07.20.14

കേരളീയത്തില്‍ വന്ന ശ്യാം ബാലകൃഷ്ണനുമായുള്ള അഭിമുഖം

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:18 pm by Pirate Praveen

സൂരജ് കേണോത്താണു് ആദ്യമായി ജൈവ കര്‍ഷകനായ ശ്യാമിനെ മാവോയിസ്റ്റെന്ന പേരില്‍ അറസ്റ്റ് ചെയ്തതായി എന്നോടു് പറഞ്ഞതു്. നമുക്കെന്തു് ചെയ്യാനാകും എന്ന ചര്‍ച്ചയില്‍ നിന്നാണു് ശ്യാമിനെ നേരിട്ടു് കാണാനും കുറച്ചു് ദിവസം അവരോടൊപ്പം വയനാട്ടില്‍ പോയി താമസിക്കാനും തീരുമാനിച്ചതു്.

ഏകലോക സര്‍വ്വകലാശാല

ശ്യാമും ഗീഥിയും താമസിക്കുന്ന വയനാട്ടിലെ നിരവില്‍പ്പുഴയിലെ വീടു്.

ഒരാഴ്ച അവിടെ താമസിക്കുകയും വളരെ രസകരമായ പല ചര്‍ച്ചകളും അന്വേഷണങ്ങളും നടന്നു. കാടും വിറകും വെട്ടുന്നതു് മുതല്‍ സ്റ്റീല്‍ വേലി അഴിച്ചു് വയ്ക്കുന്നതടക്കമുള്ള പല പണികളിലും ചെറുതായി സഹായിച്ചു. സ്വന്തം പാടത്തു് കൊയ്തെടുത്ത ഓണോട്ടന്‍ അരിയുടെ കഞ്ഞിയും പുട്ടും ഇഷ്ടം പോലെ തേങ്ങയിട്ട കടല-ചക്ക കറികളും മാങ്ങയും തുടങ്ങി ഭക്ഷണം കേമമായിരുന്നു.

ശ്യാമിന്റെ മുറിവു് കെട്ടുന്ന ഗീഥി

ശ്യാമിന്റെ മുറിവു് കെട്ടുന്ന ഗീഥി

അടുത്തുള്ള പുഴയിലെ കുളിയും വെനല്‍ക്കാലത്തും പുതച്ചു്കിടന്നുറങ്ങാന്‍ പറ്റിയ തണുപ്പും സൌരോര്‍ജ്ജം ഉപയോഗിച്ചു് ഊര്‍ജ്ജസ്വയംപര്യാപ്തതതയും നവലോകസൃഷ്ടിയുടെ സ്വപ്നങ്ങളും വീണ്ടും അവിടെ ചെല്ലാനായി മടി വിളിക്കുന്നു.

അഭിമുഖത്തിനു് ആമുഖമായി ശ്യാം അയച്ച ഈമെയില്‍ താഴെ.

പ്രിയ മിത്രമേ,

കഴിഞ്ഞ മെയ്മാസം 20നു, വടക്കേ വയനാട് താമസിക്കുന്ന എന്നെ
മാവോയിസ്റ്റാണെന്ന പേരില്‍ പോലീസ് നടുറോഡില്‍ വെച്ചു കസ്റ്റഡിയില്‍
എടുത്തിരുന്നു. തുടര്‍ന്ന് അന്ന് അര്‍ദ്ധരാത്രിവരെ മുപ്പതോളം പോലീസുകാരും
തണ്ടര്‍ ബോള്‍ട്ട് സൈനീകരും ചേര്‍ന്ന് ഞാന്‍ താമസിക്കുന്ന വീട്
പരിശോധിക്കുകയും അകാരണമായി എന്റെ മൊബൈലും ലാപ്ടോപ്പും കസ്റ്റഡിയില്‍
എടുക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു. അതിനടുത്ത ദിവസവും രണ്ടു ഡി.വൈ.എസ്.പി.മാര്‍ തുടര്‍
അന്വേഷണത്തിനായി വീട്ടില്‍ വന്നിരുന്നു. ഒരു പക്ഷെ, ഈ വിവരങ്ങള്‍
സുഹൃത്ത് ഇതിനോടകം അറിഞ്ഞിട്ടുണ്ടാകാം.

