About Me


I work in an after school club as a play work assistant.  I also arrange the Torbay Raspberry Pi jam and have experience with Raspberry Pi, Python, Scratch and Linux operating systems.

I want to share more of my IT skills with schools and help with the new IT Computing curriculum.  I have experience with both Linux and Windows operating systems.

I am also documentation lead for the Ubuntu derived ToriOS operating system. (http://www.torios.org/).

I have over 15 years experience working with children / young people in various capacities, so would like to use this to help children and young people in schools.

I am part of the Computing at school community, to which I have uploaded some resources.  I have also had an article published in TheMagPI Raspberry Pi magazine.  As well as being a long standing member of the Local linux community.   I can be found on freenode and other communities as zleap.

I am committed to safeguarding children, young people and 
vulnerable groups and expect any school or establishment I am 
involved with to share this commitment.

Why GNU / Linux is great

Using GNU / Linux based operating systems at times can present issues where you are trying to do a task using the GUI and find it is rather long winded, until  you find a really quick way to do this, generally using the command line.

Lets take a 4 page document in pdf, to print this you need to open in document view, go to file, print, page set up and in the case of producing 4 a6 flyers on 1 sheet of a4,  tell the print dialogue you want to do this.


Pages per side = 4

This is rather long winded,  in Linux there is a2ps,  with that you can simply type

a2ps -4 flyer1in4.pdf

and it will print in the same way so 4 pages on 1 sheet of A4.

By default a2ps prints 2 sides on a4.

Exeter Linux user group meeting

Exeter LUG meeting 10th October @ Exwick Ark – start 19:30


to include a talk on Rapid Application Development with Quickly

Exeter Raspberry Pi jam

Final reminder:
Exeter Raspberry Pi jam ; 4th October 2014,  @ Exeter Library 10 – 12 @zleap14 or e-mail psutton@zleap.net for info

Emergency Response “Hackathon” to Help MSF with Ebola Outbreak – this weekend!

We're launching an emergency response "hackathon" this weekend to help
Medecins sans Frontieres with a specific problem they're having in
responding to the Ebola outbreak.

They need a way to track patient information and more quickly find
individual patients in their Emergency Treatment Centres. (more info in
this Google Doc

*The solution may include a Raspberry Pi or Arduino Nano element which is
why I wanted to ask you if you can help or know any really good developers
who we should invite to the team?*

We're forming a tight team of people from the Geeklist Corps of Developers
+ others in our networks who we know are good, to get together and work
with MSF to build a solution that works and can be rapidly deployed.

So far on the team we have Pim de Witte on back-end/Java, Gil Julio on
Android app, and me on UX.

We're going to have a kick-off call at 9pm BST / 10pm CEST tonight (Friday)
to discuss more and form the team, then we'll likely get together in London
this weekend.

Can you help?

- Dan
See http://www.geekli.st/ for more info,  this looks very interesting

Linux Voice issue 8 Out

I picked up a copy of Linux voice issue 8 today, it has a dvd on the front with centOS 7, Elementary OS and Manjaro (arch based)

Front cover graphic will appear here shortly


## Free Software Foundation statement on the GNU Bash “shellshock” vulnerability

## Free Software Foundation statement on the GNU Bash "shellshock" vulnerability  

*This post can be viewed online at 

A major security vulnerability has been discovered in the free
software shell GNU Bash. The most serious issues have already been
fixed, and a complete fix is well underway. GNU/Linux distributions
are working quickly to release updated packages for their users. All
Bash users should upgrade immediately, and audit the list of remote
network services running on their systems.

Bash is the [GNU Project's][1] shell; it is part of the suite of
software that makes up the GNU operating system. The GNU programs plus
the kernel Linux form a commonly used complete [free software][2]
operating system, called GNU/Linux. The bug, which is being referred
to as "shellshock," can allow, in some circumstances, attackers to
remotely access and control systems using Bash (and programs that call
Bash) as an attack vector, regardless of what kernel they are
running. The bug probably affects many GNU/Linux users, along with
those using Bash on proprietary operating systems like Apple's OS X
and Microsoft Windows. Additional technical details about the issue
can be found [at CVE-2014-6271][3] and [CVE-2014-7169][4].

[GNU Bash][5] has been widely adopted because it is a free (as in
freedom), reliable, and featureful shell. This popularity means the
serious bug that was published yesterday is just as
widespread. Fortunately, GNU Bash's license, the [GNU General Public
License version 3][6], has facilitated a rapid response. It allowed
[Red Hat][7] to develop and share patches in conjunction with Bash
upstream developers efforts to fix the bug, which anyone can download
and apply themselves. Everyone using Bash has the freedom to download,
inspect, and modify the code -- unlike with Microsoft, Apple, or other
proprietary software.

