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The Journal of AUUG Inc. 
Volume 20 • Number 2 
June 1999 


My Home Network 5 

A Common Software Development 
Infrastructure 10 

Introduction to Linux 11 

Linux as a Desktop Platform 12 

Conference News: 

QAUUG CTC Report 16 

AUUG'99 Update 17 

What's on at USENIX 18 

AUUG'99 Sponsorship Opportunities 19 


Book Reviews 24 

From the Pages of Unigram X 26 

Unix Traps and Tricks 33 


ISSN 1035-7521 

Print post approved by Australia Post - PP2391500002 

AUUG Membership and 
General Correspondence 

The AUUG Secretary 
PO Box 366 
Kensington NSW 2033 

Telephone: 02 9361 5994 
or 1800 625 655 (Toll-Free) 
Facsimile: 02 9332 4066 

AUUG Management Committee 

The AUUG Management Committee can be 
reached by sending email to: 


Lucy Chubb 
Softway Pty. Ltd. 

79 Myrtle Street 
Chippendale NSW 2008 


Gunther Feuereisen 

It’s AUUGN time again. The year Is flying away fast; before you know 
it, the clock is going to strike 2000 (we hope!), and the new year will 
be upon us. 

It’s veiy much a unique time for a lot of us; the whole Y2K issue is 
veiy much a once in a lifetime experience. Future generations are sure 
to stifle a chuckle when they hear all about Y2K and the lengths 
companies went to, to make sure their software was compliant. 

I personally can’t wait until it’s all over; mainly, so I can get back to 
planning future strategies, as opposed to the current trend which is to 
plan for Y2K. No-one is really thinking too much about after Y2K; 
they’re just trying to get through it, and then looking forward to a well 
deserved holiday .. 


David Purdue 
787 Dandenong Road 
East Malvern VIC 3145 


Mark White 
Compaq Computer Asla/Pacific Pte Ltd 
Level 8, Central Plaza II 
66 Eagle Street 
Brisbane QLD 4000 


Stephen Boucher 
The Australian Industry Group 
380 St. Kilda Road 
Melbourne VIC 3004 

Committee Members: 

Malcolm Caldwell 
Northern Territory University 
Casuarina Campus 
Darwin NT 0909 

I can’t wait. 

Back to reality .. 

A welcome to our new Unix Traps & Tricks Sub-editor; Jerry 
Vochteloo. Jerry’s taken over from Matty Dawson, and we wish him all 
the best in his new role. Time to get those submissions in! 

If any of you are Interested In being published in AUUGN, or maybe 
keen to promote a new idea, drop me a line! 

Before I go, a special thanks to Stephen Rothwell and Jeremy Bishop 
from AUUG Canberra, for all their help in the last couple of months. 

See you In next time! 

Luigi Canton! 


Suite 3, 77 Mill Point Road 
South Perth WA 6153 

Thanks to our 

Gunther Feuereisen 

GFH Computer Services 

PO Box 1350 

Double Bay NSW 1360 

Peter Gray 
Information Technology Services 
University of Wollongong 
Wollongong NSW 2522 

Michael Paddon 
Australian Business Access 
33 Lincoln Square South 
Carlton VIC 3053 

AUUG Business Manager 

Elizabeth Carroll 
PO Box 366 
Kensington NSW 2033 



- 1 - 

June 1999 


AUUGN Editorial Committee 

The AUUGN Editorial Committee can be 
reached by sending email to: 

Or to the following address: 

AUUGN Editor 
PO Box 366 
Kensington NSW 2033 


Gunther Feuereisen 


Mark Neely 
Jerry Vochteloo 

Public Relations and Marketing: 

Elizabeth Carroll 

AUUGN Submission Guidelines 

Submission guidelines for AUUGN 
contributions can be obtained from the 
AUUG World Wide Web site at: 

Alternately, send email to the above 
correspondence address, requesting a 

AUUGN Back Issues 

A variety of back issues of AUUGN are still 
available. For price and availability please 
contact the AUUG Secretariat, or write to: 
AUUG Inc. 

Back Issues Department 
PO Box 366 
Kensington NSW 2033 

Conference Proceedings 

A limited number of copies of the 
Conference Proceedings from previous 
AUUG Conferences are still available. 
Contact the AUUG Secretariat for details. 

Mailing Lists_ 

Enquiries regarding the purchase of the 
AUUGN mailing list should be directed to 
the AUUG Secretariat. 


Opinions expressed by the authors and 
reviewers are not necessarily those of 
AUUG Inc., its Journal, or its editorial 

Copyright Information 

Contribution Deadlines 
for AUUGN in 1999/2000 

Volume 20 • Number 3 - August 1999; 
Volume 20 • Number 4 - November 1999: 
Volume 21 • Number 1 - February 2000: 
Volume 21 • Number 2 - May 2000: 

July 17“, 1999 
October 17“, 1999 
January 17“, 2000 
April 17“, 2000 

Copyright © 1999 AUUG Inc. 

All rights reserved. 

AUUGN Is the journal of AUUG Inc., an 
organisation with the aim of promoting 
knowledge and understanding of Open 
Systems, including, but not restricted to, 
the UNIX® operating system, user 

interfaces, graphics, networking, 

programming and development 
environments and related standards. 

Copyright without fee is permitted, 

provided that copies are made without 
modification, and are not made or 
distributed for commercial advantage. 

AUUGN Vol.20 ® No.2 

- 2 - 

President’s Column 

Lucy Chubb 

At the end of my term as president this year I 
will be standing down in the expectation that 
there will be a third Chubb by the time of the 
1999 annual conference. In fact, it will be so 
close to the conference date that I won’t be 
making it this year, which is disappointing 
because I always particularly enjoy meeting 
people there. 

In some ways leaving the position of president at 
this time is a bit frustrating because there are a 
lot of things to be done — this is a time where 
AUUG needs to be seriously examining where it 
is going and what it is doing particularly with 
the growth of open source and its movement into 
mainstream use — and one year is not long to 
get started on addressing the challenges 
properly. As I become less involved, at least for a 
while, I hope to see new faces involved. Don't 
wait to be invited — volunteer! You'll be welcome. 

However, I hope to stay involved but in different 

See you aroimd. 

Congratulations to our own Elizabeth Egan who 
tied-the-knot with Stephen Carroll on February 

28, 1999. 

AUUG Sponsor Update: 

Softway now known 
as Aurema 

Where is Softway? 

Aurema has officially 
changed its name 
from Softway Pty 
Limited to Aurema 
Pty Limited. 

Aurema is the global 
leader in active 
technology. For over 15 years Aurema has 
steadily advanced the art of active resource 
management technology for UNIX®. Our 
dedicated focus on resource management 
technology provides a total solution in the 
allocation and control of major system resources 
on UNIX servers. Active resource management 
technology ensures service availability for users, 
groups and applications on a wide range of UNIX 
server platforms. 

With offices in the United States, Australia and 
Europe, Aurema keeps many of the world's UNIX 
vendors at the forefront of performance. As a 
result, some of the world's largest organizations 
use Aurema's advanced software technology to 
manage their system resources. Aurema 
currently has O.E.M. agreements and joint 
marketing programs with Sun Microsystems, 
SGI and Siemens-Nixdorf. 

Aurema's premier Sharell resource manager 
product is a revolutionary tool for managing 
UNIX system resources Sharell gives mission 
critical applications guaranteed access to system 
resources no matter who, or what, is using the 
system. It is the first tool for UNIX for the 
allocation, control and monitoring of resources 
according to the unique needs of any 

For more information, visit their website at: 
wvrw.aurema. com 


- 3 - 

June 1999 




173 Elizabeth St, Brisbane Queensland 4000 

Ph: (07) 3229 4677 Fax: (07) 3221 2171 Qld Country Freecall: 1800 177 395 

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This is a: □ Special Order □ Mail Order □ Book on Hold 







My Home Network 

Frank Crawford 

There is an ad currently running quoting famous 
incorrect computer predictions. One of them, by 
Ken Olsen is that there is no need for computers 
in the home. Well, for a long time that was true, 
and it was only "nerds" and other "techno¬ 
weenies" that had such a thing. Of course we all 
know that today eveiyone "needs" a computer at 
home, be it for work, children’s education or just 
for fun, and this ignores all those computers 
built into other equipment. 

Of course the biggest thing in the computer 
industry today is networks, and in particular the 
Internet (note the capital 1'). However, most 
users believe the start (and often end) of a 
network involves a modem or some other dialup 
connection. Of course in their office, there is a 
different type of network, one connecting them 
to a server, and eveiyone knows you don't have 
such items in your home. 

Of course such an assumption is just as wrong 
as the previous one that computers don't belong 
in the home, however, we are still at the point 
where it is only the computer "nerds". 

Well as one of those "nerds” aka a System 
Administrator, I have a network in my home and 
it is tremendously useful, just as in the 
workplace. Of course my home network didn’t 
spring full grown, but accumulated over time. 

To understand why I have such a network, it is 
necessary to understand my environment. 
Firstly with a wife who is a computer scientist 
and school aged children, eveiyone in the house 
needs Internet access at some level or another. 
Secondly, it is bad enough having to find 
sufficient computers, peripheral are another 
matter. As in an office not eveiyone needs 
access to a printer all the time, and other 
devices such as modems are by their nature, 
shareable, at least with sensible protocols. 

So, what do I have, for a start, 5 computers (in a 
house with 4 people and a dog!!!). They have 
gradually accumulated over the years, they have 
been upgraded and they have found various 
niches. Going through in decreasing use. The 
first is 'cnc', a Pentium 233MMX dual-booting 
between Linux 2.2.9 and Microsoft Windows98 
and is used as my main workstation. Next is 
jc', a Macintosh PowerMac 5500/250, with a 
DOS Card running MacOS 8.5.1, Microsoft 
Windows95 and also LinuxPPC 2.2.9 (i.e. Linux 
for PowerPC). This is used for most of the 
children's work, and fits in well with the systems 
they use at school. This is really a cool machine 
and means they can run just about anything 
that goes, Mac, Windows or Unhd In fact the 
split personality for this system means it has 
two names, jc' and jcdos’. 

Next onto the older computers, Tpc', a 

Macintosh 575, i.e. a 68040 system. This is used 
when other systems are busy or when it is more 
convenient as it is located in a bed room. It is 
useful as a backup for school projects, and has 
the same Internet access as any other system. In 
fact, its main use seems to be to play music CDs 
(a function it does well). I guess I could put 
Linux for an m68k on it, but the disk is small 
and I haven't gotten around to it. 

Another older computer is 'sac’, currently a 
lOOMHz Pentium running Windows95, but 
currently undergoing an upgrade. Eventually it 
will dual-boot Windows95 and Windows NT 

Finally, the most interesting and most active 
system is 'bits', a small old, 66MHz Pentium (yes 
a really old system). It has been upgraded from 
my original 286, through to the current system. 
This is the most interesting and important 
system in the whole house. It is also running 
continuously, acts as a server for my home 
network and runs more applications and 
daemons than the average server. It also runs 
Linux 2.2.8 (probably 2.2.9 or later by the time 
this is published). 

As well as computers there are two printers (one 
colour) which are usable by any computer on the 
network, a scanner which is currently connected 
to 'cnc' and at the moment only usable from 
Windows98 (and soon by Linux when support is 
available from the ParPort project) and a V.90 
modem, shared across the network. And finally, 
at the lowest level, the whole lot is joined by a 
coax Ethernet network. 

