Welcome Lug-Nuts!

Welcome to the home of the Lug-Nuts! This is the WFTL-LUG. Just what the heck, you may be wondering, is the WFTL-LUG? Well, a LUG is a Linux User Group and the WFTL LUG is a global, distributed, Linux User Group. Last time I bothered to count, we had representatives from nearly 60 countries! It's a virtual meeting place, provided by your host, Marcel Gagné, where you can share information, ideas, and ask questions regarding Linux and other free and open source software. This site is the LUG's Web home, and there's lots to see, read, and do, and you are more than welcome to participate here, but for historical (or histerical) reasons, almost all of the action takes place via our mailing list. If you need more than this brief introduction or you have no idea why you are here, why not take a few minutes to read about the WFTL-LUG, the site, and a whole lot more, by clicking right here.

Enjoy your stay!

Has Linux dropped off the face of the Earth?

Over on my mailing list, the WFTL-LUG, a "whatever happened to" discussion has emerged in part because question traffic has gone down dramatically. Fewer people are coming out to LUG meetings. It's as if Linux is fading away.

"Has Linux dropped off the face of the Earth?" The answer is obviously no. Linux is still around, stronger than ever, but the desktop OS does seem to be disappearing. Of course this is true of Windows and Mac OS, at least from the average user's perspective. Desktop Linux is strong with those who use it; those who have been using it, but the buzz seems to be gone. 

None of this surprises me though. Sure, we may never see the Year of the Linux Desktop, but the nature of the desktop is changing. People are increasingly living their lives online. Yes folks, it's that cloud you keep hearing about and it's really out there. Google+ and Facebook and Twitter and online document management and email and just plain old Web surfing. For most, the network really is the computer and as time goes on, people care less and less what is running on their computers and more about what they can access once they get online.

Read the full article here . . . 

Serving the Gaming community on Open Source

One of the great things I love about Linux is the power and flexibility. I've always said that Linux is configurable to the n'th degree, and the fact that I can use it for a desktop or for a server is another reason I Linux gets an A+ grade.

Over the past 6 years I've had my eye on an open source game called The Mana World. The Mana World is a role playing-style game set in an ANIME-based world. I played on and off for a number of years and started a blog last year documenting the game.

Now I've set up a server so others can enjoy the game in a more private setting than the main server.

First download the client from http://www.themanaworld.org/. Clients exist for Windows and Linux, the Mac OS/X client is currently broke I believe.

Playing on the main server server.themanaworld.org currently requires registration through the web site, but you can also play through a number of other servers listed on the TMW web site.

To play on my server just change the server setting from server.themanaworld.org to auldsbel.dyndns.org. Special quest for those interested: See if you can find out what Auldsbel refers to ;-)

Installing Linux on a Mac - The Dual-Boot Method

I came across this excellent tutorial at the Mac|Life magazine website to allow you to install Linux onto a Mac and have it dual-boot. Rather that repeat the article here, I'll just post the appropriate link;


Here are some screen shots of my setup just to prove that is IS possible, and worked very nicely too !

1. The External Monitor


Forgive the lines, but that's what happens when you use old technology (i.e. an external CRT monitor)

2. The MacbookPro LCD Screen


Much clearer, just to prove that the LCD *does* work !

3. The (out of focus) Login Screen


Because I'm running dual screens, I generally only use the external monitor when I'm at my desk, so the login screen appears there only. If I disconnect it, then the login screen appears on the MacbookPro's LCD as you would expect.

4. And to prove that it all works !!


The one annoyance I haven't been able to resolve, simply because I haven'y had time, is having two different wallpapers.

I have had email from friends who have tried this method with their Macs (Mini's, Macpro's, etc) and tell me it all works flawlessly.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone else tries it.


How to tell when you're getting old...

1. Your houseplants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.

2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.

3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.

4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.

5. You hear your favorite song in an elevator

6. You watch the Weather Channel.

7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of 'hook up' and 'break up.'

8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.

9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as 'dressed up.'

10. You're the one calling the police because those %&@# kids next door won't turn down the stereo.

11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.

12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.

13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up

14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald's leftovers

15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.

16. You take naps.

17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.

18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather than settle, your stomach.

19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests.

20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer 'pretty good s**t.

21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.

22. 'I just can't drink the way I used to' replaces 'I'm never going to drink that much again.'

23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.

24. You drink at home to save money before going to a bar.

25. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate them instead of asking 'Oh s**t, what the hell happened?'

Bonus :

26: You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that doesn't apply to you and can't find one to save your sorry old butt; Then you forward it to a bunches of old friends 'cause you know they'll enjoy it too.

2008 - What a start

And here was I thinking that 2008 would be the start of a great year.. HAH !! It looks like the Flying Spaghetti Monster is conspiring against me yet again !!

Started back at work on January 2 - On January 3 I started feeling... a bit off is the best I could describe. I had a painful shoulder due to sleeping the wrong way, but in addition to that I just "didn't feel right". I put it down to late nights - over the holidays an "early night" was something like 2am - so I didn't really stress about it.

