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

28Feb/140

Office.com, a change in strategy

Posted by Ish

Last year, during the virtual launch of Visual Studio 2013 I met a bunch of Microsoft folks. I was discussing Office 365 with Arnaud Meslier, Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, and sharing my concern of the webapps not being compatible with Linux. That’s when he assured me compatibility is on way. Weeks later I subscribed to the paid service and Office 365 was indeed working on my openSUSE machine using Firefox browser.

The Microsoft Office Suite is one of the missed applications in the Linux world, among others like Adobe Photoshop etc. I use LibreOffice as alternative but there are quite a lot of incompatibilities. Most of the time text formatting goes nuts. There are times when Microsoft Office is needed and I strongly believe in cross-compatibility.

Fast-forward and let’s come back in 2014. Beginning of the week I read about Office.com. Then I re-read because the first time I could not digest, did I really read the word free (as in free beer). Yeah baby! That’s right. I pulled a new tab & fired up www.office.com. I signed in. Oh! Before you make that face, I do have a Hotmail account.

office.com-homepage

Greeted by a grey page with colored square buttons

office.com-single-use-codeFirst things first… I was asked to provide a Microsoft account, guess the app checks for validity. Good! My account is still valid and I was redirected to the login page. Here something caught my attention. Below the sign in button there was a link that read : Sign in with a single-use code.

I clicked and was prompted to provide my Microsoft account and a phone number. The short description of single-use code says it clear. The purpose of this feature is to enable people a one-time session on the machine without needing to provide a password. Indeed a cool security feature when using computers in public institutions or in places not to be trusted.

I didn’t use this feature and signed in using my password.

I was then greeted by a grey page with colored square icons (see image above). That looks a lot like the Metro UI of Windows 8. Metro, I guess how it’s called. I’m not much a fan of that and I’ve used Windows 8 only a few times while helping people getting on the network. Even then I had to ask them guide me through the network settings.

I clicked on the Word Online icon. The Microsoft Word web application looks nice for a free app. It’s limited compared to Office 365 but it should provide enough of the editing options that most users will cheer for.

office.com-word-online

My first reaction, that looks like some tough competition to Google Docs. The interface is familiar and users won’t find any difficulty adapting. The application is fast and one doesn’t really feel that it’s running on the web. Kudos on this one!

I was at last happy to see a Microsoft product/service running smoothly on Linux.

Tagged as: No Comments
22Feb/140

geeks@mscc:~$ Hello, WordPress

Posted by Ish

Weeks ago it was announced as the next hot topic for MSCC Saturday meetup : WordPress. Rikesh volunteered for a technical presentation. Last time, after Sun & Moz presented web stuffs, I started getting hands dirty with some Responsive Web Design. I initially didn’t like the concept as I always thought it wastes white space. However the presentations inspired me to try, which I don’t regret.


Let’s see who made it today

Pritvi Jheengut, Nayar Joolfoo, Humeira Diljore, Collin Lo, Pascal, Mozammil Khodabachas, Darvin Moctaram, Rikesh Ramlochund, Sarju Dooly, Kishan Bhugul, Ratna Chikhuri, Heidi Pomanah, Yunus Aumeeruddy, Jochen Kirstätter, Pawan Babooram, Louis Oberlé, Vincent Pollet, Paul Schwarz, Johann Jenson, Sebastian Kippe, Caroline Chung, Sun RS, Sruti Jughdharree, Nadim Attari, Nitin Mutkawoa, Samiyah Peerun, Shamsher Khudurrun, Yannick Labonne and Ish Sookun.


13h30, the conference room was full. Jochen prompted for a quick intro of newcomers and then Rikesh started the presentation. He briefly described the project, its uses (not just as blog), cited W3Techs stats, and referred about the WordPress (Codex) official documentation. I had a look at the WordPress Codex a few days ago when trying to pamper myself with a responsive template. I initially got an HTML template from Zurb and followed instructions from the WordPress Codex to work it out.

The part when Rikesh explained about Hooks, namely filter and action caught my attention. WordPress Codex is a great resource but might appear bulky to a non-developer who only is looking for a couple of tweaks. So, this explanation comes handy next time I’m on a WordPress hack.

