Author Archives: Ish Sookun

openSUSE distributions dedicated page

openSUSE distributions dedicated page

Previously, it would take someone new to the project quite some time to learn about the distributions and understand their differences. Not every new openSUSE user would know that it's ideal to use openSUSE MicroOS for single-purpose server hosting and Kubic for container orchestration with Kubernetes.

Thanks to a revamp of the openSUSE Project website, now the distributions get a dedicated page at A little work is still needed on the documentation part for each specific distribution. If you would like to help with that, you are most welcome. Join the openSUSE Documentation mailing list and coordinate with what's already being done to improve

For now, each distribution's individual page on points to the same official documentation guide which is Leap-centric. The documentation does not cover specific instructions for MicroOS, Kubic or even Tumbleweed.

Grab a cool wallpaper for your Linux desktop

Grab a cool wallpaper for your Linux desktop

I tweeted about a blog post which I published on, explaining how I configured the GNOME desktop theme Yaru (by the Ubuntu community) on my openSUSE Tumbleweed machine. The tweet got a lot of reaction, not just for the blog post or cool Yaru theme but also for the nice wallpaper showing penguins using a computer.

I got a question whether the wallpaper was freely available. The answer is yes. The wallpaper was released, among many others, by Digital Ocean in 2016.

You can head to now and grab a cool wallpaper for your Linux desktop.

RHEL no-cost* vs openSUSE Leap

RHEL no-cost* vs openSUSE Leap

Ever since Red Hat announced that they are changing the development model of CentOS and making it an upstream project rather than downstream, it left many CentOS users frowning. No matter what argument brought forward, CentOS users, especially running production machines, relied on the stability of an enterprise-grade Linux distribution. Compiled from RHEL sources, CentOS offered such stability that it powered many web servers and enjoyed a massive 20% share of the top 500 supercomputers of the world.

RHEL no-cost* vs openSUSE Leap
Source: Statistics November 2020

Some time back, Red Hat made another annoucement, about new Red Hat Enterprise Linux programs. Under the new program RHEL can be used in production for up to 16 systems (which Red Hat considers a small workload) at zero license costs. Also, Red Hat is making it easier for a customer's development team to join the program and reap the benefits.

What risks lie ahead for an enterprise if Red Hat changes or cancels the program in the future? 🤔

On the other hand, since 2018, SUSE has worked closely with the openSUSE community to bring the Leap distribution closer to SUSE Enterprise Linux (SLE), such that now Leap and SLE are binary compatible.

openSUSE currently offers two distinct distributions, Leap & Tumbleweed.

Tumbleweed is a rolling distribution constantly getting updated software whereas Leap has planned releases that sync with SUSE Linux Enterprise and its Service Packs.

RHEL no-cost* vs openSUSE Leap

The above image depicts how openSUSE & SUSE Linux Enterprise are developed together. Factory is the rolling development codebase for both openSUSE & SLE. In the pipeline we can see that Leap & SLE are synced and both receive software packages from the same source; that is why they are both binary compatible.

In a series of blog posts explaining how SUSE builds its Enterprise Linux distribution, author Vincent Moutoussamy details the relationship between openSUSE & SLE.


Red Hat allows its clients to use RHEL for free on up to 16 machines. On the other hand, openSUSE Leap boasts binary compatibility with SUSE Linux Enterprise and comes without any restriction on usage.

Cover image source:
Photo by Gratisography from Pexels

SOGo calendar synchronization breaks due to emoji in the event title

SOGo calendar synchronization breaks due to emoji in the event title

An emoji can break a calendar. 😳

I am using the SOGo Groupware. I noticed that certain emojis in the event title would prevent calendar apps from synchronizing using the CalDAV protocol. I checked the logs but could not find much. I had my doubts about what could be causing it. Then, this bug report confirmed that I should investigate on the UTF-8 encoding support.

I checked the database character set.

MariaDB [sogo]> select @@character_set_database;
| @@character_set_database |
| utf8                     |
1 row in set (0.001 sec)

The database name is sogo and we are using MariaDB.

I found the character set to be utf8, to my surprise. I had to dig a little further to understand what was wrong with it.

It turned out that the MariaDB utf8 character set supports a maximum of there bytes per character. Therefore, emojis being four bytes long weren't being inserted into the database. Consequently, that breaks the calendar synchronization. The solution was to use the utf8mb4 character set which supports four bytes per multi-byte character.

I altered the database character set and collation.

MariaDB [sogo]> ALTER DATABASE sogo CHARACTER SET = utf8mb4 COLLATE = utf8mb4_unicode_ci;

I also applied it to every table in the database, e.g:

MariaDB [sogo]> ALTER TABLE sogo_store CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;

Afterwards, I could create events using an emoji in the title. The event would synchronize across my calendar apps but the emoji would not show. Instead, it would appear as four questions marks (????) instead.

SOGo calendar synchronization breaks due to emoji in the event title
SOGo calendar emoji issue

A little bit of further digging and I found that SOGo needs to be made aware of the full unicode support. It should be specified in the /etc/sogo/sogo.conf configuration file.

MySQL4Encoding = "utf8mb4";

Restart the SOGo service. Emojis should be then accepted in the event titles.

