As scheduled I reached the Mauritian branch of Middlesex University sharp at 09h00 today. Oh! SM (S. Moonesamy) was late. That was so awesome. Usually, I am the latecomer & get scolded.
I was greeted by Adit Santokhee, a fellow lecturer who organized the presentation. He guided me around the building and explained more about what they are planning for the students. My presentation covered Linux & FOSS and how one may contribute to the open source community. We had a nice chat while waiting for SM. It was nearly 09h30, time the presentation was scheduled and still no sign of SM. That was exciting; it couldn’t be better, seeing SM late for once.
Adit & I moved to the lecture room. If my memory is correct, that was room number 2.16. A few folks were there already. While I was plugging my laptop I could hear someone saying « Ish Sookun » … I lifted my head, couldn’t identify where the sound came from, so I got back to working. Then after a while the voice was heard again. Oh! That was Sunny (not like sunny in the weather) but a fellow I know on facebook, meeting him for the first time at Middlesex Uni. A cool dude, we had a quick chit chat.
As I finished plugging the gear, SM finally called. He reached. I guided him to the lecture room and I started my presentation.
Thank you SM for the picture xD
A usual introduction followed by mention of the Linux User Group of Mauritius and the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community. I was told my audience would be final year students, which indeed they were, so I rather geared my prez more about using & contributing to open source as means to leverage one’s career. Does it work? Yes, it does. Before I could trigger the topic though, I gave a quick intro about GNU & Linux to make new *nix geeks comfy. I came up with the usual mention of Linux in our lives, in places we might not even think of, or like the supercomputers powered by a series of Linux distributions. I talked about FOSS and FLOSS, explained the need of the « L » in between; FOSS (Free & Open Source Software) while FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software).
Talked about Linux, FOSS and next was how to contribute? What does it take for one to be a FOSS contributor?
Yes, you gotta be an artist. Be it with coding, talking, writing or drawing. All you need is having the art of doing what you love. It’s that passion which drives the forces of open source communities. At that point, I could see the cheerful faces of folks. I gave a couple of examples of open source contribution. Ok, let’s say you’re now contributing to the global open source community. It helps the world. What about you? Does it help you? Yup! You get recognized for your contribution. It definitely helps you stand out and you build yourself a stronger career ahead.
I shot my next slide & talked about the Linux User Group of Mauritius and user groups in general. Didn’t drag it long & ended my prez on a « thank you » note.
Next on the menu was « The web in Mauritius - between theory and practice » by S. Moonesamy.
I missed the beginning of SM’s talk since I was then too busy taking pictures, tweeting, facebook’ing and commenting on stuffs. However, once his prez took off the rest was awesome. SM talked briefly about web standards. He talked about web security with reference to local websites. Could have taken int’l websites but it’s good to reference local ones, just to feel homey (^^,) …
A defaced website, a web server error message, a web page that exposes database username/passwords, websites leaking data, so much to offer. SM then shot the question asking students how would they assure security if they worked for & were responsible for those websites? It created a nice debate and allowed some interaction within the room. On my end, a fellow, Ravi and I shot some ideas. There was another fellow who whispered a few ideas, sitting behind me, unfortunately in the hustle-bustle of things I forgot his name.
During an interactive Q & A session, it was interesting to note that students, mostly Mauritians, kinda find it difficult to trust local websites in terms of security. A comparison was made between someone buying a product online via a local website and buying on Ebay. Folks trust Ebay more than they would regarding a locally designed website. SM & I agreed this does send a signal that a lot needs to be done in terms of Web Security in Mauritius. Could we say Internet itself needs to be re-defined in Mauritius? Maybe yes. We talked about Internet quality on the island. Bandwidth issue isn’t something new and everybody laughed at that topic. Most people in the room had a 1Mbps MyT/ADSL connection, one folk (Ravi) said Fibre. Interesting, « La Fibre » is a super-duper overhyped technology by an ISP, yet that guy gets 10Mbps. Is that speed a NOT-BE-ABLE to deliver over the existing lines? Awww! Let me guess, someone just sold a fibre-promised technology & yet delivers ADSL type/capacity connection. At that point, both SM and I were like, hey should we laugh about this, grin, rant or just accept the fate of modern Mauritius. Well, this is what we have the Mauritius Internet Users group for. SM then introduced the MIU group to students and explained them the aim. We also talked about social media, its impact, its usage by Mauritians and SM came back explaining the difference with a mailing list.
Presentations finished shortly after 11h00. I met a couple few among the students while SM addressed a few words too. We thanked Adit, his colleagues and of course the students for the warm welcome that Middlesex University gave us.
Surely, we would be having some future prez on more interesting topics, hopefully the next time with live demos.