Oh! One more trick that grasped attention was the query parameter : ?s=keyword. Should be useful when making a custom search box.

The overall presentation was knowledge enriching. We should indeed congratulate Rikesh on the good work : ) I personally liked the demos & code snippets. Ahaan …Cherry on the cake, the codes are available on GitHub.

mscc-meetup-5apps.comShortly before 16h00 the presentation was over and we had a Q & A session. Jochen then cited upcoming events and presentations. We spent some time exchanging words. Pritvi and I, we tweaked Kishan’s Android Studio installation on his netbook. I disabled Nitin’s firewall and enabled his public interface on darkxploit.us, which was down for a while. I’m sure Nitin will blog more about this experience and securing web servers. He’s been doing some intensive search about firewalls and all. All the best buddy & hope to see your blog post soon.

In the end, something to pamper us : stickers. Yup! One good fellow from 5apps.com, Sebastian Kippe, brought us the goodies. I checked 5apps.com a few days ago in a jiffy. Now, the sticker puts me under the moral obligation to build something on 5apps.com : ) Hmm, some caffeine and job should be done!

mscc-wordpress-1

mscc-wordpress-2

mscc-wordpress-3

Photos, courtesy of Pawan Babooram

20Feb/140

Linux, video encoding

Posted by Ish Sookun

Finally all of LUGM Meetup videos are now on LUGM YouTube Channel. This was the first time “le me” trying video encoding. I had to do my little homework about encoders & all. I was initially baffled to see that each MOV file that Nadim gave me was above 1G in size. That would be too much to upload and I didn’t know if Youtube would accept MOV format. Then I remembered Harish mentioning about x264. A little bit of web mining and I had the required tools.

Oh! Due to some work adaptation, I am currently running Ubuntu 12.04 on my HP notebook. Getting the tools were straightforward using APT on Ubuntu. avconv was already installed, I just needed a couple of extras.

sudo apt-get install x264 libavcodec-extra-53  

Conversion would require something as follows:

avconv -i AMBA0075.MOV -c:v libx264 OpenSSH_1.mp4  

This command converted a 1.3G MOV file to approximately 200M MP4. Now, YouTube uploading becomes smoother.

A couple of tricks using avconv.

To know which formats avconv supports

avconv -formats  

To check available codecs

avconv -codecs  

To list video file properties

avconv -i video.mp4  

Converting FLAC to MP3

avconv -i music_file.flac -threads 8 -c:a libmp3lame -ab 320k -y music_file.mp3  

Here’s a list of videos from LUGM Meetup of 15th February 2014.

OpenSSH 6.5 Presentation Part I OpenSSH 6.5 Presentation Part II OpenSSH 6.5 Presentation Part III

Linux User Group of Mauritius, .mu Domain Presentation Part I
Linux User Group of Mauritius, .mu Domain Presentation Part II

Thanks to Ajay Ramjatan, Nadim Attari and Pawan Babooram for recording the presentations.

20Feb/140

Linux, video encoding

Posted by Ish

libav-logoFinally all of LUGM Meetup videos are now on LUGM Youtube Channel. This was the first time “le me” trying video encoding. I had to do my little homework about encoders & all. I was initially baffled to see that each MOV file that Nadim gave me was above 1G in size. That would be too much to upload and I didn’t know if Youtube would accept MOV format. Then I remembered Harish mentioning about x264. A little bit of web mining and I had the required tools.

Oh! Due to some work adaptation, I am currently running Ubuntu 12.04 on my HP notebook. Getting the tools were straightforward using APT on Ubuntu. avconv was already installed, I just needed a couple of extras.

sudo apt-get install x264 libavcodec-extra-53 

Conversion would require something as follows :

avconv -i AMBA0075.MOV -c:v libx264 OpenSSH_1.mp4

This command converted a 1.3G MOV file to approximately 200M MP4. {Smile} Now, Youtube uploading becomes smoother.

A couple of tricks using avconv.

