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July PLUG WSM Minutes

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Last night I went to the Phoenix LUG west side meeting.

Hans opened up the meeting talking about ABLEconf, a FOSS conference being organized by him to help bring FOSS to small businesses, schools and government offices in Arizona. Software Freedom Day is 19 September 2009.

After introductions we had presentations on unetbootin, by me, and Mozilla Songbird and Chatzilla, by Matthew Coulliette.

Unetbootin is a tool that wraps around standard GNU/Linux tools such as LiveCD ISOs and the Syslinux bootloader to make it dead simple for anyone to create bootable USB flash drives, which can be acquired for dirt cheap prices. Unetbootin is basically a one-two-three step process – you don't even need to download the iso yourself; unetbootin will download and verify the ISO files automagically, with a huge list of distros and security tools to choose from. I also showed off my EEEPC to a few people and it seemed like people enjoyed watching the little bugger, even though I couldn't figure out how to force the projector into 1024x600.

Songbird is a media player created as a fork of Mozilla Firefox and based on heavily on Mozilla's XULRunner technology. It's a media player that can be extended greatly by using the same plugin architecture as found in many other Mozilla projects. While the project itself is Free Software, many of the components that are integrated into it (such as the various music stores that Mozilla chose to support, and the various media codecs it wanted to support out of the box) are not Free Software. This is the main problem that I have with this software. Also from the gist of Matthew's presentation, there were a few features that were still Work In Progress, though the system looks as though it's pretty powerful, I still remember reading this Planet Debian post, which has most definitely tainted my view on this project, whether it's still the case or not. Matthew also talked about an addon called Chatzilla, which is a full featured IRC client that works inside of some XULRunner based projects – ie, Firefox, Songbird and Seamonkey. Why, exactly, a media player needs an IRC client is beyond me personally (I'm an irssi zealot) but for many users who just need to get online for support or just to idly chat with some friends, having an integrated IRC client could be a very useful tool. Matthew's presentation went from the basics of installing Chatzilla, to teaching the basic commands and introductions to the IRC chat networks, all without an internet connection! At this point, Tuna managed to distract me with his shenanigans, and I had to go home and peel sticker goo off of my laptop and begin preperations for Drug Side Effect Day, Yummy Kipper and the Feast of Wierd Al Yankovich. But hopefully we will begin to see more PLUGers in the PLUG IRC channel, #plugaz on irc.freenode.net.

Mike took some photos of the presentations, which should be on the PLUG facebook page eventually.

Next month we won't be able to meet at Glendale Library, or the Academy for the Advancement of the Arts, so we will have to find a new location for next month's meeting, which will be 26 August 2009.

The post is brought to you by lekhonee v0.6 Thanks to Austin Wright for correcting me – Songbird is not a product of the Mozilla Foundation

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Ryan Rix is a privacy rights advocate and net-art wannabe. Reach them on the Fediverse as @rrix@cybre.space, twitter as @rrrrrrrix, via email to ryan@whatthefuck.computer or on Facebook or on Matrix as @rrix:whatthefuck.computer.