Thursday Jan 28, 2010

Change is the only constant thing...

Like many other aspiring engineers Sun was my dream job when I was in college. I got into Sun through campus interviews and have lived this dream for almost 8.5 years now. Not many people get their dreams fulfilled so early in their career and I must say I am very lucky to have found the right place right at the beginning.


Change is the only constant thing in life and I will always cherish my experience at Sun for the longest time.

Looking forward to be a part of Oracle.

you can follow me on my personal blog, http://mayureshnirhali.blogspot.com

Saturday Feb 28, 2009

FSFS.IN/2008 Report


Free Software Free society conference in december 2008 was a very unique experience for me. The conference was attended by over 450 people. It was very encouraging to see the political involvement in this event.

Kerala government has shown tremendous awareness towards adopting free software. The fact that Kerala Chief Minister, V S Achuthanandan inauguarated the conference and the opposition party leader did the closing ceremony is enough of evidence that the conference had significant political weight. The conference also received a lot of media coverage (television as well as newspapers). This attention is not always seen in other parts of India.

The conference consisted of two tracks, one, Policy track where Free software in Education and research, Fisheries, Agriculture was discussed and the second, Technology stack, that covered all the technical Free and Open Source Software sessions.

I presented MySQL and OpenSolaris on second and third day of the conference and it was received very well. Both sessions, in spite being towards the end fetched a lot of audience, in the magnitude of 150 approx.

The policy tracks were very interesting, I thought. The speakers represented various fields like Eductation, Government, Corporates and Legal advisers and discussed on various topics to further adopt free software in government infrastructure and also elsewhere.

The audience was a quality audience. Many of the them represented various GNU projects. There seemed to be a lot of interest around people working on Malayalam localization.

I had a chance to interact with some of the students, whom I was showing OpenSolaris running on my laptop. He showed me the puppy Linux running on his and also mentioned that the Kerala state electricity board has systems running puppy Linux. I was delighted to find that they are not running Windows and very surprised to learn that a final year student knows a lot about what their government is doing with foss. I asked him if he would like to join their IT division and he reacted, 'that would be my pleasure'.

The event turned out to be very special as I had a chance to listen to and shake hands with Sir Richard Stallman. Sir Stallman's inaugural speech had made a good impact on me. He spoke very passionately about Free software and that clarified the real difference between free software and open source software for me. I really salute him for the passion he carries for the free software, but feel open source software is more real and practical.

During the conference I also heard about a very interesting project called gnowledge.org. This project is about building relationship and associate network for the knowledge articles. e.g. Water depends on knowledge of Hydrogen and Oxygen. The most interesting part here is that the dependent articles are based on Debian packaging system. So, when someone is fetching articles for H2O, one would automatically fetch dependent articles for Hydrogen and Oxygen. Smart!

The conference was extremely well organized. There was entertainment arranged for all the attendees after the sessions on all the days. I had a rare chance to see the Koodiyattam and will always cherish that experience. I strongly believe that Kerala is putting up a great example for other states in India for their foss adoption and I would love to participate in this conference again.

Tuesday Dec 02, 2008

FOSS.IN/2008 Report

The FOSS.IN/2008 was a very different event than what it has been and I think that is how it was intended to be. This year, it was a contributor's event in its true sense. A bunch of folks representing community 'X', sitting together and hacking/discussing something is the only thing one could see at the event. Although, about 1000 people registered for the event, I did not see more than about 450 people at any given time.

personally, I did not enjoy FOSS as much as I have in the past. Somewhere the energy seemed lacking. The main reason I think was simply the fact that number of people around you were far less than ever. Plus, the people who attended FOSS seemed to have a set agenda w.r.t to their own communities. Of course, the idea of FOSS this year in itself was to meet with fellow community members and discuss things specific to their communities, but the whole idea of having far less people around you was not too encouraging.

hacking KDE at FOSS.IN/2008 I attended most of the sessions I planned to attend, but for the Belenix workout. It was on Saturday and I had something else to take care of. The one thing that I am taking back with me from the this conference is my improved understanding of adding SDT Dtrace probes to C/C++ applications. This happened thorough the Gnome/KDE dtrace workouts that I attended. My next goal is to play around with Dtrace and wxWidgets libraries (something that I am maintaining for OpenSolaris recently) and see what probes could help diagnose GUI applications based on wxWidgets.

