Past Meetings

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, December 2, 2013, 7pm

I know, I know: sending an email is just like sending a postcard. Like postcards, emails describe happy times and quick notes intended to provoke envy. Like postcards, emails contain joyful pictures of cultural fnord landmarks. Like postcards, emails should always be signed. Since I did not sign this meeting announcement, how do you know that I wrote it? Can you actually be sure that I am sitting on a sunny Nova Scotian beach sipping fruity beverages? Maybe this is all a sham. Maybe some nefarious organization intercepted this meeting announcement and inserted unwholesome messages?

Monday, 2 December 2013
Presentation Topic

Encrypting Email with GnuGPG, Thunderbird and Enigmail

Bob Jonkman will walk us through the steps of encrypting our own email. In addition he is organizing a formal keysigning party, so that you can increase the trust around your own GPG keys.


KWLUG Meeting: Monday, Nov 4 2013, 7pm

Monday, 4 November 2013
Presentation Topic

The XBMC Home Entertainment System; Why You Should Care About Security and Privacy

Charles McColm will tell us about his XBMC home theatre system. He writes: "At home we use XBMC to
play ripped media, Internet content, content from other devices (iPad and Android phone) as well as streaming audio and video to those devices (centralized media collection)." In this presentation he will show us how he set up this functionality.

Sarah Harvey will talk to us about the importance of security and privacy. Here is an abstract from a similar talk she gave for the Computer Science Club at the University of Waterloo:

Recent media coverage has brought to light the presence of various government agencies' surveillance programs, along with the possible interference of governments in the establishment and development of standards and software. This brings to question of just how much we need to be concerned about the security and privacy of our information.

Update: Sarah has made her slides available in PDF, PPTX formats.

In this talk we will discuss what all this means in technological and social contexts, examine the status quo, and consider the long-standing implications. This talk assumes no background knowledge of security or privacy, nor any specific technical background.


KWLUG Meeting: Monday, October 7 2013, 7pm

Would you like to learn programming, but worry about starting from
scratch? Perhaps you know a young person who would like to program,
but whose typing skills are not yet up to scratch?

Monday, 7 October 2013
Presentation Topic

Introduction to Programming with Scratch

This presentation will be beginner-friendly. He writes:

Remember when you started to program? The pleasure of the instant gratification.
Do you want to share that high with a new generation? Expose them to Scratch. Scratch is a visual language born at the MIT, from the same roots as the now defunct App Inventor.


Software Freedom Day 2013

Join us as we celebrate Software Freedom Day.

This year the Kitchener-Waterloo celebrations will feature a number of presentations related to the creation and organization of multimedia, some free culture and free software giveaways, and snacks. We are also registered as an official satellite celebration for the GNU 30th Anniversary Celebration.

The celebrations will be held at Kwartzlab, at 33 Kent Street in Kitchener, from 10am-4pm.

For more information check out our wiki page at You can also visit the main Software Freedom Day site.

In addition to attendees, volunteers and sponsors are welcome. Contact sfd at to get in touch.

Here is a poster you can print if you would like to help spread the word: sfd-2013-poster-v2.pdf

Saturday, 28 September 2013

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, Sept 9 2013, 7pm

For some reason, those of us in the Free Software world love to become partisan about software alternatives. GNOME vs KDE, vi vs emacs, BSD vs Linux, Drupal vs Wordpress... the list goes on and on. We pick our sides and fight off challengers, even though we are all
working towards the same ends and should really be allies. Can't we all just get along? If we're going to be partisan, why not be partisan over rational things, such as sports teams?

Monday, 9 September 2013
Presentation Topic

ZFS for Linux, btrfs

Lori Paniak will tell us about the ZFS file system. In particular he will discuss its implementation on Linux. He writes: "It is a nice story involving government sponsored open-source projects, nuclear weapons, software licensing issues and supercomputers."

Gary Cameron will tell us about btrfs, a next-generation filesystem being developed in the Linux kernel. It supports many features, including built-in redundancy, quick snapshots, and file compression.


KWLUG Meeting: Monday, August 12 2013, 7pm

Note: Because of the Civic Holiday this meeting will be held on the second Monday in August.

This month's presentations will be beginner-friendly.

It's August, and the living is languid. Many user groups (but not us!) have taken the summer off. The festivals are making their circuits; people are taking their vacations, and those of us at work are not getting much done. (oops. Did I just incriminate myself?) People are relaxing and laying back.

Meanwhile, Raul Suarez has a lot on his mind. He likes to lighten his summer load by mapping and organizing his thoughts, and he uses mind mapping software to do so. In this presentation he will use FreeMind (and possibly other tools) so that you can free your mind too.

Monday, 12 August 2013
Presentation Topic

Mind Mapping Software, Virtualization for Beginners

This meeting will be beginner-friendly.

