May: PiSCSI and command-line tools


7pm, Wednesday, 8 May 2024

Topic 1/2: PiSCSI: Emulating a SCSI Hard Drive with a Raspberry Pi

Speaker: Adrian Hayes

Reliable and operational SCSI hard drives for vintage Macintosh computers are getting rarer and harder to find these days. Emulating SCSI hard drives can give your vintage Mac a new lease on life, with a number of modern upgrades available, one being the PiSCSI adapter.

Topic 2/2: GNU command-line tools

Speaker: Tom Ryder

The GNU core utilities is a suite of command-line tools that do basic file, shell, and text manipulation. A few of them, like ls(1) or cp(1), are among the first and most common commands a GNU/Linux user would use. But how about basename(1), to strip a filename’s path or extension? Or fmt(1), to format text to a given width? Or factor(1), to print the prime factors of a number? Tom will go through some of the lesser-known coreutils programs, and show a bit about what they do, along with a few other tools in the same vein that are usually packaged separately, including bc(1) and units(1).

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April: Plasma 6 and OpenBSD


7pm, Wednesday, 10 April 2024

Topic 1/2: Plasma 6

Speaker: Nick Skarott

KDE’s Plasma is a known and loved desktop environment for many Linux users. Being relatively clean while being fully featured without much system load, it’s long been a go-to for those who want a well supported environment that’s prettier than XFCE, but faster than GNOME (at least in the presenter’s opinion). Nick went to have a look at the new version of Plasma, while tackling an arch-nemesis head on to see if, once and for all, his most-feared distribution can be tamed.

Topic 2/2: Exploring OpenBSD

Speaker: Brendon Green

How hard can it possibly be to install and use OpenBSD in 2024? Let’s find out together. Inspired by xkcd #349.

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March: Headscale, DigiKam, and Meld


7pm, Wednesday, 13 March 2024

Topic 1/2: Headscale

Speaker: Richard Barlow

Headscale is a re-implemented version of the Tailscale VPN coordination server, developed independently and completely separately. It allows people to use the official Tailscale client with a self-hosted command and control server. It uses the WireGuard protocol.

Download slides (application/pdf, 956 KiB)

Topic 2/2: DigiKam, Meld and my favourite utilities

Speaker: Giovanni Moretti

Giovanni will show us a few more of his favourite tools:

  • DigiKam: Photo management
  • Meld: Visual diff and merge tool
  • …and perhaps others…

Download slides (application/pdf, 1.3 MiB)

Continue reading “March: Headscale, DigiKam, and Meld”

February: Raspberry Pi 5 and ArchiveBox


7pm, Wednesday, 14 February 2024

Topic 1/2: “Pi”wer Overwhelming

Speaker: Nick Skarott

The Raspberry Pi is the credit-card sized computer we all know and love. Nick has spent the Christmas break getting to grips with the latest iteration, and what makes the Pi 5 an even bigger upgrade than the previous generation was.

Topic 2/2: Web archiving with ArchiveBox

Speaker: Tom Ryder

Web pages staying online has never been very reliable, but over the past few years in particular, link rot has got a lot worse, especially as information centralises onto big proprietary platforms whose providers don’t have much of an interest in keeping things online. The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine can often rescue a page for you, but it can’t capture everything, all the time. What if you could have your own archive of web pages, so you could easily save content exactly as it appears in case it gets taken down, trying multiple methods of saving to do so? This is what ArchiveBox allows. Tom will give a brief demonstration of ArchiveBox for day-to-day personal use.

Download slides (application/pdf, 768 KiB)

Continue reading “February: Raspberry Pi 5 and ArchiveBox”

December: Pizza!

It’s been a great year for PLUG, and you’re invited to celebrate with us, with some pizza and good company!

Weather permitting, we will meet at The Esplanade, at the tables near the paddling pool, on Wednesday December 13th, at 6pm.

The weather did not permit! We will instead meet at Milson Community Centre, our usual venue, on Wednesday December 13th, at 6:30pm—note, too, the change of time!

Please bring $10 in cash to contribute to the pizza. Also bring along anything else you’d like to eat.

Family and curious friends are welcome, as always.

We’ll look forward to seeing you all there!

November: Lightning talks 2023


7pm, Wednesday, 8 November 2023

For the last meeting of the year with technical presentations, we’re trying something a little different: lightning talks, shorter talks of up to 10 minutes each in length, focussing on some detail of a technical topic. We have the following speakers and topics scheduled, probably in this order:

* Nick Skarott: ::dead:beef:cafe: How far will pure IPv6 get you over the Internet?
* Brendon Green: Qubes OS
* Josh Sunnex: Headless Steam in Docker [code, Docker image]
* Stephen Worthington: SATA hotplug problems (low-power-mode)
* William Bell: Infrastructure as code
* Tom Ryder: yt-dlp and gallery-dl [slides (application/pdf, 360 KiB)]
* Giovanni Moretti: Nostr: Truly distributed Notes and Other Stuff via Relays [slides (application/pdf, 753 KiB)]

Please note these may change before the night, in which case we’ll endeavor to update them here. Also, if you’re not on the list and would like to speak about a FOSS-related topic, it’s not too late—please reach out to Tom Ryder at

Let’s see how well this goes—PLUG members are a friendly and engaged audience, and precedent suggests we just enjoy meeting up anyway, even if the organisers or technical presentations have problems coming together. If it works, your humble secretary would like to see it become an annual event.

