Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 17, Number 3 - March 2001


March Meeting Program - Logical Volume Manager in Linux 2.4 Kernel

Long time member and Linux expert, Jack McKinney will speak about the Linux LVM.

The History of CACTUS

by James Lee Johnson

In the next several issues of the CACTUS newsletter, I plan to write a series of articles about the history of the Capital Area Central Texas Unix Society. This will my personal view, although I will seek the input of others. So many people have contributed to the success of CACTUS that inevitably I will slight someone. Please do not be offended, but instead send your contributions and suggestions to me, jjhnsn [at] incyb <dot> com. We will compile all the articles and additional information into a History of CACTUS which will be posted to, the CACTUS Web site.

Chapter 1: The Austin Unix Users' Group takes form.

CACTUS is a direct outgrowth of the Austin Unix Users' Group (AUUG). In early 1985 several people who were convinced that Unix was becoming a mainstream commercial operating system decided to start a Unix interest group. The first meeting was held in a local restaurant on March 22, 1985. The meeting was a success, and plans were made for organizing the group and calling a second meeting to elect officers.

Two of the original organizers and officers were Irv Wardlow and Bill Lee. Ironically, Irv lived in the Dallas area. In 1985, few technology companies had branch offices in Austin. MCC was just getting started, and the AIX project at IBM was young. However spring had arrived and summer was on its way. Austin and UNIX would soon be hot!

Next month: The early years of AUUG

February Meeting Report

by Lindsay Halsay

During the past month we had not only a regular CACTUS meeting, but also the annual CACTUS officers meeting. Both of those are covered here.

February General Meeting

The meeting opened with general discussion. There was much talk about Microsoft's FUD against the open source movement as a "threat to innovation".

While there was no formal program for the meeting, the overall focus of the evening was the goal of getting the Network Appliance box up and running, on which Ronzo and Mike worked diligently. Soon everyone at the meeting was clustered around the NA box like ants around a sugar cookie.

The NA box proved recalcitrant and provided us with a variety of creative error messages, mostly either "PCI parity error" or "PCI abort" and the best efforts of the assembled Unix professionals couldn't improve on the situation. Mike took a copy of the boot-up dialog with the errors and will be contacting the kind people at Network Appliance who provided us with the box.

Annual Officers Meeting

The CACTUS officers held their annual meeting on March 9, 2000 at the Outback Steak House. Present were Mike Rice, M.H. Kahn, Ray Schafer, Jack McKinney, Lindsay Haisley, Luis Basto, Johnny Long and Gil Kloepfer. We missed our newsletter editor, Ron Roberts, who didn't make it.

Mike stated his plans to personally go to Jump.Net and talk to them about our Sparc 10 there, having been unable to reach them via phone or email. He expected to have to remove the box. Jump.Net has been requesting exclusive sponsorship recognition on one of our forums in exchange for their hosting service, and it appears that negotiations have reached an impasse since such an agreement would run contrary to the basic principles on which CACTUS was organized. Several members have hosting capabilities and could take the box on a temporary or even permanent basis.

There was again discussion of an community CACTUS-sponsored event of some sort, and we will be looking into bringing in a speaker of some note in who will give a public talk which we can publicize. Ray will contact Bruce Sterling about doing this. Lindsay will contact Eric Raymond (and has attempted to do so as of publication date). There are several options for venues. Gill will look into facilities at the J. Jake Pickle Research Center.

Gil came up with the innovative idea of doing a program on Unix on ACTV, possibly a call-in program if their facilities permit it. He's going to look into what's involved in doing an ACTV program.

Other options for increasing the visibility of CACTUS in the community include the operation of a key server. Some questions exist regarding our joint and several liabilities for such an operation so the idea was tabled for further discussion at a later date.

The old problem of DNS for the domain came up again, and it was agreed that the best move for starters would be to get the domain registration away from NSI/VeriSign. Lindsay will check with his favorite registrar, Computer Analytical Systems (a.k.a. and Gil will check with, the registrar that he uses.

Mike make a very good suggestion about our mailing lists, and since everyone liked it fairly well, we voted it up as a presidential decree. The list members [at] lists <dot> cactus <dot> org, which was originally designated as a general discussion list for members and is currently under-utilized, will be populated with the email addresses of all current CACTUS members. This list will be subscribed to the newsletter list, cactus-news [at] cactus <dot> org. The remaining names on the cactus-news list will be non-members, or members who opt not to be on the members discussion list. Jack McKinney, who set up our lists will make this so.

