CALI 2010 conference presentation

I recently did a presentation at the CALI2010 conference held at Rutgers-Camden. Here’s a link to the wiki pages that were the basis for my talk:

Here’s the summary of the talk from the CALI web-site:

Open Source Potpourri

That’s right – it’s “a mixture of dried, naturally fragrant plant material, used to provide a gentle natural scent in houses”, or at least that’s what the great Wikipedia says. I’ll be talking about some fragrant open-source software projects that we use to add a gentle natural scent to Emory Law IT operations.

PING (“PartImage is Not Ghost”). We’ve used PING for some time now to image computers at the law school. PING allows you to back-up and restore disk partitions across the network. See for more details. I’ll discuss how we use it and how we’ve customized it to make it as painless as possible to make and restore images across the network.

OpenFiler ( is a terrfic open-source NAS distribution. I’ll talk about how we use OpenFiler to host the images that we create with PING and I’ll discuss some of the configuration gotchas with OpenFiler. I’ll also detour a little bit into the construction of the box that runs the OpenFiler software and mention a super-simple script that updates us every day on the status of the RAID controller in the OpenFiler box.

ThinStation ( provides “a basic and small, yet very powerful, Open Source “thin client” operating system supporting all major connectivity protocols.” There are some complexities with configuring ThinStation, but our plan is to use it to provide a very basic web browsing machine as a temporary replacement for users’ broken machines.

SystemRescueCD ( provides a wealth of system recovery tools, but I primarily use it as an easy way to partition hard disks.

If there’s time, I’ll talk about how I’ve built on some of the other great MythTV work that’s been done to add in classroom recording for five classrooms at Emory Law. We feed the recordings into a single older IBM PC with four video capture cards. I’ll talk about some scripting to manage a Kramer switcher and also some of the post-processing that we do.

I welcome your feedback and questions! Thanks, Ben

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