ഇന്ത്യയില്‍ ഒട്ടാകെ അരങ്ങേറുന്ന പല പോലീസ്-സൈനീക നടപടികളുടെ ഭീകരതയുമായി
താരതമ്യം ചെയ്യുമ്പോള്‍ മേല്‍വിവരിച്ചത് അങ്ങേയറ്റം നിസ്സാരമായ സംഭവമാണ്;
എങ്കിലും വല്ലാതെ രൂക്ഷമാകുന്ന ഒരു പ്രതിസന്ധിയുടെ ലക്ഷണവുമാണത്. ഈ
സാഹചര്യത്തെ മാറ്റിത്തീര്‍ക്കുവാനുള്ള ഒരുപാട് പരിശ്രമങ്ങള്‍
നടക്കുന്നുണ്ട്; മുഖ്യധാരയിലും അല്ലാതെയും. എങ്കിലും, വൈവിധ്യമാര്‍ന്ന
പശ്ചാത്തലമുള്ള മനുഷ്യരാശിയുടെ ജീവിതഭാവനകളെ സ്വാധിനിക്കാനും
പ്രചോദിപ്പിക്കാനും കഴിയുന്ന, ചിന്നിച്ചിതറിയ പ്രവര്‍ത്തനമേഖലകളിലുള്ള
നമ്മെ കൂട്ടിയിണക്കി ഒരൊറ്റ മുന്നേറ്റമാക്കാന്‍ കരുത്തുള്ള സമഗ്രമായ
വീക്ഷണത്തിന്റെ അഭാവം നാം നേരിടുന്നുണ്ട്. വാള്‍സ്ട്രീറ്റ്
പ്രക്ഷോഭത്തില്‍ തുടങ്ങി ഇന്ത്യയില്‍ത്തന്നെ നടക്കുന്ന ഇറോം
ശര്‍മ്മിളയുടെ സമരത്തിലും ആം ആദ്മി പാര്‍ട്ടിയുടെ ഇടപെടലുകളിലുമെല്ലാം,
എന്തിനധികം മാവോയിസ്റ്റ് യുദ്ധങ്ങളിലടക്കം ഈ ദാര്‍ശനിക ശൂന്യത
നിഴലിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. മറുവശമാകട്ടെ, വികസനദര്‍ശനം തരുന്ന അച്ചടക്കത്താല്‍
എണ്ണയിട്ട യന്ത്രം പോലെ പ്രയത്നിക്കുന്നു; അവിടെ മുതലാളിത്തവും ഫാസിസവും
ഭരണകൂടവുമെല്ലാം ഒരേ ലക്ഷ്യത്തില്‍ ഒരുമിക്കുന്നു.

ഈ സാഹചര്യങ്ങളെ അഭിസംബോധന ചെയ്യുവാനുള്ള എളിയ ശ്രമം എന്ന നിലയ്ക്കാണ്
കേരളീയവുമായുള്ള ഈ അഭിമുഖ സംഭാഷണം സംഭവിച്ചത്. ഭരണകൂടത്തെ
നമ്മളോരോരുത്തരില്‍നിന്നും ഒട്ടും ഭിന്നമല്ലാതെയും കുടുംബം, മതം തുടങ്ങിയ
സ്ഥാപനങ്ങളുടെ ഉള്ളടക്കത്തോടു ചേര്‍ത്തുവെച്ചും മനസ്സിലാക്കുന്ന
സമീപനമാണ് ഇതിലുള്ളത്.

വളരെ വിശദമായി നടക്കേണ്ട സംവാദങ്ങളുടെ ആമുഖം മാത്രമായി ഈ
അഭിമുഖത്തെക്കണ്ട് കൂടുതല്‍ പഠനങ്ങളും ചര്‍ച്ചകളും രൂപപ്പെടുത്താമോ?
സുഹൃത്തിന്റെ പ്രതികരണങ്ങള്‍ ദയവായി സുഹൃത്തിനൊപ്പം ഈ കത്ത്
അയച്ചിരിക്കുന്ന എല്ലാവര്‍ക്കുമായി അയക്കണേ..

