From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Thursday, November 18, 2010

TAMULUG 2010


I was invited to speak last night at the Texas A&M University Linux Users Group (TAMULUG) last night. Being an Aggie myself (Class of 2001, whoop), and I was honored and thrilled to hang out with some Linux loving Aggies.

My wife, Kim, joined me. We picked up a stack of pizzas and soft drinks and met the group in the brand new Mitchell Physics building on A&M's campus.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the conversations!

I spoke for about an hour on eCryptfs, going into deep technical detail on the design and implementation of Ubuntu's Encrypted Home Directory feature, and fielded a number of questions. I hooked my primary desktop up to the projector and we used a rescue CD to attempt an "attack" on my encrypted data. I gave a tour of the structure of the ~/.ecryptfs directory and what the encrypted contents look like. I then briefly introduced the /usr/bin/ecryptfs-* tools. We talked a bit about the cryptography involved and series of encryption/decryption/hashing that goes on.

Some of the attendees noticed that I was running Byobu in my terminal, and there was a bit of a mixed reaction. A few people noted that they liked it and replaced their use of screen, while other smirked and shirked. I then introduced myself as the author of Byobu and the tone changed slightly. :-) I spent the next hour thoroughly exploring the inspiration, design, and features of Byobu. Many of the attendees were themselves GNU Screen experts, and we traded hacks, tips and tricks. In particular, we experimented with horizontal splits, vertical splits, and nested sessions in Byobu. Based on the response by the end of the talk, I think there were a couple of converts ;-)

I closed the talk with maybe 5 minutes of preaching about how important it is to get involved in open source while in college. I talked about opportunities within Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, and other communities to work on packaging, development, bug triage, documentation, etc. Having conducted several dozen interviews over the years, I can speak to how important it is to have a public track record in open source, when applying for a job in open source.

:-Dustin

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