Free Software
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Index of Documents

Several papers have been written for the group at the U3A in Bath, and this is an index of all the most important ones. Note that the dates are when they were presented, or written, and this area of technology moves quickly, so details may well be out of date. However, the historical notes are of course still valid up to the date of creation.
From 2019 most meetings considered a variety of topics, and only the salient points were put into a document. These are listed in a separate section of the main table

Documents are in PDF format unless otherwise stated.

Name and link
Recent discussions
August 2021
Radio, applets, monitoring, command line tips Radio via web, Cinnamon applets, transferring files phone to Linux, etc
May 2021
LO templates A bit about Templates in LO Writer
April 2021
LO Writer styles Paragraph, page and character styles and how to use them; frames and sections and some small tips.
March 2021
LibreOffice Writer Formatting marks, line breaks, image insertion, anchoring, moving resizing and cropping pictures in gwenview.
October 2020
Many minor topics File associations, toolbar docking, Linux kernels, file transfer, scanner support, resizing images, video calls, partition space.
September 2020
Password managers Firefox and KeePass.
August 2020
Various topics Remote desktops, temperature measurements, keyboard shortcuts.
July 2020
Various topics Keybase for offsite data, Mozilla news, where Thunderbird stores mail messages, upgrading Linux Mint to version 20, i.a.
May 2020
Making charts with Calc LibreOffice Calc can generate charts from series of data, either bar charts, pie charts, or scatter plots.
April 2020
Makng mail labels Making labels and merging addresses using gLabels; and cropping images and fading them using LibreOffice Draw.
March 2020
Video conferencing Our experinces of using jitsi and discovering what it can do.
January 2020
Data erasure, unwanted kernels, Writer spell checking Cleaning data off disks, security of phones, removing unwanted versions of the Linux kernel, spell checking in LibreOffice Writer.
October 2019
Thunderbird message filters, Firefox blocking trackers Setting up filters on incoming e-mail. Preventing tracking when browsing websites.
September 2019
Social Media, Firefox encrypted DNS Using Social Media sites. Firefox support for encrypted DNS lookups.
August 2019
Autotext, e-mail From address, Firefox containers, Linux install LibreOffice Autotext and First page style. Change From address in Thunderbird. Firefox containers. How to create a bootable drive for a new Mint installation.
June 2019
Packages, Links, PDF forms What are Linux packages in Debian based systems? What are Unix links? How do I create a form as a pdf for others to fill in?
May 2019
Disovering information about the system System application details, hardware details, cpu characteristics, memory usage and more.
Apr 2019
Languages, Malware, Repositories, Emblems Dictionaries in LibreOffice, whether to use LVM, malware protection (inc. Android?) use of Linux repositories, emblems in file browser, adding new users.
Mar 2019
Firefox privacy add-ons First party isolation, DuckDuckGo privacy essentials, Privacy Badger, uBlock, uMatrix, Adblock Plus, and Private browsing.
Jan 2019
Sundry topics Ergonomic mouse, NAS, Eject, Firefox, Printer, Scanner, e-mail addresses, routers, data destruction.
Sep 2006
What is Free software Presented to the BRLSI in September 2006 and January 2007.
Explains how it is written, why, and how it can be free of charge.
Apr 2010
Licenses and legal Licenses, users' responsibilities, and some history. Slides and notes from the presentation.
Apr 2012
Introduction to Free Software Brief introduction to how it can be free, and mention of the essential free programs for Internet use.
Jul 2012
Applications A list of FOSS applications that can substitute for Windows or OS X applications either on Windows or OS X, or when moving to Linux.
Sep 2017
Android applications Some apps for Android on phones and tablets.
May 2016
Bitcoin (pdf) Presentation about Bitcoin, the digital money, with a history of money for background. Includes description of what happens when you pay by credit card. Also, as an .odp version
Aug 2017
News items Some news items which were relevant for the general user were described and discussed
Operating systems, file systems and networks
Jul 2011
Operating systems What is an operating system, and which one is right for you?
Sep 2013 Android - First Steps
Exploring Android
Android is the new kid, what is it? And some observations during the investigation. Thanks to Mike Godfrey for these.
Mar 2016 Android - History and present state Android has developed into the most commonly used operating system in mobile devices. This presentation brought information on current state and recent history. Thanks to Roger Hurley for this.
Nov 2007
Partitioning of a disk (odt) How to divide a disk into partitions before installing a Linux variant.
Mar 2011
Formatting and partitioning More on formatting disks, and what partitions are.
Jan 2012
Partitioning a disk prior to installing Linux Yet more on partitioning a disk to provide space for file systems before installing Linux.
Apr 2018
How much disk space are you using? Partitions are of fixed size, so it is important to keep track of how much space is used in various places.