1. To know which formats avconv supports

avconv -formats

2. To check available codecs

avconv -codecs

3. To list video file properties

avconv -i video.mp4

4. Converting FLAC to MP3

avconv -i music_file.flac -threads 8 -c:a libmp3lame -ab 320k -y music_file.mp3

Here’s a list of videos from LUGM Meetup of 15th February 2014

Linux User Group of Mauritius // OpenSSH 6.5 Presentation Part I
Linux User Group of Mauritius // OpenSSH 6.5 Presentation Part II
Linux User Group of Mauritius // OpenSSH 6.5 Presentation Part III

Linux User Group of Mauritius // .mu Domain Presentation Part I
Linux User Group of Mauritius // .mu Domain Presentation Part II

Thanks to Ajay Ramjatan, Nadim Attari and Pawan Babooram for recording the presentations.
Tagged as: No Comments
15Feb/140

LUGM meetup – Presentations

Posted by Ish Sookun

We had one of the much awaited LUGM meetups today. This meetup comprised of two presentations:

  • New features brought in OpenSSH v6.5, by Loganaden Velvindron
  • What if .mu was in Mauritius?, by S. Moonesamy

It was held at Ebène Accelerator, Orange Tower, Ebène. I reached earlier, got time to have my lunch and a while later Logan came. We were having a general chit-chat when Pawan came. He passed his driving test today, that was great to hear.

On the facebook event page we had 30 RSVPs. However, I felt less people will make it today since there was a LAN Gaming event at University of Mauritius. Most probably UoM Computer Club folks wouldn’t make it. Anyway, 19 people showed up, that was great already.

Who made it today?

Neha Gunnoo, Darshini Seeburn, Nitin Mutkawoa, Pritvi Jheengut, Nadim Attari, Ajay Ramjatan, Selven, Chelon, Wasima Damree, Pawan Babooram, Avinash Mayaram, Ashley Babajee, S. Moonesamy, Thomas C, Shamsher Khudurun, Irfaan Coonjah, Fei Tan, Loganaden Velvindron and me.

13h30, we started with the first presentation. OpenSSH 6.5 features, by Logan. He briefed us about the project, OpenSSH and a little bit about OpenBSD. Logan gave us an insight on where OpenSSH is used and why it is favored over Telnet.

S. Moonesamy (SM) added a couple of quickie information which prompted a question & answer session. Especially when both explained the role of IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) in assigning numbers & standardizing Internet stuffs. Simply said, IETF folks strive to engineer the Internet as we know it.

Back to the presentation Logan continued explaining new security features. He talked about Edward Snowden’s revelations and weakened crypto algorithms into the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards. He talked about a new private key format, called Ed25519 and the ChaCha20 cipher. For those who were having trouble grasping this part, SM & Ajay gave a brief explanation about ciphers. Simply said, a cipher allows encryption of plain text data. However, Ajay highlighted that this does not guarantee data can’t be intercepted. It can be, but the obtained data is encrypted and pretty much unusable. Logan gave a small demo on generating keys using Ed25519 and how to connect using chacha20-poly1305 cipher. Among other new features is sandboxing support around pre-authentication part of the code. This however uses the Capsicum API which right now is available only in FreeBSD. Logan informed us work is being done to port Capsicum to Linux, which would enable Linux users to benefit from OpenSSH sandbox features in the near future. In the endnote, Logan stressed a few words on donation to the OpenBSD project.

SM started by showing us a map of .mu servers around the world. He then showed us a slide containing information about loading time of a .mu page that wasn’t hosted in Mauritius. He compared that with websites hosted locally. Yes, there was a huge difference. His presentation was very much interactive in a way that involved everyone in the conference room. When he tossed about the online news websites, it seemed like everyone had something to add. Yup, something fun to add. Many of my comments never showed up on the news websites, my emails went unanswered. I wasn’t surprised to hear that I’m not the only one though. SM’s aim was not just to bring a topic about page loading speed, but having the .mu infrastructure locally would also contribute in lowering the price of the .mu domain. He showed us a table comparing prices of different TLDs (Top Level Domain). Whoop! .mu shines above with Rs 2,000 / year. I shouted I initially got my .in domain for Rs 90. Ajay then tossed the topic on DNSSEC and they briefly explained the technicality behind.

The debate on .mu was interesting and it involved participation of the audience as a whole. SM highlighted the importance of having technicians, admins, engineers & decision makers in the Mauritius Internet Users mailing list that he created. He hasn’t made the list public yet as it’s still in a kind of brainstorming phase where people are expressing the difficulties, issues and discussing about possible solutions.