Comes January 3 and my right eye is a tad irritated, and I was just not concentrating. I had also lost much of the muscular control over the right side of my face. No tingling in arms, etc, so I wasn't really (well, I *was* !@!) worried that I was having a stroke, so off to the Dr that afternoon - after googling the symptoms of course !!

Turns out I have Bell's Palsy, which is not all that uncommon - especially in us old farts..:-)

If you take a look at the Wikipedia entry for it there is more information (this is how I diagnosed it myself (and wasn't the GP pissed !!!) - this is an example of what my smile is currently like as a result (though this is not my picture !).

It's more bloody annoying than anything else - like speaking with 1/2 of your mouth numb from a dentist visit, you have to be careful not to spit at people, and eating and drinking is surprisingly hard to do without biting yourself (drinking coffee or beer through a straw just doesn't seem to cut it somehow).

Dr, not my normal GP but a good replacement thereof, has me on fairly high steroid doses for a week to bring down the inflamation around the nerve that is causing it, so it's a matter of waiting - not good for a person with little patience...:-)

Ah well, it's all good fun anyway...


2007 - The year that was... sort of...

As another year draws to a close, it leads one to become somewhat introspective - well it does me anyway...:-)

This year has been, to put it bluntly, a complete bitch for me, both personally and professionally.

It started with me *not* being offered a permanant position at Australian Catholic University, despite 4 years of promises by their so-called "Human Resources Manager".

I contracted for 3 months to Baiada Poultry, one of our national chicken producers - and, despite having a geographically-diverse network, sometimes with sites (chicken farms) connected via something marginally more reliable than a piece of wet string, one of the most professional and dedicated bunch I have ever worked with.

Curtin University in Sydney then headhunted me to take over as their IT Manager in the Sydney campus - only it was really just to cover the work during their enrollment period as the previous guy had realised what a bunch of complete twats they were (Financial Manager was in change of IT and didn't even know how to use Windows !!).

Then I fell into my current position with Cardlink Services (credit card processing for the major banks) - supposed to be PC/LAN support but the other admin wants to concentrate on desktops and has left all the servers to me. Despite being a Windows LAN Admin position, they have a number of Solaris boxes I can play with and also the mail system (Exchange) is run through a number of OpenBSD boxes, which I have "inherited".

It's a high-security environment (iris scanning to gain access, etc) and we always have the threat of PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance hanging over us (fail certification and we're all out of a job), but it finally looks like I've found a company which is not only family-friendly (kids are sick / I've got a hangover = work from home for a few days), but are willing to pay for training (just did a MS Exchange course - yeah, it's Winders !!!).

Only time will tell, I guess...:-)

Having a 7 year old and a 2 year old has certainly been a trying time for both Jill and I - and as much as I love my daughters and would defend them to the death, sometimes I can't stand the little buggers... Does that make me a bad Dad ?

Katelyn (7yo) has been wearing glasses for most of the year to correct long-sightedness, and has really been pushing the boundaries of parental love. The tantrums have been unbelievable, to the point of punching and kicking her parents.

Sally (2yo) has started the "terrible twos" behaviour, very similar to her sister in many ways - not getting her own way results in tantrums, whether in private or in public. Yelling, screaming, etc.... At daycare she's accomplished every milestone that a 5yo would normal have accomplished, so we're having her tested for the "gifted and talented" program at the school she'll be going to in 2 years...

But they are completely normal kids - it's just hard sometimes to believe that other parents are going through the same thing we are...:-)

And I've been guilty of ignoring many people; a friend's 60th birthday which I was just too damn tired to attend, a friend who only comes to Sydney every few years, and you - my friends and colleagues of the WFTL-LUG - yeah, it's hard to get to the regular chats, or to hear Marcel on the radio because of work and time differences, but I should have made more of an effort.

For this I beg your forgiveness...

2008 will be bringing many challenges, both professionally and personally, but I will NOT ignore you again.

Happy Holidays


Free since 2003

Another year down.

As I approach the half-decade mark without Micro.... I must raise my glass of wine to my fellow Linux users in the LUG and say, À votre santé.

May the next year see the march of the penguin into a computer near you.

Troy in New Mexico

2007 Was A Surprising Year

It is December 19 and I have been looking back on
the year and I must say "that was some year, 2007
was". We saw the long awaited bankruptcy of SCOx.
But that was not a surprise, it was just a matter of time.

But there were surprises. Here is what I believe
are the surprises:

1. A large retailer would sell Linux computers
WOW!! It took almost a full year for the "WOW to start
now". The Green PC at Wal-mart sure turned a few heads.
To think that the masses would buy a computer running
Linux in a non techie environment like Wal-mart. Who knew??
This computer was created by Everex, and they can't keep
up with the demand for them, the first bunch of 10,000 sold out
in days.
All those years of us Linux folks trying to find a way to get Linux
into the hands of more people. All we had to do was show
Mr. Wal-mart the right profit margins.