Jul 2014 Upgrading to Linux Mint 17 Mike Godfrey gave a presentation (pdf) and notes on upgrading to Linux Mint 17
Mar 2012
The boot process, GRUB etc. What happens when a machine is booted, and how do you change it? This paper is an introduction to the process of getting a machine up and running.
Nov 2008
Data recovery If your machine will not boot, you can try these notes to extract your data, even if you cannot fix the problem.
Aug 2010
Linux - introduction Introduction to the Linux operating system and its applications - packages, file organisation, etc.
Aug 2011
Linux and hardware Linux is sometimes not well support by hardware. What can be done?
Nov 2011
Linux distributions A comparison of a few distributions that members have tried.
Sep 2012
Linux distributions Description of some of the more popular Linux distributions, from easy-to-use to engineers' specials, from desktops to older or smaller devices.
Nov 2012
Packages and applications How Linux manages its applications; what packages are; how to install stuff.
Sep 2009 Create a bootable CD for your own Ubuntu system How to create a new master bootable CD from an Ubuntu installation containing the equivalent of your current system. Useful for system recovery.
Jan 2013
IP addresses, routers and home networks What is an IP address? Where do they come from? How does a router work?
Sep 2010
Networking - introduction Principles of networks and its jargon. How to find things out, what's going on with a router, etc.
Apr 2011
Firewalls and security Describes what a firewall is, and when you need one. What passwords are needed, and where, to protect a network and its PCs.
Apr 2009
Networks and shares (odt) Sharing data and printers across a network between Windows and Linux. There is also a glossary (odt).
May 2015 Network Attached Storage (NAS) Using a separate device to store files for common access across a network.
Jul 2009 Encrypting files Encrypting files and filesystems using Truecrypt.
Jun 2021 Encrypting partitions Why encrypt? How to encrypt a disk partition and mount automatically when Linux is booted.
Nov 2009 Setting up a virtual machine Using VirtualBox to get more than one system running simultaneously on a single PC. The concepts behind virtualisation, and why you would want it, are described in a separate document.
Nov 2019 Using virtual machines Using virtual machines to run more than one system on a single PC. This presentation explains how to prepare for a virtual machine, obtain a suitable image, install, and use it.
Specific applications
Feb 2010
Windows programs on Linux Running programs written for Windows on Linux using Wine.
Sep 2011
Backups What must be backed up, and what should be backed up, and what sort of backup technique is suitable for the way you use a PC.
Jul 2016
Backing up personal data Using the Linux backup application Backintime, manually and scheduled.
Apr 2017
Web browsers More browsers than you would ever need.
Nov 2017
Combating online tracking Notes on browsing safely and threats through tracking.
Apr 2008
Extensions in Firefox Firefox looks the same on Windows as on Linux. The notes can apply to either.
Jul 2010
Firefox password store and add-ons More extensions, saving of passwords and security matters.
Nov 2013 Firefox add-ons to help control your browsing Ten add-ons were discussed that helped secure browsing, determine where servers are, remove cookies early, etc.
Jul 2015 Further Firefox features A description of the standard icons, some extra features of context menus and other odds and ends.
Jan 2018 Even more Firefox features A non-exhaustive journey through icons, menu items, keyboard shortcuts and other odd items.
Mar 2013
Search tips, search engines and browsers Examples of how to select search terms, something about various search engines and what you might want them for, and more on browsers (especially Firefox) and the search engines they use.
Jun 2017
Search engines Browsers may try to force you to use a particular search engine. But others are available; we looked at several of them, all listed in the notes.
Mar 2018 The file browser Caja Some features of a file browser, including how to transfer between phone and computer via the wifi on your router.
Jun 2008
Thunderbird setup (.odt) How to set up and use the e-mail client Thunderbird.
Mar 2010
Thunderbird - more Organising your e-mails, using accounts and identities, and filters.
Aug 2013 Thunderbird - revisited What are POP and IMAP? E-mail servers. Thunderbird add-ons.
Jun 2009
Encrypt and sign messages with Thunderbird Signing and encrypting messages, managing public and private keys. There is also a detailed script for you to follow to do it.
Mar 2017 Other Email Clients Some notes on Geary and Sylpheed, both simpler than Thunderbird
Mar 2015 Pidgin Instant Messaging Getting an account for XMPP and starting a conversation
Feb 2008
How to use Open Office styles How to use styles to change the appearance of a leaflet. This applies equally to OpenOffice and LibreOffice.
The bare text (.odt) for the leaflet is also provided.
Jun 2010
Impress presentations Creating presentations using OpenOffice Impress. Also valid for LibreOffice.
Nov 2014 More on Impress Covering setting backgrounds, making master slides, transitions, animations, including video and sound.
Oct 2010
Spreadsheets with Calc Using OpenOffice Calc to create spreadsheets and charts and graphs. Also valid for LibreOffice. The demonstration used this spreadsheet (.ods).
