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

Encrypting Email with GnuGPG, Thunderbird and Enigmail

Meeting Date

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? It's enough to provoke existential angst.

Fortunately, this month Bob Jonkman will demonstrate ways to prove that we actually exist. In particular, he will fnord show us the hows and whys of encrypting emails with GPG and the Enigmail plugin for Thunderbird. He will reveal the secrets of why to encrypt email, how cryptography works, and how he manages to communicate with Alice.

If you are already a keysigning wizard then Bob would like you to participate in the formal keysigning party he is running for the evening. If you are a keysigning newbie who can struggle through the keysigning instructions, then Bob would also like you to participate in the party. He has put together a Party Protocol document here:

I don't know why you should believe me when I write this, but in other news there are a couple of opportunities to learn scripting and programming this month:

  • On Dec 4, Stephen Paul Weber is running a shell-scripting class targetted at "absolute beginners". Admission is free (with donations to Kwartzlab appreciated) and open to the public, but you might want to contact Stephen to make sure there is a spot for you. You can find more details here:…
  • On Dec 7, the Hackademy people are running an "Introduction to Python Programming" course, which is notable because frequent KWLUG presenter Raul Suarez (and onetime presenter Kareem Shehata) will be leading the course. As with other Hackademy courses, this class costs money, but if the cost is an issue there are scholarships available. Visit for more info.

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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.
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The host for this meeting was acant.

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, Nov 4 2013, 7pm

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

Meeting Date

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.

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The host for this meeting was acant.

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, October 7 2013, 7pm

Introduction to Programming with Scratch

Meeting Date

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?

Is the desire to create easy, interactive animations an itch you would like to scratch? Or perhaps you have been possessed by Old Scratch? If so (or even if not) then you might be interested in this month's KWLUG presentation. Raul Suarez will introduce us to Scratch, a graphical, introductory programming language designed for children, but usable by anybody. Scratch makes it easy to incorporate animations, graphics and sound into projects. The language allows programmers to piece together program flow constructs (if statements, loops...) by piecing together graphical units. Raul will show us the programming environment, and scratch beneath the surface to demonstrate some interesting programs. He invites our younger KWLUG members (seven years older and up) to attend, with appropriate adult supervision.

In other news, the planning bureaucracy at KWLUG world headquarters is getting anxious, because they still have empty slots for meetings that are quickly approaching. There are still presentation slots available for November (a 40-minute half slot) and December (a full slot, or two half slots). Do you have a topic you would like to share with the KWLUG community? Would you like to help some faceless bureaucrats sleep easier at night? Then get in touch and make a presentation pitch!

In other other news, the Computer Science Club at the University of Waterloo is putting on a neat series of talks related to privacy and computer security. The first one is scheduled for October 8, and is entitled "Why Should You Care About Security and Privacy". For more information, check out the CSC events listings:

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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.

From sequential instructions to conditionals and loops in an event driven environment, the "programmer" gets instant gratification of watching things happening in the screen.

NOTE: Scratch is cross platform FLOSS, so non-Linux users can go home and play with it too!

Raul invites children 8 years old and up (maybe precocious 7 year olds) to attend this presentation as well (accompanied by an adult, please).

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The host for this meeting was acant.

Software Freedom Day 2013

Meeting Date

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

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, Sept 9 2013, 7pm

ZFS for Linux, btrfs

Meeting Date

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?

Another pair of contenders has entered the fray, vying for the title of "most awesome next generation fileysystem". The venerable ext2/ext3/ext4 series of filesystems on Linux have fended off many (sometimes technologically-superior) challengers, and remains the default filesystem on many Linux distributions to this day. But filesystems have progressed a lot since ext2 was developed, and its days as the system default are likely numbered.

In the one corner is ZFS, the file system originally developed for Solaris by Sun Microsystems (back when there was a Sun Microsystems). ZFS is more prominent in the BSD world, but it has been ported to Linux as an unofficial kernel module, and some people use it in the wild. Lori Paniak is one of those people, and he will share some of the ZFS story with us, focussing on the interesting tale of how the porting was implemented.

In the other corner is btrfs (pronounced "Butter-FS"), a next generation filesystem native to the Linux kernel. Although btrfs is still under development it is already supported on several distros, including some enterprise ones. First-time KWLUG presenter Gary Cameron will discuss what btrfs has to offer. These presentations will begin at 7pm.

