Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 22, Number 10 - October 2006

Next Meeting
Being Subversive With Subversion - Part 1
Randy Zagar
Thursday, October 19, 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.

October Meeting Program

This month's presentation is Part 1 of a tutorial entitled "Being Subversive with Subversion" by Randy Zagar. There will be a brief overview of other version control systems like RCS, and CVS and how they compare with Subversion. Randy will also demonstrate how one can use Subversion to keep track of system configuration files.

Also, because of recent policy changes at ARL, we will have an "opportunity" to evaluate new LCD projectors. Randy has volunteered to bring one from Fry's. Let's bring in all our funky laptops and really give it a good workout.

The next CACTUS meeting will be held on Thursday, October 19, 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).

September Meeting Report

by Lindsay Haisley

Our presentor and guest this evening was Chris Nystrom, a system administrator for Oracle. After a few asides about how Oracle is undertaking a "huge Linux migration", he got down to a discussion of his own project, NewI\O.

Chris has tackled the problem of Rich Internet Applications head-on. While many people are still working with and trying to perfect web-based application frameworks, he's basically tackling the problem with a new TCP/IP technology altogether. As Chris says on his NewI\O website, "NewI\O has nothing to do with the World Wide Web".

Think of accessing a server shell with telnet, or a dumb terminal, and then educate the client/server pair to the 21st century to understand the event-driven programming model over the Internet, and you have a very rough approximation of NewI\O. Applications run on a server which users access with a special client, similar to a browser. The NewI\O client processes not just text input, but mouse events, screen resizes, key presses, etc. and generates event messages which it sends to the server application, which processes client events and sends its responses back to the client for display. Audio I/O, control of peripherals, etc. is handled on the client side to address latency issues. The division of labor between the client and server is still an issue under development. Event driven programming can be quite complex, with multiple event queues, downloadable resources and the like.

The API will be simple, with a library (written in C) which can easily be wrapped for use by other languages, and conversion of existing applications written in C will be easy by design.

Will NewI\O be an expensive, proprietary system? No! It's Open Source, and will remain so. Chris made some effort to get Oracle to back the project and sent a white paper on it to a number of management types at Oracle, including The Oracle Himself, Larry Ellison. All he got for his troubles was a reprimand for jumping the chain of command and it became obvious that Oracle wasn't interested. Pity! IBM has gotten solidly behind the Open Source concept and a number of FOSS projects such as EVMS, to which they've contributed greatly. Some companies just don't get it yet.

Chris ended his presentation with a live demo. While the apps he demonstrated were quite simple in themselves, they served as an exciting proof of concept for NewI\O. This one looks to me like an Idea Who's Time Has Come!

CACTUS System News

by Randy Zagar

OS upgrades are coming... It's been mentioned in meetings the past couple of months, but I think this is the first time it's been mentioned in the newsletter. has been an extremely reliable machine for the past few years. It's been purring along at 300 MHz since February of 2002 if not longer. But the disks are small 9GB scsi disks and there's not much room for home directories, and the last kernel update was in January, 2003 (2.4.20, by the way).

For the past couple of weeks, the home directory partition on has been over 90% full. It's not that bad right now, but with less than 1GB free, it's not hard for things to get tight. Fortunately, we have a new server,, that's 700% faster and has an 80GB drive in it.

You may ask yourself, what about Bubba? Isn't Bubba faster, better, etc...? Why aren't we moving to that?

There are several reasons:

  1. It needs an upgrade, Fedora Core 4 is obsolete now...
  2. It's only got 40GB of disk space (SCSI disks are expen$ive).
  3. It's not under warranty, and will be expensive to repair.
  4. It's no longer our most reliable machine (power supply problems in July/August).

So, Bubba's going to get re-installed with CentOS-4 and is going to be running the free VMware Server software. VMware Server supports FreeBSD, Solaris 9 & 10, and Linux, so we'll have an opportunity to play with all of them... But before that can happen, all the user accounts and network services on Bubba have to move somewhere else...

Starting in November, user accounts on and are going to be migrating to Same goes for all the network services: dns, e-mail, mailing lists, web servers, wiki, everything.

Not all of the details are finalized yet, so you should keep watching this space:

for more information...


P.S. Everybody give John Christy a big hand for volunteering to be our Backup Tzar. John's set up a system where he can backup our servers using rsync and burn those to DVD. Yaaah, John! Let's just hope we never have to use them...

Membership Report

by Mark Scarborough

CACTUS would like to welcome Brad Knowles and Michael Lay to CACTUS. Also, thanks to Donald Kassebaum, MH Khan and Chris Nystrom for renewing their memberships.

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

Ron Roberts (ronr [at] cactus <dot> org)
Johnny Long (longjy [at] cactus <dot> org)
Programs Chair:
Randy Zagar (jrzagar [at] cactus <dot> org)
Mark Scarborough (mscar-cactus [at] cactus <dot> org)
Publicity & Webmaster:
Gil Kloepfer (kloepfer [at] cactus <dot> org)
Lindsay Haisley (fmouse [at] cactus <dot> org)
Members at Large:
Ian Remmler (remmler [at] cactus <dot> org)
M.H. Khan (mhk [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 (IMPORTANT UPDATED INFO!)

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.

IMPORTANT: The side parking lots inside of the Pickle Research Campus will be inaccessible to the main ARL entrance until sometime in early 2007 due to building construction. Therefore, if there is no parking available near the front entrance, you will need to find alternative parking across the street from the ARL building. Please be considerate and do not use the parking right outside the Jack In The Box.

Online maps are available at:

As always, please leave the facility as you saw it when you arrived.

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