Meetings

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This year's meetings

October 30th, 2pm - 4pm: Installfest 2013!
Location: Huxley LT 308

Are you interested in using Linux but not sure where to start, what version to use or how to install it on your computer? We will be holding an installfest for our first meeting of the year. Several experienced Linux users will be present, so bring along your laptop and we will be on hand guide you through installing Linux. Linux can also give new life to your older laptop you have lying around doing nothing!

We will have CDs for a number of different distributions and USB sticks for installing Linux on ultrabooks and netbooks. However, feel free to bring along your own installer if you have a particular distro you'd like to install.

If you've already installed Linux but are having difficulties with it you're welcome to bring your machine along and someone should be able to help out with troubleshooting any problems.

If you want to stay safe, do a backup of your important data first!

Finding the room: Enter Huxley building from the Sherfield walkway. Room 308 is on the same level as the walkway, in the Department of Computing. Signs will guide you to the room!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Last year's meetings

Tuesday February 5th, 6:00pm: Tom Hall The Big Data Menagerie
Location: Skempton LT 207

In the first week of February we have a special treat for you, a guest lecture from Tom Hall, free software enthusiast and devops guru. Read his blog or find him on twitter.

One of the buzzyest of buzzwords at the moment is Big Data, if you ignore all the hype there is a lot of amazing stuff out there though. It is a fast moving field with great work going on in industry and academia, most of it Free Software.

Tom will give an overview of the ecosystem and ideas around 'big data' including Map/Reduce, Hadoop, HDFS, Hive, HBase, Cassandra, Mahout, Pig - lots of which he fortunately gets to play with in his day job. Also the so-called 'NoSQL' datastores and some recent forays into graph databases. He hopes you find something interesting you can use or work on.

Tuesday October 30th, 6:00pm: Make the most of your Linux system
Location: Huxley 144

Bring a laptop or any other device with a freshly installed (or well hung) Linux on it to follow along the tutorial as we go. There will be a walkthrough of the most essential desktop applications you might find useful and the essentials on how to install software and update and configure your system. The main focus though will be the shell (terminal), which is the most powerful and efficient way to interact with your system.

In case you've missed the Install Fest and don't have a Linux installed yet, fear not! We'll be happy to brief you on the installation and you can install your system during the tutorial.

We'll also be signing PGP keys and you can become a CACert assurer - so you can sign your own SSL server certificates!

Slides

Tuesday October 16th, 6:30pm: Install Fest!
Location: Huxley 711C

Bring a laptop or any other device and we'll guide you through installing your favourite flavour of Linux on it! And we'll give you advice which distribution to pick if you're unsure. We'll have USB keys with all major distributions available. As a bonus you get to keep the USB stick after you've installed your system (as long as supply lasts).

Meetings of 2011-2012:

Tuesday December 13th, 6:30pm: Beer
Location: The Queen's Arms, Kensington

Although we have no more talks this term, we will have a meeting on Tuesday 13th December at 6:30pm, in the Queen's Arms for some end-of-term drinks - everyone is welcome to come along! The Queen's Arms is very close to the college, on Queens Gate Mews - if you're not sure where it is, have a look at http://www.thequeensarmskensington.co.uk/findus/

Monday December 5th, 6:15pm: David Kurka, The Free Software Philosophy
Location:

Slides: here.

Whenever you use or develop an free and open source software, you are somehow connecting to a bigger movement of people and ideas. This talk will explore and discuss what is behind these software, seeing the history of the free software movement and its ideas, what is the motivation of people involved, and some of its applications like: freedom in other medias (music, literature, academic research) and the use of free software in business (ie: how to make money with free software).

Tuesday November 22nd, 6pm: Graham Markall, Introduction to Linux - Part II
Location: Physics LT 2

This talk will be a continuation of last week's talk on the basics of Linux. The talk will be about more advanced bash scripting techniques and will start to look at some of the more commonly used commands in Linux.

Tuesday November 9th, 6pm: Graham Markall, Introduction to Linux and the shell
Location: Huxley 145

Slides: here.

This talk is a re-run of last year's talk on the basics of Linux, with slight updates for the latest version of Ubuntu. Tools available, functionality and compatibility with Windows products will be touched upon. The main emphasis however will be on using the "terminal" (command line) which can be employed for manipulating just about anything data wise, connecting to remote machines and operating just about anything!

Meetings of 2010-2011:

Tuesday March 1st, 6pm: Jeremy Cohen, Introduction to Cloud Computing
Location: Huxley 711C

In this talk I'll provide an introduction to Cloud Computing, focussing on the lowest layer of the "Cloud stack" - infrastructure. The talk will look at building and using a private Cloud on a Linux platform using the open source Eucalyptus Cloud platform that offers an interface compatible with Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service.

Tuesday February 22nd, 6pm: Tom Hall, Collapsing the storage stack - ZFS and btrfs
Location: Huxley 344A

Continuing from his last talk on RAID and LVM (with a brief recap for those who did not catch it) Tom will talk about how the ZFS filesystem collapses the stack and takes on the role of RAID and volume management alongside what a typical filesystem typically does. With end to end data integrity checks, zero cost and constant time snapshots, encryption, compression and dedupe, ZFS powered Sun's entry into the storage market and upset NetApp so much they sued them for patent infringement. The btrfs filesystem has a similar feature set, is available in the linux kernel but is quite different under the hood.