The rest of the time, I spent at Sun booth, talking to people about OpenSolaris, dtrace, zfs and MySQL. At the booth, we were running a couple of contests/exercises. One, to get people to install VirtualBox and have OpenSolaris as a guest and secondly, we had dtrace one liners printed out for people which can be tried on their OpenSolaris guests. Given the number of people at the event, the turn out at the booth was not overwhelming. I could connect with hardly couple of hundreds of people, which is far less than the previous year. I loved the complete new look of Sun brochures this time and of course, the Sun/Fossin jackets!

Wednesday Sep 03, 2008

Seven @ Sun

I complete seven years at Sun today. This has been a fantastic journey so far and am looking forward to more in coming years.



Looking back upon the last year, one significant thing that I feel very satisfied about is the list of open source projects/initiatives that I contributed to. Although the list of projects is not very long, it is definitely longer than the previous year. I spent most of my time working on PostgreSQL on OpenSolaris. This includes playing with the African elephant (see the pic), integrating Pg Perl drivers into OpenSolaris, tuning/optimizing Pg on Solaris and presenting at conferences and customer events. I also got a chance to work with MySQL on Solaris to a limited extent and I see more of that coming this year. Apart from databases, I got involved in the effort to port some FOSS to OpenSolaris and that will be completed very soon.


The other thing that I enjoyed the most last year is being at developer conferences. Meeting with developers/corporates at Sun tech days in china and India is totally different from being at FOSS.IN, Bangalore; and the experience of PGCon, Canada was beyond any of them. Attending such conferences has widened my exposure immensely and my feel for the way sun's technologies are perceived has improved with such interactions.


Apart from conferences, I got a chance to get involved with students and teachers community in India through Code For Freedom contest and the Sun Guru initiative. I felt a very strong need to drive students to Open source projects after my visit to IIT Kanpur 2 years back (see my blog) and today it makes me feel good that many universities and even other corporates are taking that seriously. I believe Sun is doing a great job here and feel great about my involvement in it.
..and there is always fun @ Sun.


Hmm, another highlight of last year is that I won the first prize in acting in both the local (marathi) play competitions that I participated for my group yuva.
Coming year, I think I need to blog more than what I have been doing so far. So, Lets see how it goes!

Friday Jun 13, 2008

iPhone users, get FileBrowser over MobileFinder


Today morning when I started the Terminal (vt-100) application on my iPhone, I got the following error.


mv: cannot stat `/var/root/.profile.tmp': No such file or directory
'MobileFinder will now upload the contents of ~/Library/MobileFinder/Sync to ~/iPhone on 192.168.3.29
and then download the contents of ~/iPhone on 192.168.3.29 to ~/Library/MobileFinder/Sync.
You may be asked for your password twice.
/usr/bin/rsync -avz --progress
~/Library/MobileFinder/Sync/ @192.168.3.29:~/iPhone
ssh: connect to host 192.168.3.29 port 22:
Operation timed out
rsync: connection unexpectedly closed (0 bytes received so far)
[sender]rsync error: unexplained error (code 255) at io.c(453)
[sender=2.6.9]/usr/bin/rsync -avz --progress @192.168.3.29:~/iPhone/ ~/Library/MobileFinder/Sync
ssh: connect to host 192.168.3.29 port 22: Operation timed out
rsync: connection unexpectedly closed (0 bytes received so far)
[receiver]rsync error: unexplained error (code 255) at io.c(453)[receiver=2.6.9]
Upload and Download completed.
Press enter to exit...


The terminal wouldnt get to the prompt even after pressing 'enter', and hence terminal was unusable. The problem seemed to be with the MobileFinder (1.8.0) application which I had installed a few days ago. I uninstalled that application but the error persisted.

Google revealed this post that seemed to have the steps to fix this issue. This post has all the steps for Mac users which I am not one. Windoze is then the only alternative. The steps in that post are pretty straight forward and thanks to Stefan. The root cause is the  line,


'. /var/root/Library/MobileFinder/.MobileFinderProfile'
in the file, '/private/var/root/Library/.profile'.


I tried to look for this file using iPhoneBrowser on Windoze and realized that there are some restrictions with iPhoneBrowser software. You cannot look at the real root of the iPhone and also that you cannot look at the hidden files (which .profile is one). The other option of using winscp over a wireless network was not available to me at that time and while looking through the available packages, I stumbled upon File Browser application which seemed to do the trick.

FileBrowser (1.7.0) is actually very smart. It can cut/copy/paste files (but I couldn't get this to work for directories). What more, it can also edit text files with a built in text editor. That is just what I wanted. Open and edit the file is then as simple as it is on the desktop. The only limitation I found of this application is that, even if you edit the 'Settings' to modify the home directory to '/' or '/private', it will always show you files in /var/mobile/ directory. A bit more googling will answer that I am sure, I am just happy to have the current problem fixed at the moment. I found only 'Squid' can show you ALL the files on your iPhone, so far.

