Sunday, November 24, 2013

The last month in Chicago...

Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon 

The first weekend of November I went to the local edition of the Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon. I had class in the morning so I got there around 3 pm. I grabbed some cold coffee from the table and wandered around looking for something to hack on. Peter Harkins was working on a web ui for email archives that include some of archives of Aaron Swartz's email lists, old Linux Kernel archives, etc. He was re-writing the app using Riak and Ruby. After a few hours of installing packages and working through errors I got it running. Peter was using an older version of Ruby so I found a nice hack to get RMail working on my computer.

Sheila Miguez gave a talk at Chipy this month on what happened at the Hackathon. If you'd like to hear details about the whole hackathon or follow the progress of the various projects, watch her talk for more info or check out the hackpad. Thanks again to Doejo for sponsoring :)

Chicago LUG 

Erik Johnson demoing SaltStack at the Chicago GNU/Linux User Group

Last weekend we had our LUG meeting. Erik Johnson from the SaltStack community gave a talk. In order to prepare he set up a four server demo environment on Rackspace and made a clone for each person attending. Throughout the talk he showed us how to switch between the various servers by using the Grains interface as well as make changes to all the servers at once. He walked us through using Pillars to set up user-defined variables, and how to use States to create modules. One thing that I found to be particularly nice about States is that Salt maintains a repo with definitions for packages across supported distros, so installing a package does not usually require the user to know the specific name a distro defines for a package. This feature is something I've often wished we had for JHBuild.

If you want to learn more about using Salt you can find links from Erik's talk on Github. Thanks again to Erik for coming into the city to give the talk. Thanks also to Rackspace for donating our server space, and to Carl Karston for taping the talk.

Our next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, December 14th at 12 pm. Note that we are changing back to our regular time this month (because I'll be done with Saturday classes \o/). More news (and a link to the SaltStack talk) when we have it.

See you next time, and happy hacking :)

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