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

1Jun/140

A growing FOSS community in Mauritius

Posted by Ish

As shot on facebook during the week, a bunch of geeks met yesterday for a random meetup. Aww! Not so random as I proposed to discuss Bug Reporting. Let’s see how the day unfolded.

It’s Saturday, as usual I would wake up late.… Read more ➡

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28Apr/140

LUGM: Linux Magazine

Posted by Ish

Some time back while having a black coffee in the morning an evil idea lurked in my mind. I instantly posted about it on facebook. Folks were eager to know more. Later in the afternoon I detailed it in another post. It went like this :

lugm-mag-idea

The response I got was great. Many liked the post & several others commented to further encourage. Two days later Nadim started a group discussion. The same pulled in several people into the pool, who might help with the project. At some point many of us got lost however, with the amount of missed messages & having to catch up with the backlog. Every now and then one of us had to publish a sum-up to help others keep track of what’s happening.

Then we decided the easiest way would be to publish the sum-up on LUGM instead. We could add required updates as & when we’ve decided stuffs. Basically the idea is to have a Linux Magazine that hightlights our local events & puts forward tutorials suited for local folks. The magazine would be designed & produced by LUGM members.

Sum-up // Magazine content

1. Interviews
2. Local events coverage
3. Tutorials (local context, e.g setting up Emtel/Orange/MTML 3G dongles in Linux)
4. FOSS related articles in oriental languages
5. Programming tutorials
6. Ad spots for sponsors

Discussion was also tossed to have an online version which ultimately would be nothing but just having more dedicated “writers” for LUGM.org. On the other hand an offline version of the magazine (PDF) would be suitable for those wishing to carry it on their tablets. On my end I’d vote for both.

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15Feb/140

LUGM Meetup // Presentations

Posted by Ish

We had one of the much awaited LUGM meetups today. This meetup comprised of two presentations :

1. New features brought in OpenSSH v6.5, by Loganaden Velvindron
2. What if .mu was in Mauritius?, by S. Moonesamy

It was held at Ebène Accelerator, Orange Tower, Ebène. I reached earlier, got time to have my lunch and a while later Logan came. We were having a general chit-chat when Pawan came. He passed his driving test today, that was great to hear :)

ebene-accelerator-board

On the facebook event page we had 30 RSVPs. However, I felt less people will make it today since there was a LAN Gaming event at University of Mauritius. Most probably UoM Computer Club folks wouldn’t make it. Anyway, 19 people showed up, that was great already.

Who made it today?

Neha Gunnoo, Darshini Seeburn, Nitin Mutkawoa, Pritvi Jheengut, Nadim Attari, Ajay Ramjatan, Selven, Chelon, Wasima Damree, Pawan Babooram, Avinash Mayaram, Ashley Babajee, S. Moonesamy, Thomas C, Shamsher Khudurun, Irfaan Coonjah, Fei Tan, Loganaden Velvindron and Ish Sookun.

13h30, we started with the first presentation. OpenSSH 6.5 features, by Logan. He briefed us about the project, OpenSSH and a little bit about OpenBSD. Logan gave us an insight on where OpenSSH is used and why it is favored over Telnet.

logan-openssh-presentation

SM (S. Moonesamy) added a couple of quickie information which prompted a question & answer session. Especially when both explained the role of IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) in assigning numbers & standardizing Internet stuffs. Simply said, IETF folks strive to engineer the Internet as we know it.

logan-sm-presentation

Back to the presentation Logan continued explaining new security features. He talked about Edward Snowden’s revelations and weakened crypto algorithms into NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) standards. He talked about a new private key format, called Ed25519 and the ChaCha20 cipher. For those who were having trouble grasping this part, SM & Ajay gave a brief explanation about ciphers. Simply said, a cipher allows encryption of plain text data. However, Ajay highlighted that this does not guarantee data can’t be intercepted. It can be, but the obtained data is encrypted and pretty much unusable. Logan gave a small demo on generating keys using Ed25519 and how to connect using chacha20-poly1305 cipher. Among other new features is sandboxing support around pre-authentication part of the code. This however uses the Capsicum API which right now is available only in FreeBSD. Logan informed us work is being done to port Capsicum to Linux, which would enable Linux users to benefit from OpenSSH sandbox features in the near future. In the endnote, Logan stressed a few words on donation to the OpenBSD project.

