CUUG Meetings: 2013-2014
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June General Meeting

The 2013 Flood for Engineers

Speaker: Roy Brander, Senior Infrastructure Engineer for Water Resources, The City of Calgary

Media stories about engineering problems are simplified down to the eight-second sound bite. For those of a more technical bent, here's the 2013 flood story with maps and numbers.

Thrill to the actual Glenmore hydrograph readings - and how they show it could have been worse. Much worse. Compare the 1986 100-year flood map to what was actually flooded - and what wasn't. Lavishly illustrated.

Roy Brander is a CUUG Life Member. He has given a number of presentations on a wide variety of subjects, including the BSDWall project, the MEPIS Linux distribution, the Titanic, management of Calgary's water mains, and the ASUS Eee PC and Moore's Law. Roy will soon be retiring (at far too young an age) from his day job as the Senior Infrastructure Engineer for Water Resources, The City of Calgary, so this could be your last chance to take in one of his presentations.

The City of Calgary - Water Centre

Bow River Room 2
625 - 25 Ave. S.E.
(25th Avenue S.E. and Spiller Road S.E.)
(link to location on Google Maps)
(link to parking information)

5:30 PM, Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Snacks at 17:30. CUUG Annual General Meeting begins at 18:00. Presentation begins immediately after AGM.

Free admission for the general public.

Annual General Meeting and Elections

The Calgary UNIX Users' Group is holding its Annual General Meeting and election of the 2014/2015 Board of Directors. Nominees so far include the following:

The City of Calgary - Water Centre

Bow River Room 2
625 - 25 Ave. S.E.
(25th Avenue S.E. and Spiller Road S.E.)
(link to location on Google Maps)
(link to parking information)

5:30 PM, Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Snacks at 17:30. Meeting begins at 18:00.

Membership Renewals Due

It is annual renewal time for CUUG memberships. Membership fees remain at $50.00 (no GST), and cheques can be made payable to Calgary UNIX Users' Group. Our mailing address is as follows:

Calgary Unix Users' Group
Box 878, Station M
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2P 2J6

Or, better yet, come to the meeting on Tuesday, June 24, and renew there.

Invoices have been sent by e-mail. If you have not received yours, please contact office at CUUG.

May General Meeting

LibreSSL: an Open-Source Replacement for OpenSSL

Sometimes You Just Gotta Say, "Fork It!"

Speakers: Bob Beck, OpenBSD Developer and OpenBSD Foundation Director; Theo de Raadt, OpenBSD Founder

In April 2014, the Heartbleed security bug came to the world's attention. Sites using the OpenSSL Transport Layer Security (TLS) library were vulnerable to attacks exposing private information (which could include passwords and financial data) to malicious third parties. Since a significant fraction of all web sites use OpenSSL, this was a very serious problem.

Always concerned about security, the OpenBSD team assessed the situation and concluded that the OpenSSL group was not up to the task of repairing the damage and providing a secure implementation for future use. Instead of simply waiting for OpenSSL to improve on its own, OpenBSD developers decided to get directly involved and produce an API-compatible fork, named LibreSSL.

Initially, LibreSSL is specifically targeted only for OpenBSD. Much of the cruft in the original OpenSSL code base is being removed, leaving a simpler and more maintainable core. Once that is stable, ports to other operating systems are expected to follow.

Bob Beck, who is spearheading the LibreSSL development effort, discusses the background, current efforts, and possible future directions for LibreSSL. Theo de Raadt, OpenBSD founder and never shy with his opinions, will also chime in, and will be able to address any questions about other OpenBSD development for the November release 5.6 of OpenBSD.

Bob Beck has been an OpenBSD developer since 1995, and has been involved in many areas of the Operating System from the kernel through userland - having dabbled in uvm/cache, device drivers, several OS daemons, pf, spamd, OpenSSH as well as the original integration of SSLeay, and now the LibreSSL fork. Bob is a director of the not-for-profit OpenBSD foundation that supports OpenBSD, LibreSSL and related projects.