In other news, Software Freedom Day is a go for this year! We will hold our celebrations a week later than everybody else -- on Saturday, September 28, from 10am-4pm, at Kwartzlab (33 Kent St, at the corner of Kent and Charles). You are all invited, and people you know who might not be as familiar with the Free Software movement and why it matters are doubly invited.

Two themes have emerged from this year's SFD organizing. The first is multimedia: a number of presentations will deal with creating
(Blender) and organizing (XBMC, MediaGoblin) multimedia files. The second theme is GNU: this year marks the 30th anniversary of the operating system userland that most of us use every day. It is easy to ignore the GNU in GNU/Linux, so during this Software Freedom Day celebrations we will give GNU its due.

For more information about Software Freedom Day please visit . To help out, contact

Live dents from the meeting, by Bob Jonkman

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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.
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The host for this meeting was acant.

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, August 12 2013, 7pm

Mind Mapping Software, Virtualization for Beginners

Meeting Date

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.

During the hot summer months, Jim Kelsh likes to chill, but it is difficult to keep your cool sitting in a roomful of computers blowing hot air. Jim has consolidated his operating systems: first converting his Windows 7 laptop installation into a virtual hard disk, and then running that virtualized installation on Ubuntu. He will take us through those steps in his talk.

It feels way too early to start organizing fall events, but September is approaching quickly, and with it comes Software Freedom Day, which is officially being held on September 21 and perhaps unofficially on September 28. KWLUG has helped organize Software Freedom Day events for the past several years, and it would be nice to do so again -- but in order to make it happen, we need volunteers. There is work to be done in organizing the day (talks, installfests, and maybe other events like BBQs), doing publicity to reach out to people who may not know much about Free Software, offering talks and presentations, and lots more. Can you help out? If so, please contact .

... and that's it for this month's lackadaisical installment of "Remind everybody of the KWLUG meeting this month."

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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.

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The host for this meeting was LPaniak.

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, July 8 2013, 7pm

TOR: The Onion Router

Meeting Date

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?

Not everybody has gotten the memo. There are still those who believe in privacy online, and some of those people are working to build internet infrastructure that is secure by default. One such project is TOR, aka "The Onion Router". This project attempts to anonymize network communications, so that servers are unable to identify the identities of clients that access them. In this month's KWLUG presentation, Steve Palmateer will tell us about the TOR project, focusing on the technical aspects of the project, and demonstrating how to set up a TOR relay from start to finish.

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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

Bitcoin and Ripple

Meeting Date

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.

But money is kind of inconvenient. It makes your wallet bulge with
heavy coins and bills. Keeping it under your mattress makes your bed
lumpy and uncomfortable. You can use debit or credit cards, but
then your purchases can be easily correlated and tracked, and then
people find out about your embarrassing purchases (all those donuts!
all that pizza!) and you have to wallow in shame. Wouldn't it be
better to have some form of exchange that was lighter than coinage but
more private than credit cards?

This month, Stephen Paul Weber will tell us about two such
initiatives. The first is Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer currency that is
based around an open source cryptographic protocol. The second
initiative is Ripple, a trading protocol that allows you to conduct
transactions across many currencies, without depending on a central
authority for the transactions. Stephen will explain how these
systems work and what makes them interesting/useful.

In other news, the Makers have been up to their shenanigans again, and
have made a Waterloo Mini Maker Faire, to be held on Saturday June
15 at Kitchener City Hall.


Video link: KWLUG | Bitcoin and Ripple | June 3 2013 - YouTube

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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.
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The host for this meeting was acant.

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, May 6 2013, 7pm

Ripping Audio to a Linux Media Centre + Lossless Audio Archiving

Meeting Date

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.

Apparently I am in the minority. People continue to rip their CD collections, and supposedly some people have moved on to ripping DVDs and other media. They claim that this has many advantages: better searching, easy playlists, the ability to play audio from many different devices, and reduced shelfspace. I remain dubious, but if anybody can convince me it would be this month's presenters. Richard Weait and Colin K (aka Mysterious Colin) will demonstrate some techniques they use to rip their audio.

Richard has cobbled together old hardware into a monstrosity that can rip through CD collections quickly and efficiently. He will demonstrate the hardware and software he put together for this task. (Incidentally, if you have never seen Richard present you really want to do so. Over the years KWLUG has been blessed with many excellent presenters, and Richard is definitely one of them.)

