1.2 AGM Candidates for Board

• Note: 2 slots for 2 years + 1 slot for 1 year
• Two incumbents finishing terms:
• Chris Browne
• Alex Volkov
• Also, Stewart Russell has “thrown his hat in the ring”
• Chris thought that he had email from another would-be candidate, but couldn’t find the email 🙁

1.2.1 Candidates Found:

• Alex Volkov
• Chris Browne
• Stewart Russell

There being 3 slots, and 3 candidates, no vote turns out to be necessary for this.

1.3 PostgreSQL

• The PostgreSQL Version 13 release is out, and has many new features and improvements
• There were some arguments on the mailing lists about whether or not to avoid the “unlucky number 13” and the conclusion was to go with the flow and do version 13.

1.4 Pi Stuff

• Review of Gempro Pi4 Enclosure It’s made out of a whole lot of aluminium, so the whole case is a giant heatsink, and is apparently interestingly effective.
• US vendors (Amazon, Newegg) carry it for about $30 USD 1.5 NVFS – Non Volatile Filesystem • No particular discussion fell from this… 1.6 Game of Trees • Uses Git repositories to store versioned data • Can use Git to perform functionality not (yet) in Got • Intended to be simpler than Git to fit with OpenBSD’s desire to have auditable components • Note that FreeBSD is moving from Subversion to Git, and has added Got to their set of packages 1.7 Apple Swift increasingly open source Swift System is an interface for system calls and low level currency types, now adding Linux support. This means that accesses can have type safety, unlike C interfaces Swift Playgrounds An introduction to programming intended for children to teach about iteration and such 1.8 Hello Darling darlinghq.org, darling @ Github Darling is a translation layer that lets you run macOS software on Linux. At present, it won’t quite so much run GUI applications, though… It’s thus not so much a way to run Photoshop on Linux, and more like a way of running server-ish apps. Maybe it’s a place to host the Swift apps? 1.9 Word Lists • SCOWL (Spell Checker Oriented Word Lists) might be useful to “spice up” your /usr/share/dict word lists. • You can construct your own word lists, based on parameters: SCOWL Size Indicates the portion of the language covered. The balancing act is interesting; make the dictionary larger, and risk false-negatives, that is, typos being mistaken for extremely uncommon words. Dialect Choices USian, Canadian, 2 British variants, Aussie (no term) Spelling variant inclusions (no term) Handling of diacritics (no term) Special lists • Hacker words • Roman numerals • Lots of vigorous opinions! 1.10 A fun technical interview • I find it really fun that the writer designed, in-interview, a compiler specifically to parse (and rewrite) a (somewhat awful) program that was pulled off of (I assume) StackOverflow. • Note that it’s from a series; each focuses on taking a different, um, “abuse” of programming techniques taking things well beyond any expected limits • Reversing the technical interview • Hexing the technical interview • Typing the technical interview • Rewriting the technical interview • No particular discussion fell from this… 1.11 Interactive Fiction Competition ifcomp.org – An annual celebration of new, text-driven digital games and stories from independent creators. In its 26th year! • No particular discussion fell from this… 1.12 Object Storage Protocol: POSIX’s death imminent? • Object storage now has an mmap function mmap_obj() similar to POSIX. That means the processing and scalability limitations of POSIX become the new bottleneck. • Of course, perhaps this is tilting at a windmill… • No particular discussion fell from this… 1.13 OnlyOffice • multiplatform distributed “office software” • AGPL licensed • No particular discussion fell from this… 1.14 Snek • https://github.com/keith-packard/snek • By Keith Packard of X11 fame • Microscopic Python-like language • Can run on tiny, tiny hardware • Apparently Lego is adopting it • Is this a pure interpreter? Or does it push bytecode or machine code to the runtime environment? see also: https://circuitpython.org/ • Looks like it pushes the textual code to the runtime environment 1.15 ICANN GTALUG September 8, 2020 Meeting Notes 1 GTALUG Q&A Suggested topics for September 1.1 AGM Preparations Hear ye! Hear ye! This is a Call for Candidates for the GTALUG Board. October 13th is GTALUG’s Annual General Meeting, our tiny piece of “political pageantry.” There are two seats opening, for 2 year terms (2020-2022). Please consider running for the board, and keep in mind the following. There are two formal qualifications that candidates need to satisfy: • Must be a GTALUG member in good standing • Must not have any undischarged bankruptcy It is also important to be able to be available most months for Board/Operations meetings where we plan GTALUG meetings and activities. These meetings normally take place on the Monday evening following the regular Tuesday meeting. These days, this takes place on-line, using Jitsi. This is not an extraordinarily huge burden, but it does mean that there are 48 meetings (counting both “second Tuesday” and “the following Monday”) where we hope to see you, and we hope to see you most of the time. Board members are involved in and support the following activities. • Finding speakers for our monthly presentations • Operating our internet infrastructure (website and mailing lists) • Organizing and running our annual Linux in the Park picnic (in less pandemic-stricken times) • Our involvement as a member organization of ICANN If you are interested, we’d appreciate it very much if you can submit your intention to run to the email address: board at gtalug.org The incumbents whose previous terms are expiring are: • Chris Browne • Alex Volkov Potential Candidates are welcome to announce their intention all the way up to the day of the AGM itself. 1.2 GTALUG Membership In These COVID-19 Times In most years, membership has been handled via comparatively informal in-person processes, and those that wish to support GTALUG via membership would (broadly) follow the following steps: • Grab a membership form (that Chris passed out) • Try to pass Chris a$20 bill, whereupon Chris would say “give it to me along with the filled-in form”
• Fill in the form, and hand it to Chris along with payment
• Chris returns a few minutes later with a membership card

As GTALUG is meeting virtually, these days, this process cannot occur as described.

