Unfortunately, it did not occur to me to take notes on the meeting. Part of the learning curve, I guess. My synopsis will be rather informal and will almost certainly leave out many important details, and quite likely get some wrong. Sorry about that. I'll try to do better the next meeting. Anyone who cares to can let me know any corrections or additions that need to be made.
After a brief wait for some yoga folks to finish using the room, we began our meeting.
Tom Sightler gave an excellent presentation on virtualization. He described several systems, hardware requirements, and some interesting implications of using virtualization. Most of the talk centered on VMWare. Tom made mention of several other packages, both commercial and free that provided virtualization.
One of the interesting features he described is the ability to make benchmarks (or was it bookmarks?) to save off the state of the virtual machine. This can be used primarily in two ways. (1) as a backup prior to performing a risky task so that if things go wrong, you can easily back up to a known good state and try again, and (2) as a starting point for a virtual machine that is desired to always start in a given configuration.
There are certain recent processors which have hardware and/or instructions specifically tailored to facilitate virtualization. One test mentioned was to look at the /proc/cpuinfo file and look under the "flags" section for a "vmx" flag.
There was some discussion about programs being aware of running on a virtual machine. This takes several tangents depending on the situation. Some programs are unaware of being on a virtual machine, but may be confused by having, say, an AMD processor, but an Intel chipset (as it appears to the program). Other programs may be aware of running under a virtual machine and will be able to take actions to facilitate the virtualization process. If Windows XP or later is installed in a virtual machine, and also installed locally as a native process, you can run into problems with XP's hardware authentication.
I will stop here and add more as I remember more of the discussion.
We discussed with Dan the possibility of covering encrypted filesystems for the next meeting.
One thing mentioned at the last meeting in March, and in the March minutes was the state of the "ColaLUG.org" domain name, and the webhosting for this website. I was able to get in touch with Steven Nance, who is the person who is the registrar of the domain name, and who owns the hardware on which the website runs. After the March meeting, hearing that the domain name was registered to "some guy in Atlanta", I had concerns about what might become of the domain registration, so that was the reason I set out to get in touch with this person. It turns out that Steven was involved in the beginning of the ColaLUG group, and was, in fact, its first President. Those of you who receive the ColaLUG mailing list have seen messages from him saying that August will be the 10-year anniversary of ColaLUG, and that he will try to attend that meeting. After learning of Steven's prior involvement with the group, I felt much reassured about the future of the domain registration, and did not pursue trying to make any changes to the registration.