Full stack web developer, interested in all the things, but especially the web, code, design, Linux, OS X, PHP, WordPress, JavaScript & robots.

Tagged: lincoln lug

elementary OS at Lincoln LUG

As previously mentioned, I attended Wednesday night’s Lincoln LUG meeting with a clean install of elementary OS. I also took along a bootable elementary OS USB key and managed to cajole a number of LUG members into giving it a try. I was interested to know what the other members thought of the distro, so I sat with them while they explored it.

Each member used the distro for between 10 – 30 minutes and although they only really scratched the surface, their initial impressions were positive. The look-n-feel of the desktop got a big thumbs up, it really is very pretty and nicely themed, and all the members managed to navigate around the system with ease, which is not surprising given that they’re all seasoned Linux users.

Some of the comments and observations that I found interesting were:

  • Obtaining a WiFi connection was the first thing that most of the members did. This worked without fail on all the systems and a couple of the members expressed some surprise that it worked out-of-the-box on their systems.
  • Some of the members commented on the choice of default applications that were available in the dock. The lack of a launcher for the file manager was highlighted as an example.
  • There didn’t seem to be any easy way of adjusting preferences in the default terminal application.
  • The App Store didn’t appear to offer many apps, which was very surprising given the Ubuntu heritage.

Again, the members really only scratched at the surface of elementary OS, but I did get the impression that given more time, they would have picked it apart. I know it’s a generalisation, but Linux users (myself included) can be a difficult group to please and I doubt any of the members will be switching to the distro anytime soon. Still, it was good to try something different.

More Linux

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to try and use Linux more often, and to improve the Lincoln LUG website, and to not attend any more LUG meetings with a non-Linux machine. This all came under the heading of “More Linux”.

I’ve not started on improving the website yet, but I did have an idea that might go some way to fulfilling the other two requirements of my resolution; I’m thinking it might be a good idea to install a new distro (on an old machine) each month and take it along to the LUG meeting. If I do this, by the end of the year I will have installed and tried at least 12 different Linux distros.

I’m also thinking that it might be nice to allow others to use the machine too, so I’m going to physically label the machine with the system’s administrator (or root) username and password. I won’t have any personal data on the machine, so if a renegade LUG member attempts to bork the system, accidentally or on purpose, it really won’t matter.

Anyhow, that’s the plan. The first LUG meeting of the year takes place next week and I’ll be taking along a fresh install of elementary OS.

New Lincoln LUG Website

Lincoln LUG Website

This weekend, I migrated the Lincoln LUG website to WordPress and moved it to its own domain (previously, the site was hosted on the UK Linux User Groups servers.) I’m hoping the move will allow for further development possibilities.

Some of the new features I’ve already implemented are:

  1. The site is now served over HTTPS via a StartSSL certificate.
  2. The site is served over HTTP/2.
  3. WordPress has been configured to use the WP Super Cache plugin, so it should be as fast, if not faster than the previous static site.
  4. WordPress has been configured to use the Autoptimize plugin, whilst the need for this is mostly negated by HTTP/2, the minifying features should still help to keep the site snappy.
  5. I’ve created a WordPress plugin for creating LUG meetings. The plugin registers a custom post type and provides metaboxes for inputting event details, such as dates, times and venues. The plugin also provides a function for outputting structured data.
  6. I’ve created a WordPress plugin for editing/creating content snippets. This allows for editing sections of a web page, without providing full access to the template.

Regarding the design, this has remained largely unchanged, although I have made some tweaks to make the site render better on small screens. If you are interested, you can checkout the WordPress theme here. Please feel free to clone the theme and submit your pull requests. If you want to set-up a development sandbox, ping me and I’ll happily provide a SQL dump of the database.

I’ve got some ideas to further develop the site, with the intention of making the LUG more accessible for both new and existing LUG members. If you have any ideas or input for the site, please feel free to contact me, or shoot an email off to the LUG’s mailing list.

Hello, Debian Sid, again

Last night, at Lincoln LUG, it occurred to me that I was kind of missing my old desktop Linux (I’ve not used desktop Linux for about 6 months or so, using OS X instead.) I felt really quite envious when I was looking at my friend’s systems. So, tonight, I installed Debian Sid on my old Lenovo X220. Now, I’m not sure how often I’m going to use it, but it’s nice to know that it’s installed and available if I need it. If nothing else, I’ll at least have a system that I can take to LUG meetings and not feel awkward about — whilst turning up with a MacBook is not frowned upon, we’re a relaxed and friendly group, it does make me feel like a bit of a pretender, even though I spend all day in a terminal attached to numerous Ubuntu servers.

P.S. I typed this up on my X220, I’d forgotten how nice the keyboard is on this thing.

A GitHub Repo for the Lincoln LUG Website

Tonight, I created a new GitHub repository for the Lincoln LUG website. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but for some reason I’d not managed to get around to doing it until now. Poor show, Mr Newborough.

A screenshot of the Lincoln LUG website.

I’m hoping that the new repo will encourage some members to get involved and make changes to the website. I think it would be really cool if as many LUG goers as possible could get their names on the contributors list. Also, while I know some of our members are definite Git users, I’m sure we also have some members who have never used it, so it might make a good topic of conversation at our LUG meetings — I know Git is a cross-platform thing, but it does have its roots in Linux.