For those wishing to support GTALUG via membership, two routes are suggested:

The Cheque is In The Mail
Send a payment via Canada Post.
Interac eTransfer
Send funds from your bank to ours

To ensure that membership has been addressed for voting at the 2020 AGM on October 13th, it is imperative to handle this earlier than that, as mail can take several days for delivery. Alas, either way, this imposes more bureaucracy and some more cost than we have been accustomed to.

Payment via check using Canada Post

In this case, please send a cheque, made out to “GTALUG”, in the amount of $20, along with the identification information indicated below, and please send to the following address: GTALUG 914-10 Carabob Court Toronto, ON M1T 3N5 Interac eTransfer In this case, three pieces of information are critical, and must be shared both with your bank as well as with GTALUG. Recipient The recipient email address is membership@gtalug.org Security Question The content of this is not too important; “Random Value” or “Sooper Sekrut Data” are fine values. Security Answer It is suggested that a random value be used. For instance, 215db45eb7f54e1e5907de3b50ac50ee is a value I got from passing 1K of data from /dev/random through md5sum, and that is a decent mechanism to get a relatively unguessable password. (Of course, since many people have seen that specific value, 215db45eb7f54e1e5907de3b50ac50ee, it would not be a good choice.) This security answer also needs to be emailed to the membership@gtalug.org address in order for us to receive the payment. Common information Whichever of the above mechanisms is used for payment, please email the following membership information to membership@gtalug.org. Note that by longstanding policy, we do not pass your information on to outside organizations. Name Your preferred name Email Your preferred email address (if using Interac eTransfer, it’s best to use the same address, so we know which email address to associate each security answer with) Address If you are comfortable providing such Security Answer If eTransfer is used, we need the Security Answer in order to actually receive funds 1.2.1 Generating a random value, the Linux way Here is a script that repeatedly takes 1K of random data from /dev/random, and turns it into an md5 checksum to ensure that the value is human readable and not too long. for i in 1 2 3 4 5; do dd if=/dev/random bs=1k count=2 status=none | md5sum; done 215db45eb7f54e1e5907de3b50ac50ee - 4f8f0e3a2944c857ebc3a7a776659134 - 1a52010a29ef3b2446d532ba389f65cb - 84e6b072e2661fc88b3a7b1ed1ce5873 - ef3f10a8b634760691e2ae53a0952707 -  1.3 Debconf 2020 was last week • anyone make it to parts of that? • DebConf 2020 Talks • 1.4 Mozilla let some people go 🙁 • anyone know the impact? • appeared to include the folk that had been redoing the browser in Rust (Servo) • risk of there being less diversity in the web browser marketplace • 1.5 Sharpening your tools: Editors Vim – Sharpening the Axe This talk/presentation speaks about how it is important to update your editor configuration on an ongoing basis, due to several things: • Make the editor serve you better by supporting your individual needs • Learn more features, over time, which feeds into the above… • Editor functionality is enhanced over time, and making use of those enhancements requires new configuration • What tools do you NEED to sharpen? • What new tools do you need to create from scratch? 1.6 Upcoming Conferences VimConf 2020 Apparently was to be held in Japan, but cancelled, for the obvious reasons EmacsConf 2020 Being held November 28/29, on-line • Call for Proposals is active now, until September 30 1.7 Everything rewritten in Rust bat like cat exa like ls fd like find procs like ps sd like sed dust like du starship custom shell prompt ripgrep like grep tokei calculates statistics about a directory full of code hyperfine benchmarking wrapper ytop like top teeldir like tldr, displaying simplified man pages bandwhich displays network utilization grex generates a regex that matches test cases rmesg like dmesg zoxide autojumper, to replace cd nushell a shell with pipeline editing ala awk/SQL 1.8 SSH Honeypot Credentials Analysis 1.8.1 Interesting passwords baikal a lake in Siberia prueba Spanish for test caonima a Mandarin profanity written in Pinyin meiyoumima Mandarin for “no password” woaini Mandarin for “I love you” poiuyt The name for an optical illusion also known as the “devil’s tuning fork” (A prank from Mad Magazine!) Edit: multiple redditors pointed out this is the beginning of the top row of the keyboard from right to left. 1.9 Just pretty weird… Remember Mach? And VMS? I’ll bet you don’t remember that someone implemented a VMS multiserver atop Mach… (no term) BLISS from CMU… (no term) Microsoft starting to play games with GitHub 1.10 Modern Linux desktop layers and performance • X11 or Wayland • DE; Gnome/KDE/XFCE • GTK / QT • Firefox / Chrome CODECs, DRM • can Gnome applications run under XFCE (with what limitations) • why is XFCE faster than GNOME / KDE (compositors using 3d operations?) • what CODECS should one install? Are they authorized? • how is it that Widevine can work on Linux? • interesting ArchLinux notes on Firefox 2 Calls for proposals for LibrePlanet 3 CAD software • Are there any good open-source tools to edit STEP files(CAD)? • FreeCAD? Rather complex… • GCAD-3D 3.1 Anything interesting ongoing with RISC-V • Hugh had a recent conference • RISC-V is a design for an instruction set that is free to use • Many implementations ongoing, many “very free” • Aspires to a similar place in the “design space” as ARM, which has • Some cheap, nonsophisticated designs • Or expensive, sophisticated designs • Apple’s newest SOC is their own implementation of ARM instruction set • RISC-V has a “gold rush” of organizations rushing to stake out