Topics Requested

1. Introduction

This is the place where you can show your preferences and suggestions for topics. Its also a good place to start fishing for people to work in collaboration with on the same topic.

See also SuggestedTopics page, "Study Groups" below and the StudyGroup page.

Please edit the wiki page and make your contributions to the list below.

  1. Vote for each topic that interests you, by adding your name or nickname to the votes
  2. Add a new topic + description if you see something missing that you would like to see covered.

This page is intended to make the selection of future topics more democratic and meetings more popular. There was also an outline design for a monthly cron job processing topics, votes and offers of talks so as to aid in organising meetings, hence this quirky format. This list below is the result of pulling together several ideas from discussions and the Mailing List. It could use some more organisation.

It was introduced at the same time as the 'BeginnerLinks and List of Training Materials' within KnowledgeBase page, which you are also invited to contribute to.

It was proposed that topics be pitched to meet the needs + expectations of different audiences.

  • Beginner
  • Desktop User
  • Server or Specialist Topics
  • StudyGroup

It is anticipated that we can find some good resources to meet the needs of the first 2 sections. You are all invited to contribute to the 'BeginnerLinks + List of Training Materials' within KnowledgeBase page to answer these topics.

2. Beginner

In addition to accumulating a list of links, these topics could be walked through and discussed on a repeating, seasonal basis to bring the knowledge to life. This would give newcomers a chance to get basic information about how to get started, and a chance to ask questions. It is anticipated that any PC literate users with more than 1 yrs experience of GNU/Linux will be able to talk through these topics and give advise based on their opinions in a simple conversation style. Some topics might benefit from some preparation to ensure the topic is covered to an adequate level, and in a balanced BBC like fashion.

2.1. How could Linux be useful instead of or alongside my other O/S ?

Votes: SteveW

  • How long will it take to install and learn to be a competent user?

2.2. Want to try Linux - what do I need to know to get started?

Votes: SteveW

  • this will be / will not be my first PC
  • hardware types, issues and sources
  • degrees of ambition
  • choosing a distro and where to get it
  • getting offline help

2.3. Installing linux and getting started

Votes: SteveW

  • you've got spare disk space
  • installing linux and getting started (user POV: dual boot, structure, usage conventions)
  • connecting to the net: securing the the OS and browser, configuring dialup or broadband
  • updating and upgrading the OS, installing (basic)
  • (now online)

2.4. Basic usage and maintenance

Votes: SteveW

  • where to get help
  • using common applications, file formats and interoperability, file format conversion
  • connecting consumer devices e.g. cameras - drivers, mounting
  • keeping updated and secured, making backups
  • (achieved sustainable standalone user level use of linux)
  • Basic GCC usage and adding non-standard patches

3. Desktop User

3.1. Things you just need to know

Votes: SteveW, AnthonyR

  • installing software and managing packages
  • linux basic structure: kernel, static & dynamic modules
  • comparison of Package Managers for managing the installation of binary packages
  • once installed how does it get listed in the menu?

3.2. Common applications

Votes: SteveW

  • ripping / converting and organising recorded music
  • working with images
  • browsing video clips, IM, IRC...
  • alternative web browsers
  • e-mail clients

3.3. Windows interworking

Votes: SteveW, AnthonyR,JohnW

  • connecting with Windows - putty, X server, SMB
  • emulation (VMware, cygwin, crossover office, win4lin, qemu...)

3.4. Specialised applications

Votes: JohnW, NeilO, FreakyClown

  • recording your own music
  • advanced image manipulation
  • 3D drawing
  • Home Security systems eg ZoneMinder
  • PVR's - VDR and MythTV
  • Contact and Time management
  • System Maintenance - Tape Backups, System Monitoring, Log monitors etc


3.5. Old, small or slow systems

Votes SteveW, AnthonyR, JohnW:

  • installing on boxes that don't boot from CD, installing from the net, etc.
  • lightweight distros e.g. xubuntu, feather, libranet, vector etc.

[more distros] [distro comparison]

  • very lightweight distros e.g. DSL, Puppy, Basic

[How Puppy works] [Basic (web+email+X in 12Mb)]

  • lightweight apps e.g. abiword, dillo
  • lightweight window managers e.g. xfce, icewm, [Fluxbox]
  • building and running a firewall / router / media-centre / Voip / web-server / X terminal
  • Installing and running on old Sun Sparc boxes, esp Sparc IPX


3.6. Ecological computing in practice

Votes AnthonyR:
[Linux-Ecology-HOWTO updated with techniques from embedded systems]
[Ideas from embedded Linux system development]
[Linux-Ecology-HOWTO plain version]
[Computing's Green Computing campaign]

3.7. X-Windows and Networking

Votes: SteveW, AnthonyR,Dominic,JohnW

3.8. Firefox Greasemonkey

Votes: SteveW, FreakyClown

  • Firefox [GreaseMonkey]
    • Not sure who suggested this? Who ever it was, Please describe the scope + direction of this topic.
      • Wasn't me that suggested it, but try e.g.
      • Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension which lets you to add bits of DHTML ("user scripts") to any web page to change its behavior. In much the same way that user CSS lets you take control of a web page's style, user scripts let you easily control any aspect of a web page's design or interaction.

