Meeting – September 11th, 2007

Main Topic: RPATH Makes Appliances Easy

The September meeting is shaping up quite nicely. rPath, using the Conary build system is a very hot technology and we’ve got a couple of the actual engineers that designed it to fly from their offices in North Carolina to spend some time with us, to show us what it’s all about and to answer any questions we might have. This is a meeting you shouldn’t miss, and please tell all your friends about it too. Jim McQuillan

Michael K. Johnson and Ken VanDine will present rPath’s technology, from top to bottom. They will demonstrate building an appliance, and then explain how you can build and maintain your own complete OS — as well as why you might want to!

They will describe and demonstrate how the tools work, both from a developer and from an end-user perspective. They will describe how the tools that rPath has created make it possible first to easily create a small operating system image that supports an application — and then make updates to that operating system robust, and ongoing maintenance easy.

They encourage questions, and will be happy to spend time afterwards going into even more detail after they exceed their allotted one and a half hours.

Michael K. Johnson was one of the original Linux hackers. He cut his kernel chops re-writing the parallel port driver and turning the /proc filesystem into something capable of supporting all the features of ps — and then some. He managed the FTP site, built low-level tools for kernel interfaces, and ported Emacs to Linux before he learned to love vi. He was the editor of Linux Journal for its first two years. He then joined Red Hat as a member of the operating system development team, where he wrote configuration tools and maintained many packages, then ran Red Hat’s kernel team until he founded the Fedora project and guided it through its first release.

In 2004, Michael left Red Hat, joining with Matt Wilson and Erik Troan to design the Conary software management system that is the core of all rPath technology. At rPath, he is responsible for the development of Conary and rPath Linux.

Ken VanDine, now an Engineering Lead at rPath, was the founder (in 2005) and is the project leader of the Foresight Linux Project. His work with the Foresight Linux Project and Conary software management system led Ken to work for rPath, based in Raleigh, N.C.

Ken has been involved with Open Source technology as an avid Linux user and Systems Administrator since 1993. He worked with Linux while enlisted in the United States Air Force and while employed by software companies and a few dot-coms. During those years he gained extensive experience packaging, maintaining, and deploying software for Linux. After working with a number of package management systems, Ken started using Conary, which solved many of challenges he previously experienced with legacy package management technologies.

As a member of the GNOME Marketing team, Ken has written articles for the GNOME Journal ( and is now the maintainer of the GNOME !LiveCD, based on Foresight Linux and available at