claims • Open source implementations of RISC-V are often toys, or academic projects • Some companies designing performant RISC-V chips • Western Digital is now deploying RISC-V chips embedded in their disk drives • Some of the implementations are basically like a 32 bit Arduino implementation • Lots of “sort of open source” implementations • Might be popular with Huawei because they can’t get at next versions of ARM due to US bans • RIOS (RISC International Open Source) moved out of the US to Switzerland to avoid US law • Collaboration between Shenzen university and Berkeley • initial plans involve a RPi-like design that is to be open source, provided by AliBaba • Some parts open source (CPU) others possibly not as much (USB) • Needed to add some custom instructions to accelerate their work load • Interesting to get something including MMU, perhaps even GPU GTALUG August 11th Notes Table of Contents 1.1 Keybase Alternatives • Keybase has offered secured accesses to various sorts of data Key directory Associates social media identities to encryption keys • Twitter • Github • Reddit • Hacker News • Mastodon • Cryptocurrency wallet addresses • Bitcoin • Zcash • Stellar (no term) End-to-end encrypted chat • Quite a lot of us are using Telegram and Signal • Essentially amounts to encrypted chat; many parts are open source • Encrypted instant messaging and VOIP • Client is free software • Server is proprietary KBFS Encrypted filesystem • Public files • Private files • An end-to-end encrypted, peer-to-peer file storage, sharing and communication network • We used this for GTALUG a bit for exchanging server data across the executive Teams Encrypted chat, fileshare • For just key validation keyoxide, I’ve heard of it, have no experience yet. keyoxide.org • decentralized • MIT licensed 1.1.1 Element 1.1.2 The moderation problem 1.2 Neat Monitoring observation • The temperature alert that points to calling building managers should include contact information • When you create an alert, think through what those reading the alert will immediately want or need, and note that what is obvious today, when we’re reacting to the outage that caused us to set up the alert, may be less obvious in 18 months when a new sysadmin looks at it • Put those needed/wanted things in the alert, possibly as a link, tho in case your Wiki might go down, probably the phone number ought to actually be in the alert. • Make sure there aren’t any credentials in the alert text! • Motion-sensitive camera that gets activated when the sun comes up through the trees in the morning • what is the difference between burglars and squirrels and sunrise • hurray, flying burglars! • Useful to have some alerts suppress other ones 1.3 Have you changed your ssh keys lately? • There are new algorithms that are theoretically more secure than the old ones • Are you using your keys for too many services? • ssh config lets you specify per-host keys 1.4 Have you labelled the disk drives in your desktop? • Using a Dymo label maker or similar • Brother apparently makes much nicer label printers • Scott Sullivan was literally just preparing a label to attach to a recently scrubbed hard drive • need to know the serial number from the drive in a cheap RAID array • Howard pulled out a typewriter! • Drew generates a 4 digit number for each drive and keeps those as the “key”, sharpie is good enough • For personal use, this supports 9999 drives, which is enough; perhaps 3 digits (999) would suffice • For organizational use, a bigger serial number would be needful • Business cards attached with packing tape 1.5 Raspberry Pi 4 • There have been ongoing discussions about building a “Pi Desktop” • Evan suggested a notably better case (but that Scott had already posted!) but that was somewhat expensive • Budget was not especially clear • Initially, Pi4 was running extremely hot, but with modern software releases, way better/cooler 1.6 IPv6 versus IPv4 • Once you configure prefixes on the router, often Linux, Windows, MacOS often “just work” these days • Mozilla Addon ipvfoo-pmarks shows off IPv6 usage 1.7 Latest grep reimplementation ugrep written in C++ 2011 • can search inside compressed archives (numerous sorts, .jar, .zip, tar, .cpio, and compression such as .gz, .bzip2, .xz, …) • can search inside documents (.pdf, .xls, .docx, …) (no term) sift, written in go, parallelizing: https://sift-tool.org/ (no term) ack, written in Perl, extended to do version control, graphics metadata https://metacpan.org/pod/distribution/ack/ack (no term) rg, written in Rust (no term) Full text search on Gnome desktop, locate was an olden days standard service • mlocate is a more user-friendly version of locate (no term) Tracker seems neat (no term) Find is still pretty useful (no term) FSELECT is a Rust-based command line tool that’s loosely find with SQL-like syntax 1.8 Pinephone now available 1.9 LibreOffice 7.0 released recently 1.10 Perl 7 almost out • The objectives are goals they have for Perl 7 1.11 MathML? I am using Octave and LaTeX to do calculations and write reports. Conceivably, I could output to HTML instead, but MathML does not seem to work on all browsers. Is this interesting to anyone? GTALUG Q&A July 14th, 2020 1 Notes from GTALUG Meeting 2020-07-14 1.1 Have you checked NTP recently? (Chris) • Upgrading DDWRT on a DIR-632 showed off that ntp config had been broken for years • Also router was pointing to DNS on a host that had been gone for years 🙂 • I always used to use echo dmpeers | ntpdc to check synchronization • That apparently stopped working, probably years ago • The modern thing is the following: root@karush:/var/log# ntpq -p remote refid st t when poll reach delay offset jitter ============================================================================== 0.debian.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 +0.000 0.000 1.debian.