FFmpeg is a library that can do far, far too much with video and audio of all sorts—a kind of multimedia Swiss Army knife. Tom will demonstrate a narrow set of some of its more useful functions in the service of running an Owncast video streaming instance, an alternative to proprietary platforms. This will include video filtering, resizing, conversion, and “hard” subbing.
Topic 2/2: Recalbox
Speaker: Nick Skarott
Recalbox is described by its makers as “the ultimate retro-gaming console that lets you replay all the games from the consoles and computers of your childhood.” Compatible with Raspberry Pi’s, old and new x86 (both 32 and 64bit) PCs and also the ODroid single board computers. Replacing RetroPie as the retro gaming project of Nick’s choice, he explains what makes it better over RetroPie including Recalbox’s included free content, simple board overclocking for the Raspberry Pi, and more advanced Raspberry Pi drivers.
Managing partitions on disks is a pain, especially on hardware disks. Logical Volume Management (LVM) for Linux-based systems provides a means to perform volume management much more dynamically and flexibly, including creating snapshots and drive redundancy, without needing to reboot. Tom will give a demonstration of the basics of using LVM, including using it at install time as part of an encrypted setup for Debian GNU/Linux and other distributions.
Chris will return with some more details about his home media network setup that he last spoke about in July, since there were so many questions from the audience last time and people doubtless want to know more about his astonishing setup.
Topic 2/2: 10 Years of OBS & VDO.Ninja
Speaker: Nick Skarott
OBS or Open Broadcast Software has become a linchpin piece of kit for many video livestreamers around the globe. It has powered everything from basic talking head livestreams to full on productions with switching and live graphics and has produced many other key tools to produce graphic overlays and even inject others desktops into livestreams. Nick will go over what’s new since PLUG was first introduced to OBS, and give real world examples on how he has used OBS and a new free tool, VDO.Ninja, to produce commercial-grade live streams.
In many cases, people who want to switch to GNU/Linux as their operating system are held back by only one or two programs native to Microsoft Windows running on their machines, for which there’s no suitable free software replacement. One option in this case is to use Wine, a compatibility layer that allows running programs built for Windows on Unix-like operating systems. While it’s not perfect, it’s pretty impressive what Wine can do; Tom will demonstrate a few of the things it makes possible, including demonstrating the PlayOnLinux frontend.
Topic 2/2: Design for Military Crests with Inkscape
John Flower will return to demonstrate some more of the design that free software allows him to do. This month, he’ll demonstrate how he’s been using the vector drawing program Inkscape in tracing and working with military crests.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a business model to run the software sold on a company’s own servers, and provide people with access to their accounts only remotely, usually through a web browser, and on a subscription basis. This is opposed to the older “on-premises” model where the software is run on a customer’s own computers. Unfortunately, companies can still exert a lot of power over customers who buy licenses to their software this way; the risk of censorship is particularly troublesome. Chris will give us an overview of self-hosting: running applications in a similar way to the SaaS model, but moving control back to your own computer, an approach particularly compatible with properly free and open-source software.
Tim will return for another demonstration of competitive programming on Leetcode, this time using C++ specifically, with the C++ compiler from the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), and the Vim text editor.
We have had to cancel this meeting due to the speakers, meeting chair, and Vice President all being unwell (!). Nothing serious for any of them (and negative rapid-antigen tests), but we understand that people are extra-cautious given the COVID-19 pandemic. We have asked the speakers to reschedule and hope to see you all next month.
PulseAudio serves as a means to bridge the sometimes complex gap between sound sources from programs via ALSA and OSS libraries, and sound sinks to come out of actual speakers or other destinations, for appropriately mixed sound. In its role as an abstraction between the two, it’s capable of acting as a networked sound server, even for other operating systems that don’t use its native kernel, Linux. Stephen will demonstrate how this is done.
WireGuard is a replacement for IPsec and OpenVPN, offering secure communications over otherwise untrusted networks, using public key authentication both for authentication purposes and to form its routing table. It made its way into kernel space in Linux v5.6, which is as official a blessing as it gets (short of an RFC, maybe). There’s lots to love about WireGuard; Tom will show us the basics, along a few of the niceties that suit him (personally) down to the ground.
The Palmerston North Linux Users Group invites its members to join us in the Victoria Esplanade on Friday 17th December at 6:30pm, at the picnic tables by the pool, to share a pizza dinner in good company to round off what has been at times a difficult year.
Please bring $10 in cash to contribute to the cost of your pizzas, along with any drinks, and anything else you would like to eat as well (or instead).
These plans are, of course, weather-dependent; we will make another post and send out another email to the mailing list should the weather take a turn for the worse.
For the avoidance of any doubt: the Palmerston North Linux Users’ Group will not have its usual meeting at the Milson Community Centre this month, as the holiday season is upon us. There are tentative plans for a pizza meet in the Victoria Esplanade on the evening of Friday 17th December; we will post more details about this as they become available. Watch this space!
Nick has been spending the lockdown trying to teach himself software PBX systems for Voice-over-IP phones. He will discuss his journey through a couple of different platforms, and why he’s settled on using 3CX.
Scott will demonstrate the use of the Selenium browser automation tool, best-known as a means of running automated tests for software, and “other useful things”, including automatic web form completion. He says to expect surprising performance, along with a few gotchas…
Scott’s presentation will consist of demonstrating some uses of Selenium in Ubuntu with Java for automated testing, and in its own dedicated IDE.