...
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I am yet to find the word-cloud very useful but https://twitter.com/fedobot is a good one :)
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In a recently published article (cf. http://www.governancenow.com/gov-next/egov/as-open-as-it-can-be) on "Open Governance", the author states "Open APIs will enable e-governance systems to talk to each other and could potentially save the country thousands of crore by helping plug revenue leakages."  Further along, he extends this assertion by stating "if the software from the mines department interacts with software from the octroi department, a check can be kept on how much of mineral resources are actually mined and transported."

A genuine problem with 'popular technology' articles is the tendency to deconstruct and simply the problem to an absurd level of abstraction. Often this creates use-cases or, models that are unreal. The example illustrated in the article is more in the domain of intra-department workflow and business rules and less a matter of "open API". Workflow and business rules because systems which are interconnected bolster a process of plugging revenue leaks. 

APIs are significant assets and since they put in place a contractual obligation between systems interconnected via APIs, the design and maintenance of these are important. Previous implementations of systems (both home-brew at NIC and related or, via 3rd party contracts) have not demonstrated a deep understanding of good API design or, sustaining engineering. Public APIs are especially interesting because they do stay "forever" (with versions handling the availability of the service).

The author makes an important point about the need for electronic governance to adopt sound design principles. The problem with the draft policy statement is that it leaves a number of points of checks-and-balances vaguely worded. Also, if the idea that the application development is expected to be "in the open", the draft policy misses out on the important point of requiring to have a governance framework in place that clearly spells out the ownership, licensing and accountability issues. To me, these are far more critical to the success or, failure of the policy. At various points in the past a number of government agencies have indulged in "over the wall" method of software development and code-push. A governance framework with appropriate oversight has the means to do course correction.
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Initial set of patches got merged upstream last week. In this hangout session, we sneak-peak into the feature, discussing about it's current state, implementation details followed by a short demo.

This should help users kick start using it and contributing enhancements, bug fixes back to the community.
This Hangout On Air is hosted by Venky Shankar. The live video broadcast will begin soon.
Q&A
Preview
Live
BitRot detection in GlusterFS: Feature presentation & demo
Thu, April 2, 10:00 AM
Hangouts On Air - Broadcast for free

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2 days of rain. Unusual for the season and unsparing for the harvest.
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Husband, friend, book reviewer and, an all round nice guy
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i hope for a time when neither magic and nor sufficiently advanced technology will be unavailable to a large section of the society

i post on G+ and am available at sankarshan at pobox dot com. www.linkedin.com/in/sankarshan is my LinkedIn profile.

To catch me on IRC, try Freenode and, look for sankarshan or, _sankarshan
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