DLSLUG Notes, 5-June-2008: Bill Stearns, FUSE filesystems

Twenty-two people attended the June meeting of the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Linux User Group held as usual on the first Thursday of the month. We were fortunate once again to get room 041 in the lower-level of Haldeman, with power and ethernet jacks at each seat.

As seems required at each LUG meeting, persuading the projector to show X is always a challenge. Bill Stearns is a big believer in the “power on the projector first, then the laptop connected to the projector” theory, which I also like. Today, though, 800 x 600 was the best he could do, even with this work-around. There’s a good Summer of Code project in there somewhere, if not a PhD thesis. Video negotiations between machine and display start with bootup and BIOS code and run through X configuration and ends with xrandr or direct x.org tweaking. (Update: I saw a new applet in the “What’s New in Nine” session at FUDCon where the configuration of video on the fly was a lot easier! Looking forward to trying it out!)

Bill McGonigle also recorded the audio from the event. Keep an eye out for an announcement on when the recording might be available. (With gas prices climbing, I’ll be attending more meetings virtually via podcast. Someone ought to do a meeting on… 🙂

Bill Stearn’s presentation was on FUSE filesystems, additional file systems over and above what’s needed to start your system. There are infinite possibilities on what you might want loaded as a block device and manipulated with the tools that know how to work with a filesystem: a compressed archive, a remote music source, a database, an encrypted volume, etc., and there’s a good chance someone’s already started writing a FUSE driver for it. The list of drivers under development is pretty impressive and some of them fairly innovative.

Bill started with a couple of slides to establish the basic terminology and to walk through the basic commands of setting up a couple of the FUSE filesystems. Soon abandoning the slideshow, Bill hopped into a shell and actually performed the operations, showing how an encrypted filesystem might work, how archives could be read as files (or grepped or wc’d or…) and how gluster, a cluster file system capable of managing petabytes, could be used. There was a lot of audience participation and “Yeah, but what if…” questions and a good time was had by all.

Roger Trussel is scheduled to present jUnit at the July meeting.

Thanks to Bill Stearns for his great presentation and handouts, Bill McGonigle for organizing, promoting and herding cats at the meeting, to Heidi Strohl (http://www.heidistrohl.com) for providing the refreshments (awesome cookies!) and to all for attending and participating.

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