South Birmingham Lug and other things


Last Thursday (16th November) I attended a meeting of the South Birmingam Linux User Group (SBLUG) held at their usual venue of the School of Computer Science at Birmingham University.

The meeting was arranged as a couple of workshop sessions one covering general Linux questions relating to installations and kernel modules and the other relating to the wider issue of free culture in particular free, as in freedom, films and music.

The meeting was supposed to have a number of these sessions going on simultaneously so we could split into small groups and have half an hour with each workshop leader but this fell through in the run up to the event.

Despite being hastily re-arranged to a more ad-hoc format the meeting was enjoyable, there about 10 of us altogether. The initial session, led by Tim Lewis, looked at installing kernel modules and answered a couple of questions from the floor. Quite early on there was a brief exposition on the merits of a monolithic or micro kernel and I did wonder if a complete noob to Linux had walked in at that point he/she may have well walked straight out again. Aside from that though the session was very practically focused.

The second session was lead by Zeth Green and he played a couple of excerpts of open source films namely “Elephants Dream” and StarWreck both of these seemed to have very high production values and I’ll certainly be taking a proper look at them at some point. Zeth also had a large number of Creative Commons or other open source music but wasn’t able to play any due to technical difficulties. He did offer to download songs to people’s MP3 players but had some trouble getting IPods recognised over FireWire etc.

All in all it was an enjoyable evening though perhaps it felt a little University-centric as the two presenters both worked at the university and at least 4 of the other attendees were students there. I shall look forward to other meetings of the lug and hope to be able to become more active in it in the future. I also hope to be able to join the folks at the pub after the meetings next time. (Though only for a soft drink of course.)

TT280 Web Design Course

I haven’t posted anything about my experiences of doing tt280 using Open Source software since my initial post. I guess mostly because after my initial set up I have not encountered any difficulties in using Open Source tools for the job. Of course I am “required” to test how pages look in Internet Explorer but aside from that I haven’t come across any issues that stopped me from using Open Source.

What has been noticeable has been a general absence of any recognition of Linux based systems using web browsers and any issues those users may have when visiting a website. The set book, Principles of Web Design by Joel Sklar makes reference to Macs a couple of times and mentions Unix systems once in relation to default fonts likely to be available but that is mostly it.

My final report has to be submitted as a Word document or an rtf. I’ll be writing it in Open Office but whether I then choose to submit it as .doc or .rtf will depend on how it looks when opened in Microsoft Word. I don’t think it would be unreasonable for them to accept PDF as well.

Change of Blogging Style

In previous posts I have tended to make hyperlinks out of lots of different terms and phrases I have used that have any obvious websites associated with them. Even though this is easy to do in wordpress it does slow down the time taken to complete a post. Therefore I have decided only to link to sites when they relate to individuals or open source projects or perhaps less common technical terms. I won’t be linking for obvious items like Ipod, MP3 or Microsoft.

Hopefully this will mean I am more likely to post more often. (That’s a good thing right?)


One thought on “South Birmingham Lug and other things

  1. >All in all it was an enjoyable evening though perhaps it felt a little University-centric as the two presenters
    >both worked at the university and at least 4 of the other attendees were students there.

    Well the clocks changed and it got dark, cold and wet which I think put some people off and it was a bit of a bodge (all our other presents pulled out at the last minute and so we stepped into the breech), but I think it went quite well considering. I found it especially fun as it was almost a completely different group than the meeting before.

    We have been discussing how to appeal to people outside the University but it is not always so easy. If anyone knows some organisation that will take leaflets then let us know and we will send them.

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