While the hardware is fun, what is even more 
fun is the software involved. This is a living, 
breathing network, running all the applications 
you'd expect to find in a much larger site, but 
just as valuable in my home, and all this 
wouldn’t be possible without open systems. By 
this I mean true open systems, not just 
something that you can buy off the shelf, but are 
then stuck with someone's plan for how it 

So starting at the bottom, the TCP/IP. There is 
little I can say about this except it is now almost 
omnipresent. Everything supports it, and you 
don't need much, except something to route it 
from a home network to the big bad Internet. 
For a home network you can get away with a 
non-routable network (i.e. RFC 1918) and use 
some form of NAT (Network Address 
Translation), in fact, in my case I do have a 
routable network, but have never arranged 
routing. It is interesting to note that in my 
original request for a network back in 1995, I 
made wild claims about how many addresses I'd 
need in 1, 2 and 5 years, never believing that I 
would require this, but I am on target to do so. 
Who would ever believe that a home would need 
20 IP addresses? In fact at present I have 
around 40 allocated, although some are through 

- 5- 

June 1999 

To actually make use of the network and to 
allow external access, I need something that can 
route IP. The obvious choice is one of the free 
Unixes, in my case Linux. Coming from it's Unix 
routes, it was able to simply and easily handle IP 
traffic, including routing from the day it was 
installed. Admittedly, I did need something 
extra to handle NAT, but that was Just icing. 

My initial network installation consisted of just a 
PPP link to work, which obviously only allowed 
that machine access to the remote network, 
however, it was soon obvious that other 
machines in the house needed access, i.e. 'ipc', 
the children's workstation. As well, as my IP 
addresses were not known outside my ovm little 
world, I needed to change those addresses into 
something that was globally known. Enter 
Linux's Masquerading. This is really a simplified 
version of NAT, mapping all the hidden 
addresses to a single externally visible address, 
and then performing the reverse on the return 
leg. It is not a full NAT Implementation, but is 
perfect for a small network with a single 
connection to an ISP, etc. It does require kernel 
support, but that has been available in the 
Linux kernel since Linux 1.2 {or possibly earlier). 
For more details, there is a mlni-HOWTO 
describing it for the Linux 2.0 kernel and later. 

Obviously there is also a need for a network 
protocol, such as PPP (point-to-point protocol), 
and again it is something that just sits there 
working. With my increasing use of the modem 
by other machines in my network it became 
obvious that some sort of autodialing was 
necessary. Luckily enough, a program called 
'diald' was available to do just this. It is a 
"simple" daemon that sits waiting for a traffic to 
one (or a number) of predefined IP addresses, 
dials up the remote site and then monitors the 
traffic to find a suitable time to close it down. 
Obviously, it also has redial facilities and a 
whole swag of other tricks. A must in my 
situation. For this to work well, a second phone 
line is needed, but these days, even for a single 
computer connecting to an ISP it is an 

Of course building on this is such important 
open standards as NTP to synchronise time 
across all the machines, BIND aka 'named' to 
handle IP address lookups and 'sendmaiF to 
manage mail transport. In fact aside from 
having my own network address, I also have a 
registered domain name, "". 
This is registered through the AUUG server as 
the domain "" has been delegated to 
AUUG for registration of individuals. Of course 
since my IP address isn’t routable, all that is 
registered is an MX record pointing to the 
masquerade address. 

Sitting on top of this is DHCP, a protocol to 
allocate IP addresses dynamically, including the 
information needed for routing, etc. This has 
proved extremely useful, as it enables me to 
bring home my laptop from work, plug it into my 
network and continue working with no 

reconfiguration. In fact, this has also proved an 
excellent means of transporting patches and 
other large files between work (which has a 
higher speed network) and home. The server 
itself is from the Internet Software Consortium 
who also vmte BIND and INN for Internet News, 
and again software that is freely available. 

Of course, all the above is low level stuff that is 
fun to play with, but not to the average user. 
One of the important things, and a reason to 
have a Linux server is the interoperability with 
the other systems in the house, 'bits' is running 
Samba, to provide both file and print services to 
Windows on 'cnc', 'jcdos' and 'sac' when they 
are running those more constrained operating 
systems. As well as sharing disk space with 
Samba, it is also Integral in the printing setup. 
As one of the printers is connected to 'cnc' 
which occasionally runs Windows98, all printing 
requests use the SMB protocol, whether it is in 
Windows or Linux mode, again with Samba 
running on 'cnc'. As well, to set the time in 
Windows, 'bits' acts as a time server for SMB 

To provide similar services to the Linux clients, 
NFS (i.e. Network File System) allows cross 
mounting between any of the Linux clients. To 
make it even more user friendly, the addition of 
automoimting means that many things are only 
mounted when needed and then unmounted 
when they become idle. Print services are 
available through LPD, i.e. the standard 
Berkeley printing system, and goes so far as to 
allow printing directly to printers at work, and 
allow printing from work directly to printers on 
my home network. It certainly make it look like 
Fm there. 

Not to be left out, the Macintosh clients are 
supported using the Netatalk package, which 
provides file and print serves for an Appletalk 
network. This requires low level support, but 
this comes as a standard part of the Linux 
kernel. And like Samba, there is also support 
for time synchronisation, although recent 
versions of MacOS support NTP directly. Of 
course everything isn't perfect, printer support 
does take a bit of extra work, because the 
network printer support for HP printers is 
proprietary, it isn’t supported by Netatalk, and 
hence some special functions aren't available. 
However, because Apple has long supported 
Postscript, printer emulation is supported 
through the use of Ghostscript. 

For those who aren't aware, Ghostscript is a 
public domain Postscript interpreter that is 
usually used to display on an XI1 terminal, but 
also has drivers to support most common 
printers, including HP's. This makes it simple to 
use a common format for printed output, and 
yet translate it to something suitable for any 
printer, i.e. device independence. 

While accessing work from home was one of the 
original reasons for Implementing my home 
network, more recently I have also been 

AUUGN Vol.20 ® No.2 

-6 - 

implementing dialin access. Since my primary 
server is up all the time, this makes it easy, with 
the right software. As well as dialin access, 
anyone who has recently purchased a modem 
knows, support for faxing is a standard. So any 
such software should also support faxing, and, 
as with all the other software, be free. A suitable 
package is Hylafax, which provides all the 
capabilities I have already outlined. It provides 
the ability to both send and receive faxes, handle 
in-coming data calls and handles locking with 
diald. As well, it provides some support for 
Voice Mall, although I haven't looked into 
Implementing it yet. It does require an 
additional program I haven't yet obtained. 

Despite having a reasonable fast network link, 
web traffic is still one of the greatest bandwidth 
hogs around (not everyone has Gigabit links to 
Microsoft!). To improve performance I have done 
what both small organisations and large ISPs do. 
I've implemented a web cache. The most widely 
used caching software is Squid, and of course it 
is a public domain product. 

It is interesting that not everything is really great 
across a network. It turns out that it is much 
simpler to have a CDROM in every system, 
rather than attempting installs, etc, across the 
network. Despite network install options, most 
times it runs much smoother from a locally 
attached device. This doesn't mean that the CD 
drives aren't shared. Just that I can mount 4 (or 
shortly 5) at the same time. 

Similarly, each system has its own sound card 
and speakers. This is proving to be interesting, 
in that the next project is to network audio, 
Internet phones and related options. I have 
already pulled interesting tricks on my children 
with computers suddenly talking, playing music 
and performing other mischief when no one is 
around. Unix (and Linux) is excellent for this, 
given its multiuser capabilities, I can log in and 
start something from anywhere in the house or 
even work. Utilities such as ^rplay', a network 
sound utility, or ^speak_freely', an Internet voice 
chat utility, will improve this many times over. 

While all this sounds like I'm just having fun 
(and to be honest I am), there is a much more 
serious side to the whole thing. For a start my 
home network provides an environment to test 
and an opportunity for me to learn about 
technology that will ultimately be deployed in 
the workplace. Secondly, it provides an 
environment where my wife can perform her 
work at home or in the office with little change. 
And finally, it gives my children a better 
computing environment than in any school I 
have seen, and yet also allows me to monitor 
what they are doing. 

So what of the future, well there is lot still to do. 
You will notice that I haven't mentioned a web 
server. That is coming. The world's most used 
web server is Apache and yet again it is public 
domain. I've installed it, but haven't had time to 
configure it. Soon I will. 

A more important learning item for me is to 
improve my connection to work. Currently there 
are some limits on what I can do, due to a 
firewall between me and work. The best way to 
get aroimd this is via a Virtual Private Network 
(VPN) and I will be implementing this between 
home and work. This will provide an 

opportunity for me to experiment with it before I 
have to implement it for others at work. 

Of course, even more fun. I'll be looking at 
installing a video camera within the network, 
and that Avill allow remote monitoring from 
anywhere! And no matter what, much of this 
software will improve. As an example Samba 
can now act as an Primary Domain Controller 
within an Microsoft NT environment, and I 
intend to do just, linking all my various 
Windows system in the manner Bill Intended, 
but with open software. :-) It should also allow 
me to have a single password scheme across my 
home network. 

You may wonder why I have gone through this 
list of my home system. While it is an impressive 
list (at least I think so), it goes to show what you 
can do with public domain and free software 
today. I would hate to try and calculate how 
much such a setup would cost if it was 
implemented with commercial software. At the 
same time it is aimed at encouraging people to 
get out and look at what you can do. 

What I would like to do from here is to find out 
what others have done. I'd invite you to write 
( to me with details of your 
system, what you have implemented in your 
home (or where ever). I hope to put together a 
column in future editions of AUUGN with this 
correspondence, and I'll fill it out with more 
details of the software I have, how you can 
obtain and configure it. 

For the latest 
news on 

Check out the AUUG 
website at: 

- 7 - June 1999 

Sun Microsystems Training: 

Now discounted for AUUG members! 

Sun™ Educational Services provides both individuals and organisations with training courses and 
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in Sun's products and technologies. 

AUUG members are now eligible to receive discounts off all Sun training courses: 

• 10% off all instructor-led courses 

• 15% off all CD-ROM courses 

In addition AUUG members can also receive a 20% discoimt off all Sun certification exams. 

Current Sun Certification Programs include: 

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Below is the current Sun Educational Services course schedule. For full course descriptions, as well as 
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Sun Educational Services: COURSE SCHEDULE (June - September 1999) 

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Sydney 21 June, 19 July, 16 August, 

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Adelaide 16 August 

Perth 16 August 

iST-350 Advanced System Administration 

Stm Systems Fhult Analysis Workshop 

:^;/'S\daycpiHrjse$2^BQ^^^^^ . '"V. y;/;! ; 

Sydney 16 August 

Melbourne 21 June, 23 August 

Canberra 7 June 

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Sydney 30 August 

Melbourne 9 August 


iSA-380 Solods Neki^ork Administration 

5 day course $2,500 

Also on CD-ROM! 

; /This course support <the C^rdfied Net™ 

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Sydney 21 June, 26 July, 6 Sept 

Melbourne 12 July, 6 Sept 

Canberra 16 August 

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^ ^ ^ ' 3 day course $1^600' ' ^ ^ 

Also on CD-ROM! ' '' 

Sydney 16 June, 10 August 

SO-SOO : "on $oWis 

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Melbourne 28 Sept 

AUUGN Vol.20 • No.2 

- 8 - 



Sydney 16 June, 4 August, 28 Sept 

Sydney 28 June, 16 August, 20 Sept 


: Sh:210 - ; Migt0ir^,tp OO Fft^ramming 

iDj0i;JgvdTe4^^ ' r ' 

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Sydney 19 July 

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i ^ ^ ^ V\' S: ^ the Certified 

' ^ ^"BibgrannneklQr the Java Blatfomi exam 

Sydney 3 May, 21 June, 9 August, 20 


Melbourne 7 June, 26 July, 13 Sept 

Canberra 30 August 

Brisbane 23 August, 23 August 

Adelaide 26 July, 6 Sept 

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^ 'BlrSOl 

;;;;;;;:: mi, object bus &r 

^ '' \:W{ '5;day course. $%206 'TV"''. ' 

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Sydney 12 July 

Melbourne 16 August 

; St-303 ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 

^ ^ \ SeCUp^CWPil^dPhy ' ^ ' 

, '^ 5 day^cduiBe §2;50D. 

