Tag Archives | DLSLUG

Notes from DLSLUG, 2-April-2009: Nifties!

“Nifties!” are the name for the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Linux User Group meeting nights when a featured speaker can’t be found: the Users of the Group make short presentations to each other, hopefully eliciting the “Nifty!” response.

I spoke on my work with Nick Plante and Brian Turnbull starting a business to host a coworking site in Portsmouth, NH with several of the folks there before the meeting started. We had some insightful discussions on the terminology of commercial space leasing, and the intricacies and politics of finding the right spot to start a business.

Rich Brown of Dartware talked about Dojo, the javascript library, and a book he borrowed from the DLSLUG library. (see below for more)

Lloyd Kvam presented his book report on the Google Apps books. Google Apps allows a small business or group to buy a domain, register it with Google Apps. We shared experiences of setting up domains in Google Apps.

Then we realized the meeting was actually next door in L02 rather than L01, not the first time we’ve gotten the wrong room, so we moved over and caught the end of a presentation. Then Bill McGonigle showed how ejabberd was set up with Red Hat – family user accounts (Pluggable Authentication Module – PAM) to which he contributed some code.

Richard Brittain (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~richard) showed a ksh script to kill a subprocess after a specified timout and another script that would check a path (checkpath.ksh) and remove all the cruft that builds up as software is added and removed, machines appear and disappear, etc.

Rich Brown of Dartware presented his Dojo report again. Rich needed a simple web page that would let his clients enter in several key pieces of information in a form and from that data generate a configuration file in a specific format. Eventually, he realized a prebuilt library of JavaScript could do a better job, he worked with Dojo and realized he needed a reference. He borrowed the Dojo book from the DLSLUG library. While there were a few frustrations, overall he was pleased with the content of the book, it’s organization, clean examples and good indexing. The book didn’t have a good description of how the CDN supplied JS libraries can be downloaded over the web quicker and in the correct forms and versions; he ran into a race condition that took a while to debug. The Dojo book covers 1.1 while he was working with 1.2, may even be up to 1.3 by now, always a problem with letting the ink dry.

Parker (I didn’t catch his last name) posted a Madebyparker.com blog entry that was spurred on by trying to make a copy of document, but the machine was eating dollars, so scanned to his email address and sent it to himself: nine pdfs in nine pages. The Dartmouth facilities wisely try to minimize the waste of paper with something called “GreenPrint” but the implementation leaves something to be desired, especially for folks running Linux. He searched around and found a command line to concatenate the documents together into one PDF for faster printing and management.

Ten folks made it to the meeting, and I have no doubt everyone learned something; a great result!

DLSLUG Notes, 7-Aug-2008: James Fogg, Administrator-In-A-Box

Eighteen attendees braved the downpours to attend the August meeting of the Dartmouth – Lake Sunapee Linux User Group, held as usual on the Dartmouth campus on the first Thursday of the month. Coordinator Bill McGonigle noted that several past presenters had new books published:

Jeff Dwyer: Pro Web 2.0 Development with GWT

Barrie North: Joomla! A User’s Guide: Building a Successful Joomla! Powered Website

James Fogg was the main presenter, talking about high-end administration of many machines, and how the adminstration tools are both growing out of the grassroots and migrating downward from the large mainframe/mini management systems. These systems configure, monitor, test, audit, report and manage large numbers of computers, network devices (routers, switches, etc.) and enable a small number of administrators to keep a large plant running, manage changes in fractions of the time and effort that a manual process would require, and provide in-depth information on the state of the plant. He talked about, and demonstrated, the high-end products from HP and BMC.

We talked about many related FOSS tools which served some or all of the functions of the high-end tools, though perhaps not yet with their polish, breadth, depth or integration. Products mentioned included:

Upcoming meetings include “How to Write a Compiler” in October and “High Availability Linux” in November. Stay tuned for more details.

Thanks to Bill McGonigle for arranging and running the meeting, to Heidi Strohl (http://www.heidistrohl.com) for providing the awesome brownies, and to James for the presentation.

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.

MonadLUG notes, 13-March-2008, Philip Sbrogna on WINE

Twelve people attended the March meeting of the Monadnock Region Linux User Group, MonadLUG, held as usual on the second Thursday of the month at the SAU 1 offices on Hancock Road in Peterborough.

Charlie called the meeting to order at 7 PM and we had the usual round of announcements. One member offered an HP LaserJet 4L and a new cartridge to anyone interested. There’s problems with the paper feeding, likely the rollers, and he didn’t have the inclination to fix it himself and went out and bought a new duplexing laser. If anyone’s interested, we can try to get you in touch with him.

Philip Sbrogna was the main presenter, speaking on Wine. Philip works as sysadmin for a local company, and has past experience as a game software developer (as well as a nuclear power
operator, a past profession we share) and is very interested in getting games working well under Linux. Wine Is Not an Emulator, but a API layer that provides the resources Windows executables need to run under Linux. The main page is at http://www.winehq.org and there’s a lot of information available there. Philip was running OpenSuse 10.x and demonstrated how easy it was to use the built-in YAST tool to locate, download and install a current and stable Wine release, version 0.9.42. Despite having practiced it several times, things don’t work the same during a presentation, and Philip was great about rolling with the punches and showing us how to configure, troubleshoot and tweak on Wine. We talked about the commercial alternatives, CrossOver Office from CodeWeavers and Cedega’s work with getting high-end games working, the Application Database at WineHQ where you can examine the list of programs known to work or known to have limitations and pick up suggestions on how to tune the application to your needs.

