North Bay Linux Users’ Group

The North Bay Linux Users’ Group is a computer users serving the San Francisco North Bay and surrounding areas. We strive to promote Linux, Free Software, Open Source, open standards, and to generally have a good time by hosting social events that educate, allow members to share ideas and knowledge and to build friendships.

We hold regular meetings on the second Tuesday of each month with a selected topic presented by a guest speaker. Meetings and membership are free and open to the public. Please sign up for the announce mailing list to receive notifications of upcoming events, or join us on the talk mailing list or in IRC to get help with Linux.

general meeting

Home Router Panel

When: Tue March 13, 2018 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Panel

Location: O'Reilly Media

Are you frustrated with the model/router/switch your ISP provides? Curious what your options are to improve performance or regain control? NBLUG will be holding a panel discussion about home networking, focusing on the humble router. We have representatives of several options:

  • Improving existing hardware by flashing OpenWRT or similar
  • Building your own router from an old PC or single-board computer
  • Commercial products aimed at IT professionals

We expect a wide-ranging discussion of the pros and cons of each of these approaches, touching on the effort required, security implications, and flexibility of each option. Questions from the audience are welcome.

Published Tue 13 March 2018 by Tom Most

general meeting

GPG Key Signing Party

When: Tue February 13, 2018 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: E. Frank Ball

Location: O'Reilly Media

It’s time for another GPG key signing. We had one in May 2003 & August 2014.

The point of this is to create a web of trust. By signing someone’s public key, you state that you have checked that the person that uses a certain keypair, is who he says he is and really is in control of the private key. This way a complete network of people who trust each other can be created. This network is called the strongly connected set. Information about it can be found at

Before the meeting:

  1. Generate a public/private keypair with the gpg --gen-key command (accept the defaults), see man gpg for more info.

  2. Upload your key to a keyserver:

    gpg --send-keys --keyserver
  3. Print out the key fingerprint with gpg --fingerprint Also include your full name, email address, and Key ID#. Bring this to the meeting, and optionally make extra copies to hand out.

  4. Email me at with the fingerprint, email address, full name, and Key ID. I’ll have a list of everyone’s info to hand out.

During the meeting:

Verify your GPG key fingerprint on the list I hand out and verify your identity (with photo ID).

After the meeting:

  1. Download the all of the keys for the fingerprints verified at the meeting

  2. Add them to your keyring

  3. Sign them

  4. Upload your key again.

More info:

Published Mon 12 March 2018 by Tom Most

general meeting

Enhancing Linux security with a Yubikey/Smart-Card

When: Tue January 09, 2018 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Robert Thille

Location: O'Reilly Media

With more and more information coming out about how insecure nearly every computer is, come find out how to make your computer use just a bit more secure…

In this presentation, Robert will go over how to setup and use a Yubikey to store PGP keys and PKI certs such that without physical access theft of the keys is just about impossible, and even difficult with physical access.

Other security enhancements like hardware password stores (Mooltipass) and air-gapped machines will be covered. Further, I’m sure there will be discussion of the recently disclosed Meltdown and Specter attacks.

Published Sat 06 January 2018 by Tom Most

general meeting

Installing Linux onto a Chromebook with crouton

When: Tue November 14, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Frank Ball

Location: O'Reilly Media

Chromebooks and Chromeboxes are cheap, easy to use, and pretty secure; but after a while the shortcomings of Chrome OS get annoying and I want my Linux. Crouton is a script which installs Debian, Kali, or Ubuntu Linux into a chroot container that runs under Chrome OS. It’s easy to install, and it works great.

Update: Frank’s slides are now available.

Published Tue 07 November 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

No October Meeting

In light of the Sonoma County fires today we won’t be holding an October general meeting. Stay safe everyone.

Published Mon 09 October 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Linux on the Laptop 2017: A System76 Out-Of-Box experience

When: Tue September 12, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Allan Cecil

Location: O'Reilly Media

You’ve probably heard of the mythical “Year of the Linux Desktop” for quite some time by now with the year seemingly always just around the corner. With Linux just now crossing the 3% install base threshold we may not be “there” yet but that’s not to say there aren’t some great companies out there making Linux-specific hardware. Case in point is the topic of this talk - System76 ( ships laptops in a range of sizes and configurations with Linux preloaded.