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 +0.000 0.000 2.debian.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 +0.000 0.000 3.debian.pool.n .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 +0.000 0.000 LOCAL(1) .LOCL. 10 l 537 64 0 0.000 +0.000 0.000 nash.int.linuxd 44.190.6.254 3 s 25 64 1 0.464 -19.446 0.000 bellman.int.lin .XFAC. 16 s - 128 0 0.000 +0.000 0.000 time2.facebook. .FB... 1 u 119 64 2 271.399 +102.36 0.000 192.168.0.63 .XFAC. 16 s - 128 0 0.000 +0.000 0.000 hpaq.int.linuxd 45.79.13.206 3 s 54 64 1 0.283 -4.946 0.000 karush.int.linu .XFAC. 16 s - 128 0 0.000 +0.000 0.000 *ntp1.torix.ca .PTP0. 1 u 19 1024 3 48.489 -5.496 79.828 +68-69-221-61.nb .ROSS. 1 u 23 1024 3 138.782 +25.387 39.417 +ntp2.wiktel.com .GPS. 1 u 23 1024 3 72.396 -7.548 79.119 +montreal.ca.log 172.105.103.85 3 u 27 1024 3 112.404 +22.622 40.738 +208.67.72.50 128.227.205.3 2 u 24 1024 3 101.382 -9.729 95.870 +clock.sjc.he.ne .CDMA. 1 u 37 1024 3 106.625 -11.264 97.836 +ntp16.doctor.co 50.205.244.28 2 u 42 1024 3 133.717 +24.106 39.239 +time.cloudflare 10.14.8.68 3 u 42 1024 3 111.500 +22.664 38.322 +198.255.68.106 192.168.1.193 2 u 40 1024 3 117.507 -13.853 95.332 +strongbad.voice 200.98.196.212 2 u 43 1024 3 60.177 -8.618 78.205  1.1.1 (Bob B) Can anybody explain what all that stuff in the ntpq output means? • Some answers can come from “official NTP”… • lol RTFM! • still, good question, I’m happy to read thru it……. no, you are correct….. that’s a great page! • Chris did a “broad strokes” explanation of much of what was in there, which he hopes gives enough background that the deep detail of the “official” explanations aren’t as overwhelming. Scott S pointed out – Info on REFID 1.2 (Bob B) What are people using for centralized authentication at home labs? Really don’t want AD. 1.3 (Scott S): Opensource Physical Resource management • Room and Equipment bookings. • Integrations, MQTT, API • Hacklab needs this sort of thing from two perspectives: • With COVID-19 still around, they’d like to be able to trace where people have been and where and what physical resources they have touched • There is a need to arrange fair bookings for resources like 3D printers, as they now have some fairly reliable ones that will attract a lot of usage requests • No real answers came up in discussion • Later link added: List of Open Sourced Software for Resource Scheduling and Booking 1.4 Question: (cbbrowne) Has anyone been making use of the new-ish packaging systems? AppImage a packaging format Snappy Canonical sponsored central app repo Flatpak central app repo, but individuals may host too In principle, these are supposed to make it easier to deploy applications where you want faster evolution than distributions offer. (E.g. – [https://wiki.debian.org/DebianReleases][Debian takes For-Ever to get new versions out…]]) • Nobody seemed to be too much a fan of this • It was suggested that this concept was popular for developers that want to do their own thing, and that hate the idea of distribution makers renaming any of their stuff. This suggests a lack of appreciation for policy, which is why distribution makers do that sort of renaming… 1.5 Question: (cbbrowne) Anyone using mesh networks yet? (802.11s) • now supported (if your hardware does) on OpenWRT • bridges networks together to give better network coverage by having devices talk to all the routers around them • Easy? Hard? Security pains-in-the-neck? • new router standards are coming out – 802.11ax aka WiFi6 so probably a good idea to wait 1.6 Question: (cbbrowne) anyone been playing with the modern terminal fonts that are emerging? • Inconsolata • Mononoki • Ubunto Mono • There are barrels more of these • Some amount of trying to be kewl • some amount of trying to be readable+distinguishable (0!=O) even in small font sizes 1.7 Security Question of the Month: Have you updated your router firmware lately? • OpenWRT just had a new major version (v19) released in May • DDWRT has per-device upgrades; how their versioning system is not especially clear • Did an upgrade from “v24” (from 2013) to “v3.0” (2019), that’s not overly clear! • DDWRT has some pretty proprietary stuff; means they can support Broadcom • OpenWRT is a bit better known than pfSense • OpenWRT pretty attractive for a place like Hacklab • can run Ansible against it! • Specialized Ansible for OpenWRT • UCI commands (can be seen in the LUCI Web UI) generate configuration; you could use these commands yourself • Also consider using Ansible commands + Ansible templates • Probably worth looking into pfSense on slightly better hardware • Ubiquity edge routers are good for non-wifi contexts 1.7.1 Recommended OpenWRT Routers 1.8 CHUWI LarkBox GTALUG EtherPad for Meeting of June 9, 2020 1 GTALUG 2020-06-09 1.1 Hugh on UEFI for ARM Is the raspberry pi sufficiently open so to allow a single distro to be adaptable for multiple different SBCs? • Raspbian is often used (forked to “armbian” for other systems) • Different devices often need what is termed a “device tree” that is unique to a board or family of related boards • Annoying thing about ARM is that many have GPUs, and unfortunately most of the GPUs have issues with NDAs so that it is troublesome to share low level code What are your thoughts on using Anaconda in Ubuntu or other Linux distro vs installing all Python packages and using Python virtual environments instead? I’m coming from Windows, so Anaconda was a straight answer, but now that I’m becoming a Linux user, is not that clear that I should use Anaconda, and could better learn to use the Python venv. Just wanted to get some thoughts. • pyenv • Should we use distribution-managed packages? Or build a virtual environment to pull fresh code? • These days, scripting languages have their own dependency systems which makes life difficult for distribution makers. • Awesome Alex, thanks for your thorough explanation, I’ll certainly look into pyenv…. my name is Nestor Sanchez btw… 1.3 Python II – the Sunsetting of version2 Note that Python 2 is officially sunsetted… https://www.python.org/doc/sunset-python-2/ Some old Python code still lurks in distributions. 