On that New Location of Algorithm Coffee Co. for BerkeleyLUG, starting Sunday 2019-04-14.

Here’s a bit more useful info than the previous brief posting on our hopeful change of venue for the Berkeley Linux Users Group away from 85C Bakery & Cafe and to Algorithm Coffee Company :

Please feel free to leave your comments and thoughts on this post below.

New location starting October 2016

The BerkeleyLUG meetups have been moved from Bobby G’s Restaurant to 85c Bakery at 21 Shattuck Square just across the street.  85C Bakery’s direct contact telephone number is 510.540.8585 and the store’s general website is www.85cbakerycafe.com/

Meetup dates and times remain the same, as listed at the ‘Meetings’ page https://berkeleylug.com/meetings/

For those of you who still may not realize this, Bobby G’s Pizzeria has been under new ownership since this past Winter; several months after the Bobby G’s post of November 8, 2015 https://berkeleylug.com/2015/11/08/bobby-gs/. The new owners have kept things they way they were before under the restaurant’s founder Bobby G — well, *mostly* that way — until they made some key renovations this past Summer. Among the most significant renovations the owners made during the last couple of months significantly affecting our BerkeleyLUG meetups were their adding more TV screens around the restaurant, adding more TV speakers all around the place routinely blaring televised sports, and making enough structural renovations to the place (e.g., raising the ceiling) so that the televised sports sounds heavily reverberated all around the place.

The key decision we made was essentially based upon our inability to actively participate in BerkeleyLUG discussion at Bobby G’s, given all the ambient noise and sound discordancy (“vibrations” as someone put it one afternoon at Bobby G’s.) BerkeleyLUG participants actually had to leave Bobby G’s on past meetups over the last month or so,  due to the level of noise preventing even simple conversation!

This situation was simply unacceptable.  And we received a clear indication at a recent meetup that Bobby G’s new management wasn’t liable to accommodate us by lowering the speaker volume on the televised sportsgames just for us, while other paying customers were cheering on their sports teams and enjoying their beers.

Hence we made the change to the new venue nearby.

Please respond with your thoughts and suggestions in the Comments section below or on the BerkeleyLUG GoogleGroup mailing list https://berkeleylug.com/googlegroup/

A June ’14 Distro Categorization

I thought it might help a few people (including myself!) to perform the following categorized and referenced summary of the current “families” of non-commercial Linux distros. All of these distros have brief descriptions and rankings at the DistroWatch.com listing site [1].

I. Ubuntu and its *buntu Satellites

For example,

  • Ubuntu itself[2]
  • Kubuntu[3] = Ubuntu base with the K Desktop Environment (KDE)
  • Xubuntu[4] = ditto, but with the Xfce desktop environment instead
  • Lubuntu[5] = ditto, but with the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE) instead

II. Non-Canonical, Ubuntu-based Derivatives

For example,

III. Debian GNU/Linux

The “universal operating system”[14] has

  • an extensive range of supported hardware architectures [15]
  • Debian Stable/’wheezy’ and Debian Testing/’jessie’ versions available in official desktop environments, similar to the *buntu satellites (e.g., KDE, Xfce, LXDE)
  • Debian live[16] and netinstall[17]

IV. Debian-based Derivatives

For example,

V. Popular non-Ubuntu and non-Debian Distros

For example,

VI. An extensive mixture of less popular, newly-created, and niche/special-purpose Distros

For example,

Please feel free to add your own comments to the above, e.g., to correct major factual errors and/or significant ommissions 🙂

We meet on the second and fourth Sundays of each month from noon to three in Berkeley near the Downtown Berkeley BART station near the corner of University & Shattuck. We hope you join us at Bobby G’s Pizzeria and/or join the discussion on our email list.



Windows XP End-of-Support Day

Microsoft’s support for Windows XP is officially over today.
Nope, Not kidding!! MS’s official announcement is linked here ==> http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help

Anyone still have Windows XP installed alone or else installed dual boot?
Other than those of you who have XP installed in a VM or a Hypervisor, what are your thoughts about using Windows XP further??

