Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting

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Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Timmy Shih Jun Yee 11/16/10 9:57 AM
Hey everyone!

I finally got around to sending out the minutes for last week's meeting
(because I would feel bad if I don't have this out before today's meeting!).

I was only able to attend the first hour, so if anyone who was there last week
would like to add or elaborate on what I wrote, please do so. :)

Everyone is more than welcome to ask or comment about the minutes.

--Timmy

--

* introductions
   * Timmy
     * 8 years of experience
     * heard about Linux through interest in network security
   * Sunny
     * more than 5 years of experience
     * heard that Linux is good for programming and other technical things
   * Keith
     * more than 5 years of experience
     * started using Linux for his IT job because it was cheaper in cost
   * Ramon
     * 3 years of experience
     * a friend recommended Linux to him
* goals for the club
   * obliterate Windows! (Keith's suggestion)
   * installfests (Ramon's suggestion)
   * spread the word about Linux
     * and debunk myths too!
* setting up the club officially
   * can only do it next spring
   * the club goals are the same whether or not we're official
   * make club official to get the $300
   * need someone to attend ICC meetings
* flyer
   * time and location
   * list goals of the club
   * the Linux advantage
* there is inertia involved when it comes to Linux adoption
   * many people still think...
     * Linux is hard to use
     * Linux is only for techies
     * they have to get rid of Windows to use it

Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Sunny Woo 11/16/10 2:04 PM
Okay, there needs to be a some modifications to my description.

>   * Sunny
>     * more than 5 years of experience
>     * heard that Linux is good for programming
> and other technical things

I am not a programmer. Tried it in the past, but never could succeed. My code would never work. Decided to build a techie life without programming. I enjoy using Linux from a non-programming perspective. I have learned you do not have to be a programmer to enjoy and use the power of Linux. However at CCSF, there is no avenue for non-programming Linux users to walk on, at least not yet?

Sunny Woo
sw3...@yahoo.com


     

Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Will Eagleton 11/16/10 2:27 PM
As an end user you can point and click, but to administer and customize you're going to know scripting, some interpreted/non compiled languages like python, php, and also some form of C (c, c++,c sharp, obj c) maybe some java too.

Ive toyed with Linux over the years, but just enough to get into xwin. If you dig for the definition of a hacker (post MIT lockpickers) you will find unix geeks.

Removing the end user from customization = Winders
Having the ability to do whatever you want provided you know how = Linux

Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Sunny Woo 11/16/10 3:49 PM
I tried diving into Java two semesters ago. The logic and the built in ability never materialized. I just took the class for one day and when I look back on leaving, I don't regret it. The manner in which the class was structured, revolved around a switch between individual work and group work. I don't think I could have handled either. I would be too busy trying to hitch a free ride from group classmates.

Sunny Woo
sw3...@yahoo.com


--- On Tue, 11/16/10, willea...@gmail.com <will.e...@gmail.com> wrote:

> From: willea...@gmail.com <will.e...@gmail.com>


> Subject: Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting
> To: ccsf-linux...@googlegroups.com
> Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 2:27 PM

Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Will Eagleton 11/16/10 5:10 PM
I'm guessing that one of the toughest languages to learn must be
assembly. Then again Perl looks pretty bad to me too, but thats
actually fairly common.
Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Timmy Shih Jun Yee 11/22/10 9:24 PM
On 11/16/2010 05:10 PM, Will Eagleton wrote:
> I'm guessing that one of the toughest languages to learn must be
> assembly. Then again Perl looks pretty bad to me too, but thats
> actually fairly common.

It's rather subjective to say what the toughest languages are to learn. Though
to a point, I agree with you about assembly and Perl. Assembly requires
knowledge of how a computer microprocessor works (but well worth learning!),
whereas Perl has some rather interesting (and odd) syntax.

I'm such a hardcore Python programmer that I make Perl code look pretty. ;)

If I had to say what the toughest language to learn is, it'd be Haskell. There
are so many new concepts to learn in that language if you're coming from a
C-based language background (which most programmers are from).

--Timmy

Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Timmy Shih Jun Yee 11/22/10 9:29 PM
On 11/16/2010 02:04 PM, Sunny Woo wrote:
> I am not a programmer. Tried it in the past, but never could succeed. My code
> would never work. Decided to build a techie life without programming. I enjoy
> using Linux from a non-programming perspective.

