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

15Mar/200

Herold🌀

Posted by Ish Sookun

I woke up this morning hearing on the radio that a cyclone warning Class 1 is in force in Mauritius.

Herold is the eighth tropical storm of this cyclonic season. It was named last night after the system situated close to Madagascar, at about 800 km away from Mauritius, developed into a tropical storm.

Satellite image source: Mauritius Meteorological Services

The sky above Mauritius remained clear of clouds for most of the day.

View this post on Instagram

Cyclone Herold se pehle. 🙄

A post shared by Ish Sookun (@ish.sookun) on

We will probably start getting cyclonic conditions on the island in the next few hours/days.

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9Mar/200

DevCon 2020 | Kubernetes – Introducing through openSUSE MicroOS & Kubic

Posted by Chittesh Sham

Guest post by Chittesh Sham 😉

DevCon 2020 is just about three weeks away and the hype is real.

People know me as a friendly neighborhood SysAdmin and this year I am excited to announce that I will be co-hosting a presentation alongside Ish at the Developers Conference. It has been a long time coming, and as you might have noticed Ish has been building up to this one, starting with his Kubic Presentation at DevCon 2019 , openSUSE MicroOS in Production talk at openSUSE Conference 2019 and a workshop on Managing Pods & Containers at the openSUSE Asia Summit.

Half Left - Kubernetes Logo ; Half right MicroOS logo 😊

We have been experimenting with a bunch of tools such as Podman, Buildah, Skopeo and openSUSE Kubic for a while now and we would like to share our experience.

Our presentation is scheduled on Saturday 4 April 2020, 2:30pm - 3:15pm in the Kryptone room at the Caudan Arts Centre. We will also be around for all three days at the conference, so if you want to grab a coffee and geek out on openSUSE and Kubernetes, don't hesitate to hit us up!

I would like to give express my gratitude to the Linux Foundation and Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) for their support. I was impressed by Chris Aniszczyk, especially how quickly he reacted to show his support upon noticing our talk.

See you at DevCon Geeks! 🤓

2Mar/200

DevCon is free to attend. How to register?

Posted by Ish Sookun

What is DevCon by the way?

First I need to tell you about the Mauritius Softwaree Craftsmanship Community (MSCC).

Some time around May or June 2013, Jochen Kirstätter (aka JoKi) started this trend called Code & Coffee, which was a weekly meetup on Wednesday mornings in a coffee shop to talk about programming or general tech stuff. He used to organize that under the umbrella of the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community, a user group which he started. Rumours circulate that JoKi sat all alone in a coffee shop for the first Code & Coffee meetup (TBC by Mary Jane, JoKi's wife).

I attended my first Code & Coffee meetup in June 2013 after learning about it from JoKi during a Linux meetup at L'Escalier organized by the Linux User Group of Mauritius. I don't recall having blogged about that first Code & Coffee meetup, but after the second one, yes I did blog about it.

MSCC meetup attendees grew over time and there were requests to also hold a Saturday monthly meetup. With a growing community we all became ambitious. Then in 2014 JoKi tossed the idea of having a "classic" conference which will be called the Developers Conference. After rigorous planning and support from both local and international sponsors, the first Developers Conference, dubbed as DevCon, happened on April 2015 at Voilà Hotel, Bagatelle.

DevCon attendance is a free of charge. It is an event full of business opportunities and professional networking. Attendees can learn about latest software development technologies, methodologies, as well as cloud features and infrastructure.

The aim of the conference is to provide local software developers a buffet of tools, practices and principles applicable to tackling current challenges in the Mauritian software development environment. From keeping up to date with the latest technologies and trends to tackling the challenges of working in large enterprise systems – it’s a buffet of experiences, ideas and pragmatic advice as well as an opportunity to connect with  peers across the industry.

Flashback: my blog post from DevCon 2015 Day 1

How to register?