In this talk, I’ll demonstrate a new System76 Oryx Pro laptop and show off the current Out-Of-Box experience as well as their plans for their own distribution named Pop!_OS which is now in development. I’ll talk about what works well with their current software loadout and areas that still need improvement. I’ll also give an overview of the current state of driver support and touch on how that support dictated the hardware build of the laptop. I’ll leave plenty of time at the end for everyone to get some hands-on time as some things (such as what the keyboard and button layout feels like) can’t be demonstrated well from a projector.

Published Tue 12 September 2017 by Allan Cecil

general meeting

Lightning Talks & Hackfest

When: Tue August 08, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Everyone

Location: O'Reilly Media

Lightning Talks: Have something you would like to present, but don’t have enough material for a full talk? Here’s your chance. Talk about anything Linux related.

Hackfest: Bring your hardware to get help with it or just to show it off.

Published Mon 21 August 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Metrics and Monitoring with collectd, InfluxDB, and Grafana

When: Tue July 11, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Tom Most

Location: O'Reilly Media

Have you ever wondered what is clogging your Internet connection? Or if you ever use (or get) the bandwidth you pay for? The best way to know is to measure.

This presentation will discuss how to retrieve data from sources ranging from Linux hosts to network and IoT devices using collectd, then storing and graphing the data using InfluxDB and Grafana. The intended audience is technically-inclined home users and system administrators.

Published Sun 20 August 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Lightning Talks & Hackfest

When: Tue June 13, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Everyone

Location: O'Reilly Media

Lightning Talks: Have something you would like to present, but don’t have enough material for a full talk? Here’s your chance. Talk about anything Linux related.

Hackfest: Bring your hardware to get help with it or just to show it off.

Published Sat 19 August 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Sex, Secret and God: A Brief History of Bad Passwords

When: Tue May 09, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Kyle Rankin

Location: O'Reilly Media

Most of what we’ve been told over the years about what makes a good password has been wrong, so it’s no surprise most people pick bad passwords. This talk will cover the history of password policy and password cracking starting from the days when Richard Stallman hacked the passwords forced on his MIT computer lab because he considered passwords an authoritarian method of control. Next I’ll discuss the golden days of password guessing featured prominently in movies like Hackers and WarGames.

Then I’ll move to the tech boom and the introduction of draconian IT policies like password rotation and password complexity and the dirty little leet-speak password secrets they led to. As we get closer to the modern day I’ll discuss the “correct horse battery staple” password renaissance and more modern approaches to password cracking spawned by tools like oclhashcat and giant password databases dumps like the RockYou hack.

I’ll finish up with modern attempts to fix the password auth problem such as new approaches to secure password generation in password managers or schemes such as diceware as well as cover password auth reinforcements like the different forms of 2FA (including U2F) and Facebook’s new approach to “I forgot my password” workflows. By the end everyone should have plenty of ammunition to take back to their IT department and get rid of those horrible password policies.

Published Tue 18 April 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Let’s Encrypt on an nginx reverse proxy

When: Tue April 11, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Allan Cecil

Location: O'Reilly Media

Description: Let’s Encrypt is a way for anyone to enable TLS (as in, HTTPS) support to a webserver at no cost. However, there are many security considerations involved with everything from certificate renewal to safe handling of the various files involved. In this talk and live demo I’ll cover how to create a reverse proxy using the nginx webserver that simultaneously allows multiple webservers to exist at one IP address and show how isolating Let’s Encrypt to a different system increases security. The talk will also cover more secure (and less risky) methods of automatic key renewal than the official, somewhat invasive renewal tool.

Published Sun 09 April 2017 by Tom Most

general meeting

Logo and the ContinuingLogo interpreter

When: Tue March 14, 2017 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Andru Luvisi

Location: O'Reilly Media

ContinuingLogo is a recently written interpreter for the Logo programming language that is still in pre-alpha. It is mostly compatible with Brian Harvey’s UCBLogo interpreter and has some graphic and sound features inspired by Atari Logo for the Atari 800. Logo was created at MIT and BBN in the late 1960s as a language to support children in learning mathematical and logical thinking. Its most well known feature is turtle graphics, in which a “turtle” moves around on the screen as instructed, drawing a trail behind it.

This talk will consist of a brief tour of some of ContinuingLogo’s basic features, followed by demonstrations of several short example programs. Language demos will include an incredibly short pig Latin translator. Graphics demos will include spirals, fractals, line followers, and a traffic simulation. Sound demos will include the generation of music and sound effects, and illustrations of the relationship between sound frequencies and perceived musical notes. A few larger games will be demonstrated but not discussed line by line.

Published Fri 24 February 2017 by Tom Most

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