Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 20, Number 10 - October 2004

Next Meeting
supercomputer clusters: Maverick, Lonestar, Longhorn, and Stampede
by Kent Milfeld and David Carver, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Thursday, October 21, 7:00 p.m.


The CACTUS Newsletter is a monthly publication, distributed to our members and other interested people. Visit the CACTUS Newsletter on the web at There you will find archives of back issues, as well as instructions on how to subscribe to the email distribution.

October Meeting Program

The next CACTUS meeting will be held on Thursday, October 21, 2004 at 7:00pm (doors open 6:30pm for pizza and informal discussion), in the auditorium of UT Applied Research Laboratories. (See end of newsletter for directions to the facility).

Kent Milfeld and David Carver, from the Texas Advanced Computing Center, will be talking about their supercomputer clusters: Maverick, Lonestar, Longhorn, and Stampede. Maverick is the newest machine, built by Sun, and designed for high-end scientific visualization. If we're really lucky, they might even share some of their interesting stories about what it's like to administer high-performance compute clusters.

September Meeting Report

President Lindsay Haisley began the meeting with a discussion of how much donation money is needed monthly to break even on pizza purchases. Membership chair Luis Basto indicated that membership was static. He pointed out that most membership renewals come at the beginning of the year. Lindsay mentioned that we had problems with the officer mail list caused by out of date email addresses in the membership database. Some members still have a UUCP bang path!

Under new business, Gil Kloepfer indicated that Randy Zagar had checked with the University Federal Credit Union and that they don't handle groups like us. It was also announced that email addresses had been stripped from the newsletter.

In discussing SPAM, Lindsay recounted that he used to report spammers to ISPs. He discovered that this got him a reputation among spammers. He found his name on a spammer list, where they said, "don't spam these people, because they'll turn you in." One member reported that his school district was being sued under the freedom on information act for refusing to post all of the email addresses of students, faculty and staff. Lindsay happily announced that the ITEF had rejected the proprietary sender ID scheme that MicroSoft had patented.

Another member announced that the Perl Mongers meet at ARL regularly and that one of the developers of Spam Assassin was going to present on October 20th.

Gil Kloepfer began his presentation by proudly showing his text based slides using huge Xterm fonts. He's been working with VOIP and Asterisk for about six months. He said he wouldn't go over the really cool stuff because it would make our heads explode. Asterisk is a public domain implementation of a PBX. Asterisk provides Voicemail services with directory, call conferencing, interactive voice response, and call queuing. It has support for three-way calling, caller ID services, ADSI, SIP and H.323 (as both client and gateway). Gil briefly outlined the components of VOIP, such as the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which is also used by MicroSoft Messenger. Asterisk uses IAX2 to talk to other PBXs.

Gil was clearly excited by potential of VIOP saying, "long distance companies are beginning to panic. In five years, they'll be gone."

He had Cisco VIOP phones to demonstrate with his PBX. They are preprogrammed and cannot be changed. For $125, you can get an analog adapter for an old POTS phone. He indicated that the noises are generated by the phones, which are more than you father's phone.

Gil complained that Asterisk runs only on Linux--not on his beloved FreeBSD. He recommends that you download Asterisk directly from CVS, rather than install RPMs. There's no configure script for it, but the makefile is good, understandable, and works with most Linux distributions. Though Asterisk has been around for three years, it's still not up to version one. In fact, the documentation committee was only recently formed.

Gil introduced the dial plan, which basically groups your numbers for functionality. What number do you press to get an outside line, a voice box, or an operator, for instance. Compared to rules, dial plans are easy.

Gil and Brian Sinclair used the phones to call each other, leave messages at another PBX, and call long distance. Gill also mentioned that VIOP users can register their numbers at FreeWorld Dialup, a free SIP/IAX proxy that provides a collection of users a private "phone number" and other facilities.

The entire presentation is available online at:

Thanks to Gil Kloepfer for the presentation of Asterisk.


CACTUS Membership

We would like to thank Mark Scarborough and Gil Kloepher for renewing their membership.

We have been getting bankruptcy notices for Floormaster for about a year now. Lately we have been getting about 2 letters a month. Apparently crossing out and writing "Wrong address" did nothing. I have also handed them back to the post office and told the clerk about it. Any ideas on how to stop this?

To renew your membership, please send check or money order payable to CACTUS ($30/yr for regular membership and $100/yr for corporate sponsorship):

PO BOX 9786
Austin, TX 78766-9786

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

President: Lindsay Haisley (fmouse at
Treasurer: Johnny Long (longjy at
Programs: Randy Zagar (jrzagar at
Membership: Luis Basto (basto at
Publicity: Thomas Bodine (tbodine at
Newsletter: Ray Solanik (solanik at
Scribe: Ron Roberts (ronro at
at Large:
Mark Scarborough (mscar at
M.H. Khan (mhk at

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

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 (
(info [at] voiping <dot> com, (512) 698-8647 or (512) 698-8031)
A Central Texas privately owned and operated partnership specializing in IT Consulting and Services.

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.
Rocksteady Networks, Inc. (
(Eric White, 512-427-1319, ewhite [at] rocksteady <dot> com)
Dynamic bandwidth management and security enforcement.
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)
Starflight Corp. (
(Jon Roland, jon <dot> roland [at] the-spa <dot> com)
Computer consulting, management solutions, documentation, and technical writing.
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)

Directions to Meeting Location

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.

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