Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 18, Number 10 - October 2002


Contents:


October Meeting Program

Our presentor announced at the September meeting, Dr. Dankwardt, had to cancel his appearance. We're scheduled instead to hear from Jack McKinney on CVSCC, a front-end and wrapper for CVS which provides a number of needed features for maintaining development on real-world software projects which are missing from CVS alone. Lindsay Haisley's presentation on the Courier MTA is scheduled on standby, but will probably be postponed until November.


September Meeting Report

Luis began the formal meeting by announcing that CACTUS has a new sponsor member, Journyx. Journyx is a privately held company located in Austin, Texas. Founded in 1996, Journyx provides web-based workforce management software and services to small businesses up to the large enterprise. Journyx has more than 10,000 organizations in 66 countries worldwide using its software, including IBM, American Airlines, GE, and Schlumberger. Journyx solutions are available both on an ASP and a standard license basis. The company's flagship solution, Journyx Timesheet, is a timesheet and expense management application for the entire enterprise. Any company that bills for its services, performs project-oriented work, or tracks absences for a professional workforce can benefit from Journyx Timesheet. Organizations can easily manage employee timesheets and expenses for project control, customer invoicing, and payroll automation with Journyx Timesheet. They can also easily integrate Timesheet into their existing systems, leveraging its open architecture and support for standards like XML and SOAP. Timesheet can also help automate time and expense approval process, accurately handle employee vacation accruals, or allow users to enter time via email.

Ron Roberts, our program chair, announced that Dr. Kevin P. Dankwardt of K-devices.org would provide October's program on embedded Linux. (subsequently replaced by a presentation by Jack McKinney on CVSCC)

Lindsay Haisley announced a pending reorganization of the filesystem for the CACTUS website. Our Apache web server at cactus.org, while running an up-to-date Apache daemon, is running a configuration left over from our old Sparc II, and lacks integration with modern features such as PHP. A planned update of our membership database requires that we bring the system into compliance with more normal standards.

Our presentation for the evening was an excellent explanation and discussion of the Enterprise Volume Management System (EVMS) by Steve Dobbelstein, Kevin Corry and Luciano Chavez. The Enterprise Volume Management System Project has the goal of providing unparalleled flexibility and extensibility in managing storage. It represents a new approach to logical volume management, as the architecture introduces a plug-in model that allows for easy expansion or customization of various levels of volume management. The EVMS back end (the "EVMS engine") is well integrated with the Linux kernel and integrates features of Logical Volume Management, RAID, JFS and many other storage and filesystem technologies. The EVMS front end ("EVMS runtime") is a GUI user space program suite which provides amazing flexibility. The system highly modular, with a view toward scalability, and the engine presents a uniform API, providing a lot of flexibility in design of the user interface.

As a demonstration of the speed and flexibility the system, the folks from EVMS created 3 RAID-1 pair arrays, combined them into a RAID-0 array, turned this into a LVM container, and from that created a LVM region, expanded it and then, created an ext2 filesystem on it and mounted it. They then created a R/O snapshot volume of what they'd done. Were it not for the fact that they took the time to explain what they were doing and answer questions, all this could have been done in about 1 minute. Truly impressive!

EVMS development has been funded by IBM, however the project is Open Source, licensed under the GNU General Public License, and is hosted on Sourceforge. Kudos to IBM for doing a Good Thing!


Quarterly CACTUS Membership Report

by Luis Basto

CACTUS wishes to extend a warm welcome to our newest sponsors.

First, a name probably even a non-technical person would know, IBM. In particular, the sponsorship is made possible by George Kraft IV, a longtime CACTUS member. IBM has made great strides recently to get involved with the Linux community with its Linux Technology Center (LTC). IBM's LTC mission is to work directly with the Linux development community with a shared vision of making Linux succeed.

The contact information is gk4 [at] austin <dot> ibm <dot> com, 512-838-2688. http://www.ibm.com/linux/ltc/.

