Monthly Archives: May 2014

OpenBSD and the little Mauritian contributor

OpenBSD! I recall it as the blowfish photo someone stuck on the whiteboard during the times I was working at Linkbynet. I had no BSD hands-on-experience before that although I knew about it. My first OpenBSD proper introduction was given by Ronny at Linkbynet when I questioned him about the Blowfish photo. That’s where the […]

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LUGM Meetup @ Pizza Perfect

As announced on Facebook earlier this week, we had a LUGM meetup today at Pizza Perfect. Scheduled to start at 11h00 but I woke up late. I end up missing the bus. The next one came 30 mins later & was damn slow on the road. Could I complain? Nope! So, I’d better listen to the Bollywood playlist on Kindle.

Ajay & Jagveer called me and I assumed others reached Pizza Perfect while I was still on way. Indeed, when I reached there around 12h05, a small team already was enjoying lunch with no pizza on the table. Aww! For once, I joined in to have a burger lunch too. A perfect vegetarian burger.


Today’s Geek Team

Jochen Kirstaetter & the kids, Nitin Mutkawoa, Shamsher Khudurun (aka Luffy), Jagveer Loky, Ajay Ramjatan, Ibraahim Atchia, Ashley Babajee, Nayar Joolfoo and me.

We had lunch & discussed random topics till 13h00. Afterwards we looked at the LUGM agenda. We started with handling of membership applications. I had quite a bunch of application forms to hand over. Since the secretary couldn’t make it today and we needed to find a novel method to store member details, Ajay volunteered to do this. I also had to handover membership fees from a few new members to the treasurer, that is Ajay. That made us discuss the future of LUGM as a growing community in Mauritius. We exchanged a few words about MITIA (Mauritius IT Industry Association) and the upcoming ProIT 2014 Conference.


Don’t know if it was shooting against sunlight or the rainy weather that got me dark pictures.


Next we had a lengthy discussion about LUGM website revamp. Ajay proposed having a team assigned with different roles, such as webmaster, maintainer/developer, content writers & editors. Everyone pretty much agreed on this. Initially I didn’t want to be in the web team as I rather wanted to direct resources to the Magazine idea. As it happens though, magazines look like an old-fashioned artifact. I changed my mind and joined the web team. Nayar and Nitin volunteered as well. In fact, Nayar also volunteered to put some energy into reviving the LUGM forum as he has some experience writing plugins for MyBB.

While the discussion was still ON, Nitin & Luffy helped Jagveer load Kali Linux onto his laptop. The new recruit was happy.

Ajay tossed the topic on communication channels. The LUGM mailing list looks like an obsolete tool for communication. I agreed as most of the emails go unanswered or might get a response only weeks after. We discussed on the possibility of automatically posting announcements to various social network channels. As of today we have a Facebook group, a Google plus account and a Youtube channel. We intend to set up Twitter and Linkedin accounts and interconnect them.

We also discussed about revenue possibilities through the LUGM website. Ajay showed us the traffic stats of LUGM website. Our jaws dropped!! Nayar & I, simply couldn’t believe those stats. They’re some great revenue potential for the association and the website revamp could make all this happen naturally. Ronny joined the discussion through Skype and shared his views regarding the website revamp.


Lastly, I opened discussion about Ubuntu Mauritius. I explained how it came to my mind putting energy in the Ubuntu Mauritius group which exists since 2011. I’m spending much time working on Ubuntu and CAE Linux (based on Ubuntu 12.04) these days. It makes it easier for me advocating the same and answer questions that are directed towards the project. I could thus help other Ubuntu users & enthusiasts guiding them into bug reporting and doing advocacy on their end. Nayar already has a project that could end up being the first package under ubuntu-mu PPA.


Meetup ended around 15h30 on a happy note with quite a huge list of tasks ahead.

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Running a booth at a conference

I have been an openSUSE advocate for years now & it’s always been pleasure to talk for the Gecko at events, seminars etc. Prior to that the word advocacy was much an ambiguity to me. If someone would toss about project advocacy or technology evangelism, I might not have understood at first. The advocacy I do right now, I owe a lot to the openSUSE project and folks in the community.

I was today watching the videos from openSUSE Conference 2014 and I saw Jos Poortvliet doing a presentation on “How to run a booth and present your project”. This reminded me of folks in the Linux User Group of Mauritius (LUGM), especially the new recruits, asking about what to do when we attended Infotech 2013. I was then able to share some advocacy skills and I could say everyone faired well.


Today I realise we have so much resources within LUGM that could be a reservoir of information if properly channeled during future seminar/conferences. Some of the points Jos emphasized in his presentation are about “having content” and “knowing the audience”. Jos classifies the audience in 3 groups:

  • Newbies
  • Advanced users
  • Experts

The newbies are generally new to Linux/FOSS or might know nothing at all. For such an audience it’s always a good starting point to have a demo; like showing how to accomplish daily stuffs in Linux. Advanced users are most of the time already acknowledged to various FOSS projects and might be around with questions rather than seeking a demo. Experts are usually people having greater technical skills and might perhaps even be contributing to FOSS. They are usually the happy going folks who come to cheer & share their passion. It’s always a good thing to have some experts visiting your booth.

