Boise Linux Group Meeting July 15th Report

The July Boise Linux User's Group (BLUG) Meeting was hosted by Taos who also provided pizza, cookies and soft drinks.  Thanks Taos!  Darin got the meeting started by having everyone introduce themselves.  The attendees were: Mike, Devin, Joe, Martin, Darryl, Darin, Brian, Tom, Ryan, Marc, Jeff, Ron, Josh, Rosco Howard (our host at Taos), and Tom.  Thanks to Darryl Kurt for providing the great meeting notes, almost like being there at the meeting.
 
Rosco Howard introduced himself as the Storage Systems Manager at Taos.  He talked briefly about what they do at Taos and offered to discuss this further with anyone that is interested.
 
Marc and his son, Ryan, brought quite a bit of gear with them and started with a brief description of the Raspberry Pi and the Odroid.
 
The conversation then turned to the new version of the Raspberry Pi: the Raspberry Pi B+.  Marc explained the added features and the fact that it now sports a full USB hub on-board as opposed to the old model that had ongoing problems with drivers for the single USB port off of the network chip.  
 
The discussion then turned to the purpose and possible applications for these minuscule micro computers.  Examples and suggestions were discreet programmable control, smart appliances, automated/animated light displays, data logging, etc.  Marc explained how he programs and cross-compiles the operating system and applications for these micro-computers and referenced the use of "Busy Box" as a valuable tool.
 
Ryan (Marc's son) demonstrated a game he wrote using "Scratch" running on the Raspberry Pi.  Scratch is a graphical programming environment developed by MIT to encourage kids to learn programming.  Marc wrote a game that has you flying a jumbo jet through space that shoots fire hydrants to destroy asteroids that get in the way.
 
Marc then demonstrated his Odroid with Internet connection.  YouTube videos played smoothly under the Chromium browser (most likely using HTML5).  The CPU utilization on the Odroid while running the YouTube video was 221% (approximately 2.25 cores of the four cpu cores available on the Odroid).
 
There were numerous discussions as problems were presented and the group explored possible approaches to various solutions.
 
We then went around the table with each person telling how and what they use Linux for.
 
Devin is a student of Computer Science at Stevens-Henager College and is using Linux as his desktop replacement and exploring networking features and utilities.  He has also had great success with a Google Chrome plug-in for remote desktop control.  He is able to control his laptop from his Android phone.
 
Joe is playing with Linux to stay active and develop his own flavor of the operating system (OS).  He is getting in pretty deep.
Martin says he uses Linux for therapy!  After having to deal with the Windows environment, Linux provides him some return to sanity.  He primarily runs Linux on Apple hardware and uses "Parallels" to run applications in a VirtualBox without having to first start the OS (the OS is started automatically).
 
Darryl has spent the last three decades doing custom programming, computer support, IT management and computer consulting.  He spends most of his time supporting Windows based systems and dealing with their many maladies.  He started "playing" with Linux in 2007 and gradually fell in love with Linux for it's functionality, reliability and resistance to infections.  Although he works at supporting Windows based systems, Linux is now his preferred and primary operating system.  He has converted a handful of customers to Linux.
 
Darin has used Linux since 2007 and was amazed that it ran one of his favorite games.  He has a Windows box that he has now not powered on for about four years.  He has found that more and more Windows applications are now running natively under Linux (via WINE).  He has gotten into writing a variety of scripts and is now learning the Python programming language.
 
Brian started using Linux in 2007 and playing with the early versions of Arduino.  He now uses Fedora as his primary Linux OS.  He's gotten very good with various scripting languages.
 
Tom is a newby to Linux.  He bought a new laptop and it came with Windows 8.  After significant frustrations, he cleared it and loaded Zorin Linux (a Linux version with the look and feel of Windows 7).  He is still on the learning curve and welcomes advice and guidance.
Ryan uses Linux because that is what his dad (Marc) makes available!  Good job dad!  He likes experimenting with the Raspberry Pi and programming his own games.
 
Marc does web site development so he has been working with Linux systems for a long time.  He enjoys experimenting with Linux and micro computers such as the Raspberry Pi and the Odroid.
 
Ron got into Linux as a utility base to assist with Windows repairs.  He has since started playing with Linux and encouraging his customers to consider Linux as a more stable and more infection resistant OS.  He has currently converted approximately 30 to 40 customers to Linux.
Josh (Rosco's son) is brand new to Linux.  This Linux user's group meeting was an eye-opener for him.  He's now looking forward to giving Linux a good look.
 
Rosco used to work with Linux a long time ago.  He's now getting back into experimenting with the current new generation of Linux.
 
The meeting wrapped up with Rosco giving us a tour of the Taos facilities and explaining their mission, services and a little about their fail-over plan. . . Which came in handy a little while back when their office suffered a bee infestation.
 
Thanks to Taos and Rosco for hosting another great Boise Linux User's Group meeting!
 
Hope to see y'all next month! Meeting will be on August 19th, 6:30 PM, at Taos.