May: IPv6, SnapRAID, and mergerfs


7pm, Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Topic 1/2: IPv6: Kicking and Screaming

Speaker: Tom Ryder

You do have to use IPv6; you do have to learn it; you do have to deal with it. You cannot escape. IPv4 is exhausted, and Carrier-grade NAT is a fever dream from which you must awake. So: how would you like to do this? The hard way, or the even‐harder way?

Tom will give a state‐of‐the‐onion on IPv6, and explore how it improves on legacy IPv4, and some of the challenges and problems that have made adoption so slow and so difficult, with particular attention paid to the GNU/Linux networking stack. Please do not shoot your humble messenger.

Topic 2/2: SnapRAID and mergerfs

Speaker: Chris Winkworth

Chris Winkworth is a force of home‐networking nature that cannot be stopped. His ever‐expanding home server setup has storage needs beyond the ken of most mortals, and this month he will explain to us two new feathers in his cap: SnapRAID, a backup program for disk arrays, and mergerfs, a union filesystem to simplify storage and management of files over many devices.

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April: Desktop apps and LastPass post-mortem


7pm, Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Topic 1/2: Writing a Linux desktop app with a client library

Speaker: Scott Davies

Are you sick of editing text files manually and doing the same thing over and over in bash? I’ll use some simple scripts and a widget toolkit to show why GUI apps should not be forgotten. Simple Linux desktop apps are easy, they can save you time and they’re more friendly to others than the command line. And you don’t have to set up a web server, manually change user, or copy and paste anything every time before you can get things done. I might event drag in a example of using it with redis for storage, too.

Topic 2/2: LastPass post-mortem

Speaker: Nick Skarott

The 2022 LastPass hack exposed a huge amount of private user information, including stored password databases, and in doing so exposed some glaring security and process failures on LastPass’ part. Nick will explain what happened, and why.

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March: Howdy and Mosh


7pm, Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Topic 1/2: Facial recognition for GNU/Linux with Howdy

Speaker: Richard O’Donoghue

One of the login methods provided by Microsoft Windows’ software Hello is facial recognition: logging in to your computer by having your face recognised by camera. Richard O’Donoghue will show how this same functionality can be arranged on GNU/Linux, using Howdy. He writes:

If you’re lazy like me and used to using Windows Hello face recognition and would like similar functionality under linux, this project hits the nail on the head.

Topic 2/2: Roaming SSH with local echo using Mosh

Speaker: Tom Ryder

Mosh: the mobile shell is a terminal application that allows an SSH-style remote terminal while supporting roaming between connections without losing state, and showing instant feedback from pressing keys on high-latency connections: a kind of intelligent local echo. Tom will demonstrate how this works, and why he found it so useful while working on his servers from the other side of the planet.

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November: FFmpeg for Owncast, and Recalbox


7pm, Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Topic 1/2: FFmpeg for Owncast

Speaker: Tom Ryder

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.

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October: Speeduino and LVM


7pm, Wednesday, 12 October 2022

Topic 1/2: Speeduino: Open source / Open Hardware Engine Management

Speaker: Richard O’Donoghue

Speeduino is an open source and open hardware Arduino-based system for managing engines. Richard will talk about some basics of engine management, the software, and what the hardware can do.

Topic 2/2: LVM (Logical Volume Management)

Speaker: Tom Ryder

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.

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September: Self-hosting, self-casting


7pm, Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Topic 1/2: Self-hosting continued

Speaker: Chris Winkworth

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.

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August: Wine and Ink


7pm, Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Topic 1/2: Running Windows programs with Wine

Speaker: Tom Ryder

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

Speaker: John Flower

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.

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July: Self-Hosting and Adventures in Codeland


7pm, Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Topic 1/2: Self-hosting software

Speaker: Chris Winkworth

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.

Topic 2/2: Adventures in Codeland

Speaker: Tim-Hinnerk Heuer

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.

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May: WireGuard and PulseAudio


7pm, Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Topic 1/2: Networking PulseAudio (with a Windows Server)

Speaker: Stephen Worthington

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.

Topic 2/2: Trusted networks with WireGuard

Speaker: Tom Ryder

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.

Edit of the “Friendship ended with Mudasir” meme.  The meme now reads: “Friendship ended with [OPENVPN].  Now [WireGuard] is my best friend”.  An Indian man clasps hands with a man with the WireGuard logo for a face.  The OpenVPN logo has been crossed out, twice, in bright green.


Milson Community Centre


$2 gold coin donation

COVID-19 restrictions

  • Masks must be worn, unless medically exempt.
  • Guests may sign in using either the COVID-19 tracer app or the paper register, but this is no longer required.
  • It’s unclear at the moment whether we can use the kitchen; please bring your own drink bottle, just in case.


  • 7:00pm: Welcome (John Flower)
  • 7:10pm: Topic 1/2: Networking PulseAudio (with a Windows Server) (Stephen Worthington)
  • 8:00pm: General business (John Flower)
  • 8:10pm: Topic 2/2: Trusted networks with WireGuard (Tom Ryder)
  • 9:00pm: Doors close