Meetup finished on a happy-ending-note, with people willing to join & discuss further about bringing .mu to Mauritius.

Meetup finished on a happy-ending-note, with people willing to join & discuss further about bringing .mu to Mauritius.

Oh! Wait… I forgot the fun part. In the previous meetups we expressed the need of recording presentations. Nadim, Ajay and Pawan made it happen this time by providing the necessary gadgets. Once the videos are processed they should go on LUGM YouTube Channel.

Photo highlights

15Feb/140

LUGM Meetup // Presentations

Posted by Ish

We had one of the much awaited LUGM meetups today. This meetup comprised of two presentations :

1. New features brought in OpenSSH v6.5, by Loganaden Velvindron
2. What if .mu was in Mauritius?, by S. Moonesamy

It was held at Ebène Accelerator, Orange Tower, Ebène. I reached earlier, got time to have my lunch and a while later Logan came. We were having a general chit-chat when Pawan came. He passed his driving test today, that was great to hear :)

ebene-accelerator-board

On the facebook event page we had 30 RSVPs. However, I felt less people will make it today since there was a LAN Gaming event at University of Mauritius. Most probably UoM Computer Club folks wouldn’t make it. Anyway, 19 people showed up, that was great already.

Who made it today?

Neha Gunnoo, Darshini Seeburn, Nitin Mutkawoa, Pritvi Jheengut, Nadim Attari, Ajay Ramjatan, Selven, Chelon, Wasima Damree, Pawan Babooram, Avinash Mayaram, Ashley Babajee, S. Moonesamy, Thomas C, Shamsher Khudurun, Irfaan Coonjah, Fei Tan, Loganaden Velvindron and Ish Sookun.

13h30, we started with the first presentation. OpenSSH 6.5 features, by Logan. He briefed us about the project, OpenSSH and a little bit about OpenBSD. Logan gave us an insight on where OpenSSH is used and why it is favored over Telnet.

logan-openssh-presentation

SM (S. Moonesamy) added a couple of quickie information which prompted a question & answer session. Especially when both explained the role of IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) in assigning numbers & standardizing Internet stuffs. Simply said, IETF folks strive to engineer the Internet as we know it.

logan-sm-presentation

Back to the presentation Logan continued explaining new security features. He talked about Edward Snowden’s revelations and weakened crypto algorithms into NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) standards. He talked about a new private key format, called Ed25519 and the ChaCha20 cipher. For those who were having trouble grasping this part, SM & Ajay gave a brief explanation about ciphers. Simply said, a cipher allows encryption of plain text data. However, Ajay highlighted that this does not guarantee data can’t be intercepted. It can be, but the obtained data is encrypted and pretty much unusable. Logan gave a small demo on generating keys using Ed25519 and how to connect using chacha20-poly1305 cipher. Among other new features is sandboxing support around pre-authentication part of the code. This however uses the Capsicum API which right now is available only in FreeBSD. Logan informed us work is being done to port Capsicum to Linux, which would enable Linux users to benefit from OpenSSH sandbox features in the near future. In the endnote, Logan stressed a few words on donation to the OpenBSD project.

sm-presentation

SM started by showing us a map of .mu servers around the world. He then showed us a slide containing information about loading time of a .mu page that wasn’t hosted in Mauritius. He compared that with websites hosted locally. Yes, there was a huge difference. His presentation was very much interactive in a way that involved everyone in the conference room. When he tossed about the online news websites, it seemed like everyone had something to add. Yup, something fun to add. Many of my comments never showed up on the news websites, my emails went unanswered. I wasn’t surprised to hear that I’m not the only one though. SM’s aim was not just to bring a topic about page loading speed, but having the .mu infrastructure locally would also contribute in lowering the price of the .mu domain. He showed us a table comparing prices of different TLDs (Top Level Domain). Whoop! .mu shines above with Rs 2,000 / year. I shouted I initially got my .in domain for Rs 90. Ajay then tossed the topic on DNSSEC and they briefly explained the technicality behind.

The debate on .mu was interesting and it involved participation of the audience as a whole. SM highlighted the importance of having technicians, admins, engineers & decision makers in the Mauritius Internet Users mailing list that he created. He hasn’t made the list public yet as it’s still in a kind of brainstorming phase where people are expressing the difficulties, issues and discussing about possible solutions.

