Monday, October 30, 2006

Easy Eclipse Distro

For all you eclipse fans, there is a good distro for eclipse available (called Easy Eclipse) aimed at making the installation easier for eclipse. It has a pre-zipped bundle of plugins and all version dependencies are taken care of plus there are separate versions depending on what you need eclipse for (making Swing/SWT apps, server-side programming, mobile application development, etc). In my own experience, knowing what plugins to install to say start/stop tomcat or weblogic server or to support javascript or xslt editing is a manual process and complicated by the issues involved with version dependencies. With Easy Eclipse, the job of identifying the right plugins has already been taken care of and you can start using eclipse in all its glory right after the install.

12/27/06: I used the EasyEclipse Server Java 1.2.1 distro yesterday for setting up my development environment for learning EJB 3.0 with JBOSS 4.0.5 GA. And this distro installs JBoss Eclipse IDE with Eclipse 3.2.1 platform and several other goodies (Subclipse for subversion support, Web tools 1.5 which also brings in J2EE perspective, etc.).

Friday, October 27, 2006

Joy of Tech - Linux Lovers

When i bought my present PC for home, it came with Turbo Linux distribution. The PC is a Compaq make with AMD XP 2400+ processor. It was 2004 July when i bought it. I first decided to keep the Turbo Linux distribution. Later i experimented with a few more distributions (Fedora Core 2, SuSE 10.x, RH 9). It was a good setup and i was gradually getting used to the habit of doing common things from command line (like playing music using mplayer). It was a dream like phase for me as i saw the developer tools which came free (vi, xemacs, and GNU GCC toolchain, linux kernel sources) and felt very passionate about someday becoming a linux systems programmer geek :). Those days i used to be learning unix systems programming, linux kernel development and fundamentals of embedded systems programming - all of it in self-taught way. I read some books then like - Linux Kernel Development by Robert Love, Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment (almost completed it) by R Stevens, An Embedded Software Primer by David E Simons and some books i started but did not complete like Fundamentals of Embedded Software Development (read only first few chapters) by D Lewis and Assembly Language Step-by-Step: Programming with DOS and Linux (only read half of it) by Duntemann. That phase did not last very long with me (wanned in about six months) as i found that i could teach myself to program in assembly using the nasm assembler for x86 even on Windows using the DJGPP port of GCC plus i was more used to Windows as a user, and whatever the Geeks of the world have to say, Windows appeared to be more stabler an option when running RAD tools (IDEs) and other daily use applications (browsers like firefox and opera, email clients, chat applications etc). I lost my patience with Linux desktop at home and bought and installed WinXP Home edition.

Now, i feel i need a Linux system (systems programming, driver development) preferrably Kubuntu distribution, together with a Windows system (for email, chat, java dev etc). At work for the last one year i have not used any unix so i miss my Linux setup at home sometimes. Upgrading my present system with another hard disk where i can install linux is one possibility or will get another system (this time a laptop when i have the dough :) and install both win and linux in dual boot partitions. Ubuntu linux is good choice (as its all fats removed distribution of linux) with only the essential software (no more 3 word processors, 4 media players, 3 browsers etc as is still common with many other linux distros). Read more on the latest Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft release.

Friday, October 20, 2006

SCBCD likely to be updated for EJB 3.0

On a post in, Valentin Crettaz commented that SCBCD is likely to be updated for EJB 3.0 and the new exam will be available by early next year (ie 2007). Of late, many have posted on Javaranch on whether its wise to take the present SCBCD exam (viz aligned to J2EE 1.3 version of EJB Spec 2.0) or wait for the upgrade when the exam aligns with Java EE 5.0 version of EJB Spec 3.0. Now the same question is being asked about the present SCDJWS 1.4 exam (aligned to J2EE 1.4 version of WS specs). Sun has made some major architectural changes to the erstwhile JAX-RPC 1.1 (so much so that the new stack is called JAX-WS 2.0) and also the other standards have evolved in the due course (like SOAP 1.1 obsoleted bySOAP 1.2, WSDL 1.1 obsoleted by WSDL 2.0 etc). But experts at Javaranch feel that an upgrade to the present SCDJWS 1.4 will take some time (it may even be upgraded by Java EE 6.0).
In my opinion, those planning to take SCBCD 1.3 may want to wait for the newer version of the exam as its just around the cornor now. For those who planned to take SCDJWS 1.4, they need to take it now and upgrade whenever the later version becomes available. From my experience, the person taking this exam will definitely benefit from his learnings of even an older version of Spec as the newer specs in general have evolved in a backward compatible manner.

