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Master Foo and Unix December 25, 2008

Posted by razasayed in programming.
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The Unix operating system has been greatly influenced by the Zen philosophy . A “Koan” is a puzzling, often paradoxical statement or story, used in Zen Buddhism as an aid to meditation and a means of gaining spiritual awakening.The  Rootless Root has some wonderful unix koans which is a must read . These koans would help you find the way. And, if  you mock at them you’ll lose merit and be reborn as beasts or MCSE/MCSD/MCTS etc 😉 . Here are a couple of samples .

1. Master Foo and the Graphical User Interface

One evening, Master Foo and Nubi attended a gathering of programmers who had met to learn from each other. One of the programmers asked Nubi to what school he and his master belonged. Upon being told they were followers of the Great Way of Unix, the programmer grew scornful.
“The command-line tools of Unix are crude and backward”, he scoffed. “Modern, properly designed operating systems do everything through a graphical user interface”.
Master Foo said nothing, but pointed at the moon. A nearby dog began to bark at the master’s hand.
“I don’t understand you!” said the programmer.
Master Foo remained silent, and pointed at an image of the Buddha. Then he pointed at a window.
“What are you trying to tell me?” asked the programmer.
Master Foo pointed at the programmer’s head. Then he pointed at a rock.
“Why can’t you make yourself clear?” demanded the programmer.
Master Foo frowned thoughtfully, tapped the the programmer twice on the nose, and dropped him in a nearby trashcan.
As the programmer was attempting to extricate himself from the garbage, the dog wandered over and piddled on him.
At that moment, the programmer achieved enlightenment

Heres one more 🙂 . Master Foo and the Script Kiddie

A stranger from the land of Woot came to Master Foo as he was eating the morning meal with his students.
“I hear y00 are very l33t”, he said. “Pl33z teach m3 all y00 know”.
Master Foo’s students looked at each other, confused by the stranger’s barbarous language. Master Foo just smiled and replied: “You wish to learn the Way of Unix?”
“I want to b3 a wizard hax0r”, the stranger replied, “and 0wn ever3one’s b0xen”.
“I do not teach that Way”, replied Master Foo.
The stranger grew agitated. “D00d, y00 r nothing but a p0ser”, he said. “If y00 n00 anything, y00 wud t33ch m3”.
“There is a path”, said Master Foo, “that might bring you to wisdom”. The master scribbled an IP address on a piece of paper. “Cracking this box should pose you little difficulty, as its guardians are incompetent. Return and tell me what you find”.
The stranger bowed and left. Master Foo finished his meal.
Days passed, then months. The stranger was forgotten.
Years later, the stranger from the land of Woot returned.
“Damn you!” he said, “I cracked that box, and it was easy like you said. But I got busted by the FBI and thrown in jail”.
“Good”, said Master Foo. “You are ready for the next lesson”. He scribbled an IP address on another piece of paper and handed it to the stranger.
“Are you crazy?” the stranger yelled. “After what I’ve been through, I’m never going to break into a computer again!”
Master Foo smiled. “Here”, he said, “is the beginning of wisdom”.
On hearing this, the stranger was enlightened.

And finally for all the programmers out there, The Tao Of Programming is a must read !

Thus spake the master programmer:

“It is time for you to leave.”

Microsoft giving away free software ! November 20, 2008

Posted by razasayed in general.
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Its been quite a while since my last post . Have been busy with college projects and presentation stuff . Well, now here is something interesting i came across . Microsoft has started an initiative called “DreamSpark” , which aims towards giving students all over the globe access to Microsoft software like Visual Studio 2008 Professional edition , Expression Studio , Windows Server etc, which usually costs a lot of money, absolutely free ! .  Let me point out that these are not the “Express Editions” which anyways microsoft has made available for free download , but rather the commercial versions . Bill Gates recently visited IIT-Delhi , to launch the DreamSpark program in India .

Even though i love to hack on and am a big fan of GNU/Linux,  Im not “anti-MS” , like the people i talked about in my earlier post .  I absolutely hate getting into all those platform wars, and bitching about MS and all other crazy stuff like that . But still i was wondering about the “sudden interest” of Microsoft to give away its software tools to the student community for free .

I mean Microsoft is a company which has been around for a long time now, and why is it only now that Microsoft wants to give free access to its tools to the students ? . Is this because of the growing competition from FOSS , which has become a really strong alternative to the MS platform , and which gives people a lot of “freedom”, in the true sense of the word, to explore and innovate ? .

Well, i would prefer not to answer these questions myself ,and keep them open to interpretation . Readers however, are welcome to express their views in the comments . Again, no MS bashing please, just thoughtful and honest answers 🙂 .