Meeting – medibuntu for extra repo’s

Tony demo’d PC-OS 2009 which is Ubuntu based with XFCE windows manager. Comes with most media Codecs, apart from libdvdcss2. Tony is away for a few weeks, but will be happy to Demo it again to anyone interested next time he is in.

Check out for instructions on how to install extra repositories.

Also see this Ubuntu guide.

Meeting – 3 live distros

Next meeting Saturday 9th May.
At this meeting (2009-05-02)
We played with (demonstrated) 3 live Distros, Mint, PC LOS, and Puppy.
These distros can be used without having to install anything. Just put the disk in the drive and reboot.
Once you have finished playing, reboot without the disk and its gone.
We also used the PCLOS disk to make a system that dual booted Win XP and PCLOS.
This gives you the option to choose either XP or PCLOS as the machine is starting.
Lastly, Puppy Linux was installed to a USB stick and made bootable.
This system lets you use Puppy linux on any machine capable of booting from USB and it will not affect anything
installedon that machine.

Meetings restarting

Meetings restarted – every Saturday excluding school holidays.

10am start, finish at noon.

Venue – PC Recycler Ltd
29-35 Ripon road, Blackpool, FY1 4DY
Tel: 01253 293258

Ripon road is residents only parking, don’t get a parking ticket!

Link to map :- Ripon road, Blackpool FY1 4DY
Use the buzzer/intercom on the wall next to the door in the yard to get in.

Format –
‘Free for all’ open day.
Members, non members, friends, passers by, everybody welcome.

Picture of Ripon road building by Jim Huntsman:-

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Ripon road


This week at Blackpool LUG there was Mike, Colin, Tony and Les

What we did / discussed today

  1. The format of the LUG
  2. Ubuntu and floppy disks
  3. The Linux Command Line
  4. Colin’s mini disro of the week
  5. Are distros that use unsigned packages safe? Could they be used for criminal purposes?
  6. How to install an application from source
  7. Etherape – Keeping an eye on what the kids are looking at
  8. Next weeks LUG
  9. Our LUG Calendar

This weeks photos are here

1 The format of the LUG

Mike raised the point that the LUG should cater to the attendees interests. So that each week we have a relevant and interesting content.
At the same time the LUG should also appeal to new members.

Does anyone have any ideas or Linux related interests / projects that they would like to bring to the group?

2 Ubuntu and floppy disks

Colin had a few problems with Ubuntu reading his floppy disks (Hey kids, remember these?)
When we tested his floppy disks on our sacrificial machine they worked 1st time. Colin will retry at home and report next week.

3 The Linux Command Line

Les has created a guide to the Linux Command Line and we used the guide to work on the command line, using a few basic commands.
This guide is a work in progress and if anyone has any ideas, then please do contact Les (@biglesp on Twitter).

4 Colin’s mini disro of the week

This week, Colin has been using Coyote Linux
Coyote Linux is a floppy based Linux distribution, primarily aimed at creating a firewall.
Take a look and see what you think.

5 Are distros that use unsigned packages safe? Could they be used for criminal purposes?
We discussed the need for packages to use signed packages to ensure security for a distribution.
For example some distributions do not check new packages in their repositories, but let the community use them straight away.
What if there was a group with malicious intent that altered a package to steal information, how would we find out?
Can every package be checked?
Can we rely on others to check every package?
How often do you look at the source code of the packages you install?

6 How to install an application from source

Tony asked how to install an application from the source code, well below is a quick guide on how to do this.

Our file is called foo.tgz, and for the purpose of this guide we are working in he same directory as foo.tgz.
In a terminal type
gunzip foo.tgz
This will extract foo.tgz to foo.tar.
Now type
tar -xvf foo.tar
this will extract the files from foo.tar into the current working directory.
If there is a folder called foo, change your directory to foo
cd foo
Now in the terminal type this command
This will check your machine to ensure that it is able to compile the source code.
If you receive an error, you will need to ensure that you have all of the necessary dependencies installed.
Now in a terminal type
This will compile the application.
Now you need to change to root
su for most linux distributions
and run this last command, which will install the application on your PC.
**Special note for Ubuntu users**
You need to use the command
sudo su instead of just su, this is due to the configuration of Ubuntu.

Now you should be able to type in foo in the command line and run your new app.

7 Etherape – Keeping an eye on what the kids are looking at

Etherape is a great tool that shows what PCs on your network are looking at on the internet / network. Mike uses this to show his kids how much of his precious bandwidth the kids are using.

8 Next weeks LUG
Does anyone have any suggestions for next weeks LUG?
Let us know on the mailing list, remember this is your LUG, so please let us know.

9 Our LUG Calendar

We have a great Google Calendar that shows events and important information in the Linux world.
Les will update the calendar regularly, so please keep an eye on it.
Important dates this week

  • How Why DIY 21st / 22nd August (exact date TBA in Liverpool): A tech event where people can get together and share ideas. Les will be there providing Ubuntu and free software advice to attendees.
  • Software Freedom Day in Machester on the 18th September Manchester Free Software will be hosting a day of events and workshops to celebrate Software Freedom Day. Tony, Rick, Rob and Les will be there promoting Ubuntu and Free Software

See you next week

Meetings – looking for projects

Well it was a slightly quieter meeting today just Mike, Colin and myself. We had a look at Ubuntu 10.04 beta 1 which unfortunately would not run in Live mode on the PC we used ( It might be a bug as I haven’t tried it on my Core 2 Duo as yet) we also looked at the new Lubuntu beta 1 the first official community release of Ubuntu with the LXDE GUI looked good but crashed a couple of times in live mode, I may try installing them both in Virtual; Box to have a proper look and see if these are still issues.
We then had a look at Colin’s aging Think Pad laptop with a view to installing one of the very small distro’s but we were again up against the God’s as the CD drive would not allow it to boot from CD despite finally working out how to get into the strange bios set up and setting it up to boot from CD.
The rest of the session was discussing Linux from Scratch and the possibility of creating our own distro, Mike did point out that this was a big undertaking and without a programming background quite a difficult task.
Thanks to Colin for the Coffee and Les in his absence for the chocolate ūüôā
Well that will be it for a while as there is no meeting for the next 2 weeks and possibly 3 due to other commitments and the Easter break.

