Category Archives: open source

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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UoM Computer Club – Career & IT Fair 2014

The University of Mauritius Computer Club organized a Career & IT fair on 23rd and 24th April 2014. Ibraahim, president of the club, invited LUGM and MSCC. I liaised with other folks within the Linux User Group to present stuffs. Nadim, Pritvi, Ajay and Pawan answered the call for volunteers. On the first day I reached Octave Wiehé Auditorium (where the event was happening) around noon. In fact, Nadim called me earlier asking to get a few copies of the LUGM membership form as some students desired to join the force. Well … That was something done already. The day before I printed around 25 copies of the membership form and a couple of LUGM info sheet as well.

As I walked across the auditorium’s corridor I could see several companies busy interacting with students. It’s a career fair after all. I was late, so I rushed till the stand that was allocated to LUGM. Ibraahim sent me a layout two days earlier. I knew where we should be. Jochen, Nadim & Pritvi were already there busy explaining stuffs to the young folks. I took out the printouts and handed them to Nadim. I met Computer Club folks who were seemed very taken up by the event. Yunus, Ratna, Ubeid, Kishan, Saamiyah and several others greeted me. It was lunch time & before I could even start advocating, Yunus came up with food. That was great, I needed to eat. Once I start talking about FOSS I might skip lunch.

The first few students I talked to seemed very much interested with our activities and wanted to be involved as well, by learning & sharing. I was happy to see such a spirit. The membership forms were filled up quickly.

MSP caught signing "agreement" with Linux geeks Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Prospective LUGM members (^^,) Folks at Spoon Consulting Kishan wondering something while Saamiyah signs up with LUGM Microsoft folks

On day two, again I woke up late. Rushed to the bus-stop with two heavy bags carrying my laptops, cooling pad etc. I get in the bus and on the next bus-stop Pritvi gets in. #facepalm The day before I boasted that I’ll reach early next time but I am late again. Anyways, we had some geeky chat till university and he helped me carry the heavy load.

Pawan & Ajay called while we were still on way. They reached before us & started doing some advocacy. Nadim reached a couple of minutes later as we entered the auditorium. Saamiyah popped from somewhere cheering that she finally saw us in the bus. Well, long story cut short, Saamiyah, Pritvi and I we actually travel through same route except we never saw each other along the way (except Pritvi who lives nearby with me). That morning she saw (^^,)

Okies. Time to rock the floor. I fired up my Ubuntu laptop & my mom’s Manjaro notebook. Ahaan, I had to ask mom if I could borrow her laptop for a Synergy demo, she agreed. I was still hopping here & there, when Ratna showed up asking if I could do my presentation earlier. It was initially scheduled for 14h30 but since a slot was free I could do it at 11h30. I was all ok for that. My presentation would cover the aims of Linux User Group of Mauritius and a mini-demo of Synergy.

When it was presentation time, oops, auditorium had more college students than university folks. Now, how do I present a technical stuff to these cute creatures? I fired up my presentation slide, introduced myself and changed the topic completely. There was a mini round of clap with cheering when I did that. I guess they preferred a casual presentation than technical stuffs. So, I took the kids back in time & told them the story of Free Software and Linux. Oh! Not to mention, in the story of Free Software, Microsoft stands as a villain. It seemed like the kids enjoyed the story-telling since it ended with another round of cheering.

In the meantime, outside Ronny brought Linuxfest 2013 certificates. The day before I posted on facebook, calling those who’d be around the university to come and collect their’s. A few showed up.

uom-it-fair-8 uom-it-fair-6 uom-it-fair-7 uom-it-fair-9 uom-it-fair-10

In the afternoon I asked Ratna if I could have another presentation slot targetted towards university students. She agreed as a slot was free, however, by 14h00 there was practically no one in the auditorium. I took a small group of geeks with me and hopped around the university calling for people who’d be interested with a Linux presentation. Some answered our call positively. Others went un-interested. We even went knocking a classroom & asked the tutor. The gentleman turned out to be another supporter of Free Software and granted his students a short break to attend the presentation. That was how I did my final presentation about the aims of the Linux User Group of Mauritius (^^,)

The event ended on a happy note with a bunch of folks cheering in the cafeteria having tea, coffee & water.

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Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, a first impression

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS was released yesterday, 17 April 2014. This falls well with perfect timing for LUGM’s event, the Corsair Hackers Reboot. I did not wait much & downloaded the 64-bit image for a trial & to check new features.

ubuntu-14.04-installInstallation was seamlessly easy as usual. On my Acer Aspire 4741 notebook it took the usual 15 mins. Booting up was fast & furious. Improvement? We could say it, though Ubuntu wasn’t known to be slow at boot-ups.

