Reaching out to others! Free & Open Source Software, Kannada, L10n, L18n Data Science, Cloud Computing & more…

Technology for Conserving Language: Presented at Kannada Sahitya Sammelana

81th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana (Jan 31st – 3rd Feb) happening here in Shravana Belagola, Hasana District, Karnataka. I was fortunate to have got invited to talk about Information technology for Language chaired by Dr. Chidananda Gowda. Dr. U.B Pavanaja and Ram Prakash H from Tachyon Technologies (Quillpad) presented on Kannada Wikipedia and Kannada OCR respectively.

In-spite of unavailability of technology solutions such as projector, internet connectivity etc., I could say we did our best to explain how technology can make difference to the way we look at language and how we can work together to save from reaching extinction.

Here are my slides in which I have tried to explain challenges of Kannada Language survival and solutions explored, invented and developed by few of us. First few slides talk about the carvings found in our ancient sculptures and how Kannada Computing Expert Shri K.P Rao’s Kadamba & Chalukya Fonts helping us to be able to continue researching on these. His work around ‘Apara‘ font which helps the non-kannadiga’s or those who cannot read Kannada scripts to read Kannada in their own language was also an highlight.

Inaccessible sources of data, government websites, libraries and physical status of many archives across country were the source of inspiration to think of mirroring our literary treasure on Internet. Kannada Sanchaya projects such as Vachana Sanchaya, Samooha Sanchaya, Pustaka Sanchaya and others were highlighted to showcase why we need to ensure that the literature should be made available in internet using Unicode and other standards to enable the researchers, students and also common people to experience and continue researching on it forever.

I spoke about the support we got from FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and Free Culture which made the work around Kannada Sanchaya, Wikipedia etc. possible. I also recalled how FOSS helped us make digital libraries reachable/usable to common man. Samooha sanchaya had just done over a week to complete its first milestone of having transliterated 2252 books and the same books can be searched at directly in Kannada. “Fuel Project‘ (FUEL – Frequently used entries for localization) which helps us get the community consensus to standardize the localization efforts for language was mentioned how FOSS communities can set standards and also ensure the language projects can take the best out of the resources.

Mobile solutions built by many Kannada IT professionals, Google Transliteration and Guesture search app capability of identifying Kannada on Android, Mozilla Firefox browser and Firefox OS phone were also the highlights of my talk to help understand where we stand today with mobile technology. Also the work that needs more attention here on.

My talk ended with a highlight on the Open Knowledge initiatives, Wikipedia Contributions, Books re-licensed under creative commons by Government of Karnataka’s Cultural department, Niranrajan’s works by Tejaswini Niranjana, and Mysore University etc.

Kannada should never be on endangered language list and It is possible for us to enrich the language for next generation through knowledge sharing, collaboration and by motivating each other by acting responsibly.

Here are my slides in Kannada. Hope I have tried my best to summarize the entire talk in English for my other friends who can’t read and understand Kannada. I shall make my talk transcript available online shortly.

Thank you,

Wandering around Drupal 6.0

I had tried to work on Drupal even before jumping into WordPress for my blog. But never got it working as per my requirement due to time constraints. At last, I have made an another attempt to install drupal 6.0 on a subdomain of mine to see how I could get most out of it. Installation is quite simple. Worked with roles etc. Still there is lot more to hack. Here is how my test drupal installation looks.


I shall keep you all posted about my wanderings around drupal here at platonic.

Richard Stallman on Hacking

What is hacking? Who is a hacker? What does he do? Where does it start from? Is he a bad guy? Why they called him bad?

There are lots of such questions in every ones mind on “Hacking”. Hacking is nothing but fun for those who like to show off their cleverness in various things which might or might not involve Computers.

Would you like to see what RMS (Richard Stallman) says about Hacking? Read this link.

The way in which he have put things infront of us is brilliant. Its fun reading.

Hacking BSNL EvDO on Linux

Evolution-Data Optimized or EvDO yet another wireless telecommunications technology to offer you better internet connectivity on the Go! It offers more mobility and advantages over your WiFi. Learn more about EvDO here.

I always wanted wireless connectivity which is cheap, affordable and reliable. Reliance and TATA Indicom did come out with various solutions with their CDMA products like PCMCIA card for laptop and then USB modules which can be plugged into any computer to gain access to internet. Now almost every one provides one or the other solutions for internet. I always enjoyed the internet on my laptop via reliance CDMA connection on my Nokia cell phones (6255 and 2112) and they were ok and better than the dial-up connections which I used to use at home. It was easy for me to configure the cell phones to work on Linux. Still it was very costly.

