Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 14, Number 6 - June 1998


June 18th CACTUS Meeting

About June's Presentation

Jonathan Abbey of Applied Research Laboratories will discuss and demonstrate the ARL:UT-developed network directory management system known as Ganymede. Ganymede is a completely customizable, multi-user, client-server directory management system. Ganymede is designed to be able to manage NIS, NIS+, DNS, LDAP, and ultimately NT user domains. Ganymede is written in Java and features a fully programmable server and an assortment of end-user clients, both GUI and text-mode, that makes it easy to distribute control over portions of the managed databases. The Ganymede web page is at

From The Editor

by Gil Kloepfer

"To print, or not to print? That is the question," the CACTUS officers have been pondering this past month. Although the paper copy of the newsletter has been very useful, it seems that there are now faster, less expensive, and more environmentally savvy ways of distributing information about the goings-on at CACTUS. Now that e-mail access is both commonplace and inexpensive, and the World Wide Web makes dynamic information easily accessible, our current paper newsletter is starting to feel the effects of obsolescence. Coupled with the fact that our newsletter is just about all text-based, it seems to be a natural progression to move from a combination printed/online newsletter to a fully online newsletter.

That said...the officers of CACTUS solicit feedback from you, the members, as to whether or not we should continue to distribute a paper newsletter through the US Mail. Our hope is that those who wish to receive the newsletter via e-mail (or read it on the web or USENET) will let us know by sending a request to newsletter [at] cactus <dot> org. Those that still wish to receive the paper copy should request that we continue to provide it. That can be done through the same e-mail address, by writing to the membership address later in the newsletter, or by attending one of the meetings. Of course, we will continue to provide a printed/mailed newsletter if the membership feels this is appropriate. If not, we would like to utilize the membership dues more appropriately.

Again, please send us your feedback. The more input we receive, the better we can help to guide CACTUS' activities.

May Meeting Report

by Gil Kloepfer

About 20 people were present at the May meeting. There was more than ample pizza for the group, and again we had paper plates rather than torn-off box covers.

Jack McKinney kicked-off the meeting by introducing the five officers present-- Jack first introduced himself as the President, who's job it was to coordinate pizza and soft drinks. Kristi noted that we had speakers for the next three months, but we did need to get more people to speak. Jack added that we also needed more ideas for the tutorial portion of the meetings. Gil gave the positive status of the newsletter for this month, which unfortunately didn't arrive before the meeting. Rodger said that the web site was a little behind since the upgrade to qmail on caused some delays in getting his e-mail. Johnny said that the finances were unchanged, and that CACTUS was still solvent.

Mixed-in with and following the introduction of the officers present, Jack started the evening's ad-hoc conversation about the Microsoft anti-trust suit and related items (since there wasn't any tutorial planned). As always, there was the obligatory "beating-up" of Microsoft. However, one of the more important comments made was by Jack. He noted that the US Justice Department is concentrating mostly on the problems associated with the pre-packaging of Internet Explorer with Windows. He added that a more serious problem was the fact that hardware manufacturers were removing the operating firmware from the device, and putting it into the driver software -- and the driver software was being written somewhat exclusively for Microsoft operating systems. Jack (and others) felt that this was probably a more important aspect to the anti-trust suit, but was not understood well by the Justice Department. The hardware development direction has severe impact on the future of UNIX, especially free versions like Linux and FreeBSD.

Following the energetic discussion about the woes of Microsoft, Anil Desai from Sprint Paranet began his presentation about Virtual Private Networking (VPN). The format was basically a group discussion, with Anil beginning the topics with a slide and some information regarding the topic. Unfortunately Anil's presentation was sidetracked several times due to the discussions at the beginning of the meeting coupled with the problem that many of the VPN solutions are being implemented using Microsoft operating systems. However, Anil's work prompted a lot of discussion about VPN's and the role they will be playing in future enterprise networking. Even with the discussion tainted by the Microsoft anti-trust dialog, Anil managed to keep things moving along, and prompted smaller groups to converse about VPN after the meeting. Our thanks to Anil Desai for coming to speak at CACTUS, as I'm sure that VPN discussions will continue at future CACTUS meetings. Those that were unable to attend the meeting can find white papers about VPN and other items that Anil has written about on Sprint Paranet's web site at

The meeting closed sometime after 9:30pm with people still having discussions outside after 10pm.