sm-presentation

SM started by showing us a map of .mu servers around the world. He then showed us a slide containing information about loading time of a .mu page that wasn’t hosted in Mauritius. He compared that with websites hosted locally. Yes, there was a huge difference. His presentation was very much interactive in a way that involved everyone in the conference room. When he tossed about the online news websites, it seemed like everyone had something to add. Yup, something fun to add. Many of my comments never showed up on the news websites, my emails went unanswered. I wasn’t surprised to hear that I’m not the only one though. SM’s aim was not just to bring a topic about page loading speed, but having the .mu infrastructure locally would also contribute in lowering the price of the .mu domain. He showed us a table comparing prices of different TLDs (Top Level Domain). Whoop! .mu shines above with Rs 2,000 / year. I shouted I initially got my .in domain for Rs 90. Ajay then tossed the topic on DNSSEC and they briefly explained the technicality behind.

The debate on .mu was interesting and it involved participation of the audience as a whole. SM highlighted the importance of having technicians, admins, engineers & decision makers in the Mauritius Internet Users mailing list that he created. He hasn’t made the list public yet as it’s still in a kind of brainstorming phase where people are expressing the difficulties, issues and discussing about possible solutions.

Meetup finished on a happy-ending-note, with people willing to join & discuss further about bringing .mu to Mauritius.

Oh! Wait … I forgot the fun part. In the previous meetups we expressed the need of recording presentations. Nadim, Ajay and Pawan made it happen this time by providing the necessary gadgets. Once the videos are processed they should go on LUGM Video Channel. Here are some photo highlights …

lugm-camcorders-1

lugm-camcorders-2

lugm-camcorders-3

lugm-camcorders-4

lugm-eldergod

lugm-ish

lugm-feb-15-geek-team

The LUGM Geek Team
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19Jan/140

Creative madness! It’s a beautiful illness …

Posted by Ish

Earlier today, Nilesh pinged me on facebook saying he’s getting an outburst of ideas and wants to try some video concepts. He asked me a couple of lines that he can use in a video. Now, this is what I like with creative geeks, they get some sporadically genius idea & knock your door to add your share of craziness. I penned down a few lines & sent him. Thought we could make a video promo for LUGM (Linux User Group of Mauritius). He then asked me for some music track. Well, I got nothing more that the folkoric music from Coke Studio Pakistan & India; which would not fit in the context. I let him choose something instead.

A while later he pings me back with a first demo. I like it. So, he renders the whole thing with a nice background music and the result is … voilà!

11Jan/140

Geek Team ethusiastic as ever

Posted by Ish

2014, and we had our first LUGM meetup. Nadim & I discussed it earlier on facebook and he proceeded with the event page creation. Didn’t know how many people might show up, so we set the location place to be Pizza Perfect. By Wednesday we had more than 20 people coming, I thus contacted Pizza Perfect & asked them to reserve three tables.

Saturday comes & the day starts by me waking up late, nothing new. The bus to P. Louis was slow on the road but I could not complain. I instead continued listening to some Coke Studio music I downloaded the day before. Nadim & Kamal called me, I informed them I was on the way.

I reached Pizza Perfect around 12h30 I think, didn’t check the time. As I was walking towards the entrance I met Nayar, inside Nadim & Yasir were already having lunch. We were still discussing about how to arrange the tables and geeks started showing up. Woohoooo! 2014 LUG Meetup starts well.

Who made it today?

Nadim Attari, Karsten Schwegmann, Yannick Labonne, Radha Chamburn, Jules (Cr0p) Giovanni, Avinash Mayaram, Nitin Mutkawoa, Kamal Shewnarain, Yasir Auleear, Kishan Bhugul, Yunus Aumeeruddy, Shamsher Khudurun, Ibraahim Atchia, Azra Futloo, Pritvi Jheengut, Nirvan Pagooah, Irfaan Coonjah, Ajay Ramjatan, Nayar Joolfoo and Ish Sookun.