1.4 Powershell Has anyone been playing with Powershell? What sorts of differences are there between that and our favorites? • It grew up with Windows so has lots of Windows bits • It operates on streams other than Unix “bags of bytes” which can be very different 1.5 WFH Learning • I changed my commute time for walk/run around the neighbourhood time. To keep some routine. • Some tendency for longer days because we aren’t consuming any time on commute but maintain broadly similar hours • Daily “stand-up” meetings (common in SCRUM methodology) are useful to add a little bit of personal discipline • Audio bandwidth limitations are an issue • Microphones on laptops that are picking up fans and refrigerators are common problems • Microphones intended as speaking headsets provide improvement 1.6 ROCm Any experience among this group with using ROCm for high performance computing? 1.7 systemd, 10 years later: a historical and technical retrospective • everything needs to be decrudded once in a while 1.8 JITSI results • mixture of opinions, for sure • a couple of people fell off the meeting, so not impressed • several reporting that sound is quite good • user interface is quite comparable to Google Meet and Zoom • Can use custom backgrounds similar to what are commonly done on Zoom 1.8.1 Custom backgrounds for videoconferencing Get a green board to go behind, and then compile a virtual camera Using OBS Studio for Google Hangouts/Meet • implements a virtual camera that allows putting arbitrary backgrounds behind you • GitHub: CatxFish/obs-v4l2sink • I made a green screen for chroma key out of 4 pieces of green bristol board from Dollarama. • This can work with Jitsi, Zoom, Google Meet 1.9 Upcoming events Unix Unanimous is tomorrow, web search for it… UU June Details RaspberryPi meetup on Thursday on meetup.com Next ICANN at 9am Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia time GTALUG Etherpad for May 13, 2020 1 Notes from GTALUG Meeting 2020-05-13 1.1 Running kvm (kernel virtual machine) on Raspberry Pi • Yes, it is possible • Raspberry PI 3 and above have HW support in the chip and bootloader • Possible to run it with docker • KVM can run x86 code or ARM code on any machine • The problem with ARM – No standard BIOS, an implementations with UEFI and device tree. Not trivial. • A version of kubernetes k3s (a simplified version) Runs on Raspberry Pi (containerization not kvm) • not a lot of documentation on how to run KVM for raspberry pi • Raspberry PI is typically 32-bit vs all of the ‘serious’ containerization projects prefer 64-bit ARM platforms • k3s (a sorta cheap Kubernetes) on RPi 1.2 Has anyone tried POP!OS? • POP!OS? • An Ubuntu derivative • Reviews say this is the most beautiful thing since Elementary OS • Produced by system76 • Really nice UI from the experiences • GPU drivers seem to be supported on more stable distributions (RHEL & CentOS) and not Fedora (specifically GPU computing from AMD or Nvidia) • Fedora 31 hung on used Dell XPS with NVIDIA graphics • ubuntu just works (proprietary drivers) • fedora 32 has nouveau • POP!OS seems to have sensible defaults • /r/popos • this is where System76 announced POP!OS, in 2017, when Ubuntu stopped working on Unity 1.3 Video conferencing for teaching a-la software carpentry • (group breakouts & shared screens in small group only) • What is software-carpentry.org • Teamviewer available for linux but proprietary as hell (one-on-one) • this is the software that the scam artists that cold call you about your “Windows computer being filled with viruses and malware” use to take over your computer • that doesn’t imply that it’s evil, just that it’s useful • Chris wants to propose using tmux or GNU Screen to share terminals 🙂 • K12 software (educational group software) • Not quite a shared / groupable screen, but we just presented to a conference with OBS, and it worked really well: https://obsproject.com/ [SR] • Google meet is pretty analogous to zoom and doesn’t offer extra answers • VR rooms that have ‘virtual’ breakout rooms • Mozilla hubs doesn’t require VR, allows you to log in with browser (hubs.mozilla.org) • https://hubs.mozilla.com/ZSJKAWd/loathsome-wooden-gathering • Al SpaceVR (no browser version, goggles required) App that comes with oculus • AltSpaceVR accessible with steam client • each space has concept of virtual board that can be a board, video or screen 1.4 Let’s set up an etherpad location is May GTALUG EtherPad 1.5 How do people back up their personal stuff • Chris has a horde of little Git repos, anything important gets added to a git repo and pushed places (what does “important” mean???) • should automate as much as possible so that we don’t forget to back it up • I don’t. I should, but everything is too much hassle or expense. I need something as simple as TimeMachine, but I don’t have bandwidth (or cash) to do a cloud backup [SR] • Cronopete claims to be a Time Machine clone for Linux: • I have a secondary server, and I have a rsync script that backs up my home directory (and a few others) every night. • rclone for encrypted backups with 1 local backup and b2 as remote • etckeeper stows /etc in your choice of repos automatically. When you run “apt upgrade”, it automatically checks things in. That doesn’t automatically back up the repo; that also needs to be handled 1.6 Splitting audio and video streams that are still in sync ffmpeg -re -i$(youtube-dl -g -f 96 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Auq9mYxFEE) -f v4l2 /dev/video2 -f alsa default

