Workshop on 17/12/2019: End of quarter activities

Workshop… with added tinsel!

It’s Christmas! So it was time to deck out the workshop with at least a bit of tinsel! We weren’t expecting a great number of people (considering the time of year) but we got a nice healthy 11 through the door.

This workshop activity was a little different to the ones that preceded it, and the first of it’s kind… this was a chance to…

  • Look back to previous workshops this quarter, add any updates to them… there wasn’t much to say on this except how we might run them again in the future with more/different details.
  • Bring in gadgets/toys which we can play with play (especially since this time it’s Christmas!). We had a TuxDroid by Kysoh and looked at some DVDs, more them below…
  • Lightning talks of 5 to 10 minutes if anyone has anything they’d like to share with the group. This was in an “un-conference” style (like OggCamp), but perhaps the intentional disorganisation got away with us a bit here! It might be an idea to gather some ideas via the mailing list before hand! However there was still plenty of topics and distributions talked about regardless!
  • Talk about what is planned for the next quarter including planning new talks and labs that people want to see. More on that below…

This seemed to go very well indeed and I think it was the longest workshop we’ve had since the relaunch. Everyone got into the spirit of things and it was a good group conversation amongst us all. The hope is to do this kind of meeting at the end of every quarter, so the next one should be at the end of March or start of April.

These random 3 things represent some of the changes we’ll be doing to the workshop ready for next year…

  • A clock, we’ll likely put this somewhere so that the person giving a talk can see it. We’ve been very good so far time wise with our talks, but this may help keep the pace too.
  • We’ve acquired a pair of 24-port TP-Link gigabit PoE switches. So we should be able to up the 30 PC’s/Phones from those little blue unmanaged 10/100mbps Netgear PoE switches daisy chained to each other. This should help with boot up times as the OS runs from the network. It should also give us some extra PoE enabled cables a the ends of the desks to run things like Raspberry Pi’s from.
  • A fridge! That’s right, we’ve got sick and tired of carrying in the fridge from IC’s office. So we’ve bought another one! Plenty of place for soft drink cans and that all important “LUG MILK”!

We were also trying to get the TuxDroid working. At the moment we’ve got it all hooked up and it’s capable of saying “Hello” (with its crazed blue eyes flashing and wings flapping) but that’s about it. Unfortunately because the Kysoh company went bankrupt a year after this was launched (2009) the downloads are very hard to find to make it work. However we’ve got a few leads on this and should be able to have our talkative Tux running soon.

There was also the idea floated of potentially having some kind of documentary / film nights. Plenty of great IT and FOSS related films (dramatised or documentary style) that people might be interested in watching and discussing. Brought in two that we had on DVD just to get the idea across a bit.

Some additional ideas for workshops next year included (this is not an exhaustive list and I’m sure we’re missing some, there were many ideas!)…

  • Equivalents to MS Access
  • Monitoring (inc. Icinga)
  • Automation (inc. Ansible)
  • Arch Linux
  • Docker
  • VMs and Containers (inc. Proxmox VE)
  • Cryptocurrencies (inc. Bitcoin)
  • Wine (inc. Crossover, PlayOnLinux & Proton)
  • Nextcloud (inc. Collabora)
  • Password Managers (inc. KeePassXC)

And that was it! StaffsLUG wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. More great things to come in 2020!

Workshop on 3/12/2019: Introduction to the LAMP stack

This topic covered what the LAMP stack is followed by a hands on lab actually building 3 production web servers (as there were 3 teams of people) on Virtual Machines where the OS (Debian 10 in this case) had already been pre-installed with minimal packages.

Ultimately, for those unfamiliar, the LAMP stack has been traditionally been made up of (but often people swap bits) these 4 packages which is where it gets that acronym…

The lab covered how to get these all installed and then configure them manually in a way that would mean the web server is capable of serving multiple websites in their own directories, virtual hosts and database for each (if they need one).

A quick look at the colourful whiteboard…

It should go without saying that these VM’s are no longer live so there is little point trying to use these login details now!

The steps followed to do a basic Debian 10 server install though was explained by just showing screenshots of the screens gone through in the installation, most of which you can get away with just hitting enter.

Here are those screenshots though in case anyone wanted a closer look…

Finally the actual “slides” (if you can call them that) for how to get the lab task accomplished… was nothing more than a text file shown on our big TV at size 36pt font! Basically each “slide” is the 14 lines in between each horizontal line. But it worked, these notes also include other things we covered at the end…

At the end we had time for questions where we also went over some of the various free/open source and commercial control panels that can deal with a lot of this for you (but it’s always good to know how it’s done for diagnostic purposes) such as…

  • ISPConfig
  • DirectAdmin
  • Froxlor
  • Plesk
  • cPanel

And that was it for this time!