I shot open a few applications & the noticeable improvement to Unity was the menu embedded in the window’s title bar instead of the top-menu-bar. It’s better than what it was previously but not yet the best improvement of Unity. For example, on a re-sized window the close button is shown on the top-right corner of the windows, however, when maximized the button is moved to the left side of the top-menu-bar. To a regular Ubuntu user this might not be a glitch but to someone who just migrated, this could be an awful experience. I have myself several times closed the wrong window by misinterpreting the left & right close buttons.


Menu embedded in window's title bar

The next thing that should catch the eye is the awful invasion of privacy while using Unity Dash search. I would not want online suggestions when searching for an installed application. It’s a pity to see this thing enabled by default. To disable the online suggestion feature, go to Settings > Security & Privacy and under the Search tab simply turn off “Include online search results” feature. To further fine-tune the search results you may also disable a couple of other stuffs under the Files & Applications tab.


Click the yellow icon (:


Turning off the online suggestion feature


Fine-tuning search results

Lastly, I updated the software repos & installed my favorite applications. To get 3rd-party software, Canonical Partners repos must be enabled. It’s disabled by default. To enable the same go to Settings > Software & Updates, under the Other Software tab select Canonical Partners. Doing so, software like Skype can be downloaded & installed directly through Ubuntu Software Center or through command line.

One tip though, while installing the usual tons of applications don’t look for acroread. Adobe Reader 9.x has reached end-of-life and thus been removed from the repositories. So far Adobe hasn’t found it necessary/wise to release the latest version for the growing Linux community. Nevertheless, Evince remains a nice piece of software for viewing PDF files.

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Corsair Hackers Reboot, demo preps

We’re approximately 3 weeks away from the Corsair Hackers Reboot. On my end I have so much in the pool. Yup, I know I’ll be hopping around with almost every team that will be cheering for FOSS that day, however, I’ve chosen to dedicate most of my time to the Demo and Talks sections. For the latter I’m yet to come up with some interesting topics. As for the demo, ahaaan … It’s being arranged full-fledged. I’m assuring that no wish shall remain un-fulfilled that day. In my software repository, the following distributions will be made available :

- Arch Linux
- CentOS (32Bit & 64Bit)
- Debian 7.4 (64Bit Full DVD set)
- elementary OS (32Bit & 64Bit)
- Fedora 20 (GNOME, 32Bit & 64Bit)
- Gentoo (32Bit & 64Bit)
- Kali Linux (32Bit & 64Bit)
- Linux Mint (Cinnamon, Mate, Debian Edition, 32Bit & 64Bit)
- Mageia 4 (Full, 64Bit)
- Manjaro Linux (XFCE, OpenBox, 32Bit & 64Bit)
- openSUSE 13.1 (Full, 32Bit & 64Bit)
- PCLinuxOS (KDE, 64Bit)
- Slackware 14.1 (32 Bit & 64Bit)
- Slax 7.0 (32Bit & 64Bit)
- Ubuntu Desktop/Server 12.04/13.10 (32Bit & 64Bit)


... among others!

I can’t guarantee that all the distributions will be running/demo’ed on physical machines but they will nevertheless be freely available to all. You may copy it, burn it & try on your own laptop. We may of course help you in case there are any hiccups booting it up. CD/DVD burning on our end might be difficult, so I’ll suggest folks to bring a pendrive instead if you want a Live Linux. As for those who wish to have their machine Tux’ed (ahaan, that sounds like a nice name for a Linux powered machine), we will handle the installation part. We have set up an Installfest Team dedicated at installing Linux distros (of your choice). We do have a backup mechanism to ensure that your data are safe, however we cannot take full responsibility if something goes wrong. So, if you’re bringing your machine for a Linux installation, you could do a backup on your end too.

nix-pack-1Any other operating system apart from Linux? Yup, indeed, for the more geekies I’m bringing Minix, Debian Hurd, OpenBSD, FreeBSD and NetBSD.

Computer Science students might be interested to have a look at Minix, an open source operating system by Prof. Andrew Tanenbaum. Minix was in fact the inspirational platform for Linus Torvalds to start coding the Linux kernel back in the early 90′s.

Hurd on the other hand is the iconic operating system by the Free Software Foundation. GNU Hurd was expected to be the kernel for the free GNU Operating System. However, development & design of the microkernel has been slow and Linux on the other hand prospered. Linux therefore became the prime choice of kernel.

