buildscc | 06 Oct 2010 | | projects


Currently, the only way to achieve automatic, reliable configuration of Linux machines for BU networks and services is BU Linux. While BU Linux is effective in this sense, it has shortcomings, mainly that it is CentOS-based (which some people don’t like), and that it requires installing a completely new operating system, instead of just being able to install the config on top of an existing setup. To address these concerns, I propose an alternate system, tentatively entitled “debDog”, which is a collection of debian packages that install and/or configure essential software for use on the Boston University network. It is modular, allows for deeper customization, and is installable on top of an existing debian-based distro.

The System

Let’s get this out of the way right here: the inspiration for this project is MIT’s Project Debathena ( While using debathena on the MIT campus, I was amazed at how easy it was to install, configure, and use. If you poke around their site, you’ll notice that their system was so solid that MIT IS&T started using it on all the public clusters.

But I digress. The packages are currently using CDBS (Common Debian Build System) along with Config-Package-Dev (MIT-developed system for using divert commands to install configs on a machine).

The Packages Have a Home

Current packages live in Using git is easy…github has directions if you’re not familiar (you’re also welcome to email Kyle).

When we have a set of packages that we have tested individually, it will be time to test them as a group. For this, I can use my PPA on Launchpad.

Also, the BU Linux Users Group expressed interest in hosting a PPA for us to use for this when we go into more of an open beta/release mode. (They’re pretty awesome).

List of Packages Written (Ready for testing)

List of Packages Currently Being Worked On (help welcome)


Interested Parties

This project is gaining momentum. Since p = mv, we should add more packages and keep accelerating -_- Add your name below if this interests you.

  1. Kyle Brogle
  2. John-Nicholas Furst
  3. Jeff Crowell
  4. Kenny Kalenderian
  5. Russell Shomberg
  6. Mikhail Andreev

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Boston Society of Spontaneity

The Boston Society of Spontaneity is not an ACM made group. Rather it is a Boston Urban Playground group, modeled after NYC’s Improv Everywhere. BSOS: Improv Everywhere:

Those joining this “project” will probably just get emails about meeting up to go to Boston Society of Spontaneity Event/Pranks.

Urban Playgrounding is happening on 10/10!!!

This is the facebook event for the MP3 experiment. You download a mp3 but don’t listen to it until everyone arrives at the undisclosed location. Everyone listens and follows the instructions at exactly 3:30pm. Expect to make a spectacle of yourself, simultaneously as others are making spectacles of themselves.


Meeting Minutes for 2010-10-06

Builds Meeting 5

10/06/2010 6:30pm


  • First thing on the Agenda - Yearbook Group Picture

Kyle Brogle

  • New members, Welcomes all around
    • again, we are trying to keep the room clean. It’s getting better, so keep it up

Valerie Young

  • Musical Stairs
    • progress is on hold for the moment while more work is being done on the electronics side
    • talk to Valerie and Dan

Russell Shomberg

  • Spidervac
    • Will be meeting Saturday 10/9 at 7pm in BUILDS
    • This week will be a brainstorm/planning meeting

John-Nicholas Furst

  • Videogame Collective
    • held every week on Tuesday at 9~930pm to whenever
    • Next on the agenda will be 2D platformers
    • If you’re interested, talk to John and join the mailing list.
  • NOMS list
    • Mailing list that informs people on free food events

Kyle Brogle

  • HackMe websites
    • Websites that set up insecure scenarios to practice security and penetration
    • Very fun, great way to buff up comp sci skills and security-mindedness.

Patrick Ehrlicher

  • Home Depot Runs
    • If anybody has a car, and is willing to drive BUILDS folk to get supplies, let the officers know

Kyle Brogle

  • Gutenbach
    • For the most part, the install is bug free
    • It will soon (hopefully) have capabilities to actually play youtube videos sent to it

Additional topics

  • Patrick Ehrlicher
    • Tesla Coil
    • parts have been ordered and much more work will be done pending Home Depot Field Trip

Chris Woodall

  • Setting up a Diaspora Server

John-Nicholas Furst

  • Party switch
    • Does anybody have access to strobe lights, lasers, etc? if so, talk to John and Monica
  • 24 hour programming competition on 10/22 put on by IEEE (Explore 2010 competition)
    • talk to John and Kyle

Kyle Brogle

  • Just a note to all BUILDS members: practice RESPONSIBLE DISCLOSURE.

Meeting Ended 7:06 pm