None of that should detract from the second presentation in our double feature. Colin has demonstrated his audio-visual chops by recording and livestreaming KWLUG presentations for us. (See, for example, .) He is interested in lossless, high-fidelity ripping, and to accomplish this he uses a piece of software called Morituri, which you can read about at

In other news, the nice people at the Debian project will be releasing the latest version of their distribution (codenamed "Wheezy", which is not intended to be a comment on the distribution's cardiovascular health) on May 5. The kwlug-disc mailing list has been abuzz with chatter about holding some kind of release party after the main meeting. Details are still a little sketchy, but if you are in a celebratory mood feel free to show up with party hats and/or goodies to share.

KWLUG member Chris Irwin recently got a new toy: a colour-calibration device called ColorHUG ( This device does not give you a hug, but rather engages in some color profiling, and generates an ICC profile for your monitor. In the spirit of conspicuous consumption, Chris is bringing his new toy to the KWLUG meeting, and is offering to profile people's monitors on a first come, first served basis.

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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.
Re-purpose some old hardware, and use some improved software.

During this presentation Richard will demonstrate his workflow and tools.

Mysterious Colin writes:

This presentation will create Archival quality Lossless audio
rips with log files to boot so you can be certain there has been zero loss
between the medium and the FLAC files.

In particular, Colin will likely discuss the Morituri project
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The host for this meeting was acant.

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, April 8 2013, 7pm

LDAP for small organizations

Meeting Date

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. In his presentation, he will cover basic concepts, how to set up and use a simple LDAP server to store addresses and user accounts, and how to create highly available LDAP clusters.

As you might have guessed, this topic is likely not to be beginner-friendly except to those beginners enthusiastic about LDAP clusters. But it is likely to be a good presentation; in the past Tim has graced us with presentations that have been very well-received.

In other news, longtime KWLUG member John Eddie Kerr contributed a Linux tutorial as part of the "How-to Videos for 100 Linux Tutorials" campaign, and he got a nice write up for doing so:…

In other events, the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is offering a couple of talks relevant to techies this month. On April 16, Steve Crocker from ICANN will be talking about "the Multi-Stakeholder Model of Internet Governance", and on Wednesday April 17 there will be a breakfast event on "Privacy, Access and Corporate Control: The Battle for Canada's Internet" featuring Glenn McKnight and Evan Leibovitch, whom some people might recognize as one of the founders of CLUE, the Canadian Association for Open Source. You can find out more about these events at the following sites:……

In other user groups, Andrew Cant would like you all to know that there is a (relatively) new Ruby on Rails meetup in town: . Their next meetup is Tuesday, April 16.

Another group of interest might be the folks at Hackademy, who are attempting to help communities become digitally literate and fluent in programming. They care currently looking for people to help them teach courses, and it looks like all of their recommended subjects feature FLOSS software or hardware. If you are interested in becoming an instructor or a student, they have surveys for you to fill out at

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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.


and here is a link to the video if the embedded version does not work.

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, March 4 2013, 7pm

Linux for the In-Laws, Porting Embedded Bootloaders

Meeting Date

For nearly fifteen years now we have been hearing all about how this year was going to be the year of the Linux Desktop: how Linux was going to be so ubiquitous and user-friendly that even your parents would be able to use it. Whether we are there yet or not, Gordon Dey has not waited for the Linux Desktop to become trendy. He has set up both his in-laws and his church on wholly Linux environments, and in his presentation he will share the challenges and successes of his endeavours. This presentation will likely be beginner-friendly.

Regardless of the Linux Desktop, the year of the Linux Embedded Computer has been with us for a while now. Two months ago we heard a successful presentation about the Raspberry Pi, but that is hardly the end of the story. This month Fadil Berisha will discuss a different embedded system: the iMX233-OLinuXino. In particular, Fadil has ported the Barebox bootloader to this system, and he will discuss this porting experience, with aim of tutoring others in porting bootloaders to other boards. This presentation will likely be less beginner-friendly, but may be of great interest to those fans of system-board computing.

In other events, Albert O'Connor is organizing an Ontario-wide Open Data conference on Saturday, May 11. They are accepting speakers until March 4, so if you have a talk of interest to the open data community, submit it soon. You can also register for the conference: early bird registration is $25. See for more information.

We are once again on the lookout for presentations. If you have a topic that might be of interest to Linux and free software enthusiasts, please send me an email. We have spots available as early as the May presentation. (And if you have previously offered a presentation that I spaced out on, please prod me.)


and the

Fadil Berisha ported the Barebox bootloader to a iMX233-OLinuXino embedded system board. He will use this example to give us a tutorial on porting bootloaders to other boards. This talk is probably less beginner-friendly.