BSD needs no introduction here ( :

What about Windows users?

Since the event is about promoting FOSS in general, we’re not limiting ourself to operating systems. Our software repository will contain free & open source applications for Microsoft Windows as well. So far my pool has the latest versions of Firefox, Google Chrome, FileZilla, FreeCAD, GIMP, Inkscape, Notepad++, VirtualBox, VLC, LibreOffice, Abiword, ClamWin, Audacity, GanttPV, GnuCash, X-Chat and NASA World Wind.

I’m all set for an awesome FOSS party on Saturday 19th April 2014. Are you?

LUGM meetup, Software Licensing

Many times on LUGM facebook group we had fierce debates over GPL and BSD-license. Flame-wars sprouted very often, some times even from an innocent status we might have put. Therefore a few weeks ago it was decided that we have a meetup that will ensure clarifying misconceptions regarding software licenses. The date was announced to be 15th March 2014 at the convenience of everybody. Selven & Logan were to talk about Lesser Restrictive Licenses in particular the BSD-license and Ajay volunteered to share his knowledge about the General Public License (GPL), in particular GPLv2.

The day comes and I reach Ebène around 11h45. While the meetup itself should start at 13h00, I had enough of time ahead to have lunch & chat with UoM Computer Club folks I happened to meet at Ebène InterMart Foodcourt. Around 12h45 I went to Ebène Accelerator where the meetup was hosted. Ronny had reached by that time too, having a cigarette puff in the parking lot. He greeted me & asked about my phone as it seemed Ajay was calling me and I didn’t answer. I checked and yes, I could see the missed-calls from Nadim, Ajay and Ronny. We went inside the Orange Tower. Nitin had reached too. I explained Ronny a little bit about the concept of Ebène Accelerator as a business incubator. We then went to get the meeting room ready. A short while later others came.

Who showed up?

Nitin Mutkawoa, Ronny Reddi, Ajay Ramjatan, Avinash Meetoo, Pravesh Gaonjur, Selven Cheenaramen, Nalinee Rengenchetty, Sherven Chinamoothoo, Yunus Aumeeruddy, Ibraahim Atchia, Saamiyah Peerun, Ubeid Jamal Ahmad, Nadim Attari Bundhoo, Kishan Bhugul, Loganaden Velvindron, A. Jodarsen (Chelon), Pritvi Jheengut and me.

Since we didn’t have a projector, which I assumed we would as there always is one at Ebène Accelerator, Selven & Logan tried to arrange for the same. In the meantime Ajay opened discussion about Corsair Hackers Reboot. He went through the tasklist I published on the 1-week brainstorming event I created on facebook. We described the event’s structure & aim, especially to those who didn’t attend earlier meetups and wanted clarifications. Corsair Hackers Reboot was initially proposed by Pritvi while I suggested we have a Linux Installfest beginning 2014. We then blended both and kept the name Corsair Hackers Reboot. The idea behind the event is to introduce hacking (as in White Hat), that’s why the term Corsair is used. Secondly, with support ending for Windows XP we aimed to propose Linux distros and BSD as alternatives, therefore the term reboot is used.

We finalised the date of the event to be 19th April 2014 and divided tasks in four categories :

  • Hacking competition
  • Installation festival
  • Demos
  • Mini talks

I will draft the same and share on the 1-week brainstorming event page.

After this first dicussion, Selven & Logan brought the projector. They set up everything. Unfortunately some folks had to leave early. The rest of us were eager for the licensing talk. It started with Selven’s presentation on Lesser Restrictive Licenses. He went through his slides and gave us an overview of the MIT, Apache and BSD licenses. He laid emphasis mostly on the different versions of BSD licenses, explained the clauses in simple terms and elaborated on the use and inclusion in our code. While going through each license, Selven listed software that are released under those licenses. He stressed much on the simplicity and clarity of the BSD license, to which most of us agreed.

Logan on the other hand presented the Legal Risks of FSF Licenses. His presentation was mainly on the ambiguity of FSF licenses, in particular GPLv3. He quoted the words of various developers and cited cases that involved different interpretations of the GPL clauses.

At this moment everyone in the audience was involved with questions and especially Ajay with GPL clarifications. We agreed on the fact that GPLv3 is complicated and might not be suitable to a real world. However, GPLv2 seems to be fine so far. No wonder why many stayed on GPLv2. At some point it came to my mind that the Free Software Foundation tried addressing too much through one license, ending up making it complicated. Weeks ago when the discussions started, that was when I peeked into a few clauses of GPLv3 and wrote about Tivoization.

