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MUUG Monthly Meetings for 2003-04


Please note our new meeting location: The IBM offices, at 400 Ellice Ave. (between Edmonton and Kennedy). When you arrive, you will have to sign in at the reception desk, and then wait for someone to take you (in groups) to the meeting room. Please try to arrive by about 7:15 PM, so the meeting can start promptly at 7:30 PM. Don't be late, or you may not get in.

Limited parking is available for free on the street, or in a lot across Ellice from IBM, for $1.00 for the evening. Indoor parking is also available nearby, at Portage Place, for $2.00 for the evening.

September 9, 2003: Regular Expressions

In our September meeting Steve Moffat talked about Regular Expressions. Some say the "Generalized Regular Expression Parser", or grep, may be the most frequently used command in Unix. Using this simple command more effectively can save you time and give you better results every day. Whether it is grep, egrep, fgrep, perl, or any of the other programs that use or support text pattern matching, you can use Unix better if you know what Regular Expressions can do for you.

October 14, 2003: UNIX Printing with CUPS and LPRng

This month, Adam Thompson gave us a look at printing under UNIX with the popular CUPS and LPRng systems. LPRng re-implements the traditional UNIX printing model, adding support for modern features. CUPS targets the much newer Internet Printing Protocol, but provides a traditional user interface for UNIX users. Adam provided some insight into the confusing variety of printer drivers that exist on Linux today. Demonstrations included setting up a local printer (on a parallel port) and showing how to set up remote printing across a network.

November 11, 2003: Novell in the Unix Market

Michael Subasic is the Senior Technology Solutions Architect for Novell Canada. He took us through what Novell is doing in the Unix market. Topics included the adoption rate of Unix/Linux and how Novell is supporting open source. Recent press on the SCO lawsuit and Novell's acquisition of Ximian and SuSE were also covered. Michael's presentation slides are available online, in PowerPoint (4.3 MB) and PDF (2.7 MB) formats.

December 9, 2003: Virtual Private Networks

Shawn Wallbridge was back, with a presentation on Virtual Private Networks. He covered the basics of VPN's, what they are, why to use them, and how they work. Shawn also discussed IPSec and how it can be used to implement a VPN. The presentation included examples of how you'd set up a VPN with IPSec on an OpenBSD system, as well as examples of cool hardware VPN routers.

Shawn has provided his presentation slides (PDF format), and the OpenBSD FAQ section on IPSec on his site.

January 13, 2004: Perl - Because Laziness is a Virtue

This month's presentation on Perl, imaginatively titled Because Laziness is a Virtue, was a brief walkthrough of the language's features and applications. The talk focussed on the places that Perl differs from traditional languages, and the features that make it worth learning. Sean Walberg was the presenter of this topic.

Sean has posted a PDF of his presentation notes from last night. There was a bit of talk about Perl's handling of scalars: are they a string, integer or float? Sean recommends the following article to clarify the issue.

There are lots of online resources available to help you in using Perl. In addition to the Perl.com site, you might also want to have a look at Perl.org and CPAN.org. There's also a local, Winnipeg chapter of the Perl Mongers user group. Those developing CGI scripts in Perl might also want to check out The CGI Resource Index.

February 10, 2004: The Squid Web Proxy

Kevin McGregor provided an introduction to setting up web caching using the Squid web proxy software. This included installation, configuration, and monitoring the server.

March 9, 2004: Voice over IP

Bill Reid gave a brief intro to VoIP technology with emphasis on the protocols involved, including Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Bill also demonstrated installing and configuring Asterisk as well as a number of SIP hard and soft phones. Asterisk is a complete PBX in software. It runs on Linux and provides all of the features you would expect from a PBX and more. Asterisk does voice over IP in three protocols, and can interoperate with almost all standards-based telephony equipment using relatively inexpensive hardware.

Bill's presentation slides are available online (PDF format). Bill also recommends getting more information online at www.voip-info.org.

April 13, 2004: Handheld Linux

Brian Doob discussed running (and installing) Linux on a handheld computer. This included a demonstration of a Compaq (now HP) iPaq running OPIE (the Open Palmtop Integrated Environment). OPIE is a complete open-source environment for handheld computers, based on Qtopia, which is somewhat binary compatible with the Sharp Zaurus handhelds that also use Linux and Qtopia. Brian also demonstrated setting up TCP/IP networking over the USB interface, to allow remote access (e.g. via ssh) to the handheld unit.

Brian has provided us with his presentation slides (PDF format), as well as shell scripts to facilitate network setup/shutdown while docking and undocking the PDA. Brian also recommends the following web sites for more information...

May 11, 2004: Redundant Firewalls with OpenBSD 3.5's CARP and pfsync

A hardy group of 23 Winnipeggers and one even hardier (or more fool-hardy) member from Brandon braved the mid-May blizzard, and came to hear Shawn Wallbridge discuss setting up redundant firewalls with CARP (Common Address Redundancy Protocol) and pfsync, which are new features of OpenBSD 3.5. The presentation included a demo of the technology, involving two small Soekris net4501 boards running OpenBSD as the redundant firewalls, a MacOS X laptop as the local client, a small mini-ITX-based PC running Fedora Linux as the remote server, an Ethernet switch and a hub, and enough network cabling to wire up a small house! Shawn also discussed other uses for CARP, such as setting up other types of redundant network services.

Shawn has provided his presentation slides (PDF format) on his site. CARP is getting a lot of attention lately, including this NewsForge article, and this Countersiege tutorial, covering a topic very much like Shawn's presentation.

Shawn also gets bonus geek points for his off-topic segue into Bluetooth networking, where he showed off his Bluetooth-enabled cel phone and wireless headset. :)

June 8, 2004: Linux in the Enterprise - Configuration and Management

As Linux moves into the enterprise, configuration and management tools are needed. Sun is working on a facility called APOC (A Point of Control) that manages desktop configuration and management. This talk described what APOC is and how it works. Willem van Schaik, SunPS engineer, was our presenter for this topic.

July 2004: No meeting this month

August 2004: No meeting this month

Please note our new meeting location: The IBM offices, at 400 Ellice Ave. (between Edmonton and Kennedy). When you arrive, you will have to sign in at the reception desk, and then wait for someone to take you (in groups) to the meeting room. Please try to arrive by about 7:15 PM, so the meeting can start promptly at 7:30 PM. Don't be late, or you may not get in.

Limited parking is available for free on the street, or in a lot across Ellice from IBM, for $1.00 for the evening. Indoor parking is also available nearby, at Portage Place, for $2.00 for the evening.

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