Meeting – December 11th, 2007

Main Topic: OpenVPN
Speaker: Flavio daCosta – Slides

The man, the myth, the legend will fill us in on OpenVPN. OpenVPN is a full-featured SSL VPN solution which can accomodate a wide range of configurations, including remote access, site-to-site VPNs, WiFi security, and enterprise-scale remote access solutions with load balancing, failover, and fine-grained access-controls.

Additional Topic: LaTex
Jim !McQuillan will tell us the what, whys, and wherefores about !LaTex and related tools.

Meeting – November 13, 2007

Main Topic: One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

Ivan Krstić – Director of Security Architecture for the OLPC project

Ivan’s Google Tech Talk from April 12, 2007

This month we have a fantastic opportunity to see what OLPC is all about from a member of the OLPC team.

Ivan is a software architect and researcher currently on leave from Harvard University. Prior to joining OLPC, he served as director of research at the Medical Informatics Laboratory at Zagreb Children’s Hospital, developing software infrastructure for wide-scale digital healthcare. He is deeply involved in open-source and free software, notably as an administrator of the Ubuntu Server Team and co-author of the best-selling Official Ubuntu Book, and specializes in architecture and security of large distributed systems. He has consulted on both matters for some of the largest websites on the Internet.

Ivan will share with us insights into the OLPC project that you just can’t get anywhere else. He’s prepared to tell us about the technology, security, science and anything else we want to know about the project.

Ivan is traveling from Cambridge, MA to Detroit specifically to be at our meeting. This is our chance fill the auditorium and show Ivan how strong the open source community is in south east Michigan.

Meeting – October 9th, 2007

For our October meeting, we’ve got two awesome speakers lined up. Each an expert in their field. It should prove to be one of the best meetings yet. Read on for the details.

First Topic: Security
Our speaker is: David Schaefer

David will briefly discuss the scope of Information Assurance (IA), and how it relates to our ever changing environment in Information Technologies (IT) and business. He will lay down a foundation and stress the importance of how IA is all around us every day and used to protect us, and our data. This will be a higher level presentation to point out some of the various layers and obstacles we all need to look out for in order to protect our data. David will then journey into the final frontier of host-based hardening to discuss the common pitfalls and best practices that we can follow as hobbyists and professionals in securing UNIX, and Microsoft Windows operating systems. During the presentation, he will point out some free tools/procedures that can be used to help us audit/benchmark, and lock down host-based systems to help your computers to live long and prosperous lives while staying free of any bad cling-ons.

David Schaefer is a Desktop Support Supervisor at Oakland Community College. David has over 9 years of experience in the education industry, and has held the roles from Desktop Support Specialist to Network Information Systems Professional. David has an MBA with a specialization of Information Assurance (IA) and a BBA with a concentration in Computer Information Systems (CIS) from Walsh College.

Second Topic: DRM — A Fiasco, Stuffed in a Debacle, and Wrapped up in a Blunder
Our speaker is: David J. Scholl

The Internet, as a collective machine composed of millions of computers interconnected for high-speed data transfer, can copy and distribute text, audio, and video on a scale that would have been unimaginable even half a century ago. Thanks to this modern-day genie, writers, musicians, and actors in even the narrowest of artistic niches can maintain a world-wide fan base, making and distributing digital copies of their work at negligible cost. Unfortunately, just as wishes granted by genies in ancient fables had unintended consequences, so too does this gift from the modern-day genie. Copyright infringement, the making of an illegal copy of an artistic work without payment to or permission from the owner, is now as easy as a click-and-drag with a mouse. In fact, the ease and near-anonymity of such copying has led to widespread tolerance toward copyright infringement in our society. In response, the corporations who profit from selling digital copies of artistic works are trying to use technical measures known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) to put the Internet genie halfway back into its bottle. The talk will review the most spectacular DRM-related failure ever to occur in the recording industry, the technical reasons why DRM has never worked and almost certainly never will, and how the industry’s current obsession with DRM is actually hastening its deterioration in the entertainment marketplace. Finally, there will be speculation about upcoming developments in DRM, which might lead to either (unlikely) the ultimate victory for DRM, or (probably) the end of DRM in our lifetime.

Dave Scholl holds a BA in Physics from Rice University, and an MA in Chemistry from Stanford University. Mr. Scholl worked in Thin-film physics at IBM Almaden Research Laboratory, and since 1991 has been at Ford Scientific Research Laboratory working on surface physics, nanotribology, combustion diagnostics, sound quality, and vehicle emissions. He has been a Linux user since Red Hat 4.2, a decade ago, and is an Open Source news junkie.

