Show Sidebar Log in

Linux Day 2004 – Saturday 9th October

Bristol & Bath Lug are planning to participate in the event below with a sort of souped up Install Fest prob. at Bristol Uni. I’ve offered support and participation on behalf of BW, I’ll put in on the genda for the next meeting, and it will probably be a subject for the next BBLUG meeting – details to follow

Linux Day 2004
About the event

This autumn will see the first national Linux Day, a day for Linux User Groups around the country to arrange local events to introduce people to GNU/Linux computer operating systems, and to help existing users of Linux to get the best out of it.

If you want to come to an event then keep an eye on this website. The events will take place on or around Saturday 9th October, the exact date for each event being posted here in the next few weeks.

If you are interested in organizing an event yourself then please subscribe to the mailing list so that you are kept up to date with things.

Easton Cowboys – Outside The Box – Saturday August 14th

OUTSIDE THE BOX is a celebration of the creativity of sport and art inspired and created by the Easton Cowboys and Cowgirls.

Part Two – Saturday August 14th

We are looking for volunteers for Saturday August 14th, OUTSIDE THE BOX, PART TWO. It is being held at the Tobacco Factory and features many top Cowboys acts as well as Mosiamo, a local 8 piece band tipped for the big time, as well as Cowboy DJ Suv and MC L.Natural.

We will need people to do front of house (ie collect dosh, help direct peeps, give info etc) bring in the PA (and put it back later on the same night/morning!!! please note.), help set up the exhibition etc, shift stuff and shovel other stuff, you know the sort of thing, you’ve all done it really well before.

Please let Tinks, Dave M or Jack know ASAP Dave 0796 788 3392 Jack 0773 348 1935 Tinks 0117 952 1133 (please leave a message with name, number, etc)

Proposed Network Topology

2 devices per client installation: the wge101 which is just a wireless-ethernet bridge which will have the external antenna connected to it for connectivity back to our network. The WRT54g for handling the routing and internal wireless and wired (with the original little antennae on so they won’t be visible on our external network).

This setup will make installation costs of a node – including a rigger and cable + antennae – around £250 max!

LASA Circuit Rider Conference 13/14 September, London

Lasa’s Circuit Rider Conference takes place in London on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 September.

The conference will be an opportunity to hear Circuit Riders talk about their work, discuss how to set up Circuit Rider projects, and network with others involved in ICT for small voluntary sector organisations.

The agenda includes an exhibition of relevant products and services, and a reception at IBM’s nearby building. We’ll be talking in plain English, putting forward real-world solutions and basing our approach on group discussion rather than listening to IT "experts".

The agenda for the conference is now available, and online booking has opened. The agenda includes plenary sessions about the future of Circuit Riding, and also about Open Source software. Most of the conference consists of small workshops with many opportunities for discussion.

Online registration for the event is now available. So as to make the conference accessible to small organisations, registration starts at £60 for organisations with 6 or fewer staff. Accommodation is available for £35.

Details are available on our website at We hope to see many of you in London in September.

Colin Wilson Project Manager, Circuit Rider Development
Lasa, Universal House,
88-94 Wentworth St,
London E1 7SA –
020 7377 1226 –

Objective 2 funding

Posted to the Voscur mailing list this week – should we follow this up – deadline is tight

Objective 2 Funding money still left in the pot!

– European Regional Development Fund strands: (£70,485 and £4,063,042 available)

– European Social fund: (£1,359,797 available)

– Applications over £30,000 invited

– Matched funding essential and can be sought while applications are being considered.

– Deadline date for outline bids is tight: 10 August 2004

– Applications must meet criteria in the Objective 2 Action Plan

– For more information see:

Contact: Sarah Brady on Tel. 0117 9036438

Nablus goes v6

Nablus has gone ipv6, if only ipv6 over ipv4 tunnel. πŸ™‚

3ffe:bc0:8000:0:8000:0:c393:529d is his new address, but I don’t think there’s actually anything running on it. You might possibly be able to see the default Debian Apache index.html and maybe the other services are running on it too. Who knows? It was just a bit of fun playing about.