സ്നേഹം
ശ്യാം ബാലകൃഷ്ണന്‍

അഭിമുഖത്തിന്റെ പൂര്‍ണ്ണരൂപം ഇവിടെ Keraleeyam Interview of Shyam Balakrishnan

പിന്നീടു് ചേര്‍ത്തതു്: ഡയാസ്പൊറയില്‍ നടക്കുന്ന ചര്‍ച്ച

11.21.12

To write or to riot?

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:19 pm by Pirate Praveen

Sajan Venniyoor wrote in an email discussion list yesterday,

Times of India (21 Nov) lists the charges levelled by Palghar police against those who vandalized Dr. Dhada’s hospital:

IPC 143: Unlawful assembly – imprisonment up to six months, or fine, or both.
IPC 147: Rioting – imprisonment up to two years, or fine, or both.
IPC 336: Act endangering life or personal safety of others – imprisonment up to three months, or with fine up to Rs 250, or both.
IPC 427: Mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50 – imprisonment up to two years, or fine, or both.
IPC 451: House-trespass to commit any offence punishable with imprisonment – imprisonment for 2 years and fine.

66A of the IT Act (“causing annoyance”) could get us jailed up to three years with fine. Couldn’t we just assemble unlawfully, riot, break into people’s homes and endanger the life and personal safety of others? It seems so much safer.

I think it is a very important comparison on the quantum of punishment. It also reveals the fear of the people in power – what they fear the most. And it won’t be a surprise if most people would agree to it – we are an intolerant country and we are more worried about how other people say and live than our own situation. And this trend is only increasing. We need more efforts to fight intolerance and also teach people to value freedom over getting offended on their believes.

Another important thing for the netizens to do is reach out to the people who are not on the internet and teach them the virtues of it, tell them that they now have a voice that can reach anyone on the world with a fraction of the cost of any traditional media out there.

Some ideas: Help more people write blogs, teach them about tools of anonymity like tor, understand their fears – I think most of it is the fear of technology itself. We have to make posters, cartoons, videos and use any opportunity to debunk the myths of internet if we want to make a broad movement to protect the internet.

And here is the update about PIL in Madras High Court challenging 66A

Mr. Justice Basha told the petitioner’s counsel A. Rajini “You must remember that even you would not be able to invoke the provision in case you are genuinely aggrieved against some communication made by another individual,” the judge said before ordering notices.

I think this is the common response from anyone who is not using the internet already to speak up. How can we protect ourselves? This is a much tougher struggle to win, something we need a cultural campaign for.

There are many ways your can join the campaign today and make a difference.

One idea we are currently working on in the campaign is a survey on the Internet – how people use internet, how they perceive it, what are their fears etc

Share your thoughts and ideas here or on the campaign page.

05.02.12

An idea for revolution

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:24 pm by Pirate Praveen

I wrote this as I was traveling to MES Kuttippuram, Kerala for Debian Utsavam. I read it out before I strted my session.

“I start with an idea today. I will tell you and you tell me what do you think about it.

I would like all of you to write about this two day event – how did you hear about it, what was good, what was bad, how to mke it better next time, what you learned, how you are going to use what you learned, how you are going to teach others…

If you have a blog, post about it, if you wish to start a blog, start now, ask people who already post about how it is. Or if you don’t want a blog, just write an email to any mailing list, smc, debian, mes fsug, or even add it directly in the wiki, read what others have written and comment on it, add all links to wiki, create a press release as a team. These are possible, it all depends on our will, today lets make a small history make this two days memorable for ever, not just for you, but a wonder and inspiration for so many. It is possible, and much more is possible, challenge ourselves not limit. I would be happy if some of you start maintaining packages, very happy if all of you do it, I would happy if you teach other to package and teach them to teach others 🙂 this is how we write history, this is what revolution is, when people realize how much they are capable of and start acting like they believe in themselves and shed all their fears, just see how Tahrir Square changed history or Egypt. You believe you are part of something great and you belive you are making a difference and you tell others what you believe and what you do and you will see the difference. And we achieve something it will energize us to do even more. You might know the story of birds trapped in a net, there is a song in Vietnam Colony how they escape. This is our inspiration to change things together and build a new world based on collaboration. You can decide it today.”  

06.05.11

What is happening in this world?

