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

20Jun/150

Top websites visited by Mauritius and the compromised cyberisland

Posted by logan


Alexa top 10 Websites visited by Mauritians

alexa

Alexa is a web statistic tool which is very useful. The problem in Mauritius, is that we do not have much statistics. I was expecting facebook, yahoo, and youtube. One site (ask.com) immediately drew my attention and I knew that something was very wrong in Mauritius !



Ask.com or how a lot of computers are compromised in the Cyberisland


The ask toolbar is generally found on computers that have been compromised, and installed surreptitiously. At the 10th place, we have ask.com, which is a malware that infects a lot of browsers. I saw it on a few laptops of my co-workers, and friends. However, I never imagined that it was so widespread in Mauritius! Widespread enough that it's the 10th most visited website by the island ! ask.com is typically accessed via browser toolbar that generates bad search results, and is notorious to remove completely.

Ask toolbar slows down the computers on which it is installed. It is very difficult to remove completely. The computers that have ask toolbar installed are very likely to contain other malware. Those computers tend to slow down entire corporate networks due to excessive traffic. Microsoft rates it as high, in terms of security severity: Microsoft Advisory. I went to check with CERT-MU which is the in its own terms "... Mauritian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-MU), a division of the National Computer Board (NCB), Mauritius, to educate and enhance the awareness of the general public on the technological and social issues facing internet users, particularly on the dangers of getting online." and found nothing concerning ask toolbar.



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28Aug/140

Raspberry Pi Lab at Nicolay Government School

Posted by Ish

Finally the moment arrived. Today was the inauguration of the Raspberry Pi lab at Nicolay Government School. Remember, weeks ago I wrote about this project that was initiated by JCI City Plus.

The past two days we went to the school & finished cabling stuffs.… Read more ➡

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5Jul/140

Raspberry Pi Party!

Posted by Ish

As planned with folks from JCI City Plus, today we met to further brainstorm the Raspberry Pi (RPi) project we’re currently collaborating on. A few months ago, Nitin Bachraz and Asha Auckloo got in touch with me informing of the project, which should comprise of an educational platform built-on RPis.… Read more ➡

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5Jul/140

Raspberry Pi Party!

Posted by Ish

As planned with folks from JCI City Plus, today we met to further brainstorm the Raspberry Pi (RPi) project we’re currently collaborating on. A few months ago, Nitin Bachraz and Asha Auckloo got in touch with me informing of the project, which should comprise of an educational platform built-on RPis.

Yog, Veer, Nitin & I, went for the RPi thrill today. A geek lab was set up at the home of one of the JCI folks. Some cool peeps there. We were welcomed with juice, tea, biscuits and I took the black-coffee-no-sugar as usual. Aww! It might sound weird but Yog asked for hot water instead.

We had some quick chats, checked the RPis & verified everything we needed. Earlier during the week I downloaded Raspbian but the RPi packs already came with SD-Cards loaded with NOOBS. Great! It spared me the time to dd the Raspbian image.

What is a Raspberry Pi?

RPi-logoThe Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games.

RPi-1

RPi-3

Nitin intrigued by the size of this marvel

RPi-4

RPi-2

RPi-5

An improvised geek lab was set up

RPi-5

RPi-10

Raspberry Pi desktop

RPi-7

RPi-8

RPi-12

RPi-15

RPi-13

RPi-11

A fultu day with huge laughs, farata jokes & meeting cool people. Hopefully, we should meet again in around two weeks to finalize the collaborative project between JCI City Plus and Linux User Group of Mauritius.

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27Nov/130

Linuxfest 2013 – Highlights

Posted by Ish Sookun

On the 7th October 2013 I sent the following message to LUGM’s mailing list.

Hello folks,

After several pings I finally got a date from the UoM Computer Club. They checked & double-checked with registrar and the only date they could get is 25th November.

So … How about throwing a Linux party on that day @ Octave Wiehe Auditorium?

During the past MSCC & LUGM meetups I’ve been talking about this event which will aim at getting Linux to the general public. Since the last one back in 2011, I’ve known many who started using Linux since then and even got jobs within the industry :)

Let’s have some brainstorming about how the event should proceed; we need speakers, magicians & entertainers … where are the volunteers?

Cheers!

Ish Sookun

The response that I received from LUGM folks was great. Everyone was keen to help with the event. We had an initial meetup at Perfect Pizza to discuss the event. Several emails, phone calls & meetups followed. Folks from UoM Computer Club & LUGM liaised to assign pending tasks. We had little time to arrange/organize yet we synchronized to the best we could.

