Linux User Group of Mauritius Promoting open source software in our beautiful island

11Apr/150

Slackware & Debian packaging

Posted by Ish

As announced on the Linux User Group of Mauritius mailing list, today there was a meetup about Slackware & Debian Packaging. I attended the same. I’m usually lazy on Saturdays and no wonder I reached the University of Mauritius late, where the meetup was scheduled.

Good enough for me though the presentation by Pritvi got delayed too. Technically, I didn’t miss a lot. Pritvi brought his O-Droid running Xubuntu and ran his slides on the same. Oh… His prez was on Slackware packaging. In our little group of geeks I think Pritvi is the only human being having survived a Slackware experience :-)

pritvi-presenting-slackware-packaging

He explained the need of a couple of utils necessary during packaging; mktemp, chown/chmod, make, tar etc. He went into meticulous details during the compilation and the need for a temporary directory. By the end of his slides one could understand that Slackware packages are tarballs built with a specific structure that could be then deployed using the pkgtool. Some commands to retain when installing/removing Slackware packages are:

# installpkg option package_name

-m	Performs a makepkg operation on the current directory.
-warn	Shows what would happen if you installed the specified package. This is useful for production systems so you can see exactly what would happen before installing something.
-r	Recursively install all packages in the current directory and down. The package name can use wildcards, which would be used as the search mask when recursively installing.

# removepkg option package_name

-copy	The package is copied to the preserved packages directory. This creates a tree of the original package without removing it.
-keep	Saves temporary files created during the removal. Really only useful for debugging purposes.
-preserve	The package is removed, but copied to the preserved packages directory at the same time.
-warn	Shows what would happen if you removed the package.

# upgradepkg package_name

Next, Cyril talked about Debian packaging. He introduced himself and gave an overview about the Debian distribution and its package management. He had emacs opened and showed us the directory structure of the source files, files that need to be created etc. To create a .deb file from the downloaded source code, one needs a minimum set of 5 files under a “debian” directory in the source folder. The files are:

– changelog
– compat
– control
– copyright
– rules

Cyril went through the contents of each file and explained why they are important during the build procedure. His slides can be found on his website under : Debian packaging talk

cyril-bouthors-debian-packaging

For our better understanding, Cyril created a .deb package after downloading the source code for pbzip2. He explained us each step all while editing the required files.

Cyril Bouthors is a Debian Maintainer since around 2000 and has been maintaining several packages and Python modules. He explained us the procedure of package verification once the same is uploaded on the Debian infra before it goes public on the repository.

We had a short Q&A session and he gladly answered our queries.

ish-slackware-debian-packaging-meetup

Me, with my freedom-support laptop :-)

We finished around 15h00. Some of us dropped to Bagatelle Foodcourt for munching, drinking and chatting.

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5Apr/150

How to take a screenshot with GIMP?

Posted by Ish

During the past week a developer friend and I were talking about blogs and all. We discussed about the simplicity of posts and I realized he was right, that sometimes simple things that we write are actually highly sought. That same day another friend asked me how to take a screenshot on the modified Debian desktop he was using as he could not achieve it using the Print Screen (PrtSc) button. Using GIMP one can achieve the trick across all operating systems the same way.

How to take a screenshot with GIMP?

Open GIMP, navigate to File > Create > Screenshot, as displayed in the image below.

gimp-screen-1

A dialog box will appear with several options that you can use to customize the way to capture the screen. You can capture only a specific window (with or without the window border decoration), you can capture fullscreen (with or without the mouse pointer) and you can specify a delay before taking the capture.

gimp-screen-2

The delay part becomes handy as it allows one to prepare the window that needs to be captured. However, even if you have captured a whole screen but you need only part of it, it’s pretty easy in GIMP to select and edit. From the left toolbox, click on the Rectangle Select Tool, then select a portion of the captured screen.

gimp-screen-3

gimp-screen-4

Select the portion needed

Right-click on the image and do Edit > Copy.

gimp-screen-5

Then, right-click and do Edit > Paste as > New image.

gimp-screen-6

That should be all, happy GIMP’ing :-)

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22Mar/150

Bash source file

Posted by Ish

While I had no particular reason why to code it in Perl or Python, I ended writing my scripts in Bash on this Sunday afternoon. No huge tasks were meant to be executed, just some database reading. However, all of the short scripts would be using common variables, namely regarding the DB credentials. Sourcing variables from an external file could be achieved using . filename or source filename.