Meetup finished on a happy-ending-note, with people willing to join & discuss further about bringing .mu to Mauritius.

Oh! Wait … I forgot the fun part. In the previous meetups we expressed the need of recording presentations. Nadim, Ajay and Pawan made it happen this time by providing the necessary gadgets. Once the videos are processed they should go on LUGM Video Channel. Here are some photo highlights …

lugm-camcorders-1

lugm-camcorders-2

lugm-camcorders-3

lugm-camcorders-4

lugm-eldergod

lugm-ish

lugm-feb-15-geek-team

The LUGM Geek Team
Tagged as: No Comments
9Feb/140

Corsair Hackers Reboot // Meetup

Posted by Ish Sookun

A few weeks ago, Nadim announced a LUGM meetup (facebook) dedicated to Corsair Hackers Reboot. The meetup happened yesterday at Fortune Way, Centre de Flacq. Actually in our first LUGM meetup this year, back in January, Mr. Kailash Madhub, owner of Fortune Way Shopping Mall, happened to be at Pizza Perfect while we were discussing location possibilities for Corsair Hackers Reboot. That’s when he suggested or rather sponsored us Fortune Way as location for the event. Now, initially we thought Flacq isn’t a centralized location & would be far for some people to attend. However, we did agree that it would be a nice initiative for the Linux User Group to move around Mauritius doing several such events. Flacq could be just the beginning of something even bigger.

Who made it to Flacq?

Ronny Reddi, Ashley Babajee, Ajay Ramjatan, Kaleem Rossenally, Adithya Beeharry, Nadim Attari, Logan Velvindron and Ish Sookun.

Our main objective for this meetup was to visit the place, brainstorm ideas and assign pending tasks. However, before we proceed with discussions for Corsair Hackers Reboot, Ajay, Ronny, Nadim and I, we concluded a couple of remaining stuffs regarding Linuxfest 2013 certificates.

Ajay brought a copy of the list of pending tasks I sent to LUGM back in January. We went through, confirmed assignment of certain tasks and assigned others that were pending. I sent the updated tasks to LUGM mailing list, that is viewable from the public archive.

While we were estimating the size of the hall, Ronny walked across measuring the same in number of steps, and screamed out 40m by 20m. We’ll know of accuracy once Nadim comfirms us the correct area.

Some of us went for lunch afterwards and we continued some knowledge-enriching discussion regarding software licenses.

Mobile snaps by Adithya Beeharry & Nadim Bundhoo.

9Feb/140

Corsair Hackers Reboot // Meetup

Posted by Ish

A few weeks ago, Nadim announced a LUGM meetup (facebook) dedicated to Corsair Hackers Reboot. The meetup happened yesterday at Fortune Way, Centre de Flacq. Actually in our first LUGM meetup this year, back in January, Mr. Kailash Madhub, owner of Fortune Way Shopping Mall, happened to be at Pizza Perfect while we were discussing location possibilities for Corsair Hackers Reboot. That’s when he suggested or rather sponsored us Fortune Way as location for the event. Now, initially we thought Flacq isn’t a centralized location & would be far for some people to attend. However, we did agree that it would be a nice initiative for the Linux User Group to move around Mauritius doing several such events. Flacq could be just the beginning of something even bigger.

lugm-meetup-fortune-way-flacq

Who made it to Flacq?

Ronny Reddi, Ashley Babajee, Ajay Ramjatan, Kaleem Rossenally, Adithya Beeharry, Nadim Attari, Logan Velvindron and Ish Sookun.

Our main objective for this meetup was to visit the place, brainstorm ideas and assign pending tasks. However, before we proceed with discussions for Corsair Hackers Reboot, Ajay, Ronny, Nadim and I, we concluded a couple of remaining stuffs regarding Linuxfest 2013 certificates.