Journyx, the leader in web-based time & expense tracking solutions, is a privately held company located in Austin, Texas. Founded in 1996, Journyx provides web-based workforce management software and services to small businesses up to the large enterprise. Journyx has more than 10,000 organizations in 66 countries worldwide using its software, including IBM, American Airlines, GE, and Schlumberger. Journyx solutions are available both on an ASP and a standard license basis.

The company's flagship solution, Journyx Timesheet, is a timesheet and expense management application for the entire enterprise. Any company that bills for its services, performs project-oriented work, or tracks absences for a professional workforce can benefit from Journyx Timesheet. Organizations can easily manage employee timesheets and expenses for project control, customer invoicing, and payroll automation with Journyx Timesheet. They can also easily integrate Timesheet into their existing systems, leveraging its open architecture and support for standards like XML and SOAP. Timesheet can also help automate time and expense approval process, accurately handle employee vacation accruals, or allow users to enter time via email.

Contact: John Maddalozzo, 512-833-3274, john [at] journyx <dot> com. http://www.journyx.com

Let's welcome Troy Carter and James Umbarger as our newest members to CACTUS.

We would like to thank Mark Scarborough for renewing his membership.

A book plug:

Bookpool is offering all Wrox books for 40% Off! For a limited time.... Access http://www.bookpool.com for our complete selection of discounted technical books as well as the complete list of sale titles at 40% off.

Membership

Someday we may be able to accept direct deposit or paypal but currently we only deal with checks and cash, preferably in small unmarked bills.

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 mailto:membership [at] cactus <dot> org

Independent auditors' report

No one has audited, in any way, shape, or form, any of the consolidated and pro forma statements in this report. All forward statements carry with them risks going forward or backward, including, but not limited to, health risks imbibbing beverages and eating certain prepared pizzas on the third Thursdays of any month. No furry animals or trees have been sacrificed in the production of this report.


CACTUS System News

by Lindsay Haisley

Linux.cactus.org moved in June. It's now housed at the offices of OutServ.net courtesy of CACTUS member David Maynard.\240 The box is NATed to an unroutable address, but not masqueraded, so it's accessible from the world at 64.178.54.117, its public IP address (as well as by it's usual names). The NAT provides us with our own firewall rules, independent of Outserv's firewall setup. This setup may inhibit us with regard to a few services, such as Nessus, although this hasn't yet been tried. The move to the new location was smooth. The box was down for about half a day, and with Dave's capable help we got it up and running again fairly quickly.

Bob Izenberg is updating ARIN's database with regard to the new address of the box, which serves reverse DNS for our our class C (192.207.27.0/24), currently in use by Tomorrow's Technologies. Many thanks to BestRegistrar.com of Louisville, KY, who are renewing our domain for us as an act of sponsorship. Working with these folks both for my own business and on behalf of CACTUS has been a real breath of fresh air after dealing with Netsol. I highly recommend them as a DNS registrar to anyone needing name registration services.

I do frequent security updates on our Linux box, drawing packages from Debian's security apt source. Recent upgrades include fixes for an apache DOS vulnerability and an SSH remote exploit. These updates are easy, and Debian usually comes out with a security fix within 24 hours of the public announcement of a vulnerability, and updating the software using Debian package management is trivial.

A few things to note, in case you've forgotten them. We're not running ftpd on the box, but we are running sftpd, so if you need to transfer files, use secure ftp to access the system. sftp uses the same authentication and cryptographic layer as ssh. We now have a real rlogin client on the box, so you can now properly test your firewall and determine that you're not exposing port 513 to the world on your system. rlogin was formerly linked to ssh, which led to some confusion, at least on my part. Also, don't forget, if you want to find out what's happening with name service on the box, all effective DNS files are in /etc/bind rather than /var/named. People kept getting confused about this, so I finally put a "README.NOW!" file in /var/named with a note to this effect. /var/named is purely for historical reference.

SPAM!