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:25 pm by Pirate Praveen

I would like to just look at how advancement in digital and communication technology is impacting this world. One reason to look at this topic is my interest in Free Software. Eben Moglen has been speaking on impact of these technologies on larger society and it is very inspirational. Most of what I say here is originally said by Eben. When we moved from analog to digital format for storage and transmission of information, knowledge and culture became very cheap or additional cost has become zero. Once we pay for computer and internet it does not cost us any more to copy from a friend or download a movie, song or a software. I see this as huge advancement in human history. At this point we can give every one all of our culture, knowledge and information free of cost. Instead of using this opportunity to put all our efforts together to make this available to every one, we are trying to device even more restrictions to prevent even natural effort in this direction.

With mobile phones and internet becoming more prevalent, collaboration has become easier. Wikipedia, Free Software, Free Maps etc are examples of this. Collaboration of large number of common people now have the power of beating wealthiest corporation (Free Software communities can beat Microsoft today). Also use of twitter, facebook and other social media tools in Middle East and North African uprisings shows the power of these tools in effecting social change. Frantic efforts by governments to curtail free speech on the internet is another indication of its effectiveness. I believe it is right time to take this to as many fields as possible.

05.19.11

Some observations on the recent petrol price hike

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:17 pm by Pirate Praveen

Price of petrol has been hiked by rupees 5 to around 70 per litre last Saturday midnight and diesel price is likely to be increased by 4 per litre and cooking gas price likely to go up by 30 rupees per cylinder. 8% increase is steepest petrol price rise ever with oil companies asking for even more. This hike will feed into spiraling of prices of all essential goods. This is going to give a serious blow to the common man. The most striking thing I felt in this petrol price hike is the timing of it. Government waited for polls in many states to conclude before announcing the hike, to me it looks like they expect people to forget about it by next election. I observed long queues in petrol stations before the price hike came to effect. My friend Shravan mentioned about ‘Out of Petrol’ boards at some stations and observed it as cheating to sell the stock next day at a higher price.

Currently we cross-subsidise diesel and natural gas (cooking gas) with higher prices for petrol. The thinking behind this move is that, diesel and natural gas affects common people and also its price has a big impact on prices of commodities. But SUVs and luxury cars run on diesel and that picture is changed now. But still the price hike poses questions about government’s spending priorities. There is also a green demand for spending more money on renewable energy sources like solar and wind instead of continuing to subsidise polluting and dangerous energy sources like coal, nuclear etc.

We are doing a cycle rally in Pune coming Saturday at 5:00pm from Deccan Corner. Join in and register your protest. It is organised by Lokayat, an activists collective fighting against all injustices in our society. Visit lokayat.org.in to know more about Lokayat and get involved.

Petrol price hike: What do you think should be done? – story by Rediff.com

04.25.11

Memorable Mini DebConf India 2011 tour of Kerala for last 3 days

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:12 pm by Pirate Praveen

It was a great event. I liked the small turn out 12 on first day ~20 on second day and about 12 on third day, because it meant we could make it interactive and ensure every one folllowed each step.

The highlight of the event was that it was a zero budget event. MES College of Engineering provided us lab and hostels, every one paid for their own travel and food. I hope to see more such events – small interested audient, less burden on organisers, more interaction and effectiveness. Instead of less big events, let’s start doing more small events.

I really liked the enthusiasm of the participants and we made sure those who completed a step helped others to complete. We proceeded to next step only when every single person completed each step. This is something I usually focus on wherever I take classes, but it is not effective with big audience. That is one reason I like small audiences. Normally only the brightest gets to follow everything and those who have less exposure feels left out. This time even if one is smart and completed a step, he/she has to help others if they want to move on.

First day we focused on different problems and complaints people have about Free Software and GNU/Linux. Instead of normal focus of a Free Software event on features of Free Software, we focused on what is not working in Free Software. Our focus was not in selling Free Software to the audience, but to make sure Free Software will become popular if we fix these problems. Normally audience just have complaints and speaker is always defensive. Here audience had to analyse the problem with the speaker, find out the root of the problem, and plan how to fix it.

One common complaint we always here is about dependencies and software installation. So we focused on two parts to solve that problem. First was lack of good internet connection, so apt-on-cd and keryx needs to be popularised. Second one is having to install from source. We concluded that once all software is available in a repository this problem will go away. So we decided to package all available Free Software. Starting with popular software that is in demand. We also figured out it will need many more packagers too. So if you want to help out, join our packaging effort. We have online packaging sessions every Saturday. Those who learned packaging, consider teaching it to others.