We discussed the exact legal status of CACTUS (especially with regard to taxes), of which no one was quite sure. This issue impacts our bank account, potentially a tax liability, and possibly legal issues surrounding activities such as operating a key server. Johnny agreed to research this with a CPA, although he will wait until after April 15 to do so.

Johnny pointed out that our current intake from dues was falling short of our monthly expenditures for pizza at meetings, and alternatives were discussed. MH will be bringing an unspecified "non-pizza" food item to the next meeting to help out, and we'll be cutting back on the number of pizzas ordered. Johnny got approval from the officers to buy a large wheeled ice chest for drinks at CACTUS meetings.

The Network Appliance box appears to be dead. NA will be sending people around to look at it. Jack is taking the box to TKG, where he works, since it's in a convenient location.


By Luis Basto

We want to thank Dee Booth, Ron Roberts, Johnny Long, William Hill, George Kraft IV, Mark Scarborough, and David Mallis for renewing their membership.

We especially like to thank Multi-Media Arts for renewing their sponsorship. Their continuing corporate sponsorship is appreciated.

Multi Media Arts develops educational materials that address a range of ability levels and subject areas and are used for in-service training, classroom teaching, and independent study. MMA also provides consulting services for instructional program design, development, and implementation.

The contact person is Lee Williams. He can be reached at 451-7191, or send email to mma [at] cactus <dot> org.

Our balance is $235.31. A positive balance is actually a negative here. Due to mutually irreconciliable differences, the Sparc machine has been removed from Jump. We will be relocating it either to Outernet or some other company. Read more details elsewhere in this month's newsletter.

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

You can also pay in person at the general meetings. Please direct any inquiries or address changes to membership [at] cactus <dot> org.


CACTUS Officers

Contact Information

CACTUS Sponsors

Significant Contributing Sponsors

Applied Research Laboratories/University of Texas at Austin,
(Gil Kloepfer, Computer Science Division (CSD), 835-3771 gil [at] arlut <dot> utexas <dot> edu)
Jump.Net -
(Dewey Coffman, dewey [at] jump <dot> net)
Internet service provider.
Aperian / OuterNet -
        Internet service provider.

CACTUS Sponsor Members

Auspex Systems -
(Paul Levine, plevine [at] auspex <dot> com
Fastest reliable network fileservers.
Flametree Corporation -
(David Maynard, 670-4090, dpm [at] flametree <dot> com)
Internet and software consulting.
Covad / Laserlink -
        (Chip Rosenthal 428-9443)

Multi Media Arts (MMA)

(Lee Williams, 451-7191)
Publisher of instructional materials for classroom and independent study.


Friends of CACTUS

Applied Formal Methods, Inc.
(Susan Gerhart, 794-9732, gerhart [at] cactus <dot> org)

Austin Code Works
(Scott Guthery, 258-0785, info [at] acw <dot> com)
(Maurine Mecer, 502-0190 [FAX 502-0287])
Professional recruiting.
EDP Contract Services
(Mark Grabenhorst, 346-1040) Professional recruiting.
Hewlett Packard -
(Bill Sumrall, 338-7221)
Hounix -
(Marilyn Harper)

        Houston's Unix Users Group.
O'Keefe Search -
(John O'Keefe, 1-888-446-2137, john [at] okeefesearch <dot> com)
Professional recruiting.

Sailaway System Design
(Chris J Johnson, 447-5243)

Schlumberger -
(Kathy O'Brien, obrien [at] asc <dot> slb <dot> com)

        Technical services and products in over 100 countries.

Silicon Graphics -

(Don Williams, 346-9342)

Solid Systems
(Pete Farrell, 442-2222)

Sterling Information Group

(Darrell Hanshaw, 344-1005, dhanshaw [at] sterinfo <dot> com)

Sun Microsystems -
(Rick Taylor)

        Supplier of Unix client-server computing solutions.

Compaq (Tandem Computers) -

(Ron Boerger)

        Provider of scalable, high availability systems.

Texas Internet Consulting -

(Smoot Carl-Mitchell, 451-6176, smoot [at] tic <dot> com)

        TCP/IP networking, Unix, and open systems standards.


A Sun Authorized Training Center and a Hardware Reseller.

Unison Software
(Shelley St. John, 478-0611)

        Supplier of networked systems management solutions.

UT Computer Science Department

(Patti Spencer)

UT Computation Center
(Mike Cerda, 471-3241, cerda [at] uts <dot> cc <dot> utexas <dot> edu)

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