Sunday, January 27, 2008


It was sometime in May 2007 that I was suggested by an extraordinary soul to install UBUNTU on my brand new laptop. The promise of free software and freedom was irresistible and I installed the OS. I was forcing myself out of the clutches of Microsoft. But, I was not ready for this journey. I wasn’t prepared for the change in mindset as also the extra effort and initiative.

The installation was smooth and the look of the OS was good. But, I banged into a big wall. My Broadcomm wireless card was not detected and I could not use the wireless internet. This was as good as not having a laptop or using one sometime in the 1970s. Now I realized the real difference between Windows and Linux: you fend for yourself in Linux and thus you are the master. In Windows, you blindly believe MS and hence are chronically dependent on them. My wireless did not work and the frustration mounted. During the time, I was parted from my laptop because of my long duration official trips. Thus came November and I was contemplating migrating back to Microsoft. But, I mustered hope inspired from the plight of the BABA man. He was torn apart trying to migrate UBUNTU. He could not break himself from the bond of enslavement from MS. He found the effort worthless.

Now, I wanted to prove to myself that I have the courage and resilience to go the distance. As my journey progressed, I was introduced by the faithful soul to a financial accounting software Gnnucash. I started maintaining my daily accounts with the help of this software. Gnucash has diverse and versatile capabilities. An account all your financial transactions can be maintained in this software. Even investments can be logged into the software. But, how do you see your capital gains. Income and expenses are exactly what they are, but the value of investments changes on daily basis. So, how do I measure what money I put and what is it worth now. Here the wizardy capabilitites of Gnucash came handy. Gnucash has the facility of retrieving the stock quotes online. But, is it possible with Indian stocks? Have the stock exchanges in India become technically savvy enough? Do Indian markets have the might to develop the stake which forces popular websites to stream online quotes of Indian stocks? And the answer is yes. Yahoo Asia gives realtime quoted for stocks listed in the NSE. Now came the most difficult part: getting to the technical grind and configuring the Gnucash application. After two days of struggle, I finally managed to get online quotes not only for the stocks but also for mutual funds. I was thrilled and convinced of the cutting edge technology of Linux.

After this small success, I am past Microsoft and have stepped irreversibly into the free world of linux. I am happy that I didn’t disappoint the soul whose name I reveal at the end of the article: RVB.