Food was really good, I was happy to get puttu (rice steam cake), beef curry and ghee rice. Lime juice was very good too, I miss it in Pune, where most places give old lime 🙁 We stayed in their hostel. Bhushan, Abhishek and Ranjan came from Magalore standing in a train! Their enthusiasm cheered up everyone. I planned my vacation around these dates so that my travel expense would not be an issue. We missed Pavithran as he had fever and could not come.

Second day we had more people joining. This rarely happens in any conference, most of the time people drop out after first day. Last year we had a tough time manging a crowd of about 200 on the first day, but almost half of them did not turn up on second day. First day I explained debian release process and I made sure every on understood the process by asking each of them to explain it. I was happy to see most of them got it. Second day I asked Sajjad to summarise discussions on first day and explain release process. He did a pretty good job of explaining various concepts. Sooraj’s explanation of dependencies by taking example of average depending on sum and division was very good.

Then Jishnu started explaing control file and we asked every one to refer debian new maintainer’s guide. The whole day was spent on creating these files. Most of them were not used following a document and doing it themselves. Many times I have to ask them to read the document again when they make mistakes. Most of them made mistake about standards version, they used upstream version. Explanation of sections is a bit mis leading in new maintainer’s guide and most people ended up choosing main. I explained it and asked them to read the whole paragraph. I felt new maintainer’s guide could be improved a bit. We will try to send some patches.

Over enthusiasm resulted in a few RFPs being filed for lekhonee-gnome. We told them just create a text file, but many already sent RFPs! I told them how to close a bug and all of them closed it. Though it added a little bit of noise to BTS, I hope it has helped in the long run, hopefully these over enthusiastic folsk would help close more bugs!

We skipped copyright file as many wanted to leave. We just created a blank file for copyright and moved ahead with changelog and rules. Both these files caused bit of problem with formatting. Many did not have dch installed and they eneded up figuring out extra space or character causing error. Whitespaces instead of tab caused rules file breakage. We fixed all of them and I was happy every one had a working deb at the end of the day. First day we were explaining anatomy of a binary package most of them saw the control file, I think it would have been a rewarding experience for all of them when they opened up the binary file and saw their names inside it.

Third day was coordinated by Vasudev Kamath online. I had to leave for Sujith’s marriage. I have to mention about Sajith sir here. It was really encouraging to see a lecturer sitting through the whole session. I was happy to meet Raju sir after a long time. I remember two of my previous sessions at MES. I am sure we will see more contributors from MES. Anish and Sooraj had come from Thiruvananthapuram. Manu was running around fixing proxies all the time. I was happy to meet to aethiests there – Aneez and Nakul. Aneez was calling me agnostic 🙂 I remember few more names – Shuvaib, Jasir, Muzafir, Jamal, Sunaiba. If you don’t see your name here, sorry, please shout your name as a comment 🙂 Overall it was a really memorable experience. Now looking forward to Mini DebConf India tour stops in Mangalore, Pune and Ahamedabad.

Update: Jishnu told me there were about 12 students on third day. Ershad complained that I missed his name 🙁 Ershad was playing with GNOME 3 release party balloons with every one and took pictures too. He has uploaded photos on diaspora and facebook, I will link it here once I get net access on my computer (now using my mobile and wifi sharing is too slow that only ping works and even that takes 5000-6000 msec for response).

12.31.10

Chale Chalo Dilo Me Ghav

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:18 am by Pirate Praveen

This beautiful song was sung at yesterday’s sabha demanding justice for Dr Binayak Sen.

HTML5 Video

Flash Video

Chale chalo dilo me ghav leke bhi chale chalo,
Chalo lahuluhan pao leke bhi chale chalo,
Chalo ki aaj sath-sath chalne ki jarurate,
Chalo ki khatm ho na jaye jindagi ki hasrate.

Jameen, khawab, jindagi, yakeen, sab ko batkar,
Woh chahtehe bebasi me aadmi jhukaye sar,
Woh chahtehe jindagi ho roshni se bekhabar,
Woh ek-ek karke aab jala rahe hai har shahar,
Jale hue gharo ke khawab leke bhi chale chalo.