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, Feb 4 2013

A grassRoots history of the early hi-tech community in Kitchener-Waterloo

Meeting Date

For years the rest of Canada has predicted the demise of Research and Motion, and has speculated on what life would be like without RIM propping up our economy. Would Kitchener-Waterloo become a ghost town, populated by tumbleweeds, decaying storefronts, and a modicum of human inhabitants bearing shotguns as they rock rocking chairs on their front porches? (You may unleash your snarky downtown Kitchener jokes now.) Or would our little towns scrape by without the company?

With the launch of Blackberry 10, Research In Motion is no more, and we all get to see what life is like in a post-RIM Waterloo Region. (Is it too much to hope for fewer crude jokes about the nature of employment at the company?) Certainly, RIM's conclusion does not really match the defeatist predictions; the company was renamed, not dissolved. But people still conjure up all kinds of dystopias about a post-Blackberry world. Are these fears founded? Is Waterloo Region a one-trick pony?

Kevin Stumpf does not think so. According to him, Waterloo Region has been a thriving high-tech region since the 1920s. In this month's KWLUG meeting, he will present "A grassRoots history of the early hi-tech community in KW". The presentation documents many high-tech companies in the region which have come and gone, and attempts to answer the question of why high-tech companies flourish in the region. Although this presentation is not particularly Linux-centric (we poached Kevin as a guest speaker after he presented at the KW Amateur Radio Club meeting last September), it is timely and beginner-friendly.

On the topic of change, the makers at Kwartzlab also went through a transition while nobody was looking: they moved from their old Duke Street location to a new home at 33 Kent Street. On Feb 16, they will be holding a grand opening party so you can check out their new digs:

For those of you with a hankering to learn programming, the friendly people at WatPy are holding a "Learn to Code With Python" weekend at the Communitech Hub. The event will be happening Feb 22 and 23rd. You can register and read more on the WatPy website:

* * *
Kevin Stumpf will present "anecdotal history of the early technological community in KW from 1920 to 1990". He writes:

Given the odd state of RIM (founded and based in Waterloo) it's too easy to project an odd mood over KW, but even though the situation is critical and its effects have so far been devastating, the more you know about KW you'll appreciate its resilience and see how easy it can be to visualize a healthy post-big-RIM local economy.

Imagine a workforce with a collective experience of several generations working in hi-tech? Bear in mind too that this workforce isn't just techies. It includes everyone -- clerical, administrators, and investors -- all who have been exposed to growing hi-tech business since birth. Companies grow and shrink, come and go, but people remain so there is good news for KW, as well as communities anywhere that have incubated hi-tech companies.

(Abstract excerpted from:

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, January 7 2013, 7pm

SelfSourced Software, RaspberryPi

Meeting Date

Oh January! You promise a fresh start, a clean slate, an opportunity to reflect on the mistakes of years past and make some new ones. Here in the plush offices of KWLUG World Headquarters, we are not immune to January's call. Our focus groups and market research have revealed a problem newer and less experienced meeting attendees run into: people attend one or two meetings, find that the technical content of presentations are way above their heads, and feel intimidated about attending future meetings. Appealing to newer and less experienced Linux users is definitely part of KWLUG's corporate vision, so beginning this year we are attempting to offer a wider variety of presentations, and to clearly label those presentations we expect will be more beginner-friendly (which is not to say they will be expert-unfriendly, or that highly-technical topics are disappearing from the meeting schedule entirely).

This month marks our first attempt at this experiment. David Lloyd Carr will kick things off by talking about "SelfSourced software" -- computer programs you write to "scratch your own itch". The idea of a beginner-friendly presentation on the topic of computer program might sound pretty crazy, but David promises to keep the content accessible to a general audience.

Our second presentation of the evening will feature a topic super-hot amongs the makers and nerd set: the Raspberry Pi, a low-cost, tiny, general purpose computer on a circuit board. John Eddie Kerr bought one of these devices recently, and he will relate his adventures in exploring its functionality. Any discussion of the Raspberry Pi carries the risk of launching itself into the ubertechnical stratosphere, but maybe it helps that John is a librarian and not an engineer?

As usual, our meetings will start at 7pm (but we start setting up the room around 6:30pm, and always appreciate additional help.)

