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.
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.
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.
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.
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.