Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 15, Number 2 - February 1999


February 18th CACTUS Meeting

January Meeting Report

by Ron Roberts

Only fourteen CACTI signed in at the guard station. There was almost one pizza per person and plenty of soda. President Jack McKinney was out of country so Lindsay Haisley stood at chair.

The Post Office where CACTUS lives has moved. The new location has keyed locks rather than combination. And they would not release said key to Lindsay without a signed letter with a CACTUS letterhead. Current scribe, Ron Roberts, agreed to produce such a letter and deal with the Post Office. CACTUS had to do much the same last year with the INTERNIC to regain the domain.

Lindsay next presented a membership report. Membership is in disarray, the sponsorship list untouched during his tenure.

The new CACTUS machine, currently lives on Lindsay's private network, and we're gonna have to get it to Outernet before we can open it up to the membership. We're also the proud owners of a three disk set of Debian Linux. Rumor is that won't be staying at for too very long. Gil Kloepfer described to the membership a recent event at when the consultant from Cisco found a member account was running a MUD on cactus disguised as the Korn shell [ksh]. The consensus of the officers was to keep his account disabled. There are far too few cycles available on this poor Sparc II.

Lindsay then introduced a potential new sponsor, Career Central, represented by Larry Hoffer. Larry passed out a single sheet explaining their services. They're an online placement agency dealing primarily with placing software developers in regular [full time/permanent] positions. Lindsay wanted to know if they do contracts: sometimes, but it's not their primary focus. Gil wanted to know if they would remove a listing when requested. He apparently had an undesirable experience with another online service. Larry promised this would not happen with them.

Treasurer Johnny Long next presented a financial report: $7,500 on account. He also described the duties of the treasurer. One of those is to pay for the pizza and soda when the president doesn't show. He's done a great job. We even get plates!

The program chair, Kristy Lee was absent, though she had indicated by email that owing to a recent promotion, she would no longer be able to serve as an officer. Member at large, and connectivty hero Lenny Tropiano was also absent and declined any nomination. Tom Painter was also absent, though we were unsure of his electability.

Gil described what the Newsletter editor does, and declined nomination. He spoke about the email problems cactus has been experiencing. Someone mentioned that there were three different MX records in our DNS, and that might explain the problem. Gil said he'd remove the two extraneous entries. Plan is to convert the newsletter into HTML and write some scripts to generate an ASCII version for email distribution automatically. But the new newsletter editor would have to do that.

A report from the scribe would be redundant, but I explained the duties, among which the magic letterhead seems immenently important. This humble reporter shamelessly shilled for his employer: Sprint Paranet is looking to hire qualified UNIX system administrators.

Despite having no technical presentation, we barely got out before our nine o'clock deadline because we had such fun with the elections. (Drum roll, please.)

President Jack McKinney was re-elected in absentia. One quick witted member pointed out that our charter prohibits anyone from serving three consecutive terms. The motion to suspend the rules was seconded the second it hit the floor, and passed unanimously. Jack had warned people that if they didn't show up, they might be elected. He assumed the charter would render him immune, but we took his warning to heart.

Johnny Long was actually present and agreed to server as treasurer for one more term. Continuity in this position is particularly important because he carries the checkbook.

Lindsay declined nomination for membership chair, so Ron Roberts reluctantly accepted nomination, and cast the only negative vote. Oh well, I've done almost everything else.

No one would speak for the program chair at first, but finally Brenden Corkerly stood. The membership agreed to feed him leads for presentations, if he did the contact work.

Our publicity chair, Rodger Hutchins, was absent, so he was promptly re-elected without opposition.

Newsletter: after some moments of silence, Gil Kloepfer finally said, "If I absolutely have to ..." We didn't even have to use instruments of torture. This has to be the most underappreciated job on the roster (though Lindsay says it's membership).

Darrel Long volunteered for scribe when he was assured that others would report if he gave advanced notice of his absence. Darrel has been a regular for some time.