We are always looking for presentation offers, so if you have a topic you would like to present then please get in touch by emailing me offlist. It would definitely be nice to slot in some more beginner-friendly presentations, but presentations on more technical topics are also welcome.

* * *
This meeting is newbie-friendly.

David Lloyd Carr writes his own software. He says:

Frustrated that there just doesn't seem to be a program or app that does exactly what you want? Maybe there is, but it does a lot of other things too that just get in the way. Maybe you just can't see paying for something so trivial. "I just want it to... How hard can that be?"

The answer may be, "Not so hard." Writing your own software has never been easier. Together we'll look at a few programs I wrote for my own personal use and how you can go about creating your own.

John Eddie Kerr will tell us about his adventures with the low-cost RaspberryPi computer.

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, December 3 2012, 7pm

Panel Discussion: Earning a Living with FLOSS

Meeting Date

As we all know, the problem with Free Software is that it is free.
Sure, Free Software is liberated, so that we can study it and share it
and improve it. And sure, Free Software is accessible, so that people
all over the world can take advantage of it regardless of their status
and income level. Free Software is a great deal for those of us who
consume it. But for twenty-odd years now, we have been struggling with
the question of how anybody makes money in a world where you take the
product of millions of hours of labour and gives it away for no money.

Those of you with good memories will remember a presentation from June 2008,
when Khalid Baheyeldin revealed his secret strategies for making big bucks in
the Free Software world. This month Khalid is back, and he's brought a posse.
This month's KWLUG presentation will take the form of (our first? first in a
while?) panel discussion on the topic of "Making a Living in FLOSS". Our
panellists work in a range of fields and have a range of backgrounds:

  • The aforementioned Khalid Baheyeldin is an immigrant originally from
    Egypt. He runs a Drupal consultancy called that focuses on
    Drupal development and optimization.
  • Andrew Berry also works in Drupal, but for a larger firm called
    Lullabot. He worked on Drupal sites instead of his schoolwork, and
    look where it got him.
  • Fernando Duran is decidedly not a Drupal developer -- he works in
    the field of computer and network security, for tech startup
    I Think Security. He also immigrated to Canada, this time via Spain.
  • Joe Wennechuk works for PryLynx Corporation, a company that works
    with the OSCAR open source medical records system. He started his
    career doing factory work, and transitioned to the IT field a few
    years ago.
  • Andrew Cant is a software developer who currently works for SugarCRM.
  • The panellists will their jobs in relation to Free Software, their
    career paths, and their prospects on the FLOSS job market now and in
    the future. Bring your questions.

    This panel discussion might be of interest to those looking to get
    jobs in the IT field, those transitioning to Canadian employment from
    other countries, those of us curious about how people actually make
    money doing that Free Software thing, FLOSS enthusiasts of all kinds,
    and you. If you know others who would be interested in the topic,
    please invite them along too. The meeting will start at 7pm.

    In other news, this month's FLOSS Fund nominee is the PortableApps
    installer, which you can read about at .
    PortableApps provides a way to package Windows software (often FLOSS)
    so that it can run without changing the underlying operating system,
    which makes it handy for installing applications to USB keys. You can
    contribute to this month's nominee during the meeting, or by
    contacting me offlist.


    ...and links to the videos: Part 1, Part 2.

    * * *
    This month's consists of a panel discussion about earning a living with Free and Open Source Software (FLOSS). All of our panellists use FLOSS in their jobs -- some of them exclusively.

    The panellists will discuss topics including: how they got involved with FLOSS, how they got employment relating to FLOSS, the prospects and challenges of work in the field, and advice for others who are interested in FLOSS-related employment.

    The night's panellists include:

    • Khalid Baheyeldin, who has 25 years of software development experience and has been working with the Drupal content management system since 2003. Khalid is the founder of 2bits, which focuses on Drupal development and site optimization.
    • Andrew Berry, who is also a Drupal developer. Andrew has worked as a freelance Drupal consultant, and is now employed by Lullabot.
    • Fernando Duran, who has over 15 years experience in the field of network and computer security. Fernando currently works for I Think Security, based in Waterloo.
    • Joe Wennechuk, who started his career as a factory worker and transitioned to the world of IT and then to FLOSS. Joe currently works with the FLOSS Electronic Medical Records system OSCAR EMR at PryLynx Corporation.
    • Andrew Cant, a software developer who works for SugarCRM, a company that develops open source customer relationship management software.

