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VAGUE  February 2017

VAGUE February 2017


Linux_adult_swim Meeting today, Monday February 20th, 5 PM at 40 Washington Street... (fwd)


Paul Flint <[log in to unmask]>


Vermont Area Group of Unix Enthusiasts <[log in to unmask]>


Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:25:40 -0500





TEXT/PLAIN (403 lines)

Greetings List Lurkers,

Meh, it is Martin Luther King & Presidents Day, but in spite of this, we 
shall have a good and ready supply of warm, crispy Pizza ready to go at 
5PM today in the basement of Hedding UMC.


Stop the presses!  Brett somehow managed to root his new kindle, which 
puts him in front of Effin and DTG.  The Kindlemeister's direction towards 
the rootjunky apparently did it.

This breaks the logjam of the only rooted Kindles delivered with the 
Android 5.3.1 version.  I will follow Brett's lead as soon as I can!

We need to get whatever he did up on the site ASAP,. Now that this is on 
the table I am gonna have to try it myself.

I am becoming convinced that there could be a commercial opportunity in 
customizing kindles.  You would think that maybe Effin would be 

I still really want a version of the Universal Insight Virtual Realty Glasses 
for the Kindle.  3d Teleconferencing way cool!  Anybody see such a thing?  I am 
thinking about trying to fabricate one based upon the original cardboard.


This project is still operating in development at the library and it 
appears that the powers that be in State Library Land are the delay factor 
in our opening trantor to the world, Hopefully this is not political 
struggle but rather a period of waiting to get free software online in 
Vermont (see "Connectivity" below).

Right now we are as you recall using two of the original Gates Foundation 
grant based Dell machines.  One is the development and one is test. 
Aldrich is donating more of these to the club.  We now have one running as 
the development system a rough to the test unit at the Aldrich.

So, once we get this working we will then deliver the trantor v 4.0 machine to 
the Aldrich, swap it with the existing 0.015 system, set up static IP, avahi 
bonjour and things may actually be accessible via DNS for the world. Well a 
fellow can dream...

With this is accomplished we will switch to the excellent hardware platform 
that Marius delivered. This production case contains both USB2.0/3.0 and and a 
DVDRW. This will be the production device.

From a software standpoint, the first, second, third and forth(pun :^) passes 
for Trantor are done. The third pass, is in the Aldrich Public library for 
evaluation, and the latest feature is there is a new include that actually 
rebuilds the index.rst from the existing sub-rst files. With the bzinga project 
there is most likely to be a fourth (forth? :^) pass...

Software Development

We are very close to having a development cycle... With a working version 
of enki, the vision of a reStructuredText website is accomplished:

- Take the existing code
- edit it with enki, a restful editor almost built for the job.
   (a most difficult to install but rewarding bit of software)
- add the changes to the visualbash build files.  Propagating the change
   using this shell script framework   (thank god for sed and awk)
- run " mkitso" which builds
-- new base .rst files from a manifest,
-- a new index.rst from the existing stuff, and then
-- builds new web site based upon this index.rst
- check out the result...
- lather, rinse repeat...

Again, I restate that reStructuredText, and sphinx now join my world 
through the visualbash framework.  I am 
completely convinced the trick to sphinx and reStructuredText in general is 
enki, which is a royal pain to install, but turns out to be a powerful new 
product.  As we said about enki, the ticket was to get this code to run under 
Linux Mint 18 and Ubuntu Trusty, which we accomplished with help from the 
developers. Thanks to the gang at enki, pydocs and sphinx this is done.

The hard part of this turns out to be getting:
1. Getting a State bureaucracy to recognize
    Free Open Source Software (what's in it for them?)
2. getting the visual bash complete, with appropriate features.
3. making the system "sane" - a menu choice.  Design questions include:
- Do individual functions call for particular software packages?
- Should the sanity program try to md5 sum the components.
- Should sanity also include operating and support system sanity?
- When does sanity become Configuration Management?

The newest include is likely to be called "movingday", and it works with 
"sanity" to allow you to move only the relevant components of trantor into 
a tar ball for installation at another system.