Meeting – USB booting

Quick update on what was covered at the last 2 meetings.
last Saturday we looked at repartitioning hard disks using the
Mandriva partitioning tool and took a quick look a shredding/wiping
data using DBAN.
The week before, Tony showed 2 distros booting from USB, (latests
Karmic Ubuntu, and latest Mint) Tony is a big Ubuntu fan! (isn’t that
right Tony?) I showed Moblin and Xpud booting from USB these are both
Kiosk style distros, and Xpud is of particular interest to me because
it boots in 15 seconds on an Acer aspire one netbook. The emphasis on
USB stick booting was at Colins request who unfortunately could not
make it at the last minute.

A beginners take on ARM programming

I have collected this material together as I have tried to figure out how to ‘get started’ with ARM.

ARM in this context means:-

A        Acorn or Advanced, depending on who you talk to.
R        RISC,  (Reduced Instruction Set Computing)
M       Machine 

Atomic: The Acorn Atom was my first computer, and the manual was called “Atomic theory and practice.” Acorn Atom picture

Acorn were the makers of the BBC micro which was widely used in schools in the UK in the ’80’s.
The BBC had an 8 bit 6502 microprocessor, and it is said that this processor which had a comparatively small instruction set was the inspiration for the design of the first ARM RISC(Reduced Instruction Set Computing) chip. ARM Рa brief history

Getting started will depend on what you are attempting to do or learn, and could perhaps be divided into two broad categories, hardware and software.

If you are interested in writing software/applications, then there is a multitude of options. Most Android ‘phones are ARM based, and Google have made it free and easy to develop and get applications into the Android market. So easy in fact, that several virus/trojan applications have appeared.

See our first attempt at an Android game  here :- Angry Beaks

The Apple iphone is ARM based, and Apple have also released a free development environment, although a licence is needed to put your application in the Apple appstore.

Microsoft intend to make Windows 8 available for ARM devices.

As you can see, there is no shortage of devices to develop applications for, but at the moment, Android is the cheapest and easiest to get started with.

There are also a multitude of development boards available if you want to get started with hardware.

Having only worked with assembler on the 6502 in the ’80’s, I thought ‘getting started’ with ARM would just be a case of learning the ARM assembler instructions and chip pinout as I had done with the 6502, but ¬†this is not the case.I soon discovered that there is a large number of ARM ¬†devices, and that the devices can have different operating states and modes.

So, where to start?
Several years have passed, since I started this site, and I did not get started with ARM in the way I initially envisaged.
Basically, I was a beginner, starting again, and the ARM devices were more complicated than I wanted. Instead I found the AVR range of devices, specifically in the Arduino platform, designed with beginners in  mind.
Although not ARM, the Atmel AVR chips could be described as RISC, and the 8 bit version in the Arduino was just right as a starting point. The Arduino has a large community following, and the avrfreaks forum has answers to any AVR question you can think of. Did I mention that it is cheap too?

Blackpool LUG: From the mailing list Jan 2004

These posts from 2004 show the early days of the Blackpool LUG.

These are the first messages from the founders of Blackpool LUG:-


Christopher Ganderton 70810 at
Fri Jan 23 13:07:51 GMT 2004

Previous message: [Blackpool] woop
Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

So is there actually anyone subscribed to this list or what?

Linux user 338000 !!
I feel so unique ūüôā


Chris White chris at
Tue Apr 6 15:49:54 BST 2004

Next message: [Blackpool] Test Posting
Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

Is there anybody out there?

Chris White

Chris Ganderton chris at
Sun Jul 11 14:52:09 BST 2004

Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]


Just wondering if anyone had any info on what’s happeneing with the LUG?

has anyone spoken with chris recently about the LUG to get some indication if he’s going to get
chance to get a meeting together or something?

chris ganderton


There doesn’t seem to have been much activity on the lug yet. There was talk
in the Preston group of going along to dnscon ( which is in
blackpool next weekend. Short notice i know, but perhaps an ideal
opportunity to for a first meeting to get things started?


Hi everyone, my name is Mike Hewitt, and I run a
project in Blackpool which provides free computers
into the voluntary sector. We have a computer suite
consisting of ten computers installed with various
Linux distros, and broadband access through a
smoothwall firewall. I would like to offer use of the
suite to the Blackpool LUG free of charge. I have
tried the national LUG site, and the Blackpool LUG
site but have been unable to get a response. If the
Blackpool LUG exists, could some one please contact me?

Best regards,
Mike Hewitt
Project leader
PC Recycler
A Fylde Coast CVS project

Following this post, the Blackpool LUG administrator contacted me, and after discussing various options,the Blackpool LUG administrator handed over ‘the reins’ to PC Recycler, who have been running the LUG since then.