[wplug-announce] The Open Pitt, Issue 26

Vance Kochenderfer vkochend at nyx.net
Mon Jul 31 22:38:54 EDT 2006

PDF version: <http://www.wplug.org/top/wplug-top026.pdf>

                               THE OPEN PITT
      What's cooking in Linux and Open Source in Western Pennsylvania

Issue 26                         July 2006                    www.wplug.org

In this issue:
  Notes from YAPC::NA 2006
  June Roundup
  Hot Off the Grill...
  Location, Location, Location

                               Coming Events

Aug. 5:  General User Meeting.  10am to 2pm, 3002 Newell-Simon Hall, CMU
Aug. 12: 5th Annual WPLUG Open Source Picnic.  1pm to 6pm, Snyder Park,
Sep. 16: General User Meeting/Nomination Meeting.  12:30pm to 4:30pm,
         Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh--Squirrel Hill
Sep. 23: Pittsburgh Perl Workshop hosted by the Pittsburgh Perl Mongers. 
         University Center, CMU (pre-registration required at
Sep. 30: Ohio LinuxFest. Greater Columbus Convention Center (pre-
         registration required at <http://www.ohiolinux.org/>)

                    The public is welcome at all events

Notes from YAPC::NA 2006
by Scott M. Kriebel

  The Yet Another Perl Conference--North America (YAPC::NA) was held on
  June 26-28, 2006 on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology in
  Chicago.  Scott provided this report from the event.  You can find its
  web site at <http://yapcchicago.org/>.

YAPC has its roots right here in Pittsburgh.  Started as a low-cost Perl
conference, it was first held on June 24-25, 1999 at Carnegie Mellon
University.  According to Wikipedia, the first YAPC had 31 speakers on
various Perl topics.  The following year, YAPC 19100 (so named for the Y2K
bug) was also held at CMU.

Though I've worked in this field for several years, this was the first
conference I've ever attended.  YAPC::NA brings the big names in Perl
together.  Larry Wall, Damian Conway, Mark Jason Dominus (MJD), brian d
foy, Audrey Tang, Ingy dot net, and chromatic to just name a few.  I must
admit it was neat having a beer at the bar and striking up a conversation
with a fellow that turned out to be Randal L. Schwartz, co-author of some
of the books that I cut my teeth with when I first started learning Perl.

A complete list of the talks can be found at the web site listed above.
AJAX was a popular topic this year, obviously getting Perl hackers ready
for the Web 2.0 world.  Perl 6 updates were given by Damian Conway and
Larry Wall.  Unfortunately, the release date is still "around Christmas"
with no specification of the year.

Here are my notes about some of the talks.

Larry Wall's keynote was a personal glimpse of his life.  He showed
pictures of his family, vacation, church and a hack-a-thon.  He also spoke
about being legally blind for a number of years.  Finally, Larry made the
point of how the Perl community can be "blind" about things.  Well, at
least that's what I picked up.

Jose Castro (cog) did an interesting talk titled "Perl White Magic: Special
Variables and Command Line Switches."  He showed ways to reduce syntax to
make effective Perl one-liners with switches and special variables.
However, the presentation seemed rushed and was done nearly half an hour
before his time was up.

A fellow by the name of Luke Cross did a presentation on "Automated Web
Testing with Selenium."  Selenium is a cross-browser web application
testing framework.  Basically, it's a (well-written) Java server with
client hooks for multiple languages including, of course, Perl. The Java
server launches a browser and runs your test on the actual browser.  Perl
modules for testing are available.

During the lightning talks, Casey West announced the Pittsburgh Perl
Workshop to the audience.  Jeff Bisbee gave a quick overview of his
JavaScript::XRay module that looked interesting.  Unfortunately, I don't do
much Javascript right now.  There was also an obviously unrehearsed skit to
raise money for the Perl Foundation.

With over 60 talks, these notes just don't do justice to the event.  I'm
also skipping the jail cell-like dorm rooms, freezing air conditioning,
problematic wireless, terrible airport delays, and observing an arrest for
public urination.  But with all that said, I had a good time and I suggest
putting YAPC on your conference TODO list if you do any Perl hacking.


June Roundup

Jun. 10 General User Meeting: Instead of focusing on a single topic, a
"Just Ask WPLUG" session was held where questions gathered from mailing
list participants were answered.  Bill Moran kicked off on the subject of
using Ubuntu as a LAMP server.  The question specifically asked how to
place files on a machine so the Apache web server would find them.  Bill
described several ways of designating directories for web content and how
to set the proper permissions.  Beth Lynn Eicher tackled a question on
building graphical interfaces.  She showed a partially-functional program
for building shell scripts which was the project of a former Pitt student.
As a more useful tool, she demonstrated Qt Designer which builds nice
interfaces for C++ code.  Last up was Linux on the XBox.  David Ostroske
presented a response written by Duncan Hutty which described the software
and hardware challenges of running Linux on this platform.