Bristol Plans wi-fi first

Bristol City Council will pioneer later this year what is believed to be the UK’s single largest urban wireless broadband network.

Entitled ‘StreetNet’, the project will set up a outdoor wireless access zone that will deliver high-speed internet services across an area initially covering around three square kilometres. As well as being available to the public, the local authority hopes the network will open up opportunities for greater mobile working by allowing officers out in the field to access systems remotely. The service will be provided through a network of hotspots installed in "street furniture" such as lampposts and touch-screen information kiosks under an agreement with media technology company Cityspace. Work on the Streetnet infrastructure is due to go fully live in the Autumn, with parts of the network already up and running.

"Bristol has always been an innovative city with a thriving tourism, business and residential community", said City councillor Helen Holland, executive member for external affairs and partnerships." Wireless broadband not only brings a useful communications dimension to citizens but a critical support system for local government mobile workers and associated agencies, such as the police and the NHS."


I thought this maybe of interest if you didn’t already know. πŸ™‚

Barcelona embracing open source

"The city of Barcelona–Spain’s second largest city–recently announced it will be phasing out its current Windows NT infrastructure in favor of open source software, according to IBLNEWS and other prominent Spanish-language news outlets.

"Barcelona’s move comes after the German city of Munich took this same path more than a year ago, in a high-profile battle in which Microsoft executives personally visited city officials to make a counteroffer…"

Computers give away

With the temporary demise of the Computer Courses at the ECC, the Lab has had quite a few computers waiting to get refurbished, fixed up and given away; some volunteers have been busy making them work again.

The last couple of weeks we have been giving away some to local people who can plead a good case. Local artists, single parents and the people Rich has met down the pub that are digitally challenged! πŸ™‚

We install the Debian-based Mepis operating system . We set the machines with a KDE Desktop environment, this is one of the easiest desktops to get use to. Mepis provides a Graphic User Interface (GUI) to configure the system and it works very well on the 450mhz machines with 128mhz ram, including Open Office, the Mozilla Browser Suite and the Gimp (Professional Graphics Package). We are still unable to supply wireless cards but they have configured network cards so if the recipient is in range of a signal the they can buy an access point an hook it up to that.

If you know of anyone working in a project that needs a computer for home or work, contact us and we may be able to help.

We still have more machines and anybody who wants to try working with Linux should contact the lab to arrange a time when they can collect a one and have some familiarisation training. We are donating a public access machine to the Cube Cinema, this will help promote the Bristol Wireless project.

Fundraising meeting 6:30pm 26th July, Bannerman Buildings

A Meeting to discuss fundraising and the financial future of the project.

I have a idea to contact the Guardian for the Bannerman Rd school project that I would like to discuss.

If you have a particular interest in fundraising and are unable to attend please let the list know by Thursday and we will try to re-schedule.

Meeting location:

8 Bannerman Buildings,
Bannerman Road,


Linux for Schools Article

In the beginning was Word
When schools buy software, there seems to be only one choice: Microsoft. Why don’t more of them use Linux? It can do most of the work, it’s more secure and it’s free. Michael Pollitt investigates

14 July 2004

In the past week there’s been a lot of talk about "choice" in relation to schools. But there’s one area where children, and schools, don’t see much choice: the software they use. It’s likely, for example, that children leave school thinking that Microsoft Word is the only word processing program. That Excel is the only spreadsheet. And Internet Explorer the only web browser.

This one-tracked experience worries Simon Tindall. "Are we still teaching children to use Microsoft and PCs, or are we using computers to teach history or geography?" he demands. "Microsoft is so strong in schools today that there’s concern that it’s creating a status quo and therefore reducing innovation within education."