And you are not alone! Linux in the past 5 years has made great strides in
being user-friendly!! :)

> I have learned you do not have
> to be a programmer to enjoy and use the power of Linux. However at CCSF, there
> is no avenue for non-programming Linux users to walk on, at least not yet?

I think it is unfortunate that CCSF does not offer "introduction to computers"
or multimedia courses using Linux. I understand at the moment that's because
the school is under a budget crisis, but I hope that when the funds are
restored, the CS and other related departments will consider offering courses
using Linux.

--Timmy

Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Sunny Woo 11/22/10 10:44 PM
> > I have learned you do not have
> > to be a programmer to enjoy and use the power of
> Linux. However at CCSF, there
> > is no avenue for non-programming Linux users to walk
> on, at least not yet?
>
> I think it is unfortunate that CCSF does not offer
> "introduction to computers" or multimedia courses using
> Linux. I understand at the moment that's because the school
> is under a budget crisis, but I hope that when the funds are
> restored, the CS and other related departments will consider
> offering courses using Linux.
That is one of the reasons why I wanted to join a Linux club at CCSF. The complexity of programming is not an activity to be discussed in a club setting. For me to hike up a programming hill is not an expedition I want to embark on again. There are other ways to use Linux and I want to explore these avenues.

Out of curiosity, does anyone pay for a shell account that they would recommend? Which ISP does it the best? I use several free ones right now.

Sunny Woo
sw3...@yahoo.com


     

Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Timmy Shih Jun Yee 11/22/10 10:57 PM
On 11/22/2010 10:44 PM, Sunny Woo wrote:
> That is one of the reasons why I wanted to join a Linux club at CCSF. The
> complexity of programming is not an activity to be discussed in a club setting.
> For me to hike up a programming hill is not an expedition I want to embark on
> again. There are other ways to use Linux and I want to explore these avenues.

This is probably the CS major speaking through me, but I think programming can
actually be a fun and easy experience (and not be a total pain in the butt).

I do understand that the CCSF programming courses are not the easiest to go
through. I've mentioned that many times to the people I tutor at the computer lab.

If you do want to go back to programming, try out Python. Its syntax is clean
and simple. And there are many great Python tutorials on the Internet! If you
like, I can teach you personally. ;)

Programming does not have to be hard. I once thought that I would never touch a
command-line prompt when I was 16. And now I have a bachelor's degree in
computer science.

But anyhow, Linux is not all about programming (despite popular belief!) and I
hope that, through the Linux club, we can convince many people that it can be
used for many other things (like checking out websites, watching movies, or
editing photographs!).

> Out of curiosity, does anyone pay for a shell account that they would
> recommend? Which ISP does it the best? I use several free ones right now.

Oh wow! Shell accounts? I haven't heard about those things since I was in high
school! (And that was more than 6 years ago!)

I wonder why you're asking about them. I thought they're obsolete now since
anyone can load up a LiveCD on their computer. ;)

--Timmy

Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting bazmonkey 11/23/10 10:05 AM
> That is one of the reasons why I wanted to join a Linux club at CCSF. The complexity of programming is not an
> activity to be discussed in a club setting. For me to hike up a programming hill is not an expedition I want to
> embark on again. There are other ways to use Linux and I want to explore these avenues.
>
> Out of curiosity, does anyone pay for a shell account that they would recommend? Which ISP does it the best? I use
> several free ones right now.

Agreed.  A proper course that taught, for lack of a better word,
"Linux exploration" would be a very floofy course if it didn't at
least delve into a bit of shell scripting, which depending on your
definition is programming.  I suspect the kind of people who would be
interested in Linux enough to take a course on it would find it either
lacking or a waste of time (something that could be learned faster on
your own).

Shell account... por que?  Just to have a place to explore?  If that's
it, there are easier ways to go about it.  As Timmy pointed out,
LiveCD's are great for that.  A persistent USB stick or a virtual
machine running Linux would give you even more flexibility.  Is it to
have a place to explore that has a webserver or some network service
running that you want to play with?  You could set up local ones.  As
far as actually recommending one, I have no idea.

-Basil
Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Sunny Woo 11/23/10 2:04 PM
Thanks for opening my eyes to another reality on the other side of the coin. However I do not want to overload myself. Pressure from everywhere else and my disabilities are forcing me to find a paying job first. I will give Python a try when I start to get the time, unfortunately that is not going to happen anytime soon.