\' ' ' / r ' ^ Mm oii::Cp-:EOMi /' / ^ /; ^-' , : 

Sydney 13 Sept 

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Brisbane 9 August 

' St;t320 ' ' ' OUl^Co^imciiotx u>ith^^' 

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Sydney 16 August 

Melbourne 19 July 



SHeU I^mmning ' '' / ' ' 


' 5 day course $2^200 


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30 August 


28 June, 23 August 


23 August 


6 Sept 


m^2m . ' - / 

/ ' \ ^ day ^urse;$;^,66o ' /. ' V 

Sydney _ 7 June, 6 Sept _ 

© 1999 Sun Microsystems, Inc., All rights reserved. Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Java, Solaris, Solstice FireWall-l, SPARCstorage, Ultra Enterprise, Sun 
Enterprise and JavaBeans are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc., in the United States and other countries. All SPARC 
trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. in the United States and other countries. 
Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based upon an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United 
States and other countries, exclusively licensed through X/Open Company Ltd. 

- 9 - 

June 1999 

A Common Software 



Robi Karp 

All software development projects use common 
software components. They may require a web 
interface, they may log data to files to be 
analysed later or they may interface to back end 
systems. In any company, there is usually more 
than one project implementing similar software 
components at the same time. The development 
efforts encounter the same problems and suffer 
the same bottlenecks. 

Having pre-existing components at hand would 
allow new projects to be: 

® developed more quickly as there is less to 

• developed more quickly as there is less to 

® less risky as the common components would 
be an area of certainty having undergone 
rigorous testing already; and 

• cheaper as less has to be done. 

A common software infrastructure allows for 
rapid system development. Design and 
implementation of the new project would only 
have to focus on the problem at hand rather 
than having to try to deal with already solved 
problems, yet again. The new software would 
simply use the existing infrastructure. As this 
infrastructure grows to contain more 
components, the development cycle time for new 
projects decreases. 

Consistency is another issue. It would be 
wonderful if all applications within a company 
produced log / audit / error messages that were 
of a similar format. If this were the case, then 
common tools could analyse those messages, 
import them into spreadsheets and word 
processors and automatically generate reports. 
One component provided by the infrastructure 
would be a logging mechanism. Having this 
ability would allow for analysis of application 
output as well as comparison of output from 
other applications. This, in turn, would allow 
application fine-tuning. 

Having a reliably running system is mandatory. 
When problems arise in a new system the entire 
system reliability is questionable. It is all new 
and, hence, all possibly faulty. A common 
infrastructure limits the areas of doubt. It would 
be a given that the common infrastructure had 
been rigorously tested, deployed on other 
systems, and unlikely to have bugs. The system, 
as a whole, would inspire greater confidence 
having been built from reliable, proven building 

When something goes wrong with a running 
system, it is usually up to the system maintainer 
to deal it. A common infrastructure spreads the 
load. While there will still be individuals 
responsible for maintaining systems, having 
common areas of the system means that more 
than one person has knowledge of those areas. 
Problems may be analysed more quickly and, 
hence, solved more quickly. 

Beginning such an infrastructure does not even 
require a huge overhead. To make a beginning, 
components are taken out of existing projects. 
Using these components, and adding perhaps 
one or two other components, would suffice. As 
new projects come on line, components are 
added to the common infrastructure so that they 
are available for the future. 

Porting software is always a major headache. 
New software typically uses specifics of systems 
that do not exist on other systems or 
programming languages. A common 
infrastructure can make porting much easier 
and, in most cases, completely pre-empt the 
headache. It would be desirable to have the 
common infrastructure available in several 
languages and many operating systems and 
platforms. Applications that used it could be 
deployed on new platforms far more easily, 
quickly and reliably than applications that 

Some components of a common software 
infrastructure are: 

• Error Handling Logging and Auditing. This 
provides consistent message, logging, 
auditing, error handling and data output. 
This, in turn, allows for common output 
analysis and data extraction tools. 

® A Back End Interface. A consistent way to 
communicate with back-end, legacy, billing 
and any other systems. 

® A Front End or Web Interface. This provides 
systems with a consistent user interface. 

® Messaging (Middleware). Software systems 
often need to communicate with other 
systems sometimes on other machines. This 
component would provide a consistent way 
to pass messages around. It consists of 
smaller components such as socket, 
message queue and shared memory 

® Database Interface. Most software systems 
require data to be stored somewhere. Most 
databases offer similar functionality. A 
common database interface would require 
methods such as: 

® StartTransaction 
® Update 
® Commit 
® EndTransaction 
® Access / Retrieve 

AUUGN Vol.20 ® No.2 

- 10 

The component itself would have sub¬ 
components that implemented the interface to 
specific database systems. If some new database 
were to be used then the application would not 
have to be changed. A new database-specific 
sub-component would be implemented and 
simply plugged in. 

Once started it is easy to add components to the 
common infrastructure as they build on one 
another. In a short time an infrastructure would 
exist that had many high level components that 
could be plugged together to build new 
applications quickly and reliably. The only new 
parts to a system would be those that are very 
specific to that system. 

Any large corporation usually has several 
parallel software development efforts in 
progress. These projects are tackling similar, if 
not identical problems. It would be 
advantageous to solve all of these problems only 
once. A software component infrastructure, to 
which all new projects adhered, would mean 
that those projects would be: 

• developed more quickly; 

• more reliable; 

• more consistent in terms of output; 

• more easily maintained; and 

® consequently much cheaper to Implement 
and maintain. 

If a company is in the business of providing 
software systems to customers or using them in- 
house it would make a lot of sense, if not be an 
absolute necessity, to implement such a 
software infrastructure. 


Introduction to 

Con Zymaris 

History tells us that the modem basis of the 
Internet was the synthesis of the TCP/IP 
protocol suite with the Unix operating system, 
which was achieved in the University of 
California at Berkeley in the very early 80's. This 
combination produced an environment, which 
made possible open, distributed, team-oriented 
software development. Groups of very able 
programmers where now able to work in imison, 
to deliver software with the functionality and 
quality which had previously only have been 
achieved in the confines of large software 
development organisations. 

In effect, Linux, which began on and is still 
evolving, within this environment, is the first 
major operating system to be created on the 

'Net, and an example of just what can be 
achieved through collaborative world-wide 
development. Linux is both powerful and stable, 
yet mns on hardware which is probably sitting 
on your desk right now. It has always been 
popular with the technical crowd, simply 
because it works and is free. Through the years, 
it has acquired an extensive set of applications, 
networking services, a modem GUI and more. 


('free' as in freedom) 

The development basis of free software is veiy 
different from that of commercial software. By 
definition, commercial software vendors are 
primarily interested in your money. By 
comparison, free software exists to fill a specific 
functional requirement, which it most often does 
veiy well; simply, efficiently, and with minimal 
code bloat. New versions of commercial 
applications and systems are often developed 
with most effort directed towards adding more 
extraneous features (like talking paperclips) 
rather than eliminating bugs, as you would 
expect from a model which requires users to be 
(for revenue generation purposes) on the 
perpetual upgrade treadmill. 

So who writes free software? Generally the same 
people who write commercial software (mostly as 
individuals, after hours). They do it to solve a 
problem at hand, and then continue 
development often to gain kudos from their 

Who uses Linux? 

In short answer, almost every type of person and 
organisation. While it is true to say that many 
years ago, Linux was the exclusive preserve of 
the technical guys, nowadays, it is used by 
almost all groups with IT needs. Since Linux is 
available in a form, which encourages you to 
make copies for your friends, it is impossible to 
determine the current number of Linux systems 
in the world. The latest data from the 
International Data Group (Framingham, Mass.) 
indicates that approximately 6 million new 
Linux systems were installed in 1997. Compare 
this to the 3.8 million new systems running 
MacOS for the same year. Consider also that 
these figures are achieved with almost no 
advertising budget. 

Why should you be 


The most likely method of introduction of Linux 
to most non-technical organisations is through 
the role of web and email server, in use 
externally (Internet) or internally (Intranet.) 
Linux is perfect for these roles. It has all the 
communications and server systems needed to 
operate in TCP/IP, Web aind Internet Email and 
Workgroup environments, has high quality (free) 
firewalls available, and can run at very 
acceptable speeds on half the hardware NT 

- 11 - 

June 1999 

requires to perform these same tasks. Added to 
the fact that you would need to spend 
thousands to get NT into the same feature set 
for these roles, comes the analysis from a recent 
InfoWorld (US) column which indicated Linux 
could be installed in half the time (and effort) as 
NT, by a non-expert user. 

The second excellent use for Linux is as a 
replacement for Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 
desktops in organisations which cannot afford 
'yet another round' of upgrades. Linux is 
considerably more robust (and secure) than 
either of these platforms. It will work acceptably 
on 486 level hardware with 12-16 Meg of RAM. 
Most importantly, it comes with distributed 
windowing software (the X-Window System) 
which can be combined with Windows-terminal 
servers such as Citrix Winframe, the Microsoft- 
Citrix Hydra/Picasso combination, NTerprise 
from Exodustech and many more. This will allow 
you to install and run on one, heavy-duty NT 
server all the latest and greatest resource- 
hungiy desktop productivity apps your 
organisation requires, and display them on your 
legacy PC hardware workstations, each equipped 
with the zero licence cost Linux, in all their 
splendour. This has some wonderful advantages: 
no hardware upgrades; no need to purchase 
Windows95/98/NT licences for each and every 
desktop; you need only install and upgrade your 
productivity apps once (on the server) and not 
for each desktop; your users will be happy that 
their applications can run at the breakneck 
speed of the heavy-duty server; if mandated, 
your users will not be able to tinker with the 
desktop OS (Linux) as it can be made bulletproof 
against their fiddling. 

Titanic* affirmation of capability 

As a final example of the its power and 
flexibility, Linux was used to render the fantastic 
Computer Generated Imageiy on the James 
Cameron film 'Titanic', the most expensive (and 
potentially the highest grossing) film of all time. 
This was done by Cameron's own CGI company, 
Digital Domain, who chose Linux over 
workstation platforms like SGI and NT. 


Nowadays, numerous distributors have 
packaged Linux in what are known as 
'distributions' These can be purchased through 
IT bookshops and retail software outlets, in 
multi CD-ROM format, which is much easier to 
get started with, than down-loading eveiything 
via the Internet. Prices should be around the 
$30-$60 mark. Alternatively, if you know 
someone who has a freely distributable Linux 
CD-ROM, borrow theirs. Due to the fact that 
Linux is of minimal or no cost, you have nothing 
to loose but to try it. 

For more information, check out 

http: / /www.linux. org/ 

Linux as a Desktop 



Con Zymaris 

You may have heard recently that Linux makes 
an excellent file-server, web server and Internet 
Gateway. What you may not know is that Linux 
also makes a great personal workstation 
operating system, which often has advantages 
over its rivals like Windows, NT & MacOS. 