So, I will recommend FileBrowser to all iPhone users and squid is also good to have, MobileFinder has some more work to do.

Thursday Nov 29, 2007

Apache Derby now tested with phoneME advanced

Apache Derby is now tested with the open source JavaME CDC stack, popularly known as phoneME advanced platform. The Apache derby community recently carried out this exercise and it did not take them long to flag GREEN.

So, Try Apache derby on phoneME advanced !

For more information on the Java ME support, please follow the Apache Derby Wiki page.
 

Monday Apr 09, 2007

Whats Sun doing in the database world?

This cool podcast talks about how Sun is contributing to the Database world.

While this could well be a surprise to people who associate Sun with Java, Solaris and other in-house innovations, I think it is a clear indication that the company is not only committed to open-sourcing its own products but is also comitted to open-source projects in other technology areas.

Thursday Dec 21, 2006

HADB and SOA database bottlenecks

This topic on FTPOnline talks
about current challenges in SOA development in the context of Databases. The article has described the need for Highly Available Distributed database really very well. The cluster solutions today are very sophisticated, but they are not
targeted towards databases. This disconnect brings up a lot of scalability and performance issues which could be solved with equally sophisticated database implementations which are targetted for such
clustered techonologies today.

Sun has been working on this integration for quite some time now and there exists a solution which could be very useful for the current SOA database bottlenecks. The solution is HADB, the old clustra (for the folks who know the clustra DB). HADB maintains independent copies of the fragmented data on server nodes and all this is completely transparent to the Application/user. Also, HADB provides 99.999 % (the 5 9's) availbility with a clustering distributed database solution. Due to the clustering nature, there are some hardware and network constraints to this solution, but then it is targetted only for 5 9's availability and hence, it is not for small-scale business apps.

Currently Sun Java Application Server provides HADB for session failover. Mani talks about how to use HADB in his blog. The famous Honeycomb project also uses HADB internally to satisfy their availability needs.

Monday Sep 04, 2006

5 years at Sun!

I joined SUN on Sept 3rd, 2001 as a campus hire from PICT and like many other Computer Science students SUN was one of my dream companies then. I have lived this dream for 5 years now and feel that I must be a really lucky guy to have found the right place for me right at the beginning of my career.

The journey has been fantastic so far. Right from day 1, I have been a big fan of the culture here at SUN India Engineering Centre. Have enjoyed my work even more being a part of this wonderful place. I have always found the people around me and the overall environment very motivating to do more n more. I have played around with various cutting edge technologies and have enjoyed being a part of this technology leader company. The overall experience has been very fulfilling.

Its a great feeling to have reached this milestone today and I am excited about my telescope. :)

Thursday Aug 10, 2006

pics from Valley of Flowers

Some pics from my trek to Valley of Flowers in Uttaranchal state of India.






















some more pics, here.

Wednesday Mar 29, 2006

Sun's Logo : An Ambigram

Hats off to Mr. Vaughan Pratt!
SUN's logo, I think is some kewl piece of graphic design. I just love it!!

How many of you know that its a "Ambigram" ??

For more information on Ambigrams and to see other very interesting ambigrams,
please click here

Friday Mar 03, 2006

Community participation from Indian Universities

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, one of the very reputed universities in India, organized a science and technology festival in last week of Feb, Techkriti 2006. Sun sponsored "Industry defined programming contest" at this event and Prakash and me were invited to be the judges for this contest.

The shortlisted 9 projects exhibited some innovative ideas. In the end, we took the opportunity to talk about open source communities.
The next day, we met faculty members in the Computer Science Engineering department and also spoke to some 3rd & final year students.

IIT Kanpur, like many other universities, do not have solaris infrastructure in their labs for students to play with. Now, that solaris is open sourced, we can expect this to change in years to come. Linux has a huge headstart with its penetration in communities and hence it is the favourite platform for many universities to work on various projects and these projects would give the intented exposure to students about OS concepts. Students themselves have shown a lot of interest in Solaris and also have that installed on their personal machines.

These students are still not aware of community products contribution and in turn getting good exposure and another opportunity (intership, being the other one) to learn how things work in the industry. Also, they can do their final year projects with some such community, in which case, their contribution is much more visible and integrated instead of keeping them on shelves forever.
Integrating their projects into communities may not be encouraged now as probably it does not fit into the current system followed by the universities. But, I am sure things can be worked out.