Software freedom is a precondition for secure computing; it guarantees
everyone the ability to examine the code to detect vulnerabilities,
and to create new and safe versions if a vulnerability is
discovered. Your software freedom does not guarantee bug-free code,
and neither does proprietary software: bugs happen no matter how the
software is licensed. But when a bug is discovered in free software,
everyone has the permission, rights, and source code to expose and fix
the problem. That fix can then be immediately freely distributed to
everyone who needs it. Thus, [these freedoms][2] are crucial for
ethical, secure computing.

Proprietary, (aka nonfree) software relies on an unjust development
model that denies users the basic freedom to control their
computers. When software's code is kept hidden, it is vulnerable not
only to bugs that go undetected, but to the easier deliberate addition
and maintenance of [malicious features][8]. Companies can use the
obscurity of their code to hide serious problems, and it has been
documented that [Microsoft provides intelligence agencies with
information about security vulnerabilities before fixing them][9].

Free software cannot guarantee your security, and in certain
situations may appear less secure on specific vectors than some
proprietary programs. As was widely agreed in the aftermath of the
OpenSSL "Heartbleed" bug, the solution is not to trade one security
bug for the very deep insecurity inherently created by proprietary
software -- the solution is to put energy and resources into auditing
and improving free programs.

Development of Bash, and GNU in general, is almost exclusively a
volunteer effort, and [you can contribute][5]. We are reviewing Bash
development, to see if increased funding can help prevent future
problems. If you or your organization use Bash and are potentially
interested in supporting its development, please [contact

The patches to fix this issue can be obtained directly at

### Media Contacts

John Sullivan  
Executive Director  
Free Software Foundation  
+1 (617) 542 5942  

[1]: https://www.gnu.org
[2]: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw
[3]: https://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/detail?vulnId=CVE-2014-6271
[4]: https://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/detail?vulnId=CVE-2014-7169
[5]: https://www.gnu.org/software/bash/
[6]: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl
[7]: https://securityblog.redhat.com/2014/09/24/bash-specially-crafted-environment-variables-code-injection-attack/
[8]: https://gnu.org/philosophy/proprietary
[9]: http://www.computerworlduk.com/blogs/open-enterprise/how-can-any-company-ever-trust-microsoft-again-3569376/

555 timer board v2.0

Today I received a packet from Maplins today, as part of this order was a 100k potentiometer (variable resistor).  I have now put this in my 555 timer circuit breadboard, having previously replaced the 100k resistor with a much bigger 100k pot.  so the one I have now is pcb mounted  so ideal for project boards.

I am also using a 10mm LED.  I want to try and create some sort of mini strobe light or just an adjustable flashing led thingy.


Also note, that I have a new (working) PSU module,  the connector on the left is a usb connector (5v) the barrel connector  on the right is connected to a 9v battery snap,  the PSU output can be either 5v or 3.3 volt. (same as the pi gpio voltages  I think) It is set here to 5v.

If any local primary schools want to take me on,  I am available for discussion.  I have more experience working with 4 – 11 year olds.

ToriOS Manual


One of the important things about software development is something that is sometimes overlooked, good quality and upto date documentation.

As documentation lead for the ToriOS operating system is it my task to help develop the offline documentation.

For this I am using LaTeX which produces professional out put and is actually easier to use than trying to wrestle with software that tries to be helpful, (e.g libreoffice making anything starting http references in to hyperlinks automatically.

While LaTeX is excllent for this some of the markup for creating tables can be rather time consuming.  A few years ago Henry Brembridge who is a member of the DCGLUG told me about a program called txt2tags,  this is essentally a program that can take a text file with simple markup and convert in to a wide range of other markup files. e.g html , LaTeX, wiki etc.

Last night I had the task of re-doing the table with the information regarding the ToriOS team,  so basically creating a LaTeX table from the information on the ToriOS website so the manual was up to date.