For a living, Bob works as an independent consultant specializing in lower level software development, security, nerd herding, and the extraction of excess blown sunshine.

Bob lives in Edmonton Alberta with the most patient woman on the planet, two grown children, three cats and a dog. For fun he likes hiking in the backcountry (OpenBSD actually being a hiking group with a serious software development problem), as well as travelling, and occasionally causing the premature demise of magnificent forest creatures that taste good.

Theo de Raadt is widely recognized as a world class security expert. In October 1995, Theo founded the OpenBSD project. OpenBSD is the most secure of the publicly available operating systems.

In 1999, Theo created OpenSSH with other members of OpenBSD. It is now incorporated into all Unix systems plus hundreds of other network enabled products. It has become the most "vendor re-used" piece of open source software, with more than 95% of the SSH market.

Theo was awarded the Free Software Foundation's 2004 Award for the Advancement of Free Software, for recognition as founder and project leader of the OpenBSD and OpenSSH projects. His work has also led to significant contributions to other BSD distributions and GNU/Linux. Of particular note is Theo's work on OpenSSH, his leadership of OpenBSD, his commitment to Free Software and his advancement of network security.

Theo is also well known for his advocacy of free software drivers. He has long been critical of developers of Linux and other free platforms for their tolerance of non-free drivers and acceptance of non-disclosure agreements.

The City of Calgary - Water Centre

Bow River Room 2
625 - 25 Ave. S.E.
(25th Avenue S.E. and Spiller Road S.E.)
(link to location on Google Maps)
(link to parking information)
(more parking information)

5:30 PM, Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Snacks at 17:30. Presentation begins at 18:00.

Free admission for the general public.

April General Meeting

City Mapping with Free Software Solutions

Speaker: Roy Brander, Senior Infrastructure Engineer for Water Resources, The City of Calgary

Geographic Information Systems -- software that combines the graphics of CAD with the textual information of databases, allowing programmable map displays that highlight the geographic location of data -- are now a familiar sight everywhere from Google mobile maps to newspaper displays of electoral results. What took a whole mainframe for the simplest maps in the 1960s was a $20,000 Unix workstation when the modern GIS on a single workstation became possible around 1990. For over 20 years, the commercial field has been utterly dominated by the products of one company, ESRI, and GIS was understood to require not just a powerful PC, but a major back-end database, usually Oracle, on a powerful server. Since it was a high-end hardware problem, the software costs were also many thousands and there was very little GIS done personally. Educational institutions taught with ESRI products almost exclusively.

In just the last few years, long projects by advocates of the open-source databases came to fruition with powerful, robust "geodatabase" add-ons for PostgreSQL and MySQL. The add-on for PostgreSQL, called PostGIS, is by far the most popular and supported. The most recent version of PostGIS, 2.0, just released in 2012, makes it an extremely clear and simple matter to combine map linework into a database. Meanwhile, great strides have also been made with open-source mapping client software -- the free product "Quantum GIS" will be demonstrated along with PostGIS, and compared to ESRI products costing many thousands of dollars.

Roy Brander is a CUUG Life Member. He has given a number of presentations on a wide variety of subjects, including the BSDWall project, the MEPIS Linux distribution, the Titanic (the ship, not the movie), management of Calgary's water mains, and the ASUS Eee PC and Moore's Law. At his day job, Roy is the Senior Infrastructure Engineer for Water Resources, The City of Calgary.

The City of Calgary - Water Centre

Bow River Room 2
625 - 25 Ave. S.E.
(25th Avenue S.E. and Spiller Road S.E.)
(link to location on Google Maps)
(link to parking information)

5:00 PM, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Snacks at 17:00. Presentation begins at 17:30. Please note the earlier start time for this presentation.

Free admission for the general public.