Most people need a core of perhaps a dozen 
major application types (word processors, 
spreadsheets etc) available on a platform, for it 
to be of use. It's probably been a well kept 
secret, but Linux has probably all the serious 
business and personal productivity applications 
you may ever need. Wdiat's more, quite often 
these are available at no cost and in open source 
format. Here's a rundown: 

Office Suites 

Office suites are perhaps the most common 
requirement of most people who use computers 
as personal productivity tools. Linux currently 
has four main office suites from which to 
choose from. The main contenders are: 

Linux Office Suite 99 (inch Applixware 4.4.1): 
Priced at USD$79.95, the suite Includes a 
spreadsheet, word processor, presentation 
graphics, database, fax program and is designed 
to enable document exchange with Microsoft 
Office 97. The core of this suite is based on the 
mature Applixware product range, which is 
reliable and efficient, although not as polished 
as MS-Office 97. For more information, check 
http: // 

AUUGN Vol.20 ® No.2 

- 12 


Corel WordPerfect for Linux (List CDN$85) will 
perhaps become the most popular office suite for 
Linux, due to its brand-name recognition. If 
you've ever used any of the modem Windows or 
Macintosh word processors, you'll be right at 
home. This version has all of the features of 
WordPerfect for other platforms, including 
drawing and charting modules, auto-correct and 
spell-as-you-go highlighting, spelling and 
grammar checking, tables, mail merge, 
outlining, lists and style sheets. WordPerfect for 
Linux is the beginning of a full featured product 
range that Corel is releasing for Linux over the 
next few months. Eventually, they have 
committed to ports of all their mainstream apps 
like CorelDraw etc. WordPerfect for Linux is 
down-loadable from 

StarDivision's StarOffice 5.0 
StarDivlsion is perhaps the 'slickest' of the office 
suites for Linux, and of considerable interest to 
many potential users due to its 'no-charge' 
licence for personal use. Perhaps due to this 
slickness, it requires more resources than the 
aforementioned competitors. The product is also 
available for the Windows platform, and has 
garnered a substantial following in Europe (it's 
written in Germany.) It too has all the main apps 
you would expect from an office suite, and is 
down-loadable from: 
http: / / WWW. stardivision. com / 


This is a new application suite, with 
spreadsheet, a couple of word-processors 
(general & scientific/document layout) personal 
organiser, presentation slide-show system and 
more. KOffice is open source freeware, and is 
targeted primarily for the KDE desktop 
environment (one of several for Linux.) It's 
perhaps the newest (and thus least complete) 
contender, but as with many open source 
software projects, holds solid promise for rapid 
improvement. Download from: 
http: / / 

Email and News 

Many of the office suites (Applixware, KOffice) 
come with their own email clients (POP/IMAP) 
which are quite useable. Alternatives are 
plentiful on Linux, which isn't surprising, as it's 
the first OS built via the 'Internet.' Many people 
use text based mailers like elm, pine and mutt, 
which are powerful, but complex for beginners. 
One of the more popular GUI mailers is the 
IMAP/POP client that ships with Netscape 
Navigator. Netscape also provides for a 
convenient Usenet news-reader too. 

Web Browser 

Netscape Navigator has been on Linux for a few 
years, and from the sounds emanating from (the central development site for 
Netscape Navigator) Linux is the development 
platform of choice for developing new versions of 
Navigator on. Navigator looks and works the 

same on Linux as on Windows, and Just like on 
Windows, it's open source and free. for the latest 

Specialised Apps 

Graphical Manipulation Apps 
The GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation 
Program, a freely distributed application suitable 
for such tasks as photo retouching, image 
composition and image authoring. In short, it 
has pretty much all the capabilities of Photoshop 
5 for Windows/Mac (minus some features like 
colour separations) and it costs nothing to 
acquire. Details at 
Another site with plenty of useful pointers to 
Linux based graphics apps is 
http: / / org/linux.html / 

Scientific Applications on Linux 
It wouldn't surprise anyone to find out that 
there are literally thousands of scientific 
applications available for the Linux platform. In 
fact, there's a whole website devoted to the area. 
Scientific Applications on Linux 

( is a collection of 
information and links to software that will be of 
interest to scientists and engineers. Amongst the 
major applications areas it covers are: 

• array-oriented & linear algebra systems, 
statistics, number theory, 

• numerical analysis, parallel computing, 
visualization, electrical, 

® chemistry, biology, artificial intelligence, 
physics & astronomy. 

A quick search with your favourite websearch 
tool will reveal sever^ major sites which list 
thousands of general and special purpose Linux 
apps. Furthermore, the Linux space is 
undergoing explosive growth, and the number 
(and quality) of these apps keeps improving at a 
rapid rate. 

If you have any experiences 
using Linux that you would 
like to share with other 
AUUGN readers, drop us a 
line at: 

We’d love to hear from you! 

June 1999 

The 1999 annual John Lions' student award 
for work in the area of open systems. 

The John Lions award has been instituted to recognise the leading role that John Lions played in bringing 
UNIX to Australia, the formation of AUUG, and the promotion of the values held by the open systems 

After Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie published a paper "The Unix Time-Sharing System" in May 1974, 
John Lions decided to base his Operating Systems course around understanding the source code. In 
addition to that, he foimded AUUG as a group of computer scientists who had a common interest in the 
UNIX Operating System. 

Today AUUG has members throughout Australia from industry, commerce, and education and works to 
promote the benefits of open architectures and standards compliance in languages, operating systems, 
networks, and applications. AUUG focuses on the latest developments in open systems by the exchange of 
ideas and solutions through local chapters, the annual conference, local chapter conferences, and its 


• The award is for a full time student at an Australian University. 

® The award is for an in-progress or recently completed honours or postgraduate thesis in the 
area of UNIX and open systems. The judges will be looking for things like interesting uses of 
open systems technology, contribution to understanding of open systems, programs, tools or 
knowledge about UNIX and open systems. 

• The award is judged on the basis of an approximately one page or 500-word description of the 
work. The evaluation committee may wish to interview students on the short list for the prize 
and possibly see a demonstration of the work so far completed. 

® The evaluation committee will consist of at least 3 AUUG members, at least one of whom 
belongs to the AUUG national executive, and optionally a representative from another 

® The decision of the evaluation committee is final and the committee reserves the right to not 
award the prize if a suitable entry has not been submitted. 

Final date for receipt of entries is 5pm Friday 30th July 1999 

The prize consists of: 

® A cash prize of $1000 
® One year's membership of AUUG 

® Announcement of the prize at the main AUUG conference and in AUUGN (the AUUG Journal) 

® A certificate 

® The winner's name inscribed on a permanent awards board, displayed in the AUUG office and 
at the main conference 

What sort of work might qualify? 

The work will be focussed on software which relates to computer communications, networks, operating 
systems, or similar. If you are not sure whether your work may qualify, mail: 

Entries may be submitted by email to or by post to: 

John Lions Student Award 


PO Box 366 


AUUGN Vol.20 ® No.2 

- 14- 

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Phone; (02). 026t 2290, Fax: (02) 9267 5700 
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Mark White 

AUUG's Queensland Chapter (also known as 
QAUUG) held it's annual Chapter Technical 
Conference on April 22nd at Brisbane's Park Royal 
Hotel. Many of the topics held an Open Source 
flavour, although it was a non UNIX-specific talk 
which won recognition as best presentation of the 
day. Around 50 people attended, combining with 
the overall quality of the speakers to ensure one of 
the more successful regional conferences in recent 
years. Stallion Technologies - a long-time 
supporter of the open systems community in 
Queensland - were the event's sponsor. 

After a few opening words from David McCullough, 
conference chair, the audience welcomed our 
ke 3 niote speaker - Dr. James Clark, Senior Vice- 
President of the Santa Cruz Operation Inc. (SCO). 
Dr Clark is responsible for SCO’s operation in the 
Asia-Pacliic region, and presented on a couple of 
timely topics: firstly, SCO's joint initiative (with 
Intel, IBM, Sequent & Compaq) for a common 
UNIX on Intel’s forthcoming IA-64 architecture 
(a.k.a "Merced"), and secondly on SCO's visibility 
of and contributions to the Liniix community. 
SCO's often regarded as an "enemy" of Linux, and 
Dr Clark was able to put this ill-informed 
perception aside in a discussion on SCO's 
participation with Linux International, it's 
incorporation of Linux binary-compatibility in the 
UnixWare 7 (System 5 Release 5) kernel, and 
contributions to the Open Source community. As 
long as Linux is beating Microsoft to the desktop 
and server users, it is (in SCO's eyes) making a 
valuable contribution to UNIX and should be 

Next up was Peter Dettori, who described his work 
on "Itsy" - Compaq's handheld device developed by 
the (formerly Digital Equipment Corporation) 
research group in Palo Alto. Peter described the 
hardware features and his experiences in porting 
Linux to the device (replacing a port of Windows 
CE!). An interesting innovation, and all I can say 
is I've never seen a smaller (but totally functional. 
Including audio) implementation of "Doom". 

Also on the subject of Linux porting was Greg 
Ungerer, who's been working with Moreton Bay 
Ventures to implement Linux on Motorola's 
ColdFire processor. While the ultimate goal is a 
platform for embedded network appliances, Greg 
took us step by step through the porting process, 
including his experiences with Motorola's 
development kit. 

Mlchi Henning's talk - entitled "Computing 
Fallacies", ultimately emerged as the crowd's 
favourite for the event. A self-admitted chance to 
blow off steam, Michi illustrated his frustrations 
with the current state of software development 
education, thinking, and implementation. This 
truly magnificent and thought-promoting 
discussion dominated discussions over lunch, and 

I hope it will be seen by a larger audience at this 
year's national conference in Melbourne. Michi's 
was ultimately voted the best presentation at the 
end of the day in an all-but-unanimous decision. 

QAUUG stalwart David Hughes was up next, 
taking the audience through the next-phase 
design of his ever-popular DBMS engine MiniSQL. 
With one exception (and being in Sweden as a 
pitiful excuse Bambi!) David’s presented at every 
single QAUUG event since their inception more 
years ago than most of us care to remember, and 
was a crowd pleaser again this year. STC’s 
Nishanth Chandran spoke next on the Java 
cryptography architecture, and was able to 
present complex theories and concepts involved to 
a general audience quite well. 

Our next special guest was Pdchard Keech from 
Cybersource in Melbourne - Red Hat Software's 
only accredited support partner in Australia. 
Richard posed a question on everyone's minds, 
namely "Will Linux Rival Microsoft?" in a balanced 
but ultimately open-source positive way. Richard 
was a good balance with the final presentation of 
the day, from self-confessed marketriod Mark 
White. Mark's topic was "Linux in Vendorland" - in 
other words, how the market analysers and major 
vendors readly see Linux, and what needs to 
happen for it to be really taken seriously as a 
commercial operating system. As with all the other 
presentations, these generated good discussions 
which continued in the nearby bar well after the 
conference closure! 

^ ^ ^ 

The success of QAUUG99 has highlighted the 
depth of innovative open source development and 
implementation being imdertaken in Queensland, 
and attendee feedback forms indicated exceptional 
value. In addition to the annual conference, 
QAUUG holds regular monthly meetings; if you 
aren't already on the mailing list for these and 
other activities all you need to do is send a 
message to with 
"subscribe qauug" in the message body. A 
congratulations to all speakers involved, and also 
thanks to Rick Stevenson and David McCullough 
for making the event possible. 

UNIX®and Open Systems Users 

Queensland Chapter 

AUUGN Vol.20 . No.2 

- 16 

Member Services Update: 

New Online 
News Service 

Exclusive on-line news service 


AUUG in partnership with IDG Communications, 
the world’s foremost IT publisher, will be offering 
members a comprehensive UNIX information on¬ 
line news service. The free service vail be available 
dally or weekly depending on your preference and 
adds great value to your existing AUUG 

Run by the ComputerWorld division of IDG, the 
service will pull content from IDG's global 
resources of more than 280 publications and from 
all its local magazines and services. 