Are any of you going to fully migrate to Linux with maybe using Wine for any remaining gotta-have XP apps? Or assuming your hardware is sufficient for upgrading, any of you with XP still around contemplating a straight move to Windows 7 or Windows 8?? Or are some of you (admittedly like me!) going to keep Windows XP as a side Operating System; never to be seriously used any longer for most purposes???

Here is a helpful link for those of us who may want to keep Windows XP around, even though support has absolutely ended; ==> http://www.zdnet.com/windows-xp-support-end-10-steps-to-cut-security-risks-7000028193/

Massive Open Online Course ‘Introduction to Linux’ for Newbies

Those of you who may be either interested in a very basic Introduction to Linux class intended for computer newbies that you know of or else interested in reviewing such a class for yourselves, might be very interested in an announcement that was released just over two weeks ago. The announcement article is ‘Linux Foundation to Build Massive Open Online Course Program with edX, Increase Access to Linux Training for All'[1].

This announcement in essence is that the Linux Foundation and edX are partnering to develop a MOOC(*) program that will help address the effort to meet an increasing demand for Linux professionals and to grow the pool of Linux technical talent worldwide by making basic Linux training materials available to all for free. Previously a $2,400 course, Introduction to Linux will be the first class available as a MOOC and will be free to anyone, anywhere.

Bulleted points worth mentioning:

  • (*)MOOC == Massive Open Online Course
  • Further description of edX’s LFS101x ‘Introduction to Linux’ course goals are at the link here[2]. Note that this MOOC is free, is 100% self-paced, and is specifically designed for “computer users who have limited or no previous exposure to Linux”.
  • The LFS101x ‘Introduction to Linux’ MOOC is officially slated to begin sometime this Summer of 2014. Current estimates are that it will begin closer to late Summertime.
  • edX registration for LFS101x has already begun through their online Registration form at the link [3] and more specifically at [4].
  • Carefully note from their FAQ[5] that while edX courses are free for everyone to audit, some courses have a fee for ID verified certificates of achievement. Indeed, edX seems to be “nudging” course-registrants toward this paid certification of achievement via their TOS[6]. In addition, verification for their paid certification mandates that registrants provide identity authentication through webcam photos of themselves, as well as to provide photos of “an acceptable form of photo ID”. You can skip edX’s paid certification “nudge” and the authentication requirement by going to the lower part of the ‘Register + Account Creation’ screen that follows edX’s initial online registration forms [3] or [4]. You would wish to solely audit the LFS101x course.
  • Newbie computer users everywhere are welcome to register for this MOOC now, and in the long interim period before the LFS101x course officially starts, can gain some familiarity with computers and common software, such as would be had from daily computer use, e.g., using the Berkeley Public Library’s publicly reservable computers[7].

Again, the key announcement is ‘Linux Foundation to Build Massive Open Online Course Program with edX, Increase Access to Linux Training for All’ at the webpage here[1]

Please feel free to pass along and share this information with others.
And of course, please feel free to comment on how great (or not) you think this MOOC will be, and the same on mentioning any good alternatives!



My search findings on Learning C/C++ Programming and Using an IDE

My search findings on Learning C/C++ Programming and Using an IDE


I’ll have to preface my search findings on these subjects, by mentioning that according to Risto S. Varanka’s Programming Languages mini-HOWTO: Programming Languages ;

C, Lisp and Perl are traditional hacking languages in the
GNU/Linux culture; Python, PHP, Java and C++ have gained new
ground recently

Furthermore, and mostly according to Veranka’s mini-HOWTO and to forum threads such as this one at ProgrammersHeaven.com/ ;
A. Perl is a great first programming language to learn for Beginners; Perl has the advantage of being an interpreted language instead of a language that requires a compiler and linker for creating binaries. Perl is an Object Oriented Programming (OOP) language that is especially powerful for handling text and strings. Perl is commonly used for scripting, for sysadmin-type tasks, and for web server tasks.

B. Python and Java are also great first programming languages for Beginners to learn; both Python and Java are modern up-to-date OOP languages used on web servers and for web-processing tasks. Python is especially useful for more general and application-specific scripting while Java is especially useful for cross-platform applications.

