Monday, 28 May 2007

Linux Saves Windows's Day

Last week my friend came to me with his Acer Aspire. Apparently his room mate had formatted his machine and installed a pirated copy of Windows XP and had also forgotten the password for it.

My friend requested me to install the original copy of Windows Media Centre back on it and restore it to the original state. He was told that all the partitions have been deleted.

I could not find any easy way around it by his descriptions. Even if the rescue partition existed there was no easy way to get to it as the Bootloader had been changed. He wanted me to create the rescue disk from another Aspire system to be used on his machine. But the problem was the other machine had some kind of grudges towards blank disks. It would simply spit it out randomly.

So I popped in a Ubuntu Fiesty that I had recently ordered for free. After the GUI launched I started the Terminal.(I am a shell nerd)
I used fdisk [sudo fdisk /dev/hda] to identify the partition structure.(I wont explain any commands in detail here but that would be pretty easy to figure out even for a first timer) There were 3 partitions. Two FAT32s and 1 NTFS. The second FAT32 was marked as bootable. I figured out that the first definitely is the rescue partition, so i toggled the bootable flag on both the first and second partition. So effectively the first partition was made bootable.

Now I rebooted the machine and let it boot thru the hard disk. As I had hoped the rescue wizard started. I rejoiced and sarcastically teased my friend. "Look to save your Windows I am using Linux"

After the rescue wizard was completed it was time for the machine to reboot. But the machine rebooted back into the rescue mode. I guessed what was wrong and again used Ubuntu to toggle the bootable flag on the first two partitions.

The final reboot allowed the Windows partiton to start with the Windows final setup screens with the EULA and all.

Nevertheless Linux Saved Windows Day. :P

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Software Patent Violations

i read a post on that quoted that Microsoft is blaming Linux of infringing it's software patents, 235 of those. and it turned out they are only giving numbers claiming violations, but is not ready to tell exactly what is being violated.

Made me just remember the SCO controversy where SCO was claiming Linux used code from UNIX. Microsoft seems to walking on the same path.

Microsoft has already lost its battle on the Internet front to the giant Google. Google even started an online Office Suite. Although it is very far from MS Office, it is a full fledged Office suite waiting for more features to come in.

On the OS front, Linux was already gaining more and more control on the server segment. And more recently with Ubuntu and Novell SuSE and more notably the XGL interface is making even Microsoft's much talked of OS, Vista look naive. Vista offers just a fraction of the eye candy that XGL can offer. To add to it XGL runs on much lesser configuration than what a Vista demands.

So all Microsoft can do is fight back in retaliation. But it wont describe what Linux is violating, something that we all want to know. something that can allow the Linux developers to change the so called copyright infringement scenario. We can develop workarounds only if you tell where your infringed code lies.

I would believe there is much less chance of Linux violating copyrights than there is of Microsoft violating them. The Linux code is open for all. Anyone can view it, review it, dissect it, analyze it, tear it apart to evey bit and point out for themselves what is being violated. But as for microsoft, the code is closed. You are not allowed to dissect it, no access to source code. End of story.

So there is much higher chance of Microsfot copying a lot of code from the open source community to implement in its own product and still release its own product in closed source, thus violating the GNU GPL.

By all means, Microsoft is just bluffing about it's software patents. After all it has to remind people that they still are in business..