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 tsx-11.mit.edu 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 (http://www.gnomejournal.org) and is now the maintainer of the GNOME !LiveCD, based on Foresight Linux and available at http://torrents.gnome.org

Meeting – August 14th, 2007

Main Topic: Open Document Format

For the August 14th meeting the Michigan User Group is visiting the Southeastern Michigan IEEE in Dearborn who is having a very important meeting on the Open Document Format.

The official tittle of the presentation is: “ODF: How a Digital Document Format is Threatening a Multibillion-Dollar Monopoly. SE MI IEEE announcement, meeting location, schedule

Presented by: Dave Scholl, Ford Motor Company

Time: 5:30 PM Please pre-register for this free event online

We’re encouraging everyone to come with us to the meeting. This would be a great time to pull that MUG shirt out of the closet and show up in force at a great meeting put on with another group. Pay SPECIAL attention to the time change for this meeting.

This is a ONE TIME change of venue. In September, we’ll be back at the Farmington Community Library when the topic will be RPATH – Ken VanDine and/or Michael K. Johnson.

Meeting – July 10th, 2007

eDiscovery, Intrusion detection, and stories from an FBI Special Agent

Our speaker is: Richard Rytman Managing director of Technical Services and Legal Counsel at Veritas Global.

Mr. Rytman will talk to us about something called eDiscovery and changes in the law, where it is going, how it will effect corporate compliance and/or document retention policies as it relates to electronically stored information (ESI), and the problems that will naturally be associated with the rule. He’ll offer recommendations on how to avoid the pitfalls, or at least minimize the nuisance level, caused by the rule and its implementation by lawyers and judges with little to no IT background.

Additionally, He’ll cover computer intrusion crimes, or hacking, including best practices for defending against a hacker/virus/worm etc. He’ll ask (and hopefully answer) the following questions:

  • If your system is hacked, do you know what to do?
  • What procedures and policies are in place to deal with the situation that will best minimize loss but also preserve evidence at the same time?
  • Under what circumstances should you contact law enforcement (which one and who) and what to expect if you do (i.e., the whole legal process involved from A to Z).
  • Do you have a duty to report a hacker?

Finally, if there’s still time at the end, he’ll share some war stories from his time with the FBI and give us a chance to ask some questions.

About the speaker:

Mr. Rytman is a former Special Agent with the FBI. He is a certified Technical Trained Agent (TTA), a small select group of highly trained agents whose responsibilities include supporting case agents in the field through the use and deployment of a variety of sensitive electronic surveillance equipment and methods via covert technical operations.

Prior to being selected for the TTA program, Mr. Rytman was the lead investigator for the Cyber Crimes Squad in the State of Michigan. His primary areas of responsibility included investigating federal computer intrusion crimes and presenting to various computer security groups, business executives and system administrators on the topic of computer security and related legal issues. He helped form the first cyber crime squad in Detroit and successfully investigated many complex computer intrusion crimes on both a national and international level.

While at the FBI Mr. Rytman was also a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, where he was responsible for gathering intelligence and building complex criminal cases against various terrorist organizations operating within the United States.

Mr. Rytman was also a certified legal advisor and firearms instructor for the FBI and has served as a member of the Detroit FBI SWAT Team. He also served in the United States Navy in the intelligence arena as well as in the United States Army Reserves as a Combat Engineer Platoon Leader.

Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. Rytman was an Assistant District Attorney. He is a member of both the Wisconsin and Michigan State Bar.

That’s an awful lot of stuff to cover in one meeting, so we’ll need to make sure we get started on time. I think this is a unique opportunity for us to get an inside look at the legalities and intricacies of the industry that we’re all a part of, from someone who’s got the experience to talk about it.

Meeting – June 12th, 2007

John Terpstra

For this meeting, we’re bringing in special guest John Terpstra.

John H Terpstra works with AMD in the cross platform group focusing on
digital media solutions. His key interest is to enable the delivery of delightful media entertainment on open source platforms.

John is a well known contributor and visionary in the open source community who has an active commercial focus. He is co-founder of the Samba-Team, and a member of the Open Source Software Institute Advisory Board. He has worked with the LSB, Li18nux (now !OpenI18N.Org), is a best selling author of “The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide”, “Samba-3 by Example”, “Hardening Linux” and has other books in production.

Prior to joining AMD John worked with The SCO Group (previously Caldera Inc.), and !TurboLinux Inc., in VP level positions.

John will be with us for the whole evening, and he’s agreed to give us 2 presentations:

Samba3 Update: Recent changes and their impact, reviewing the changes in 3.0.20 through 3.0.25. How to take advantage of recent developments.

Demonstration of an AMD multi-media concept platform. The machine that he will demonstrate is a concept model for future technology developments. John mentioned that this hardware was “rough around the edges”, so it should be loads of fun. A brief overview will be given of the challenges that are being addressed to create new entertainment experiences.