That makes us 20 attendees for 2014′s first LUGM meetup.

lugm-2014-group

The Geek Team

While some were still on way, others were munching burger, having pizza & shooting sporadic topics. Oh wait … Nadim did a formal introduction of LUGM, then somewhere I hijacked his speech, started talking LUGM, took a leap to induction in companies, went through the hell of dress code policies, security policies regarding cloud services & how to bypass them and finally I landed somewhere I don’t recall. A nice ride indeed, however I wonder how many followed.

lugm-2014-nadim

Nadim, after giving a brief intro of LUGM

lugm-2014-ish

I kinda like this one ( :

Azra brought her laptop as she was having issues installing OpenNebula on Ubuntu. I told her I’ll have a look. Didn’t know she installed it on VMware (which I don’t like) and Windows 8, I guess by the look. Anyway, I had a quickie at her first VM, everything seemed rightly done (according to the official manual). The real heck was coming with the Hypervisor. Unfortunately, we were having Internet connection issues. Though the VM was on NAT, it wouldn’t get any connection. I was a bit lazy to troubleshoot further & of course the Windows interface kinda discouraged me. Instead, I told her I’ll setup the Hypervisor in VirtualBox and send her the VDI. I already installed OpenNebula while testing earlier. Just needed to finish a couple of settings to get it to work.

Next, I shot the topic of the day: Corsair Hackers Reboot
I asked Pritvi to do an introduction. He explained the meaning of Corsair (as in Corsair Pirates) and how it aligns with Installfests that we intend to do this year. Discussion was getting a good flow & I proposed we organize it within Bagatelle Mall for increased public visibility. Well, visibility would be guaranteed but other issues could crop up; like getting the support/approval from Bagatelle Mall management, power outlets etc. If we pulled in computer shops as partners there still could be some conflict-of-interest. At that time, Mr. Madhub, an entrepreneur himself, and owner of Fortune Way Shopping Mall (Centre de Flacq) overheard our discussion. He was interested with the whole idea and offered us a 10,000 sq.ft Hall at Fortune Way Shopping Mall, where we can organize the event. Sounded nice, besides Flacq houses a huge population of IT Users & students.

lugm-2014-pritvi

Pritvi, mastermind behind Corsair Hackers Reboot

lugm-2014-cr0p

Cr0p (Jules), a kinda rare creature who made it this time

Ajay continued discussing a couple of stuffs with Mr. Madhub while I was munching my pizza & making GNU noise. In today’s agenda I had mentioned something about gears to donate. Actually, this idea was brewing up since last year when I realised how much un-used computer gear I had (processors, hard drives, keyboards etc). Thought I could donate them to folks badly needing those. Then I said why not sharing this idea with LUGM folks, if others have un-used gears too, we could instead build a whole system loaded with GNU\Linux and donate the same. Many liked the idea and Kishan volunteered to formalize the whole thing.

lugm-2014-kishan

Kishan (front), Yunus, Nayar, Ajay doing some magic trick it seems

lugm-2014-yasir-sideways

Yasir, sideways in blue shirt

Some left early and by 15h30 the rest of us continued with brainstorming for Corsair Hackers Reboot event. We listed things to be done and activities that could be taken up by each of us. The event picture was getting clearer in our minds. Great, seems like we gonna have fun time ahead.

We paused shortly after 16h00 … It was time to go home.

Photos, courtesy of Yasir Auleear.
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8Dec/130

Download & build Chromium OS

Posted by Ish

As it’s a tradition now on weekends I get on with some sporadic project. Since last evening I plugged my laptop for a Chromium OS adventure. I started by going through the documentation on the Chromium.org website.

