Gentoo UK 2005 meet

Went to the Gentoo 2005 UK meet yesterday, here in Manchester (well, Salford, apparently they are different cities even though one encloses the other)

I had put the slides for my talk on the internet and also brought it on floppy just in case. Well, the internet wasn’t working at first and nobody had a floppy drive. But once Rob (tigger) got internet going on his laptop, we sorted it out and I started my talk about 20 minutes late. Felt a bit pushed for time, but managed to get through everything and got some positive comments from those who listened.

One thing I found particularly interesting is that my talk was done from Rob’s laptop running Flash Linux. For whatever reason, he didn’t have OpenOffice installed on his laptop, but there were several USB keys floating around with Flash Linux on, which (optionally) include OO. It was very impressive to see a live system boot from a USB key like this. It’s much better than using a LiveCD as you can directly write back to the flash disk after its booted – it’s literally a live and portable Linux system running a GNOME desktop with common applications such as Firefox/OO on it. It uses genkernel’s autodetection routines on top of Gentoo’s baselayout init scripts to start up the system, so you can literally take your working system on your USB key to any system and it will autoconfigure itself. Rob also seemed impressed by it, he had been introduced to it the day before.

Unfortunately the joys of owning an nvidia-based motherboard mean that I can’t boot from USB. But I think you can use the FlashLinux livecd to boot the USB stick – a question I forgot to ask. Maybe I’ll check this out and buy a USB stick.

After my talk, the Flash Linux developer (Gareth) did a talk on Flash Linux. I’m glad this was rescheduled as I would have missed it if it had been done first thing in the morning. A lot of thought has been put into this and it is a very impressive piece of technology. What I would like to see now is some of this being fed back into Gentoo, and expanding Gentoo’s own build tools to be more suited for building flash-based systems.

Rob did a talk on his source code auditing project for Gentoo, which is a project that I didn’t even know existed. I found that interesting, and Rob will be happy to know that he’s won another gcc+SSP convert, and also that he’ll have the pleasure of looking over some of our older kernel security bugs which we have doubts are actually real issues.

Tom (slarti) did a quick presentation on simple ways to work on the command line better. The presentation was good, but what impressed me most is the live demonstration of the things he’d just talked about which he just improvised on the spot. Great job!

I also enjoyed meeting some other people that I hadn’t met before. I fired off about 20 things about genkernel at Tim (plasmaroo) and he fixed and commited them within a few minutes. That was very useful and shows that developers meeting up in the future to do development work would be very productive.

We ended the afternoon with a discussion on how Gentoo UK should progress in the future (more meetings, etc), before going out for a few final drinks.

As promised, the slides for my talk are here, in SXI (openoffice) format. Apparently this will be available for download as video sometime soon (ugh!). Thanks to everyone that turned up and listened to me :)

6 Responses to “Gentoo UK 2005 meet”

  1. Chewi Says:

    Thanks for the great talk. Extremely few of us knew about the / thing in make menuconfig! I was also misinformed on what genkernel was exactly. I’ve used it to built a couple of kernels in the past but I wasn’t aware that it did anything special at boot time. It can just be used to build kernels that boot in the normal way as well, can’t it?

  2. Steve Berryman Says:

    Yeh it was a great day. Good talks from everyone i thought. It was interesting to put faces to the nicks i have been chatting to for the past however many months on IRC and get to know the ‘real them’.

  3. Donnie Berkholz Says:

    That’s why you should be putting your backup on a CD instead. The floppy drive is dead, my good man.

  4. George Prowse Says:

    It was great to meet up with you Dan, not only on the day in question but also Thursday night for drinks, Friday night for drinks and Saturday night for drinks…

    Also seeing different lecturers teaching Java gave me a real insight to how students should be taught.

  5. Steve Berryman Says:

    George, He wasnt there on sat night.

  6. George Prowse Says:

    damn i must have been smashed…

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