C. as appropriate 😉
C and C++ are apparently NOT languages for Beginners to first learn programming. Although executable binaries created from C or C++ generally run faster than interpreted source code, executable binaries (i.e., the actual applications) require the EXTRA steps of compilation and linking from original C/C++ source code, not to mention any necessary required debugging and optimization steps. Both C and C++ programming languages are especially useful for creating applications. C is more of a Procedural than an OOP language such as C++, and many describe C as being the MOST suitable for the system and in-depth OS tasks that Linux distros rely upon using the GNU Compiler Collection’s ‘gcc’.
* Note that “GCC” is the acronym for the overall GNU Compiler Collection whereas “gcc” is the specific acronym specifically for the GNU Compiler Collection’s C compiler itself.

From my own limited experience, I would probably place Perl and maybe Bash shell-scripting ahead of C and C++ for Beginners first learning how to program. I would guess that many of us who have already programmed using Perl and Bash shell-scripting could probably use a refresher or two in these :-).
A good “Perl tutorials” web search using the privacy-minded search engines ixquick and/or Startpage should yield worthwhile hits very similar to these handful :

grantbow has a collection of good Bash shell scripting tutorials and resources within his Learning the Command Line webpage, and also helpful in this regard is chapter 7 of the Rute User’s Tutorial and Exposition.

With all that being said, here are some working links I have found regarding learning and compiling C/C++ programs.

I. Tutorials to learn C/C++

II. Simple C/C++ Compilation

The simplest and probably the best initial manner of learning C/C++ programming in Linux using these tutorials on the command line is to:

  1. Type in and edit your C/C++ source code using whatever text editor you most prefer (e.g., vi/vim/nvi, nano/pico, gedit, nedit, leafpad, mousepad,…whatever else) and then save the file with the suffix `.c’ for C programs or one of the suffixes `.C’, `.cc’, `.cpp’, `.CPP’, `.c++’, `.cp’, or `.cxx’ for C++ programs.
  2. Compile and link your properly-suffixed source code file from the command line using the typical ‘gcc’ or ‘g++’ command+options for C and C++ respectively.
  3. Run the default executable file by entering ‘./a.out’.

For getting more familiar with using gcc and g++ in steps 2 and 3, there are:

  • Cprogramming.com’s aptly-titled gcc compiler and g++ compiler webpages.
    Quick, simple, and these provide appropriate mention of the GNU Debugger, ‘gdb’.
  • develvid’s YouTube video Compiling with GCC (probably should be “gcc” instead)
    This video shows sequence of command line screenshots using the vim editor and a few ways to use gcc to compile and run a pair of simple C programs. Covers the above steps 1 through 3 in a quick 4 1/2 minutes.
  • Brian Gough’s An Introduction to GCC for the GNU Compilers gcc and g++ with a Forward written by RMS.
  • The FSF gnu.org’s Invoking GCC – GCC Command Options.
    Given that the entire site, gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc, is the gnu.org’s official guides to GNU compilers, this webpage is as fully complete and as up-to-date as the FSF can make it. It seems a bit too complex for Beginners to proceed very far beyond the basic ‘Invoking GCC – GCC Command Options’ though.
  • The gcc(1) and g++(1) man[ual] reference pages.
    Their SYNOPSES and DESCRIPTIONS sections seem to be the most useful, although their OPTIONS sections can be overwhelming with the vast number of listed options for both gcc and g++.

III. Using an IDE

Instead of creating and testing C/C++ programs through the three-step manual method just described above, I have also discovered a few Integrated Developmental Environments (IDEs) for Linux to handle C/C++ program development all the way from editing C/C++ source code to correcting syntax, compiling, linking, full debugging amd code optimizations.
Using a C/C++ IDE also goes a long way to relieving the need for Beginners to venture too heavily into the more Advanced-level programming processes of contimually running the gcc/binutils toolchain, ‘make’ and ‘gdb’ to create Linux system binaries.



Good and better recommendations & suggestions regarding these are always welcome 🙂

Go Open Source Software Bears!

Cool little cheapo Linux device for 2012…

Good news this start-of-year 2012 for some of us Linux DIY tinkerers:
The little Raspberry Pi device is set to be released soon.
The Raspberry Pi comes as a Printed Circuit Board with a processing System on a Chip (also known as a PCB with a SoC). Already eBay is auctioning off the first Beta releases of these boards, see Raspberry Pi – first 10 on eBay!