March General Meeting

Explaining Technically Difficult Things

Helping Your Friends and Convincing Politicians

From the Arctic Vortex via Linux Installs to Disappearing Into the Ocean

On Tuesday, March 25, join CUUG members in a social evening discussing how hard it can be to get a technical point of scientific, engineering, or artistic nature across to other people in a way that will inform and help.

Everyone has a field (or several) that they learn well, either professionally or as a dedicated amateur. If you know certain ones, you're always being asked about them. And if you're of a certain details bent, and something comes up in conversation, you want to let people know things aren't as they seem but a whole lot different.

The Northern Hemisphere is still in the grips of a season that saw Global Warming create a Colder Winter and launched millions of conversations trying to explain how. From the high-level talk about more heat in the planet's atmosphere and oceans allowing weather systems to drive things to greater extremes, to the more nuanced explanation that a warmer Arctic increases the size of the North Polar Vortex, pushing the Jet Stream south and allowing the Arctic Air Masses to move farther south for longer. Maybe that point was put across well enough...was it?

Then there's talking to an intelligent friend about getting a new laptop. She knows about how Windows 8 is really bad. And you tell her it can be made almost like any Windows with two simple fixes. But she wants to go with Linux! But doesn't realise the User Interface problems with Windows 8 were just the tail end of a lot of silliness still going on in Linux. You describe the GNOME 3 woes and MATE and Cinnamon and Ubuntu going strange with Unity and selling access to Ubuntu users. You mention Linux Mint (and its Debian Edition) as well as Mepis, throwing in how you switched to the XFCE desktop and like it. So she's going to talk to System 76 about getting a Linux that's not Ubuntu. Good thing you don't have to install it, 'cause you're still figuring out how to deal with UEFI and all that new-fangled hardware.

And then you're buying a magazine at the checkout and the clerk starts chatting with you, and wonders if Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was brought down by terrorists, 'cause they can't find it. So you explain that there was Chinese satellite imagery, but the pieces appear to be too large. And that despite air travel being very, very safe, when things go wrong, they can go very wrong very fast. And though it was in a busy area of the world for shipping, that even a Boeing 777 is well under 100m long and can't be seen beyond a certain distance, and could so easily drop into a large ocean and sink quickly out of sight. At least she doesn't think it's Aliens (probably doesn't watch the History Channel).

Is it any wonder some people still think Climate Change isn't something to worry about? Maybe if you explained that even if the United States South West just repeats some of the recent levels of drought discovered (via drowned ancient lake shores) to have occurred there in the last 2000 years, they're already in a world of hurt much, much worse that anything in the last 500. Yeah, it's worth it.

Once more into the breach, explaining.

Knox United Church

506 - 4 St. S.W.
Board Room (2nd floor)

5:30 PM, Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Snacks at 17:30. Discussion begins at 18:00.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

CUUG static IP change

On Thursday 27 Feb 2014 between 08h00 and 10h00 local time, CUUG's static IP will change. There will be a downtime of about 10 minutes for Internet connection. The matching DNS change will also have to propagate.

February General Meeting

Internet Trends: Ignore Your User Base at Your Peril

Like the times, the Internet, it is a-changing. But not necessarily for the better.

On Tuesday, February 25, join CUUG members in a social evening discussing how Internet companies and websites are claiming to strive to improve but only discovering new ways to shoot themselves in the foot.

Some recent examples:

In 2010, the social news website Digg, founded in 2004, rolled out its version 4 website removing many features. Users rebelled against the changes and subsequent site instability and left en masse for Reddit.

In 2012, Korean game company NCSOFT announced on August 31 they would be closing the MMORPG City of Heroes, running since 2004, and immediately liquidated the development studio behind it, Paragon Studios. Despite many appeals from the game's community, NCSOFT shut down City of Heroes on November 30, claiming it was unprofitable; later inside sources said the game had been very profitable. By the end of that year NCSOFT sales and stock price plunged amid ongoing criticism. Industry insiders warned these actions would permanently lose them customers. In 2013 the abandoned community successfully supported a Kickstarter campaign for a replacement MMORPG, City of Titans, with over $678,000.

