Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all, if any, readers, no matter it is in winter or in summer at your location. :D

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

iocharset, deprecated option but might be of use

Thanks to various encoding systems which makes the world diverse.

First of all, this is extracted from manual from mount on Debian Linux
Mount options for ntfs
Character set to use when returning file names. Unlike VFAT,
NTFS suppresses names that contain unconvertible characters.

New name for the option earlier called iocharset.

utf8 Use UTF-8 for converting file names.

Typically, you don't need the iocharset option when you are using an UTF-8 locale. But when it comes that you have to transfer some ugly-named files to other systems that don't have an UTF-8 support (or when you can't turn it on, like on Windows), the iocharset option turns out useful. What I was doing recently is to transfer files from an old PC to a new laptop. The files are in an NTFS partition, but for some reason, the driver is used as a secondary HDD on a running Debian Linux, which means I can not unplug it or reboot to windows. The new laptop is running windows. To solve this problem is easy. Mount the NTFS partition and transfer files using scp. (Installation of scp clients on the laptop is necessary though). As my windows is using codepage 936 or GBK as default, mount the partition as follows
mount -t ntfs -o iocharset=cp936,umask=022 /dev/hdd1 /mnt/ntfspart
and that is all. And the command (pscp is a scp client from putty)
pscp -ls someone@someaddr:/some/dir
returned well formed results, which will makes me happy.

Note that you might mess up the file names on your NTFS partition when writing data using an incorrect codepage. Please make sure you know what you are doing before striking the enter/return key.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Separation of Users and Applications

Service - Separation of Users and Applications

In the very past, we bought a new computer, and then install the operating system and applications and start using it.

Recently, we bought computers with bundled applications, many of which unnecessary or unwelcome, and start to uninstall them and install what we really need and then start using it.

In the future, can we just buy a new computer and start using it right after?

Accept it or not, software upgrades fast, not slower than the double of power of CPU. We have new features every day, every hour, every minute. However, customers can not afford such upgrading expense. This is especially true when there are huge number of users, or the product is for general public. Instead of letting users dealing with complex and boring installations or upgrades, why not just let the talent computer engineers deal them more efficiently.

Internet and web service provides a possible way to separate customers from software applications. However, we don't care whether it is web based applications or not. And it is not likely that all applications will be web-based in the future. Hardware could only be replaced manually. However, software can be upgraded 'forever' with a connection to the cyberspace. No matter it is operating systems or not. Theoretically, a running process can even update itself.

Up till now, there is no OS that can get upgraded automatically without causing trouble and without human beings' interfere. Debian and Ubuntu are among the not-so-perfect ones. They are in so far the best ones. You can get your software upgraded with ease most of the time. Although they are still far from perfect.

Compared to web based applications, operating systems are far more complicated. One reason is that no matter how complex the web pages are, there is only one way to interact with them, i.e. through browsers or explorers, while a operating system has to deal with all kinds of devices as well as supporting various applications. Another reason is that there are existing standards for web pages or web services. This makes things easy and coherent.