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.

Download slides (application/pdf, 280 KiB)

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.

Download slides (application/pdf, 248 KiB)

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.

Download slides (application/pdf, 588 KiB)

Continue reading “October: Speeduino and LVM”

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.

Download slides (application/pdf, 716 KiB)

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.

Continue reading “July: Self-Hosting and Adventures in Codeland”

CANCELLED: June: Inkscape and Adventures in Codeland

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.

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.

Download slides (application/pdf, 112 KiB)

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.

Download slides (application/pdf, 580 KiB)


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