Jim’s note: I’ve known John for a long time, and I’ve seen him speak on numerous occasions. He’s really a great speaker. He’s extremely knowledgeable in both topics and he’s able to share with us his passion for the technology. You really shouldn’t miss this meeting.

Meeting – May 8th, 2007

Main Topic: Mark Shuttleworth

Jim McQuillan will be in Seville, Spain From May 2nd through the 12th, for the Ubuntu Education Summit (UES) and the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS). We’ll be doing a live remote MUG presentation from Seville. This will be live 2-way interactive Audio AND Video. We’ve worked out the technology and we’re pretty sure that we are ready to give this a try.

Mark Shuttleworth (Ubuntu founder and Cosmonaut) has agreed to take part in this presentation. He’ll talk about Ubuntu, Space and whatever else he pleases. This’ll be a great chance to ask him some questions.

In addition to Mark, we’ll have some other Ubuntu developers, and we’ll pick their brains about what’s coming up in the next release of Ubuntu, the process that the Ubuntu team uses to create a release, and maybe they’ll tell us a bit about the deal with Dell agreeing to bundle Ubuntu Linux on some of their desktop and laptop computers.

Keep in mind that Spain is 6 hours ahead of Detroit, so it’ll be very late there when we hook up and do the presentation. We hope to get Mark’s part of the session going quickly, so please try to be at the meeting BEFORE 6:30pm next Tuesday.

This will be the first time we’ve tried doing a remote session with video. It’s impossible to tell how the audio and video quality will be, until we actually get there and do it. We’ll be testing the connection very well before the meeting, so hopefully, we’ll have it all tuned up perfectly, and everything will come out great.

This should be a great meeting and it will give us a chance to show that the Metro Detroit area has a strong technological group. One that we can all be proud of.

Additional Topic: PostgreSQL 8.2 what’s new
Our speaker is: Billy G. Allie

Bill has given many MUG presentations over the years, this month we’re happy to have him give us a review of what is new in PostgreSQL 8.2.

Meeting – April 10th, 2007

Main Topic: Systems for tracking support requests or developer bugs
Our speakers are:

  • Erick Tyack : RT (http://bestpractical.com/rt)
  • Mark Ramm : Trac (http://trac.edgewall.org/)
  • Rick Harding : Mantis (http://www.mantisbt.org/)

Our speakers will go over the features and drawbacks of three different bug/support trackers each in a different programming language. Find out which one can solve your needs in your own office.

Meeting – March 13th, 2007

Because of a small turnout due to the weather last month the election for the Board of Directors will be held this month.
The Michigan User Group is managed by a group of people we call the Board of Directors. Each year, MUG Members have the opportunity to cast their votes for the 6 people we’d like to see on the board. This is your chance to either run for a position on the board, or vote for the people you would most like to see on the board.

At this time, the following people have been nominated:


Brown, Duane Accepted
Castro, Jorge declined
Glutting, Jim Accepted
Harding, Rick Accepted New
McQuillan, Jim Accepted
Nichols, Gibson Accepted New
Satwicz, Dave Accepted
Williams, Dick Accepted

The nomination period is still open and will remain open until just before the election on Tuesday evening, Feb 13, 2007. If you would like to nominate someone, including yourself, please send an email to board@mug.org stating who you’d like to nominate.

Main Topic: NX from NoMachine
Our speaker is: *_Ryan Kather_*

Quoting the NoMachine website “NoMachine NX is a Terminal Server and Remote Access solution based on a comprising set of enterprise class open source technologies.”

Ryan is an IT professional who believes that the free flow of information benefits the global society. Ryan has been using open source and Linux for over 5 years and has contributed to the following OSS projects:

  • ORPP (http://orpp.sourceforge.net) – Open Robotics Peripheral Platform
  • Gaim – Gaim multi-protocol instant messenging client
  • GASH (http://gash.sourceforge.net) – GAim SHell perl plugin for Gaim
  • CPR Backup (http://forge.novell.com/modules/xfmod/project/?cpr-backup) – NetWare-centric backup facility with Rsync, Cron, and Perl

Secondary Topic: SSH
Our speaker is: *_Flavio daCosta_*

Using SSH for more than logging on to remote machines.

Things we’ve asked Flavio to cover (and then some):

  1. Creating SSH tunnels (How and Why)
  2. X-Forwarding
  3. Compression
  4. Choosing cyphers
  5. ssh key management – creating & using keys, agents, and verifying host fingerprints, etc.
  6. Remote shell scripts via ssh, this has been a topic of interest on the mdlug list. Flav’s tips and tricks for running commands