Finally the day arrived, 25th November 2013!

Why a Linux Festival?

When we did an openSUSE Installfest back in 2011 it was a successful event. I know several guys who since then started using Linux & got jobs within the industry. Somehow I think the exposure to Linux helped the guys try it, like it & continue use it. I hope of achieving the same this time …

Participating in the Infotech 2013 got us some visibility. In fact, I met several folks at Octave Wiehe, Auditorium for the Linuxfest who actually met us at Infotech first. We invited them & they came. Although exams happening on that day we got 167 students registering & attending.

How was the event?

We didn’t get time to rehearse or even test the equipment properly. Some of us reached University of Mauritius as early as 08h00. Yet we were not ready with logistics by 10h00. We started the event some time around 10h30. First came a video promo made by Nirvan Pagooah. We didn’t have any host on stage but instead had a whole team working backstage to do announcements & poke some fun from time to time.

Linuxfest 2013 - Mauritius

Linuxfest 2013 - Mauritius

Linuxfest 2013 - Mauritius

Linuxfest 2013 - Mauritius

Presentations were done as follows:

  • Expansion of Linux & Android in the world and particularly, Mauritius, by Avinash Meetoo
  • Running Windows applications on Linux, by Jochen Kirstätter
  • Skills needed for a Unix System Admin & open source in our current IT industry, by Nitin Bachraz
  • MSCC & Development on open source platforms, by Nirvan Pagooah & Nayar Joolfoo
  • openSUSE Project / openSUSE Advocate Program, by Ish Sookun
  • BSD & Linux, which is which, by Eldergod Sælvøn
  • Presentation of Kali Linux, by Nitin J Mutkawoa
  • Linux Mint for daily activities, by Nadim Attari

Photo highlights

Linuxfest 2013 - Mauritius Avinash Meetoo, CEO of Knowledge Seven.

Jochen Kirstätter, a.k.a JoKi, CEO of IOS Ltd.

Nitin Bachraz, Senior Engineer & Team Leader, Orange Business Services.

Nirvan Pagooah, Creative Director, Graphics Temple & Student of UoM.

Nayar Joolfoo, student of UoM.

Nayar’s presentation made using HTML5 got some jaws dropped.

Ish Sookun, Engineer at Orange Business Services & openSUSE Advocate.

Nitin Mutkawoa, Police Officer & Linux enthusiast.

Nadim Attari, Web Developer & Linux enthusiast.

After the presentations we invited everyone in the auditorium lobby for some Linux demos. Ajay demoed several tools including Steam running on his Gentoo box.

Ajay interacting with an inquisitive audience.

On my end I met a few students whom I first met at Infotech. I had told them they could bring their laptops if they wanted to install Linux, which they did. They brought two laptops and several pendrives to get copies of Linux distributions. I installed Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon on one of their laptops. On the second one I asked them to install & I would watch. It was fun to have to geek chat while they were busy with the installation. They did the installation fine, dual booting with Windows.

The event over & we felt a sense of satisfaction. We were a bunch of geeks sitting outside afterwards, sharing some of the great moments. We hope to have the same collaboration for future events & we can make things better in many ways.

Photo credits go to Khagesh Teeluck.
Some photos taken using Ajay’s camera.

8Sep/110

Les logiciels libres: une opportunité pour Maurice

Posted by Avinash Meetoo

Dans notre monde moderne, la plupart de nos activités de commerce, de communication et de loisirs fonctionnent grâce aux ordinateurs et, surtout, grâce aux logiciels (software) que ceux-ci exécutent. Il existe deux types de logiciels: ceux qui sont libres (open source software) et ceux qui sont non-libres (aussi connus comme logiciels propriétaires ou privateurs).

Qu’y a t-il de commun entre Linux, Firefox, Chrome, OpenOffice et VLC Media Player? Ce sont tous des logiciels libres! Ce type de logiciel a plusieurs caractéristiques qu’il est intéressant d’analyser.

Premièrement, un logiciel est libre s’il peut être utilisé par tous, pour tous les usages. Par exemple, le navigateur Firefox sous Linux peut être utilisé par un médecin travaillant pour le secteur public soudanais pour s’informer sur les dernières recherches médicales concernant la malaria. Bizarrement, ce même médecin n’a pas le droit de faire la même chose avec Internet Explorer sous Windows (qui sont tout deux non-libres) parce que le Soudan est un pays que les États-Unis n’aiment pas… « La liberté des uns s’arrête là où commence celle des autres » en général… sauf dans le cas des logiciels non-libres.