Raul Suarez uses mind-mapping software to organize his ideas. He writes:

If you sometimes have ideas to organize, presentations to prepare, trips to
plan, a book to write; and cannot keep  all those thoughts on the top of your
head head, you may would benefit from capturing and categorizing those thoughts
using mind mapping software.

For several years I have been using FreeMind for these, and many other tasks
and can give a "user level" - hands on - presentation of mind mapping software.

Jim Kelsh uses virtualization. He writes:

If you own a laptop or desktop that came installed with Windows 7 but you want to run Linux as well, you usually have several ways to do this.

  1. You can dual boot Windows and Linux.
    - this means physically partitioning your computer hard drive and installing Linux “beside” Windows. At boot time, you see a menu that allows you to choose which system you want to boot into.
  2. You can replace your Windows OEM installation with Linux and run a program called WINE (WINE Is Not An Emulator), or its commercial counterpart Crossover, which will run some Windows software applications.
  3. You can leave Windows as the only operating system, and install your Linux system into a virtualization program, such as Virtualbox from Oracle.

Each solution will work, but you may have some issues.

For example, if you keep Windows as a physical operating system on your computer (solutions 1. or 3.), you are allowing it to control your hardware. If it gets a virus or other serious malware, you may have to reinstall Windows, which can put your computer out of commission for hours.
Or, if Windows decides to restart itself automatically in the middle of a time sensitive on line transaction (after an update that was running in the background and was not visible, true story) you may be very upset!

If you use solution 2., WINE, some newer users find it difficult to set up and WINE and Crossover do not support (yet) all Windows applications.

This presentation will show you how to (legally) convert your Windows OEM installation, without an install disc, into a VHD (Virtual Hard Disk), replace your Windows OEM installation with Ubuntu Linux and run Windows inside Ubuntu using Virtualbox.

And the best part: you don't have to break the bank. I am running this type of setup on a $379.00 Asus laptop from 2012 with $30.00 of extra RAM added.


KWLUG Meeting: Monday, July 8 2013, 7pm

Surprise! Another government surveillance revelation has hit the news. We have further confirmation that the companies to which we entrust our email and social networks are perfectly willing to let the US government snoop as well. Or maybe this is no surprise, because privacy is -- if not dead -- in hospice care and we should all rejoice. Only those who are doing something wrong have anything to hide, right?

Monday, 8 July 2013
Presentation Topic

TOR: The Onion Router

Stephen Palmateer will tell us about Tor, the Onion Router. He will focus on the technical aspects of the project, and will walk through setting up a Tor relay from start to finish.


KWLUG Meeting: Monday, June 3 2013, 7pm

Is there anything in this world more wonderful than money? It
certainly is my favourite thing. It is so useful! You can exchange it
for valuable goods and services such as good health, friendship,
happiness and love.

Monday, 3 June 2013
Presentation Topic

Bitcoin and Ripple

Stephen Paul Weber will tell us about the well-known Bitcoin peer to peer digital currency, and the (less well-known?) Ripple open payment network.


KWLUG Meeting: Monday, May 6 2013, 7pm

I tried ripping a CD once. Everybody was talking about ripping their CD collections, and I wanted to be trendy. It did not turn out well. The resulting CD fragments wouldn't lie flat in the tray of my CD player any more, and the music sounded terrible -- much worse than before I had tried ripping it. Worse, I couldn't undo the damage. Not even duct tape helped. I resigned myself to being uncool, and dismissed ripping CDs as yet another trend I would never understand, like distressed jeans or body scarification.

Monday, 6 May 2013
Presentation Topic

Ripping Audio to a Linux Media Centre + Lossless Audio Archiving

Note: There will be a release party for Debian Wheezy happening after the regular meeting schedule, at 9pm. We will have our regular presentations first.

This month's presentations both focus on converting audio on physical media to digital formats.

Richard Weait writes:

I recently converted my plastic disc CD collection for use on a full-house
media system. it's nice to be able to play thematic playlists without
changing discs. One thing that kept me from this for years was the endless
time ripping the CDs to digital. The solution, for me, was two-part.


KWLUG Meeting: Monday, April 8 2013, 7pm

Have you seen the light? I hope so. Spring is finally here, which means that sometimes you can see sunshine at 4pm. Many people's moods have lightened after a long dark winter. So maybe it is appropriate that April's KWLUG presentation will feature a light-hearted take on a lightweight subject: the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, or LDAP. LDAP provides mechanisms for querying and managing directory informations, often about user and network information. Rumour has it that LDAP is lightweight in the same way that SNMP is simple, but Tim Laurence will happily shed light on the topic.

Monday, 8 April 2013
Presentation Topic

LDAP for small organizations

Tim Laurence will tell us how to use LDAP (the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) to centralize user information across machines in a network. He may also show us how to set up a redundant failover cluster of LDAP servers.

Edited to add: Here are the slides of the talk in ODP format.

Here is a tarball containing the slides above, and configuration snippets from his presentation.


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