It could be argued that Tindall has an animus here – after all, he is the UK regional manager education & research for Sun Microsystems, one of Microsoft’s bitter rivals. But he has a wider point. He suggests that we should think beyond the "current malaise" of PCs and Microsoft applications. For example, if children learn exclusively on Microsoft Word, that’s arguably fine for the business world, but ill-equips them for change. There’s a price tag too: Tindall reckons that schools spend £22m annually on Microsoft Office alone. That would pay for a lot of teachers and fix many leaky roofs.

To help cut such bills, Sun Microsystems has challenged Microsoft with free office productivity software called StarOffice, which runs under Windows, Linux and Solaris. It features word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing and database functions, and has been licensed by the Scottish Executive on behalf of 2,800 schools. However, there aren’t any savings yet because the deal has only just been signed, and schools don’t have to use the software – they have the choice.

But can schools move away from Microsoft, as some in the business world are doing? There, the Linux operating system (which can be installed on a standard PC) is stirring things up: a typical Linux distribution contains OpenOffice – which is based on StarOffice, and compatible with Microsoft Office – along with other word processors. In the right hands, Linux pushes Microsoft off the desktop along with the most common viruses, worms and spyware. Linux, the argument goes, might help children to grow up to be computer-literate rather than Microsoft-literate.

But only a few schools – perhaps 10 or so – are taking desktop Linux seriously. Steve Brown, the managing director of Novell UK, acknowledges this. "The majority of schools using Linux in the UK do so on their servers," he says, "and only a few – such as St Paul’s Roman Catholic High School in Manchester – are using Linux on the desktop." (Novell bought SUSE, one of the leading Linux distributions, earlier this year.)

"It’s incumbent on schools to teach generic IT skills," adds Brown. "Schools should teach word-processing skills but not limit this to teaching how to use Microsoft Word only. The students are the workforce of tomorrow and should be empowered to learn how to use different applications, and not be locked into thinking there is only one, proprietary, option."

Cities Begin to Look Away from Microsoft

PARIS, Jul 13 (IPS) – Many European public administrations are distancing themselves from the U.S. software giant Microsoft and turning to free software.

The Paris city administration has announced it is considering replacing its Microsoft systems with public domain software such as Linux, OpenOffice and Mozilla.

The overhaul of the city’s data processing systems would entail acquiring some 15,000 new computers with the new software by 2008.

Microsoft said in January the change would cost Paris 15 million dollars, and offered a 60 percent discount on its own systems. That reduction would bring costs down to less than seven million dollars, it claimed.

Joachim Larisch, administrative director at the university of Bremen in northern Germany says free software is better suited to government needs. ”By its mere conception, Linux can be adapted freely by users, without having to solicit permission from private software producers,” he said.

Linux is a competitor to Microsoft Windows. OpenOffice, a free system for data processing, competes with Microsoft Office, and Mozilla, an Internet browser, is challenging Microsoft Explorer.

”Besides being free of charge, Linux and OpenOffice can be easily adapted to an administration’s needs,” Larisch said. ”And the Internet browser Mozilla doesn’t suffer the numerous safety gaps of Microsoft Explorer, which are very dangerous for a public administration.”

In addition, he said, Linux users are not compelled to use software associated with it, as with Microsoft.

Use of free software has become a central issue in strategies to eradicate the digital divide, the growing technological and commercial gap separating the industrialised rich from the poor countries.

In discussions at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva in December last
year, representatives of non-governmental organisations and from the poorest countries emphasised the need to support free software to promote wider access to information and communication technologies.

Several NGOs and representatives of governments from the South tried at the meeting to promote free software. But the U.S.government resisted such efforts.

”Part of the digital divide comes from artificial obstacles to the sharing of information,” Richard Stallman, founder of a project to promote free software told IPS. ”At Geneva the Brazilian government sought measures to promote free software, but the U.S.. government was firmly against it.”

Stallman, a U.S. citizen, said that U.S. President George W. Bush had received substantial financial contributions from Microsoft for his election campaign.