Deuxièment, un logiciel est libre s’il peut être redistribué. En d’autres mots, dès que quelqu’un utilise un logiciel libre, il peut, sans violer la loi, donner des copies de ce logiciel à ses proches et connaissances. Par exemple, un enseignant qui utiliserait OpenOffice, qui est une suite bureautique libre très complète avec traitement de texte, tableur, logiciel de présentation, logiciel de dessin et base de données, peut en faire des copies et les redistribuer à tous ses étudiants pour qu’ils puissent travailler ensemble. Évidemment, la redistribution est gratuite! Pour un pays avec des moyens limités comme Maurice, cette caractéristique est importante.

[Le code source de Firefox inclut WebM, le nouveau format vidéo proposé par Google]

Troisièmement, un logiciel est libre si chacun peut étudier son fonctionnement pour, éventuellement, l’adapter à ses besoins. Les logiciels sont écrits en utilisant un langage de programmation tel que C, C++, Java ou autre. On appelle cela le code source du logiciel. Dans la plupart des cas, les éditeurs des logiciels non-libres ne donnent pas la possibilité d’examiner ce code source contrairement aux concepteurs des logiciels libres (d’où le terme open source). Pour la plupart des gens, qui ne sont pas des programmeurs, le code source n’est pas compréhensible et présente peu d’intérêt. Par contre, ceux qui manient les langages de programmation y trouvent la possibilité (1) de s’instruire en regardant ce que font les autres (ce qui est important lorsqu’on est étudiant en informatique par exemple), (2) d’ajouter des fonctionnalités pour enrichir le logiciel et (3) de corriger les erreurs qui s’y trouvent.

Ce dernier point a beaucoup d’importance: les logiciels libres sont souvent très fiables, bien plus fiables que les logiciels non-libres, parce que les erreurs de programmation sont corrigés par des utilisateurs dès qu’ils sont découverts. C’est d’ailleurs pour cette raison que des entreprises très connus tels que Google, Amazon, Facebook et Twitter utilisent majoritairement des logiciels libres pour offrir leurs services.

Quatrièmement, un logiciel est libre si chacun peut améliorer le logiciel pour ensuite le redistribuer au public s’il le souhaite. Comme chacun a accès au code source des logiciels qu’il utilise, cela permet aux plus créatifs d’entre nous d’y apporter des améliorations notables et de les partager avec les autres… Cette approche contributive du développement de logiciels libres permet de rapidement arriver à des niveaux de performance et de fiabilité phénoménaux.

Pour être complet, il est important de mentionner qu’il existe deux types de logiciels libres: ceux qui sont sous une licence virale (e.g. GPL) qui force les personnes (et les entreprises) à redistribuer leurs améliorations au public et ceux qui sont sous une licence non-virale (e.g. BSD, MIT, Apache) qui laisse la liberté aux personnes (et aux entreprises) de choisir s’il veulent redistribuer leurs améliorations ou non… Les puristes préfèrent le GPL tandis que les pragmatiques penchent plutôt pour les licences non-virales.

Les logiciels libres à Maurice

En 2008, RedHat a fait une étude sur le niveau d’activité autour des logiciels libres dans le monde en mesurant le nombre d’utilisateurs, le nombre de logiciels libres écrits, la politique instaurée par chaque gouvernement concernant l’utilisation des logiciels libres, le nombre de conférences, etc. On voit aisément que les pays occidentaux et les pays BRIC (Brésil / Russie / Inde / Chine) sont très actifs en ce qui concerne le logiciel libre.

Dans notre pays, beaucoup d’entreprises sont passées au logiciel libre. Il suffit de regarder les annonces d’emploi demandant des compétences en Linux, Java, PHP, MySQL, etc. pour s’en rendre compte. D’ailleurs plusieurs entreprises majeures de l’île font fonctionner leurs systèmes informatiques les plus critiques sur des serveurs Linux. Et ils ont raison.

Le Linux User Group of Mauritius, que j’ai aidé à mettre sur pied dix ans de cela, a pour mission d’aider les Mauriciens et les entreprises mauriciennes à adopter les logiciels libres.

Ah. J’ai oublié le plus important. Les logiciels libres sont gratuits!

[J'ai écris cet article dans le cadre de ma collaboration avec le magazine TechKnow.]

24Jun/110

Thank you for making OSS2011 a success

Posted by Avinash Meetoo

OSS2011: Le Logiciel Libre, 2011 et après

Thank you to all participants for making this seminar on Open Source Software in Mauritius such a success.