Now that you know what DevCon is and how it started, let us talk about registration. MSCC events are published on meetup.com. That is where you would also register to attend DevCon.

Just head to the meetup page of MSCC, create an account and join the group.

Then, head to the DevCon event page and click on the attend button at the bottom of the page.

That's it, done. We'll see you at DevCon 2020. 😎

26Feb/200

DevCon 2020 is just about a month away

Posted by Ish Sookun

The annual Developers Conference of Mauritius is happening on 2 - 4 April. That leaves us like about a month of final preparations.

A bunch of DevCon regulars met today during Code & Coffee at Mugg & Bean, Bagatelle, to attend to tasks related to the website, discuss about sponsorship, review talk proposals etc. Things are progressing and we are definitely looking forward to a great conference.

Two nights ago the conference website went live at conference.mscc.mu.

At the moment it's basically a conference announcement with registration pending to be opened and it contains a list of confirmed sponsors. Some of the sponsors are our regular supporters and we are thankful for their continued trust. As for the first timers we are just as eager to welcome them to this yearly awesomeness.

Once the registration opens, I'll blog more about the conference and provide details on what to expect this year. 😉

17Jan/200

AFRINIC WHOIS database tampered?

Posted by Ish Sookun

In a recent official communiqué, AFRINIC, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa, wished its members and the community a happy new year while giving updates about some changes in the different committees.

In the same email, AFRINIC CEO, Eddy Kayihura, informed the community that following allegations of fraudulent manipulation of the AFRINIC WHOIS database, the matter has been referred to the Central Criminal Investigation Division (CCID) of the Mauritius Police Force for further investigation. Also, due to the serious nature of the allegation, an employee of AFRINIC, whose name has been cited in the allegation, has been immediately dismissed on grounds of very serious professional misconduct.

AFRINIC is working to "restore" the WHOIS database accuracy, as per the email.

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29Dec/190

An unnamed cyclone🌀

Posted by Ish Sookun

I woke up this morning to learn that the Mauritius Meteo Office has issued a cyclone warning Class I. But the cyclone has no name. On the social networks people find this weird too. It is the first time that the Meteo Office has issued a "cyclone warning" for an unnamed cyclone.

At this morning, the satellite image published on the Meteo office website would call this unnamed cyclone Tropical Disturbance 'C'. That explains it. The 'system' hasn't intensified enough to be categorized as a tropical cyclone. The latest cyclone bulletin issued at 10h10 calls this 'system' a tropical depression.

Image source: Mauritius Meteorological Services

The satellite image shows that the Tropical Depression 'C' was situated at about 350 km to the north-east of Mauritius. As per the forecast of the Met Office, there is a chance that it will further intensify into a tropical storm.

We will find more in the next cyclone bulletin which will be issued at 16h10.

Meanwhile, there is intermittent rain in Providence with strong gusts of wind at certain times.

Updates

  • The tropical depression intensified to become a moderate tropical storm which has been named Calvinia. The same was communicated in the cyclone bulletin issued at 10h10.
  • Fourth cyclone bulletin was issued at 22h00 on Sunday 29 December 2019. Moderate tropical storm Calvinia was centered at about 190 km to the east of Cap Malheureux.
  • In the sixth cyclone bulletin issued at 09h00 on Monday 30 December 2019 a cyclone warning Class III was announced. This bulletin caused more chaos than the rain and winds did in certain regions. By 09h000 a lot of people had reached their workplace or were on the way to office. Upon the issuance of a Class III warning everyone has to return back home causing huge traffic jams and inconvenience on the roads.
  • Eighth cyclone bulletin issued at 16h00 on Monday 30 December 2019 indicated that severe tropical storm Calvinia remained stationary at about 90 km off the coast of Mahebourg.
  • Tenth cyclone bulletin issued by the Meteorological Services at 22h00 on Monday 30 December 2019 indicated that the severe tropical storm Calvinia had only looped on its position and moved closer to Mauritius. It was centered at 70 km to the south-east of Mahebourg.
  • The fourteenth and last cyclone bulletin was issued at 10h00 on Tuesday 31 December 2019 by the Meteorological Services. Calvinia was moving away from Mauritius and was situated at about 130 km to the south-east of Blue Bay. The cyclone warning was lifted.
Image source: Mauritius Meteorological Services
  • The sun is back in sky⛅ but there is still rain from time to time with strong gusts of wind. 🍃
  • Banks & shopping malls opened their doors as from half-day on this Tuesday 31 December 2019. People could do their last-minute shopping on new year's eve. 😊
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24Nov/190

