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MUUG Monthly Meetings for 2009-10


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.) Non-members are welcome, but may be required to show photo ID at the security desk.

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 $5.00 for the evening. Bicycle parking is available in a bike rack under video surveillance located behind the building on Webb Place.

September 8, 2009: Connecting your Computer to the Real World

This month, Adam Thompson covered the dizzying array of I/O ports and technologies available for making connections to (or from) your computer. There's at least three ways to hook up a monitor; at least three ways to connect a keyboard and mouse; at least five ways to hook up a printer or scanner... Do you actually know what all those ports on the back do? What plugs into where? Does UNIX support them all equally? Which one is best (in any given circumstance)? Adam's presentation attempted to answer these questions.

Adam has made his presentation notes, in both OpenDocument Presentation and PDF format, available online.

Before the break, Mike Pfaiffer provided another brief RTFM topic. The df(1) and du(1) commands were covered this month, as well as the (non-standard) open-source, ncurses-based ncdu(1) text-mode utility. Mike has made a one-page hand-out, in PDF format, available online.

October 13, 2009: Jabber

Today, instant messaging is taken for granted. We use it to stay in constant contact with our friends and colleagues. There are some environments where it is not feasible or practical to use external IM services in a corporate environment. Like most things, there is an Open Source solution for that. In this case, we're talking about the Jabber instant messaging protocol.

In this presentation, Darren Hildebrand and Sean Cody, from Prime Focus VFX, talked about the Jabber system and show how the eJabberd implementation can be used to provide closed instant messaging services in a secure, simple and client-application agnostic way. They also discussed what logging, auditing and authentication options are available. If you were ever interested in replacing or providing AIM/MSN/ICQ/gTalk functionality in your workspace, this presentation provided a lot of helpful advice.

Sean and Darren have made their Jabber presentation slides available online (edited to highlight content, removing transitions and hinted obstructions, and videos replaced with web links to content). The slides contain links, via bit.ly, for video uploaded to YouTube. Here they are, in order of appearance in the slides:

  1. Jabber server install
  2. Jabber server setup
  3. Jabber admin web UI
  4. Jabber Windows setup
  5. Jabber Mac setup

A VM image, with Jabber installed (for testing), is available upon request. The Bash script is also available upon request. (Contact Sean or the MUUG Board for more information.)

Before the break, Bill Reid demoed a Sony eBook Reader, and Gilbert Detillieux provided another RTFM topic, covering the use of hard and symbolic links, the ln(1) and rm(1) commands. Gilbert has made his notes, in PDF format, available online.

November 10, 2009: MediaWiki

MediaWiki is an open source wiki package, originally designed to implement Wikipedia. It is now used by several other projects of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and by many other sites. MediaWiki is written in PHP, and runs nicely in the typical LAMP stack. It is fairly easy to set up and most configuration can be done through a web browser.

In the collaborative spirit of MediaWiki, this presentation was a joint effort between Kevin McGregor, Gilbert Detillieux and Michael Doob. Gilbert focussed on the packages needed to install MediaWiki, how to set up an instance of a wiki farm, and how to configure MediaWiki from a web browser. Kevin focussed on using MediaWiki, such as creating and editing pages using wiki text, and gave tips on managing it, such as setting up policies. Michael then showed a novel way he's using MediaWiki on a netbook to store and present class notes, complete with mathematical notation.

Some useful resources:

Before the break, since our schueduled presenter couldn't make it, Adam Thompson accepted the challenge and improvised an RTFM topic, looking at UNIX pipes (including named pipes). Thanks Adam!

December 8, 2009: SuseStudio

SuseStudio is an online virtual appliance builder based on OpenSUSE. "Build an appliance or your own custom Linux distro with a few mouse clicks. Customize it to your heart's content, and share it with the world!" It is quite astonishing what this site/tool can do with a few mouse clicks.

John Lange demoed, from start to finish, the creation of a completely custom Linux distribution. He also showed the execution of such a distribution, both using a web-based interface to the virtual machine environment, and booting a live image installed on a USB memory stick. As a bonus, OpenSUSE 11.2 was just released and John used it for the demo, just to give us a little taste of what it's like.

There is an audio recording (large, 8.9MB, 30m1s MP3 format) of the presentation. However, it may be hard to follow without any visuals. (John mostly demoed the web interface as well as the execution of some of these virtual appliances, so there are no presentation slides to view.)

Before the break, as this month's RTFM topic, Gilbert Detillieux covered the find(1) and xargs(1) commands.