The "SanityScript" remains born but without love.  Right now the vision is that 
"sanity.shi" may be tasked with some combination of the following:
- Check that all the components you need are in place in terms of program
- Possibly check at to the validity of the includes and functions using MD5
- checking for variable conflict within functions.  This is a big thing, but on
   the other hand, so it sanity...

As an example I have enki running on trantor.  Now that I have it running 
here with the new version I will try again. The trantor project now uses 
the new VisualBash include function to load up various scripts 
full-o-functional goodness. Like everything else, We are attempting to 
maintain the Trantor project on Github, but we are really not up to date, 
mostly because I don't appear to be using git to it's fullest potential:

As discussed, I continue to hack this into some type of organized format to put 
up on git hub, but now I am considering adding a GUI control capability to the 
trantor control program.  Getting this up on git is something that will please 
both Chris Yarger and Kevin Cole.  I really am gonna get to commitment and 
update soon.  Am I resistant to commitment?

The trantor project benefits itself as you can cut DVDs and USBs with great 
ease and facility. ("Rick Roll version")

With the current reStructuredText Web Site: We now have online a complete 
set of disks starting from LXFDVD154, as we mentioned last week, we sent 
Neil at Linux Format, an email in an attempt to expanding trantor to 
include all the Linux Format DVDs since they started publication.  He 
writes back and says the first 19 issues of Linux Format had a CD. The DVD 
was introduced from issue 20, when there was a choice of the DVD or dual 
CD edition. From around issue 71, it was DVD only.  So we have about a 104 
CD/DVD gap in the beginning of the collection.

The Collection Grows:
So the other related good news is that I got Tom Kastner out to lunch in 
Waterbury and he got 50 or so additional Linux Format DVDs. Tom Kastner 
has offered us several additional DVDs back before LXFDVD105.  These 
additional 50 or so disks he go us would go a long way to making the 
collection complete.  The sort of bad news is that the sexy Xerox scanner 
at Aldrich is down.  Thus we are unlikely to get this latest traunch of 
disks online till I get back from traveling next week.

This small victory was that last week I mentioned how it occurred to me how 
inaccurate the list of DVD's and issue dates really were.  Imagine my 
surprise to discover that there was nowhere on the DVD where the issue 
date was available in a digital form, except for the actual ".png" which 
is a graphical representation of the cover of the DVD.  This resulted in 
my writing a kins of successful OCR script, the result of which I shared 
with the boys in London at Linux Format. So, we have in addition gotten a 
response from London, trust me the OCR way to get date information on the 
DVDs turns out to be the only way.  No less than Neil Bothwick surveyed 
the damage and allowed that in future Linux Format DVDs there will be a 
file called "issue" which will contain this information.

This week I concentrated on developing a VisualBash program to 
automatically generate the individual and now seasonally colored ".rst" 
reStructuredText files at the base level. When I went a little nuts and 
decided to add a seasonal background color to each base rst file, I had no 
idea how involved I would become.  While this may have seemed like a very 
good idea at the time, implementing this in reStructuredText was no 
picnic. The base "rst" files based upon a csv manifest.  A good thing, but 
cleanup is in process.

As it is installed at the Aldrich, next trick is to get trantor on the public 
web, and the bad news is that looks like it may not happen in the 
immediate future.

It seams that the Acting Head Librarian wants to wait on our request, and 
while the email said rejected, what it meant according to my discussions 
with Sarah Costa was that is is delayed till the politics stabalize.  Meh.

Sarah the librarian still wants a press release. I hope that the concept 
of Library Based Local Destinations has not been completely wiped out. 
The entrenched powers would so much prefer that to raise revenue by 
concentrating everything in the very expensive DII Data Center at National 
Life, likely for a hefty monthly fee! I may still do a press release, and 
after talking to her will no doubt have a draft for her to review on the 
Trantor web site shortly.

Other Digital Collections?
I am getting interest from some parties in contributing more stuff to trantor. 
Do not be bashful (pun?). let me know if you want something faithfully curated 
and The real question here is should I simply rebuild based upon 
sphinx?  Or, we could do it all in  reStructuredText...

