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

22Aug/096

Linux Mint 7 Gloria

Posted by Avinash Meetoo

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I have been using Linux for ten years now and like most of you I like to try different distributions. A few months ago I discovered Linux Mint while browsing on DistroWatch. I was surprised to see that Linux Mint was really popular (I think it was 4th at that time) and just now it's the 3rd most popular Linux distribution...

Linux Mint, which is at version 7 now, is based on Ubuntu which itself is built on Debian. So we're in excellent company here.

These are the things in Linux Mint that I really like:

  • Linux Mint contain codecs for most of the media files (audio / video) found on the Internet out of the box.
  • The user interface is gorgeous and really feels like something that has been designed by someone who really knows about user interaction. For example, Mint has a menu (pictured above) which contains selected applications (favourites) and which is 100% customisable. It's much better (IMHO) than the default Gnome menu.
  • There is an application which shows all software available in Linux Mint with screenshots. What is great is that this list can be sorted by popularity. It's a great way to discover open source applications which are used by a lot of people and which you don't personally know about.
  • Compiz (as well as the proprietary Nvidia driver in my case) is preinstalled and is sensibly configured: not a lot of eye candy but, instead, a pragmatic choice of settings to make Gnome more usable.
  • aptitude! I love anything .deb-based.

I'm really impressed by Linux Mint. This is the only distribution I use at home. At work I use CentOS Linux because, well, it is great for a business environment. But I might replace CentOS on my own computer there with Linux Mint. Just don't tell anyone.

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