2. Industry would shun an Windows "upgrade"
We have seen it happen with Vista. Many consumers
just said no to this upgrade. At first I wanted to call
it a revolt, but that may be too strong a word, they have
shunned Vista and perhaps for the first time ever, massive
questioning of the need for "more functionality".

3. The price of LCD monitors dropped.
Is it worth it to labour on with that 17 inch or less CRT monitor?
When I saw a 19" LCD for under $150.00 it was a no-brainer.
Yes, I am taking advantage of the increased desk space.

4. Linux running on low powered hardware
Is this a reversal of Moore's law? Not really, It is cheap ram
by the Gigabyte that is the culprit here. Linux is now used on
all sorts of appliances from PDA's to cell phones.

Linux leads the industry in its ability to run on computers that
consume less power and less cash to purchase.

Examples of low powered computers include the Wal-mart GPC,
the EEE PC from Asus -- which is just getting off the ground, (along
with a competing product from Everex called the Cloudbook) and
there will be a major retailer for the Koolu as well in 2008.

2007 was quite a year, and 2008 looks like it will be a great year
for Linux as well.

The Little Engine That Could

From Thomas the Tank Engine, a little song . . .

Little engines,
Little engines,
Little engines can do the biggest things.
Little engines,
Little engines,
Little engines can do most anything. (Thanks Marcel-I am a parent too.)

Just wanted to share something that is amazing me.

Before I do, I need to preface it. As some of you may remember, 2 distros signed pacts with Microsoft in a short time. Those were Linspire and Xandros. Since 2004 I have been a Linspire Insider. I also had Linspire as a client writing Channel Training materials for their commercial vendors. I even aided with their involvement in Indiana's One for One Linux pilot by way of creating and executing a 3 day training session to Indiana Board of Education IT pros (Linux boot camp if you will). When they launched Freespire, I drafted the base document that became the Community Board Bylaws and was elected as the Vice Chair of the community board. Those were good times. We believed in something.

I was as upset about this deal as many others were. I even had a phone call with Kevin Carmony regarding the matter.

Well, at one point on the forums, Kevin Carmony told some upset members that if they did not like the way things were, they can start their own distro and see how it goes. So, former Freespire Leadership Board member Chris Medico assembled a team, of which I was honored to be asked to be a part of, which he lovingly calls Freedom Force. Within weeks, this new project, based on Kubuntu, had an Alpha. The project is called KlikIt Linux.

We decided community is as important, if not more important, than technology.

Anyway, within a short time our community grew to 50, then 100, then more. It has not grown by us marketing. It has been organic word of mouth in Microsoft Software forums, Xandros Foums, Linspire, PCLOS, Mint, Kubuntu, etc. The word keeps spreading, people like it, and they like the community.

I will be honest, I expected it to be a fun project that would last a few months and be forgotten, but it looks like it has grown teeth and wings and is taking flight. It is only Alpha right now, but it is growing and it as stable, in my opinion, as some final releases. We will be calling it BETA soon.

The below quote is by our newest member, the creator of Remastersys. I thought I would share.

"Wow is all I can say. I am very honoured that Klikit was created using remastersys. I was actually thinking of dropping the dist function but I guess I won't be doing that now - lol.

Thanks for the very warm welcome from everyone.

I'm still working on refining remastersys and a large part of that will happen starting here with Klikit.

I will be making a gui frontend to it so the average user can make their own backup without having to drop to the cli or console.

Just so you all know, Klikit is now my main Linux OS, occupying the first 40 Gig of my extended partition. I really prefer KDe over anything else and the app choices in Klikit are exactly what I would have chosen myself.

Its great to be here and I'm thrilled that it has played the role it did for creating Klikit.

To all who are involved in the creation of Klikit - keep up the great work.

I think you are selling yourselves short by labelling it "alpha" though. This is far beyond alpha state in terms of stability and usability."

With each Alpha release it gets more and more robust. We have many other people telling us we should call it a Beta. Chris (our fearless leader) really wants to lick one pesky grub bug before we call it beta.

So, why am I rambling about this? When we first started I thought it would be a nice little project. We would have fun for a few months and get to say, "Hey! I made a distro". Even in the alpha stage we have attracted attention.
I am now beginning to realize that this project by friends and for friends that we did for fun has some real potential here.

I am NOT asking anyone to switch distros. If you have found something that works for you, please stay with it. I have never been one for distro wars. I am asking you to do me a favor. Feel free to go to the website, http://klikit.org , download the latest Alpha DVD ISO, poke around the forums, and tell me what you think.

One final note, contrary to some speculation, KlikIt Linux is not a fork of Linspire, Freespire, or CNR. To be fair, there is a fork aspect. That is the community. At this time, the majority of people in the KlikIt community consist of former Freespire and Linspire board members, insiders, and community members. Following that is Xandros refugees. So, in that regard...we are a fork. We have taken the best element of Linspire and Xandros...the users. They are a very loyal and helpful lot of people with broad diversity. They represent the best of the social aspect of the bazaar.