January 12, 2010: Zimbra

Montana Quiring covered Zimbra, the open-source collaboration suite, which includes e-mail, calendars and more. In this presentation, Montana gave an overview what Zimbra is, talked about what's new in Zimbra 6 and explained the installation process a bit.

Montana has made his presentation notes, in both OpenDocument Presentation and PDF format, available online. There is also an audio recording (large, 10MB, 31m MP3 format) of the presentation. (Synchronisation with the slides is left as an exercise for the listener!)

Before the break, as this month's RTFM topic, Adam Thompson covered the cut(1) and paste(1) commands.

February 9, 2010: Disk Imaging

Adam Thompson covered disk imaging: who, what, why, where, when, and how. The presentation focused on the use of Partimage and related tools.

Adam has made his presentation notes, in both OpenDocument Presentation and PDF format, available online. There is also an audio recording (large, 16MB, 54m MP3 format) of the presentation. (Synchronisation with the slides is left as an exercise for the listener!)

Before the break, as this month's RTFM topic, Sean Cody prepared and gave a remote video presentation covering the at(1), atq(1) and atrm(1) commands.

March 9, 2010: Marvell SheevaPlug

This month, Kevin McGregor presented a "show and tell" of the Marvell SheevaPlug, a Linux-based computer which fits in a power adapter. With a 1.2 GHz ARM CPU, RAM, flash memory, gigabit Ethernet, USB and more, all at under 7 watts, this small device has enormous possibilities! Kevin talked about his particular experience with the SheevaPlug and his planned use for it.

Kevin has made his presentation notes, in both PowerPoint and PDF format, available online. There is also an audio recording (large, 14MB, 46m MP3 format) of the presentation.

Before the break, as this month's RTFM topic, Samuel Pauls covered the vim(1) command.

April 13, 2010: A Trio of RTFM!

Weve had a lot of positive feedback to our previous RTFM presentations, so this month, we offered up a trio of them! To start, Gilbert Detillieux introduced the grep family of commands (grep, egrep and fgrep) including a brief look at regular expression syntax and usage. Next up, Michael Doob presented the sed command, showing you how to take regular expressions a little further. Finally, Mark Jenkins presented the smartctl command, for monitoring hard disk status and health.

Gilbert has made his presentation notes on grep, in both PowerPoint and PDF format, available online. There is also an audio recording (6MB, 20m22s MP3 format) of the presentation. Michael has also made his presentation notes on sed, in PDF format, available online. (Due to a technical error, there is no audio recording of this presentation.)

Mark has also made his presentation notes on smartctl, in both OpenDocument Presentation and PDF format, available online. There is also an audio recording (5MB, 16m28s MP3 format) of the presentation. (This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.)

May 11, 2010: Podcasting

Podcasting lets you share your thoughts with the world through an audio subscription model. How would you plan and organize a podcast of your own? What tools should you use to record, edit and encode your podcast? What distribution tools are used? How much does it cost to podcast? Can you use free or open source software for podcasting? MUUG member Brian Doob has been podcasting for three years and will answer these and many other questions.

Brian has made a two-page outline, in PDF format, available online. The second page contains links to many useful resources. There is also an audio recording (large, 60MB, 1h27m MP3 format) of the presentation.

Before the break, as this month's RTFM topic, Montana Quiring spoke about the dmesg(1) command. (Sean Cody and Gilbert Detillieux also added to the discussion on this.) There is an audio recording (large, 14MB, 19m MP3 format) of the presentation.

June 8, 2010: IPCop

IPCop is an open source Linux distribution that turns an old (or new) PC into a stateful firewall. IPCop is geared towards home and SOHO users and offers services such as DHCP server, HTTP proxy, IDS and VPN server, which are all fully configurable through an easy-to-use web interface. IPCop has very low hardware requirements. In this presentation, Jonas Lippuner gave us an overview of the features of IPCop, and showed how to install it on an ordinary SD card and a Mini-ITX board.

Jonas has made his presentation notes, in both PowerPoint and PDF format, available online. There is also an audio recording (large, 15MB, 50m16s MP3 format) of the presentation. (Synchronisation with the slides is left as an exercise for the listener!)

Before the break, as this month's RTFM topic, Adam Thompson spoke about the awk(1) command. There is an audio recording (large, 8.4MB, 14m36s MP3 format) of the presentation. There is also an audio recording (large, 22MB, 37m10s MP3 format) of the roundtable session.

July 2010: No meeting this month

August 2010: 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.) Non-members are welcome, but may be required to show photo ID at the security desk.

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 $5.00 for the evening. Bicycle parking is available in a bike rack under video surveillance located behind the building on Webb Place.

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