Within LUGM we in fact have already applied such tactics when setting booths. As seen in Infotech 2013, I attended a lot of people who were new to Linux, showed them demos on openSUSE & Linux Mint. Many students who were rather shooting questions about career propects, I was happy to clear their doubts. Whenever I felt overloaded with demos, I directed some of the audience towards other folks, like the cheerful UoM Computer Club. Some of them are kinda new to Linux too but their association with LUGM and MSCC already gave them much experience about FOSS & community, that helped them in talking to people & demo’ing cool tricks. Several other who showed up asking about licensing, we directed them to Ajay who is well versed in that subject. Kids asking for games on Linux were also directed to Ajay. Many young folks who wanted to know about penetration testing stuffs, we directed them to Nitin. That way we basically had a perfect mapping for info requests.

Jos explains several tricks about setting up a booth, the way to stand (not behind but rather in front of the table), how to start a conversation, what to do when idle etc. I believe the video will be useful to anyone who’s looking for some advocacy tips.

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Ubuntu: Build from source using apt-build

Ubuntu lets you build/compile a package from source using the apt-build utility. The latter does not ship by default on standard Ubuntu installs. You may install it as follows:

sudo apt-get install apt-build

Now, to compile a package from source, you do the following:

sudo apt-build install package_name

However, since a few days that I’m using apt-build on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS I noticed an error showing up every time I update the software repositories list.


Upon searching I found that the bug has been around since a while and affects 64bit systems. As few people might be using the apt-build feature therefore it hasn’t been on a priority list. If you’re using apt-build on a 64bit machine it’s highly probable that you’ll encounter the error too.

It can be fixed by specifying the architecture type in the repository configuration file. In this case it’ll be the file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/apt-build.list.

Replace the following line:

deb file:/var/cache/apt-build/repository apt-build main


deb [arch=amd64] file:/var/cache/apt-build/repository apt-build main

That should do the trick. You can now run sudo apt-get update without errors showing up.


The bug is being tracked here.

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MSCC – Let’s talk about Scripting

It was initially scheduled for last Saturday but upon request MSCC monthly meetup was re-scheduled for today. I thought that would give me sufficient time to craft some cool scripts that I could showcase during my presentation on Bash Scripting. Oh! I was wrong. I either didn’t get enough inspiration or simply I was lazy to write stuffs. Wait! How could I be lazy since I did get time to make some colorful slides. Ahaan … Inspiration then?

Back to topic, this morning Rajnee (a new LUGM recruit) texted & told me she could pick me up before going to the meetup. This was the first time she’d be attending an MSCC meetup. That was too cool, she picked me up around 10h00 & we arrived at the University of Mauritius a little before 10h30. On the way I called Ronny, he had some other priorities and might not show up. We initially planned to spare 15 minutes today & approve the new recruits of LUGM.

At UoM, I called up Yunus to find my way to Phase II, room 2.9. It wasn’t a tough task. I do know a little bit about UoM building layouts. Right infront of room 2.9, I saw Nayar and Aslam waiting. They reached earlier and inquired about the class. Seemed like it was occupied and it would be free as from 10h30. Fair enough for us. A short while later Daniel showed up followed by others.

Others? Who else?

Those who made it today:
Daniel, Nayar, Aslam, Rajnee, Ashmita, Yunus, Jagveer, Adarsh, Nadim, Pritvi, Saif, Jochen and his kids… oh, and me of course.

Ironically, the projector in room 2.9 was black & white. I was like whaaaat? No way. I spent time to make colorful slides, I can’t show those in B&W. We then moved to room 2.10 and 2.11. Same issue. Hopefully, Jochen brought his projector. So, we returned to room 2.9 and used his projector.

I presented my love for Bash first. As I mentioned earlier, due to lack of inspiration, I could not dedicate more time to script examples but I assured the presentation would be beneficial to new folks in Linux, giving them an insight about command-line. I talked about pipes, redirects, standard streams and how these can be coupled with Bash scripting.

My presentation (^^,)

Daniel brought a programmer’s approach and described the limits of scripting, as when should one shift to program something rather than scripting. He also showed us some syntax loopholes in Bash that could leave someone with bad code.

Daniel's slides

In the end, Jochen brought us PowerShell. We went back in history, discussed MS-DOS and Microsoft’s evolution to PowerShell. Yes, Microsoft has been slow on this decision. Questions sprouted along the way as Jochen proceeded with PowerShell talks. I shot about a server having just PowerShell, like no GUI, and yes that’s available with Microsoft Server Core. Pritvi shot about connecting to a headless server using PowerShell. Yes, indeed that’s possible too but it’s not as in SSH (if you might be thinking that way). Jochen also highlighted the similarities with Bash, like having cmdlets (a PowerShell feature) aliased to popular Bash commands like, ls, mv, rmdir, mkdir etc.

After the presentations some of us moved to Bagatelle to have lunch. Meetup thus ended on a happy note over tea, panini, pita bread, sandwiches and pasta.

MSCC Meetup - Presentation on Shell Scripting mscc-scripting-daniel mscc-scripting-jochen mscc-scripting-bagatelle-1 mscc-scripting-bagatelle-2 mscc-scripting-bagatelle-3

Photos taken on mobile by Nadim. Indoor ones came bad due to lighting.

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