SOGo calendar synchronization breaks due to emoji in the event title

I can now put my recurrent coffee breaks in the calendar. ☕

Web vector created by stories -

openSUSE community elects Axel, Gertjan and Neal to serve on the Board

openSUSE community elects Axel, Gertjan and Neal to serve on the Board

The election lasted for two weeks and it ended last night at 23h59 UTC. The results were published today at mid-day (for me).

The complete election results are:

  • Axel Braun — 142 votes
  • Gertjan Lettink — 134 votes
  • Neal Gompa — 131 votes
  • Maurizio Galli — 103 votes
  • Nathan Wolf — 59 votes

Five votes were recorded for the "none of the above" option. Out of 518 eligible voters, 229 voters have cast their vote in this election, which represents a turnout of 44%. It's a low turnout compared to last year's board election which was 56%.

Axel, Gertjan and Neal are elected to serve for two years on the openSUSE Board.

Ubuntu Mauritius 🐧

Ubuntu Mauritius 🐧

Last week, Chittesh and I were discussing about Ubuntu 20.10 and we shared how things are effortless and boring. I installed Ubuntu on my personal laptop the previous week-end. I was indeed impressed by the out-of-the-box experience with the drivers and codecs.

For a long time I had forgotten that Ubuntu has the tendency to keep things as "human" as possible; and therefore adhering to their motto, "Linux for human beings!"

Out of the discussion, we then decided we will put some energy into the dormant Ubuntu Mauritius LoCo Team. The latter was created in 2011 and we organised a few events around those years, such as the Ubuntu Global Jam and Installation Festivals. Later on, I continued to focus on my experiments with openSUSE and spent less time at the Ubuntu activities.

In 2021, we are going to sort out a few things and make the Ubuntu Mauritius group active again. Chittesh has agreed to take on the reign. He is already the team's go-to person. Expect to see more purple desktops next year!

Candidate slate for the openSUSE Board Election 2020

Candidate slate for the openSUSE Board Election 2020

Last night the nominations and applications phase of the election reached an end. We received six applications and the names of the candidates are:

• Axel Braun
• Gertjan Lettink
• Mark Stopka
• Maurizio Galli
• Nathan Wolf
• Neal Gompa

Note that this election is to fill three vacant seats on the openSUSE Board.

All candidates are encouraged to set up their election platform on the openSUSE wiki. The campaign begins now!

Developers Conference 2021 – Call for Speakers announced

Developers Conference 2021 - Call for Speakers announced

The Call for Speakers for the Developers Conference 2021 has been announced. Yes, DevCon 2021 is knocking at the doors already. Preparations have begun and if you would like to be a speaker at the most awaited tech conference in Mauritius, then head to and submit your proposal.

Save the dates

DevCon 2021 is scheduled for the 18, 19 & 20 March 2021 (if all is well in the country).

We are keeping fingers crossed that the pandemic does not worsen globally, that our friends from outside Mauritius are able to come attend, present and participate in good health, and that the COVID-19 situation on the island remains under control, so that there aren't any restriction on public gathering. All that said, we know we should continue the usual hygiene practices and apply proper social distancing measures if we are in a group of strangers.

Tips for submitting presentation proposals

  • Provide a clear and concise presentation title
  • Provide a proper description to give the attendees an idea on what they could learn or may gain from your presentation
  • Specify the difficulty level
  • If you intend to do demos and would like the audience to participate using their devices (e.g laptops/mobile phones) please specify the same in your description
  • Leave notes for the organisers if you require any specific material
  • Put a proper profile picture so that people may recognize you
  • Don't use fancy nicknames
  • A short bio about your work and other activities would be very helpful

You can submit several presentation proposals but please be reasonable, don't spam! 😉

openSUSE Board Election 2020 announced

openSUSE Board Election 2020 announced

It's election time (again)!

Yes, but this time, it is the regular board election that is happening. The previous elections that were conducted during the past year were due to ad-hoc and unforeseen circumstances. However, as per the regular election cycle, we have three seats that are going to be vacant on the openSUSE Board in December. They are the seats of Axel Braun, Marina Latini and Stasiek Michalski. Note that Stasiek was elected this year to replace Christian Boltz whose term ends in 2020. However, Stasiek is opting out from this election due to personal commitments.

My friend from the Election Committee, Ariez Vachha, made the election announcement on the project mailing list yesterday. The election wiki page has been updated accordingly, which includes the usual election schedule poster. That's courtesy of our friends from the openSUSE Indonesia community.

openSUSE Board Election 2020 announced

At the time of writing this blog post, that is less than 24 hours since the annoucement of the election, we received emails from three members who wish to stand as candidate in this election. It's a very good start.

The call for nominations and applications will continue until Sunday 29th of November. If you would like to nominate a member from the openSUSE community, please send us an email, We will be glad to inform the member about his/her nomination.

DevFest 2020 Mauritius

DevFest 2020 Mauritius

After a long wait on the island, post-confinement, we are going to have a first physical tech conference happening this month. It is the DevFest 2020 scheduled for 21 November at the Uniciti Education Hub at Pierrefonds.

The call for speakers was announced last month and the deadline for submission is today. 😉

Further details about the event will be published soon. Let's anticipate the COVID-19 restrictions such as compulsory face mask and social distancing during the event this year. I am pretty sure this must be a great challenge for the organisers and volunteers. Therefore, all the best to folks at MSCC and GDG Mauritius.