I found BSNL EvDO solution much affordable and I could make it work on my Dell M1210 which runs on Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon). It will just cost you 500 + tax every month and you have to give 1000 Rs as initial payment for the device. Once you have the device in your hand, you have unlimited access to internet 24×7. Depending on proximity and the line of sight to the tower EvDO device would give 2.4 MBPS connections. At present in Bangalore average connection speed is 144 kbps. 1X CDMA network towers are still evolving in various parts of the city. In near future we can expect a better connectivity and high bandwidth via these cute little devices which would match broadband speed.


Image by hpn :)

Lets see how I started using this device on my Linux distribution (You can follow the same steps to configure this device on any Linux distribution) :

Device : ZTE EV-DO AC8700 800M

Product Vendor : Qualcomm, Inc.

1) Insert the EvDO device into USB port

2) Check whether the device is getting detected on your system or not. You can issue the following command in console :

#sudo tail -f /var/log/messages

This will result in following messages if the device is detected

Mar 4 09:27:42 techfiz kernel: [ 8251.024000] usb 4-1: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
Mar 4 09:27:42 techfiz kernel: [ 8251.028000] usbserial_generic 4-1:1.0: generic converter detected
Mar 4 09:27:42 techfiz kernel: [ 8251.028000] usb 4-1: generic converter now attached to ttyUSB0

In the above lines ttyUSB0 is the device file for your modem. This file gets created automatically if the required modules are available. Else you will see some error messages.

Note :You might face an issue while activating this device on Ubuntu 7.04 and 7.10 as there have made some modifications to the USB serial device mappings. To resolve this issue, edit the file /etc/init.d/

Find the function do_start () and ensure that you have all the following lines.

# Magic to make /proc/bus/usb work
mkdir -p /dev/bus/usb/.usbfs
domount usbfs "" /dev/bus/usb/.usbfs -obusmode=0700,devmode=0600,listmode=0644
ln -s .usbfs/devices /dev/bus/usb/devices
mount --rbind /dev/bus/usb /proc/bus/usb

The complete function looks like this

do_start () {
# Mount a tmpfs on /dev/shm
[ "${SHM_SIZE:=$TMPFS_SIZE}" ] && SHM_OPT=”-osize=$SHM_SIZE”
domount tmpfs shmfs /dev/shm $SHM_OPT

# Mount /dev/pts. Create master ptmx node if needed.
domount devpts “” /dev/pts -ogid=$TTYGRP,mode=$TTYMODE

# Magic to make /proc/bus/usb work
mkdir -p /dev/bus/usb/.usbfs
domount usbfs “” /dev/bus/usb/.usbfs -obusmode=0700,devmode=0600,listmode=0644
ln -s .usbfs/devices /dev/bus/usb/devices
mount –rbind /dev/bus/usb /proc/bus/usb

The above change creates a file called /proc/bus/usb/.usbfs/devices which is missing in the new Ubuntu releases.

After making these changes run /etc/init.d/ restart at consoel or restart system before continuing with the other steps.

4) Now, your system can easily identify the new USB device which you have inserted into your PC. You can confirm this by running lsusb command.

# lsusb
Bus 005 Device 004: ID 046d:08c6 Logitech, Inc.
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 004 Device 027: ID 05c6:6000 Qualcomm, Inc.
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 002 Device 003: ID 413c:8126 Dell Computer Corp.
Bus 002 Device 004: ID 0a5c:4502 Broadcom Corp.
Bus 002 Device 005: ID 0a5c:4503 Broadcom Corp.
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 0a5c:4500 Broadcom Corp.
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 046d:c50e Logitech, Inc. MX-1000 Cordless Mouse Receiver
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

Here Bus 004 Device 027: ID 05c6:6000 Qualcomm, Inc. is the new device which started showing up for me on my laptop.

5) Your Linux kernel need to know which company’s driver need to be used with device. Most of the new kernels comes with the Qualcomm drivers inbuilt. Else you need to insert the driver module into your kernel.

Run this at the console to activate the module based on the vendor id and product id (You can find them in the previous step ID 05c6:6000. As we need to pass these numbers in hex format, I’m adding 0x).

# modprobe usbserial vendor=0x05c6 product=0x6000

(Goto step 2 and check if your USB device gets detected or not. You can even try replugging your USB device)

PS : You can permanently add this line to ensure that the module gets loaded to your kernel each time you restart your system by adding the following line into /etc/modules

usbserial vendor=0×05c6 product=0×6000

Finally you must get the following output, showing the Vendor name, ID, Device id , Device Bus used by your kernel to interact with the device.

#lsusb -v | grep Qualcomm
Bus 004 Device 022: ID 05c6:6000 Qualcomm, Inc.
idVendor 0×05c6 Qualcomm, Inc.

Now, your Linux PC is capable of creating the device files /dev/ttyUSB0 automatically without any issues.

6) Now its time for us to create the dialup profile. Its so simple with “wvdialconf” command.

#wvdialconf /etc/wvdial.conf

This creates a file called /etc/wvdial.conf with following output :

# wvdialconf /etc/wvdial.conf
Writing `/etc/wvdial.conf’.

Scanning your serial ports for a modem.

