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

The Cloud is Just Another Sun

When: Tue March 12, 2019 07:00 PM to 08:30 PM

Speaker: Kyle Rankin

Location: Sonic

Kyle will reprise his FOSDEM’19 keynote:

You could reasonably call cloud services the crowning achievement in the world of Free and Open Source software. Linux and Free and Open Source software killed proprietary UNIXes in bare metal data centers and went on to dominate cloud services to such a point that it has even caused Microsoft to completely change their stance and embrace Linux and Free and Open Source software or risk the future of Azure and arguably the future of their company.

Yet in many ways, this dominance has also bred complacence in the community. On top of all of those Linux instances are many proprietary services, abstraction layers and APIs that make cloud services easy to use for developers, but also turn them into the largest-scale proprietary operating system on the planet, where the network is the computer. Left unchecked, this proprietary operating system has the potential to undo the achievements Open Source software has made in the past two decades.

The FOSS community has seen this “network is the computer” pattern before with Sun Microsystems and Solaris—a proprietary UNIX operating system that administrators ultimately loaded up with GNU software and free software services before deploying to the data center. Instead of Linux images running your dynamic Rails application or Docker container you ran CGIs in Apache and portable Java apps in Tomcat. Instead of disposable instances you had hot-swappable CPUs and RAM. Instead of S3 you had NFS. Expert users would use well-documented but proprietary CLI tools and libraries to interact with the OS and manage their free software processes. Yet in the end, administrators were subject to the roadmaps, whims, pricing structures, expensive hardware, and overall vendor lock-in from Sun. For all of Sun’s talented engineers and sophisticated hardware and software, the freedom and values from Linux and Free and Open Source software combined with low-price commodity hardware ultimately dominated the server room.

This talk is part history lesson and part rallying cry. Proprietary OSes and services aren’t dead, they just morphed into the cloud. By remembering why Linux was important in the age of Solaris, we can apply those lessons to cloud services before their proprietary APIs and vendor lock-in risk undoing the freedom, open standards, and overall progress our community has made over the last 20 years.

Published Tue 05 March 2019 by Tom Most

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Docker: What Is It?

When: Tue February 12, 2019 07:00 PM to 08:30 PM

Speaker: Tom Most

Location: Sonic

You may have heard of Docker — it’s a popular tool for building containers. But what’s a container, and why would you want one? We’ll survey the landscape, disambiguate the terminology, and discuss some use cases. Join us as we ascend the slope of enlightenment.

Please note that this meeting takes place at a new location and time.

Update: The slides are available.

Published Sun 10 February 2019 by Tom Most

general meeting

New Location Meetup

When: Tue January 08, 2019 07:00 PM to 08:30 PM

Speaker: Everyone

Location: Sonic

Note: New location and time. See below.

Get familiar with the new meeting space, talk about general Linux topics.


2260 Apollo Way
Santa Rosa, CA 95407

Look for signs, but entrance is on the West side of the building (“the back”), not the normal office entrance.

Google Maps

Descriptive Images:

Published Tue 08 January 2019 by Tom Most


Sonic Now Hosting Meetings at 7 PM

TL;DR: Sonic is now hosting NBLUG at their campus at 7 PM on the 2nd Tuesday of every month in 2019 — stay tuned for an announcement for January.

As we initially announced in November and discussed at the December general meeting, O’Reilly sold their building and we were unable to work out terms to allow us to continue meeting there. The NBLUG board received a generous offer from Crypo Rights (which leases office space in the same building) to host us under their umbrella but after further discussion with our O’Reilly contact it became clear that the landlord explicitly requires each group to carry insurance which is the same reason O’Reilly themselves can’t host us themselves under their umbrella. It appears either option would require NBLUG to be merged in and/or have a representative in the room at all times which was prohibitive given the other options we received.

In a public vote during the NBLUG December general meeting it was unanimously agreed that we would accept an offer from Sonic if they made one. We have now received an official written offer from Sonic covering 2019 and the NBLUG board has voted to accept their offer. We have additionally adjusted our official start time to be 7 PM PST to better accommodate everyone but per our bylaws we will continue to meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month.

We will be meeting in a large room that serves as their break room. NBLUG will need to obtain a portable projection screen but the space appears to be adequate in all other ways including fantastic Sonic internet access. We will need to work out details regarding the gate and parking. The current intent is to hold a welcome to Sonic “meet the space” get-together with low commitment for the first meeting as we work out the details. I will unfortunately miss any January 8th meeting that is held as I am out of town (showing games in Linux using libTAS at the charity speedrunning marathon this week, but I digress). Because I will be unavailable our Vice President, Robert Thille, will be picking up a keycard for Sonic and will be organizing the details of the first meeting assuming one can be held. Please stay tuned for an official announcement from him for the January meeting.

I’d like to again thank Sonic for their generous support and I’d like to thank everyone in NBLUG for the patience as we worked through the long process of researching our options and finalizing details. I know it was at times frustrating waiting with so few details available while we obtained final permission from Sonic and I appreciate everyone’s understanding.

