[sf-lug] Linux show demos (was: Linux podcasts)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Feb 25 18:33:09 PST 2008

Quoting jim stockford (jim at well.com):

> very good tho'ts, thank you lots.

Yr. v. welcome.  As you'll note, such things _do_ require real work in
advance, though.  ;->  (On the plus side, I figure setting up a
streaming MP3 server or a networked game setup, etc., might end up being
_fun_, and a truly alert person would take extensive notes good enough
to get a nice article sale out of it.)

> my thing is that linux has the gnu toolkit (ls, vi, wc, grep, etc) and
> works real good for cheap.  something about linux-unix people is
> appealing, too, maybe a little less suit-like. so left to me, i'll sit
> there with some print outs advertising sf-lug and any other lugs and
> hope to entice people to check out their local lugs. i'm not the
> snazzy type.

Far be it from me to be critical, defaulting as I do to similar forms of
non-flashy computing.  At one of the Robert Austin shows of blessed
memory, I remember bringing my personal workstation, and setting it up
with a 17" monitor running my favoured Window Maker (good-looking but
uncluttered window manager that looks/acts generally like NeXTStep),
with a number of useful desktop applications launched -- but it wasn't
set up to be particularly entertaining, that day.  A guy came up and
fooled with it, but asked me some rhetorical questions suggesting that
he was disappointed.

He must have rubbed me the wrong way and/or I was just too tired to spin
the conversation optimally after talking to hundreds of strangers,
because I said something like "What, you expect it to sing and dance, or
something?  It's an operating system, not a video game.  Gods, man, it
does damned near anything, but _you_ have to tell it what to do."
Probably not a likely Linux user in any event, but I could have handled
that better.

Anyway:  If you're going to bother having multiple machines in a booth
(or at a table), and you're showing off Linux, IMVAO, it's _well_ worth
the trouble to set up one machine as a "server" box in advance:  That
machine would have a DHCP daemon running to hand out preplanned IP
addresses to other hosts on your LAN, and you can even give them
prearranged hostnames like "station1", "station2", etc.  If you collect
the MAC addresses (physical ethernet addresses) of machines in advance,
you can even have each get a preplanned IP address.  Then, have that 
information reflected in a DNS nameserver (which could serve up fake TLD
".sflug", e.g., "station1.sflug", etc.).  You could then have
informational Web pages on the server, an NFS share or two, and so on.

In general:  For gosh sakes, it's a _network-oriented_ operating system; 
how about showing off and using those capabilities, for a change?  LUGs
that persist in treating it like a funny-looking substitute for
MS-Windows will suffer having it perceived that way.  That Would Be Bad.

Speaking from experience:  Have at least one labelmaking machine and a
few Sharpies, to put people's names on things, else they _will_ get into
the wrong hands -- even if kept in the semiprivate areas out of public
reach.  And, in particular, assume that any printed material or CDs/DVDs
you put on the public tables _will_ wander off unless you (1) write "DO
NOT TAKE" on them, and (2) watch them.

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