• Don’t split the streams
• Video is fed through puredata
• this has gotta be within OBS’ remit [SR]
• use OBS to recombine audio and video stream but this is still a problem
• a/v delay is not always the same

1.8 GPT harddrives vs Motherboards that do not support GPT

• The issue might be advanced formatting 512 blocks (legacy) vs 4K blocks (now)
• Seems to work fine except when it works as a boot device
• Notes on buying new harddriver for an old system (i.e. Motherboard of 2012 vintage)
• Try to upgrade BIOS there might be a workaround
• On a GPT driver you can put fake MBR (older BIOS will see MBR drive, newer MBR will see GPT) This is a horrible hack
• Refine (website)
• https://www.rodsbooks.com/
• lots of information on EFI firmware. Lots of discussion on GPT and Hybrid GPT
• A lot of details on the website not explained in a beginner-friendly way but it is a great resource
• Howard’s notes – http://home.eol.ca/~hgibson/Linux.html

1.9 thoughts about the STL trying to merge in the high perfomance C++ folly library from facebook

• I don’t have a mic but the question is about the issues of using out of stream perfomance libraries to fix the gap caused by the STL
• There is no RCU or high perfomance spinlocks for example.
• Yes it has that but its not a standard so its a problem as your using a third library and having to merge both.
• You basically have to right a lot of it by hand.

1.10 Kubernetes (K8S)

• Does anyone know what a “service mesh” is? There are systems: Istio, Consul, Linkerd. Service Mesh gets treated as “otta be obvious what this is”
• In HA, a service mesh is a “meshing” of components so that if one component fails, others will take over immediately

1.11 Thoughts on these database clients?

• I’m using the MSSQL one. https://github.com/dbcli (seneca)
• I’ve been finding typing laggy and it crashes on some commands on certain tables, but at least I don’t end up dealing with FreeTDS [SC}
• Cannot connect to the MSSQL 2000 server that I still deal with [SC]
• +1 for DBCLI! (I’m Not Giving My Name To A Machine)

1.12 Cleaning my Laser printer – HP2605DL (Postscript)

• It’s a colour printer
• the colour toner seems to have gone cruddy
• I wiped yellow and green toner off the plastic paper feed; a new supply emerges from somewhere every time I print a sheet
• Can’t tell where the reservoir of “crud” is 🙁
• Have you tried the built-in cleaning tool from the manual (page 131)?
• Not yet, will do…

nnn – a terminal-based file manager

nnn, findable at https://github.com/jarun/nnn, is a terminal-based file manager written in Go, which claims high performance and has a pretty flexible set of functionalities including:

• Can spawn your favorite $VISUAL$EDITOR to edit files
• Bookmarks (haven’t used)
• Fuzzy searching for files
• Pin frequently used files/directories
• Mount and manage archives
• Lots of plugins https://github.com/jarun/nnn/tree/master/plugins to extend its behaviour

I have, several times, scheduled tasks (taskwarrior!) to poke some more at nnn. It seems inevitable to not go anywhere.