Hot Off the Grill...

Here's a rundown of some recent software releases of interest:

Turbolinux FUJI Version 11, the newest product from the long-time Asian
Linux distributor, was announced on May 30.  Also available are tools to
ease migrating from Windows systems and DVD playing software.

The highly-anticipated release of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, code named Dapper Drake,
occurred on June 1.  Separate CD images are available for desktop and
server use.  Enhancements include a new graphical installer, power and
networking management, and easy installation for a LAMP (Linux, Apache,
MySQL, PHP) server.  <http://www.ubuntu.com/>

On June 2, KNOPPIX 5.0.1 was made available to the public.  This granddaddy
of the live CDs/DVDs includes up-to-date versions of the kernel and
applications as well as an improved installer.  <http://www.knoppix.com/>

After months of hearing calls for a native Linux version, a beta edition of
Google Earth 4 was released on June 12.  Warning: viewing satellite imagery
of large portions of the planet can be a highly addictive time-waster.

On June 19, the minimalist Damn Small Linux 3.0 distribution came out. 
This live CD squeezes a graphical desktop and applications into less than
50 megabytes.  Improvements include ACPI power management and a new
"penguin with a hat" theme.  <http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/>

If other web browsers don't satisfy you, give Opera 9 a try.  Made
available on June 20, this cross-platform multi-language browser now offers
BitTorrent support.  It is a free download with paid premium support
available.  <http://www.opera.com/>

Xandros Linux Desktop Home Edition v4.0 was announced on June 21.  The
release includes strong support for managing your music and photo
collections.  It supports writing to NTFS filesystems, making life easier
when dual-booting with Windows.  <http://www.xandros.com/>

Personal and small business finance package GnuCash 2.0.0 was released on
July 9.  While there are a few new features, the main change was in moving
to the latest GNOME graphical interface.  <http://www.gnucash.org/>

Showing no fear of version number inflation, BLAG Linux and GNU 50000 was
released on July 10.  This desktop distribution containing 100% Free
Software is based on Fedora Core 5 and fits on a single CD.

Also coming out on July 10 was a live CD based on OpenSolaris, BeleniX
0.4.4.  Along with general fixes, the major improvement is faster CD
access.  <http://www.genunix.org/distributions/belenix_site/>

Years of waiting for IBM to produce a Linux version of its groupware
product paid off on July 10 with the release of Lotus Notes 7.0.1.

A major player in the virtualization arena, VMware Server was made
available for free download on July 12.  It creates virtual servers, giving
the ability to run multiple guest operating systems.

Aiming squarely at the business market, SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 was
released by Novell on July 17.  <http://www.novell.com/linux/>

On the server side of the web, the Plone 2.5 content management system was
announced on July 19.  Many speed improvements have been made and it now
incorporates the latest Zope application server.  <http://plone.org/>

SimplyMEPIS 6.0, the first version of this friendly Linux desktop to use
Ubuntu rather than Debian as a base, came out on July 21.  It is equally
usable as both a live CD and a hard-drive installation.


Location, Location, Location

Construction is progressing on a new computer science building on the
Carnegie Mellon University campus.  This--and a simultaneous increased
demand for rooms--means changes in the parking situation for WPLUG events
at CMU and the selection of some alternative meeting venues.

The August 5th meeting will take place on campus in Room 3002 of Newell-
Simon Hall.  The most convenient parking for this location is in the
Morewood Gardens Parking Lot across Forbes Avenue (maps can be found on the
WPLUG web site at <http://www.wplug.org/pages/wplugmap/>).

The WPLUG nomination meeting will be held on September 16th at the Squirrel
Hill Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh located at the corner of
Forbes and Murray Avenues.  There is metered parking in the attached garage
and also a mixture of metered and free parking on the surrounding streets.
It is important to get as many WPLUG members as possible to this meeting
and the following month's election meeting, so please make plans to attend.

Keep your eye on the page at <http://www.wplug.org/meetings/> for up-to-
date details on dates, times, and locations for WPLUG events.

The Open Pitt is published by the Western Pennsylvania Linux Users Group

Editors: Elwin Green, Vance Kochenderfer

Copyright 2006 Western Pennsylvania Linux Users Group.  Any article in
this newsletter may be reprinted elsewhere in any medium, provided it is
not changed and attribution is given to the author and WPLUG.

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