For example, you could: Make sure that all URLs displayed in the browser are clickable links Improve the usability of a site you frequent Route around common and annoying website bugs Use the Coral content network selectively (end quote about Greasemonkey)

3.9. Bittorrent clients

Votes: SteveW, JohnW

  • [azureus] and vivaldi, rendezvous, swarming
  • azureus is MUCH more 'fun' than plain old bittorrent - just look at the availability,details,swarm and pieces - [screenshots] !

3.10. OT: Organising stuff - classification / categorisation

Votes: AnthonyR

  • organising categorisation
  • how the web affects your classification structure
  • things to avoid

We commonly use hierarchies to organise information for efficient retrieval, and have the linux hierarchical filesystem at our disposal. But managing a lot of information in a hierarchy requires skill, or several years of training for certain professions. An example of how not to do it can be found in common file manager interface design. So how can we best organise our directory structures for our purposes? Worth discussing.

3.11. Boot loaders

Votes: FreakyClown

  • GRUB
  • LILO
  • That other OS's bootmanager with Linux (Yes, the one that OS uses. Seriously!)

How to create a multiboot system for both Linux and MS Windows

4. Server Topics

This section may not appeal to all computer users, but we will see when the votes come in. It may appeal more to those with an Administrators role and may require some significant research to prepare a body of knowledge that can be shared with the the rest of us. Hopefully some topics will coincide with the interests of one or more individuals and they will be able to talk knowledgeably. Any volunteers please make an entry on the TalksOffered page, thanks.

4.1. Networking

Votes: SteveW, AnthonyR, JohnW for VPN, FreakyClown

  • basic connection types with other linux, Unix and Mac computers - ftp, http, login, remote fs, ...
  • network layer - routing, firewalls, ssh, tunneling, VPN, ...
  • remote interactive connections - terminal / hyperterm, browser, X, vnc sessions and keeping connections alive
  • wifi
  • NX - everyone who's managed to get it working is amazed by it


4.2. Terminal servers etc

Votes:AnthonyR, Dominic, FayZee, JacquiCaren for LTSP

  • Terminal Server / Booting over Network / Installing over network / Diskless PC..., LTSP, WTS, ...

4.3. Graphical User Interfaces

Votes:SteveW, AnthonyR, FreakyClown

  • compare + contrast the options for available
  • KDE, Gnome, xfce, fvwm, icewm, blackbox, [Fluxbox]

4.4. How linux works and what it can do

Votes:SteveW, AnthonyR

  • distinguishing good practice (ssh, ...) from deprecated practice (rlogin, rcp...)
  • structure of linux in detail, admin and LPI topics

4.5. Repackaging x/ubu/debian


  • x/ubu/debian repackaging deb's demo
  • x/ubu remastering demo

For theory see and

4.6. Package and/or config maintenance


  • Tools such as Puppet, cfengine etc
  • Rolling out and maintaining packages across multiple servers

4.7. Asterisk


5. Topics which fit a Study Group approach

Some topics are going to be beyond the experience of most of us, and these may require research work + investigation. We are all pressed for time, but this can be an approach where one plus one gives more than two. For some people working in a group is more efficient. This is a place to seek interest in a StudyGroup approach. This way we can work together as a group, and turn the exploration into a more sociable activity. Anyone interested please put their names below the topic or start a new page such as StudyGroup/AnExample for the study group to organise and make plans.

5.1. Plug-ins + Extensions for Firefox Browser

Votes:x,AnthonyR, FreakyClown

  • I think this is a good example of a pooling of effort that we have seen in the last few meetings.

5.2. Content Management Systems (CMS)

Votes: xx,Dominic, JohnW

  • Drupal, Plone, MediaWiki, Mambo/Joomla etc

5.3. LAMP

Votes: xx, JohnW

5.4. Licences

Votes: x

  • Compare + contrast the types of software licence available
  • Main implications of the licences for users, developers, commercial user companies, reseller companies

5.5. GLUGSy / SLUG - ease of use and automation

Votes: AnthonyR, OsdeInfo, JohnW, BillWolfe
We need to:

  • fix the TopicsRequested VOTING system - EDITING A WIKI IS NOT ACCEPTABLE
    • ok, so agreed it's not acceptable, but please provide a better voting system?
      • We've used limesurvey (bit complex) and surveymonkey (non-opensource) at HantsLUG
  • automate processing of the TopicsRequested page to help keep the LUG running with less effort. Examples:
    • automatic mail or RSS to notify subscribers of additions to topics requested so that they can vote
    • automatic mail of the month's favourite topics sent to organisers to confirm speakers/leaders and announce meeting on the list
  • clarify how this works so that members use it
  • get access to the LUG Wiki site unblocked for the unfortunate few

. see also: SuggestedTopics