GSD amd the bzinga project:
As mentioned above, I dusted off the Bash-Zenity project with the thought of 
adding this to trantor as a GUI based control framework.  So far it is 
interesting, as GUIs now haunt my dreams looking for the best way to configure 

I continue to meditate on the discussion DTG and I had last week about how 
GUI code needs to be non-blocked. So, the approach I continue to think 
about for now involves putting the GUI code in includes that get included 
only when you need them. The Visual Bash framework really works. Will this 
work for adding a GUI with bzinga?  And how does BNF fit into this? 
Progress is slow based upon the trantor work.

But the line between bzinga and the Menubot function gets fuzzier all the 
time, maybe the menubot program has a way of generating coefficients that the 
GUI system can use to autogenerate GUI menues.  Maybe using Backus–Naur form 
(BNF or Railroad Notation).  After some playing around with zenity, I am more 
convinced that the use of zenity for a gui interface, (see the Bash Zenity 
Integration page: :^) is not a bad plan.  Beyond this we 
really need to clean up the VisualBash page.  Now that we have the "include" 
function that is similar to the one in python (C and a lota other languages :^) 
we need to git this.

The Visual Bash git page needs to be organized. We need to reorganize all 
of the visual bash functions into functional includes.  Possible include 
files are:

- ianda.shi  - Identification and Authorization
- dvdusb.shi - DVD/USB utilities
- sanity.shi - System sanity tests
- maint.shi  - Maintenance includes
- ops.shi    - Operational includes
- dev.shi    - Development includes
- sphinx.shi - Sphinx generator includes
- tiddle.shi - Tiddle includes...
- gui.shi    - Graphical User Interface using bzinga
- movingday  - Tar up what you need.

The problem is that I cannot resist the challenge of the GUI menu generator 
"" that will allow you to test stub your "shi" files with a crude but 
working "sh". Who knows where we go from there?  Again, the Design questions 

- Do individual functions call for particular software packages
   by adding their local requirements to a file or memory variable?
- Should the sanity program try to md5 sum the components?
- Can the sanity program help resolve namespace issues?

Could 2017 may be the year of VisualBash? We have a presentation on the subject 
due in June...

=In the new year we want to follow up on the interesting angle to deploy 
TechnoRubble at Libraries.  At the meeting two weeks ago, J West came up with 
this angle and I would very much like to set up at Kimball and the Aldrich 
Libraries and see if this would work.  The famous Jessamyn West showed up at 
our meeting last week and checked out the whole TechnoRubble Project. Hope she 
remains interested!

- The Website,
- The new donation letter has been updated, but not used yet...

Again, we need more TechnoRubble.  The TechnoRubble untangling and packing is 
part of that effort. Part of this effort was the donation letter. The idea is 
to get people to mail their TechnoRubble to us in a USPS Flat Rate Box. I am 
going to complete the donation process page as soon as I can and post it.

Still very little to say in terms of 3DPRINT, TADA, ZOCKER and PITCHBOX. 
In fact we were sort of flat out on trantor this week.

Hopefully these will be discussed on:

Which with any luck will start at 6 PM EST today. Maybe the future holds 
promise for these languishing projects. Oddly enought projects come and go...

To summarize, the meeting today is again at 40 Washington Street, Barre, VT 

Topics for discussion as usual remain:

- Open Source Educational Human Development
   I am working on an idea... I am changing the priority of our
   eternal needs, and placing education first.

- Maker Movement A Maker Space in Barre?  Why not? Could it be that the
   commercial power centers do not yet appreciate the value?  I need to
   revise my paper on this subject and get it out to Lucas Jensen
   who has good ideas about a Barre Maker Space.  Why not do digital stone?

- Move BOSI to become more git centric... develop gittlywiki... working!
   check out tiddlywiki5 here:
   We still need to convert... Yea buddy...  Shut up Effin.

- Blue Sky R&D, but in Vermont it will be Gun-metal Grey Sky(c) R&D.