Why that is finally occurred to me; the reason is that my workflow that would be most relevant to this takes place inside emacs, in the Dired mode.

There are some neat things in nnn, notably the fuzzy searching, which would lend itself to somewhat more nondeterministic searches for Files Of Interest. However, the learning curve of switching to a dramatically different tool is not to my taste.

If you’re one of the vi crowd, this may be to your taste; it seems interesting. (I was tempted enough to keep it lurking in my task list for a couple months.)

The local LUG had a talk recently about Task Warrior, which inspired me to give the tool a poke.

I have had excessively fragmentary handlings of outstanding ToDo items, where I have assortedly used:

• Index cards to note things, but this is really ephemeral; I tend to turf them quickly, and only the most immediate things would get captured here, and evaporate as quickly. These can get clever; I didn’t get enough into that, I’m not hipster enough for that!
• For a while (and this has gotten to be pretty distant in the past) I used todo.txt to capture things to do. Unfortunately, there’s not much of a synchronization mechanism, so I at one point ran the iOS app on my (still around somewhere) iPod Touch, later on Android phones, with occasional copying onto Unix desktop. But because coordinating versions amounted to doing by-hand git patching, this was way less useful than wanted.
• For quite some time, I used Org Mode files for my grocery list, syncing between desktop and mobile devices using SyncThing. This was decently viable, actually, allowing me to manage the document on desktop (with a lovely big keyboard and big screen for mass editing) and on mobile device (so the list is handy to mark off purchases). Once in a while, I would push completed items into a side file for posterity. I also copy this data to a Git repository (for arguably “more posterity”); it is not as automated as it ought to be, trying to automate Git checkins was more troublesome than it ought to be.

But in November, at the above mentioned talk, I installed Task Warrior on my phone and decided to give it a try. FYI, I run it in a Termux session on my phone. There do exist a couple of TaskWarrior apps, but I have not yet been able to get them to sync to my taskd server. I am happy enough with the Termux-based CLI access. Perhaps I should set up a web server as an alternative interface? We’ll see…

Overall Configuration

I have the app (apt-get install taskwarrior) installed on a variety of hosts:

• Work desktop, which syncs against central taskd
• Chromebook laptop, syncs against central taskd
• Home server Karush, which hosts taskd and has client syncing against taskd
• OnePlus 5 (Android phone), where termux hosts the app, syncing against taskd

I installed taskd on a server at home. This was a bit of a pain in the neck; setting up users and certificates is fairly fiddly as also is setup of each client. It took a few tries to get it all working, and I went through a couple of user UUIDs before I was done. It comes with a systemd unit file; I have not thus far had that work, so I have to browse through history (boo, hiss!) to find the right command to restart it properly upon system reboot it took some effort to get that working properly.

One interesting thing I noticed; when syncing got “deranged” and I wound up on a new user UUID, I found that, in order to get things unstuck, I had to edit ~/.task/backlog.data. Note that this file contains the UUID of the user that it intends to sync against. (I’m not 100% sure; this may be the “local” idea of the UUID of the user…) The removal of the UUID at the top of that file led to the local instance of task generating a new UUID and proceeding.

Usage

I basically started out by tossing in all sorts of tasks that popped up, without too much intentionality, just making sure that knowledge about upcoming Things To Do got captured. I wasn’t sure what projects or tags to use; it is out of seeing a bunch of tasks that need to be classified that the patterns will emerge. I am basically just 3 months into this, so while some patterns have emerged, there are plenty more to come.

• It turns out that tagging with +home and +work is mighty useful, for the simple reason that it allows en-masse deferral of tasks. At the end of the work day, I find it handy to simply defer items to another day thus:
task +work status:pending wait:tomorrow
It would probably be valuable to defer things further, so that my list of things to do immediately does not get randomly cluttered.
• COVID-19 has changed the above a bit; work from home means that the separation is entirely less obvious
• I have been adding in lots of periodic tasks as they pop up:
• Paperwork tasks such as filing copies of pay stubs, bank statements, tax documents, and bills of importance
• Preparations for annual events
• Reminders for mailing list moderation
• Some projects have been emerging, but not quickly or well. It is easier to think about adding tags, and occasionally a tag emerges as being important enough to call it a project.
• I am (still!) not using dependencies nearly much as I probably ought to.
• As “wishful thinking,” I’d like it if I could have grocery items dependent on a “go to grocery store” task, and have the children pop up as current the moment I arrive at the store and mark that first task done. That also means I’d like it if the children were being “masked” as not ready to proceed (ergo not listed) until I get there.
• In reviewing Tomas’ presentation, I found A Better Way to deal with this, which is to use contexts. If my grocery items all have +metro as the locational tag (my nearby grocery store is called Metro), then I can define the relevant context:
task context define metro +metro
then
task context metro
More inclusions and exclusions could be done; in any case, it is clearly useful to use some contexts so when in a particular place, the set of tasks are restricted to those of relevance.
• Projects (indicated by adding project:taxes.2019 or project:bugzilla.20721 or project:website) are evidently more useful than I had thought, once I start using the dotted notation to allow hierarchical subprojects. They had appeared to be way less useful than labels, but hierarchy changes that. Both are good things (in moderation!) and are good used together.