What’s a Raspberry Pi?
( NO, NO, NO, a “raspberry pi” is NOT your typical sound of Thhhbbbbbbbbtttt or Tphttphttphtphtphtphtpht or :)~ +plus+ the Greek letter for the infamous mathematical Euclidean constant near 3.14 !!! )
The Raspberry Pi is actually a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We [the Raspberry Pi creators] want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.
(this from the Raspberry Pi FAQs webpage )

The main Raspberry Pi website is http://www.raspberrypi.org and here is a nice video of Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Executive Director Eben Upton describing and demonstrating the Pi model “B” beta PCBs that are to be auctioned off (in his “blimey mate” UK accent)

Key Features of the Raspberry Pi “B” Model:

  • It is projected to cost $35 USD, it comes with 256MB onboard RAM, and it has built-in 10/100 wired Ethernet capability.
  • It measures 85.60mm x 53.98mm x 17mm (that’s 3.37″ x 2.125″ for its two major dimensions), with a little overlap for the SD card and connectors which project over the edges. It weighs 45g.
  • Its main processor is a 700MHz-speed ARM11 Broadcom BCM2835 SoC.
  • Power to the board (Power to The Peopletoo!) is through a 5V micro USB power supply.
  • The disk used to boot and load an OS on the Pi is a standard-profile SD card. Debian GNU/Linux has already been preloaded onto SD cards and tested for Beta versions of the Pi board. Fedora and ArchLinux have purportedly been SD-preloaded as well. Ubuntu, however, has apparently not yet committed to fully supporting the device at this time, due to issues with newer releases of Ubuntu and the ARM processor the Raspberry Pi Foundation is using.
  • External storage (semi-permanent), mice, keyboards, wireless adapters, and other add-ons will all connect to the Pi via an external USB expansion hub (non-supplied) attached to the Pi’s single built-in USB 2.0 root hub. Further USB add-on devices will connect to the Pi through one or more additionally-supplied USB hubs connected to the first.
  • There is composite and HDMI built into the Pi board, so you can hook it up to a digital or analogue television or to a DVI monitor. There is no VGA support, but adaptors are available.
  • The Pi’s standard 3.5mm jack provides audio to your speakers or headphones.

Cool little tchotchke, eh?

Note that covering-cases are not yet easily available for the Pi, although vendors will probably offer these in the future depending upon how successful the Pi becomes.
DIY’ers might want to use easily-malleable materials to make or mod their own Pi cases, e.g., using wood, plastic, metal or whatever else is suitable for the task.


Here is one my first estimates of the breakdown and total cost of a complete computer system using the Pi board (prices in USD):
+ $35 for the Pi “B” board itself
+ $40 for a used, budget-conscious LCD monitor with VGA
+ $30 for the cost of a discounted wireless USB adapter
+ $30 for the cost of a discounted 4-port USB 2.0 hub
+ $20 for the cost of a discounted 4GB SD card
+ $20 for the costs of a used and discounted USB keyboard and USB mouse
+ $20 for the cost of a HDMI-to-VGA converter
+ $10 for the cost of a 4GB USB thumbdrive used for semi-permanent storage
+ $40 for Taxes plus Shipping & Handling of all the above, if ordered from an outside vendor
+ costs for any extra materials & labor (e.g., for constructing a case)
~ $250 Total

I’m uncertain exactly HOW realistic this first estimate actually is.
Of course, you would pay far less than this estimate if you already HAVE these items laying around -or- you can get these for far less than the above estimate via eBay/Amazon/Craigslist/other-online/local venues. Then again, maybe my above first estimate may be an UNDERestimate and you might have to pay more.  I suspect that most longtime computer techies already having most of the equipment listed here will realistically have substantially lower total costs for the above-listed items; probably well below $100.


I’m further guessing that if a complete computer system containing a Pi board falls well below an $80 pricepoint (e.g., due to mass-production, consolidation of components and deep depreciation of component costs), then such a computer system would be a good deal and more and more persons will want to jump on board, so to speak :-D.

Feedback on all this from anyone reading this post?

I wonder whether more of these Raspberry Pi beta boards will be available at the big Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 10X going on later this month??