- I fought the DREK and the DREK continues to win.  Remember, What
   really is holds us back is DREK!!!  DREK is what happens to your
   workspace (both hardware and  software) when you fail to put stuff
   away, or you let your friends or relatives use it.  This is a cosmic
   law.  I am still fighting the DREK.  How to get over it?  The secret
   may be empty pellet bags.  Is TechnoRubble organized DREK?

These five points are quickly becomming more than our policy, and more like a 

Anyway, we have the technology and we will have Pizza tonight 5-7 at Hedding 

This is the official notice of the Barre Open Systems Institute (BOSI) Adult 
Swim. For those coming in via the Google Plus and the Internet, and there are 
folks who are gonna try, the swim stars at 6:00 PM EST.

Our ongoing major objective is to continue to try to figure out how to invest 
the time and resources to turn the Barre Open Systems Institute into more than 
just the Adult Swim technical clinic and more into a real learning facility. 
One direction we have been working on is to begin thinking about classes. The 
curriculum that I am most interested in is teaching documentation.

Once again, the goal of the meeting shall be as usual, to get organized and try 
to get the various projects moving forward, despite DREK. We continue to wonder 
about how to build the BOSI curriculum to this webpage:

*** Note this is broke as of this newsletter ****, Take a look if you dare...

Remember, the BOSI Adult Swim is essentially about helping out fellow users of 
open source products in a clinic environment.  Despite my very best of 
intentions, the Adult Swim is really almost a perpetual Linux install-fest, and 
only secondarily a learning environment,

The ever growing list of projects (now on our web site :^) includes:
- - A Docker copy of VM370
- - The Kindle Liberation Front
- - A pythonic interface to Income Tax?
- - Ok, this is a real project eh?
- - What happens when you combine Bash and Zenity?
- - ok, it is on the list.
- - jesum they love this robot
- - monitor that pellet furnace
- - moving in the arduino groove
- - to get better at Javascript
-  - Temperature Sensors Project
- - The quest for Roberts Rules -
- - Yea, I am not kidding...
- - remedial raw mrtg for the slow...
- - all versions
- - maybe a very cool project.
- - oh please let me be organized!
- - this may be the least organized
    site ever!
- - A big noble idea.
- - A less noble idea to feed the
   big idea...
- - is tiddlywiki5 the answer?

Otherwise, Barre indeed remains a great venue for a Linux and Open Source 
Software discussion and general system rejuvenation. Expect to be remotely 
preached at on the various topics of Open Source and how I am confident it 
shall cure all the evils and ills of this wicked world.  In a perfect meeting, 
people would come in, sit down, see the stuff we have been doing and hopefully 
help us get the DIY stuff we are doing done, or maybe just fix a laptop.

So, do not forget that the Barre library stocks "Linux Format", and the latest 
issue is on the shelf, and it is good.  The DVD's are available to checkout and 
copy, we shall to continue provide copies and isos of each and every one. I am 
continuing to duplicate about a years worth of DVD's which is quite a task. You 
may want to watch this space for developments.

Anyway, come and do open source stuff. For more information about the BOSI 
Adult Swim meeting time and location try this:

*** Note this is broke as of this newsletter ****

Show up at Hedding UMC if you have questions or are interested in Linux or the 
concept of free and open systems.  Again, we are in the basement of the Hedding 
UMC facility which is actually working out pretty well.

Somehow we need to make progress not more projects!!!

If you wish to be included on the "Linux_adult_swim" mailing list, send a
response to this note.

This is Flint signing off... I gotta go and get trained as a Justice of the 
Peace, and maybe catch the flue from the City Clerk.

I will continue to refactor this newsletter at some point in the future (do not 
hold your breath :^)...

Kindest Regards,

Paul Flint
(802) 479-2360
(802) 595-9365 Cell

Based upon email reliability concerns,
please send an acknowledgment in response to this note.

Paul Flint
Barre Open Systems Institute
17 Averill Street
Barre, VT
skype: flintinfotech
Work: (202) 537-0480

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