CACTUS.ORG System News

by Lindsay Haisley

Progress continues on on several fronts. Jack McKinney has been hard at work and during the past month and has installed zsh, screen, pgp, ssh, vim (state of the art vi) and rcs. Elm has been updated, ostensibly to fix temp file conflicts under qmail, but the new version supports pgp encryption and decryption of mail as well. The major project is still qmail, which has been recompiled with numerous anti-spam patches and awaits full installation, probably this week. The upgrade to qmail has stirred up a number of other problems as well, many of them regarding legacy services provided to former CACTUS members which were quietly failing under sendmail or were simply going through the motions of providing services no longer needed. We're sorting these out as they arise, and the end result will be a cleaner, meaner

Current plans include the installation of still more new software pacakges including md5, ncftp, the lastest version of perl, a more capable version of patch (probably the GNU version) and xntpd and its affiliated utilities since it appears that the system time-of-day clock on is chronically off.

If you have suggestions for software you'd like to see installed, please send them to staff [at] cactus <dot> org. We're receiving suggestions from CACTUS members and looking into them as they arrive. The same address will direct bug or problem reports, or questions regarding our new software to Jack and Lindsay who are in a position to provide help.

Membership Report

by Lindsay Haisley

Thanks to Brian Sinclair for renewing his Cactus Membership this month.

Current CACTUS membership stands at 55 regular members and 5 sponsors.

Previous membership figures were far too high due to improper code in the tally software. This membership figure is down a few members from last month, but is representative of the number of active CACTUS members we've had this year.


To renew your membership, please send check or money order payable to CACTUS ($25/yr for regular membership and $96/yr for corporate sponsorship):

PO BOX 9786
AUSTIN, TX 78766-9786

You can also pay in person at the general meetings. The date on the upper right hand of the newsletter mailing label indicates when your membership expires. Please direct any inquiries or address changes to membership [at] cactus <dot> org.

CACTUS Officers

Contact Information

CACTUS Sponsors

CACTUS Meeting Location: Applied Research Labs

CACTUS meets on the third Thursday of each month at the UT Applied Research Labs (ARL) in the JJ (Jake) Pickle Research Campus (JJ PRC). We'll meet in the main auditorium located directly behind the guard's desk and main lobby.

Please do not show up earlier than 6:20 pm on the specified day. Enter through the main entrance at 10000 Burnet Road for ARL:UT. Tell the guard that you are here for the CACTUS meeting. You will be required to sign a log book, but not required to wear a badge. The guards will direct you to the auditorium entrance. Limited parking in the front of the building is available, but more extensive parking is available in the large parking lot just north of the ARL building. After 6:30 pm, all entrances to JJ PRC, except for the Burnet Road entrance, are closed and locked. You can still enter the parking lot in front of the ARL building. No parking tags are necessary after 6:00 pm. See maps for further details.

Online maps are available at:

As always, please leave the facility as you saw it when you arrived. So let's clean up all pizza and soda items before we leave. Thanks and hope to see all of you there.

Map to the Monthly CACTUS Meeting

                                            | |     ^
  <---- to MOPAC                            | |     |
                                            | |     | North
                                            | | B   | to Braker Lane
                             ---------------+ | U
                             -+ /-----------+ | R
                              | |           | | N
                              | +--------+  | | E
                              |  Parking |  | | T
                              |    Lot   |  | |
                              +----------+  | | R
                                            | | D
                     +------------+         | |
                     |            | +-------+ |
                     |            | |   +---+ |
                     |            | |   |   | | Rutland
                     |    ARL     | |   |   | +---------
                     |            | |   |   | +---------
                     |            | |   +---+ |
                     |            | +---+---+ |
                     +------------+         | |  |
                                            | |  | South
                                            | |  | to US 183
                                            | |  v