Projects Update

Sometimes this site looks like there is nothing going on so I thought I’d give an update on what has been going on the last month since the Wireless Festival

Bannerman Road School

We have arranged for the BuildIT project to refurbish the machines for the Bannerman Road school project. This is group of young people based at The Park in Knowle who are doing an accredited practical course in building and maintaining PCs. We have volunteers who are going to work with them to teach them about Open Source software and networking.

This morning we took 20 machines, donated by the Institute of Physics Publishing, (again, thank you very much) up to Knowle. The average spec of the boxes was 450Mhz processor,16GB hard drive and 128MB Ram with a 17" monitor. In 2 weeks time we will take possession of a second more powerful batch of machines (800Mhz/40GBHdd/512MBRAM !!).

Next stage is to consult the prospective parents and raise funds for wireless adapters/APs and aerial equipment. Volunteers to be involved in this stage appreciated.

Bannerman Rd school have already raised funds for training (with translation services).

Easton Residents Network

TallPaul and Matt Leonard are leading this project. There is an action plan of activities around this work for August on the wiki – a prize to the first person to post the link below πŸ™‚


The training has come to a temporary halt because we have not been very successful at recruiting, we are looking to tapping into an existing Community Education facility as a possible part of their outreach work. BenG is working on delivering the existing course with the Sure Start initiative. Anyone who has any ideas around relaunching the training would be more than welcome at the next business meeting.

Other bits and bobs

According to the minutes of the last meeting there needs to be an organised finance and fundraising strategy developed and we should have a meeting to get this off the ground. Soon. Perhaps the Treasurer would like to suggest some available dates.

Also it was agreed that the website needs to be updated to what is a more dynamic site that reflects the level of activity within the various things we are doing.

Sean and Paul are presenting a Bristol Wireless workshop on behalf of Action Time Vision next weekend.

Bails is going into hospital on Saturday for his hip replacement operation, and expects to be there for a week, I’ll try and get visiting times posted here. Good Luck Rob πŸ˜€

ERN independence day

Saturday 3rd June 12am the Lord Mayor will be opening the celebrations of Easton Residents Network Independence day at Greenhaven, Greenbank Av Easton, Bristol. 12.00-5.00pm no doubt an opportunity to meet the press with tea and cakes.

Greenhaven is residential supported housing that’s been connect to the wireless network since March, two Linux computers have been located in the communal room for residents’ use.

bring your laptops πŸ™‚

First Tuesday Meeting

Just a reminder that the first TUESDAY of the month is rapidly approaching. An agenda for the meeting can be found and edited at

and the minutes of the last meeting here

As we missed out on Bails’ BBQ, it would be good to have a big turnout and a post-meeting pub analysis of what our next steps should be.

Latest Course Failure

The latest course at Easton Community Centre has been cancelled due to only having one recruited student (of 4) actually turn up for the first evening class. The last one had only 3 students.

Our recruitment mechanism is obviously not working properly and if we wish to continue with these courses we do need to sort something out regarding this. I can’t believe there aren’t loads of people who’d welcome the chance of cheap training coupled with a free PC!

Bannerman Road School are organsing the courses for the recipients of their machines, advertising, funding, and are asking us to supply the course materials and tutors and it would be good if we had a similar arrangement with some organisation to do the same sort of job for us regarding the ECC courses.

I propose we approach the local community education co-ordinators at Silai and Barton Hill Workshop and see if they would be interested in adding this course to their range of offered courses and take over the admin and paperwork that would be generated by putting the courses on a much more official footing.

Bails BBQ Saturday 26th

For fans of Bail’s culinary skills and a nice afternoon out in the countryside in Bails extensive grounds, don’t forget the man himself is having a summer BBQ for kids and refugees from Glastonbury on Saturday afternoon

The postcode is BS49 4BQ for multimap afficianodos and for trains 2 Yatton

All (apparently) welcome!