webm support for fedora 13

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:29 pm by Pirate Praveen

It feels great to announce webm support for fedora 13 on the day of its release!

For the impatient download my repo file

First of all congratulations to Google for releasing VP8 codec as Free Software. VP8 and Vorbis in a customised Matroska container means webm and royalty-free multimedia on the web. Thanks to lardbucket for his step by step guide to building ffmpeg with webm/vp8 patches. Even though I was able to build x264, libvpx and ffmpeg easily, packaging it was not as easy as I imagined. x264 was pretty straight forward, I took spec file file from existing package. libvpx was tougher as it was not creating a shared library by default. But Tom “spot” Callaway had already worked on it and found a solution. Now the toughest was ffmpeg. It took quite a while to get all the patches to apply and fix incompatibilities between the patches Google provided and those accepted by ffmpeg. Finally I found out the secret sauce and you have the fedora 13 packages. If I’m correct this is the first GNU/Linux packages available for webm desktop support.

Once you have ffmpeg install

ffmpeg -i source .any target .webm
ffplay -f webm target .webm

Somehow ffplay is not able to recognise webm format without -f webm option. I have provided a sample webm created with this ffmpeg here. I converted a 12MB mp4 video to 7.7MB webm video. I thought running a browser with webm support would enable watching it directly. But both Chrome and Opera builds with webm support could not play it 🙁 Chrome offered to download it, which ffplay played, but Opera just showed the contents. Hopefully these will be ironed out by a stable release. I could not try firefox as they don’t provide a 64 bit version. If someone at Mozilla is listening, I would tell them to offer 64 bit downloads, because they might lose some of of their impatient users on 64 bit to Chrome or Opera.

Update: I had to move the repo from people.fedoraproject.org to j4v4m4n.in because of legal issues (fedora cannot host ffmpeg or x264). Thanks to Rex Dieter for bringing this to my notice. I want to say sorry to fedora admin folks to have caused this trouble.


Will P Chidambaram keep his word?

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:13 am by Pirate Praveen

“I was the first minister to propose that either this act should be amended or repealed” – P Chidambaram about Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 or AFSPA.

“Consensus is needed for that and different political parties have different views on the issue but I am working on that,” he added.

Will he act on his own proposal?

The agencies that recommended to repeal this draconian law

  • The Manipur Human Rights Commission
  • Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy Commission
  • Administrative Reforms Commission
  • UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination

But people of Manipur and other 7 North-Eastern states are still under this military rule. Manipur’s Iron Lady Irom Sharmila is on hunger strike for repealing AFSPA since 3rd November 2000.

Sharmila Irom, a young woman from the Indian state of Manipur, has not eaten for almost 10 years. She is too angry to eat, too upset, too disgusted by the violence that surrounds her, too disturbed by her helplessness to do anything about it. She is hungry for justice, not for food.

So, three times a day for the past decade, two nurses have poured a liquified mixture of vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and laxatives into a plastic feeding-tube, which enters her nose, attached by a grubby piece of white tape. Initially this force-feeding was uncomfortable, but now she no longer feels a thing. – Andrew Buncombe, The Independent


Sharmila Irom stopped eating on 3 November 2000. The previous day, 10 people waiting for a bus at the village of Malom on the outskirts of Imphal, had been shot dead by a unit of paramilitaries belonging to the Assam Rifles.

Earlier, insurgents had attacked the paramilitaries’ base. There was nothing to suggest that any of the 10 people, aged from 18 to 60, were in any way linked to the insurgents, but the paramilitaries simply wanted revenge. It was nothing less than an execution of innocents.

Today, the bus stop has been transformed into a small memorial, sitting among the quiet rice fields and surrounded by mountains, with the names of the victims inscribed on a white block. Nimai Tsokchom, a farmer, lives in a shack opposite.

He had a fever and was lying in bed when the paramilitaries struck. “The paramilitaries came inside and I was badly beaten,” he remembers.

Sharmila, the youngest of five brothers and four sisters, was deeply disturbed by the killings. The following day she spoke with her mother, ate some food her mother had prepared and – having asked for her blessing – announced that she was launching a fast.

Sharmila had always been different to other young women, say her family. She had just two or three friends, she scorned the use of make-up and channelled much of her energy into journalism and poetry. She read the Bible, the Koran and Hindu texts. When she was born, her mother had been unable to breast-feed so one of her brothers took her to other local women with newborn children who would act as wet nurses. The deal was that the brother did the women’s chores while they fed his baby sister.

After she announced her fast, the family were unsure what would happen, but they knew they could not dissuade her. It was then that Sharmila and her mother decided they could no longer see each other.

“If I meet with her, she might lose her courage,” says Sharmila’s mother, Shakhi Devi, huddled over a steel bucket of glowing embers at the family’s simple home, less than a mile from the hospital where her daughter is detained. “So I will not meet her unless she gets her wish. I will meet her after getting our demand.”

The authorities – unsure how to respond to Sharmila’s actions – arrested her and charged her with attempted suicide, an offence for which she can only be jailed for a year. As a result, since late 2000, Sharmila has been repeatedly detained, force-fed and then set free for a day before being re-arrested.

All this time, she has not eaten or drunk a thing, nor washed her hair, which is now matted and twisted. Her fast has caused her to stop menstruating, while some reports say her internal organs have been damaged. She uses dry cotton to wipe her teeth, insistent that water will not pass her lips. Held in a shabby, peeling room that measures 20ft by 12ft, she spends her days reading books, newspapers and letters from well-wishers. She sometimes does yoga. She has made cardboard models from a kit of famous structures of the world, among them the Empire State Building and London Bridge. – Andrew Buncombe, The Independent

How to silence a silent protest?

