Linux Conference 2010 – Wellington, New Zealand

For those unfamiliar with the event, Linux Conference is one of the world’s biggest open source gathering. It is typically held in Australia but this year has spread to neighbouring New Zealand. This year is my first year of attendance. I have to say, I’m very excited, and any sysadmin should be – better yet, work is paying for my trip and the conference ticket!

This schedule details the presentations over the week. I’ve decided I’ll be attending:

I’ve marked the presentations that interest me the most with **.

Fibre to the premises – how it will change our world

I love Australia, but when it comes to Internet we get screwed over badly over bandwidth (speed) and price. Fastest average connection is about 1.5Mbit download, and 256Kbit upload – whoop-de-do! Sure you can get 8Mbit up to 24Mbit if you live next door to your local telephone exchange – the rest of us go without the luxury. However this proposed National Broadband Network (NBN) with fibre optic to the home grabbed my attention like a kick in the balls. The potential is endless – hence I’m looking forward to seeing some of the potential discussed and realised.

PGP/GPG Keysigning

Sadly I don’t know enough about this, and I think mainly working with a Windows environment has something to do with it. I’ve explored it in the past and got nowhere. This particular presentation however seems to be a bit more practical from what I’ve read. I definitely intend to get up to speed about this!

This keysigning thing is about verifying the true identity of someone. It’s like a digital signature on emails, etc. The idea here is that before the event, you generate your new key and submit it to the keysigning coordinator via email. The keysigning coordinator then compiles a list of all the keys and creates an MD5 checksum from them all. You then download and print out the list and checksums prior to the event (checking with the checksum to prevent tampering with the list).

At the event, the MD5 checksums are again confirmed by all the participants to check and verify their print out is tamper free. Every participant then presents two forms of government issued photo identification on a projector screen and “makes a statement that their fingerprint as included in the list is correct. This can be as simple as saying ‘my fingerprint on the list is correct’.” You then tick off your list for each person who shows identification and confirms their fingerprint is correct.

After the event you download the public keys of the event participants you verified and cross check the finger prints from your paper copy with what you downloaded. At the end of it all, if you get an email signed by “Bob J Smith” and it match, then you know you’ve meet Bob J Smith and verified his identity. Pretty neat!

More detailed information about about the Sassaman-Projected Keysigning Party Method here.

The Bravest Man in New Zealand

This is a presentation about Mark Osborne, a Deputy Principal at Albany Senior High School. The catch line is, within two months, rolled out “Open Source Software throughout the school”, placed “as many services as possible in the cloud” with unified logins across all systems.

Sound interesting or what? Read the full summary here.

That’s it for now! See you after the event!

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