While meetup seemed like never-to-end we had to stop the discussion some time after 16h30. Nadim had done a great job shooting the whole discussion. I copied the video files on my laptop.

I thank everyone for attending the meetup and participating in the discussions. Thanks to Ronny for some of the snaps and Nadim for video-shooting.

Creative madness! It’s a beautiful illness …

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!

Linuxfest 2013 – Highlights

On the 7th October 2013 I sent the following message to LUGM’s mailing list.

Hello folks,

After several pings I finally got a date from the UoM Computer Club. They checked & double-checked with registrar and the only date they could get is 25th November.

So … How about throwing a Linux party on that day @ Octave Wiehe Auditorium?

During the past MSCC & LUGM meetups I’ve been talking about this event which will aim at getting Linux to the general public. Since the last one back in 2011, I’ve known many who started using Linux since then and even got jobs within the industry :)

Let’s have some brainstorming about how the event should proceed; we need speakers, magicians & entertainers … where are the volunteers?


Ish Sookun

The response that I received from LUGM folks was great. Everyone was keen to help with the event. We had an initial meetup at Perfect Pizza to discuss the event. Several emails, phone calls & meetups followed. Folks from UoM Computer Club & LUGM liaised to assign pending tasks. We had little time to arrange/organize yet we synchronized to the best we could.

Finally the day arrived, 25th November 2013!

Why a Linux Festival?

When we did an openSUSE Installfest back in 2011 it was a successful event. I know several guys who since then started using Linux & got jobs within the industry. Somehow I think the exposure to Linux helped the guys try it, like it & continue use it. I hope of achieving the same this time …

Participating in the Infotech 2013 got us some visibility. In fact, I met several folks at Octave Wiehe, Auditorium for the Linuxfest who actually met us at Infotech first. We invited them & they came. Although exams happening on that day we got 167 students registering & attending.

How was the event?

We didn’t get time to rehearse or even test the equipment properly. Some of us reached University of Mauritius as early as 08h00. Yet we were not ready with logistics by 10h00. We started the event some time around 10h30. First came a video promo made by Nirvan Pagooah. We didn’t have any host on stage but instead had a whole team working backstage to do announcements & poke some fun from time to time.

Linuxfest 2013 - Mauritius

Linuxfest 2013 - Mauritius

Linuxfest 2013 - Mauritius

Linuxfest 2013 - Mauritius

Presentations were done as follows:

  • Expansion of Linux & Android in the world and particularly, Mauritius, by Avinash Meetoo
  • Running Windows applications on Linux, by Jochen Kirstätter
  • Skills needed for a Unix System Admin & open source in our current IT industry, by Nitin Bachraz
  • MSCC & Development on open source platforms, by Nirvan Pagooah & Nayar Joolfoo
  • openSUSE Project / openSUSE Advocate Program, by Ish Sookun
  • BSD & Linux, which is which, by Eldergod Sælvøn
  • Presentation of Kali Linux, by Nitin J Mutkawoa
  • Linux Mint for daily activities, by Nadim Attari

Photo highlights

Linuxfest 2013 - Mauritius Avinash Meetoo, CEO of Knowledge Seven.

Jochen Kirstätter, a.k.a JoKi, CEO of IOS Ltd.

Nitin Bachraz, Senior Engineer & Team Leader, Orange Business Services.

Nirvan Pagooah, Creative Director, Graphics Temple & Student of UoM.

Nayar Joolfoo, student of UoM.

Nayar’s presentation made using HTML5 got some jaws dropped.

Ish Sookun, Engineer at Orange Business Services & openSUSE Advocate.

Nitin Mutkawoa, Police Officer & Linux enthusiast.

Nadim Attari, Web Developer & Linux enthusiast.

After the presentations we invited everyone in the auditorium lobby for some Linux demos. Ajay demoed several tools including Steam running on his Gentoo box.

Ajay interacting with an inquisitive audience.

On my end I met a few students whom I first met at Infotech. I had told them they could bring their laptops if they wanted to install Linux, which they did. They brought two laptops and several pendrives to get copies of Linux distributions. I installed Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon on one of their laptops. On the second one I asked them to install & I would watch. It was fun to have to geek chat while they were busy with the installation. They did the installation fine, dual booting with Windows.

The event over & we felt a sense of satisfaction. We were a bunch of geeks sitting outside afterwards, sharing some of the great moments. We hope to have the same collaboration for future events & we can make things better in many ways.

Photo credits go to Khagesh Teeluck.
Some photos taken using Ajay’s camera.