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

15Jun/0910

Back to the future

Posted by Avinash Meetoo

20090615-back-to-the-future

I'm happy!

After years and years of inactivity (let's be honest!), the LUGM website is alive again! As you can see, this is a blog and I expect you to make it become alive with a lot of insightful and passionate comments. Of course, we'll also participate in the discussions.

As you all know, the Linux User Group of Mauritius has a number of objectives namely (i) advocate (ii) support (iii) educate and (iv) make people meet. During the coming months, we will make a number of important announcements concerning events that we intend to organise... with your help! Stay tuned.

The past

When LUGM started 10 years ago, Linux was still a curiosity... especially here in Mauritius.

As a matter of fact, I got into Linux myself par hasard. I had a Windows NT server around 1999 and it was tough to configure (in fact, a lot of things were not working properly.) I stumbled upon a copy of the PC Quest magazine with Redhat Linux 6.2 as cover disk. Little by little, I migrated all the services from the NT box to a Pentium 133 with 32 Mb running the Redhat Linux 6.2 and everything worked great. I then decided that life was too short to care about NT and became a Linux addict.

Of course, things were not always rosy. I fondly remember having to fight with the X-Window configuration files on a daily basis. And a lot of services could only be configured after read documentation and HOWTOs thoroughly. But, at least, they worked as expected...

But Linux was fun! I really enjoyed learning about the UNIX way of doing things. It is then that I decided to share my passion with others, first by announcing the launching of this Linux User Group then by introducing my students to Linux. I remember deploying Linux to the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the University of Mauritius to great effect. Many of the students loved Linux as it allowed them to explore areas of Computer Science that they were not really aware of.

On the commercial front, we did a survey on the use of Linux in Mauritian companies in 2003 and the results are still interesting to read.

Now

Linux is now a common occurrence in Mauritian companies. And this is true for a lot of open source software too. Of course, most of the desktop computers still run Windows (and I expect this to continue for some years until everyone becomes mobile) but a lot of the largest servers in the country are powered by Linux.

Interestingly, a lot of devices being used by Mauritians all day long (e.g. the Mauritius Telecom Livebox and the Sony Bravia LCD TVs) run Linux.

As far as I know, the rate of adoption of open source software is increasing (simply because, for most of them, they work great!)

There is one thing which I don't like though, the Mauritian Linux community is still largely fragmented and I hope that this new website will enable us all to work together (and also have a lot of fun together.)

The future

It all depends on you. What do you want us to do?

Avinash Meetoo

7Aug/032

Survey on the use of Linux in Mauritius

Posted by Avinash Meetoo

Who are we ?

The Linux User Group of Mauritius (LUGM) exists since November 2000 and our main roles are:

  • Advocate
  • Educate
  • Support
  • Socialise
  • Coordinate Linux and OSS activities in Mauritius

Web site and mailing list

  • http://www.lugm.org
  • http://www.lugm.org/mailing-list/

Scope of the survey

What we were looking for

  • Patterns of use of Linux and OSS in Mauritius
  • Meaning of Open Source
  • Knowledge of our existence

Methodology

  • Sample of 80-100 IT managers
  • Questionnaire based
  • Anonymous

The results: Heard about Linux ?

20030807-04-heard

A vast majority of IT managers has heard of Linux (92.5%)

The rest (7.5%) must be living on another planet 🙂

How did you discover it ?

20030807-05-how

Multiple answered we allowed.

We see the ever increasing role of the Internet as a means fo propagate knowledge.

Where do you use Linux ?

20030807-06-where

38% of the IT managers questioned do not use Linux, neither at work nor at home.

Of those 62% left, the majority use Linux only at work

This seems to indicate that Linux is being used as a server operating system.

Distribution used ?

20030807-07-distro

Pattern of use of distributions in Mauritius is exactly the same as worldwide.

Red Hat rules !

Applications used ?

20030807-08-what

Surprisingly, the type of application mostly used is Office applications (presumably Star Office and Open Office).

On the other hand, server applications (Mail, Web, Database and File Servers) amount to 55% which is coherent with the deduction made previously.

What about paid support ?

20030807-09-paid

A majority thinks that Linux support should not be commercial.

This is very surprising given that most of those questioned use Linux at work.

