October Int/Adv Meeting: Astronomy and OpenWRT

Oct 4 2011 19:00
Oct 4 2011 21:00

The Buzzard Lecture Theatre. Evan Burge Building, Trinity College, Melbourne University Main Campus, Parkville.


  • Use of Linux at the Australian Astronomical Observatory — Tim Connors
  • OpenWRT: A GNU/Linux based firmware program for embedded devices such as residential gateways and routers — Bernie Schelberg

Use of Linux at the Australian Astronomical Observatory — Tim Connors

Tim Connors worked at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (nee Anglo-Australian Observatory) in Coonabarabran as a telescope operator while finishing his PhD in astrophysics at the Swinburne centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing. He never could quite let go of wanting the systems to work just right, so was given the keys to the observatory computers, ands lowly brought the systems kicking and screaming, into the modern age.

Machines running Linux came to represent a far more sensible way of managing a heterogeneous network of custom controllers and hardware. And he's not joking about the modernising: halfway through his tenure, he took part in a project to replace what was almost certainly Australia's oldest continually operating production computer — the telescope control computer that had been faithfully reading and controlling the telescope's position 10 times a second for the past 35 years (and acting as a 10kW room heater), with an industrial Linux machine that only took up half a rack. This talk is a summary of that journey through time (but not space).

Tim has since left the dizzying heights of the observatory, and helps ensure the Bureau of Meteorology keep the data flowing. When he's not busy failing over www.bom, he likes to hoon around on bikes that don't crash because of proprietary kernel drivers.

OpenWRT: A GNU/Linux based firmware program for embedded devices such as residential gateways and routers. — Bernie Schelberg

OpenWRT is a GNU/Linux distribution for your wireless router, particularly common residential networking devices. It is a highly configurable system that enables you to do many things that normally require expensive equipment to do effectively.

Bernie Schelberg has a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology, and works as a computer programmer by day (and night!). He is passionate about free (libre) software, and enjoys tinkering with various distributions, virtualization, and embedded devices such as phones.

Note: the previously announced talk on BTRFS unfortunately had to be cancelled / postponed.

The Buzzard Lecture Theatre, Evan Burge Building, Trinity College Main Campus Parkville Melways Map: 2B C5

Notes: Trinity College's Main Campus is located off Royal Parade. The Evan Burge Building is located near the Tennis Courts. See our Map of Trinity College. Additional maps of Trinity and the surrounding area (including its relation to the city) can be found at http://www.trinity.unimelb.edu.au/about/location/map

Parking can be found along or near Royal Parade, Grattan Street, Swanston Street and College Crescent. Parking within Trinity College is unfortunately only available to staff.

For those coming via Public Transport, the number 19 tram (North Coburg - City) passes by the main entrance of Trinity College (Get off at Morrah St, Stop 12). This tram departs from the Elizabeth Street tram terminus (Flinders Street end) and goes past Melbourne Central Timetables can be found on-line at:


Before and/or after each meeting those who are interested are welcome to join other members for dinner. We are open to suggestions for a good place to eat near our venue. Maria's on Peel Street in North Melbourne is currently the most popular place to eat after meetings.

LUV would like to acknowledge Red Hat for their help in obtaining the Buzzard Lecture Theatre venue and VPAC for hosting!


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