In the past couple of years the increasing number of gaming controversies made top-ten lists for 2012 and 2013 too small to cover them all. And one of the largest gaming companies, Electronic Arts, won Worst Company In America both of those years and is strongly contending to win it a third year.

And now this week, on 2014 February 5 Wednesday, the tech topic and discussion site Slashdot, online since 1997, announced that it would be transitioning over the next few months to a new Slashdot Beta interface, with immediate rollout when no user was logged in. Available for several months, the Slashdot Beta interface has received intense and widespread criticism of its inadequacies. Within hours Slashdot users both anonymous and logged-in flooded all posts with comments voicing their disgust at the fait accompli.

Articles critical of the forced rollout of Slashdot Beta continue to be submitted and supported by the users but are being blocked by the website staff from being published despite their popularity. Slashdot digest site Alterslash shows that almost all the top-rated comments on all articles are anger at Slashdot Beta. Slashdot members are vowing en masse that when the classic interface disappears they will too. There is talk of setting up alternate websites and organizing a "Slashcott" for February 10 to 17.

And finally an official response: an article is published. "Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!" Over 1000 comments, more than 4 times that of all other topics. But most of those commenters are still very angry and considering alternatives, including notable people like Bruce Perens.

Knox United Church

506 - 4 St. S.W.
Board Room (2nd floor)

5:30 PM, Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Snacks at 17:30. Discussion begins at 18:00.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

December General Meeting

CUUG Holiday Season Social Evening

Regency Palace Restaurant

Another year is coming to a close, and once again we invite you to join your CUUG friends for a social evening at the Regency Palace restaurant, Tuesday, December 10. As in past years, we'll have a private room in which to enjoy the buffet.

If you'd like to join us, please send a quick note to office at cuug.ab.ca so that we can get an approximate count of how many people to expect. We hope to see you there!


Regency Palace Restaurant

335 - 328 Centre Street South

5:45 PM, Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Everyone is welcome to come!

October General Meeting

What's Inside the Data Hive?

Speaker: Marjorie Zingle, Owner and CEO, DataHive.ca

As a follow-up to the presentation given by Theo de Raadt, our speaker will discuss the demands and services necessary to support an Internet Exchange (IX). She will also describe her visits to the Toronto, Vancouver and Minneapolis Internet Exchanges and how those environments adapted to accommodate innovations of their Internet Exchange. She will also touch on the demands created for higher growth expectations, consolidation, and security along with emerging technologies and protocols to meet client challenges.

DataHive will host the evening at their location (third floor, 840 - 7 Avenue S.W.) and attendees will be invited to tour the data centre.

Marjorie readily lets it be known that she is not an IT person. In fact, her ambitions have driven her schooling in quite a different direction from the normal educational process.

Her exploits have almost always taken her into new cutting edge initiatives, always taking on the challenge to build a company into the best possible example within its field.

As a dedicated Autodidact she undertakes to become familiar with the details of the business she undertakes and then hires the right people to do the job.

Buying a defunct data centre eight years ago to build it into a first-class operation was not a planned choice, it was a challenge, requiring hard work and long hours.

Her presentation discusses the unprecedented demands on data centres to meet the exponential growth of data, and the impact of ever increasing users who are adopting more and more on-line business solutions, such as an Internet Exchange, analytics and ever growing Big Data, along with the daily demands for more and more speed, and storage.

DataHive

840 - 7 Ave. S.W.
Third Floor

5:30 PM, Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Snacks at 17:30. Meeting begins at 18:00.

Free admission for the general public.

Door prize.

2013 Board of Directors

At the June 2013 Annual General Meeting, the following people were elected to the Board of Directors for 2013/2014:

  • Christopher Aziz (President)
  • Dick Miller (Secretary-Treasurer)
  • Alan Dewar
  • Mark Hewitt
  • Greg King
Read all about them.