What a vacation!!!

(This blog is subject to change and refinement. All irrelevant details have been suppressed.)
Our final exams ended on June 10th, 2005. It was a satisfying end to a great journey.

What happened after that was more exciting. Wanna know what happened? Read on… It's not a secret anymore.

I have this tendency. My mind works the most, during exams.

It so happened that this concept of Ananyeah hit upon me during the exams. And I was waiting for exams to end. Once the exams ended, I started working on it full time. Me and were quite excited about it.

Now nothing comes easily and for some vague reasons I had to try for other job options. (How bad, I am not allowed to work on my idea even in vacations 😦 ). I found myself in Bangalore, the IT hub. That week, I talked to many people in Bangalore. (Company directors, managers etc).

Suddenly, Mr. sent me a message:

“Got placed in a cool startup. They want you to be director. Come online soon.”

What?! What?! What?!

I was already excited about all the developments (or rather the events) that were occurring and then this one.

I messaged him back and you know right? He does not answer properly. So I had to go to the browsing center to find out.

Now this is what it turned out to be:

An offer from a US company to start their India operations! They wanted us to start a “Private Limited” in India and they were ready to fund it. We were allowed to continue working in the companies that we were placed in and once we felt this company that we started is able to sustain itself, we could quit our jobs and continue working on it full-time. Sounds reasonable. Worth trying. That's what I felt.

So we started working on this for the next one week in home lab. The main problem that concerned us was, “How can we work in another company when we are already placed in another? Will it help us achieve our dream? We are not after money, so is this worth it?” The person who made this offer (hereafter referred to as Mr. CTO) didn't know how tough it is to start a pvt ltd in India. He wanted us to start it in 2 days and start work immediately. Also, he was probably unaware that in India nothing works without under-hand transactions. So we told Mr. CTO that since we have these problems, we won't start this pvt ltd immediately, but start working on the project. (It would violate BCG of our company, but let's see what can be done about it…)

We had read about the starting of a company in “Management in Engineering” and now we were looking at the practical aspects of it.

Mr. CTO, was not aware that we were placed in IBM. When he did, he was shocked. He knew it was impossible for us to work on this offer. So he made another offer:

Work on an open source project for the next 3 months and at the end of it, I'll give you the entire salary what IBM pays you in one year. You then quit IBM and join us full time.

Reasonable again. Remember that I had not -joined- IBM and so I didn't know what IBM allows and what it does not. But when I read the BCG, I knew that even this would not be possible according to the BCG.

Meanwhile, Mr. CTO, who was not even aware of our problems, was in full-zoom. He sent us the “First assignment”. We found that the “First Assignment” clashes with the interests of Ananyeah. It was clear that, if at all we were working on this idea, we had to make sure that we also own it. So we told Mr. CTO about this. Mr. CTO changed the offer. We soon felt, he was trying to “utilize” us. We could not see any advantages of working with him or his company. So we declined the offer.

In the meantime, we had joined our jobs. And you know how my IBM offer mail began,

“Hope you are having a nice vacation, free from worries since your examinations are complete and you have an offer from an excellent company in hand.”

Well said!!!

(All people relevant to this blog, may write comments putting in their own experiences or blog about it in their own blogs. There is no point in hiding it.)


Open "source" – is it enough?

* This blog entry is not meant to harm the sentiments of any. *
What is the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about “Open source”? Well, for me, it's not something exciting. The reason as I see it is pretty clear: It is just not enough if the “source” is open.

It is a known fact that any product development goes through a number of phases. Starting with requirements and design, it goes on till testing and maintenance (or support). Coding (writing the actual code) hardly constitutes 20% (or is it less) of the actual software development process.

If this is the case, then what is the use if I just give you my code? What sense does it make to you, by just looking at the code? Probably it does, but that is not the point. The point is, how easy is it for people to make sense of what the code does, without having proper documentation in place. Are design documents also open? (I don't think so!)

This thought made me delve into the very definition of “Open source”. And I came across this link: The Open Source Definition. This entire page does not make a single mention of the word “design” or “documentation”. Further in clause 2, it seems to be made clear that, “all that needs to be distributed freely is the source code”.

Here's that clause for your reference:

The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.

Now, me noting this problem does not mean I am the only to have done so. Here is some proof that I am not alone.

Ok, all this does not mean that I don't believe in open source. What I actually feel is that it is just not enough. We need something more! Open source can just be an enabler to this.

In fact, the ThinkCycle initiative of MIT seems to be a solution that I am looking for.

Was my interpretation of Open source wrong? Any takers?

IBM is the place you need to work!!!

The more I work in IBM, the more I learn about the system here, the more it makes me wonder “IS THERE ANY OTHER BETTER PLACE IN THE WORLD TO WORK? OR IS IT THE 'FROG IN THE WELL' KINDA STORY?”

The XInclude namespace foolishness

I was going through XInclude for my project.

The project required me to use Xerces SAX parser.

My input XML document used 2003 in the XInclude namespace (http://www.w3.org/2003/XInclude). The XInclude processor in Xerces does not support 2003 namespace but only 2001 (http://www.w3.org/2001/XInclude) apparently because this namespace is no longer recognized (this document says so). So the processor was not working as I felt it would. I tried hard the whole day trying to find a solution and did a lot of silly things (You would expect anyone to do silly things in case they don't get a solution for a long time when they expect the solution to be simple). Finally I tumbled across this FAQ and lo, it said all!!!

Here's what the recommendation says:

Please note that the namespace URI has been reverted back to the URI found in earlier drafts of XInclude. This document defines the namespace URI http://www.w3.org/2001/XInclude; the http://www.w3.org/2003/XInclude namespace URI found in the Last Call is made obsolete by this document.

Too late to realize? 😦

1,286 search plugins for Firefox!!!

Are you looking for some search plug-ins for Firefox (the one that goes into the little text box to the top-right)?

Then your search should end here.

You can easily find the search plug-in of your choice here.

New to tagging?

Are you a newbie to the concept of tagging?

If you are still in doubts about why tagging can be of help, you need to check this article.

Random thought

An advice:

Read your daily horoscopes at the end of the day, to know how your day went by.