It appears that someone with an account on linux.cactus.org has been reporting linux.cactus.org to Spamcop, and the box has been periodically on their blacklist! Gil Kloepfer and I researched the problem, and it looks as if one or two CACTUS members with email redirection are unwittingly reporting us by turning in spams relayed through their accounts. We don't know fully what the ramifications of this are, however I do know that some mail servers on the Internet refuse email from systems blacklisted by Spamcop, and we have received a query from Dave Maynard with Outserv on the issue. Since our IP address belongs to Outserv, they were contacted by Allegiance Telecom, their provider, which received an automated complaint from Spamcop.

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!! - If your email comes through the CACTUS box (i.e. you use a cactus.org address), do not - I repeat DO NOT turn in spams to Spamcop (or any other service) which have been redirected through your CACTUS account. The resulting mail blocks make it difficult for everyone to send mail from our Linux box, and continued reporting of spam may result in our losing our hosting!.

This having been said, it's obvious that a technical fault in Spamcop's automated analysis tools is mistakenly identifying the box as an open mail relay. Nonetheless, you must make sure that spams reported to Spamcop, or anyone else, don't come through cactus.org. If you must report spam sent to your cactus.org address, please don't redirect your email elsewhere, but handle it from the the box itself over your cactus.org address.

You can see http://spamcop.net/w3m?action=checkblock&ip=64.178.54.117 for more information.


CACTUS Officers

We regret to announce that due to time pressures beyond his control, Bob Izenberg resigned from his position as Newsletter Editor in early September. CACTUS wishes Bob well, and we all extend warm thanks for his contributions.

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    CACTUS Sponsors

    Significant Contributing Sponsors

    Applied Research Laboratories/University of Texas at Austin www.arlut.utexas.edu
    (Gil Kloepfer, Computer Science Division (CSD), 835-3771, gil [at] arlut <dot> utexas <dot> edu)
    OnRamp www.onr.com
    Internet service provider.

    CACTUS Sponsors

    Journyx http://www.journyx.com
    Provider of workforce management software and services
    Auspex Systems www.auspex.com
    Fastest reliable network fileservers.
    Outserv.net www.outserv.net
    Covad/Laserlink www.laserlink.net
    (Chip Rosenthal)
    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)
    BestRegistrar.com. www.bestregistrar.com
    (Steve Locke, (800) 977-3475), swl [at] cas-com <dot> net)
    A top-level domain name registrar, CORE member.
    CTG
    (Maurine Mecer, 502-0190 [FAX 502-0287])
    Professional recruiting.
    EDP Contract Services
    (Mark Grabenhorst, 346-1040) Professional recruiting.
    Hewlett Packard www.hp.com
    (Bill Sumrall, 338-7221)
    Hounix http://www.texascomputers.com/hounix/
    (Marilyn Harper)
    Houston's Unix Users Group.
    Network Appliance Corporation www.netapp.com
    (Frank Mozina, fmozina [at] netapp <dot> com)
    O'Keefe Search www.okeefesearch.com
    Professional recuiting.
    (John OKeefe, john [at] okeefesearch <dot> com, 512-658-9224 or 888-446-2137)
    Sailaway System Design
    (Chris J Johnson, 447-5243)
    Schlumberger www.slb.com
    (Kathy O'Brien, obrien [at] asc <dot> slb <dot> com)
    Technical services and products in over 100 countries.
    Silicon Graphics www.sgi.com
    (Don Williams, 346-9342)
    Solid Systems
    (Pete Farrell, 442-2222)
    Sterling Infomation Group www.sterinfo.com
    (Darrell Hanshaw, 344-1005, dhanshaw [at] sterinfo <dot> com)
    Sun Microsystems www.sun.com
    (Rick Taylor)
    Supplier of Unix client-server computing solutions.
    Texas Internet Consulting www.tic.com
    (Smoot Carl-Mitchell, 451-6176, smoot [at] tic <dot> com)
    TCP/IP networking, Unix, and open systems standards.
    Technow
    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)

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    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.