VAGUE meeting report – Thu 16 Feb 2006

Last night’s VAGUE meeting was dominated by the Key Signing Party, which went pretty smoothly. We were joined by a few fresh faces, which is always nice. This was my first key-signing event, and it was simple and painless; the pizza helped, I’m sure. I’ve already received a couple of signatures from others, and will start sending mine to various UID addresses this evening. Unfortuantely, a couple of people were unable to attend and there was a mis-recorded fingerprint, so a follow-up event might be in the cards during an upcoming meeting. I had intended to present a round-up of [application software that can make use of GPG](, but it turns out that GnuPG already has a nice list of such software. So I punted and spent time on GnuCash instead.

After the KSP, we talked briefly about next month’s meeting. It will be on the 3rd Thursday of the month, which is Thu March 16th, and it’s very likely to be in the Mac lab (Waterman 113-T); Jim Lawson will schedule the room. With this meeting we’ll get some external publiclity, primarily by putting an announcement into Seven Days. Sam Hooker has volunteered to put the ad in next week.

At the same time, we didn’t come up with any agenda for the next meeting. We had talked briefly about discussing (the draft of) version 3 of the GPL. It seems like that should be a presentation followed by open discussion, and thus would require someone to develop a (or adapt an existing) presentation on the changes. But, even that is up in the air. So, content TBD…

January VAGUE meeting

The January VAGUE meeting on Thursday January 19th was a nice event, thanks to all who attended.

We started off with a nice presentation from Nada O’Neal about basic SQL query syntax in the context of MySQL. Nada had prepared paper copies of the presentation, and in the absence of a projector a crisis was averted. The presentation covered basic selects and the details of left and multi-way joins, the union operator, text and numeric functions and tricks about sorting result-sets

Anthony Carrico then presented an overview of a OpenPGP key-signing party, to occur as the primary event of the February VAGUE meeting. Participation is wide-open and strongly encouraged. Interested participants should review the instructions. There is an addition over what was presented at the meeting, in that participants MUST bring a hard copy of their OWN key fingerprint with them to the meeting. This is in order to verify that the key available on the keyserver, to be signed by the group, is the same as the one the user actually generated. Anthony is quite happy to help resolve and questions you may have before the event. I’ve volunteered to present a quick overview of application-level software and extensions that supports message signature and encryption, particularly email and IM software.

Rion D’Luz proposed a larger installfest than the previous ones this group has undertaken, specifically a weekend, multi-hour event at a location like Radio Bean. Leveraging the open wifi, and hopefully having some pre-tested machines available to demonstrate the wide variety of application-level software that awaits potential users. A take-away from this event should be a post-card sized sheet detailing an already-scheduled follow-on install-fest, providing an opportunity for parties who’s interest is piqued by the first event to come to the second. The utility of live-cds and installing into a VMWare instance was also discussed. Rion will start the coordination of this in the second half of the February meeting…

A tentative next-meeting date of February 16th, being the 3rd Thursday of the month, was proposed.

Afterwards, most of the group trekked down to Vermont Pub and Brewery for some extended discussion and excellent beer. We ate and drank over talk of compensation models for open-source software, the utter screwed-ness of SCO, and the trials and tribulations of hardware support under free operating systems. It seemed like a good time was had by all, though unfortunately we seemed to lose a couple of people in the UVM → VPB transition.

November VAGUE meeting, gentoo presentation

On Wednesday 16 Nov 2005, VAGUE had our November meeting. As per suggestion in the October meeting, this month was supposed to be a couple of mini-presentations, around 10-15 minutes. I volunteered to give one about Gentoo Linux, and Sam Hooker volunteered to give one about distributed monitoring with Nagios.

After settling in, we decided I’d go first … a which point my 10 minute Gentoo presentation turned into 45 minutes. Luckily, I’m not responsible for all that time, as there were some good questions and discussion… but it was an utter travesty of time-estimation, to be sure. Sam’s presentation took about 30 minutes, also in part due to a lot of questions and discussion about how Nagios might be used generally, and how Sam specifically is making use of it.

After the presentations, we had a round discussion about future events, generally deciding that my desire to upgrade my laptop doesn’t mean we should necessarily do an install-fest … and that it’s probably more important to have application- and desktop-level demonstrations available if we’re really interested in externally promoting the group and trying to encourage people to realize that Linux is a step forward, not backward. There was some discussion about the directions of the various distributions and package management systems therein, in part due to Paul Flint joining us after moving into the area and bringing some Ubuntu 5.10 CDs from the recent UbuntuBelowZero developers conference in Montréal to proselytize with.

Rion D’Luz talked about his desire to start an organization similar to the Portland Open Source Source Software Entrepreneurs (POSSE) … maybe even “VOSSE” … organizing Vermont Open-Source software entrepreneurs to be available to the wider business community for open-source presentation and consultation.

We talked a bit about a regular meeting date, and decided that Thursdays were generally good for people who were there (and a couple who weren’t). As such, a future meeting date of Thursday 15 Dec was proposed. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend, as I’ll be in California for work that week, but I’m glad to see a possibly-regular meeting time (3rd Thursday of the month) coalescing.