Woh chahtehe hai baatna yeh jindagi ke kafile,
Woh chahtehe baatna yeh jindagi ke walwale,
Woh chahtehe hai khatm ho ummid ke yeh silsile,
Woh chahtehe hai gir sake na loot ke yeh sab kile,
Sawal hi hai aab jawab leke bhi chale chalo.

Woh chahtehe hai jatiyon ki, boliyon ki phoot ho,
Woh chahtehe hai dharm ko tabahiyon ki choot ho,
Woh chahtehe hai jindagi me ho fareb, jhoot ho,
Woh chahtehe hai jis tarah bhi ho magar yeh loot ho,
Siro pe joh bachi hai chav leke bhi chale chalo.

12.06.10

US response to Julian Assange of wikileaks

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:01 pm by Pirate Praveen


US response to Julian Assange of wikileaks
Uploaded by thesasikkuttan. – News videos hot off the press.

“We have come to the conclusion that Julian Assange of Wikileaks is royally screwing us. People believe and respect him. We have to break it.

We need to trap him in some rape case and get rid of him. Once our propaganda succeeds he will lose his credibility.”

08.24.10

A campaign for no UID – Till complete transparency, accountability and people’s participation

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:09 pm by Pirate Praveen

21st August 2010

Dear Friend,

Since May 2009, the UID project is under implementation. Even though any legislation sanctioning it is yet to be passed in parliament, the UID authority is functioning. Rs.19,500 million have been allocated to the project. In addition to this allocation, the census expenditure has a budget of Rs. 30,230 million. The UIDAI plans to use the census data, to issue Aadhar numbers. The total project is estimated to cost Rs. 1500 billion. The budget for the Authority was passed with the GoI annual budget but without discussion on it or setting up of UIDAI.

The UID project envisages recording ten finger prints and iris scan of all people residing in India, allocating a unique number to each individual whose biometric data is captured, and storing it in a database with other basic information such as: name, parent’s name, date of birth, gender, and address. Clearly, the UID project will affect everyone residing in India. To ensure proper implementation it is important to carry out a detailed study of the project’s viability and feasibility. That the project has been launched without such a study is a matter of grave concern.

The authority presents the UID project to the public as a way to prevent leakages in the PDS and MGNREGS. If the project could achieve this, it would be a welcome solution, but even a cursory examination reveals several reasons why this objective seems impossible to achieve. Among these is the fact that many countries, after trying similar projects, have abandoned them because they were found to be incapable of achieving their projected objectives and posed high security risks. For example: in a study that was conducted by the London School of Economics on the UK Government’s National ID card scheme, it was found that it would not achieve the objective of preventing illegal immigration and further that such a central database would itself become a target for terrorists, The new elected UK government scrapped the project in June 2010.

The UID project also raises many questions concerning the abuse of personal data gathered in the process. The collection and logging of data, done in the manner proposed by the UIDAI, is in effect similar to “phone tapping”, a practice which can be abused by those overseeing it. The data collection itself is outsourced to private agencies. The linkages provided by UID to a person’s data that is collected for the UID to other databases, such as bank accounts or mobile phone companies have the potential for serious abuse. Despite these concerns, the UIDAI has already taken initiatives, such as collaborating with many multinational and Indian private companies for gathering data and setting up / maintaining the database.

This meeting is organised to discuss UID’s lack of a feasibility study, huge cost, legality and real danger of abuse. Hence, we invite you to come for a public discussion where people from many diverse groups will express their viewpoints on the subject on –


25th August 2010 from 10.00 am to 6.00 p.m.

at the Constitution Club Auditorium, Rafi Marg, New Delhi.

High-Tea and meeting with MPs: 4 pm to 6 pm.

This will be an interactive meeting in which, we hope you will be able to gain insight into this immense project, its costs and impacts. Please confirm your participation in the workshop at insafdelhi@gmail.com. This would help us make the necessary arrangements for your convenience.

In Solidarity –
Alternative Law Forum, Citizen Action Forum, Delhi Forum, PEACE, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) – Karnataka, Moving Republic, Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), Slum Janandolana – Karnataka, The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) and many other organisations and concerned individuals.

Read UID appeal to MPs (pdf)

05.26.10

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.

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