The content is specifically tailored to your 
information needs. AUUG vdll be defining the 
areas of interest that the tailored email service will 
be based upon. As a subscriber, you will receive a 
daily or weekly email with headlines and 
summaries of the stories pointing back to the full 
text of the article on a dedicated web site. A fully 
searchable archive of news and feature stories will 
provide a comprehensive and continuously 
growing information resource for AUUG members. 

The service has strict privacy policies and your 
email address will only be used for this specific 
news report. You can subscribe or imsubscribe at 
any time. 

This service brings AUUG closer to our members 
and we are pleased to be able to offer this to you. 

To join the service send an email to and include the 
phrase join auugnews in the body of the email. 


News from the 
AUUG Business 

Liz Carroll 
Hi All, 


By now you are probably all aware that AUUG is 
running a fortnightly column in the Sydney 
Morning Herald. (Thank you to everyone who has 

contributed to date.) As such, we are always 
looking out for good articles. Should anyone wish 
to contribute please email me your article for 
submission. If you are unsure whether something 
is appropriate, an outline of the topic will be 
sufficient and I will let you know whether it vail be 
okay. Following is a brief outline of the type of 
article the SMH is looking for: 

"The Sydney Morning Herald is targeting its’ IT 
section to business, running it after the business 
section targeting readership at CEO's dovai. The 
column is a UNIX column (rather than an AUUG 
column). SMH audience also runs 80-90% of their 
IT section in the Age in Melbourne. UNIX Column 
- 600-700 words with final credit to writer and 
pointer to AUUG Web site." 

^ ^ ^ 


In addition to the SMH, AUUG is also running 
articles in Systems Magazine (copies of which 
AUUG members are now receiving). As such, 
articles of approximately 1,700 words would also 
be appreciated. 

Should anyone have any questions, please feel free 
to email me or call on 02 9858 4542. I look 
forward to reading your articles! 

Conference Update: 

Open Source - 

David Purdue 

Well I for one am looking forward to AUUG'99. 
Planning is well underway, many papers have 
been submitted and the program is taking shape. 

We are pleased with the range and quality of the 
invited speakers that are coming to the 

Andrew Tridgell is well known to Australian 
audiences. As the primary developer and project 
leader of SAMBA, Andrew will be giving 
presentations on both the Server Message Block 
protocol and the trials and tribulations of 
managing a large open source project. 

- 17 

June 1999 

Adrian Cockcroft is Sun Microsystems foremost 
performance expert. Adrian will be running a 
tutorial on how to get the last few percent of 
performance from your Solaris systems. Adrian 
will also be talking about the state of tools 
available for performance measurement and 

John "maddog" Hall is the Executive Director of 
Linux International. He has spoken at AUUG 
before, and apart from being a strong advocate for 
the use of Linux he is an interesting and 
entertaining speaker. 1 hope he brings more 
interesting toys. 

Theo de Raadt is the leader of the OpenBSD 
project. OpenBSD is a derivative of the BSD 4.4 
Lite operating system that concentrates on high 
security and strong cryptography. Theo will be 
talking about is particular approach to managing 
an open source project. 

Robert Hart is the support manager of Red Hat 
Software. Robert will be talking about Linux in 
the commercial world. Red Hat now offers 
commercial support for Linux, and Robert will 
discuss how this changes the equation for 
commercial users. 

So mark the week of 6-10 September in your 
diary and I look forward to seeing you there. 

You can keep up to date with all the latest news 
JromAUUG*99 through the conference website at: 
http: / / WWW. auug. org. au/ winter! auug99 

Conference News: 

What’s on at USENIX 

Full tutorial and technical session programs, and 
online registration, are available at for the following: 


June 6-11, 1999, Monterey, California 

This year the tutorial program has been expanded 

to three days. 

John Ousterhout of Scriptics Corporation will 
provide the keynote. And Included again is the 
FREENIX track devoted to providing top-quality 
presentations on the latest developments and 
interesting applications in open source software. 

Recently added to the schedule: 


July 12-14, 1999, Seattle, Washington 
Paper submissions due: February 23, 1999 

Co-located with: 


July 14-16, 1999, Seattle, Washington 
Co-sponsored by SAGE, the System 
Administrators Guild 

Submission proposals due: February 23, 1999 


In cooperation with The CERT Coordination 

August 23-26, 1999, Washington, D.C. 

Paper submissions due: March 9, 1999 


October 3-6, 1999, Austin, Texas 
In cooperation with ACM SIGPLAN and SIGSOFT 
Paper submissions due: March 22, 1999 


October 11-14, 1999, Boulder, Colorado 
Co-sponsored by IEEE Computer Society 
Technical Committee on the Internet 
Extended abstracts due: March 25, 1999 

Just added: 


November 7-12, 1999, Seattle, Washington 
Co-sponsored by SAGE, the System 
Administrators Guild 

Extended abstracts and Invited Talk Proposals 
due: May 25, 1999 

AUUGN Vol.20 • No.2 

- 18 


February 14-18, 2000, Austin, Texas 
Extended abstracts due: September 1, 1999 

^ ^ ^ 

The USENLX Association supports user groups 
worldwide. We have recently inaugurated several 
programs to further this goal: 

Co-SPONSORSfflp OF Conferences & 
International Affiliate Program 

There are many different models for affiliate 
membership or co-sponsorship; contact the 
Executive Director at 

International Speakers Program 


User Groups on the USENIX web site 

http: / /WWW. 

Information on papers can be found at the AUUG 
website : 

WWW. auug. org. au 

There are also many advertising and sponsorship 
opportunities available for your Organisations. 
Information is available from the AUUG business 

To take advantage of these, please contact: 

Liz Carroll 

AUUG Business Manager 
Phone: 02-9858-4542 


Carlton Crest Hotel 


8-10 September 1999 

^ ^ 

Sponsorship Opportunities: 

Open Source 

AUUG*99 Conference 
September 8-10, 1999 
Carlton Crest Hotel 
Queens Road 
Melbourne VIC Australia 





• 2 complimentary registrations for the Conference 

® 2 complimentary invitations for the Cocktail 


® 2 complimentary invitations for the Conference 


« logo displayed in conference Plenary Hall 

• acknowledged on all appropriate occasions in both 
print and verbally 

• small display area 

Listed and identified as a sponsor in: 

® the conference brochure 

® the conference final programme with company 

Theme: ’’Open Source’’ 


The 1999 AUUG winter conference will be held at 
the Carlton Crest Hotel, Queens Road, Melbourne, 
Australia, between September 8th and 10th. 

The conference will be preceded by two days of 
tutorials, on September 6th and 7th. 

Conference Brochure 

- wide distribution to key decision makers 

- areas of exclusive advertising 

- immediate impact prior to the conference 

Welcome Reception 

- 19 - 

June 1999 

- prestigious event allowing sponsor to make first 
impression on the delegates 

- reception Identified as being sponsored by the 
XYZ company on all printed material 

- signage on the evening 

- opportunity to address delegates 

• Conference Dinner 

- dinner identified as being sponsored by the XYZ 

“ name printed on dinner menu 

- opportunity to distribute mementos and address 
to the audience 

- banner identifying the sponsoring company 

- name of sponsoring company on entry tickets 

^ ^ 



® 1 complimentary invitation for the cocktail 


® 1 complimentary invitation for the conference 


® logo displayed In conference plenary hall 
® acknowledged on all appropriate occasions in both 
print and verbally 

® display space available for one day at the 






® 1 complimentary registration for the conference 

® 2 complimentary Invitations for the cocktail 


• 2 complimentary invitations for the conference 

® logo displayed in conference plenary hall 
® acknowledged on all appropriate occasions In both 
print and verbally 

• display space 

Listed and identified as a sponsor in: 

® the conference brochure 

® the conference final programme 


Listed and identified as a sponsor in: 

® the conference brochure 

® the conference final programme 


® Keynote Sessions 

- opportunity to Introduce the keynote session 

• Lapel Badges 

» Speakers Reception 

“ event allowing sponsor to make first impression 
with speakers 

- reception identified as being sponsored by the XYZ 
company on all printed material 

- signage on the evening 

- opportunity to address speakers 

^ ^ ^ 

® Conference Proceedings 

- 2 A4 pages of exclusive advertising 

- long term usage and shelf life as it is a reference 



® Tee-Shirts 

- offering long term usage and company message 
to recipient 

® Conference Satchel 

- Satchel offering long term usage and company 
message to recipient 

• 1 complimentary invitation for the cocktail 


« logo displayed in conference plenary hall 
® acknowledged on all appropriate occasions in both 
print and verbally 

® rack space for promotional material 
Listed and Identified as a sponsor in: 

^ ^ 

the conference brochure 
the conference final programme 

AUUGN Vol.20 ® No.2 



• Advertisement in conference programme 

- reaching an audience of key decision makers 

• Conference folder Insert 

- individual inserts in conference satchels 

• Advertisement in conference proceedings 

- A4 size 

^ ^ ^ 



• Audio Visual 

• Conference Network 

Further information Is available from the AUUG 
Business Manager, Liz Carroll. 

Contact details: 


Phone: 02-9858-4542 

^ ^ ^ 


Various advertising opportunities are available from 
$1,500, including inserts on the brochure racks, handing 
out promotional material etc. 

Further information is available from the AUUG 
Business Manager, Liz Carroll. 

Contact details: 


Phone: 02-9858-4542 


m ACN: 053 904 082 

Cybersource has been a Professional Services consultancy, 
specialising in the areas of Unix, Windows and TCP/IP since 
1991. Cybersource also offers accredited, professional-grade 
support for Red Hat Linux and other open source (free) software. 
Therefore, the last ‘valid’ reason for not taking advantage of 
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- 21 - 

June 1999 


^ Wesley 

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Book Reviews 


Mark Neely 

CRACjaNGDES: Secrets of Encryption 
Research, Wiretap Politics and Chip 

Electronic Frontier Foundation, 1998, 

O'Reilly & Assoc, 

ISBN 1-56592-520-3 

Reviewed by: 

Mark Neely 

When I first picked up this book, I was expecting a 
more detailed explanation of DES and other 
enciyption techniques, plus some "cloak-and- 
dagger" insight into the behind-the-scenes 
politicking performed by lobb 3 dsts and 
technologists alike over the free access to 
demonstrably secure encryption technology. 

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a fairly dry read. 

Although the book is quite technical, most of the 
technical information relates to the design of the 
Electronic Frontier Foimdation's "DES cracking" 
PC and the accompanying source code of the 
software they used to do the cracking. 

The book contains the full chip design 
specifications and board schematics, as well as 
the full source code for the custom chip, a chip 
simulator and the "cracking" software. 

All the source code is printed in a special format 
so that it can be easily scanned, converted to 
ASCII and then compiled. An entire chapter is 
devoted to explaining how to do this. The reason 
why the source code is included in scannable 
format is quite straightforward - US laws prevent 
the export of almost all cr 3 q)tographic software (it 
is classed as "munitions"). However, thanks to the 
US 1st Amendment - Freedom of Speech - it is 
possible to legally publish the source code in the 
US and then export those books. 

EFF set out to design and build a "cheap", custom 
enciyption breaking computer as part of its efforts 
to discredit the US government's "endorsed" Data 
Enciyption Standard (DES), which it alleges is no 
longer secure in today's computing environment. 

It also set out to undermine one of the chief 
arguments put by those supporting government 

mandated "backdoors" in enciyption products - 
that existing DES encryption technology is so 
strong that it would take thousands of years to 
break a single message enciypted using a 56 bit 
DES key. 

EFF managed to prove both points conclusively, 
after its DES Cracker (built for around $US200 
000) demonstrated that DES could be "brute 
force" cracked in a matter of days, not years. 