> > Out of curiosity, does anyone pay for a shell account
> that they would
> > recommend? Which ISP does it the best? I use several
> free ones right now.
>
> Oh wow! Shell accounts? I haven't heard about those things
> since I was in high school! (And that was more than 6 years
> ago!)
Hmmm...After my car accident, that forced me to pull myself out of the world of Linux. I went through an easier time relearning how to use Microsoft Windows again. Now I want to dive back into Linux, but I can only have fun with it for now. The concept of a shell account appears to be outdated now. As I faintly recall, it was popular back in the old days when I was consumed with always using Linux.

> I wonder why you're asking about them. I thought they're
> obsolete now since anyone can load up a LiveCD on their
> computer. ;)
I thought the concept of a true hacker, is a shell user? I never worked my way up to becoming a skilled hacker, because you need to learn programming and be fast at it.

Sunny Woo
sw3...@yahoo.com

     

Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Will Eagleton 11/23/10 2:12 PM
The concept of 'hacking' was first mentioned by MIT people who were
into lock-picking, so similarly in computing terms, you might say its
a person who meets a challenge and figures a way through it by
experience and skill set. Usually this is going to involve programming
aka customization (kernel, whatever).

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hacker
Hacker:
A person skilled with the use of computers that uses his talents to
gain knowledge. Tere are three classifications of hackers:

White-hat (hacking for the enjoyment of exploration) "The good guy"

Black-hat (hacking to find exploits and system weaknesses, see
cracker)  "The bad guy"

and Grey-hat (someone who is a little of both) Usually when society is
not sure, or someone who plays dual roles, as noted

Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting bazmonkey 11/23/10 2:13 PM

> I thought the concept of a true hacker, is a shell user? I never  
> worked my way up to becoming a skilled hacker, because you need to  
> learn programming and be fast at it.

I suppose it could be the concept of a true hacker, but all Timmy and  
are saying is that running Linux in a non-destructive way on your  
computer is much easier than finding a shell account somewhere, and  
you'd have a more educational time working with a system you'd have  
rot access to.

Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Chris Bolton 2/28/11 6:33 PM
As someone who is actively learning haskell, it's definitely is the most *different* language out there, and even out of the functional languages it is the only pure one, so it really does force you to think about things differently. I 'spose this pretty biased, but I still love it =P. The type checking catches so many more little errors during compile time, that by the time you run your program, it's much more likely to work as intended, as opposed to imperative languages where you have to run through a phase of heavy bug testing, and I think it just makes you a better programmer in general, even if you aren't planning on using it heavily. I also think the code itself is much cleaner and concise... just look at this comparison of quicksort (an extremely widely-used sorting algorithm) in haskell vs. c =P (http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Introduction#Quicksort_in_Haskell). That page explains alot of things in more depth, as well.
Re: Minutes for 2010-11-09 Meeting Timmy Shih Jun Yee 3/1/11 3:38 PM
On 02/28/2011 06:33 PM, Chris Bolton wrote:
> As someone who is actively learning haskell, it's definitely is the most
> *different* language out there, and even out of the functional languages it is
> the only pure one, so it really does force you to think about things
> differently. I 'spose this pretty biased, but I still love it =P.

I like the language too. I can't say too much about the syntax though.

> The type
> checking catches /so many/ more little errors during compile time, that by the


> time you run your program, it's much more likely to work as intended, as
> opposed to imperative languages where you have to run through a phase of heavy
> bug testing, and I think it just makes you a better programmer in general, even
> if you aren't planning on using it heavily.

What really sets Haskell (and some other FP languages) apart from the usual
languages is type inference. I see it as a compromise between static and
dynamic typing, since you only need to put in the type names when the compiler
complains. I'm hoping Python will eventually get type inference (like how it
took a list comprehension from Haskell, which was an awesome decision, I think).

> I also think the code itself is
> much cleaner and concise... just look at this comparison of quicksort (an
> extremely widely-used sorting algorithm) in haskell vs. c =P
> (http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Introduction#Quicksort_in_Haskell). That
> page explains alot of things in more depth, as well.

Well, one thing about Haskell is that it has immutable variables (which is
normally a good thing IMO). One implementation of quicksort (the in-place
algorithm) requires the ability to modify memory. And that's really the only
implementation that people use (to save space, of course). These days, space
isn't as important, so some go for mergesort (which is what Java uses for its
built-in sort).

Anyway, that example does show the conciseness of Haskell. Though it's not the
only language to have that property. lol

If only CCSF taught something else than C++ and Java for their intro courses...

--T