How to silence a silent protest?

Now Khuman Leima, president of International Manipur Mother’s Association, is on a silent strike for the same cause.

“I began my silent protest after seeking the blessings of god. If the act is repealed, I will end my silent protest. If the act is not repealed during my lifetime, I will die keeping mum,” she wrote while starting her protest.

How long can the government remain silent towards the peaceful non-violent protests?


A group of cultural activists from the State of Kerala are undertaking a peace march to Imphal to express solidarity with Irom Sharmila from May 8 2010 to May 27 2010. A 13-member team led by social activist Civic Ramachandran, writer Sara Joseph and Gandhian Suresh George started the march to mark the centenary of publication of Mahatma Gandhi’s seminal work “Hind Swaraj” that advocated Indian Home Rule in 1909. More about their stop at Pune from Sakaal TImes and at Vijayawada from The Hindu.

It now the duty of every Indian who believes in our constitution and its promise of equal justice to everyone to put pressure on this government and make it follow its own promise to repeal this draconian law real.



Posted in Society at 4:01 pm by Pirate Praveen




Look at me walking to the gallows:

In ten minutes, my dreamles head

will be severed from my desireless body.


I have listened to my victim’s blood

scream for my love.

I have longed to kneel

to his family and friends,

longed to weep hugging

the mango trees on his courtyard,

to roll in that sand and ask for

mother earth’s pardon


Then I would return to

the half-eaten fruit and

the half-sung song,

to the half-built house

and the half-read book,

to the half- loved love and

the half- lived life.

I would cross the river

to be at the festival in the temple,

cross the hill to be

at the church for Christmas.

I would board the crowded bus

to go to town and tell my friends,

‘Look, I have come.’


I had longed to see my daughter

grow up into a free woman,

my son into a man who can weep.


I had more dreams than memories

like a flame-of-the-forest in summer

with more flowers than leaves.


I am no Sheharazade who can

postpone death telling tales.

The tree of tales has shed its leaves

To become  this gnarled tree of death.


They asked me if I had a last wish.

I didn’t tell them I wanted to be

a hare, its ears aloft on the meadow,

a squirrel talking from the jackfruit  tree,

a bird held on a rainbow,the river

of posterity and the spring wind.


The sweet they offered me was bitter , like death,

a bitterness with a cat’s eyes

that will survive the gallows.


Tell me law -givers,

tell me, judges of men,

don’t you regret this sentence

that renders even regret redundant?

What is the distance

from the hot logic of homicide

to the cold logic of hanging?


I leave the questions on the ever green earth

and  go along this worn passage

weary  with the blood

of the guity and the guiltless,

of murderers and martyrs.

Let none have to tread this path tomorrow.

Let there be



( Translated from the Malayalam by the poet )


Pizza Hut under UID Raj

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:06 am by Pirate Praveen

Operator : “Thank you for calling Pizza Hut . May I have your…”

Customer: “Heloo, can I order..”

Operator : “Can I have your multi purpose ID card number first, Sir?”

Customer: “It’s……., hold……….on……889861356102049998-45-54610”

Operator : “OK… You’re… Mr Singh and you’re calling from 17 Jal Vayu. Your home number is 22678893, your office 25076666 and your mobile is 09869798888. Which number are you calling from now Sir?”

Customer: “Home! How did you get all my phone numbers?

Operator : “We are connected to the system Sir”

Customer: “May I order your Seafood Pizza…”

Operator : “That’s not a good idea Sir”

Customer: “How come?”

Operator : “According to your medical records, you have high blood pressure and even higher cholesterol level Sir”

Customer: “What?… What do you recommend then?”

Operator : “Try our Low Fat Pizza. You’ll like it”

Customer: “How do you know for sure?”

Operator : “You borrowed a book entitled “Popular Dishes” from the National Library last week Sir”

Customer: “OK I give up… Give me three family size ones then, how much will that cost?”

Operator : “That should be enough for your family of 05, Sir. The total is Rs 500.00”

Customer: “Can I pay by! Credit card?”

Operator : “I’m afraid you have to pay us cash, Sir. Your credit card is over the limit and you owe your bank Rs 23,000.75 since October last year. That’s not including the late payment charges on your housing loan, Sir..”

Customer: “I guess I have to run to the neighbourhood ATM and withdraw some cash before your guy arrives”

Operator : “You can’t Sir. Based on the records, you’ve reached your daily limit on machine withdrawal today”

Customer: “Never mind just send the pizzas, I’ll have the cash ready. How long is it gonna take anyway?”

Operator : “About 45 minutes Sir, but if you can’t wait you can always come and collect it on your Nano Car…”

Customer: ” What!”

Operator : “According to the details in system ,you own a Nano car,…registration number GZ-05-AB-1107..”

Customer: ” ????”

Operator : “Is there anything else Sir?”

Customer: “Nothing…. By the way… Aren’t you giving me that 3 free bottles of cola as advertised?”

Operator : “We normally would Sir, but based on your records you’re also diabetic……. ”

Customer: #$$^%&$@$% ^

Operator : “Better watch your language Sir.. Remember on 15th July 2010 you were convicted of using abusive language on a policeman…?”

Customer: [Faints]

[Courtesy: An email forward in a discussion group]