Thoughts on Rails

Riding the Train of Thought

Archive for April 2005

Programming: FreeBSD Virtual Memory System

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The more I read about FreeBSD, the more I love it 🙂

It is good that I know already that my new OS project is actually of no practical use unless some really groundbreaking changes/optimizations/algorithms go into it, which is not my plan at the moment. I plan to make a simple toy OS.

Anyway, back to FreeBSD; I have been reading about it’s Virtual Memory Implementation. The article talks about the VM implemented in FreeBSD 4.x, we have 5.x Stable and 6.x in the making, imagine how ahead the FreeBSD hackers have gone!

The gist of the article (as I understood in a quick read) would be – FreeBSD is a mature OS, it has seen different times and has learnt a lot from them. It has not only learnt from it’s achievements, but also from its mistakes. Today, like since the first day, FreeBSD aims to make software that is beautiful to look at, from the human as well as machine’s point of view. Beautiful as in, it works beautifully. FreeBSD works better than other OSes almsot all of the time. It works even better under stress. FreeBSD is at the bleeding edge “technology” wise and it is still getting better.

The above summary has carefully avoided any technical details from creeping in – for the sake of simplicity!



Written by hiway

April 26, 2005 at 10:46 pm

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Photography: Clouds

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I haven’t received the batteries and charger yet… so the photography is still not up to it’s speed. I’m using an old charger that takes a while to charge the batteries. And I miss my spare set 😛

Okay! I have a few photos lined up… recently there have been a few odd rains. Odd because it’s supposed to be summer and there’s time for the rains to start! But I enjoy rains and clouds; so does my camera!

Cloudscape #1

Cloudscape #2

Cloudscape #3

Cloudscape #4

Written by hiway

April 26, 2005 at 9:40 am

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Software: TantrOS: Work has begun!

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Basic functions are being written and the minimal kernel capable of echoing typed characters should be ready within a few days. I mahev the most basic memcpy, strlen etc functions ready. I’ll be testing them and moving forward to next step.

Photography is on hold for a while – I forgot the spare batteries and the charger in Vasai, so until it reaches me here… I have not batteries. And no, regular batteries are no replacement!

Anyway, it’s been a looong day. I’ve been awake 22+ hours and that’s enough for today! Good night world.

Written by hiway

April 23, 2005 at 3:52 am

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What fortune has to say about giants…

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$ fortune
If I have seen farther than others, it is because 
I was standing on the shoulders of giants.
                -- Isaac Newton

In the sciences, we are now uniquely 
privileged to sit side by side
with the giants on whose shoulders we stand.
                -- Gerald Holton

If I have not seen as far as others, 
it is because giants were standing
on my shoulders.
                -- Hal Abelson

In computer science, we stand 
on each other's feet.
                -- Brian K. Reid


*cough* *cough* if you did not understand where exactly I got this from… you have not yet seen the fun side of UNIX 🙂 Fortune is a software, rather a standard software included in FreeBSD as well as other BSDs and the unix look-alikes.

Written by hiway

April 22, 2005 at 6:52 am

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Random Surf: The tzolkin 13 moon calendar

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Today I started off from SDF’s own list of pages, surfing one wave of sites after the other… came to one page that redirected me to a website that says “Lucid Dreaming for All” and from there found another interesting website about the tzolkin 13 moon calendar. This is a new way of keeping time, based on the ancient maya calendar. Here’s information about me based on the day I was born:

Lunar Moon day 10
Year of the White Self-Existing Wizard

kin 171: Blue Lunar Monkey
I Polarize in order to Play
Stabilizing Illusion
I seal the Process of Magic
With the Lunar tone of Challenge
I am guided by the power of Abundance


Disclaimer: I don’t endorse the above ideas; I am simply taking a look at them and pointing out that these websites exist.

Written by hiway

April 21, 2005 at 7:38 pm

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Making an Operating System

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Currently doing the most important thing – getting my knowledge upto date with the requirements of writing an OS.

Reading about pentium microprocessor and about OS concepts like job scheduling, memory management. Some of this was covered in the course of BSc. Computer Science – but what I learnt looks more like a big joke when compared to what the reality is.

