Monthly Archives: August 2015

Quick fix for fast forward youtube


Youtube loads but there is no sound, and youtube seems to be playing in fast forward mode.

After digging around, I realised that the sound sub-system of Linux needs to be badly fixed. It tries to play through the audio HDMI port first. Youtube should also fix their sound output code on Linux. The trick is to disable the HDMI codec driver for the sound.

Add this line in modprobe.conf: blacklist snd_hda_codec_hdmi

I've seen huge threads about this problem on various forums. Maybe this will help a few people.

Linux Meetup (29/08/2015)

A Linux Meetup after a long time !

We held our first meetup after a very very long time :) I wasn't expecting 71 people, but we got around 13 people who showed up. Quite a few couldn't make it at the last minute. The usual suspects showed up with the addition of Ashvin, who made it this time :) 2 employees of Mauritius Telecom were also present.


Bufferbloat explained

I demo'ed and explained the bad latency that Internet Users experienced on the DSLresport website. I explained how, once you cross 5MB/s, your bandwidth isn't that important anymore. Now, we need to talk about latency . When, I showed how by implementing CoDEL we could solve the latency problem, the 2 employees of Mauritius Telecom understood the issue at hand. Unfortunately, none of Emtel, Canal+ or Bharat Telecom engineers were around, sadly.

I hope that ISP guys get the message concerning the need for low latency in Mauritius for us to be able to benefit from a good service for services like VOIP, gaming, teleconference, and IMs.

With Open Source software and Linux, we were able to show how we can still achieve low latency while saturating both our uplink and downlink on a Mauritius Telecom MyT/30 Mbit/s connection. Quite a few people, in particular, Ajay Ramjatan & Shaan Nobee asked a lot of questions regarding fq_coDEL and the theory behind AQM.

I sincerely hope to see University Students pick up on research related to bufferbloat and how to fix it. I hope that Wifi will be fixed, as well as possibly adjusting coDEL for Mauritius.

There were a few questions regarding the IETF, and the applicability of standards. I explained how participation in standards is crucial for emerging countries like ours. In particular, I emphasize on the importance of sending Networking and Systems Engineers to conferences like the IETF, through the budget for training, rather than sending marketting guys, who would never be able to sell anything to a knowledgeable engineer. Too many IT companies think that investing in training is too expensive, and do not realise how they can grow their portolio of services for their customers.

Overall, It was a fun meetup. I hope that we, Linux users, can work together with ISPs to fix the latency issues that 99% of customers are currently experiencing right now.

URL for my presentation: my presentation
Dave Taht's talk on Bufferbloat At Stanford:
Dave Taht talk at Stanford


Ebene In 2020

A Newspaper in 2020 ...

PORT LOUIS, Jul 2 2020 (slashslash) - Workers from Bangladesh have helped Mauritius to achieve the Knowledge Hub success and world market share that the Indian Ocean island state boasts about. But many live and work in conditions described as akin to “modern slavery”, apart from facing discrimination, the denial of labour rights and even violence.

The 32 year old Mohamed Amin* left his wife and two children in low-income Bangladesh 23 months ago to look for greener pastures in the ICT/BPO industry in Mauritius

He paid 150,000 takkas (about 2,200 dollars) to an agent in his country for a job as a Software Engineer upon the promise of earning 20,000 Mauritian rupees (about 665 dollars) a month.

"That (the promised 665 dollars) is big money in Bangladesh and I was prepared to make any sacrifice for it,” Amin told slashslash who visited him at Ebene, in northern Mauritius, where he lives in a container provided by his employer, SmartCities Inc.

But, today, the Bangladeshi worker earns little more than a quarter of that amount. “I have been cheated,” he said.

He is frustrated as, in about a year’s time, he will have to leave the island. Amin is yet to save any money to take home. His meagre earnings allow him to cover his living expenses and to send a limited amount of money to his family every three months.

Poverty, unemployment and the high cost of living are the factors that force Amin and his compatriots to leave their country and look for jobs abroad.

“The employers do not care for them; they live like animals. How can humans sleep in such places?” he asked. “There is no government office where they can complain — even when their passports are seized from them.”

“Some employers are still treating their workers as mere objects that will keep on producing until the end of their contracts,” he told slashslash.