Future Items

• Another few months of patterns hopefully leads me to get a bit smarter about how I’m using this, particularly with regards to deferring items I can’t do immediately.
• I need to get the “sorta graphical” Android client working; need to fight with the configuration to get that working.
Update 2020-05-07, I finally found documentation that helped me on this… https://www.swalladge.net/archives/2018/03/17/taskwarrior-taskserver-syncing-tutorial/ had the crucial aspect that I needed to copy a trio of .pem files (certificate data for my user and for my taskd server) into /Internal Storage/Android/data/kvj.taskw/files/one-of-the-subdirectories
• I find, regrettably, that I don’t very much like the Android client
• There are some interesting analytical reports such as task burndown to get some longer term patterns out of it. For that to provide value requires more data collection.
• I imagine I should be automating some task management, such as having things like the following:
• TaskWarrior should draw a feed of tasks from bug reports. There’s an extension to pull from Github
• We’re apparently getting into Scrum work; it would be neat to pull Jira tasks into TaskWarrior automatically
• There’s an Emacs mode; wait, wait, that’s actually comparatively complete, despite being exceeding brief. It works, and is already useful.
It probably would be worth extending this to allow operations other than ‘a’ (to add a task) and ‘g’ (to refresh the list), to have a set of interactions one might perform on visible items. The Kubernetes interaction mode for Emacs has some relevant examples.
• I’m told hooks are interesting, and certainly grasp the broad concept from the way that Emacs uses hooks really really a lot…
At first glance, it seems less interesting than I had expected…
• One use case is to automatically commit changes to Git; that is broadly interesting, but I think I can live with that taking place pretty periodically rather than continuously. Especially in that I switch clients a lot, so that keeping consistency would require a lot of Git synchronization.
• Another usage is to rewrite tasks.
An interesting example was to change notations, so @projectname would be used to specify project, which is shorter than project:projectname. As above, this needs to run “everywhere” which seems less than convenient. (Again, needs Git repo synchronization, this time for the repo containing the hooks.)

Conclusions

I have been happy enough with my experiences with TaskWarrior, and will be continuing to use it. There are clearly plenty of features I am not using yet, some of which may make sense to poke at further.

Subversion “deprecation”

I was a bit tickled by the characterization I saw today in the new Subversion release, describing the deprecation of version 1.5:

The Subversion 1.5.x line is no longer supported. This doesn't mean
that your 1.5 installation is doomed; if it works well and is all you
need, that's fine. "No longer supported" just means we've stopped
accepting bug reports against 1.5.x versions, and will not make any
more 1.5.x bugfix releases.


They aren’t telling us the world will end for anyone using version 1.5, just that they don’t intend to provide support anymore.

Which seems like a fine thing. Version 1.5 is 3 years old, and, when they seem to be releasing about a version per year (1.0 in 2004, 1.7 in 2011), 3 years of backwards support doesn’t seem dramatically insufficient. Particularly if, when support goes away, you’re not inherently doomed!

Music Playing

My latest “musical experiment” is with Clementine, which was recently added to Debian.

I should note things that I have used in the past, and some areas of past pain:

XMMS
Which has often been nice enough, but which has grown long in the tooth.
XMMS2
Which takes the desirable step of being a client/server system which admits the availability of a bunch of backends. I have, when using it, tended to prefer the shell backend.
Amarok
An “all singing, all dancing” option…

• It uses KDE, which I’m historically not terribly keen on
• It has libraries that are evidently clever enough to pull music off my iPod Touch as long as it’s plugged into a USB dock
• It has the “KDE integration” that seems to want to have widgets integrating into some “KDE-compliant” window manager. I’m running StumpWM, which is decidedly not a KDE thing, so controlling Amarok always seems like a bit of a crapshoot…
• I have played a bit with the “playlist” functionality; it hasn’t yet agreed with me…

At any rate, I saw Clementine listed as “new in Debian,” so thought I’d take a peek. I’m liking what I see thus far:

• Onscreen widgets for all the sorts of things that need to be controlled, including
• Managing music library, so as to add things
• Like Amarok, it can see my iPod whenever it’s plugged in, and can play that music through the computer
• It easily grabbed album covers (I’m not sure what service it’s using) for most of my music
• Onscreen controls seem pretty reasonable, though I kind of wish the volume control was larger, as that’s something one wants most frequently to fiddle with.
• There’s a cool visualization widget (think “equalizer”)

Seems pretty likable thus far…