Minidebconf Mangalore day -0 part -3

This post attempts to continue chronicling the minidebconf mangalore day 0. Mind you it will be a bit longish as I would also be attempting to chronicle stuff I had pending for sometime in here as well as some update news.

First of all I am furious with myself as to why I forgot about writing about e4defrag. This is an online defragmenter which became part of linux 3.0 kernels. I had ranted about the absence of an online defragment tool about a year back. IIRC the last time GNU/Linux had online defragmentation tools was in ext2 or even before that, that’s roughly 5+ years back.

Anyways,e4defrag is bundled within the e2fsprogs package. On my system that’s :-

$ dpkg -l e2fsprogs
| Status=Not/Inst/Conf-files/Unpacked/halF-conf/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend
|/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name Version Description
ii e2fsprogs 1.42~WIP-2011-11-20-1 ext2/ext3/ext4 file system utilities

Read the man page and running it as simple as saying :-

$ sudo e2freefrag /home
[sudo] password for shirish:
/home: Attempt to read block from filesystem resulted in short read while opening filesystem
20:23:28 shirish@deb-home: ~$ man e2freefrag
20:24:10 shirish@deb-home: ~$ sudo e4defrag -c /home
now/best size/ext
1. /home/shirish/.mozilla/firefox/pqns2gaa.default/content-prefs.sqlite
12/1 4 KB
2. /home/shirish/.purple/logs/irc/
11/1 4 KB
3. /home/shirish/.ICEauthority 11/1 4 KB
4. /home/shirish/.mozilla/firefox/pqns2gaa.default/signons.sqlite
10/1 4 KB
5. /home/shirish/.purple/logs/irc/
8/1 4 KB

Total/best extents 75178/62223
Average size per extent 476 KB
Fragmentation score 1
[0-30 no problem: 31-55 a little bit fragmented: 56- needs defrag]
This directory (/home) does not need defragmentation.

The manpage for e4defrag illustrates best what the -c switch does :-

-c Get a current fragmentation count and an ideal fragmentation count, and calculate fragmentation score based on them. By seeing this score, we can determine whether we should execute e4defrag to target. When used with -v option, the current fragmentation count and the ideal fragmentation count are printed for each file.

Also this option outputs the average data size in one extent. If you see it, you’ll find the file has ideal extents or not.Note that the maximum extent size is 131072KB in ext4 filesystem (if block size is 4KB).

If this option is specified, target is never defragmented.

So, now there is an online defragmenter. I’m sure that sooner or later better tutorials and ways about doing things will come up but at least we have an online defragmenter. I would leave the filesystem gurus to tell/share with us the best way to go forward.

Another big change that happened this week-end was the change in GNOME 3.2 . One of the updates, most probably the mesa updates made the transition to GNOME 3/3.2 complete, now not possible to have anything on the bars and only things you can have it in favorites. I had a bottom bar and a left vertical bar both of which are now gone and I’m left with this :-

My GNOME 3.2 Debian unstable snapshot

I’m sure people have already made some tweaks which I would also unravel in few days. I don’t really like blank and bland displays while knowing that some people would find this look cool, I don’t. But that’s that.

Anyways, now coming back to the Minidebconf Mangalore Day 0, after Jonas’s talk it was turn for yours truly. The talk was about ‘Free Culture‘ which is an amalgamation of two abstract notions, ‘free’ and ‘culture’ . When I was given the topic I had problems because there is just so much that comes into it, culture is everything, right from copyright to patents to whatever we do, all existence (human and otherwise) is culture, the problem here is to be able to choose content, let me explain.

Now I’ve a confession to make, I’m an old school dead-tree bibliophile, meaning one who loves to read books, not Ebooks but dead-tree books, the ones which you can feel on your hand and one you can curl to when you feel lonely and can get lost in alternative worlds for hours and days.

As a book-lover I had been seeing a slow disintegration of books and have been looking for answers. While the answers were not so forth-coming it seems crony capitalism, Copyright, lack of competition between publishers, lack of imagination, innovativeness from publishers, People’s attitudes have all lead to slow decline in publishing.Of the above, lack of competition between publishers especially English literature Publishers and the advent of copyright and the resulting higher price points and unavailability of books seem to be the main culprit. To add fuel to the fire, statistics about the Indian publishing industry are pretty hard to come by, at least in public domain.

The problem is/was that many of the changes in the Copyright Act happened in the U.S. where people are perhaps a bit more vocal about personal liberty and rights, values so lot of this play happened in the U.S. In India there is a surprising lack of debate about copyright except if you are a lawyer, law student, a publisher or somebody with a vested interest. I just found that whole thing disgusting and was wanting to put up the issues with the whole U.S. angle on them. And one talks/shares about copyright it normally leads to sharing about Patents and all which are simply two sides of the same coin. The problem for me was these were college students, would the concerns I have would be felt by them as well ? I had no idea. To add to my own sense of unease and confusion I had been thinking of showcasing Nina Paley‘s production of ‘Sita sings the Blues‘ which has some real nice 60’s blues. Nina has been pretty upfront about her costs and the costs of the songs which make it for an interesting debate as well. In the end I decided to not showcase it at all due to two things, one the length of the movie is a bit long (1 hr. 30 minutes or so IIRC) and secondly it has some very strong women-lib issues. With the whole recent Ramanujan controversy about the 300 Ramayanas topic maybe thought it was best not to mention it all.

Yours truly sharing some point on free culture

Anyways, with all the above thoughts,confusions and deliberations made a contrived smallish presentation. In all honesty and humility I knew people would perhaps be not so interested as I was given around lunch hour and I know its difficult even if its an interesting topic how one feels around lunch hour, and this was one of those ‘soft power’ kinda topics.

Anyways, did my talk, had lunch in the college canteen and came back to find Christian talking about key sharing party (Web of Trust) going on. For the first time I saw someone critically examining an College ID and some other self-identity tools that people had. Lot of people were clueless about the whole keysigning thing so me, Praveen, Kartik, Pavi and the whole team took turns using analogies to try to explain why keysigning and keysharing is important and why its important for some more than others.

Well, that’s it for this session, there would be a short post which rounds day 0 in few days.


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