Boise Linux Group Sept 5th Meeting Notes

Our thanks to Darryl Kurt for supplying these notes of the meeting.  Darren started off the meeting by talking about watching streaming movies from Netflix on a Linux machine. This hasn't been supported because Digital Rights Management (DRM) is required by the movie companies in order for them to grant a streaming license to Netflix. DRM is built into Microsoft SilverLight, but is not available for open source (the Linux world) because of fears that it will be misused to pirate copy-righted movies.  Sometime around November 2012, Netflix-Desktop was released. It was the Linux community's first successful way to watch Netflix streaming movies on a linux system. It uses a specially configured version of WINE and loads SilverLight and the Windows version of FireFox. Performance and smoothness of the video has been reported to be mediocre to acceptable.

Darren showed a new and better approach called PipeLight. Pipelight consists of two parts: A Linux library which is loaded into the browser and a Windows program started in Wine. The Windows program, called pluginloader.exe, simply simulates a browser and loads the Silverlight DLLs. When you open a page with a Silverlight application the library will send all commands from the browser through a pipe to the Windows process and act like a bridge between your browser and Silverlight. The Netflix streaming service receives a "spoofed" message/indicator that tells it you are running a supported Windows Browser and SilverLight. This approach results in a much smoother video streaming experience in the native Linux FireFox browser.  There is an excellent PipeLight description and "how-to" page here: http://www.ubuntugeek.com/pipelight-using-silverlight-in-linux-browsers.html

There was also a brief discussion and demonstration of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), their advantages and production with programs like InkScape.

The discussion then moved on to various versions of Linux, best practices in installing Linux and partitioning the hard drive for easy Linux upgrades or changes to a different Linux flavor. It was agreed that a three partition setup is advantageous. . . a Linux OS partition, a Linux Swap partition, and a separate data (/home) partition. The data (/home) partition is untouched when the Linux OS partition is upgraded or changed.

Darren also demonstrated how the package manager could be used to export a list of installed applications/packages for re-installation after a Linux OS change.

There was then a brief look at the time-line history of the many flavors of Linux here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9a/Gldt1009.svg This page also happens to be an example of SVG generated from data stored in a database.

The discussion then continued on to converting an office/business from the Windows environment to a Linux environment. The advantages were enumerated as well as some of the obstacles and hurdles that need to be overcome. Multiples approaches were suggested for replacing or creating work-arounds for functionality provided by Windows programs such as MS Office or Intuit's Quickbooks.