Minutes

BLUG MEET - 26th March 2004

Hi Folks,

Here are the minutes of the March 2004 BLUG Meet. It was held at the usual place this time at the Shantala Hall of Ashraya Hotel on Infantry Road. 64 people turned up for this meet. The topic of this month's meet was on various Linux Distributions. The meet started off at 6:15 pm with Kartik, the BLUG co-ordinator welcoming the crowd and by introducing the first speaker.

The first talk was by Vivek Singhal from IBM. His talk was about customizing Morphix. Morphix was derived from Knoppix a live CD distribution. Vivek's talk was very elaborate. He explained the various details about this distro, viz., how a single CD distro can contain upto 1.8 GB of software, and the boot process of the distro. Vivek also explained the directory structure of Morphix and the procedure for making a mini module, testing a module, making a customiseable ISO image. As per Vivek, Morphix is easier to modify than Knoppix which has file level symbolic links as against directory level symbolic links in Knoppix. Several main and mini modules are already available for download. Vivek ended his talk with the final slide showing the various URLs which contain interesting information about Morphix.

The 2nd talk of the evening was by Biju Chacko from Red Hat. Biju's talk was about Red Hat Enterprise Linux v3. This talk was aimed more for those people who wished to deploy RHEL v3 in an enterprise environment. The talk had some historical data about the evolution of Red Hat Linux and how this distro spanned out into 2 branches, viz., the Enterprise Server and the Fedora Project. Biju's presentation had some very useful slides containing some benchmark test results which would come in handy for those people who wish to deploy RHEL v3. Biju also elaborated on the support contract for RHEL ranging from 2.5 to 5 years for those customers who invest in this product. A very interesting slide was also shown about a TPC/C benchmark where Samba outperforms Windows Server 2003. Biju's talk was followed by a brief Q & A session about RHEL pricing and distributing the SRPMs and binaries of RHEL. Basically it was concluded that it was subject to certain terms and conditions.

The 3rd talk of the evening, which BTW, was the most interesting talk of the evening in my opinion, was by Srikanth Nadhamuni from the eGovernments Organisation. Even though the talk was addressed with the help of a M$ Powerpoint slide running on a Windows 2003 Server, it was the content of the talk that grabbed everyone's attention. Srikanth introduced himself and the work that is done by his organization which has about 12 volunteers developing software for the purpose of eGovernance. Even though the software developed by Srikanth's team is not open source, it is given free of charge to the various Government departments for their day to day work and even the upgrades are free. This seemed like a very interesting concept, keeping in mind the end goal which Srikanth's organization wishes to achieve. A transparent tax collection and assessment system. Srikanth gave a live demo of the software using a property tax collection system for the City of Byatarayanapura, hope I got the spelling right ! The demo was an excellent example of how property taxes for various commercial properties can be assessed and collected. Srikanth mentioned that the current system is running on some commercial and closed source platforms. Help was sought from the BLUG for migrating this system to open source platform. This aroused the interest of the participants and a lively discussion followed between Srikanth and the group on the various aspects of this software model. Thus Srikanth's talk came to an end and it was suggested that further discussions can continue on the Non-Tech list and if anyone is interested in volunteering for Srikanth, he can be contacted at his office in Indiranagar.

By now, the crowd was eagerly looking forward towards an announcement of the end of the meet. It was not to be so the 4th talk of the evening was announced. This talk was on Gentoo Linux by Shyam Mani who is in his 7th semester in the B.E. Comp. Sc. Shyam's talk was another interesting talk. It started become the Meet for the Distro's Day Out!

Gentoo is once again a live CD distro which has 3 stages of installation. Shyam however warned the crowd that this is not a distro for a newbie. But once you get acquainted with this distro, it becomes highly addictive. Shyam's talks focused on the various aspects of this distro like using the genkernel script for kernel compiling, using the make.conf file for customizing settings. Shyam laid some special emphasis on the emerge and ebuild commands and he even demonstrated some tricks with the emerge command. Shyam also mentioned about the important things to be done after installation, viz., setting clock=local, adding user account to the wheel group for running the su command to gain root access. Shyam mentioned about the various ongoing developments with Gentoo Linux and various related web sites for more help and documentation. Shyam ended his talk with a vote of thanks to the people who introduced him to Gentoo Linux, in particular, Sony Philip.

The smell of the warm food was now spreading across the hall. But the crowd was very patient as always. After a long time, such a long meet was being held. The 5th and final talk of the evening was announced. This talk was by Rishi on the Fedora Project. BTW, this was the first meet being attended by Rishi and what a debut at the BLUG Meet. He gets to give a talk at his first meet. Way to go Rishi ! Way to go ! May we have you for more talks during the year and also during LB/2004. It was just like taking a wicket on the first delivery a bowler bowls in his first international match or hitting a six off the first ball for a batsman. Couldn't help making this comparison as everyone was still in a hangover from Wednesday's match at Lahore. Anyway, back to the talk.

Rishi's talk was a brief one about the Fedora project. It concentrated more on FC1. Rishi mentioned about FC merging with Red Hat in September 2003 and FC1 being released in October 2003. FC2 ISO images are apparently available for download and the CD distros are expected in a couple of weeks as per Rishi. FC would take care of old releases by providing patches and updates. Various URLs containing details about FC were also shared by Rishi. Rishi then mentioned about the various previous versions of Red Hat Linux which can be upgraded to FC1. We need to watch out for some of the monitors that are not supported in FC1 which were however supported by RHL 9. Rishi recommended enabling rhgb for displaying the new startup sequence which is graphically more attractive. The various file systems supported by FC1 are ReiserFS, JFS and NTFS support is not provided by default but needs to enabled manually. Some of the Kernel 2.6 features have been added to FC1 as it ships with Kernel 2.4.22. Rishi then mentioned about the procedures for compiling a new kernel, preparing a new boot file and GRUB settings to be modified subsequently. Rishi ended his talk with reference to some URLs on how Kernel 2.6 was built and thanked the audience for being very co-operative with him considering the fact that it was his first talk in his very first meet.

Kartik then concluded the end of talks and announced the availability of food much to everyone's happiness and relief. The meet continued with everyone grabbing bites of food and catching up with friends. The meet ended with everyone involving in some socializing. Well, that is all for this meet folks. It was a pretty long meet, but a good one. See you all at the next meet. Until then, happy tuxing !

Regards,
Surjo


FINAL ACCOUNTS

Source Income Expenses Balance
Covercharges (64x100) 6400
Hotel Charges 6000
Final Accounts 6400 6000 400
All amounts are in INR
The balance will be utilized at the next meet

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