Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 21, Number 8 - August 2005

Next Meeting
To Be Announced
To Be Announced
Thursday, August 18, 7:00 PM


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 e-mail distribution. We welcome newsletter submissions by our members. Please contact newsletter [at] cactus <dot> org for more information.

August Meeting Program

The official program for August was again not available at newsletter publication time.

Calling All Gamers:

Some of you may remember a few years back that the gaming engine for Quake I & Quake II were released under an open-source license.

It's taken a while, but there's a new game out now based on that engine called Nexuiz ( It's free as in beer and runs on Linux...

Anyone who wants to test-drive this new game at the next meeting should bring a laptop or a desktop. It doesn't matter if it's Windows or Linux...

Let's have the first ever CACTUS LAN Party!!!

The next CACTUS meeting will be held on Thursday, August 18, 2005 at 7:00 PM (doors open at 6:30 PM for pizza and informal discussion), in the auditorium of UT Applied Research Laboratories. (See end of newsletter for directions to the facility).

July Meeting Report

by Ron Roberts

With no program scheduled and Randy Zagar out of town, the July meeting was low-key. Treasurer Johnny Long assumed the duties of president, ordering the pizza. With his trusty cell phone, he called to order and was put on indefinite hold. Resorting to bi-ped technology, he hung up and walked across the street.

Program chair John Christy asked if anyone had heard about Ubuntu Linux. Lenny Tropiano responded affirmatively and mentioned that he had received fifty of their CD's. He explained that it was completely free, even shipping. It took about two months to arrive, but it really was free. He offered to give the membership some copies. Several members expressed interest, so Lenny left to go pick them up.

Gil Kloepfer told of his recent parting-of-company with SBC and DSL Internet service. His final reason for leaving SBC was what he described as SBC's "bait-and-switch" tactics with their long distance plans. He also mentioned that, even with static IP service, he was finding it difficult to get proper support unless he was running Microsoft Windows. Gil said he reluctantly is using residential RoadRunner cable modem service now, and is learning how to do many of the things he did with static IPs on a dynamic IP Internet service. Gil commented that while he liked his DSL connection, he had become sick of dealing with SBC's business practices. He also mentioned that while he always thought of RoadRunner service as somewhat less reliable than SBC's DSL, he was finding that RoadRunner had matured quite a bit over the years.

With half of the leadership leaving, the discussion picked up. Someone asked about Gentoo experiences. Gil Kloepfer was quick to point out that if you use Gentoo and the live update feature (emerge) for servers, then every server will run different software. This makes management a nightmare. Gil pointed out that his favorite distribution of Linux was Debian.

Someone else asked about projects that would mirror filesystems across two computers. Gil mentioned a Linux-based project called DRBD (see that, combined with "heartbeat" from the Linux HA project, was able to do exactly what was asked.

Lenny Tropiano arrived and passed out the Ubuntu CDROMs. He had several different versions, Intel 32 and 64 bit, AMD 32 and 64 bit, and even PowerPC versions. Each set had an installation CDROM and a live version, like Knoppix. Ubuntu is based on Debian. Lenny explained that some folks in the Netherlands came into some money and decided to use it to distribute free software. "Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means 'humanity towards others'. It embodies the spirit of open source software, which is built by the best software practitioners for the benefit of all humanity."

On a personal note, your humble reporter booted the live CD on an AMD 64 bit system and was surprised that it recognized the Gigabit onboard ethernet controller, the CDROMs, and even the sound card. Previous attempts with Solaris 10,, and Gentoo and failed to do this. I installed it on the hard drive and it even set up the Grub configuration to boot a Windows partition previously installed.

Chris Boyd of Midas networks announced that someone was looking for a short term break-fix job on a Mandrake or SUSE system.

Membership chair Luis Basto arrived late saying that he had checks (for the treasurer) and that it was enough money to provide pizza and soda for the rest of the year.

Johnny Long re-arrived with the pizza, which led to pandemonium. Luis requested that we announce, "This month's pizza is the best!" But no motion for presidential impeachment was entertained.

Thanks to Johnny Long the excellent pizza and to Lenny Tropiano for the Ubuntu CDROMs.

CACTUS System News

by Randy Zagar, CACTUS President

As some of you have undoubtedly noticed, Bubba was down for a couple days last month while I replaced the 2nd ailing hard drive and upgraded it's operating system. Bubba is now running 64-bit Fedora Core 4, and all of it's standard network services are in full working order:

Before the upgrade, Bubba was using Courier-IMAP for this because Fedora Core 3 did not provide a Maildir-compatible IMAP server. Fedora Core 4 provides Dovecot and it works.

New Packages

Fedora Core 4 has some new packages that you might be interested in:

Not only can you use Eclipse for Java development, but apparently you can also use it for C++ and Python projects as well... I've only played with it enough to know that it works, but it's there for all of you to experiment with.

There are other changes as well, some good, some bad...

On the positive side, the Fedora Extras repository includes things like:

New Services

One of the things I've found out after looking at these new toys is that many of them are a little sluggish when you forward your X11 traffic through SSH. And you know it's bad when you have a dual-opteron server on one end, a reasonably fast home system on the other, and a 600-MBit broadband connection between them...

It turns out that these applications run better through VNC, so I've implemented a secure VNC service on Bubba so that we can all play with these new toys...

VNC can be used two ways. One common way to set up VNC is to configure it as a persistent server. That way you have a persistent graphical session, secured by a password, that you can connect to and disconnect from just like you can with "screen". The other way to do this is to set up VNC so that it's controlled by inetd. If you let inetd control things, you don't get persistent sessions (i.e. you lose your session when you disconnect) but you get the flexibility of having inetd create new VNC sessions on-demand.

Here's how I connect:

    prompt% xterm -e vncviewer -via ${username} localhost:50 &

My system at home has RealVNC, but I'm sure this also works with TightVNC as well... The VNC server only listens on the loopback interface and the "-via" option tunnels the VNC protocol through SSH. I don't know why this is faster than tunnelling X11 directly, but it is...

That's all I have time for now.

Membership Report

by Luis Basto

We have no membership activity this month.

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

Randy Zagar (jrzagar [at] cactus <dot> org)
Johnny Long (longjy [at] cactus <dot> org)
Programs Chair:
John Christy (jchristy [at] cactus <dot> org)
Luis Basto (basto [at] cactus <dot> org)
Publicity & Webmaster:
Lindsay Haisley (fmouse [at] fmp <dot> com)
Gil Kloepfer (kloepfer [at] cactus <dot> org)
Ron Roberts (ronr [at] cactus <dot> org)
Members at Large:
Mark Scarborough (mscar [at] cactus <dot> org)
Donald A. Kassenbaum (dak [at] cactus <dot> org)

CACTUS Sponsors

Significant Contributing Sponsors

Applied Research Laboratories/University of Texas at Austin
(Gil Kloepfer, Computer Science Division (CSD), 835-3771, gilc [at] arlut <dot> utexas <dot> edu)
CoreNAP, L.P.
(Kenneth Smith, (512) 685-0010, kenneth [at] corenap <dot> com)
Provides server colocation and high-speed Internet access to businesses in the Austin and central Texas area
Newisys, Inc.
(Tim Wood, (512) 340-9050, tim <dot> wood [at] newisys <dot> com)
Development of enterprise-class servers
(Chad Kissinger, president, 322-9200, info [at] onr <dot> com)
Broadband Internet access, web design and colocation, Inc.
(David Maynard, dpm [at] outserv <dot> net)
e-Business Operations Service Provider


Dresser - Wayne
(Steve Cox, (512) 338-8444, steve <dot> cox [at] dresser <dot> com)
Provides instrumentation and services to the oil and energy
Flowing Circles Engineering
(Johnny Long, (512) 293-7894, longjy [at] fcei <dot> com)
Taking advantage of grid computing to solve matrix engineering and energy conversion problems.
IBM Corporation
(George Kraft IV, (512)838-2688, gk4 [at] austin <dot> ibm <dot> com)
Journyx, Inc.
(John Madollozzo, (512)833-3274, john [at] journyx <dot> com)
Web-based products to track time, expenses, and attendance, for project management and billing.
Ray Solanik, Technical Consultant
(Ray Solanik, solanik [at] cactus <dot> org)
Starflight Corp.
(Jon Roland, jon <dot> roland [at] the-spa <dot> com)
Computer consulting, management solutions, documentation, and technical writing.
Veraci Inc.
(Michael Shrivathsan, michael [at] veraci <dot> com)
VoIPing, LLC
(Lenny Tropiano, 512-698-VOIP (8647) or Brian Sinclair 512-698-8031, info [at] voiping <dot> com)
IT Consulting and Services, converged networks, Unix, and Voice over IP

Friends of CACTUS

Applied Formal Methods, Inc.
(Susan Gerhart, 794-9732, gerhart [at] cactus <dot> org)
Auspex Systems
(Paul Levine, plevine [at] auspex <dot> com)
Fastest reliable network fileservers
Austin Code Works
(Scott Guthery, 258-0785, info [at] acw <dot> com)
((800) 977-3475, registrar [at] bestregistrar <dot> com)
A top-level domain name registrar, CORE member
(Chip Rosenthal)
(Maurine Mecer, 502-0190 (FAX 502-0287))
Professional recruiting
Compaq Computer Corporation (now HP)
(Ron Boerger, 432-8000)
Provider of scalable, high availbility systems
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
(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)
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)
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 Laboratories (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. 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 (but you will need to inform the guard in the booth that you are attending a meeting at ARL). 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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