Anyway, I’m learning, and learning fast. In a week’s time I should be upto the mark for startig to write my own basic kernel.

Currently I have the MOST basic kernel ready, it basically does nothing, just goes into an unending loop with a blank screen staring at me.

I must tell you – FreeBSD makes the BEST platform for playing around with things like making your own kernel!

First I tried using Windows (R) (C) (TM) (whatever). The tools needed to be downloaded right from the assembler and linker – nasm, ld to djgpp for gcc (C Compiler) support then downloaded and used Bochs, VMWare [trial] , Winimage [trial] to transfer the kernel binary to the floppy image and then booting it. It was a proper pain.

I realized my blunder and quickly booted into FreeBSD. I got everything, mdconfig (to mount floppy image as a directory) and all the other tools for assembling and compiling right there… ready for use! Since I had installed bochs previously, that too was ready to emulate my stupid kernel!

So now I have a good project directory set up with shell scripts that automate the mounting/unmounting process etc. And I’m happy as usual with my FreeBSD!

Oh by the way I’m not making the new OS to compete with FreeBSD… it’s just an adventure!

Written by hiway

April 19, 2005 at 5:26 pm

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Travel: Mission Accomplished… sort of!

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The work at Vasai is done, well almost – they still need to enter a few thousand addresses into the database before they can use it. and after it is done I’ll be visiting them to set up the workflow.

Anyway, apart from that it was a wonderful trip. I am amazed at the amount of visual treasure that little district has. I may be wrong when I call it ‘little’ but that’s the impression you get when you visit the place.

One funny thing I noted about the place is that when you ask for an address people simply say “go straight… it’s just ahead” now what puzzled me is that none of the roads in the suburbs are anything similar to “straight”. They are twisting and turning all the length! AND to add to the agony, they are forked every few miles… all but a straight road! Thanks to cellphone technology, we got timely instructions and reached the destination.

As usual, my Mom, with her great flower-sensing capabilities quickly pointed out this yellow hibiscus as we entered the campus of Jeevan Darshan Kendra.


I finished up the software installation… which was an experience in itself and went to the Vasai Fort (Read more: At the entrance of the fort the population of Palm trees was noticeabley high…


Fr. D’Britto, our host had arranged for a person to guide us around the place, he took us to this old Church (or the Cathedral – I’m a bit confused… will find out) – I think it was *outside* the fort… or was it inside? Well… this is what happens when you don’t take notes or have a voice recorder. Anyway…


This seems to be the only building in the area that has it’s roof intact! Later I was told that service is still held in this place… by the fishermen… these people are called as “koli” in Marathi Language. A walk around the place fetched me a few nice frames… here are a few:

Portugese Art and Architecture Passage Columns

This is a photo of a roofless building… I like the title “A window through time” for this one…

A Window Through Time

These green dates looked yummy but I wasn’t in a mood to try those.


On the way out, this boat looked interesting… I titled it “Dreams, split wide open”… imagining that this vessel must have been someone’s dream… now has reached this fate.

Dreams  - split wide open

A walk down to the “port” revealed these nice frames… a boat with the Tri-colour – the Indian flag.


Another man… looking into the distance at the receeding sunlight on the shore in front of us.

Goodbye! Another good day!

Later that day we were invited for dinner… it was very delicious and the hospitality was amazing! We called it a day and hit the sack. Next morning (today) it was a training session for the people who would be operating the software. 1 and a half hours spent nicely.

We left Vasai and while on our way back visited one of Mom’s aunts at Khandala. Khandala is a beautiful place… well known for it’s hills, waterfalls and good weather. Our destination was none other than Weekend Nursery 🙂 A very beautiful plant nursery, we met our relatives there and I went looking around for more nice shots:

Name that one! (because I don't know what it's called)

The next two photographs were shot in BRIGHT sunlight… I like the way it makes the colours liven up!

Gerbera in full afternoon light Lotus

Hmm… looking back at the title… I declare this one Mission Accomplished!

Written by hiway

April 17, 2005 at 12:30 am

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