Note that it’s likely that we’ll meet in December, but we don’t usually book talks for December meetings. Instead, this will be a more social gathering, possibly even outside in nice weather (!). Details will be posted here as usual. Technical talks should resume in February 2024.


Milson Community Centre


$2 gold coin donation

Coffee and biscuits will be provided, but please feel free to bring along your own snacks and drinks.

Agenda (rough)

  • 7:00pm: Welcome (Tom Ryder)
  • 7:10pm: Lightning talks begin
  • 7:50pm: Tea and coffee break
  • 8:10pm: General business (Nick Skarott)
  • 8:20pm: Resume lightning talks
  • 9:00pm: Doors close

October: Homelab CGNAT and udev interface names


7pm, Wednesday, 11 October 2023

Topic 1/2: Homelab 102—Defeating CGNAT

Speaker: Nick Skarott

One of the big barriers to a happy homelab life is IPv4 CGNAT. For some providers, it’s a necessary evil that they have to use to support their customer bases, with no opt-out—but not all hope is lost! In part two of this series, Nick will discuss the options to get around the CGNAT scourge, using options ranging from Cloudflare Tunnel to using an overlay or VPN from a public facing VPS.

Topic 2/2: Renaming Network Interfaces With udev

Speaker: Stephen Worthington

Or: “Can I get my eth0, eth1, … back again?”

Linux now uses “predictable network interface names” (for example, enp4s0), which are hard to type and to remember. And can still sometimes change between boots. A lot of users would prefer to go back to the much more friendly eth0, eth1, … names. So we will be looking at how udev creates names for the network interfaces, and workarounds to get more friendly names back again. This will be specifically about Ubuntu, as other distros have variations in how they handle all of this.

Download slides (application/pdf, 192 KiB)

Continue reading “October: Homelab CGNAT and udev interface names”

September: Inkscape text and homelabs


7pm, Wednesday, 13 September 2023

Topic 1/2: Text in Inkscape

Speaker: John Flower

Learn about how Inkscape can make words look cool. John will demonstrate features such as how to put text on curves, add outlines to make words pop, or adjust opacity so they don’t.

Download slides (application/zip, 3.2 MiB)

Topic 2/2: How to: HOMELAB—The basics

Speaker: Nick Skarott

This year we’ve seen many examples of computer users building a “Homelab” environment to either make their lives easier in the computer world or to upskill. But do you really need old enterprise gear that gobbles enough power to make the lights dim when you turn them on? The answer may surprise you as Nick outlays how you too can get into homelabbing simply and easily without feeding your entire wallet to the local energy concern.

Download slides (application/pdf, 358 KiB)

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August: GIMP and media *arrs


7pm, Wednesday, 9 August 2023

Topic 1/2: GIMP: Green Is My Pepper

Speaker: Tom Ryder

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is 25 years old this year, and still actively developed. For a long time, it had the unenviable job of being the GNU/Linux desktop’s only answer to the Adobe Creative Suite, and it didn’t benefit from the comparison on its own. Nowadays, however, it has a much better-defined place in raster image manipulation and composition, complementing other free image software like Darktable (photography), Krita (drawing), Inkscape (vectors), Blender (3-D modelling), and ImageMagick (batch/scripting).

Tom is not a graphic designer, but still finds he wants to edit and compose raster images a lot, even for something as simple as making memes or desktop backgrounds. He’ll show you a few of his favorite tips and tricks with GIMP, with the aim of surprising you at least a little. He’ll also show you where the configuration options are to fix the user interface, in order to make it less confusing.

Download slides (application/pdf, 400 KiB)

Topic 2/2: The Wizard of Arrs

Speaker: Chris Winkworth

Chris will give a walk-through of all the “Arrs”, which are a set of media collection management and retrieval tools: Lidarr, Radarr, Readarr, and Sonarr. We’ll look at what they are used for in your home lab, including a look at Homepage for how you can see all your self-hosted projects in one simple place.

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July: Jellyfin and Infiniband


7pm, Wednesday, 12 July 2023

Topic 1/2: Jellyfin

Speaker: Nick Skarott

Jellyfin is the truly open‐source fork of the Emby project—an alternative to the Plex media server. Nick will go over the advantages and disadvantages of using Jellyfin over a “freemium” product like Plex or Emby.

Download slides (application/pdf, 216 KiB)

Topic 2/2: Home Infiniband

Speaker: Stephen Worthington

If you want faster network connections, Infiniband is much faster than 10 Gbit/s Ethernet, and may also be cheaper. Come to this PLUG meeting and let me tell you about my experiences with installing and using 40 Gbit/s Infiniband at home.

Download slides (application/pdf, 396 KiB)

Download images (application/zip, 1.6 MiB)

Continue reading “July: Jellyfin and Infiniband”