The architecture and design of webservices application has remained unaffected. And even the most hit aspect of the exam, JAX-RPC (viz is about 30% of exam) continues to be used in the industry today.

Also, there will be alot of work aimed towards upgrading the older EJB 2.0/2.1 app to EJB 3.0 and a JAX-RPC 1.1 client/service to JAX-WS 2.0. And to do such a work, one will require not only the knowledge of EJB 3.0 or JAX-WS 2.0 but also of the earlier version viz the source of upgrade.

Friday, October 13, 2006

$100 MIT Laptop

Seen above is the $100 laptop for kids in the third world countries. Dont you find its amazing ! And our Indian govt. said no to it.

More info regarding this laptop can be found at :

My views: In my opinion, rather than simply writing off the $100 laptop the indian govt could have atleast introduced these to those children who dont sit under trees and do have a proper school where they could have used the laptop as a device to learn from better (and more funnier than their books). Many children in india leave education only because they never found studies interesting enough. I have seen child labors in my own state Bihar, India, where they chose to opt out of school just because they did not find it fun and so spent time away from school bunking classes. Providing those children with an interesting electronic device and showing them how to use it is all that will be needed to get them started using it. Also even if 10% of children pick up the basics, the knowledge will spread among the remaining like fire in the jungle (you know how children are! and laptop is not only ebooks - its games too :)) - and over time the mission (to spread literacy) will be accomplished.

Also programmers like Linus Torvalds have attested to the fact that he has been able to accomplish most in the computer science arena mainly as he started pretty early (Read the answer of Linus for how he learnt to program). I quote:
"I didn’t learn programming in school, but mostly on my own reading books and just doing it (initially on a Commodore VIC-20, later on a Sinclair QL)." - Linus Torvalds.

And to answer the question on what he (Linus) thinks makes some programmers 10 or 100 times more productive than others:
"I really have no idea. I think some people are just better able to concentrate on the things that matter, and I think a lot of it is just doing it. Most of the really good programmers I know started doing it fairly young." - Linus Torvalds.

So the point i am driving at is let them (the children) have an opportunity to get started with technology early in their lives. And thus, they can themselves be able to shape their lives based on what interests them most. Empower them by just providing them the right tools to learn the fun way. Note, laptops are not as dry as books and even a child who gets really interested in playing games may end up writing one some day just because he got too interested in knowing how the game thing works (you know children how they are!).

If Indian govt can invest in crores to buy more arms to make the nation feel safe, then its high time they start thinking on how to build the nation by spreading means of education among the populace. Why we want literacy afterall! Its because it enables the citizens to be educated enough to act responsibly.

Still many children born to poor families living in towns dont get to use a computer just because their parents cannot afford to buy one for them. If a laptop is cheaply available then atleast (like a mobile phone or television became a household item for even a rickshaw puller) parents can provide their children with the device to learn from the fun way. And you never know how many get sincerely attached to their devices and start bringing to our world more innovation. I sincerely feel that we must let this device be introduced in developing countries with rising population as this can serve as a medium to get free ebooks and in general to get the children interested earlier in electronics and reading.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Reading of SNMP, SNMPv2, SNMPv3, and RMON 1 and 2 Third Edition by William Stallings

I have started reading this book on SNMP by William Stallings recently. I have read just 6 of 17 chapters till now. What i wanted was a complete but simplified (than RFC's) write up on SNMP protocol and some of the standard MIBs. I have worked in SNMP for almost 7 yrs now and whatever i learnt was on-the-job. So i needed one book which puts together the different pieces of information pertaining to SNMP-based network management in a coherent form. Much of what i read in this book is what i already knew but reading it from a book gives a different perspective. Like for eg, sysUpTime can be used to deduce if the agent has been restarted since the last poll or that the ifAdminStatus reflects the value set by management station to change the operational state of the interface but ifOperStatus reflects the current operational status (and is RO). So if ifAdminStatus is up(1) and ifOperStatus is down(2) then the interface has failed can be concluded. And so on.. Another book which i am planning to read after having completed this one, is, Network Management: Principals and Practices by N. Subramanian (a GaTech Prof.) which covers ADSL/HFC management in some detail and introduction to various tools (HP OV, MRTG) and alternative technologies (WBEM).

15 sorting algorithms visualized in 5 minutes, with awesome arcade sounds

15 sorting algorithms visualized in 5 minutes, with awesome arcade sounds from r/programming