Sunday, October 19, 2008

Open Source Software Day

I think I might organize an Open Source Software Day at the University of Iowa. Visit the Iowa Open Source Meetup. It might be interesting to recruit volunteers to sit at tables, give demonstrations of software (ie laptops running OpenSolaris, Ubuntu, PCs with Gimp, OpenOffice), and talk to people about Open Source software. I think this could be a very exciting thing for the University and could do a lot to increase the visibility of the open source community at the University of Iowa. I'll need: volunteers, balloons, tables, laptops for demonstration, two hundred OpenSolaris & Ubuntu CDs, and five hundred Gimp/OpenOffice/Firefox/etc CDs.

In the meantime, take a moment to go download these Open Source pieces of software:

OpenOffice.org
Just released version 3 of this great office suite.

The GIMP
Excellent program for image manipulation and editing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sun Campus Ambassador - University of Iowa

Good news, I've had a whole bunch of good things going on! So much has advanced that I've even needed new business cards. I'll start off simply, with a reintroduction of myself. This is me:

Ryan Kopf
Associations Director
Associated Residence Halls
Sun Campus Ambassador
Sun Microsystems - University of Iowa

Isn't it great!? I am now, officially, the Sun Campus Ambassador in charge of the University of Iowa. Essentially, I'm sorta like a community organizer - I will be organizing people at the University of Iowa to get involved with and join the Open Source community. I'll be organizing lectures, workshops, and labs about Open Source software and products, giving demonstrations, and hopefully growing a community of like-minded students who appreciate Open Source.

Also, I'm a Board Member-elect of the Mindbridge Foundation. I will be continuing to work with Mindbridge to develop our events more fully, and to focus on implementing new technology and developing long-term efficiency creating and cost-saving strategies.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Free Virtualization Software From Sun

In case you haven't tried it, Sun has an awesome program for any tech guru to play around with. It's called VirtualBox, and it's an open source virtualization package developed to run on a wide array of host operating systems.

What is virtualization? The concept behind virtualization is rather simple: take an operating system and run it within your current operating system. This essentially gives you two computer systems to play around with, although the second (called the Guest) can only utilize resources allocated to it by the main operating system (the Host OS). A guest operating system can enable you to test software on a variety of operating systems, and do all sorts of bug testing without fear of damaging your host computer.

How does it work? The basic principals are easy. Your main operating system allocates file space on your hard drive (just a giant file, which acts like another hard drive to the guest), and it allocates virtual system resources, such as a software-based graphics card to render the guest OS onscreen. In addition, it gives the guest the ability to pass up commands to the host operating system, if specialized hardware calls are needed: for example writing to a floppy disk drive.

What can I do with it? If you don't have a specific need for software testing, there are still a myriad of great reasons to use VirtualBox. You can, for example, test different flavors of Linux/'Nix operating systems, to see which you prefer. You can try an operating system as advanced as Sun's OpenSolaris - and see how it compares with what you're used to. You can enhance your knowledge of computing overall through playing around with all sorts of things on a virtualized guest operating system.