Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 18, Number 12 - December 2002


December Meeting

Our December meeting is scheduled for Dec. 19. As is customry in CACTUS when meeting dates are so close to Christmas, no program is scheduled. Come to the meeting, bring your friends, enjoy pizza and sodas, and talk shop with other cacti. No alcoholic beverages are allowed in the meeting, but if someone brought some non-alcoholic egg nog, I'm sure no one would object.

November Meeting Report

Gil Kloepfer gave us an excellent tutorial on SpamAssassin. To summarize, SpamAssassin is an "expert system" written in Perl that examines e-mail messages and determines their likelihood of being spam based on an extensive rule-set and scoring system. Gil showed us something about composing rulesets for SpamAssassin and demonstrated various kinds of input and output from the system, including the results of sending a non-spam email intentionally composed to be identified as spam through SpamAssassin. The email was marked as spam, as expected. Nothing is perfect! All in all, however, SpamAssassin won prase from Gil, as it has from others, for cluefully and correctly identifying almost all spam sent through it. For more information on SpamAssassin, see

Lindsay Haisley gave the main presentation on the Courier mail server, which included a demonstration of the setup and operation of the system. Courier is a robust and richly featured mail server system with integrated POP3, IMAP, mail filtering, webmail and web-based administration (and much more!). Setup and operation of Courier is not for the faint-hearted. Nonetheless, favorable and clueful comments and questions indicated that Courier's features were appreciated by many at the meeting. One thing that Lindsay emphasized several times is that Courier is well supported by the author, and by an international community of users via a list on More information on Courier can be found at

December CACTUS Membership Report

by Luis Basto

Let's give a warm welcome to our newest sponsor.

VoIPing, LLC is a Central Texas privately owned and operated partnership specializing in IT Consulting and Services, with a strong emphasis on converged networks, Unix operating systems and Voice over IP (IP Telephony). The company is owned and operated by its partners, Lenny Tropiano and Brian Sinclair. With well over 40 years of combined experience, they've accomplished world class data center design, implementation and operations from the ground up in several local high-tech companies. They've put their expertise together to bring state-of-the-art converged networking (voice, video and data) to businesses. Projects done on time, on budget, and with strong return on investments (ROI) in mind.

Contact: info [at] voiping <dot> com
Phone : 512-698-VOIP (8647) or 512-698-8031

We would like to thank Gil Kloepfer, Paul Page, and Thomas Bodine for renewing their 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 membership [at] cactus <dot> org.

CACTUS System News

by Lindsay Haisley

We finally have a functioning, modern, membership database system. I successfully imported the old flat file membership database into a MySQL table and set up a website using PHP to allow the membership chairperson to view and edit the data. Currently the operator is able to easily sort out and identify members whose memberships came or will come due for renewal during any specified time period, which will make the job of sending out renewal reminders much easier. When I get time, I intend to add capabilities to allow individual members to update their contact information. The hardest part of this conversion is behind us, and it should be relatively simple to set up such extras as automatic reminder email to members whose memberships have, or are about to lapse.

Apologies to all who have experienced glitches due to our periodic upgrades on I try to keep up with security issues, and since we're tracking Debian testing (a.k.a. "Sarge") packages get updated as the Debian Project makes them available. There will always be some growing pains, but the tradeoff against the problems we had with our old Sparc II make the extra effort worthwhile.

CACTUS Officers

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)
Internet service provider.
IT operations and management solutions to small and midsized businesses.

CACTUS Sponsors

Provider of workforce management software and services
Auspex Systems
Fastest reliable network fileservers.
(Chip Rosenthal)
Multi Media Arts (MMA)
(Lee Williams, 451-7191)
Publisher of instructional materials for classroom and independent study.
VoIPing, LLC
A Central Texas privately owned and operated partnership specializing in IT Consulting and Services. (Email info [at] voiping <dot> com. Phone 512-698-VOIP (8647) or 512-698-8031)

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)
(Steve Locke, (800) 977-3475), swl [at] cas-com <dot> net)
A top-level domain name registrar, CORE member.
(Maurine Mecer, 502-0190 [FAX 502-0287])
Professional recruiting.
EDP Contract Services
(Mark Grabenhorst, 346-1040) Professional recruiting.
Hewlett Packard
(Bill Sumrall, 338-7221)
(Marilyn Harper)
Houston's Unix Users Group.
Network Appliance Corporation
(Frank Mozina, fmozina [at] netapp <dot> com)
O'Keefe Search
Professional recuiting.
(John OKeefe, john [at] okeefesearch <dot> com, 512-658-9224 or 888-446-2137)
Sailaway System Design
(Chris J Johnson, 447-5243)
(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 Infomation Group
(Darrell Hanshaw, 344-1005, dhanshaw [at] sterinfo <dot> com)
Sun Microsystems
(Rick Taylor)
Supplier of Unix client-server computing solutions.
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.