ILSpy – .Net Reflector alternative

Since the free version of the .Net Reflector that I have will not longer be free from 5/30/2011, I started the hunt on the next available free alternative to .Net Reflector.

ILSpy – This is a open source implementation of the reflector and I suppose it remains free.

It works similar to the .Net Reflector and has the same interface. Instead of the Green colored code, we get a nicely formatted, syntax highlighted code from the ILSpy.

ILSpy in action
ILSpy in Action

Try it!

Customize Terminal Prompt

In Mac OS X terminal, to customize the terminal prompt, edit the .bash_profile file to include the following line

export PS1=""

Following options are common:

\d - current date - e.g. 11/09/2010
\w - full path to current working directory - e.g. ~/Users/Raj/Documents
\W - current working directory - e.g. Documents
\u - username -e.g. Admin

I use the following for my prompt:

export PS1="[\W$ ]"

You can use any editor to edit the .bash_profile file. This file is located in your home directory (~)

Free Software

I am writing this post using WriteRoom, one super working space on my new laptop Macbook Pro.  I got this one as one major purchase after I landed in US.

I gave up my only companion the PC, to which I have been faithful since my beginning days in computers for a new Mac. Why did I take the decision? I still use Microsoft’s own Visual Studio in office for my development activities. So half of my time, I am on a PC and the remaining time I am on Mac. They both are a different culture. Everything about Mac, at least my first feel of Mac is it is beautiful.

Design – It is Apple’s forte. It has that good finish, wonderful, artistic and everything about it. That is what captured me to it. Being a designer myself, I wanted to own it, and it just happened that I did it in the home of software development.

I have no regrets with Windows or Linux, the two other operating systems I have used fairly so far. The first software that I have licensed, other than the OS is TextMate. It was a worthy buy. So I have bought a license for it. It feels good to own and work on licensed software. I feel as if I own it. I feel that I respect the work that goes into the making of it. I love open source and free softwares. If there is some great work going on, and you can provide your own contributions to it, yes pay them. It is not for the software, but the people behind it.

In India, we use pirated software all the time. Piracy is nothing. Everyone has a copy of Windows, Office running on their machines. The cost of software in Indian currency is much higher compared to the US counterparts. People don’t like to pay for just a CD. We are used to the belief that if you pay more, you get more. For something as big as Rs. 13,000/- a CD doesn’t suffice, we look for something more bigger. We are used to thinking that way, just like grocery and furniture shopping.

Since, everyone is used to using Windows, no one wants to move from the comfort zone offered by it and embrace free software. There has to be paradigm shift, if people should start buying software.

How can that be achieved. It won’t/can’t happen immediately. Schools should start using Linux and open source softwares. Students must be encouraged to read code, tweak existing programs so that they get what they want. They must get that idea, the machine does only what they want it to do, rather than stand amazed at seeing the computer working. After all it is what it is programmed for. Then as they grow up, they will start appreciating software and by the time, they get their own computers, they get to choose what they want. They can buy a Windows or a Mac, or write their own operating systems.

Lets make this happen!

After all, it is necessity that is the mother of all inventions.

Ubuntu Panel Missing!

When I logged into the machine today, I was shocked to see no panel appearing on the ubuntu desktop. I thought the computer has hung. But when I right clicked the desktop, I got the regular pop-up menu and was able to change desktop wallpapers.

Here is what I did to get the panel back. With the desktop without the panel and not remembering any of the shortcuts, it was quiet difficult.

First, I created a launcher for Terminal. Right Click on any area on the desktop and then choose ‘Create Launcher’. Choose any name and then in the command text box, type in


This should create a terminal launcher. That done, double click to open a terminal session. Enter the following command,

killall gnome-panel

Then right click on the desktop to create another launcher. This time in the command text box, type in


This creates a gnome-panel launcher. Double click and viola! you have the Panel.

Fixing libmysql.dll issue in Rails

To fix the error, “This application has failed to start because LIBMYSQL.DLL was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem.”  while working on rails using mysql as the database, 

Copy the libmysql.dll found in the mysql installation directory (mysql\bin) and paste it in your ruby installation directory (ruby\bin)

Restart the server and viola, the error is fixed.


Free, I have broken free, free from proprietary software in my personal life.

I have decided to use only software that are free. Making that move wasn’t that easy, got to leave the comfort of Windows and MS Office, the one’s I have been used to since I started using computers. I have not broken free from the entire MS world of software, coz I make my living coding in C#, I have a Express Edition of Visual Studio for the learning that is needed to keep me hands-on up-to-date on the technology.

For office suite, I have resorted to OpenOffice 3. It does the job well for me. Chrome for a browser and NetBeans IDE for development is all I need. It is a nice feel to be just using free software, at least I know I have not stolen other’s money. I respect another software engineer, for his work.

Here is a nice quote, from the famous film, The Shawshank Redemption where Morgan Freeman says,

“Some birds aren’t meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright, and when they fly away… the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice…” – The Shawshank Redemption.

I feel I’m one of those birds which is not supposed to be caged, and I have grown one feather that is going to help me in my flight..