Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 20, Number 1 - January 2004


January Meeting

The January CACTUS meeting will be held at 7:00pm (6:30pm for pizza and lively, informal discussion) on Thursday, January 15th, 2004 in the auditorium of UT Applied Research Laboratories (see below for directions to the facility).

We will be holding elections for CACTUS officer positions at this meeting. Please be there and participate in the future of our organization.

December Meeting Report

by Ron Roberts

Though no program was scheduled, a handful of members showed up to eat pizza and drink soda. The ad hoc discussion centered on the SCO effort against the open source movement. We also had the classic discussion about how the first machine we worked on only had eight kilobytes of memory. "You had RAM?"

No mention was made of the officer elections to be held in January.

[Editor's Note (Gil): We also had two enthusiastic new members come to the meeting. I feel this deserves mention.]

Letter from the President

by Lindsay Haisley

A discussion came up this evening when Randy Zagar, one of the CACTUS officers, wanted our newsletter editor to send-out an announcement to the CACTUS newsletter e-mail list regarding the recent electronic voting issues taking place in the Texas legislature.

It seems to me that whether we like it or not, we're in a technology that's come to the front burner as far as it's long term impact on the future of our jobs, our liberties, and the democratic well-being of our country. It seems, from our debate over the SCO issue, that a lot of our members feel this way, and want to be more involved.

I think we need to explore this, and see if perhaps there are ways that we might, as an organization, provide a forum and communications channel for those of our members who feel, as Randy and I do, that we can't just be silent, do our jobs, and expect the future to take care of itself. CACTUS has a history of being out at the edge. We were the first non-university, non-corporate entity in the Austin area to provide dial-up Internet access, and now the Internet, and Unix, and Open Source software, and all the related passions, abuses and powers are front and center, and we're along for the ride, like it or not, kicking and screaming or working like hell to make a difference for the better.

I don't see why we can't, for instance, host a public forum for open source advocacy and technological political issues on our server for our members and whoever else wants to get involved, or have an announcement list for hot-button issues which Randy or others may post important things to.

The fundamental purpose of CACTUS is advocacy of Unix, and yet many of our members have strong feelings about computers, technology, and where it's all taking us, which is way beyond the original mandate in our charter, but times have certainly changed and I see nothing wrong with CACTUS being there for those of our members who feel this way in whatever way we can all be comfortable with. It's important to figure out how to say "yes", although it's often a lot more difficult than saying "no."

To address Randy's desire to get his information out to the membership, we have established a Drupal system on our web site. This can be accessed through

[Editor's note (Gil): Please see "From The Editor" for some of my comments on this issue]

From The Editor

by Gil Kloepfer

It has been a long and exciting year for CACTUS. During the last year, we have seen many changes in both the technical and political climate - some of those directly affecting us as an organization and some of them affecting us as citizens.

Part of my responsibility as the newsletter editor is deciding what content is relevant to the CACTUS newsletter and what is outside the bounds of the uses of the newsletter mailing list. In general, I feel I have taken a pretty liberal stance regarding what constitutes appropriate content, and have at the very least put it in an "editorial" section of the newsletter. When I am confronted with a decision not to include something in the newsletter or post it to the newsletter mailing list, I don't do this in a vacuum - I consult with the CACTUS officers.

It is my feeling that the CACTUS newsletter mailing list was established solely for the purpose of distributing the CACTUS newsletter, and secondarily for addressing the membership as a whole if there is some kind of critical CACTUS-related message. The terms "critical" and "CACTUS-related" are actually the important words here. When deciding whether or not to send a non-newsletter e-mail to the CACTUS newsletter mailing list, I need to determine whether that content falls within that criteria, and whether as a member I would want my e-mail address used for that purpose (regardless of how I personally feel about the content).

I hope that you have enjoyed reading the content of the newsletter this past year, and that it has been a useful tool to help remind you about our meetings and their topics. The ability of our members to contribute to the monthly newsletter is an important benefit of membership in CACTUS - a benefit which very few people have utilized. I realize we all have responsibilities outside of CACTUS, but I hope that CACTUS is important enough for you to take about two hours each month to come to the meetings and a few hours once in a while to contribute to the newsletter.

December CACTUS Membership Report

by Luis Basto

Let us welcome our newest members to CACTUS -
James Leigh and John Helms.


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)
CoreNAP, L.P. (
(Kenneth Smith, (512) 685-0010, kenneth [at] corenap <dot> com)
"Providing Austin and central Texas businesses and power users the best choice for server colocation and high speed Internet access."
OnRamp (
Internet service provider. (
IT operations and management solutions to small and midsized businesses.

CACTUS Sponsors

Covad/Laserlink (
(Chip Rosenthal)
Dresser Industries - Wayne Division (
(Steve Cox, steve <dot> cox [at] dresser <dot> com, (512) 338-8444)
A leading supplier of integrated retail solutions to the global petroleum and convenience store industries, including point-of-sale systems, fuel dispensers, and after-sale support services.
Journyx (
Provider of workforce management software and services
Prog Corp.
(David Mallis, prog [at] cactus <dot> org, (512) 451-7191)
Develops educational materials used for in-service training, classroom teaching, and independent study. They also provides consulting services for instructional program design, development, and implementation.
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)
Auspex Systems (
Fastest reliable network fileservers.
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)
Hounix (
(Marilyn Harper)
Houston's Unix Users Group.
Network Appliance Corporation (
(Frank Mozina, fmozina [at] netapp <dot> com)
O'Keefe Search (
(John O'Keefe, john [at] okeefesearch <dot> com, 512-658-9224 or 888-446-2137)
Professional recuiting.
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 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.