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Sep 14th 2002

Members attending the meeting included:   Richard Foerster,  Jim Lucha,  Jerry Schnaus,  Tom Nielsen, and Clint Byrum.  Also attending the meeting for the first time were, Gregg Rawson, and Gary Frye.


Members not in attendance at this meeting included  Jeff Lasman, Alan Shoemaker, Don Evinger,  Mac Shaver, Klaus Herzog,  Isaac Sladana,  Ossil Macavinta, Michael Karshner, Dana Rodin, Todd Lyons, Dave Reisz, Gary Taylor, Ken Howels,  Hung Nguyen, Kandy Phan, Tad Peters,  Forrest Sherman,  Craig Carignan, Donna Schrokosch, and  Jim Vassilako.    New members, Iffiok Nsek , Mark DiNicolai,  Karl Pomroy, Joe Bruner, Eric Holland, and Eric Schwartz were unable to make this meeting.   


The group spent the first portion of the meeting getting acquainted with Gary and Gregg who both have extensive backgrounds in computers.  Gary told us he is involved with medical auditing systems and applications in the San Bernardino Area.  Gregg comes from a mainframe and networking background that has roots back to 1983.   Both Gary and Gregg contributed significantly to the discussions during this meeting.


Clint described a recent project he has been working on using Linux machines running Debian 3.0 to isolate the wireless LAN away from the regular LAN at a school in Oceanside.   The Linux boxes were used to facilitate firewalling and MAC address filtering.   In testing, they were also used to provide encryption, but it was found to be too difficult for the users who mainly use laptops running WindowsXP. The encryption is now being provided using Windows 2000 IPSEC, and it’s built in L2TP/Kerberos key exchange.    We are hoping to have Clint provide a presentation on the project in the near future.   He was able to bundle a number of open source applications to come up with a timely and cost effective solution that will no doubt be of interest to others who are getting involved in wireless.


Jim Lucha provided a presentation of a special Red Hat 7.3 based distribution he has modestly named JAMD Linux.  He told us that  J.A.M.D.  stands for Just Another Modified Distribution, but it appears to be anything but that.    The approach he used is to leave it “basically Red Hat” but otherwise he has removed all the unnecessary and redundant programs, with the goal of making it fit on a single CD-ROM, …but with many custom configuration touches.


The custom touches Jim incorporated include completely recompiling everything, targeting a Pentium II class system.  He also customized the arrangement of menu items to make sense to the user that the distribution targets:  beginning and moderately computer literate users who are seeking an alternative to Microsoft’s OS choices.   He also selected a set of essential applications and configured the whole thing to install by simply pressing the enter key and waiting for about 15 minutes for the install to complete.   By comparison, Jim benchmarked a Windows SE install on the same system, which included the need to restart the system multiple times, and took about 28 minutes to complete.  Of course the Win-SE install did not include any applications.   


JAMD Linux needs a Pentium II system with 2GB of unused partition space.  At the present time, an existing Windows system needs to be prepared in advanced by repartitioning.  In later versions Jim expects to do this automatically using parted, perhaps.  The current  CD includes a diskette image of PAUD - Parted And Utility Disk.  Using  rawrite, you can copy the PAUD image to a bootable disk to deal with
partitioning issues.
  The latest version of PAUD (1.0.3) has glibc-2.2.5, kernel 2.4.18, support for up to 4 virtual consoles. Kernel has DMA support, SCSI support is not available out-of-the-box but it can be easily implemented. The kernel has filesystem support for FAT/VFAT, EXT2, EXT3, ReiserFS 3.5, and ReiserFS 3.6 filesystems. Parted supports creating, resizing, copying, and destroying of these filesystem types.


During installation, JAMD creates a 50mb boot partition and a 128-256 swap partition, depending on memory.   Most of the customizations are contained in files located in /etc/skel so that personalization is possible.


JAMD applications feature: Open Office, Gimp, Mozilla 1.0, Evolution, KDE-3 {complete with Aqua theme and Jim’s customizations} CUPS – default localhost only, Red Hat Firewall {Locket – set up at Meduim Security level IP Tables based},  Red Hat Wine, Python, Perl, kArchiver which allows you to  create tar.gz, tar.bz2, .zip, and other files; convert files between .tar.gz and .tar.bz2; and add, remove, or view files with a multi-selection window. Its interface merges with konqueror, so you can view and extract all your archives within the file manager. You can right-clicking on an archive to extract it in background.   The only service running by default is SSH.


Considerable other work went into modifying graphics used at install and in other areas of the desktop to be in compliance with Red Hat’s licensing and use requirements for re-distribution.    There are still many areas that Jim intends to improve.  One previously mentioned has to do with drive partitioning at install time.  Another has to do with installing additional software applications.   One possible solution that is being considered is Conectiva’s GUI front end for aptget.   Another addition is  KRfb Server, which is a small server for the RFB protocol, better known as VNC. It is based on x0rfbserver and uses its excellent RFB library. Unlike other Unix/Linux RFB servers KRfb shares your X11 session instead of creating a new one. This allows a friend or administrator to fix problems on your computer, or you can use it to show your desktop to somebody else at a remote location. It is compatible with all regular VNC/RFB clients.  Ver 0.6 This release has been ported to KDE 3, and does not run on 2.x anymore. The old x0rfbserver backend has been replaced with libvncserver, which supports better encodings like TightVNC and ZLib. The application can now be controlled using DCOP, and there are several GUI improvements. The new display name of KRfb is "Desktop Sharing".


Clint mentioned that he is using a Samsung ML-1210 laser printer which includes Linux drivers {as well as drivers for Mac OS and Windows}, is priced at under $200,  and offers a 150-sheet input tray. The ML-1210 shares some additional features that were first offered on the ML-4500, including a toner-saver mode and a reprint-job button on the printer's front panel.  


Richard mentioned that he has just started a subscription to Linux Magazine and has found the first few issues to be full of good information.   It is an interesting change of pace from the format most members are familiar with in the Linux Journal.

All in all the meeting was a great success, and we are looking forward to our next meeting on Oct 12, 2002.