Lindsay Haisley accepted nomination for member at large. Despite his apologies, he's done a fine job at membership in addition to chairing the Central Texas Linux User's Group (CTLUG). He's also assumed the chair on several occasions with great aplomb and scruffy charm. From his appearance, it's hard to tell if he's a nerd or a musician [he's both]. He had to cancel a class where he's teaching senior citizens how to use MicroSoft Windoze in order to attend CACTUS.

Tension was building when Mike Cheselka volunteered for the last member at large position. Some old timer had the presense of mind to nominate James Johnson. This is an old CACTUS tradition to honor a former president and longtime contributor, who, by tradition received no votes, but generated a great deal of mirth.

Officer Update

Sometime after the meeting, Gil came to his senses and declined to serve as Newsletter editor though he volunteered to do the February edition. In the interim, Luis Basto volunteered. So Luis re-assumed the membership chair, while Ron Roberts took over the Newsletter chores. Noting that we usually have three members-at-large, the executive committee appointed Gil as the third at-large member.

In other news, Luis Basto and Ron Roberts were able to cajole the Post Office into giving us keys our PO Box. We have two now, so keep those cards and letters comming--especially those membership renewals.


The January meeting report erroneously stated that it was about fourteen hops between and Bob Gustwick of Realtime, who hosts, pointed out that it's much closer than that.

It's only eight hops to and just eleven to

Thanks to Bob for the correction, and for continuing to host

Cactus.Org System News

by Lindsay Haisley

Our installation of the new CACTUS Linux box at OuterNet Connection Strategies was accomplished on February 3. The OuterNet staff were very helpful and the job was easy. Linux IS Unix, after all, and even although I didn't know exactly where the network identity information was located, a quick grep through /etc/init.d turned up all the information we needed to make the appropriate changes. CACTUS officers Johnny Long, Ron Roberts and I did the job and got a chance to meet the staff at OuterNet, our newest sponsor, who is hosting the system.

Here's a complete rundown on the hardware and software.

The Hardware

The Software

Membership Access to

We hope to eventually create accounts on for all current members of CACTUS with accounts on the SPARC II. In the meantime, if you want an account on the system, contact our current membership officer, Luis Basto, at membership [at] cactus <dot> org. He'll look you up in the current membership database and if you're current on your dues, he will create the account for you or he'll forward the request on to one of the other officers who will do so. We'll try to maintain your current password from the SPARC II and notify you when the account is done. This shouldn't take long, since account creation on the new system is quick and easy.

If anyone has any questions about the new system, please write to admin [at] cactus <dot> org and we'll do our best to answer them.

We'd like to express our sincere thanks to OuterNet Connection Strategies, Inc. who are hosting the new box. OuterNet specializes in professional Internet solutions, including co-hosting and high speed connections. They are easy to work with - actually I should say they're downright fun to work with. They've been the ISP for my company for several years and on a couple of occasions I've been so moved by their help above and beyond the call of duty that I've tipped them a case of fine British stout.

Membership Report

by Luis Basto

Thank you for post-electorally electing me to this post. Oh, or did I just volunteer? Well, I noticed a number of changes have been made, mostly to, and I'm trying to get back in sync. But it may take me a moon or two, or a reboot.

We'd like to thank Michael Rayburn, Ron Roberts, John Duncanson and Philip Wheatley for renewing their membership.

After I'm synced back on the membership database, I'll have more to report on next month.


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 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 map 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
                                                  | |     | to Braker Lane
                                   ---------------+ |
                                   -+ /-----------+ |
                                    | |           | |
                                    | +--------+  | |
                                    |  Parking |  | |
                                    |    Lot   |  | |
                                    +----------+  | |
                                                  | |
                           +------------+         | |
                           |            | +-------+ |
                           |            | |   +---+ |
                           |            | |   |   | | Rutland
                           |    ARL     | |   |   | +---------
                           |            | |   |   | +---------
                           |            | |   +---+ |
                           |            | +---+---+ |
                           +------------+         | |  |
                                                  | |  | South
                                                  | |  | to US 183
                                                  | |  v