Life after Linus Torvalds, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates

This thought has continuously been in my mind – what will happen to Microsoft after Bill Gates, and whether Linux would remain a force to reckon with after Linus Torvalds, Richard M. Stallman and Mark Shuttleworth (for Ubuntu). I was generally browsing through the internet and came across an advertisement on about a book by Mary Jo Foley, titled “Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era“. Here’s what the summary is

No one – including Microsoft’s own leadership – can predict exactly what’s next for Microsoft. But lots of smart folks, inside and outside the company, have some pretty educated guesses. This book provides a quick look back at Microsoft’s past, and then it focuses on the people, products, and strategies that will define the next chapter for Microsoft.

So, as it seems, there are people who are spending their time thinking about What next?. Not having RMS and Linus sometimes gives me jitters, as to what way would Linux and other open source software be headed to. No doubt, Canonical, Novell and Redhat would take it forward, but then it might traverse into a commercial/non open-source domain. Same is for Microsoft. I don’t trust Steve Ballmer, and probably he’d be the one who may be responsible for the downfall of the Microsoft Empire. It though can survive for a significant amount of time, considering the deep pockets that it has. And a fellow wordpress blogger has written about “What happens to Apple after Steve Jobs“.

When we were kids and used to study history, it depicted that the once the leaders who made their provinces successful were gone, the downfall began. Sometimes the downfall spanned a few decades due to the wealth that was accumulated by the leaders – and it bred a sense of complacency in the newer generations. Spending the wealth without any profitable returns was primarily what took them on the declining path.

Since our world is pretty much dependent on these evangelists, I hope that the next generations would take it forward in a better sense.

failed in buffer_read(fd) on Ubuntu

I was trying to install something on my machine using apt-get but it kept giving an error similar to

failed in buffer_read(fd): files list for package `linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-386': Invalid Argument

I searched the net and the Ubuntu Forums but didn’t arrive on a definitive answer. The reason and the solution is below
(Thanks to C.M. Connelly at

  1. This happens when there’s some issue with the file list of that particular package in Debian derived distributions, such as Ubuntu.
  2. The files are stored in /var/lib/dpkg/info/
  3. The solution is to regenerate the file list or copy it from a place which has that file

Replacing it with a working copy

  • Go into the directory/var/lib/dpkg/info/
  • List all files pertaining to that package – for example

    root@Azlan:/var/lib/dpkg/info# ls -l linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-386*
    ?--------- 1 12311 67231 13097 2006-05-19 15:00 linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-386.list
    -rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 16844 2006-05-19 04:30 linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-386.md5sums
    -rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 86 2006-05-19 04:29 linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-386.postinst
    -rwxrwxrwx 1 root root 281 2006-05-19 04:29 linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-386.postrm
  • As you can see, the file linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-386.list does not seem to be alright.
  • Replace it with a file which you already have in some other machine

Regenerating the file

  • If you wish to regenerate the file, then you’d require the original .deb package for it
  • You may try searching for it in /var/cache/apt/archives
  • Regenerate the file using the command below

    dpkg -c /var/cache/apt/archives/linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-386_2.6.15.11-1_i386.deb > /var/lib/dpkg/info/linux-restricted-modules-2.6.15-23-386.list