Preps for the Developers Conference 2020…

Posted by Ish Sookun

Preparations for the Developers Conference 2020 have begun. The date, location and theme have been announced.

The next Developers Conference, simply dubbed DevCon 2020, will be held on 2 - 4 April at the Caudan Arts Centre in Port-Louis, Mauritius. This time the conference theme is Comics, which I am pretty sure requires no further explanation as to what to expect.

A few of our regular supporters have already joined as sponsors, while others have expressed their intention to back us financially in the coming days. The conference cannot happen without the help and support of the sponsors and the commitment to support the DevCon organizers every year is really appreciated. May the force be with you & your organizations prosper!

Developers Conference is an event by the community for the community. We should not forget this. Everyone's help is welcomed and appreciated. In fact, next year we're aiming big and the more backers we have the merrier!

If you believe there are organizations out there that can support us please share the conference brochure with them. The brochure explains about the conference, the different sponsorship tiers and ways in which an organization can help in making DevCon 2020 another great & awesome conference!

Meanwhile, you out there, if you've been to the Developers Conference before, then how about submitting a paper this time? Take the leap and do it!

10Nov/190

Elections & Propaganda in Mauritius

Posted by Ish Sookun

It's not a new thing that opponents spread rumours during an election period to mislead the population in favor or against something. Such tactics predates the use of Internet & social media campaigns.

Image by Tayeb MEZAHDIA from Pixabay

I recall rumours about the so-called "Macarena" VHS that contributed to the fall of the Labour Party in 2000. I don't know whether the VHS existed or not but it's mere mention was enough to get people murmur.

During the 2014 General Elections, the "Viré Mam" video clip made people not just laugh but also changed a lot minds in favour of the then Lepep Alliance. The video clip was made from short edits from various political meetings featuring P. R. Bérenger, Leader of the MMM Party and Dr. N. C. Ramgoolam, Leader of the Labour Party, who back then formed the PTR/MMM alliance. The video was edited in such a way that it appeared both party leaders were slurring at each other in a synchronous manner and the groovy background music only made it funnier.

This year, two days after the General Elections, one that many thought to be a tough battle among three major political parties in Mauritius, a friend sent me a video clip of Dr. N. C. Ramgoolam speaking at a political meeting. The clip appears to have been carefully edited to give the impression that the Labour Party leader is saying that Hindus living in the rural areas adore money and that when they're dying, a bank note needs to be put in a "katori" (i.e copper, brass or stainless steel cup) of water and the same given to drink to the dying person for the soul to be able to leave the body. This propaganda video worked. A day before the elections and on the election day I heard about the circulation of this "Katori" clip that is supposedly offending Hindus.

While the "Viré Mam" clip could be regarded as parody, the "Katori" clip on the other hand is not. The title of the video says that the Labour Party leader is insulting Hindus and thus the creator of this video clip incites communal unrest. This whole thing could have legal implications.

The Labour Party for the past few weeks appeared to have led a successful campaign on the Internet through Google, YouTube and Facebook ads. Most of them were messages of Dr. N. C. Ramgoolam while some of the ads were interesting facts explaining about the economy, national debt and our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

However, it seems that the party was not ready to tackle propaganda.