Modem Port Scan<*1>: S0 S1 S2 S3
WvModem<*1>: Cannot get information for serial port.
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 Z — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0 — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: Modem Identifier: ATI — Manufacturer: QUALCOMM INCORPORATED
ttyUSB0<*1>: Speed 4800: AT — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: Speed 9600: AT — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: Speed 19200: AT — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: Speed 38400: AT — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: Speed 57600: AT — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: Speed 115200: AT — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: Speed 230400: AT — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: Speed 460800: AT — OK
ttyUSB0<*1>: Max speed is 460800; that should be safe.
ttyUSB0<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0 — OK
WvModem<*1>: Cannot get information for serial port.
ttyUSB1<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 — failed with 2400 baud, next try: 9600 baud
ttyUSB1<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 — failed with 9600 baud, next try: 115200 baud
ttyUSB1<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 — and failed too at 115200, giving up.
WvModem<*1>: Cannot get information for serial port.
ttyUSB2<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 — failed with 2400 baud, next try: 9600 baud
ttyUSB2<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 — failed with 9600 baud, next try: 115200 baud
ttyUSB2<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 — and failed too at 115200, giving up.

Found a modem on /dev/ttyUSB0.
/etc/wvdial.conf: Can’t open ‘/etc/wvdial.conf’ for reading: No such file or directory
/etc/wvdial.conf: …starting with blank configuration.
Modem configuration written to /etc/wvdial.conf.
ttyUSB0: Speed 460800; init “ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0″

Your /etc/wvdial.conf will have the following entries.

# cat /etc/wvdial.conf

[Dialer Defaults]
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Modem Type = Analog Modem
; Phone =
ISDN = 0
; Username =
Init1 = ATZ
; Password =
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
Baud = 460800

Change the target phone no. to #777 and Username and password need to be set to the EVDO number provided by BSNL.

And you require an another magical line added to this file. i.e.

Stupid Mode = 1

More about Stupid Mode (from man pages):

When wvdial is in Stupid Mode, it does not attempt to interpret any prompts from the terminal server. It starts pppd immediately after the modem connects. Apparently there are ISP’s that actually give you a login prompt, but work only if you start PPP, rather than logging in. Go figure. Stupid Mode is (naturally) disabled by default.

Your /etc/wvdial.conf should look like this :

[Dialer Defaults]
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Modem Type = Analog Modem
ISDN = 0
Phone = #777
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
Username = 22222222
Password = 22222222
Baud = 460800
Stupid Mode = 1

22222222 is just an example id, replace this with your EvDO number.

7) You’re all set to get connected now. just execute the following command again at the console

# wvdial

output :

# wvdial
WvDial<*1>: WvDial: Internet dialer version 1.56
WvModem<*1>: Cannot get information for serial port.
WvDial<*1>: Initializing modem.
WvDial<*1>: Sending: ATZ
WvDial Modem<*1>: ATZ
WvDial Modem<*1>: OK
WvDial<*1>: Sending: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
WvDial Modem<*1>: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
WvDial Modem<*1>: OK
WvDial<*1>: Modem initialized.
WvDial<*1>: Sending: ATDT#777
WvDial<*1>: Waiting for carrier.
WvDial Modem<*1>: ATDT#777
WvDial Modem<*1>: CONNECT
WvDial<*1>: Carrier detected. Starting PPP immediately.
WvDial: Starting pppd at Tue Mar 4 16:26:53 2008
WvDial: Pid of pppd: 14536
WvDial<*1>: Using interface ppp0
WvDial<*1>: pppd: ��[06][08]��[06][08]
WvDial<*1>: pppd: ��[06][08]��[06][08]
WvDial<*1>: pppd: ��[06][08]��[06][08]
WvDial<*1>: pppd: ��[06][08]��[06][08]
WvDial<*1>: pppd: ��[06][08]��[06][08]
WvDial<*1>: pppd: ��[06][08]��[06][08]
WvDial<*1>: pppd: ��[06][08]��[06][08]
WvDial<*1>: local IP address
WvDial<*1>: pppd: ��[06][08]��[06][08]
WvDial<*1>: remote IP address
WvDial<*1>: pppd: ��[06][08]��[06][08]
WvDial<*1>: primary DNS address
WvDial<*1>: pppd: ��[06][08]��[06][08]
WvDial<*1>: secondary DNS address
WvDial<*1>: pppd: ��[06][08]��[06][08]

There should be a smile at your face after looking at it as you’re connected to internet. Start browsing unlimited.

7) To terminate the connection issue CTRL + C command and then remove EvDO device.

Note: If you still love windows, you have a bad news. BSNL does not provide you with the Windows Vista drivers for this device. I haven’t found one so far even for testing it.

You have just hacked into Linux to make a device work. Isn’t it fun.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment on it. I shall help you understand it better.