Certainly the book was an eye-opener, in terms of 
the mathematical weaknesses inherent in existing, 
government endorsed cryptographic solutions. It 
also offered some withering commentary on the 
US government's Justifications for promoting, on 
the one hand, a demonstrably insecure ciypto 
system while, on the other hand, attempting to 
bully vendors of stronger, more robust crypto 
systems into including stealthy "key recoveiy" 
mechanisms in their products. 

Anyone interested in chip/board design - 
especially for parallel computing environments - 
and low level enciyption validation/testing will 
certainly benefit from this book, but if you are 
looking for a casual read on secure cryptography 
or the political controversy it creates, you are 
better off looking elsewhere. 

Linux Device Drivers 

Alessandro Rubini 1998, 

OReilly & Assoc. 

ISBN: 1565922921 

Reviewed by: 

Craig Macbride 

This book is clearly structured and is organised in 
a veiy logical order. It starts by introducing the 
basics of the Linux kernel, then goes into the 
details of building and running modules in the 
kernel, character drivers and debugging. Having 
covered the basics, there are several chapters 
which delve into further details of character 
drivers, timing issues, memory management, 
hardware management, block drivers, DMA, 
network devices and the various peripheral buses 
that a programmer might encounter. 

All Linux platforms are covered, not just the PC 
versions, pbiowledge of C and Unix are obviously 
assumed, but all the Linux kernel specifics are 
laid out early on. This includes sections on the 
mechanics of compiling and loading kernel 

AUUGN Vol,20 • No.2 


modules, version dependencies in Linux, 
registering s 3 nnbol names in the kernel and so on. 

The book is well cross-referenced. Where a topic 
has related topics, relevant pointers are included, 
making it easy to plunge into a chapter of interest 
and also find related information. 

Each chapter ends with a quick reference section 
which lists the kernel functions, variables, macros 
and /proc files that were mentioned in that 
chapter, along with a short description of their 
function. This makes following the technical 
discussion a more fluid process, as you do not 
have to refer back to previous chapters. 

The writing style is clear and the book contains 
plenty of sample code demonstrating the kernel 

programming concepts discussed. Unfortunately, 
some of the hardware interface basics likely to be 
encountered by the device driver programmer, 
such as parallel ports, are covered in limited 
detail, while other hardware, such as SCSI 
controllers - which I was particularly interested in 
- is barely mentioned. 

All in all, Linux Devices Drivers provides useful 
information, in a well organised and written 
format, for anyone interested in writing Linux 
device drivers. This is one of the best technical 
books I've read in a long time. It even has a decent 

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- 25 - 

June 1999 

From the pages of 


Sun Will Be on Safari by Mid-2000 

By William Fellows 

Sun Microsystems Inc says its next-generation 
Serengeti servers, supporting up to 1,000 CPUs 
will now ship by the middle of next year. The 
servers will use Sim’s next-generation 600MHz 
UltraSparc III RISC microprocessor. The ’Cheetah’ 
SPU has taped out and Sun expects to have 
silicon by the end of the month. It has 25 million 
transistors and is done in 0.18 microns. 

Last July, Sun had been anticipating Cheetah by 
year-end 1998 and servers by the end of 1999, so 
there has been some slippage — which the 
competition is sure to highlight — although it’s not 
significant compared with industiy norms. It give 
rivals an opportunity to better sell against 
Starfires which will be getting long In the tooth by 
then. Sun appeared to be having a problem with a 
chipset to support Serengeti’s next-generation I/O 
subsystems, but the chipset has now been 
delivered, the company says. 


Red Hat Linux 6.0 Launched, 

Scaling to 8-Way 

By Nick Patience 

Red Hat Software Inc has released the next major 
cut of its version of Linux and the company is 
maintaining its focus on the server side with 
increased scalability, while taking whatever it can 
get of the desktop Linux market at the same time. 
As usual, Red Hat will not charge for the software 
beyond the cost of packaging and distribution as 
its business model relies on the support and 
services around Linux to make a living. It also 
relies on the open source community to develop 
the operating system, which it tweaks and 
supplements with tools to make it easier to use. 
Red Hat Linux 6.0 will be announced on Monday, 
April 26 with shipment scheduled for May 10. The 
current version, 5.2 was released in November 
1998. The major new feature this time will be 
increased scalability through support for 
symmetric multi- processing. Red Hat co-founder 
and chief executive Bob Young, resplendent in his 
own red hat, says this version will scale all the 
way to 8-way and will start to taper off at 12- and 
16-way. The 5.2 cut realistically only made it to 
two processor support. The Linux kernel of the OS 
is 16Mb and the whole thing will take up 400Mb 
of disk space. 

The 6.0 cut supports the KDE and Gnome user 
interfaces and the GTK graphical libraries on 
which they are built. It also supports the GIMP 
graphics manager and includes the Red Hat 

Package manager. Young is reluctant to talk about 
GUI or library wars within the Linux community - 
the company was recently accused of trying to 
break out on its own on the user interface front, 
ignoring the calls for standardization in the Linux 
community. But he fully supports the 
standardization efforts and claims his company 
will probably be the first to implement the Linux 
Standards Base (LSB); an initiative by the major 
Linux distributors (Caldera, Red Hat, VA Research 
and so on) to standardize on a single version of 
the Linux kernel and OS libraries. It is expected to 
get underway within 6-12 months. However, 
Young notes that the issue of the GTK libraries for 
instance, is in danger of becoming the Linux 
equivalent to the Unix spat over Motif. He says 
there needs to be choice over libraries, as the open 
source development model will ascertain which 
ones work and which ones do not. 

Young notes that while his company's 
concentration is on the server, control of the 
desktop is crucial to the small OS's future. Fdght 
now the desktops that are vulnerable to Linux are 
the dedicated machines such as terminals in 
hotels and retail outlets. In fact Red Hat's rival. 
Caldera Systems Inc recently secured a 4,000 
desktop order form a major hotel chain - exactly 
the kind of applications the network computer 
crowd was supposed to dominate, but never did. 
That will be the limit of the desktop penetration 
until major consumer desktop applications such 
as Microsoft Office, Intuit’s TurboTax and the like 
get ported over, says Young. As helpful to the 
cause as Corel Inc's early port of WordPerfect to 
Linux is, "users don't buy PCs to run 
WordPerfect," he says. Red Hat currently employs 
about 120 people in "the tobacco fields of North 
Carolina" as Young describes its Research Triangle 
Park home. 

^ ^ ^ 

HP Readies Internet Operating System 

Hewlett-Packard Co is set to reveal a second "Info 
Utility" technology spawned by its HP Labs next 
montii as an internet operating or inter-operating 
system, the company claims. It is expected to 
Incorporate the Simple Service Discovery Protocol 
which HP recently demonstrated for use as the 
standard device-discovery method for Microsoft 
Corp's Universal Plug and Play mechanism its Sun 

The new software will, HP says, 'virtualize' all 
resources on a network. Instead of an application 
talking to a specific piece of hardware, HP 
envisions an intermediary layer of software which 
sits between the application and device registering 
every resource on tlae network. The hardware tells 
the service it is available plus the resources - 
memory, power and I/O - it offers. Applications 
register the resources they require. The software 
allocates resources accordingly. Simple Service 
Discovery Protocol is to be used vdth HP's own 
JetDirect print server work as a base point. It 
enables simple device installation over a network, 
with the protocol enabling devices to be 

AUUGN Vol.20 ® No.2 

- 26 - 

automatically discovered with minimal user effort. 

HP said it would be using the standardized 
protocol within future JetDirect and Web 
JetAdmin products but would also be working 
with Novell Inc's NDPS distributed print services, 
and with Sun Microsystems Inc on Jini. Web QoS 
service monitoring software was the first 
technology out of the lab. HP is setting great store 
by its ability to write the second chapter of the 
internet through info utility technologies. 


IBM To Offer 8-Way & 16-Way 
Power3-II SP Nodes 

By Timothy Prickett Morgan 

Although the details are yet unclear, rumor has it 
that IBM will offer 8-way and 16-way SMP nodes 
for its RS/6000 server line using the forthcoming 
Power3-II chip. Currently, IBM offers two-way SP 
"Winterhawk" nodes using the 200MHz PowerS 
chip, which is due to be replaced by the Power3-II 
chip by the end of 1999 or early 2000. Power3-II, 
depending on who you ask, will run at 300MHz or 
400MHz, with the latter more likely as IBM steps 
up clock speeds a little more aggressively than it 
has in the past to catch up with Compaq, Hewlett- 
Packard and Sun Microsystems. Current plans 
call for IBM to deliver new "Nlghthawk" nodes, 
which can have 2, 4, 6 or 8 processors, by the end 
of the year. Last year, when the Power3 43P model 
260 workstations and servers were announced, 
IBM said it would deliver four-way Power3 
workstations and servers in the September- 
October timeframe. Whether or not it will use the 
Nighthawk nodes as the basis of new RS/6000 
server motherboards remains to be seen. It is also 
unclear if the Nighthawk SP nodes or the 
forthcoming RS/6000 workstations and servers 
will use the existing Power3 chip or the Power3-II 
follow-on to it. If IBM can get early yields on the 
Power3-II chips, which use its CMOS-7S copper 
chip process, both the Nighthawk nodes and the 
RS/6000 motherboards will obviously use the 
Power3-IIs. During 2000, IBM will put debut SP 
nodes, called Nighthawk-IIs, with up to 16 
processors. Again, it is unclear as yet if these 
cards will end up as the basis of motherboards in 
the RS/6000 server line. 

That IBM has taken so long to deliver four-way 
processing for the Power3 line is somewhat 
remarkable, especially given that IBM was among 
the first vendors to offer four-way 64-bit RISC 
processor motherboards (in this case, in the 
AS/400 line in 1995) and has long since perfected 
the four-way motherboard in the RS/6000 and 
AS/400e Apache and Northstar server lines. It 
looks more like IBM is, for whatever reasons, 
controlling the release of technology rather than 
just building everything it can and letting the 
market decide. (Such an approach is an anathema 
to Big Blue, which for most of its 35 years set the 
pace in server technology and, as such, is unused 
to having customers and competitors set the pace. 
But it looks like IBM's Unix division, under the 
stewardship of Rod Adkins, is changing its spots 

and getting aggressive about releasing technology 
as soon as possible.) While IBM will probably ship 
four-way and eight-way Power3-II motherboards 
for use as Nighthawk nodes in SPs and as the 
basis for its RS/6000 servers before the end of the 
year, the 16-way Nighthawk-II nodes and server 
cards will likely be held back until mid or late 
2000. One early customer, Lawrence Berkeley 
National Laboratory, expects to upgrade an 
RS/6000 SP Powers supercomputer that it just 
bought last week with the Nighthawk-II nodes 
using Power3-II processors by no later than 
December 2000 

^ ^ ^ 

HP Announces Worldwide, 

24/7 Support for Linux 

Objections to open source software on the grounds 
that it lacks commercial support are wearing 
thinner and thinner. Hewlett-Packard Co is the 
latest titan to announce support services for the 
open source operating system Linux. HP will 
provide around-the-clock, worldwide support for 
Linux systems and applications. The company 
promises a maximum two-hour response time and 
immediate response for critical calls on 
multivendor Intel-based platforms. 

