2016-04: What to Celebrate

Location:  The Working Centre 58 Queen Street South, Kitchener, ON (plan)
Date: April 11th, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

As a counterpoint to last month’s terrifying meeting, let’s discuss the ways that system administration has gotten easier and more effective. We can share tools and techniques that have made a big difference in our systems administration practices, and talk about our glorious utopian future.



– Ubuntu Release Party: April 23?
+ not enough interest?
+ Sign up at https://framadate.org…­

– Laptop Rescue Mission: April 16, 4-8pm

Media Manipulation
– John Berger: Ways of Seeing
– ORLAN: Plastic surgery as performance art

What Should We Celebrate?

Open source

– It has lasted long
– Many companies have put FLOSS into hardware: TVs, fax machines
+ But these devices are locked up tightly
– Free Software movement wants to make the software reusable for anybody
+ But Android apps are often not FLOSS
+ Google has a layer on top of the kernel that is proprietary

– Kik controversy?
+ There were some tools on a server including “Left-Pad”. He had one application called “kik”. The company Kik got mad.
+ The guy took down his repo
+ Then all the tools went away
+ But then Kik went down too!
+ Lessons: everybody is dependent on everything else on the Internet
* But now other people’s code need to be accessible
+ Lesson: Big companies can bully small companies
+ It was a trademark issue, not a copyright issue
+ Should free software include being able to use the name you want?


– Makes lots of experimentation possible
– Software defined networking
– Can be done on small/cheap machines
– eg Virtualbox
– The software is available for no cost
+ This is an outcome of FLOSS

Computer Recycling

– Some people on limited incomes are running Linux?
– MRR program: Windows + Office for cheap (low income only)
– Linux machines running Xubuntu (for everybody)
– The cost ranges: $60 – 120 for desktops, $30 – 75 for laptops

– Now people on limited incomes have phones

– Desktops are cheaper and good for creating things

Microsoft is less evil now

– More responsive to customers
– Powershell is good
– Microsoft is not FUDding FLOSS any more
+ you will be able to run Bash
+ .NET is being open sourced

Looking up information

– Open forums
– Open bugtrackers
– Stack Exchange : superuser, stackoverflow
+ Sometimes the moderators are jerks, though
+ They are getting less good
– Technet is often good
– ss64.com for DOS commands

You still need to weed out the garbage.

Alternatives to Google

– startpage, duckduckgo: alternatives to search
+ Ixquick is dead


– Cost is getting lower
– Storage is cheap enough that tapes are less necessary

Remote access

– You can access a lot of servers remotely
– Communication: videoconferencing
– Collaboration tools

IndieWeb, Self-hosting

– Mumble servers

Maker culture

– Cheap computer (RaspPis, Arduinos)
– Kids are learning to hack and modify stuff
– Coding as basic literacy
– Easy programming languages like Python

Demise of Flash and Java

– There are still diminishing but HTML5 is coming

Package management

– Everybody has learned the lesson of apt
– Every application includes its set of dependencies?

Accessibility of apps

– ninite.com
– App stores with thousands of apps
– Chocolatey, nuget
– Configuration management: Puppet, Chef, Ansible, Saltstack

Software is cheap for nonprofits

– Techsoup
– Office 365

Cheaper phone stuff

– VoIP
– Asterisk
– Alternatives to Bell/Rogers
– Fongo

Grand Conclusion

Everything is all bad

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