MUUG Monthly Meetings for 2011-12


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 13, 2011: Revision Control for System Administrators

If you've ever wished you could undo that change you made to httpd.conf, or wanted to know the difference between the sendmail config you're running today and what you had last month (back when it all worked properly, right?) then you need to learn about revision control software. Almost every *NIX install has a revision control package either installed or easily available. This topic, presented by Adam Thompson, allowed you to find out how you can get better control over your files with almost no extra effort. Adam's introduction discussed the entire gamut, from ancient SCCS, simple & easy RCS, the better-but-not-quite CVS, to slightly odd Subversion and even the gamechanging latecomer to the party, git. The practical examples focussed on using RCS to manage configuration files.

Adam has made his presentation slides, in ODP and PDF format, available online.

Before the break, as this month's RTFM topic, Gilbert Detillieux talked about background command execution, job control and process monitoring commands in the UNIX shell. (These features are available in both bash(1) and tcsh(1).)

Roundtable audio | RTFM: jobs audio | Revision Control presentation audio

October 11, 2011: Mini-HowTo Topics: MBR Rescue and Dropbox

What happens when you trash your MBR? Rob Keizer discussed ways to get your system up and running again quickly.

Dropbox is a free file sharing service with client support for Windows, MacOS X, Linux, and even some mobile platforms. It lets you automatically replicate files to any of your configured clients, share them with other users, or access them from the web. Gilbert Detillieux showed Dropbox in use, and showed the installation of client software under Linux.

Before the break, as this month's RTFM topic, Michael Doob talked about using the rsync(1) command.

Roundtable audio | RTFM: rsync audio | MBR Rescue presentation audio | Dropbox presentation audio

November 8, 2011: Migrating to IPv6

This was your chance to try out IPv6 without having to set up a tunnel. Presenter Mark Jenkins brought a wireless access point and provided auto-discoverable, IPv6-only access to everyone at the meeting, with real public addresses. (Unfortunately, the tunnel for upstream failed due to port blocking.)

Mark's presentation provided some basic theory, showed how to do static configuration on GNU/Linux, and reflected on how the transition to IPv6 could play out. Mark also gave some pointers on managing reverse DNS entries with the aid of the $ORIGIN keyword in BIND, and the ease of configuring the route advertisement daemon (as used for the demonstration) was shown.

Mark has made his presentation slides, in ODP and PDF format, available online. (This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.)

Plus, this month's meeting was the MUUG annual general meeting, which included the election of the MUUG board of directors for the 2011-2012 year (by acclamation), as well as a vote on a special resolution to amend the MUUG by-laws, which was unanimously passed.

Roundtable audio | IPv6 presentation audio

December 13, 2011: Round-table, Mingling & Munchies

As the holiday hustle and bustle gets into high gear, we took it easy this month, with a longer-than-usual round-table session, followed by a time for mingling and nibbling on munchies (instead of the usual, short coffee break). The food was pot luck, and there was more than enough of each person's favourite goodies to choose from.

And since this is the season for giving to those in need, we also collected a box full of tins and other non-perishable food items for Winnipeg Harvest. Finally, instead of the usual door-prize draw at the end, we auctioned off an original two-volume set of UNIX manuals from Bell Labs, with proceeds (of $50) going to Winnipeg Harvest.

Roundtable audio

January 10, 2012: Hard Core SSH, VM Install of Linux

This month's meeting started with the usual round-table discussion and RTFM topic, followed by two mini-topics.

January's RTFM was brought to you by the letter "c" and Michael Doob, who presented cron(8) and the crontab(1) command.

Next, Sean Cody presented Hard Core SSH, where he showed us how he does VPN tunnelling using SSH and tunnel devices, and a few other ssh tricks like session mixing and ad-hoc port forwarding.

Sean has made his presentation slides, in PDF format, available online.

Finally, Adam Thompson demonstrated installing CentOS 5.x and Ubuntu 11.10 under VMware, and discussed their relative footprints in a virtual environment. The conclusion? Ubuntu (at least, right out of the box) seems to be much lighter, both in terms of memory and CPU usage.

Roundtable audio | RTFM: cron audio | Hard Core SSH presentation audio | VM Install Linux presentation audio

February 21, 2012: Linux LVM

One of the most important new developments in the Linux 2.6 kernel was the Logical Volume Manager, version 2 (or LVM 2). Logical volume management is a widely-used technique for deploying logical rather than physical storage. With LVM, "logical" partitions can span across physical hard drives and can be resized (unlike traditional ext3 "raw" partitions). Kevin McGregor summarized the basic principles behind the LVM and provided examples of basic operations which can be performed with it.

February's RTFM featured the traceroute(1) command, presented by our president, Katherine Scrupa.

RTFM: traceroute audio | LVM presentation audio

March 13, 2012: The Cloud: The catchphrase of the last year, and two years to come. The basics.

Everyone by now has heard of "The Cloud." Most people, even in the IT industry, are baffled as to what the cloud actually is. This no-frills, down-to-earth presentation by Rob Keizer was on what the Cloud is, what its uses are, and the basics of setting up a private one.

Rob has made his presentation slides, in PPT and PDF format, available online. (Rob warns that they are incomplete and buggy, because of format conversions and such.)

March's RTFM featured the sort(1) and uniq(1) commands, presented by Brad Vokey.

Roundtable audio | RTFM: sort/uniq audio | The Cloud presentation audio

April 10, 2012: pfSense Firewall

Adam Thompson talked about (and demonstrated) pfSense, a wholly UNIX-based network firewall and network services appliance that can run on anything from embedded devices up to the latest super-servers. pfSense is based on FreeBSD, and thus uses the pf(4) packet filtering framework from OpenBSD to do most of the heavy lifting. Supporting multi-WAN, HTTP acceleration, DNS, DHCP, authentication, and wireless NIC's among other features, it's an ideal system for someone who wants a free, open-source firewall that's still incredibly easy to manage.

Adam has made his presentation slides, in ODP and PDF format, available online.

April's RTFM featured the date(1) command, presented by Michael Doob.

RTFM: date audio | pfSense presentation audio | (bonus) "Eh-hm" audio

May 8, 2012: ZFS

Edwin Amsler talked about (and demonstrated) ZFS. ZFS is a filesystem originally developed at Sun Microsystems. It has numerous features and has a native port to Solaris, OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD; Non-official ports have been made to Linux and Mac OSX. Edwin focused on the basic usage of the filesystem and the snapshotting features that come built in.

May's RTFM featured the parallel(1) command, presented by Gilbert Detillieux. (GNU parallel is not yet a standard utility on most UNIX/Linux distributions, but is freely available and portable.)

Roundtable audio | RTFM: parallel audio | ZFS presentation audio

June 12, 2012: Ubuntu Mirroring

Do you have multiple Ubuntu servers in your datacenter which all need regular updates? Are you doing a lot of testing and "playing around" at home or in a lab? Are you tired of waiting for slow Ubuntu archive servers? Why not maintain your own private archive? Kevin McGregor illustrated two methods of reducing the download wait for, and bandwidth requirements of, regular Ubuntu updates.

June's RTFM featured the ifconfig(8) command, presented by Rob Keizer.

July 2012: No meeting this month

August 2012: 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.