Linux Day of Haifux
There was a Linux day this Wednesday organized by Haifux at the Technion.
It involved an installation party, several instances of the
Basic Use lecture, and a presentation about Instant Messaging tools
I arrived at the morning with a ride given to me by Ofer Weisglass (who also
drove me back from the the first "Why Linux" lecture this year). On the way,
we talked about Linux and Open Source. I arrived there at about 10:15, and
had to go soon afterwards to a class until 12:20. Afterwards, I bought me
something small to eat, took a book out from the Dean Library, and went back
there. There were plenty of installers there, and most places were occupied
by installations in progress so I did not have much to do. I was able to
see Orr giving the Basic Use lecture, but not much besides. I eventually
volunteered to carry an extra screen from Alon's room to the hall
in the Student house were the insta-party took place. The screen was quite
heavy, and my hands have ached for a few days afterwards, but at least I
did something useful.
Then Chinese Food was served and I ate to my stomach's content. And then
I had a recitation to go to. After I returned, I was able to perform a few
installations. One of them had to be carried out in a limited space, so we
choose the minimal installation (that was still 3 GB). It was networked. Took
about an hour net. I almost forgot to set up a swap space - I'm getting a bit
rusty at these kind of things.
The next installation, was done on a computer without an Ethernet card and
so was installed from the CDs. The installation took about an hour and a half
on a P3 733 MHz computer with a fast CD-drive. (perhaps because of a slow
hard-disk). While the packages were installed, I talked with the lady for
which the system was installed, and told her about Linux, Unix and their
philosophy and gave her some basic concepts. The installation of the
updates was pre-empted after all the packages were installed, due to
the late hour.
In the party I met (again, I think) Etzion's Girlfriend, who designed the
covers for the CD. I heard her say something about the GIMP, and so approached
her asking what she meant. She said she really liked it when she used it, and
think it has a great potential. I told her I found it easier to use than
Photoshop. Still, the CD covers were designed in Windows on Photoshop. (but
I told her GIMP could run on Windows as well).
One of the installed computer came with a faulty CD-ROM drive and had
to be rebooted a lot for the CD to boot. This was quite annoying. At the
end of the evening, Emil (Kohn Dan) drove me home and we talked about the
usual things (Linux, the Technion, etc.). I arrived home at about 12:30.
All in all, it was a very nice day, with the usual overwhelming feeling
of insta-parties. There is an estimate that 40 installations were done.
I found the High-Speed digital systems course quite hard to understand
and counter-intuitive for me. So I switched courses to "Introduction to
Statistics" (of Industrial Eng.). The course seems OK so far: a lot
of Probability theory, with exercises that are not too hard. (but require
some research as I did not attend the previous classes)
Now, I'm studying Monday and Wednesday instead of Wednesday and Thursday.
kilmo is blogging again
kilmo is blogging again after the long time he's been in
South America. It's great reading his diary after all this time. kilmo,
TeX Problems (and their Solutions)
I tried to get the Hebrew fonts not to appear blurry when I convert
them to PDF and view them using Acrobat Reader. So, I followed the
instructions the kind people of the Haifux mailing list gave me and
downloaded the latest IvriTeX RP. It did not work at first, and
after I did something the Hebrew fonts did not appear at all.
Anxious to get it working (I had a homework to typeset and print), I started
researching the source of the problem. It was a dvips problem and I played
with the command lines it gave me until I found a command line argument to
gsftopk that could achieve it. But I could not tell dvips to use it.
Eventually, after a few failed attempts I was able to modify the file
/usr/share/texmf/web2c/updmap.cfg and add the map of the
culmus fonts of ivritex there. Then it worked like a charm and my documents
even look nicer than before.
The error message I got was:
kpathsea: Running mktexpk --mfmode ljfour --bdpi 8000 --mag 1+0/8000 --dpi
mktexpk: don't know how to create bitmap font for rdavid.
dvips: Font rdavid not found, characters will be left blank.
After I resolved the problem, the maintainer of the package told me that
I have to install the updmap-something package in the same directory as
it is needed for tetex version 1, and that will resolve the problem. (after
I resolved it manually). But it was not mentioned in the README, which also
said I should install a separate ivritex-Fonts package, which I was looking
for, for a long time. But everything is good now.
Next thing on my agenda: PDF table-of-contents.
The Mandrake 9.2 ISO files are available to the public. I downloaded them
yesterday, partly overnight, and today discovered that their md5sum don't
match, and the file size are too long by about a 100 MB. Must be a wget -c
rsync resolved the problem, but it took quite a long time to do so.
I read the recent interview with Linus Torvalds, which was
quite nice and entertaining. I also read Paul Graham's
Painters which was also nice. As for paperware, I
finished reading what I wanted out of "Writing Perl
Modules for CPAN" and began reading "Extending and Embedding Perl". So far, this book has a complicated feel
to it, as it covers the Perl 5 internal data-structures.
kilmo, thanks for the certification, and for the nice summary of the Linux Day. As for Computer Science vs. Software Engineering:
The Technion at the moment has a "Computer Science" department, and does not have a "Software Engineering" department. So, if you want to study programming, most people enroll either to CS, or to EE. From my impression,
few people enroll to Computer Science to study about the
theory behind Computer Science, and that exclusively. Normally, they would want to get a diploma that would qualify them as programmers, so they can later get better
jobs or better pays. There are exceptions, naturally, but
they are still the exception rather than the rule.
As for saying that CS is for Programming what Physics
is for Civil Engineering, I'm not sure this statement
is entirely correct. First of all, after reading "Hackers
and Painters", I'm not sure Programmers can be labeled
as "Software Engineers" so easily. Secondly, there is
an entire theory of civil engineering, and many people
research it. Ditto for Electrical Engineering. Civil Engineering uses only a small amount of the Theory of Physics, while the entire software body uses practically
most computer science out there.
I know Dijkstra said that "Computer Science is no more
about Computers than Astronomy is about Telescopes", and
I agree that it is partially true. But I think we
digress. I think that my claim that most Computer Science
students did not came to the Technion to study the CS theory can be easily confirmed.