A little heck comes when passwords containing special characters such as $ < > [] {} ` ' " | & ; * ? are used. In your source file you need to escape each of those characters using a backslash symbol.

For example we could have a configuration file db.conf as follows:

HOST=localhost
DBNAME=testdb
DBUSER=user001
DBPASS=!p@ssw0rd$

Now, let’s get the variables as follows:

#!/bin/bash
. db.conf
echo $DBPASS

Copy the above in a file named getSQLPass.sh and we run it.

bash-source-file

The backslash symbols do not get printed.

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19Mar/150

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet Release Party #DevConMru

Posted by Ish

The release of Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet is coinciding with Developers Conference 2015. We’re thus proudly having our release party during the event. Typically, all geek stuffs, that is hackathons, demos, installfests will run Flying Dodo, Bagatelle. Ubuntu release party is scheduled for Thursday 23rd April and I shall be there a whole, hopefully. So… Bring it ON and let’s have some Ubuntu fun.

Ubuntu Mauritius

ubuntu-mauritius-220Ubuntu Mauritius is a group comprising of Ubuntu enthusiasts who seek to promote the use of Ubuntu and free open source software. The group comprises of professionals as well as college & university students, who dedicate their time to plan and organize events around the island.

Should you wish to join the league, catch us on Launchpad. We’re reachable via our mailing published on our Launchpad page. We also have an event page on the Ubuntu LoCo Team Portal.

Meanwhile let’s just spread some Linux Love through #Ubuntu #Mauritius #DevConMru hashtags on social networks. Those who are on Facebook, feel free to use the following as FB Cover.

ubuntu-cover

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23Feb/150

Reviving an old notebook with Xubuntu

Posted by Ish

Last Sunday I spent some time reviving my old laptops. Had quite some gear lying around and I decided to clean up the trash. I gave my current Acer Aspire running openSUSE 13.2 to my mom, swapped the HP Compaq 6515b with an SSD drive and loaded Xubuntu.

Next in line was a little bit of aesthetics. In fact, while exploring Evolve OS I came across the Numix Project. Thought of giving it a try. Ah, totally worth it.

xubuntu-desktop

The Numix Project offers a collection of GTK themes and icons. Get hands on those as follows:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:numix/ppa
apt-get install numix-gtk-theme numix-icon-theme

Hit the Appearance dialog and set the Style and Icons as Numix.

xubuntu-numix

One more tweak for the day. Though font anti-aliasing is enabled by default my fonts would not look good in Abiword. To fix the same I ran the Alt + F2 combination and executed xfce4-settings-editor. Went to xsettings and set Lcdfilter’s value to lcdlight.

xfce4-settings-editor

As and when I tweak the box further, I’ll be writing.

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23Feb/150

Reviving an old notebook with Xubuntu

Posted by Ish

Last Sunday I spent some time reviving my old laptops. Had quite some gear lying around and I decided to clean up the trash. I gave my current Acer Aspire running openSUSE 13.2 to my mom, swapped the HP Compaq 6515b with an SSD drive and loaded Xubuntu.

Next in line was a little bit of aesthetics. In fact, while exploring Evolve OS I came across the Numix Project. Thought of giving it a try. Ah, totally worth it.

xubuntu-desktop

The Numix Project offers a collection of GTK themes and icons. Get hands on those as follows:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:numix/ppa
apt-get install numix-gtk-theme numix-icon-theme

Hit the Appearance dialog and set the Style and Icons as Numix.

xubuntu-numix

One more tweak for the day. Though font anti-aliasing is enabled by default my fonts would not look good in Abiword. To fix the same I ran the Alt + F2 combination and executed xfce4-settings-editor. Went to xsettings and set Lcdfilter’s value to lcdlight.

xfce4-settings-editor

As and when I tweak the box further, I’ll be writing.

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7Feb/150

Ubuntu Jam 2015 – Mauritius

Posted by Ish

In-line with the Ubuntu Global Jam happening from 6 – 8 February 2015, we too, we had our share of jamming session at the University of Mauritius today. Due to work commitments, however, I could not put in too much energy and rather unloaded the same on Ashmita, the University of Mauritius Computer Club president, and a very good friend.

ubuntu_global_jam_badge_v1Though we had a tight schedule of just a couple of days, she managed to get some gear ready for the event. I created the event on the Ubuntu Loco Team Portal. Ashmita created an event page on Facebook as well.