I installed the required tools on my openSUSE machine to get Chromium OS source & start building.

sudo zypper in git subversion curl

Before you proceed further you will need a package of scripts called depot_tools.

git clone https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromium/tools/depot_tools.git
export PATH="$PATH":`pwd`/depot_tools

Create a folder in which you will download the source & build it, say something like Chromium_OS.

cd Chromium_OS
repo init -u https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromiumos/manifest.git
repo sync

Syncing could take hours. In my case it took a little more that 4 hours ( : Once synchronization is complete you can build Chromium OS for your desired architecture. Set your architecture with the --board option. Currently supported architectures are x86-generic, amd64-generic and arm-generic. For example if we shall build for the 64bit architecture, we shall do as follows :

cd Chromium_OS
cros_sdk -- ./build_packages --board=amd64-generic
cros_sdk -- ./build_image --board=amd64-generic

Now, insert a USB drive (2Gb minimum) & copy the image as follows (note: this will wipe up the drive) :

cros_sdk -- ./image_to_usb.sh --board=amd64-generic

On my end, once done, I restarted my notebook & was greeted with an initial setup dialog. It detected the wireless network card. I connected to my home wifi & configured my Google account. I was then welcomed to a sleek desktop.

Chromium-OS-desktop

I fired up Chromium browser and opened Gmail, Facebook, my blog & Chrome Web Store. Everything loaded perfectly. Fonts are smooth & speed is fine. I added an SSH extension, not bad I must say.

Chromium-OS-ssh

SSH extension by Chromium team

To get to the local console press Ctrl + Alt + F2. Log in as user chronos. Use sudo su to elevate as root and use chromeos-setdevpassd to set a user account password.

8Dec/130

Download & build Chromium OS

Posted by Ish

As it’s a tradition now on weekends I get on with some sporadic project. Since last evening I plugged my laptop for some Chromium OS adventure. I started by going through the documentation on the Chromium.org website.

I installed the required tools on my openSUSE machine to get Chromium OS source & start building.

sudo zypper in git subversion curl

Before you proceed further you will need a package of scripts called depot_tools.

git clone https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromium/tools/depot_tools.git
export PATH="$PATH":`pwd`/depot_tools

Create a folder in which you will download the source & build it, say something like Chromium_OS.

cd Chromium_OS
repo init -u https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromiumos/manifest.git
repo sync

Syncing could take hours. In my case it took a little more that 4 hours ( : Once synchronization is complete you can build Chromium OS for your desired architecture. Set your architecture with the --board option. Currently supported architectures are x86-generic, amd64-generic and arm-generic. For example if we shall build for the 64bit architecture, we shall do as follows :

cd Chromium_OS
cros_sdk -- ./build_packages --board=amd64-generic
cros_sdk -- ./build_image --board=amd64-generic

Now, insert a USB drive (2Gb minimum) & copy the image as follows (note: this will wipe up the drive) :

cros_sdk -- ./image_to_usb.sh --board=amd64-generic

On my end, once done, I restarted my notebook & was greeted with an initial setup dialog. It detected the wireless network card. I connected to my home wifi & configured my Google account. I was then welcomed to a sleek desktop.

Chromium-OS-desktop

I fired up Chromium browser and opened Gmail, Facebook, my blog & Chrome Web Store. Everything loaded perfectly. Fonts are smooth & speed is fine. I added an SSH extension, not bad I must say.

Chromium-OS-ssh

SSH extension by Chromium team

To get to the local console press Ctrl + Alt + F2. Log in as user chronos. Use sudo su to elevate as root and use chromeos-setdevpassd to set a user account password.

1Dec/130

Skype “no sound” fix

Posted by Ish

I installed Skype v4.2 on openSUSE 13.1 KDE 64bit. Although having PulseAudio configured, there was no sound in Skype. I checked around and found this announcement:

PulseAudio 4.0 and Skype

By Arun | Published: August 2, 2013

This is a public service announcement for packagers and users of Skype and PulseAudio 4.0.

In PulseAudio 4.0, we added some code to allow us to deal with automatic latency adjustment more gracefully, particularly for latency requests under ~80 ms. This exposed a bug in Skype that breaks audio in interesting ways (no sound, choppy sound, playback happens faster than it should).

We’ve spoken to the Skype developers about this problem and they have been investigating the problem. In the mean time, we suggest that users and packagers work around this problem in the mean time.

