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Marcin Sochacki (Wanted) Blog, Internet, Technology

» Pingwinaria 2007 ended

The annual meeting of Polish Linux community Pingwinaria 2007 has finished a week ago. I write about it now, because I was waiting to collect some photos from my group.

In general, the conference was nice as usual, though for our Tricity group, unfortunately quite far to travel to. This time a bunch of us decided to go by train with couchettes from Gdynia to Cracow and then by bus to Krynica-Zdrój.

It was the first time I used couchettes in my life and in general I think it was not a totally bad idea, though it's not always worth the extra money. The main drawback of Polish trains, from the computer geek perspective, is the lack of electricity in power outlets. It's a shame, because one cannot use a laptop for a long time. The trip to Cracow was additionally annoying because of a chap who walked in the corridor and smoked. The carriage was obviously a non-smoking one. We admonished to the guy a few times, but he was totally ignorant. The beds were very hard and for some reason there was no linen.

The way back was much nicer for a couple of reasons. First of all, the carriage was separated from the rest of the train and one had to show one's ticket to the attendant upon boarding the train. She kept the ticket and came in the morning to wake you up when approaching your station (big thumbs up). Also we had bed linens this time. As for drawbacks, once again some moron smoked near the loo and (as one could expect) the outlets had no power whatsoever. The separation from the rest of the train also had a disadvantage: my mates who went to the restaurant carriage (Wars) had a quite annoying chat with some attendant not willing to unlock the door. That's because the couchettes were operated by PKP Przewozy Regionalne and the restaurant by PKP Intercity, so he didn't care about the other company's carriages (the fact that they were connected in the same train was irrelevant to him). One should note, for the foreign readers, that the state railways in Poland (PKP) were split several years ago into smaller companies. They manage various pieces of the business, though they are still mostly owned by the government and the mentality of many employees has not changed much since the socialist times.

Among the Pingwinaria presentations, three were particularily interesting to me: Disk encryption (Krzysztof Leszczyński), Law for the Linuxers (Roman Bieda, Wojciech Nartowski) and Math equation editor for e-learning platform Moodle (Krzysztof Andrelczyk, Konrad Perzyński).

I knew some stuff about encryption before, because just a few months ago I used the LUKS standard to encrypt one of my laptop partitions. It's quite an interesting subject, especially when for some reason one doesn't want to reveal the fact, that the drive is encrypted at all. There are special algorithms (not LUKS), which support so called plausible deniability, a steganographic technique making it impossible (e.g. for the police) to prove, that the disk is encrypted. In other words, the encrypted data is mathematically indistinguishable from a random stream of bytes.

The lawyers' lecture also mentioned the subject of encryption. The main topic was a clear (for non-lawyers) description of current Polish law regarding the so called software piracy. The description of procedure used by our police and attorneys (read: BSA) when visiting companies/homes in order to check software legality was also very welcome by the audience.

I had a presentation too. It was about a blogging system called Pyblosxom, which by the way is the engine of this blog. My article (in Polish) can be found on the website of the Tricity Linux Users Group.

Finally, here are the promised pictures:

2007/03/26 22:25 | computers/linux/

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