Scheduled to start at 10h00, I reached the University of Mauritius around 10h15. Bad weather, bad timing, but geared for some fun. On the way, I picked up Shelly. As for Pritvi, really it’s time he gets himself a mobile phone to synchronize timing. He reached the university some 15 – 20 minutes after me.

As I arrived at the caféteria, the usual geek team was busy setting up what looked like a “chapiteau”. Oh great, we would need one in case the rain pours like hell. Ubuntu Jam in the rain, that’s rare but fun.

Minutes later we had tables set up, got power and plugged our gears. I brought two laptops. My work laptop was with me, I actually carry it everywhere ^^ so I just shot a Live Ubuntu on that one. Besides I had my second laptop running openSUSE which I used to build Live pendrives.

i-support-freedom-online

My openSUSE notebook

A few curious ones showed up and I discussed Ubuntu while demo’ing stuffs on the Live Ubuntu session. Some took ISO images while many others wished to have a Live pendrive. The irony was when I had Ubuntu running on a MacBook to copy a Linux ISO on a Microsoft pendrive :-)

macbook-ubuntu-microsoft

Kamal & Nadim were busy installing Ubuntu on laptops. It was great to see people bringing their gear for a Linux install. As far as I know, they did at least three installations.

ubuntu-jam-2015-install

Nirvan & Logan were intrigued as to why they had SSH issues on the university campus. They tried git-cloning using SSH and it failed flat on their face. Git via HTTPS worked though. Conclusion, port 22 (standard port for SSH) seems to be blocked. This did create some debate and it was argued that SSH is a popular protocol used in many “security-centric” applications and Github undoubtedly is the favourite code-sharing platform for aspiring computer scientists of the university.

git-clone

We packed up around 13h30 & settled at the cafeteria itself for a group lunch :-)

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3Feb/150

Let’s peek into Evolve OS

Posted by Ish

Taking advantage of being at home today, I dd’ed my spare pendrive with Evolve OS. To be fair, I’m a bit late in review writing this time. Evolve OS Beta 1 got released on 26 January and I scheduled a trial the same night.… Read more ➡

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4Jan/150

Lets rock with MySQL and MariaDB

Posted by Jochen Kirstaetter

Logo of MariaDB Sealion mascotSome weeks months ago...

What happens on Facebook

I saw an announcement made by Ronny on Facebook that he's about to organise a meeting about MySQL and MariaDB. Well, I have to admit that I didn't have that much contact with Ronny but I knew that he was involved in the initiation of the Linux User Group of Mauritius (LUGM), and that Ish already mentioned his name a couple of times, mostly because of the inspirational approach and other funny things. Well, long story short. Ronny mentioned that one of his friends will be around on the island for some vacation and that said person agreed to do a session on the history, the (eventual) future and some technical aspects of MySQL and MariaDB. Sounds great and having an expert from abroad doesn't happen too often...

Okay, next Ronny was looking for a decent location and I suggested to him that he might his luck at The Flying Dodo Brewery in Bagatelle. In general not a problem but those guys over there speak money and in order to get their side room with some conference aspirations they wouldn't agree on the usual deal for user groups. Meaning: Room for attendees consuming food & drinks. As I had personal interest in this session to happen, I backed Ronny's intentions to go forward with it and to let me know in case that there financial constraints to be expected. Running your business provides you with some benefits and allowances. Anyway, there was a little fee for the evening to be paid, and I was glad to cover those expenses through my business: IOS Indian Ocean Software Ltd.

Lets rock with MySQL and MariaDB

The "event" was scheduled for the evening hours, and after the official part it was commonly agreed that we are going to leverage the location and have a decent after-meeting session at the brewery. It's always nice to combine work with pleasure - particularly in that specific order.

