Exercise in futility … err … zenity

The other day, while working with some shell scripts I thought I could add some better usability into the mix – and hence whip up some dialogs using zenity (gdialog’s new avatar). And while at it, I had an enjoyable 20 minutes with good old unix concepts. Here:

I needed to figure out how to use zenity, the man pages didn’t tell much. So I went on a hunt for other scripts in the system that might use zenity; I was on Debian Etch system running the usual Gnome Desktop and quite a few applications from the Gnome bunch.

shashi@anacoluthon:~$ for p in `echo $PATH|sed 's/:/ /g'`; do find $p -type f|xargs grep -il zenity; done

Eh! Only two programs and that too zenity itself and a wrapper over zenity for backward compliance. It’s not much popular is it ? If it isn’t why don’t I remove it from my system ?

$ su -c 'apt-get remove zenity'

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
The following packages will be REMOVED:
gnome-desktop-environment zenity

uh! oh!! gnome-desktop-environment!!!??? WTF ? So, what dependencies does this package have ?

shashi@anacoluthon:~$ apt-cache rdepends zenity
Reverse Depends:



heh! heh!! So much for a core dependency. Should it be such a core dependency in the first place ?? Anyway it has it’s own place in the software trove.

An interesting tidbit about zenity. This was the first program I translated to Kannada way back in 2002-2003. But it never made it to the repository.

BTW, another interesting program: PySchoolClock

Redundancy and the Internet

In an interview with the Portfolio magazine, Nassim Nicholas Taleb says

Do you realize that we don’t understand globalization? Globalization increases Extremistan. That’s one problem with this Tom Friedman guy—he [the bestselling author of The World Is Flat, which argues the advantages of globalization in the internet age] didn’t seem to understand the very simple dynamics that globalization forces redundancy out of the system. And whenever you don’t have redundancy, you have Extremistan. Things are way too efficient, so the smallest mistake blows up. We depend so much on the internet. Tomorrow, if there’s a problem in Bangalore, we’re toast for a long time, you see?

I’m on a committee at the Pentagon, [the Highland Forum, a study group on risk] and one of the founders of the internet is on it and all these people understand that we need more redundancy in the system to avoid a second crisis that may come from the internet, because we don’t understand it.

And to think of it, the Internet was founded to provide redundancy in case of an emergency.

Life’s awesome :-D

All in a name!

In our company, we have this tradition of naming our computers (Linux desktops, servers, etc) on a particular theme. Now, our chosen theme is Captain Haddock‘s choicest swear words. So, while caterpillar is our file server, typhoon our gateway, anacoluthon my laptop, rapscallion, rhizopod, jellyfish, balderdash, etc make up the other desktops.

Recently we hired a VPS for hosting some of our services. This time, we wanted to break out of the now monotonous theme and name it differently. Hence, we organised a small contest for suggesting the names and these were the names our guys came up with:

dooradabetta, ಅಗಸ್ತ್ಯ , ನಕ್ಷತ್ರ, Gogglers, Picaroons, Cyclotron, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Barricade, Optimus Prime, Prithvi -, Vismaya -, Amulya – Priceless, Arnav – ocean/ sea, Avinash – indestructible, bushbetta, Bandana, Maya – As in Illusion(Virtual), Rudra, Swastika, Varuna, Ugrana (Storage in Kannada ), Taatvika, sanctimonia (Latin), recondo, commodo, munus, muneris, lorica, officium, servitium, tutus, latrocinium, bisibelebath, kalasa, Abayan, Yuga
Vajra, Sambath, jataayu

That’s a neat variety of suggestions and lots of original thinking too. Finally, after almost a month I’ve decided upon one amongst the above.

bisibelebath :-)

Well, not exactly! in a shortened form – bcube. So the hostname – bcube.informedia.in

Thanks to Kaladisvarane for the name. And to all others too.