“A migrant worker should enjoy the same terms and conditions of employment and the same prescribed salary than those granted to the locals, besides a free return air ticket, food allowance, lodging and accommodation in Mauritius,” the minister explained, referring to government regulations.

Carlos Charette, chairperson of the OTAM, admitted to slashslash that some IT employers are to blame for the poor living conditions. However, he insisted that the dormitories are in a good condition when the expatriates first arrive.

“These are checked by the relevant health and fire services before the expatriates land there. We should understand that these people come from poor and dirty countries where hygiene does not exist. They put the dormitories in such a state that one cannot go inside because of the bad smell,” he told slashslash, without flinching.

-- A satirical fiction written, based on current "suggested" measures!

Danger for IT workers in Mauritius

It starts with an article in Defi-media

I woke up today and found this article: defi-media . After reading it, I was shocked to discover the suggestions put forward by OTAM and some of the people who were interviewed, including the founder of MSCC !

Claim #1 : "proposes that firms be permitted to recruit freely"

What does that mean ? Well, to hire a skilled foreigner in IT, a company has to pay him a minimum salary of Rs 30,000. Previously, it was Rs 40,000. Many foreign workers skilled in IT are getting better salaries: I heard people earning up to Rs 90,000. If employers are allowed to hire freely as OTAM suggests: here is what is going to happen: Mauritius is going to be flooded with IT workers who will work for Rs 6,000/month. . In other words, if we remove the Rs 30,000 minimum salary, local IT companies can hire workers for Rs 6,000/month, from Countries like Bangladesh. OTAM uses the analogy of the Manufacturing sector to justify this. Now, Mauritians work for Rs 6,000 in Textile factories. Is this what we want for our co-workers, friends, and future children who we are grooming for a prestigious career in IT in Mauritius ? What is also shocking is that the MSCC does not show that it disagreed with OTAM's claim #1. This leads me to question the motivations of MSCC.

Claim #2: "Quality of graduates"

Quote from MSCC: "The notion of having a graduate per household led to a drop in the level of education, which translates through a lack of skills. It is thus detrimental to operators, who must train young people, which costs time and resources".

I am not convinced by claim #2. The quality of graduates from Mauritius is not that different from Countries like India, which are doing quite well in the area of ICT. I am myself a product of the so-called "one graduate per family". Can MSCC or OTAM point out how my skills are not as good as software engineers from the US or Germany ? I've been approached by Fortune 500 companies in the US, and offered engineering jobs in some of the world's most prestigious IT companies.

I think that OTAM is using the fact that the quality of IT education in Mauritius needs improvment as a scapegoat excuse to justify hiring people from outside, and pay them Rs 6000/month. The real goal of OTAM is to eliminate the Rs 30,000 minimum salary that the government imposes on foreign workers who want to work in Mauritius. Again, I am deeply disappointed in the stance that MSCC took on this matter.

THe real issue is that many of the local IT companies do not invest in training of their workers. One software engineer in the US can cost 4000 to 5000 Euros. That's almost Rs 144,000 . If you want to hire a junior developer in France, you would need to pay at least 1500 Euros. That's Rs 60,000. Knowing those facts: we know that a starting developer gets around Rs 20,000 here. So on each junior developer, an outsourcing company is saving up to Rs 40,000 ! Yeah, Rs 40,000 ! So the companies are putting that money in their pockets, instead of trying to invest into improving the skills of their employees. Now, they want junior developers who will work for Rs 6,000/month. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS !

Claim #3: "Disloyalty"

I’am officially a Google security supplier !


Security Services

Last night, I got the confirmation that I am officially recognized as a Supplier of Security Services for Google, the Internet Search Giant :)


What does this mean for Internet Security

I will be working more closely on Internet Security by focusing on key Open Source projects, and this effort will be sponsored by Google. Needless to say, I'm very excited ! I look forward to building a more secure Internet, that benefits not only Google, but also Mauritius, as we are also heavy consumers of products that are based on Open Source Software: Android, gmail and quite a few others.

Collaborative efforts

By working together, as a team, we can strengthen the foundation of Today's Internet, so that we avoid another Heartbleed. I look forward to not only work on code, but also with different people spread across the globe and who speak different languages. There's something beautiful in Open Source: Despite our divergent opinions, we are able to work together. I believe that our strength comes from our ability to readjust ourselves to an increasingly hostile Internet.

Google Security Supplier, am excited for this new adventure! :)