All the members of the organising team (from left to right: Vara Appavoo / UoM, Ajay Ramjatan / LUGM, Begum Durgahee / UoM, Anwar Chutoo / UoM, Jayantee Gukhool / AUF, Anuja Appavoo / UoM and Avinash Meetoo / LUGM) worked really hard to get everything right. Of course, we were far from being perfect but, still, we were happy as all of us, organisers as well as the numerous participants, learned a lot during the day and met interesting people.

Special thanks to LUGM members who were present on that day especially Logan Velvindron who talked about how he has managed to mitigate the effects of denial of service attacks in OpenBSD. Special thanks also to Ajay Ramjatan who brought his own computers to demonstrate a variety of Open Source Software to the participants. His focus on multimedia software was a refreshing change from what we generally are shown during such an event.

The presentations from institutions like the MIE and UoM were very interesting as well as those from the other students (I was very impressed!) and private companies.

Of course, I loved the interactive session from 13:30 to 15:00. I had the pleasure of being the chairperson for that session and I found the discussion very lively and enriching. I loved how young people and older ones (like me…) could share the same kind of vision for our beloved country.

In three weeks, Anwar Chutoo and his team will finalise a report on the conclusions reached during the event which will then be circulated to all participants.

Once again, thanks to all who helped: organisers, presenters as well as participants.

See you all for OSS2012.

(Thanks to Irfaan Lamarque for the nice picture)

20Jun/110

OSS2011: Seminar on Linux and OSS on 22 June 2011

Posted by Avinash Meetoo

As the founder of the Linux User Group of Mauritius (LUGM), I am delighted to, once again, tell you that there will be a Seminar on Open Source Software on 22 June 2011 at the University of Mauritius.

The seminar is organised by LUGM in collaboration with the University of Mauritius and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie and will be held at the Burrunchobay Lecture Theatre at the University of Mauritius (Google Map)

The programme for the day is as follows:

  • 09:00 – Official opening
  • 09:15 – First presentation session: Policy on OSS in Mauritius
  • 10:30 – Second presentation session: Students contributing to OSS
  • 11:15 – Third presentation session: Real world use of OSS
  • 12:00 – Lunch break
  • 13:15 – Three working sessions in parallel: (1) OSS in industry (to be chaired by myself), (2) OSS in education and (3) OSS at the level of the Government.
  • 14:30 – Synthesis of discussions held

I would be more that happy if you could participate in the seminar and contribute to the discussions based on your extensive experience on using open source software at work. More information about the event can be found on http://cse.uom.ac.mu/oss/fr

Please note that the seminar is open to everyone but, because of logistical constraints, it is important to confirm your presence by IMMEDIATELY registering at http://cse.uom.ac.mu/oss/fr/inscription_invite

I would like to thank Ajay Ramjatan of LUGM as well as Jayantee Gukhool, Director of AUF, and Anwar Chutoo, Lecturer at UoM, and his colleagues for making this seminar a reality.

Please feel free to disseminate to friends, colleagues and relatives :-)

21Feb/110

WWL: Work with Linux, it’s already reality.

Posted by ronny

Linkbynet Indian Ocean (LIO) est implémentée à Maurice depuis sept ans déjà. Filiale d’une compagnie d’origine française affichant plus de 250 salariés dans le monde, Linkbynet ne cesse de s'accroître et ne compte pas s'arrêter en si bon chemin.
Didier Joomun, administrateur Unix dans la branche Mauricienne de Linkbynet depuis bientôt trois ans et membre exécutif du LUGM, nous parle de son parcours et nous livre ses impressions au sujet du métier qu'il exerce.

23Jun/097

The Sony Bravia LCD TVs run Linux

Posted by Avinash Meetoo

20090623-sony-bravia

How many of you would like to get an LCD TV for Christmas? A lot, I bet. How many of you know that the Sony Bravia LCD TVs are powered by Linux? A lot fewer, I guess.

LCD TVs have a lot of pixels. When displaying a normal-resolution programme (say from the MBC), the TV must use extremely complex image processing algorithms to generate the missing pixels. For example:

  • SECAM @ 720 x 576 = 414,720 pixels every 1/25 of a second (I'm simplifying...)
  • HDTV @ 1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels every 1/25 of a second

So the TV must digitally create 5 times as many pixels as in the original frame 25 times per second. As you can easily guess, this requires a lot of horsepower hence the use of a powerful computer inside the TV. Sony has chosen Linux to power that computer (specifically Linux kernel 2.6.11)

For the more curious, have a look at http://products.sel.sony.com/opensource/source_tv.shtml