Gems from Southeast LinuxFest

Posted by penguinist on Jun 10, 2013 7:17 AM
LXer Linux News; By Penguinist

Three golden nuggets from the Southeast LinuxFest: "RPi+", video editing, and spam tips.

The fifth annual Southeast LinuxFest (SELF) concluded its three day event this weekend in downtown Charlotte, NC. SELF is part educational conference with a multitude of forum presentations, and part social gathering with events like the well-attended Google party Saturday night where like minded Linux enthusiasts have a chance to mingle.

Whenever I attend a conference like SELF, I try to put together a personal list of "gems", or "golden nuggets", pieces of information that are either new to me or stand out as something I would like to remember. This time I came away from a two day SELF visit with three gems, and I will share them here with my LXer friends:

Embedded ARM boards

I've been an active Raspberry Pi fan and have used them for various monitoring and control tasks around the house. My latest project was to deploy two camera equipped RPi's as WiFi connected ssh-encrypted security cameras. The $35 RPi, however, has a few limitations that have now been solved by the $45 Beaglebone Black (BBB).

The BBB was just introduced a few weeks ago, but this weekend I was able to put one in my hands and take a close look. It is based on an AM3359 Coretex-A8 ARM processor running at 1 GHz with 512 MB ram. Like the RPi it supports on-board hdmi, usb-host, ethernet, accelerated gpu, can be powered from a spare usb charger, and full hardware schematic documentation is openly available. Unlike the RPi, the BBB has on-board flash (factory pre-loaded with Linux), seven analog inputs, a mini usb-client port, and two programmable real-time microprocessors to offload time sensitive tasks from the main Linux ARM processor.

That's a lot of power for only an extra $10 over the RPi price. The best news is that these sweet babies are in stock and I should have mine in a couple days to play with.

Video Editing

A new version (0.9.6) of kdenlive was released recently. This video editor looks to be pretty intuitive and the latest version has much improved functionality and stability according to Jayneil Dalal, who gave a demo to a large group of interested onlookers. One interesting feature for me was the ability to render video directly in multiple video formats including Flash. Finally, we have a viable way to produce Flash content using only FOSS tools. I quickly checked the Fedora repository and found that it is already updated with the latest 0.9.6 version. I have a video editing project that has been sitting on my ToDo list for a long time. I'm looking forward to soon giving kdenlive a spin on a "real" project.

Spam tips

I'm one of those people who runs his own email services (first using sendmail and more recently Postfix), so I always listen up when I hear good tips about controlling the spam problem. I've been using a combination of spamassassin, procmail, and mail client filters.

At the Google party Saturday night, Rob McGee gave me the suggestion to look into "postscreen", a recently developed component of Postfix. postscreen detects zombies (malware on compromised end-user computers) and rejects their attempts immediately. This frees up the main Postfix mta to handle mails from legitimate senders.

Postfix versions 2.8 and later support postscreen (the current stable version is 2.10). My mail server runs RHEL/CentOS which is still on version 2.6. I must either wait for a distro update, or do my own Postfix installation before I can experiment with Postfix's latest spam controls.

SELF 2013 was well organized and attracted some good speaker talent. Thanks to Jeremy Sands and team for a successful conference.

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