Our presenter, an international consultant for MySQL and MariaDB working at SkySQL AB at that time, named Joffrey Michaie did a great job during the evening. First, he gave us a brief history lesson about the origins of MySQL, then elaborated on the recent purchase event during the last couple of years and went over the actual reasons why MariaDB has been created. Well, Sun and Oracle did a great job to get quite a number of good developers on MySQL as well as the community on their feet. The fork of MySQL into MariaDB is reasonable given that Oracle doesn't need to support two opposing RDBMS within the same company - astounishingly that's a very familiar constellation seeing Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Visual FoxPro (VFP) in the past. Anyway, approximately 90% (and more) of the original MySQL developers quit their job and went over to a company called SkySQL AB - which is solely temporarily and there had been a press release recently, that it's now officially MariaDB AB. Monty Widenius had his coup and the core development team is back to its roots.

And... best of all: MariaDB is an inplace-replacement for MySQL. In case that you're operating your website or blog on MySQL you can simply install and use MariaDB instead of. It works flawlessly.

Next, Jojo gave us some corner data about the wide-spread use of MySQL/MariaDB. Actually some big internet companies or better said their websites (like Facebook, SAP, Xing, etc.) are driven by MySQL installations spread over hundreds or even over thousands of machines. Of course, this requires some interesting architecture not only regarding the physical setup of machines and networks but also in terms of storage and replication features. High-availability (HA) is the magical keyword in this case. At a certain size you have to switch towards DB clusters and Joffrey gave us good information about one could setup such clusters using Galera. He also gave us a brief overview of some specialised storage engines available in MySQL/MariaDB which definitely go far beyond the capabilities of the standard types like MyISAM or InnoDB.

Full screen entertainment for geeks

The full presentation of a whooping 107 slides is available on SlideShare - Thanks to Joffrey and the LUGM!

MariaDB Presentation by Joffrey Michaie

On my side, I have to admit that I was a bit interruptive as I had a good number of questions regarding certain features I'm used to using either VFP or SQL Server. Especially given the fact that I was involved in the software architecture and development of client-server applications that run on roughly 100 instances of SQL Server including different types of data replication. Yes, we did partitioning and the database has a variety of replication scenarios for different tables; including typical master-slave replication but also enhanced 2-way replication. Also dealing with data volumes in 2-digit and even 3-digit regions is not unusual with my clients. And there is quite a difference between writing and running queries against a low amount of records compared to tables with 15+ million records. Not to forget about write and update operations. Patiently, Joffrey took note of my questions and he had very good answers how certain setups and requirements could be solved and handled with MariaDB. One of the interesting topics was the discussion about data types of "uniqueidentifier" versus "UUID" versus "Global Transaction ID (GTID)". Well, basically they are the same... Whereas SQL Server handles replication based on that specific data type, MySQL or MariaDB remains on dealing with integer-based column data types (comparable to Auto-Increment in SQL Server) - which I find problematic. 

MariaDB Enterprise Architecture v3.1
MariaDB is not just the database anymore; it's a platform for application developers and database administrators

Anyway, the evening had some interesting chunks of information for me and I enjoyed the whole presentation. Joffrey knows how to keep the audience focused and engaged into the topic. And shamelessly we extending the scheduled 1-hour session by at least 30 minutes or so. Until all questions have been asked and answered. And after all this talking and listening it was time to move over to the social aspects of the evening and to get some refreshments.

Networking session and future activities

Later on I managed to have a little smalltalk with Jojo and even though the meeting was under the aegis of the LUGM, I informed him about the existence, goals and intentions of the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community (MSCC). Dunno, how he took it but since then we are still in touch on social media networks, and have a chat from time to time. On my part I'm looking forward to the next opportunity to hear about MariaDB from Joffrey - and of course I won't hesitate to act as a sponsor again.

Oh, and thanks for the goodies - I really like that black MariaDB 10 T-Shirt.

Disclaimer: Images are courtesy of MariaDB Corporation Ab. MariaDB is a trademark or registered trademarks of MariaDB Corporation Ab in the European Union and United States of America and/or other countries. MySQL is a trademark of Oracle Corporation Inc.

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5Dec/140

Opera 64-Bit for Linux

Posted by Ish

Opera_browser_logo-200pxI saw a tweet by OMG! UBUNTU! this morning, saying « Opera for Linux Makes a Triumphant Return ». I checked the article and followed the instructions to install Opera on a non-Debian derivative. The instructions are published on Github by an Opera employee, known as ruario on Github.… Read more ➡

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