Thanks to everyone who assisted us in the search for a new location and here’s to a year of growth in 2019,

President, North Bay Linux Users’ Group

Published Sun 06 January 2019 by Allan Cecil

general meeting

O’Reilly Building Sold: NBLUG Location Roundtable Discussion

When: Tue December 11, 2018 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Everyone

Location: O'Reilly Media

This may be our last meeting at O’Reilly.

NBLUG’s first meeting was on June 9, 1998. For the last 20 years we’ve been hosted for free at O’Reilly Media in Sebastopol, CA. An era is coming to a close as the O’Reilly media building has been sold and the new owners are requiring all groups to provide commercial insurance to continue meeting in 2019. NBLUG is not a legal entity and thus as a group we do not have any legally recognized status to acquire such insurance, our meager cashbox balance notwithstanding. Therefore, the purpose of this meeting is to discuss meeting location options and any possible costs for 2019 and beyond.

This is not a normal NBLUG talk; this is a time for all members new and old to gather possibly for the last time at O’Reilly and discuss the future. The NBLUG board has already met and agreed that any proposals should be put up for a general vote from all attending members in accordance with NBLUG’s bylaws. If we are unable to find a solution going forward with O’Reilly this meeting can also be used as a time to convey our thanks to the staff of O’Reilly Media for all of their support over the years in whatever forms the group finds appropriate.

All are welcome to attend this open meeting and contribute to the discussion. This talk will not be streamed due to the nature of the discussion and will start promptly at 7:30.

Published Tue 11 December 2018 by Tom Most

general meeting

What the Death and Resurrection of Linux Journal Taught Me about the FOSS Community

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

Speaker: Kyle Rankin

Location: O'Reilly Media

Linux Journal Magazine was founded in 1994 and coincided with the release of Linux 1.0. It has been around for most of the history of Linux and has seen the FOSS community grow and change from that point up to now. The Linux and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community is not the same as it was in 1994 and this change contributed to Linux Journal’s death in December 2017 and the overall loss of momentum in the Free Software movement. This talk will tell the story of Linux Journal’s death and resurrection and what it says about the changes in the FOSS community and what those changes mean for the future of Free Software.

Please stick around after the talk for the yearly NBLUG elections. Nominations are now open and can be made on the talk list.

Published Thu 08 November 2018 by Tom Most

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Batch Image Editing Tools

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

Speaker: William Tracy

Location: O'Reilly Media

Most of us are familiar with interactive image editors like Paint and Photoshop. Fewer people are familiar with the batch tools that can be used from the command line.

These non-interactive tools allow images to be processed in bulk from scripts, or converted automatically in a server. In classic Unix tradition, many can be chained together to create complex workflows.

This talk will include a high-level introduction to the ImageMagick and GraphicsMagick tool suites, and a brief overview of several tools with complimentary functionality.

Published Sun 07 October 2018 by Tom Most

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Lightning Talks & Hackfest

When: Tue September 11, 2018 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 or software project to get help with it or just to show it off. A mix of free tech support, show-and-tell, and idle chat.

Published Sat 15 September 2018 by Tom Most

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Everyday systemd

When: Tue August 14, 2018 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Tom Most

Location: O'Reilly Media

The systemd system manager has been adopted by most popular Linux distributions, but it can be a difficult system to understand without any background. This talk will provide a practical introduction aimed at users and system administrators. We will discuss how systemd models the world, teach it how to run a service, and take a look at everyday tasks like customizing existing services and inspecting logs.

Update: This talk was not recorded, but the slides are available.

Published Tue 14 August 2018 by Tom Most

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Kubernetes from Top to Bottom

When: Tue July 10, 2018 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Hunter Fernandes

Location: O'Reilly Media

The community is rallying around Kubernetes — it is quickly becoming the de-facto standard of container orchestration.

But what is Kubernetes and why has it gained so much traction?

In this talk Hunter Fernandes will deep-dive running Kubernetes on the cloud: the problems which lead to choosing Kubernetes, Kubernetes primitives, and Kubernetes in practice.

Published Mon 09 July 2018 by Tom Most

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Linux Malware is a Unicorn, Right?

When: Tue June 12, 2018 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Robert P. Thille

Location: O'Reilly Media

Linux (and Unix generally) is known for being far more secure than Windows. But is this true? Is there such a thing as Linux Malware? There is, and in this talk I’ll present a brief overview of the history of Linux/Unix malware, worms, trojans and viruses. I’ll cover how they spread, what the current outbreak landscape looks like today, where it’s likely to head in the future and what you can do to keep yourself safe.

Don’t assume that just because you’re not running Windows that you’ve done everything you need to do! If you’ve got a machine on the net, you could be contributing CPU cycles and bandwidth to a botnet. Get informed, take some simple precautions and ensure that you’re not part of the problem.

Published Tue 12 June 2018 by Tom Most

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When: Tue May 08, 2018 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM

Speaker: Everyone

Location: O'Reilly Media

Hackfest: Bring your hardware or software project to get help with it or just to show it off. A mix of free tech support, show-and-tell, and idle chat.

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.

Published Tue 08 May 2018 by Tom Most

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