Faced with this I could have either re-done the manual in LaTeX and probably ended up missing a tag off and then be bombarded with error messages or use txt2tags, I opted for the latter.

so I created the txt2tags source file

|| Job Title | Name | IRC Nick | E-mail |
 | Project lead | Ali Linx | amjjawad | amjjawad@torios.org |
 | Website admin | William Cornelius |  | william@torios.org |
 | Documentation - manual | Paul Sutton | zleap	zleap@torios.org |
 | Documentation - wiki | Geoffrey De Belie | smile | smile4ever@torios.org |
 | Developer lead / driver | Alexander Kluth |	DerAlex | alexander@torios.org |
 | Quality Assurance Testing | 	Jack | fjack | | 	 
 | Marketing |	David B Yentzen | | dbyentzen@torios.org |
 | Artwork | Rafael | rafaellaguna | |	
 | Developer / testing | Israel | israeldahl | israel@torios.org |

and ran this through txt2tags

txt2tags -t tex torios-team.t2t

the result was the same file all nicely formatted in LaTeX

\usepackage{paralist} % needed for compact lists
\usepackage[normalem]{ulem} % needed by strike
\hline \textbf{Job Title} & \textbf{Name} & \textbf{IRC Nick} & \textbf{E-mail} \\
\hline Project lead & Ali Linx & amjjawad & \htmladdnormallink{amjjawad@torios.org}{mailto:amjjawad@torios.org} \\
\hline Website admin & William Cornelius &  & \htmladdnormallink{william@torios.org}{mailto:william@torios.org} \\
\hline Documentation - manual & Paul Sutton & zleap	\htmladdnormallink{zleap@torios.org}{mailto:zleap@torios.org} \\
\hline Documentation - wiki & Geoffrey De Belie & smile & \htmladdnormallink{smile4ever@torios.org}{mailto:smile4ever@torios.org} \\
\hline Developer lead / driver & Alexander Kluth $|$	DerAlex & \htmladdnormallink{alexander@torios.org}{mailto:alexander@torios.org} \\
\hline Quality Assurance Testing & Jack & fjack & $|$ \\
\hline Marketing $|$	David B Yentzen & $|$ \htmladdnormallink{dbyentzen@torios.org}{mailto:dbyentzen@torios.org} \\
\hline Artwork & Rafael & rafaellaguna & $|$ \\
\hline Developer / testing & Israel & israeldahl & \htmladdnormallink{israel@torios.org}{mailto:israel@torios.org} \\
\hline \end{tabular}\end{center}
% LaTeX2e code generated by txt2tags 2.6 (http://txt2tags.org)
% cmdline: txt2tags -t tex torios-team.t2t

It needed some editing, as I didn’t want the table in the manual to have hyperlinsk to the e-mail addresses but it worked great,  just some editing and adding the modules at the top to the include list in the LaTeX pre-amble.

The torios manual is now up to date.

To illustrate the fact that you can have several targets here is the same output for html

txt2tags -t html torios-team.t2t

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<META NAME="generator" CONTENT="http://txt2tags.org">
</HEAD><BODY BGCOLOR="white" TEXT="black">
<TH>Job Title</TH>
<TH>IRC Nick</TH>
<TD>Project lead</TD>
<TD>Ali Linx</TD>
<TD><A HREF="mailto:amjjawad@torios.org">amjjawad@torios.org</A></TD>
<TD>Website admin</TD>
<TD>William Cornelius</TD>
<TD><A HREF="mailto:william@torios.org">william@torios.org</A></TD>
<TD>Documentation - manual</TD>
<TD>Paul Sutton</TD>
<TD>zleap	<A HREF="mailto:zleap@torios.org">zleap@torios.org</A></TD>
<TD>Documentation - wiki</TD>
<TD>Geoffrey De Belie</TD>
<TD><A HREF="mailto:smile4ever@torios.org">smile4ever@torios.org</A></TD>
<TD>Developer lead / driver</TD>
<TD>Alexander Kluth |	DerAlex</TD>
<TD><A HREF="mailto:alexander@torios.org">alexander@torios.org</A></TD>
<TD>Quality Assurance Testing</TD>
<TD>Marketing |	David B Yentzen</TD>
<TD>| <A HREF="mailto:dbyentzen@torios.org">dbyentzen@torios.org</A></TD>
<TD>Developer / testing</TD>
<TD><A HREF="mailto:israel@torios.org">israel@torios.org</A></TD>
<!-- html code generated by txt2tags 2.6 (http://txt2tags.org) -->
<!-- cmdline: txt2tags -t html torios-team.t2t -->

And you have the same content in html format.

Document Freedom day 2015


It is a day for celebrating and raising awareness of Open Standards and formats which takes place on the last Wednesday in March each year. On this day people who believe in fair access to communications technology teach, perform, and demonstrate.

Please click here for information


Linux voice issue 7

Linux voice issue 7 is now on news-stands http://www.linuxvoice.com/