Wednesday February 2nd, 6pm: Dominic Spill, Introduction to Software-defined Radio
Location:

Software radio has been around for a few years now but its use is often limited to a relatively small group of amateur radio enthusiasts and research departments. We'll take a look at the hardware and software tools available to the open source community and explore some of the uses that they can be put to. Dominic has been working with software radio since 2007 in an attempt to build a bluetooth packet sniffer.

Dominic's Bluesniff tool is described in this USENIX paper and was presented at DEFCON. The project is currently hosted in a Sourceforge project.

Tuesday December 14th, 6pm: Tom Hall, "RAID and LVM: Why you want them, what they do, how to do it in Linux"
Location: TBA

This talk introduces the block device (the incredibly useful abstraction that most filesystems expect to consume), and two standard ways to create them -RAID and LVM

Tom will explain how devices can be combined for performance and redundancy, including a discussion of the performance characteristics of RAID 0, 5, 6 and 10, a good rule of thumb for provisioning storage, how linux does it, RAIDs failings (and how smart hardware tries to avoids them).

Tom will also explain how LVM works and go though some examples (including mirroring and striping and using it for KVM disks). He will try to also talk about network block protocols like iSCSI and AoE, Distributed Replicated Block Device and the Network Block Device.

In the new year (or the pub) Tom will be talking about how the ZFS/btrfs filesystems collapse the stack and do something like what RAID/LVM do by (depending on your view) telescoping some complexity or rampantly violating layers.

Tuesday November 16th, 1pm: Graham Markall, Introduction to Linux - Part II
Location: Room 163, Skempton Building

Update: slides available here. Scripts and some examples used in the talks here.

This is a talk given for the Civil Engineering Fluids Section's "Tech Talks" series of talks. Stuart Archibald, the organiser of the talks, has kindly agreed to open up the talk to all the members of ICLUG.

This talk will be a continuation of last week's talk on the basics of Linux. The talk will be about more advanced bash scripting techniques and will start to look at some of the more commonly used commands in Linux. This talk is a precursor to a talk which will be held in the near future on how to use the IC HPC (high performance computing) service.

Tuesday November 9th, 6pm: Tim Bond, Operations Manager in the Applied Modelling and Computation Group in ESE.
Buildbot: Automating Software Testing

Location: Huxley 144

The Applied Modelling and Computation Group (AMCG) at Imperial College develop Fluidity, a fluid dynamics code used for applications from tsunami modelling to tracing pollution in city environments.

Fluidity is actively developed by many tens of researchers, many of whom are primarily scientists as opposed to computer scientists, and most of whom don't keep track of what the needs of niche users of the code are. Fluidity is also dependent on many external libraries such as PETSc.

This poses various challenges:

Buildbot provides a neat, automated solution to all these problems, performing build and regression tests for every change to the code and reporting back on any issues arising.

Tim Bond, from the AMCG group, will discuss how AMCG have deployed buildbot on a dedicated Ubuntu-based server and on the college HPC cluster, and outline the key advantages that such an approach can have for software projects at all scales.

Tuesday November 9th, 1pm: Graham Markall, Introduction to Linux and the shell
Location: Room 163, Skempton Building

Update: slides available here. There will be a follow-up talk, continuing on from this talk, the details of which will be announced shortly.

This is a talk given for the Civil Engineering Fluids Section's "Tech Talks" series of talks. Stuart Archibald, the organiser of the talks, has kindly agreed to open up the talk to all the members of ICLUG.

This talk is about the basics of Linux. Tools available, functionality and compatibility with Windows products will be touched upon. The main emphasis however will be on using the "terminal" (command line) which can be employed for manipulating just about anything data wise, connecting to remote machines and operating just about anything!

Tuesday October 26th, 6pm: Installfest!
Location: Huxley 340

Are you interested in using Linux but not sure where to start, what version to use or how to install it on your computer? We will be holding an installfest for our first meeting of the year. Several experienced Linux users will be present, so bring along your laptop and we will be on hand guide you through installing Ubuntu.

We will also demonstrate an installation of Ubuntu 10.10 and show how to set-up basic things such as networking and desktop preferences.

Since Ubuntu 10.10 has now been released, we will provide a number of install discs for people to use. We should also have CDs for a number of different distributions and a USB stick or two for installing on netbooks. However, feel free to bring along your own installer if you have a particular distro you'd like to install.

If you've already installed Linux but are having difficulties with it (e.g. wireless drivers, graphics not behaving properly...) you're welcome to bring your machine along and someone should be able to help out with troubleshooting any problems.

Finding the room: Enter Huxley building from the Sherfield walkway. Room 340 is on the same level as the walkway. As it can be difficult for non-computing/maths students to enter Huxley after 6pm, one of the committee will be around the entrance in order to let attendees in and guide them to the room.

We (the committee) look forward to seeing you there!