I have seen many students outside india taking up something in the community. I am hoping that more and more number of students start participating and I think reputed universities like IITs in India should take the initiative here.

Friday Feb 24, 2006

The surviving instinct !!

Life is very unpredictable and you have to be prepared for the worst all the time.


Summer 2005! I was visiting SUN's San Jose, California campus for a month. It wasnt the first time in US for me and I know how things work there in gerenal. Staying in the apartment on weekends, that too in a country where there was still lot of stuff to explore for me, didnt make much sense. In fact, I was making some big plans of visiting Las Vegas.

Fortunately, A friend of mine who was currently visiting Las Vegas was ready to company me there. I had only one weekend left before I would go back to India and I made my decision to go see my friend in Vegas on that weekend. I tried to get another friend of mine who could join me from San Jose, but that didn't work out. On friday evening, I got home pretty late from work but still continued with the plan as I thought it was worth taking the risk of driving in the night for las Vegas than sitting at home.

I got all the maps that would help me reach my friend's hotel. The car that I was going to drive was a Green Hyundai Sonata with a moonroof. It was around 8-9 hours drive and I started at around 10 pm.

Driving alone at night is not recommended in US as it is eventless and fatigue gets on to the driver, but I was doing pretty well with some breaks at the rest areas.

At around 3 am, I overturned my car at one turn and then in the correction lost control of the car completely. The speed was around 75 miles/hr. The car was dragging on the road, sitting in the car, I knew it could be all dark in just few seconds. Those 4-5 seconds, I saw all the people in my life flashed in front of my eyes. It was a big shock. The car hit something on its right side and at that speed it toppled in the air. It made one complete round and landed back on its wheels. I was conscious and when the car stopped I tried to get out of it before anything else could happen. I removed my seat belt and tried to open the door and realized that my left hand (at the wrist) is badly hurt. Blood was drooling down heavily from there and saw that some flesh of my hand is lying down in the car. I saw another car stopping! I came out and sat by the road. By the time that guy came out 0f the car, I think he had already dialed 911 and was talking to them about what has happened and where exactly we are.

More than the pain, I was still in the shock. But still, I knew that I am in for a big trouble as I am alone and not a US citizen. I was worried about my stuff which was still in the car, as it had my passport and other documents which will be of utmost importance now. I went to the car and tried to get my stuff out but could not, car was damagaed at the rear end. After finishing the call that guy came to me and asked me not to touch the car. He looked horrified after seeing my open wound, but I was more worried about getting my stuff out. I told him if he could help me, but he said "you stay away, I will get it for you". He tried, but could not get it out as well. Then he got some cloth for me to put it on the wound and then asked how this all happened. It seems he saw the car toppling in the air and huge smoke around it and stopped. He was like God to me then.

Within next 5-7 minutes, the emergency help reached there. The first thing they did was to put the neck-strap around my neck. Now, this was really very irritating. I thought my neck was fine but then they said this is for your safety precaution and they do it for all car accidents. I was still worried about my bags and asked them to get it. Everyone was worried about me and hurrying to get me in the van and I was thinking about my passport. In next 2 minutes, the highway patrol car came. The officers asked me what happened and completed my statement. They finally got my stuff out and put that into the ambulance van. I was lying on the stretcher with extreme irritation due to that neck-strap. Until, I left that place, I did not see any other car passing by. I just thought what would have happened if that guy was not behind me, I didn't even have a cellphone.

I was taken to an emergency hospital. From the reactions of people there, I could make out that my hand is in bad condition. The neck-strap irritation was killing me. Xrays were taken for my left leg, left hand and neck. Finally, the doctor came and said, your hand needs to be grafted so we will shift you to another hospital. I asked him about the neck-strap, he said "put it on! its essential. You neck test are not completed yet". They decided to shift me to a bigger hospital which was about 30 mins drive away from there where I spent next 24 hours.

It is very difficult when one is alone in the hospital as a patient, There are so many things that are not told to the patients. So, everytime I got into any conversation with the nurses or the doc, I had to ask all sorts of questions to figure out whats exactly happening to me. Lots of Xrays were taken for my left hand and Neck. For the neck they found that I have survived from a hair-line fracture in the neck and it could have been a lot worse. By then, my neck was completely swollen and it was very stiff. Thats when I realized why they forced me to wear that strap.