The services are to be delivered through HP's 
Electronic Support Center and Response Centers. 
Customers will get unlimited, toll-free, phone-in 
software assistance; a choice of response time 
frames; remote support by HP engineers; access to 
a database of product and support information 
from various vendors; and Linux training for 
system administrators. Linux distributions from 
Red Hat Software Inc, Caldera Systems Inc, Pacific 
Hitech Inc and SuSE Holding AG are supported 
now. In future, the company intends to add 
support for IA-64 architecture and Apache web 

^ ^ ^ 

Apple's Changes to Public Source 
License Cautiously Approved 

By Rachel Chalmers 

Changes to Apple Computer Inc's Public Source 
License (APSL) have created a favorable first 
impression among members of the open source 
and free software communities. Debate is, 
however, still under way. Bruce Perens, one of the 
most outspoken critics of the original APSL, 
writes: "There is still a few days more of public 
online discussion being carried out before either 
OSI [the Open Source Institute] or myself will give 
their final call, because we want to be open to 
objections from others in the free software 

Apple has removed one clause that prevented 
developers from shipping APSLed code to 
countries covered by US export restrictions. The 
company also eased up on its right to terminate 
the license at any time. This provision has been 
the principle point of contention. Perens praised 

- 27 - 

June 1999 


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the company for its prompt and thoughtful 
response to community concerns. "My first 
reading did not give me anything to object to and 
impressed me very favorably Avith the 
responsiveness of Apple," he writes; "they really 
did their best to address our criticisms." 

^ ^ ^ 

Now SGI Takes OpenVault 
Open Source 

Continuing to pursue alternative business models 
for some of its software to relieve development 
costs and free code from effective captivity, SGI 
last week released its OpenVault storage area 
network management software to the open source 
community. The OpenVault APIs enable third 
party applications to manage multiple tape 
libraries and silos at a high-level and provides 
media management services. SGI counts Legato, 
SpectraLogic, Exabyte and ADIC amongst its 
OpenVault licensees. SGI which has also said it is 
creating its own Linux distribution, has already 
released some of its OpenGL graphics library to 
open source. 


Windows 2000: Bad News Is Good News 

Word is leaking out of Microsoft Germany that 
Windows 2000, now more than a year late coming 
to market, will not be released during 1999. 
Microsoft is mum on the subject thus far. But it is 
probably not much of a coincidence that last 
Wednesday when the Windows 2000 delays hit the 
wire was the same day that Microsoft announced 
Service Pack 5 for Windows NT 4.0. Service Pack 5 
includes various Y2K updates that didn't make it 
into Service Pack 4, which is only a few months 
old, as well as changes and performance 
enhancements to dial-up networking, clustering 
and DHCP serving, among other things. Every 
month that Windows 2000 is late and every 
stumble Microsoft makes in getting the product to 
market, which is currently in beta 3 and more or 
less stable in a workstation implementation but 
still not working properly for server configurations, 
is a month when Unix and Linux vendors can get 
out there and compete hard for new business 
against Microsoft. The key for Unix and Linux 
vendors is to get as much momentum going now, 
before Microsoft gears up the marketing machine 
in 2000, when both Windows 2000 and Merced 
workstations and servers will be shipping. Now is 
not the time to hesitate, but to strike. 

Sun Set to Abandon Java 
Standardization Plan 

By Dan Jones and Tom Hughes 

Sun Microsystems Inc appears to be considering 
alternatives to the International Standards 
Organization's Publicly Available Specifications 

process for standardizing Java. The sticking point 
has been the standards body's insistence that it 
take full control of the future development and 
maintenance of the language, shutting out Sun's 
control. Speaking at the Java Enterprise Solutions 
Symposium in Paris JavaSoft president, Alan 
Baratz said that Sun was examining its options. 
"We could go to other bodies," he said. 

The ISO has changed the rules on PAS proposal 
submissions - PAS is not usually a channel open 
to commercial organizations - and Baratz 
suggested that the outcome of these changes 
would mean that the company would have to pass 
the ongoing definition of the platform to ISO. 
Baratz suggested that Sun wanted to retain some 
control over the language it piloted. "We invested 
money and effort in the ISO process," Baratz said, 
"Sun was a little naive...then we saw Microsoft 
spending several million dollars to block the 
initiative." He concluded that "commercial 
companies are unlikely to use this process in the 

If Sun does abandon its PAS submission, it is not 
necessarily the victoiy for Microsoft which it might 
seem. Although Microsoft has long fought Sim's 
right to use the PAS process as a vehicle for Java 
standardization. Sun may be in a better position 
to retain control over the future of Java through 
its newly-created Java community license model. 
Sun CEO, Scott McNealy has always maintained 
that Sun should retain stewardship of Java, and 
even Sun’s biggest Java ally privately admits such 
a move wouldn't come as a shock. 

^ ^ 

Sun Releases Tool to Make 
Linux Apps Run on Solaris 

By Rachel Chalmers 

Sun Microsystems Inc has contributed software to 
an open source development project that should 
let users run Linux applications on Solaris 7 
without having to modify them in any way. Sun 
will also provide free tools to make it easy for 
Linux developers to check that their source code 
will run on Solaris. The open source effort, Ixrun, 
ensures binary compatibility, while Sun's free 
development tools will offer source code 
compatibility when they ship for free in June. 
Patrick Dorsey, Sun's product line manager for 
Solaris, explained: "This helps if there are any 
S 3 mtax issues or small incompatibilities. Solaris 
and Linux are already pretty close to each other. 
What this tool does is make that inherent 
compatibility even easier." 

As for Ixrun, it was originally developed for use 
with SCO UnixWare. Sim engineers have been 
collaborating with the current open source code 
owner, Steven Ginsberg: "We worked with him and 
contributed our enhancements back to the 
community," Dorsey explained. Available 
immediately, Ixrun for Solaris Intel Platform 
Edition runs Linux applications unmodified 
alongside Solaris apps. 'We see benefits for both 
developers and for users," Dorsey said, "developers 

- 29 - 

June 1999 

get access to both the Linux and the Solaris user 
base - more seats and a larger market size.” Aad 
Sun, of course, gets access to Linux application 
development resources, though Dorsey plays down 
this angle: "Solaris is pretty robust in terms of 
application capture,” he says, before conceding, 
"but there are applications that have been hacked 
that will benefit Solaris as well.” 

Barbara Kay, product line manager for desktop 
software, says the biggest winners will be the 
users. ”We certainly are aware that new 
development is going on the Linux space,” she 
says, noting that there is particular interest in 
KDE and GNOME. "For users that are not looking 
for a cross-platform environment like the one we 
ship, a whizzy interface like KDE or GNOME might 
be just what they need.” But the real strength of 
Linux over Solaris is the availability of games, Kay 
reveals. "If you've got a developer who's been doing 
heads-down coding for hours, they might want to 
take a break to use the latest greatest games,” she 
chuckles. "If games are available on Linux now 
you can get to them and use them on your Solaris 
workstation. Managers like making sure that kind 
of thing is available to their creative end users.” 

^ ^ ^ 

Correction: Digital CFS 
Not Based On NFS 

Insiders at Digital familiar with the evolution of its 
Cluster File System for Tru64 Unix have taken 
issue with the common characterization of CFS as 
an offshoot of Sun's Network File System. They 
say this is not correct. Tru64’s CFS is based on 
the Transparent Network Computing file system 
technology that Digital licensed from Locus 
Computing Corporation (now part of Platinum 
technology). TNC, they say, provided a true single 
system image for files and processes through a 
clustered system, capabilities that NFS did not 
have. (CFS can apparently mount NFS, however.) 
They also remind us that the same TNC 
technology was also licensed by Tandem for its 
Unix product line. In 1996, after Digital obtained 
its license, Tandem acquiredthe exclusive rights 
for future development of the TNC technology from 
Platinum, and almost immediately afterward was 
eaten by Compaq. Not long after that - at least in 
computer years - Compaq ate Digital and found 
itself with two separate implementations of the 
same technology. 


DG Targets McKinley for Its 64-bit 
ccNUMA Systems 

Data General Corp will be upgrading its SCI 
ccNUMA interconnect to a fully-switched system 
by year-end enabling it to connect 64 processors 
in a single node, up from 32 currently. Its DG/UX 
will continue to be the operating system of choice 
on its IA-32 systems, but DG will likely use the 
IBM-SCO-Sequent Monteiy/64 Unix on IA-64 

systems. That's if it can get what it wants out of 
the Monterey/64 team, which is a guarantee on 
support for DG's own clustering and ccNUMA 
topologies. Until then it's not going to go public 
with any notion of support for Monterey64. In any 
case, it will only use Monterey/64 on IA-64 
systems. DG says it will port its ccNUMA 
technologies to IA-64, but is targeting the second 
generation part, McKinley, not Merced. 

^ ^ 

Sun Promises 100 Teraflop 
Computer by 2000 

Sun Microsystems Inc is promising a 100 TFLOPS 
supercomputer by the year 2000. Director of the 
science office at Sun, John Gage, speaking at the 
Java Enterprise Solutions Symposium in Paris, 
France, said that the new machine would be 
unveiled by year-end. Sun has already promised 
its Serengeti servers using the UltraSparc III 
"Cheetah” processors by mid-2000. 


Linux Hype Driven by Anti-Microsoft 
Feelings Says Report 

Less than 5% of Meta Group's clients expect Linux 
to have a significaint enterprise role within their 
organizations in five years time. Meta says this 
demonstrates that positioning Linux against 
Windows NT is pure hype. It is mostly driven by 
antipathy towards Microsoft Corp not in a belief 
about Linux's enterprise qualities, Meta says. It 
expects the Linux market will "inevitably fragment 
as enterprise vendors incorporate such functions 
into the shareware base.” It identifies Linux's 
greatest problem as the lack of mission-critical 
support, which is unlikely to emerge from the 
shareware market. Meta recommends investing in 
Linux as an embedded or dedicated appliance 
operating system. 


Linux Faster Than 
Solaris in Some Cases 

The notion that Linux on Sparc is faster than 
Solaris on Sparc lingers. Sun Microsystems Inc 
has apparently been asking benchmarkers "why?” 
Linux people have reminded us that the problem 
with benchmarks is that you get what you 
measure for. It's likely, they say, that Red Hat 
Linux for Sparc for example will outperform 
Solaris on older Sparc computers. But they say 
they wouldn't make the same claim for the latest 
Ultrasparcs running finely tuned Solaris. They say 
that the main advantage Linux has is that it is 
much lighter weight than Solaris, but that can 
translate into a disadvantage for higher end 

AUUGN Vol.20 # No.2 

- 30 

I I Windows NT Hetrogeneous 
Steven B Thomas 

A complete reference for internetworking all 
major systems with NT, both at the operating 
system and protocol level. Windows NT 
Hetrogeneous Networking Is the ideal 
resource for system engineers, system architects, 
network administrators and system administrators. 
This authoritative guide includes: 

® Critical technical information on issues related 
to LAN and WAN protocol management. 

“ Proven solutions to administering remote 
services - Server Manager, remote client 
console service, and client-based administra¬ 
tive tools. 

* Comprehensive coverage of UNIX integration, 
NetWare bindery-based servers, NetWare 
directory servers, and Apple integration. 

If you design or implement networks that Integrate 
Windows NT with other systems, Windows NT 
Hetrogeneous Networking is a critical 
resource to help you: 

« Successfully develop an enterprise model 

* Optimise hardware, domain controllers, and 
enterprise service traffic 

« Effectively troubleshoot your enterprise 

® Understand the keys to monitoring and 
managing Browsing,WINS, DHCP,HIS, and 

ISBN: IS78700647 
584pages Paperback 

I I UnixWare 7 System Administrator 
Gene Henriksen and Melissa Henriksen 

This tutorial for system engineers and administra¬ 
tors is the definitive operating system resource. 
UnixWare 7 System Administrator presents 
the latest version of UnixWare for technical 
professionals who curently use or are considering 
deploying UnixWare. Each chapter of the book 
includes trouble shooting notes from initial beta 
users and the developers at SCO. SCO Open- 
Server administrators will find this an invaluable 
resource for migrating their systems to a new and 
better operating enviroment. Administrators of the 
older UnixWare versions will find this guide to the 
new administrative tools indispensable. 

