MUUG Monthly Meetings for 2005-06


Please note our 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 7:15pm, so the meeting can start promptly at 7:30pm. Don't be late, or you may not get in. (But don't come too early either, since security may not be there to let you in before 7:15 or so.)

Limited parking is available for free on the street, either on Ellice Ave. or on some of the intersecting streets. Indoor parking is also available nearby, at Portage Place, for $3.00 for the evening. Bicycle parking is available in a bike rack under video surveillance located behind the building on Webb Place.

September 13, 2005: GPS & Mapping with Open Source Tools, Part 1

If you have ever been lost (and who hasn't), you will know just how important it is to know exactly where you are. With a handy little GPS unit, you can know exactly where you are in the world down to a few meters at the push of a button.

Shawn Wallbridge showed various tools you can use with (or without) a GPS unit. He covered various aspects of hardware, standards for protocols and file formats, desktop mapping software and conversion tools, as well as a quick look at web-based mapping applications. (Part 2 will focus more closely on these.)

October 11, 2005: GPS & Mapping with Open Source Tools, Part 2

If you have ever been lost (and who hasn't), you will know just how important it is to know exactly where you are. With a handy little GPS unit, you can know exactly where you are in the world down to a few meters at the push of a button.

In Part 2 of last month's presentation, Shawn Wallbridge presented more on the subject of web-based mapping. He primarily covered Mapserver, a web-based mapping application by the University of Minnesota.

November 8, 2005: Linux Clustering

Mark Spencer, Solutions Architect with Red Hat Canada, presented on the topic of clustering. A brief discussion of the different kinds of clusters, as well as the reasons for implementing clusters was shown. The main focus was on failover clustering, with examples of both active-passive and active-active configurations. File sharing strategies including GFS were also discussed.

The audience was warned to come prepared to be a participant, as Mark likes to engage the audience in a more seminar style of presentation. And Mark did not disappoint, as there was a very lively discussion during the presentation, and lots of questions afterwards.

Mark's presentation slides are available online, in OO Impress source and PDF formats.

December 13, 2005: Tapes, use them or lose it.

Tape drives are strange extinct beasts, relics from computing's past.

Well not quite... Despite being in the age of dual layer DVDs and 500GB hard drives, tape drives have always been a viable and resilient medium of storage (especially for long term archival). As old as tape systems are, the information on how to use them and how they work in UNIX style operating systems can be either scarce or cryptic. In this presentation, Sean Cody introduced not only the medium but also showed basic usage, tips and strategy for data archival and retrieval.

Sean's presentation slides are available online, in PDF format.

January 10, 2006: Efficient Web Browsing

In this presentation, Sean Walberg demonstrated several tools that are available to make better use of your time on the Internet. Sean started off with a few tips on making better use of bookmarks in the Mozilla Firefox browser. He then covered tools including an RSS aggregator called FEED ON FEEDS, a mailing list archiver called lurker, a public bookmarks site called del.icio.us, and a Firefox extension called Greasemonkey, which lets you dynamically modify web pages after they're loaded.

Sean has provided a handy list of bookmarks to the resources he's covered, via del.icio.us.

February 21, 2006: UNIX@Work, UNIX@Home

Once upon a time there was a LAN, a LAN where chaos reigned... OK, maybe it wasn't quite that dramatic, but the early days of networking were quite different than today for Gilbert Detillieux, a system and network administrator for the University of Manitoba's department of Computer Science for over 16 years. In this mini-presentation, in what we hope will become a semi-regular series of UNIX@Work/Home presentations, Gilbert described how the LAN-scape changed over those years at the University, and the role UNIX has played in taming the wild frontier of the Internet.

Starting from scratch with your home network? Where do you start? Where do you go from here? Kevin McGregor is dealing with these very issues in setting up a network in his new home. His presentation covered hardware and software, clients and servers, backups, data integrity, network infrastructure, cabling plants and much more, all in less than 60 minutes!

The meeting started off with the usual round-table discussion. During the break, Gilbert Detillieux showed off some of his latest phantograms (as demonstrated at the April 2005 MUUG Meeting), as well as phantogram prints from other artists participating in a folio (a shared portfolio) that's circulating by mail.

March 14, 2006: BrandZ - Running Linux in Solaris 10 Zones

With the release of Solaris 10, two new important features were added to the operating system: zones and dtrace. With zones, multiple instances of the OS can be configured, enabling a virtualized deployment environment.

In this presentation by Sun's Willem Van Schaik, we looked into the next phase, called BrandZ, which allows the installation of non-Solaris operating systems like Linux and BSD into a zone. Solaris Containers for Linux Applications (SCLA), i.e. Linux running in a Solaris BrandZ Zone opens up new possiblities, like analyzing and debugging Linux programs with DTrace. BrandZ is still under development, but try-out versions are available as part of OpenSolaris and Solaris Express.

April 11, 2006: FUSE Implementation

FUSE, or Filesystems in USErspace, is a great new method for regular users to create filesystem-like device drivers in userspace, without the need for all those messy kernel compiles. FUSE is now included in the stock Linux kernel as of 2.6.14, and is rapidly being deployed by a large number of people to create device drivers for specialty hardware, or improved filesystem support.

Scott Balneaves outlined what you need to start writing your own filesystem (hint: not much), and some of the cool things you can do with FUSE. Among other things, he demoed SshFS, which uses FUSE to access files on a remote system using only sshd and sftp-server on the remote side. The list of filesystems based on FUSE is growing rapidly.

May 9, 2006: A MythTV Implementation

MythTV is a popular open-source TV-recording package. Combined with the right hardware and configured correctly, it can take the stress out of keeping up with your favourite shows, despite frequent schedule changes and re-runs.

Kevin McGregor talked about his experiences setting up MythTV on Ubuntu Linux.

June 13, 2006: Agile Software Development Environment

Specialized and robust tools for Java development are available to the Open Source community for everything from source code control, to document management, to running your finished application. Weaving all these components together on a central development server for team of developers can be a challenge. These frequently overlooked components in the development environment can make or break your project. Where do you keep the information everyone needs to see? Who is responsible for maintaining it? How do you know if code you just committed to the repository has impacted someone else's? You are writing JUnit tests, but how much of your project's code is actually being tested? With the focus on developer productivity, how can you address all of these questions without adding to the burden of just getting code written?

In this presentation, Steve Moffat showed us how one project is doing it. Steve's presentation slides are available online, in PowerPoint source and PDF formats.

July 2006: No meeting this month

August 2006: No meeting this month

Please note our 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 7:15pm, so the meeting can start promptly at 7:30pm. Don't be late, or you may not get in. (But don't come too early either, since security may not be there to let you in before 7:15 or so.)

Limited parking is available for free on the street, either on Ellice Ave. or on some of the intersecting streets. Indoor parking is also available nearby, at Portage Place, for $3.00 for the evening. Bicycle parking is available in a bike rack under video surveillance located behind the building on Webb Place.