Volume 22, Number 2 - February 2006
Thursday, February 16, 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, our new programs chair, Randy Zagar, will give a presentation on RedHat Kickstart. The presentation will cover:
The next CACTUS meeting will be held on Thursday, February 16, 2006 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).
The January meeting started with our presentation from Shawn Yakely of GigaTrend, Inc. and StoreAge Networking Technologies (http://www.storeage.com/) about their enterprise-level data backup and recovery offerings. I got to the meeting a bit late, so I missed the first 15 minutes and played catch-up for the rest of the talk which, among other things, extolled the virtues of StoreAge's "Copy On Redirect" (COR) as opposed to the traditional "Copy On Write" (COW) algorithm for establishing and maintaining data redundancy in a large networked environment. StoreAge obviously has a good product to offer, and Shawn was quite enthusiastic about it. We'd certainly like to thank Shawn for taking the time to come and talk to us. The talk was followed by many good questions and answers, and many members present obviously understood the technology better than I did. :-)
The presentation was followed by our annual election of officers. Ron Roberts is our new president. Johnny Long agreed to stay-on as Treasurer. Luis, our long-time membership chair, opted out of the position this year and Mark Scarborough will be replacing him. Randy Zagar, who previously (and quite capably) held the office of Program Chair [Ed. Note [Gil]: He was President too, but who's counting?], will resume this duty during the coming year. Gil, who did so well during the past year with the Newsletter, was designated "Officer of the Year" for not missing a single Newsletter issue, and will be putting together our newsletter again during 2006. Lenny Tropiano will take over the office of Publicity Chair and Webmaster, I will be serving as Scribe, and our new At-large Members are Ian Remmler and MH Kahn.
Randy Zagar will be taking over from me as the sysadmin of linux.cactus.org, and will be migrating services and accounts onto bubba.cactus.org, which he also administers. Randy has set up quite capable spam filtering on bubba, which will be a great help to many of us whose CACTUS mailboxes are overflowing with it.
The masthead of this newsletter indicates that it is volume twenty-two. Actually this is our twenty-third year of operation. Some years ago, one of the editors forgot to increment the volume number. Mistakes happen, but we have plowed ahead and continue to be a resilient organization.We have a solid core of contributors. Randy Zagar did an exellent job as president this last year. He's moving back to the even more important post of program chair. He's the chair, which means he coordinates the programs, but the job belongs to us all. If you come across a speaker, vendor, or a zealot who has a presentation, send them to Randy.
Gil Kloepfer continues to produce this newsletter despite the abuse he's taken from contributors and readers alike. Everything is his fault. Yet without newsletter, we wouldn't exist. If it's not written down, it didn't happen.
Even if you're not on the board of directors this year, feel free to contribute. We provide a forum for the community. Join in. Our board of directors is on the revolving door plan. People come, they go, they return.And I'd like to conclude with the presidential address:
cactus_president [at] cactus <dot> org
The 2006 CACTUS Officers/Board meeting was held on Thursday, Feb. 2 at Luby's on Mopac north. All current officers were present except for MH Kahn.
Programs Chair Randy Zagar opened the discussion by suggesting that list moderation duties for our several lists on Mailman be divided among volunteers and rotated. Gil passed on MH's request for a technical list on the list server. I noted that I had eliminated a couple of lists recently which had never taken off, including a Unix technical list, and that the only list we still have which requires moderation is the jobs list, which receives one or two posts a month from recruiters. Other lists, such as the members mailing list, are automatically maintained and any non-member posts can be sent to the cosmic bit bucket by the server. Our officers mailing list (officers at lists dot cactus dot org) does get substantial traffic, and any current CACTUS member should be able to post unmoderated to it, however some care and moderation is required since posts may come to this list from recently expired members (or members whose data in the membership database wasn't updated by the Membership Chair) and these should definitely reach the CACTUS officers.
Treasurer Johnny Long is apparently the only signatory on the CACTUS bank account still with us. He's going to look into exactly who is on the signature list, and we'll take steps to update the list, adding President Ron Roberts. We're still paying an excessive service fee for a checking account we only use for one or two checks a month, so Johnny and Publicity Chair Lenny Tropino will look into getting an account for us at the Austin Telco Credit Union and moving our business there. Lenny's company, VoIPing, does their banking business with this bank.
Newsletter Editor Gil Kloepfer brought up the subject of setting up a CACTUS Asterisk server somewhere. The big question here is how much use it will get and therefore how much bandwidth it will consume. Mike Erwin with OuterNet (our colo hosts for bubba.cactus.org) has requested that we keep our bandwidth consumption under T1 level (1.54Mbps) and at this point we don't know what kind of bandwidth usage we'd be looking at for an Asterisk server. Should we use bubba for this purpose, or put up another box? We agreed that we're not prepared to make this decision at this time
Randy Zagar has been working on a wiki to hold our system documentation and on making a certificate authority (CA) for the CACTUS website. When complete, the CA will keep you from having to authorize security to secure CACTUS web pages every time you access them.
Gil brought up the fact that ARL will be doing construction and renovation work starting in April, which will probably impact parking at CACTUS meetings. Since the side parking will be unavailable, ARL staff will be using the front parking lot which we usually use when coming to CACTUS meetings, so we'll need to look into possibly parking across the street. The construction will be going on well into 2007, so we'll be at a disadvantage if we wish to bring in a speaker who will draw an audience from the larger Austin technical community. Other possible venues such as IBM were discussed, but no decisions were made.
The perennial issue of getting official non-profit status (501c3) for CACTUS came up again. Johnny Long hasn't done any research on this question, but we discussed the pros and cons. On the plus side, having official non-profit status would potentially get CACTUS more donations, but as we're not really doing much with our current treasury, the value of non-profit status, weighed against the work, effort and expense of doing the required annual tax filing, leaves the advantage of going in this direction in some doubt. Although we still have an annual $500 allocation for notable speakers, parking problems with the venue at ARL this year and the necessity of finding co-sponsors who can help with an alternate venue make it less likely that we'll be bringing in any speakers of note this year.
The food was good, we all took notes and adjourned the meeting.
And, oh yes, Johnny assured us that CACTUS is still solvent and we can afford to order pizza for meetings for the coming year.
Thanks to Tom Bodine, Irving Booth, Ron Roberts and James Trice for renewing their memberships and a special thanks to Ray Solanik for renewing his sponsorship of 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.