It includes 

® Critical information on installation as well as 
post-installation tasks 

® Tips on how to maintain the system under 
UnixWare 7's disaster recovery tools 
* Extensive coverage of migrating to UnixWare 
7, including tools and proven scripts 
® Thorough guidance to the Service Access 
Facility that replaces the getty process. 

ISBN: 1578700809 . 

536pages $1005 87.96 




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AUUG Local Chapter Meetings 1999 


Inn on the Park 

507 Coronation Drive 


For further information, eontaet the QAUUG 
Exeeutive Committee via email (qauug- The teehno-logieally deprived 
ean eontaet Riek Stevenson on (07) 5578-8933. 

To subseribe to the QAUUG announeements 
mailing list, please send an e-mail message to: 
<> eontaining the 

message "subseribe qauug <e-mail address>" in the 
e-mail body. 


Australian National University 


University of Tasmania 


Various. For updated information 

http: / / WWW. vie auug 
vie/ av_meetings.html 

The meetings alternate between Teehnieal 
presentations in the odd numbered months and 
purely soeial oeeasions in the even numbered 
months. Some attempt is made to fit other AUUG 
activities into the schedule with minimum 


The Vietoria League 

276 Onslow Road 

Shenton Park 

Meeting commences at 6.15pm 


The Wesley Centre 

Pitt Street 

Sydney 2000 

Up-to-date information is available by calling AUUG on 1-800-625-655. 

AUUGN Vol.20 • No.2 

- 32 - 

Unix Traps and Tricks 

Jerry Vochteloo 

Welcome to the May issue of Unix traps and tricks. My name is Jeny Vochteloo and I am a lecturer at the 
University of Technology, Sydney. I teach operating system and network based subjects and am currently 
waiting on one more examiner to return his report for my PhD thesis. I will be your friendly UT&T sub¬ 

When I was putting the column together, I was surprised that the cupboard was a little bare of 
contributions. Surprised, as I am sure that we all have something to contribute to this column. 

I am planning to run this column with different themes each issue Ideas for possible themes which came 
to me were: X-windows, security scripts/tricks/traps, window managers, logon scripts. These are of 
course only examples. 

Any contributions can be sent to me 
I look forward to a fruitful time as the editor of Traps and Tricks. 

^ ^ ^ 

REALDATE Re-Visited 

Graham Jenkins 

A couple of days after the February issue of AUUGN hit the streets, the '', which appeared 
therein, fell over. The reason was that one of the NTP servers it was addressing didn't respond. So it just 
hung - and the backup program which was calling it also hung. 

It was about that time I acquired a copy of "Perl Cookbook" from O’Reilly and Associates. Using an 
example therein, I was able to modify '' so that it would time-out sensibly in a situation such as 
that outlined above. The new version is as follows: 

#!/usr/local/bin/perl -w 

# realdate, pi Returns 'real' date as found on NTP server (s). 

# If called with parameter ’-s', returns date in form 'yyyymradd' 

# Graham Jenkins, IBM GSA, January 1999. Last revised: 990318. 
require 5.002; 

use strict; 
use 10::Socket; 

my ($conf, $type, $remote, $s, $flag, ©field, %month ) ; 

foreach $conf ('/etc/ntp.conf', '/etc/inet/ntp.conf') { 

open(CONF, $conf) or next; 
while (<C0NF>) { 

chop ; 

($type, $remote) = split or $type='x' ; 
if { $type eq "server" ) { 

$s = 10::Socket::INET->new(PeerAddr => $remote, 

PeerPort => 


Type => 



Timeout => 

5 ) 

or next; 

$flag = shift || "x 

II . 

if ( $flag eq "-s" 

) ' { 

%month = ( "Jan", 


"Feb", 2, "Mar", 


"Apr", 4, 

"May", 5, 



"Aug", 8, "Sep", 


"Oct", 10, 


"Dec", 12 ); 
while (<$s>) { 

chop ; 

©field = split; 

printf "%04d%02d%02d\n", $field[$#field], 


exi t; 



else { print $_ while defined{$„ = <$s>); exit; } 

- 33 - 

June 1999 




Shortly thereafter, another problem came to light. Whoever administers the corporate NTP servers decided 
that they should no longer answer ('daytime') requests on port 13. Oops! 

It was then that I started searching the Web for a quick solution. I discovered a program called MSNTP 
(don't ask what the 'M' stands for; the rest is for 'Simple Network Time Protocol') which is able to query 
conventional NTP servers on port 123 and return an easily-read local time. Just what the doctor ordered! 
In fact, it can also reset or adjust the time on the local machine when executed with root privileges, or 
function as a server, supplying time information to client machines. 

So everything is working again. For those of you who are interested, MSNTP can be found at: 
ftp: / / oozelum. csi. cam. ac. uk/bin / msntp -1.5. tar. gz 

And those of you who are truly dedicated may even want to replicate its unprivileged client mode 
functionality in Perl. Enjoy! 

Andrew Weston 

You may well have seen/used something like this before, or there might even be a UNIX command I don't 
know about. 

Basically when you pass a text file through the script it will replace <tab> characters with the appropriate 
number of spaces to position the next character on a tab stop. It works for 4 spaces = 1 tab but readers 
could adapt it. 

For want of a better name, I called the script "tabs_to_space". 

It is invoked like any other piped program (e.g. cat <file> | tabs_to_space | Ip). 

/usr/bin/awk '{ 

counter = 1; space_ctr = 1; 
curr_char = " "; 

for (counter = 1; counter <= length($0); counter++) { 
curr_char = substr($0,counter,1); 
if (curr_char -= "Xt") { 

space_to_tab = ((space_ctr - 1) % 4); 
if ( (space_to__tab == 0) | | (space_ctr == 1) ) { 

printf(" ") ; 

space_ctr = space_ctr + 4; 

) else { 

nuin_spaces = (4 - space„to_tab) ; 
for (ctr2 = 1 ; ctr2 <= nuin._spaces; ctr2++) { 

printfC "); 



} else { 

printf { " %s '' , curr_char) ; 



printf("\n") ; 


AUUGN Vol.20 ® No.2 

- 34 - 


Jerry Vochteloo 

I lectiire at UTS. UTS is very big on on-line support for subjects. As such I have all my lecture, 
assignment and tutorial information on the web. One thing that constantly annoyed me was the fact that 
I had to have two copies of each tutorial {one for the students, sans answers; and one for the tutors with 
answers). Each time I updated (or corrected) a question 1 had to update multiple copies of the file. What 1 
wanted was to be able to selectively serve bits of a html file depending on the identity of the requestor. 

After giving up on server side includes I decided on perl and cgi. It works in the following way. A user has 
to have a valid account to be able to access the files. This is authenticated using a suitably configured 
.htaccess file. The authenticated user id (in the environment variable REMOTE_USER) is what I use for 
access control (but you could use IP address etc). The below cgi script will serve files from a hidden (or 
inaccesible) directory (in $hiddendir). It will provide parts of the html file depending on a set of tags. 

The mapping between target tags is done in the authfile which has a list of 

tag <user>*|all. 

my file has the following contents: 

tutors col sen voh jerry- 
solutions col sen voh jerry 
students all 

This indicates that col, sen, voh and jerry are all in the access group tutors and solutions and the 
everybody is a member of the group students. 

All I have to do now is enclose the solutions in 

<!-- begin solutions --> 

<!-” end solutions --> 

pairs and voila, the students don't have access to the solutions but the tutors do. 

I suspect this code might contain one or two loopholes, but it seems to work if you don't push it too hard. 

I further apologise for my lack of perl finesse, I'm only a recent convert:) 



# Jerry Vochteloo 1999 

# aclweb.cgi 


# This script will extract parts of a HTML file 

# according to who is looking at it. 


# This will print the html file and the text between 

# <!-- begin target --> 

# < 1 -- end target ---> 

# pairs. 


# Usage: url/cgi-bin/aclweb.cgi?filename.html 


# Bugs 

# No nesting of target tags 

# The conditional tags must be on a seperate line, by themselves 

# (brain dead tag matching on my part) 



# Implementation: 

# Simple state machine, print the stuff between valid tags 


print ”Content-type: text/html\n"; 
print "Pragma: \ "no-cache\ " \n''; 
print "\n"; 

- 35 - 

June 1999 

$filename = $ENV{'QUERY_STRING’}; 

$filename =~ s/\.\.//g; # get rid of those silly tricksters 

$public = 1; 

$print = 1; 



if (! $filename) { 
print «EOF; 


I could not find a file 

exit 0; 


$user = $ENV{'REMOTE_USER’}; # this is set by an authenticate in .htaccess 

# I authenticate by this 

%targets = (); 

open(AUTHFILE,"$hiddendir$configfile") || print "blah"; # open authfile 

while (<AUTHFILE>) { 

©users = (); 

($alias,$users) = split(/ //$_/2); 

$_ = $users/ 
if (/$user/ || /all/) { 

$targets{$alias} = 1; 



open(FILE, "$hiddendir$filename") || exit 0; # open requested file 



if ($public == 1) { 

if {/^\<\\\-\- begin (\w+) \-\-\>$/i) { # this line needs a little work 

$public = 0; 

$curr = $1; 

if ($targets{$curr} != 1) { 

$print =0; # the target is not in the list 


next; # don't print the tag 


} else { 

if (/"\<\!— end (\w+) --\>$/) { 

if ($curr == $1){ 

$public = 1; 

$print = 1; 


next; # don't print the tag 


if ($print == 1) { # if printing is on, print :) 



Well that was all for this issue. Keep on hacking and see you next issue, remember that you too can have 
your 15 minutes of fame by contributing to UT&T. 

AUUGN VoL20 • No.2 

- 36 - 

^ SiEfJVTVX&atCf 

AUUG Incorporated 
Web Home j 

Welcome to the ATTITG Web Server. AUUG is tile Aiistralimi Ul'nX and Open 
Systems User Group. AUUG is a national body, with chapters that orgaiase local 
activities m most capital cities. 

# About AUUG 

# Annual Conference 

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^ J ohn Lions Awar d for work in Open Syslems 

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Check out the 

AUUG ’99 



And keep up to 
date with the 
happenings at 
the AUUG 

& Technical WHtw 


86ft\^y is seeldnisr adcfitionai staff for research and development as 
well as existing projects and their support. 

We require 16 software engineers, 2 test engineers and 3 support 
engineers with a range of skills which may Include; 

• Strong UNIX system background 

« Management experience 

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« Problem Investigation, solving and resolution skills 

• Good human Interaction skills 

We seek persons with experience ranging from many years to recent 
graduates and quaiiiicatlons ranging from Ph.D to B.Sc. in Computer 
Science or equivalent, 

We also require; 

• An additional Project Administrator, to provide administrative 
support to senior engineers and team leaders by keeping 
track of contractural requirements, delivery dales, 
correspondence, resource tracking, databases, 
spreadsheets, monitoring and updating project progress. 

< Ah addltlbralT^Knlr^i Writer wjth expede V \ 

documentatloh, training and marketing materials. Must have 
experience with both UNIX and PC platforms, Experience 
; with FramemakerSGML highly regarded. 

Softway's system resource management products are sold Internationally 
on a number of platforms including Sun, Silicon Graphics, Cray, Convex, 
Pyramid and Siemens Nixdorf. 

The working environment at Softway Is relaxed and unprejudiced with 
enlightened policies such as self directed professional development 
and study assistance. Telecommuting and flexible working hours are 
supported. Attractive and flexible remuneration packages up to $120K 
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Please email ( or send your resume to Ed 
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Strawberry Hills NSW 2012, or Fax (02) 9699 9174, 

For Inquiries phone (02) 9698 2322 

No agencies please 

Evolutionary software, revolutionary results 

AUUGN Vol.20 • No.2 

- 38 - 


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