Ajay brought a copy of the list of pending tasks I sent to LUGM back in January. We went through, confirmed assignment of certain tasks and assigned others that were pending. I sent the updated tasks to LUGM mailing list, that is viewable from the public archive.

lugm-meetup-corsair-hackers-reboot-1

While we were estimating the size of the hall, Ronny walked across measuring the same in number of steps, and screamed out 40m by 20m. We’ll know of accuracy once Nadim comfirms us the correct area.

lugm-meetup-corsair-hackers-reboot-2

Ronny, white tshirt, coming back after counting steps

lugm-meetup-corsair-hackers-reboot-3

Logan, left-side, joined us shortly after 13h00

 
Some of us went for lunch afterwards and we continued some knowledge-enriching discussion regarding software licenses.

Mobile snaps by Adithya Beeharry & Nadim Attari
Tagged as: No Comments
7Feb/140

Linuxfest 2013, mass mail …

Posted by Ish

lugm-logo-smallToday while I had to send out emails to attendees of Linuxfest 2013, I sat down thinking of a way to mass-mail. The emails should display the name of attendees so that they may notify me if it’s mistyped. Sendmail and a bunch of command line utils could do the trick.

What do I need in my arsenal?

mailx, a Linux command line utility for sending and receiving mail.

paste which is among the lesser-known Linux command line utilities. It joins files horizontally by outputting lines sequentially next to each other.

I earlier kept the names and email addresses in a CSV file, which makes it easier to be read by utilities. I was wondering if I could use awk to get the job done without using paste, but my creativity was at low (possibly due to lack of caffeine). So, I only used awk to send names & email addresses in two separate files.

awk -F"," '{print $1}' linuxfest2013.csv > names.list
awk -F"," '{print $2}' linuxfest2013.csv > emails.list

Now, I had my two files containing names & emails, which could be vertically aligned next to each other. I put the message to be sent in a file named message.txt. Finally, I trigger the mass mail as follows :

paste emails.list names.list | while read email name; do echo `cat message.txt` | mail -s "Linuxfest 2013 | `echo $name`" -r my_email `echo $email`; done

Oh! Beauty of command line <3

Tagged as: No Comments
7Feb/140

Dual Boot Windows, Linux Or BSD when UEFI is being a pain

Posted by Selven

 
Dual Boot Windows, Linux Or BSD when UEFI is being a pain in the @$$
linux-on-uefi

 
If UEFI is pissing you off by not allowing you to install Linux OR BSD on your laptop, and despite you setting it to legacy (and even win7 refuses to install along because of your hdd is gpt'ed and everything), you are having issues, here's the quick fix.

(this will get you a dual booting system)

1. Back up all your data.

2. Boot into your bios setup (f2 or f12 or del, depending on your bios), and disable SECURE BOOT, DISABLE UEFI, enable LEGACY. Set First bootable device to be your CD drive DVD drive or optical drive

3. Boot using something like www.partitionwizard.com/partition-wizard-bootable-cd.html (download the iso and burn it to a CD or dd if=theimage.iso of/dev/yourpendrive ).

3. Wipe out your hard drive, as in really wipe it out. Apply.

4. Make your entire hard drive into 1 single partition, FAT32. Apply.

If you do not want to have a dual booting system skip part 5,6,7.

5. Make a FAT32 partition as Primary label is winblows, for your winblows system and set it as ACTIVE. Make another FAT32 Primary partition and label it as NIX.

6. Apply and boot into your windows 7 or less DVD (windows 8 is bullshit so don't use that, but yes you can do the same with windows 8 also See how you would do things with windows 8 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn336946.aspx ).

7. Choose customize install when you get the option, then select the winblows partition when you get list of partition, you can delete it, and create a new NTFS partition on it. Then next next next, should be fine, if there's any error, you didn't follow something from 1 to 6. Go re read then complain if you are sure you did everything the way i said.

8. Boot into your favourite linux distro or BSD, in this case i had a Linux mint & and a PC BSD.

9. Follow normal setup procedures, when asked what partition you want to use, use the partition labelled as NIX.

10. You should be done, if there is any error, and you did re read all the steps and did it like said, then please do complain, cry or ask. Someone will probably answer.

If you need more information, google up those terms and read:
GPT partition, windows, FreeBSD.
UEFI , EFI
Microsoft UEFI certificates FSF
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2382614099/permalink/10152061191234100/?stream_ref=2
http://thegodof.net
http://lugm.org

Graphics are not copyrighted to me.

+selven

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments