Volume 21, Number 11 - November 2005
Presented by the CACTUS Officers
Thursday, November 17, 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 http://www.cactus.org/Newsletter/. 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.
This month CACTUS will host an "InstallFest" that will allow the membership and other interested parties to install an open source operating system or software package in the company of other open source enthusiasts and professionals. This will be an informal activity with folks breaking off into groups based on their area of interest.
Here are the specifics of this event:
We had very few responses to our request for software recommendations. So far, we plan to have the following software available locally, for fast download:
Those that don't have anything specific they wish to install may help out with those who need assistance installing software. We hope to see you all at the InstallFest!
The next CACTUS meeting will be held on Thursday, November 17, 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).
President Randy Zagar opened the meeting mentioning that the speaker for the evening was Fred Benning of IBM. Randy also mentioned that he had not worked with AIX since 1994 and the RISC6000. Gil Kloepfer pointed out that no one had expressed any opinion about next month's (November) planned install fest. Lenny Tropiano asked if we could do a CPM installation.
Ray Solanik announced the sparc.cactus.org was dead meat and wondered if anybody was working on it. No one was aware, and Ray was assigned the task.
Randy Zagar told us about Penguin Days in Austin that was held on October 14th. San Antonio held a similar event on November 5th. "Since 2204, Penguin Days have been held in Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon; Toronto, Canada, Chicago, San Francisco and New York." See http://www.penguindays.org/.
Randy also spoke of the state of Massachusetts setting new standards of government records. New law requires that documents must be in open non-proprietary format. MS-Office doesn't qualify. Microsoft has stated that they will support the open document standard if there is a demand for it.
As reported in the Austin-American Statesman on the morning of the meeting, EFF had announced that they had decoded the almost invisible watermark put on most documents by color laser printers. HP admitted that they had cooperated with the Secret Service to embed this tracking technology which identifies the time and date of the printing and the serial number of the printer. Other manufacturers declined to comment. "The U.S. Secret Service admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with selected color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters." (http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/list.php)
Finally, Randy mentioned a report from Groklaw concerning the removal of the technological arts requirement on business method patents. The Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences recently issued the precedential opinion in a case granting a patent for a method of compensating a manager. A higher federal court may review this decision and congress is considering patent reform.
Someone asked if we wanted to upgrade the E250 Sun box to Solaris 10. It was suggested that we defer until the old Sparc 10 is back online. Bubba, the Newisys box running Fedora 4.4 is quite happily purring along with compile time to spare. Apparently one can obtain Open Solaris for the power PC with apt-get from blastwave.org. It was also noted that the Open Solaris Users group was holding a meeting Friday, October 21st at 6 PM. (It turns out that compiling Open Solaris must be done on a Sparc platform.)
Fourty minutes into the meeting, Randy finally introduced the speaker Fred Benning of IBM. Fred explained that he was actually an IBM retiree now on contract at the IBM executive briefing center. He makes a living giving these presentations, and he is quite polished. Though he's only a contractor, he appeared to be true blue IBM.
Fred explained that his thinkpad laptop was running Blue Linux with a complete suite of office applications. He connected through the IBM firewall to three-tenths of a processor in Building 904 running SuSe Linux Enterprise 9. He explained that he was a least one guy in the briefing center who was Microsoft-free. [Applause]
The AIXL logo is a penguin in a blue suit. Fred explained that IBMs investment in Linux is equivalent to that in AIX. IBM's Global Support division provides support for Linux. This gives businesses who are reluctant to use free software, "someone in the boat with them."
Fred's pitch extolled the virtues of IBM technology vested in the Power 5 processor. The new 300 mm fab in Fishkill produces P5 chips, and embedded versions for network, tivo, automotive, and aviation applications. IBM doesn't brand Linux, but distributes two versions: SUSE 9 and Red Hat 4.
Fred went into detail about the dynamic LPAR-logical partitioning of virtual machines that was demonstrated at the April CACTUS meeting. Support for this is built into the 2.6 Linux kernel. LPAR is supported by a hypervisor implemented in firmware by seventeen API calls. Fred connected to the same demonstration that we saw in April where partitions were dedicated for database, WEB, point of sales, and other applications. He varied the load on each and manipulated the partioning to tune resources to meet demand.
Fred proudly proclaimed that IBM is now number one in Unix server sales by revenue.
Thanks again to Fred Bennning and the IBM executive briefing center.
Nothing to report other than the occasional (erroneous) bankrupcy notice sent to CACTUS.
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 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.