If you are packaging Skype for your distribution, you need to change the Exec line in your Skype .desktop file as follows:

Exec=env PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 skype %U

If you are a user, and your distribution doesn’t already carry this fix (as of about a week ago, Ubuntu does, and as of ~1 hour from now, Gentoo will), you need to launch Skype from the command line as follows:

$ PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 skype

If you’re not sure if you’re hit but this bug, you’re probably not. :-)

Now, instead of launching Skype from command line as instructed, it can be fixed by adding the latency value in the Skype launch file.

sudo vi /usr/share/applications/skype.desktop

Replace Exec=skype %U by Exec=env PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 skype %U. Start Skype and audio should now be fixed. Make a test call to verify ( :

skype-4.2-pulseaudio-bug

27Nov/130

Font anti-aliasing in openSUSE KDE

Posted by Ish

Some time ago a friend, Abdallah Yashir asked me about font anti-aliasing in openSUSE KDE. He liked the KDE version of openSUSE but somehow was disappointed with the quality of fonts. As a developer typography was his main concern. I told him I’ll put some quickie instruction on my blog.

So, to get smooth looking text on your screen you have to enable “anti-aliasing”. Press Alt + F2 & fire up kcmshell4 fonts. It should bring up the KDE Control Module for Fonts. Enable anti-aliasing and click on the configure button. Select Use sub-pixel rendering and set it to RGB. Apply the new settings.

font-anti-aliasing

All newly started applications will now feature smooth fonts. For a better experience though, restart the KDE session.

font-anti-aliasing-writer

Update – 29.11.13

Getting some nice fonts from Google …

sudo zypper in google-alegreya-fonts google-allerta-fonts google-anonymouspro-fonts google-arimo-fonts google-cabin-fonts google-cardo-fonts google-cousine-fonts google-croscore-fonts google-droid-fonts google-exo-fonts google-inconsolata-fonts google-lato-fonts google-lekton-fonts google-merriweather-fonts google-nobile-fonts google-roboto-fonts google-tinos-fonts

 

Follow the above mentioned instruction & set the system font as Lato and the size as shown below …

font-anti-aliasing-lato

You should end up with a sleek & smooth KDE desktop ( :

22Nov/130

Infotech 2013 – Day 2

Posted by Ish

Pawan & I reached SVICC at 12h30 after a long wait at R. Hill bus-stand. Since we were hungry we went directly to the food-court. I ordered a vegetarian Panini but was given a ‘chicken’ one. Oops! I realise that only after the first bite. Thought the day will go bad … I went back & asked them to replace it with a vegetarian one. It seemed that things got messed up at the supplier as all Paninis with the ‘V’ tag were chicken in fact.

A short while later Nirvan. He bought some snacks too & we had a quick lunch. We then proceeded to the NCB stand to meet the team. We had kinda bad experience yesterday and hoped we could meet with the right persons today. Indeed at the NCB stand I met Reza, whom I had liased through emails & phone calls previously. He’s a great guy & seems to be an open source advocate too. I also met Riad from the same team. Well … They both seem to have great ideas when it comes to the promotion of open source & reduction of piracy in the country. I was happy to have met them & we had a lengthy discussion sharing ideas.

They gave me a stand where I could put my laptop. I logged into Linux Mint 16 RC since my openSUSE 13.1 box still needs some fine tuning (apps installation etc). Riad liked the look & feel of Cinnamon 2.0. He in fact asked one of his colleagues to connect the laptop to the wall-mounted wide-screen. We did and … ahaaan … display was awesome! I fired up a couple of applications & opened a video in VLC. I opened my Linuxfest 2013 presentation and showed Riad & Reza Monday’s schedule of talks.

infotech-2013-day-2

Photo, courtesy of Nirvan Pagooah

I then approached people walking around & asked them if they knew about Linux or if they would like to see a demo. Many were keen to have a look at this new thing. They were mesmerized by the fact that’s it’s free (as in gratis). Some asked me for my card … which I don’t have obviously :P So, I wrote down my email address on pieces of paper. I also told people about Linux User Group & our weekly meetups. Some students that I met happened to have heard about us already … social network FTW!

Pawan’s cousin Antish joined us a little before 15h00 but unfortunately I had to leave. We had a quick chat, then Nirvan & I left.

Summing-up … Infotech 2013 – Day 2 was a positive one building contacts with like-minded folks. Looking forward for more community work tomorrow.