Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 21, Number 11 - November 2005

Next Meeting
CACTUS InstallFest
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 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.

November Meeting Program

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:

  1. Asterisk PBX (v1.0.10 & recent CVS-HEAD)
  2. Fedora Core 4 (DVD boot)
  3. FreeBSD 5.4 & 6.0 (newly released)
  4. Some FreeBSD 5.4 prebuilt packages
  5. Gentoo 2005.1 Snapshot Load
  6. KNOPPIX v3.9-2005-05-27
  7. LTSP (Linux Terminal Server) v4.1

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).

October Meeting Report

by Ron Roberts

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 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

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." (

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 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.

Membership Report

by Luis Basto

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 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.
TEKsystems, Inc.
(Russell Labay, (512) 249-4912, (888) 598-5877, rlabay [at] teksystems <dot> com)
A leading provider of strategic staffing and managed services for the Information Technology and Communications (IT&C) community.
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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