Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 19, Number 3 - March 2003


March Meeting

This month's CACTUS meeting will be on Thursday, March 20 at 7:00pm (pizza, beverages, and lively discussion will take place at 6:30pm).

The March CACTUS meeting will feature Brian Sinclair & Lenny Tropiano of VoIPing, LLC who will make a presentation on the current state of IP Telephony (better known as Voice-over-IP (VoIP)). VoIP used to be a technology that required highly specialized (and costly) vendor-proprietary solutions. It has evolved in a way that now allows open-source solutions to be implemented. Lenny & Brian have implemented vendor-proprietary VoIP solutions and are now investigating open-source solutions as well.

Brian & Lenny will bring some VoIP hardware and software and show how the pieces fit together. They will show how implementing telephony functions traditionally reserved for expensive analog PBX systems are no longer out of the reach of companies (and computer enthusiasts).

March's tutorial will be a short discussion about the recent move by Allegiance Telecom (who purchased Jump.Net a couple of years ago) to drop their DSL customers, and the alternatives available. Next month we will continue our series on installing different flavors of open-source UNIX operating systems.

From the Newsletter Editor...

by Gil Kloepfer

Did you know?

CACTUS operates a mailing list for job-seekers that can be used by employers and prospective employees to connect with one another. Subscribing to the mailing list is as simple as sending a blank e-mail message to jobs-subscribe [at] lists <dot> cactus <dot> org. Organizations wishing to contact prospective job applicants may send a message to jobs [at] lists <dot> cactus <dot> org with details and contact information about the available position.

Is it just me...

...or does the newsletter look smaller this month?

No, it isn't just you! The newsletter IS smaller this month. In order for the CACTUS newsletter to have content, the membership needs to contribute that content! To contribute content to the CACTUS newsletter, all you need to do is choose a relevant topic, be a CACTUS sponsor or member, and send your submissions (plain-text only please) to newsletter [at] cactus <dot> org. Submissions need to get to the newsletter e-mail address at least one week before the meeting date in order to have a chance of making the newsletter deadline.

February Meeting Report

by Ron Roberts

Despite the bad weather and flash flood warnings attendance was good at the February meeting. Officers' reports were the usual -- we have membership, we have enough money for two years worth of pizza. It was suggested that we mention the CACTUS jobs mail list in the next newsletter. Because we had both a tutorial and a feature presentation, we went quickly to the tutorial.

Lindsay Haisley demonstrated a network installation of Debian (GNU) Linux on his Dell laptop. You can buy CDROMs of the current stable release of Debian for ten or fifteen dollars. For a fresh install on a machine you used to need two floppies to start the network install. Now it takes four. If the machine is already networked you can just connect to

Lindsay changed to the /debian/dists/main/current/images-1.44/compact directory to view the four floppy images. One is rescue/boot disk, two for drivers, and the fourth is the kernel.

He then booted the laptop from the floppies, which successfully configured the network using DHCP. Selected install from network. Debian offers several types of generic installs: workstation, development, server, etc. Lindsay advised not to use the dselect feature -- at least not during the initial install. It could cause prerequisite package problems or other dependency nightmares. Debian packages have .deb extensions similar to RedHat's .rpm extensions.

Unlike RedHat, Debian is not a commercial operation. There are over six hundred developers contributing to Debian. During installation the background of the screen appears BSOD (the Blue Screen of Debian). A penguin holding a brew appears in the upper left. At one point the screen shudders, appearing psychedelic!

After the initial install, Debian reboots and prompts for configuration information such as time zone, root password, and non-root user and password. At this point Lindsay was a bit surprised that the workstation install did not include the gcc compiler. So he played around a bit installing gcc and other packages. He also mentioned that Debian also has a distribution designed for kids.

We cut the Q & A to a minimum and moved on to the feature presentation.

George Kraft IV is a longtime member of CACTUS and employee of IBM in Austin. His job lately has been representing IBM in the Linux Standards Base (LSB) organization. LSB writes standards for certifying platform and applications for Linux. The actual certification is done by Opengroup.Org, which charges $3,000 per certification.

Their web site contains a wealth of information (see

There are about twenty platforms already certified. LSB produces standards for runtime and applications for IA32 (32 bit Intel Architecture), IA64 (64 bit Itanium) and PPC32 (32 bit PowerPC). Many others are in the works. The IA32 is in its third revision.

Once your product is certified, you get to use the LSB trademark. Customers can be assured that the product is binary compatible with the architecture for which it is purchased.

George noted that Microsoft sent a representative to the meetings. Because he showed up at two of three meetings, he actually became a voting member. However, he only listened and took notes.

February CACTUS Membership Report

by Luis Basto

We wish to thank the following individuals for renewing their membership -- John Kingman, John Christy, Thomas Benjamin, Ron Roberts, Johnny Long, and M.H. Khan.


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

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 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.