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, November 5 2012, 7pm

Arch Linux

Meeting Date

Aren't you sick and tired of Linux being so easy to use and install? You live-boot a CD, run through a nice graphical installer and -- poof! -- Linux is installed on your desktop or notebook or toaster, and there are never ever any problems. If you are one of the teeming hordes who wish you could relive 1998, boy does Brent Clements have the presentation for you. Brent spent his summer vacation playing with ArchLinux, a distro that is user-friendly in a different way. ArchLinux tries to Keep Things Simple by discarding unnecessary additions, modifications, or complications like GUI-configuration tools or even X-Window environments. You too can spend hours twiddling configuration files with a text editor, and in this month's presentation Brent will show us why you would want to (hint: efficiency, installing exactly the packages you want, learning about how things work under the hood, and the ability to mix binary packages with stuff you compile from source).

This month's FLOSS Fund nominee is XBMC, media centre software that can turn a home PC into a home theatre. You can find out more about XBMC by getting into a time machine and attending the October 2010 KWLUG meeting, or by going to . If you would like to contribute to the project but will not be attending the meeting, give me a shout and I will hook you up with people who will gladly take your money.

There are some interesting talks being put on by the WatPy people on November 6. You can see . Or you can attend one of the many many other interesting tech events advertised on the WstCamp calendar:

It is that time of year again: time to beg and plead for KWLUG presentations. Are you working on something nifty that you might want to share? Do you (or somebody you know) work for a company that uses FLOSS and would be willing to talk about it? Would you like to help new Linux users get acquainted to FLOSS with a tutorial or introductory presentation? If so, please be brave and present for the group. For the most part, we are a friendly, non-confrontational audience for the interesting FLOSS-related ideas you would like to spread.


and a link to the video if the embedded version does not work for you.

* * *
R. Brent Clements will introduce us to Arch Linux, a lightweight and flexible Linux distribution.

Colin kindly posted this presentation to Youtube.

Software Freedom Day: Saturday, Sept 22 2012

Software Freedom Day 2012

Meeting Date

Note: this event will be held from 10am-4pm.

Software Freedom Day is an invitation to shape the future of our
digital world. Rather than being overwhelmed and controlled by the
many issues of our computerized age, the free software movement
harnesses the creativity of citizens worldwide. Free software treats
software -- the code that runs computers, cellphones, and other
technological devices -- as abundant, not scarce.
We are encouraged to use this abundance, learn from
it, and share our contributions with others. Although it sounds like
the geekiest holiday ever, the issues we celebrate on Software Freedom
Day affect everybody whose lives are touched by technology.

Software Freedom Day is celebrated in 64 countries across the world,
and for the fifth year in a row Waterloo Region is joining
the party.

This year, the Working Centre is running Software Freedom Day
celebrations on Saturday, September 22. The Queen Street Commons Cafe
will host talks suitable for non-technical audiences, on such
topics as the economics of Free Software, getting started on writing
your own software, and examples of open source in the photography
world. The Computer Recycling space at 66 Queen Street will host a
helpfest, where volunteers can help you install free and legal
software such as Ubuntu or LibreOffice on your own computer. There
will also be interactive demonstration machines and giveaways.
No matter what your level of computer skill, we invite you to join us:

Software Freedom Day
Saturday, September 22
Computer Recycling (66 Queen Street S)
Queen Street Commons Cafe (43 Queen Street S)

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, September 10 2012

Bazaar + Outsider's Drupal Overview

Meeting Date

Adam Glauser will show us the use of Bazaar, a distributed version control system used extensively by the Ubuntu project.

Paul Nijjar will give a somewhat-nontechnical outsider's view of his experiences with the Drupal version control system.

UPDATE: Here are the slides for Paul's talk: PDF, LaTeX Beamer sources

FLOSS Fund Nominee: JQuery

File Attachments

Attachment Size
2012-09-10-drupal.pdf 1.78 MB
2012-09-10-drupal.tar_.gz 1.27 MB

KWLUG Meeting: Monday, August 13 2012

Social Night at the Rum Runner Pub

Meeting Date

Join us as we engage in free-ranging discussion. Maybe there will be tech demos too.

NOTE: This event will be held at the Rum Runner Pub in Kitchener. There is no admission charge, but the hosts ask that all attendees purchase something to eat and/or drink at the pub.

Here is a picture of the pub sign:

File Attachments

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rum_runner_sign.jpg 191.11 KB