Thus, "Katori" clip wins and Dr. N. C. Ramgoolam could not win a seat to be in the National Assembly of Mauritius.

This blog post is not an endorsement of the Labour Party but simply an analysis of how propaganda videos affect election results.

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25Oct/190

Where is the Freedom of Information Act?

Posted by Ish Sookun

At just a two weeks before the General Elections in Mauritius, I am pondering over the achievements of the outgoing government. A renewed alliance between the MSM Party and Muvman Liberater is asking the citizens to give them another mandate to run the country.

At this stage I thought I should check their Electoral Manisfesto of 2014 to see where do they stand on their promises.

One particular area I am interested in is Good Governance. I am looking for what happened to the promised Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to be more precise.

Page 22 of L'Alliance Lepep's Electoral Manifesto of 2014 talks about Good Governance. Item number three reads as follows:

Un 'Freedom of Information Act' sera introduit pour garantir la transparence et permettre la libre circulation des information

Yes, they promised a Freedom of Information Act to guarantee transparency. A counter was subsequently published by lexpress.mu which now shows that it's been 1779 days since L'Alliance Lepep formed a government and yet there is no sign of FOIA.

I attended two workshops on the subject of FOIA, one organized by the U.S Embassy in 2015 and another by the Mauritius Council of Social Service (MACOSS) in early 2016.

I never received an invitation to participate in any FOIA related workshop by government led initiatives (if they happened in the last five years).

Five years and freedom of information is not guaranteed.


Among the ten items on Good Governance in the Electoral Manisfesto of 2014 key ones have not been fulfilled. Item number four talks about freedom of opinion and that citizens would be free to attend public gatherings, participate in pacific protests, etc.

However, the outgoing government only made the ICT Act more stringent and confusing that the citizens of Mauritius somehow lost their "freedom of expression" on the Internet. Find more about that in the following articles:

Against the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights?
ICT Act: Yatin Varma dépose une plainte en Cour suprême
Clause 46 de l’ICT Act: «Une épée de Damoclès plane sur la population»
Maurice: RSF condamne un durcissement de la législation sur les contenus en ligne
A clear violation of the right to freedom of expression

Police brutality

Lastly, regarding the freedom to attend public gatherings or participate in pacific protests, can we forget the harsh treatment of Rastafaris in 2016?

Image source: lemauricien.com

Several people were arrested and some were brutalised by the police.





This blog post is not an endorsement of whom to vote or not to vote but simply portrays the thoughts of an ordinary citizen.
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20Jun/150

Top websites visited by Mauritius and the compromised cyberisland

Posted by logan


Alexa top 10 Websites visited by Mauritians

alexa

Alexa is a web statistic tool which is very useful. The problem in Mauritius, is that we do not have much statistics. I was expecting facebook, yahoo, and youtube. One site (ask.com) immediately drew my attention and I knew that something was very wrong in Mauritius !



Ask.com or how a lot of computers are compromised in the Cyberisland


The ask toolbar is generally found on computers that have been compromised, and installed surreptitiously. At the 10th place, we have ask.com, which is a malware that infects a lot of browsers. I saw it on a few laptops of my co-workers, and friends. However, I never imagined that it was so widespread in Mauritius! Widespread enough that it's the 10th most visited website by the island ! ask.com is typically accessed via browser toolbar that generates bad search results, and is notorious to remove completely.

Ask toolbar slows down the computers on which it is installed. It is very difficult to remove completely. The computers that have ask toolbar installed are very likely to contain other malware. Those computers tend to slow down entire corporate networks due to excessive traffic. Microsoft rates it as high, in terms of security severity: Microsoft Advisory. I went to check with CERT-MU which is the in its own terms "... Mauritian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-MU), a division of the National Computer Board (NCB), Mauritius, to educate and enhance the awareness of the general public on the technological and social issues facing internet users, particularly on the dangers of getting online." and found nothing concerning ask toolbar.



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