An interpretation is that they are satisfied with the level of support they get in forums and websites.

Deployment date ?

20030807-10-deploy

The majority of those questioned already have deployed Linux-based solutions at work. This is absolutely fantastic 🙂

Unfortunately, 35% do not know whether they’ll do it or not.

They are the ones we need to convince.

What is Open Source ?

20030807-11-whatis

One out of five IT managers does not know anything about Open Source...

Any Contribution ?

20030807-12-giveback

Frightening !

38% do not know how to help.

And about 20% do not want to help.

Linux and Open Source is all about give and take !!!

Heard about LUGM ?

20030807-13-knowlugm

55% of Mauritian IT managers know that LUGM exists.

Satisfied with LUGM ?

20030807-14-satisfied

About half of those who know LUGM are satisfied with it.

It is important that those who are unsatisfied with LUGM’s actions come forward and make proposals.

That’s the whole point of having a community...

Conclusions ?

A majority of Mauritian IT Managers

  • know Linux and Open Source software
  • have deployed Linux and OSS-based solutions
  • do not require commercial support
  • do not contribute to the OSS movement.

They could help

  • Technically <=> participate in OSS development
  • Financially <=> reward deserving developers & projects
  • Logistically <=> help in a LUG (for example LUGM :-))

Copyright Avinash Meetoo | Published under the Gnu Free Document License

18Jul/030

10 reasons why Linux is better than Windows for the Mauritian School IT Project

Posted by Avinash Meetoo

20030718-top-10

1) Linux is free !

Linux distributions can be obtained freely and copied at will.

2) Linux is open source !

The sources of Linux and thousands of other open source applications are readily available. Learning to build software becomes easy just by looking at those examples.

3) Linux has a community of users !

Linux is not only an operating system but also an extensive community of users willing to share experiences and support each other. The Linux User Group of Mauritius (www.linux.mu), among others, represents this community in Mauritius. Extensive user documentation created by fellow Linux users exists on the Internet (www.tldp.org).

4) Linux runs thousands of software !

A Linux distribution typically contains loads of software (e.g. Redhat Linux 9 comes with 1402 software packages) and many more can be obtained on the Internet (e.g. on www.freshmeat.net and www.sourceforge.net). Most of these software packages (e.g. productivity, graphical, educational, software development or Internet applications) are free.

5) Linux is robust, secure and efficient !

Linux has been designed to be very robust (it recovers gracefully from the whole range of exceptional situations), secure (every user can have private files and specific privileges) and efficient (it can be used on previous generation computers like 486s and Pentium I). Some very well-known companies now use Linux for their processing needs (e.g. Amazon, Google, the NASA, the CIA and even our own Mauritian Servihoo).

6) Linux is based upon open standards and open protocols !

Linux implements most open standards and open protocols including but not limited to TCP/IP, HTTP, MathML, PNG, SOAP, Web Services, XHTML, XML, XSL...

7) Linux is compatible with everything else !

Linux can easily coexist and work with all kinds of alternative operating systems systems (like Unix, Windows, MacOS...). Linux applications can also read and write files in proprietary format (like .doc or PDF). Linux can even run some Windows applications (most notably office applications).

8) Linux is an excellent environment to learn programming !

A Linux distribution comes with numerous software development environment and compilers (for C, C++, Java, Python, TCL/Tk, Fortran, Ruby...).

Java 2 Enterprise Edition is also available through the freely available J2EE implementations from Sun or JBoss. With the availability of the two leading open source databases in most distributions, PostgreSQL and MySQL, a student has all the tools required to learn to build extensive enterprise software applications.

9) Linux can be easily administered remotely !

Every computer running Linux can be administered remotely using the very secure SSH protocol. This means that all eventual maintenance and installations can be done remotely. This implies that every school need not have a local system administrator.

10) Linux is being promoted by some very well-known companies !

IBM (www.ibm.com/linux), HP (www.hp.com/linux), Oracle (www.oracle.com/linux), SAP (www.sap.com/linux), Sun (www.sun.com/linux) and other well-known companies are heavily investing and developing products for Linux.

This clearly shows their trust in Linux.

Linux is the future !

Thanks to all those who have contributed ideas and to Yash Nursinghdass in particular.

Copyright Avinash Meetoo | Published under the Gnu Free Document License