Ken got a chance to show off the new facilities of the meeting room. A new hi-tech podium’s in place that supports two projector screens, one of which is a touch-screen, dry-erase screen. The project supports computer video, TV tuner, DVD, videotape and a color video camera that can scan and preserve on memory cards,a 21st century opaque projector. Beautiful equipment! It may take us a while to learn the magic X configuration to get it working, so be prepared for a little struggling at the beginning of the meetings.

Next month, Guy Pardoe will demonstrate Joomla 1.5, the newly-released (and significantly re-engineered) content management system written in PHP. There’s a book on Joomla 1.5, written by Barrie North, who’s spoken at the Dartmouth – Lake Sunapee Linux User Group. It’s published by Prentice Hall PTR, an imprint of Pearson Education. Attendees to the recent CentraLUG meeting may recall we had a copy raffled away.

Thanks to Philip for a great presentation, to Ken for providing the space and facilities, to Charlie Farinella for organizing, promoting and moderating the evening, and to all for attending and participating!

November 1: Real-Time Linux, Ed Haynes of Wind River, at DLSLUG

The Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Linux User Group will be hosting Ed Haynes of Wind River, presenting some of Wind River’s innovations on the Linux kernel to produce real-time Linux. Here’s the announcement from coordinator Bill McGonigle. Should be a fun meeting! Note the the meeting is held in Haldeman building, next door to our past location, in the lower level of the building.

DLSLUG Notes, 6-Sept-2007: ATTACK of the Nifties!!!

Bill McGonigle hosted the September meeting the Dartmouth – Lake Sunapee Linux User Group, held as usual on the first Thursday of the month, but at a different location: the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center. Seven members attended.

The night was announced as “Nifties:” short presentations that hope to elicit from the audience just that reaction. Everyone present had something to show off:

I showed the S5 (Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System) developed by Eric Meyer of CSS fame. S5 used standards-compliant CSS, JavaScript and XHTML to generate a slide show with keyboard shortcuts, drop-down slide lists, handout and slideshow formats, additional notes and more. Free as in speech, free as in beer. Nifty!

Bill McGonigle showed off pfSense, following up on a blog entry he had written. pfSense is a spin-off of monowall, the xBSD-based firewall program. Bill talked about how to configure it off a read-only CR, with a small (512 Mb) USB fob holding the configuration file, running diskless on an older computer. The web interface was pretty slick, rich and intuitive, and exposed a huge number of options. Nifty!

Adam showed off some work he had been doing with WebSphere Community Edition (aka Apache Geronimo) and a commercial add-on that provided VT-400 terminal emulation via Java and a browser, to access some legacy machines he needs to maintain. Nifty!

I mentioned that TheOpenCD September 2007 edition was out and available via BitTorrent. We talked about some of the neat software on the disk. PDFCreator seemed most popular, but OpenOffice and WinSCP got good mentions, too. Nifty.

We did NOT mention the OpenEducationCD, a spin-off project, but that got mention at last week’s GNHLUG Board of Director’s meeting.

We talked quite a bit about the OLPC project and I showed off one of the videos available on the RedHat site to great acclaim. Not just “Nifty!” but “I want to work there!!!” There are more videos here, here and here.

Many interesting side discussions, too. Sorry if you missed it; it was a fun night.

DLSLUG, 2 August: Usable Web Applications with Rails and AJAX

Bill McGonigle announces the August meeting of the Dartmouth – Lake Sunapee Linux User Group, held as usual at Dartmouth College, Carson Hall, Room L01 from 7 – 9 PM. The main presentation will be “Usable Web Applications with Rails and AJAX,” presented by William Henderson-Frost.

“Will will present Greenout!, a new web application that’s focused on usability and developed on the Ruby on Rails platform using AJAX techniques, the Prototype library, and plenty of custom code. He’ll describe the process of developing a web application with Ruby on Rails, the challenges of writing an AJAX application, and some of the tips and techniques he’s developed along the way.”

“Will is a Senior at Dartmouth College, majoring in Computer Science, and a Hanover native. He enjoys good programming languages, like Ruby.”

Sounds like an interesting meeting. Ruby is a pretty sleek language, and the Rails platform makes application development far easier.

DLSLUG notes, 7-June-2007

The Dartmouth – Lake Sunapee Linux User Group held their meeting on the usual first Thursday, but at a new location: the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center, where Bill McGonigle has recently set up his new offices. Nice place!

Seven attendees found their way to the meeting, and we had an informal chat covering a wide range of issue: the challenges of single-person consultancies, the business of consulting, Nagios, Dartware, a new version of Logo from MIT, having a presence at Hanover’s Street Fest (July 28, btw).

Bill had an interesting proposal: that the group create a “chuck box” (Boy Scouts’ term, ref: http://www.troop168.net/forms/patrolboxa.htm) that could contain a GNHLUG-booth-in-a-box: a banner, handouts, a tent/canopy,… what else? Interesting idea.

Bill also recommended we check out http://www.zazzle.com if we’re considering making promotional items.

Good times had by all. No DLSLUG meeting in July; instead, you’re encouraged to come to the GNHLUG-wide BBQ July 15th. Hope to see you there!

Is ZFS Apple’s secret weapon? | InfoWorld | News | 2007-06-08 | By Gregg Keizer, Computerworld

Gregg Keizer asks “Is ZFS Apple’s secret weapon?? Sun’s CEO Jonathan Schwartz said Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard would rely on a file system that engineers at his company have spent years creating: ZFS.”

Very cool! GNHLUGgers saw ZFS presented at the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Linux User Group meeting in April when Todd Underwood mentioned the OS X rumors. An XServe running as the front-end to a whole mess of disks could mean a very easy-to-use, near-infinite scaling of storage devices, ideal for any SME with delusions of grandeur. Looking forward to seeing what Apple does with ZFS!

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