Another nurse/trainee doc came to me after sometime and said they have found a gravel in my wound which has to be taken out. I asked if I could see the Xray but they refused to show me saying that it is on a computer and you cant be taken there. I had no option but to allow her to play with my open wound. She came with the apparatus. First, she gave local anesthesia around my wound and started looking for that foreign particle in my hand. She showed... rather educated me about all the internal things in my hand. Now, I know how does a nerve, tendent look like from inside... what happens to the nerve when you tightly hold your finger? I was seeing all that. She finally found a metal peace beneath another layer of flesh... I still have it with me. With every such incidence I was getting stronger I felt than breaking down. After that they cleaned up my hand and did the dressing. After lots of Xrays, a CTScan was done of my neck to make sure that it is completely safe. In the meantime, I called up my friend and told him that I could not reach Vegas.

At 4 am, the next morning, I was told that all my tests are now done and I could go home. "Thank you very much. How can I get home now ?". "Give us your phone number? We will call your family". "They are in India". "Ohh! So, from where were you going to Vegas??". "San Jose". "You mean San Jose up north?? how are you going to get back there??". "I dont know". After a lot of discussion, I ended up catching a GreyHound bus to San Jose. The bus started from San Beranandino at 9 am and reached L.A. at 12 noon. Another bus from there started at 2.30 pm and reached SanJose by 8pm. I travelled in that bus for about 9 hours with a neck-strap, limping swollen left leg and the wounded hand. Not to forget the other stuff like my own suitcase, a food bag given to me by one of the nurses and a laptop. I dont know how I did this, but when I saw my friends waiting for me at the bus stop I was about to break down, but didnt. My friends had called the hospital and found out that I will be in that bus.

The next day was lot of work. I had to go change my dressing and fill up all the insurance claim forms. At San Jose Urgent medical care, I found out that the dressing was done with sticky gauze and everytime it was removed it would hurt me a lot as it will take out all the skin around my wound again. huh! It was not over yet. The pain was unbearable. I had to fax some claim forms to the insurance person in India and hence went to office after my visit to that hospital. Somehow managed to complete that with only one hand in working condition and was limping aroung in the office. The doc had told me that grafting cant be done immediately and it would take 2-3 weeks for the wound to be ready for it. I had decided that I would go back to india and then do my surgery. That day, I got my flight tickets confirmed for the next day evening.

The next day I packed my bags and called home. "Dad, my work is over and I am leaving tonight. I will be coming directly to Mumbai and will stay at home for few days. Can you come to the airport to pick me up ?". Flying half of the planet could be a lot of fun, but its worse when you are in such a state. I checked in all my luggage and only kept few fruits/medicine with me on the flight. With only one hand, It was not easy to eat anything in the fight. The worse part of the journey was the stopover at HongKong for about 7 hours. I could not move around with my limping leg, had no choice but to sit in one place and avoid people looking at me. Horrible.

The flight landed on mumbai airport on time. After the custom's clearance, before I could go out I removed my neck-strap and covered the dressing of my hand. I was going to see my family now. I came out and saw my family waiting for me with smiles. I went to them and spoke for few seconds. Dad asked me "whats wrong with your neck". I didnt answer. I had to show them my dressing. Everyone was scared. In the car, everyone was quiet. I had to tell them what happened. I told them "accident". "car accident". "car toppled in air"! I knew I have done the right thing by not telling them all this from US. Now, they can see me and will take it right.

After spending that night at my Uncle's place, we came down to pune, my hometown. The next 25 days or so, I was in the hospital in Pune. A Plastic surgeon and Hand specialist was treating me. My skin grafting was done successfully. Since I had lost a lot of flesh of my hand, that part of my hand still looks very ugly. But, I have accepted it. I might do another surgery later to fix that. The neck starp was on for about 30 days. Its really amazing how body heals itself.

After every fall, one gathers more strength to reach higher. Few minutes of that incident and 2 months of recovery has changed me. I still dont believe myself when I think of the strength that I had when I was going through all that, alone. I still remember the 5 seconds when I was sitting in the car when it was out of control, the flesh lying in the car, the look on the face of the guy who called 911, the people in the hospital, the way that Cathay Pacific Crue Head lady spoke to me, my family and friends when they first saw me. I am very lucky to get away with just one scar on the left hand, it could have been a lot worse. I didnt want to die alone and I think that surviving instinct got me back my life!

I joined work after about 50 days from that night. Within a month, I performed on stage. Within 6 months, I was in US again and on the thanksgiving '05, I visited Las Vegas. I drove down with 2 of my other friends. The trip was fantastic, It has become a very special place for me now.

I cant tell you how happy it makes me to have the same life back without any accomodations.

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