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June meetup recap

From: Matthew J.
Sent on: Thursday, June 14, 2007 2:57 PM
Thanks to everyone who attended our June Linux meetup. The group always is diverse and everybody participates and this was no exception. Although I'll try my best to share the meeting notes with those who didn't or couldn't attend, the good contacts, demonstrations and giveaways cannot be shared unless you make the time to stop by.

We had a few new faces show up. Including Jeff Rose from the University of Lugano in Switzerland. Strangely enough we demo'd an application that Jeff had contributed some code to: Tomboy. Paul went home with a copy of K&R's classic C book, and I gave Jeff a GWIN tux mascot to represent us in Ticino.

As always a new Distro version was demo'd. This time Fedora 7. As usual Fedora looked nice had a very easy install and fairly complete for programming, office, and graphics tools. Even so Fedora still doesn't include wifi drivers, or full featured media clients. Everyone shared their favorite media clients. mplayer has been my favorite video player, though it is terminal centric and requires a memorization of the various command line flags, options etc. Otherwise VLC has recently become the consensus best of breed cross platform video player. For music there was far more diversity and Songbird was given a thumbs up by a couple of users. Songbird is an itunes clone for linux that is gaining alot of momentum.

Our discussion on open source licensing was dominated by the GPLv3 debate. The new license is a reaction against the commercial uses of GNU and other Free Software. Although it has been reworked and redrafted several times the arguments for GPLv3 are primarily driven by the current Microsoft strategy of selling licenses for Linux technology that Microsoft claims to have intellectual property claims to. Speculation as to Novells role in the unearned protection money scheme was tossed about. Today Linspire has agreed to pay Microsoft for the right to sell free software as reported by Slashdot:

GPLv3 is a hot topic with those who have taken a position for or against commercial uses o f Open Source and Free Software. The third draft of GPLv3 seems to have conceded to Apache compatibility Linus Torvolds concerns around the legal definition of User and Consumer product and strengthen the position against the type of agreement Microsoft and Novell have wrangled which profits from Linux without contributing to the community.

Sun Microsystems has been discussing adapting GPLv3 to release their OpenSolaris operating system. This has been met with skepticism from the Linux community. Although Linus has gone so far as to say that if Sun did migrate to GPLv3 and opened ZFS he would go through the effort of relicensing the Kernel.

We discussed some of the new Desktop managers for sexy effects. Group members report that Beryl works smoothly even on low end graphics cards. Beryl also has a robust plug in system for role your own effects.

The linux Mono implementation of Silverlight was chewed on including a good overview of the new scripted Rich Client offerings by several vendors. Adobe Flex, Silverlight, Java FX and Mozilla XUL were all discussed with a highlight on the SVG rendering in Firefox. Jeff showed off a 3D graph viewer for visualization in SVG he had rolled. At our previous meeting Michael Bales showed a similar project for visualization of medical data.

Some regular discussion on entry level development tools and languages with Ruby and Python being strongly represented. Raymond mentioned that Google hosts regular Ruby meetings and sent me these links. and

The meeting lasted till late and we covered way more then I was able to type up.

Hope to see you all in July for our OS Independence day.

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