Jun 2018
Further notes on LibreOffice Calc Some of things you may not have found in LibreOffice Calc, including generating simple series, getting printing onto the right sheets, and some date and time functions.
Apr 2013
Libre Office tips (pdf) Templates, Forms, Mail merge, naming constants and ranges, and protection from overwriting
Mar 2008
Using macros in OpenOffice Base (.odt) The example data base (.odb), the associated macros as text (.txt), working macros how to install it (.odt) and a user manual (.odt) are also provided.
Sep 2008
Sun report builder and OpenOffice Base (.odt). How to create reports with OpenOffice Base using the Sun report builder.
May 2008
Labels with OpenOffice How to print labels using OpenOffice. This would apply equally to LibreOffice.
Feb 2014 Conditional Text and Mail Merge with LibreOffice How to customise a letter and labels from data in a spreadsheet, including conditional text as well as insertion of addresses and names.
Oct 2008
Gimp for photographers (.odt) GIMP is a good picture editor, very suitable for photographic manipulation.
Apr 2014 Photo management with DigiKam (pdf) DigiKam can keep your photographs in order with tags, comments, EXIF manipulation and simple editing
Apr 2016 Creating albums and simple editing of images with DigiKam (pdf) DigiKam can keep your photographs in collections of albums and allows simple editing of images
Nov 2010
Editing sound files Using Audacity to manipulate sound files, cutting and pasting, etc.
May 2009
Optical Character Recognition Turning pictures of text into editable text using tesseract.
Mar 2014 Clouds Can you implement your own cloud service? What do you use clouds for?
Aug 2016 Gnucash Setting up Gnucash to manage your money.
Hints, tips and howtos
Jan 2017
Favourite applications Some ideas and suggestions for applications or add-ons you may like.
Jan 2009
Shell scripting Principles behind the shell language.
Jan 2015 Use of bash shell Simple use of bash shell and simple Unix commands
Sep 2016 More about bash shell More about the syntax of commands in the bash shell.
Apr 2015 Secure shell (ssh) Logging in to one machine from another across a network
Nov 2011
Reading floppies in Ubuntu Ubuntu removed support for old floppy drives. These notes show how to put it back.
Feb 2011
Tips and tricks Small things people have noticed that might be of use to others.
Sep 2014 Finding out about your Linux system There are many things you can discover about your Linux system, should you need and/or want to. A few that might be useful are described in the notes.
Apr 2012
Use of the AltGr key on a UK keyboard How to type Latin alphabet characters with diacritics on a Linux UK keyboard layout. Another document showing the keyboard layout is here in .odt format, and  again as a .pdf.
Aug 2012
Keeping passwords safe. What passwords are used for and how to keep them safe without straining the memory.
Dec 2012
Cake recipe. Recipe for a cake suitable for a virtual party in lieu of a meeting.
Questions and Answers
Feb 2009
Question & Answer - Ubuntu A few points from the discussion.
Jan 2010
Question & Answer - Linux, partitions A few points from the discussion.
Jun 2011
Question & Answer - recent Linux distributions Ubuntu and Mint were the focus.
Jan 2011
Question & Answer - Sundry Minor points and notes for the future.
Oct 2011
Question & Answer - Sundry Thunderbird, Writer, file types and booting.
Feb 2012
Question & Answer - Sundry Sundries including very basics on terminal command line.
Jun 2012 Question & Answer - Sundry Sundries, including the cloud, UEFI booting, Adobe's Flash plans and access to wifi while on the move.
Oct 2012 Question & Answer - Sundry Sundries, including a summary of a talk on internet threats, answers to questions on deleting system files, how to discover memory usage.
Feb 2013
Question & Answer - Tips for Thunderbird & Firefox A few tips for Thunderbird and Firefox.
Jun 2013 Question & Answer - Oddments Comments on backups, restricting Google searches by time, file times and photographs, and clouds.
Jun 2014 Question & Answer - Sundry Certificate Patrol add-on for Firefox, burning a music CD on Linux, changing the file association on Linux, when to upgrade a Linux distro release.
Oct 2014 Question & Answer - Divers Thunderbird templates, filters, old e-mail accounts and Linux Mint repositories
Feb 2016 Question & Answer - Oddments Get addresses out of Thunderbird, what to do if system freezes, FTP to Android via Firefox
Feb 2017 Question & Answer - Various Synaptic, unpacking applications from websites, Firefox and videos, FTP between machines
Jul 2017 Question & Answer - Mint 18.2 Mike Godfrey hosted this and considered among other things upgrading to Linux Mint 18.2
Oct 2017 Question & Answer - Various Renaming and rescaling photos, deleting e-mails, iPlayer and Linux Mint 18.3
Feb 2018 Question & Answer - Sundry Sizing and printing spreadsheets, password protecting files, et al.