Notes for KWLUG January 2016: Mageia & Taxes

Marc Paré presented on the Mageia linux distribution and talk about doing Canadian taxes using Linux and Wine. These are some of my notes from the night:

Special mention: I was really impressed with Marc's organization. He started a Mageia install, then flipped to a finished install, then showed off some tax preparation, and finally returned to the first machine after the install had finished. Very smooth.


  • Mageia is a community distribution forked from Mandriva
    • seems to be a similar relationship as between RedHat and CentOS
  • mentioned Rosa, which is also derived from Mandriva
  • Mandriva had a difficult time when Ubuntu come out and never really recovered
  • Mandriva devs moved on to establish Mageia, as a community driven distribution
  • Marc participated in the founding help writing their mission statement, and continues to help out with QA
  • various architectures are supported
  • although, they will be scaling back this support a bit for the next release
  • Marc does tech support for about 40 people, who wanted to leave the Windows and he has successfully used Mageia for them
  • he uses separate root and home partitions
    • keeps the OS in one place
    • makes it easy to format and re-install root, without loosing home data
    • has found it easier to recovered the data in home this way
  • uses TeamViewer to remotely access his clients machines
  • installs the default KDE and LXDE as a fall back
  • version 6 of Mageia is supposed to be release in 2 months
  • MCC(Mageia Control Centre) has been very successful for Marc's clients
  • MCC makes it straight forward to add remote repositories after doing an install from CD
    • core and non-free are auto-selected
    • tainted repos are for packages that could have legal issues (mostly from a French point of view, as that is where the majority of Mageia's developers are located)
  • some of the package that Marc installs during an install
    • mplayer
    • wine
    • flash
    • faad
    • comes from the tainted repository
    • livdvdcss2
    • used to be installed by default but recently moved into tainted
  • Marc mentioned an issue about people accidentally moving or re-configuring this, which can cause confusion
    • I wonder if KDE can have its configuration locked down
  • Marc suggested leaving network update of packages until after the initial install is finished

Tax Filing on Linux

  • Marc is the UFile in Wine maintainer, and is currently working on some issues in the 2015 release
  • Ufile has been friendly to Marc's Wine related requests in the past, but have seemed less interested recently. Perhaps related to their push to the web, instead of the desktop client?
  • it has been necessary to install Microsoft fonts so that everything will be displayed correctly
  • CRA has a legal limit of 20 returns for a non-professional
  • apparently Canada has a 90% tax payment compliance rate, Australia in comparison has 60%
  • Wine packages are updated pretty quickly for various distributions, so fixes will show up pretty quickly

Some comments from the audience

  • StudioTax is a free tax package, mentioned from the audience
    • Marc mentioned that it is maintained by some ex-CRA employees located in Ottawa
    • also appears to be supported in Wine but does not seem to have a current maintainer
  • ProFile which is an example of software for Canadian tax professionals