December: Pizza social: CANCELLED

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.

December: NULL

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!

November: 3CX and Selenium


7pm, Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Topic 1/2: VoIP PBX with 3CX

Speaker: Nick Skarott

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.

Topic 2/2: Selenium browser automation

Speaker: Scott Davies

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.

Download slides (application/pdf, 576 KiB)


Milson Community Centre


$2 gold coin donation

COVID-19 restrictions

  • Masks must be worn, unless medically exempt.
  • Guests must sign in using either the COVID-19 tracer app or the paper register.
  • We are prohibited from using the kitchen, so there will be no coffee/snack break. We recommend bringing your own drink bottle.


  • 7:00pm: Welcome (John Flower)
  • 7:10pm: Topic 1/2: VoIP PBX with 3CX (Nick Skarott)
  • 8:00pm: General business (John Flower)
  • 8:10pm: Topic 2/2: Selenium browser automation (Scott Davies)
  • 9:00pm: Doors close

October: NULL

As was the case last month, the Palmerston North Linux Users Group will not have its usual monthly meeting for October, due to continued uncertainty around the timing of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and our venue’s consequent availability. At the time of writing, we expect to see you all in November.

Oneohtrix Point Never—Nobody Here

September: NULL

The Palmerston North Linux Users Group will not have its usual monthly meeting for September, due to uncertainty around the timing of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. We hope to see you all in October.

“End of the world? Nah, I’m just gonna go to the Winchester stay at home, have a pint, and wait for all this to blow over.”

August: Blend Ladders

7pm, Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Topic 1/2: Nodes in Blender for Geometry/Procedural Art

Speaker: John Flower

John will demonstrate the use of nodes in Blender, the free software 3D creation suite.

In addition to creating materials as just described using all the settings on all the materials panels, Blender allows you to create a material by routing basic materials through a set of nodes. Each node performs some operation on the material, changing how it will appear when applied to the mesh, and passes it on to the next node. In this way, very complex material appearances can be achieved.

Blender manual

Watching John use Blender is a thing of beauty—if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out!

Topic 2/2: The Freedom Ladder

Speaker: Tom Ryder

The Free Software Foundation’s position at the forefront of software freedom for users, with instruments like the GNU General Public License and the Defective by Design anti-DRM campaign, has often led to criticism of them as too hardline, or too purist, especially for less technical people. A more recent effort made in part to dispel this image has been the Freedom Ladder, a campaign to encourage users new to free software to take a first step, simply by replacing one proprietary program they use with a free software substitute, and building on their new freedom gradually from there.

By supporting them in taking a step at a time, we’re confident that we can help bring more people to a fully free setup than ever before. We’re calling this campaign the “freedom ladder,” and we need your support to help others begin climbing it.

The journey begins with a single step: climb the freedom ladder

Tom will discuss a few things he learned in watching and participating in the initial IRC meetings for this campaign.

Download slides (application/pdf, 468 KiB)

Milson Community Centre

$2 gold coin donation.

  • Agenda
    • Welcome
      Chair: John Flower
    • Nodes in Blender for Geometry/Procedural Art
      Speaker: John Flower
    • Break
      Tea, coffee, & biscuits
      Donations collected
    • General Business
    • The Freedom Ladder
      Speaker: Tom Ryder
    • Doors close

July: Face Your Daemons

7pm, Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Topic 1/2: systemd: Heresy and Hearsay

Speaker: Tom Ryder

Of all the holy wars for GNU/Linux systems, the dominance of systemd is among the most controversial, with one suite of tightly-coupled software tools taking over so much of the system above the kernel. Being deeply unpopular in traditionalist Unix circles for his systemd apologia, Tom will attempt to explain himself for holding his more nuanced position.

Tom is a bearded chap, and hacks facing black screens with white writing for Inspire Net…a fan of Vim, and tappy-tappy over clicky-clicky.

PLUG Vice President John Flower’s succinct biography

Download slides (application/pdf, 428 KiB)

Topic 2/2: Docker and WSL in Windows

Speaker: John Eyres

John Eyres will demonstrate the use of Docker and WSL in Windows with VSCode, continuing on Nick’s WSL topic from last month.

Continue reading “July: Face Your Daemons”

June: Linux on Windows and Booting from the Cloud

7pm, Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Topic 1/2: WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux)

Speaker: Nick Skarott

WSL is the Windows Subsystem for Linux, a way to run not only console based Linux applications but also now GUI Linux applications on a Windows 10 host. Nick will walk through the setup and demo its capabilities.

Topic 2/2: Practical PXE boot

Speaker: Stephen Worthington

Bring your laptops! Stephen brings us a Part 2 to PXE booting—run a Linux distro on your machine tonight—without it even touching the hard drive—over a live network!

Continue reading “June: Linux on Windows and Booting from the Cloud”

May: OhMyZsh and Gemini

7pm, Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Topic 1/2: Competitive Programming—OhMyZSH

Speaker: Tim-Hinnerk Heuer

A short introduction to becoming effective with OhMyZSH with a focus on competitive programming with C++. This will be free-form, so contributions are welcome. I’ll show you how you can become effective with CP on websites such as HackerRank, LeetCode and CodeChef using nothing but the shell, Vim, and the websites. You’ll need to be very proficient with a programming language for competitive programming. I would recommend C++ and Python as the two languages of choice, but you can use a lot of languages such as JavaScript, Java, and many more.

Hopefully we can all learn something in this session and most importantly—have fun.

Topic 2/2: Gemini

Speaker: Giovanni Moretti

Gemini is a new internet protocol which:

– Is heavier than gopher
– Is lighter than the web
– Will not replace either
– Strives for maximum power to weight ratio
– Takes user privacy very seriously
Continue reading “May: OhMyZsh and Gemini”