The UNIX® CRONicle

October 2000

Official Publication of the STL!/unix/usr/group

UNIX® is a registered trademark of the Open Group
Linux® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds
Online version:

Table of Contents

Next Meeting Details

Wednesday, Oct 11, 2000 at 6:30 PM
Sunnen Products, 7910 Manchester

6:30 PM Tutorial 15 minutes with CVS by Dr. Ing. Roland Krause
7:00 PM Announcements  (Standard Introductions & Procedure )
7:05 PM Call For Help (An opportunity for you to ask technical questions of the group)
7:15 PM Break  Social, off-line conversations, & book sales
7:20 PM Admittance to building may no longer be possible See Meeting Directions 
7:30 PM Presentation  Signals - with Sanjiv K. Bhatia, Ph.D.


15 minutes with CVS by Dr. Ing. Roland Krause

The Concurrent Versions System (CVS) is a system for providing source control to hierarchical collections of source directories. As a version control system it allows recording the history of files.

This tutorial will explain the main principles of CVS. Focus will remain on basic functionality, e.g. how to maintain a repository, check out a working version and keep it in sync with the repository. The introduction will be restricted to CVS powerful command line interface.

What Is CVS?:

If you are running a GNU/Linux distribution check out both the man pages and information pages.

The "man cvs" description starts out as follows:

The "info cvs" introduction starts out as follows:


Dr. Krause is a frequent speaker at SLUUG. His presentations and tutorials have been well structured, informative, relaxed and often entertaining. He is a visiting professor at Washington University, a frequent contributor to the SLUUG Steering Committee, and a strong advocate of both Open Source and quality beer.

More: - Nice CVS intro - CVS home page - A CVS tutorial - some advanced CVS tips

Questions and ideas about this discussion are welcome; please send 


Signals - with Sanjiv K. Bhatia, Ph.D.


This presentation will discuss signal handling in some of the variants of Unix, concentrating primarily on SVR4 and BSD. We will discuss signal implementation, generation, and handling. We'll make a distinction between unreliable signals (SVR2 and earlier) and reliable signals.

What are Signals?:

When you terminate a process under Unix (and other Unix-like Operating Systems) the "kill" command is generally used. It performs the action by sending a "signal" to the process.

Signals provides the tools for synchronization and communications in Unix. In addition, they provide a mechanism for event handling.


Sanjiv Bhatia received his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska -- Lincoln in 1991. He is presently working as an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science in the University of Missouri -- St. Louis. His primary area of research is Image Databases, Digital Image Processing, and Computer Vision. He has published several papers on image databases and the application of knowledge-based techniques to information retrieval. He has been consulting in image processing for flight simulators and has designed an infra red post processor for a V-22 Osprey simulator. He is a member of ACM and AAAI.

Ideas, questions and suggestions are welcome; please contact Sanjiv K. Bhatia by sending
voice: (314)-516-6520 fax: (314)-516-5400

Next Linux SIG Meeting Is 19 October

Laptop Installation of Linux - by Someone Special


Laptop Installation of Linux on a laptop is really cool. Not only does it run Linux, but you can take it with you.


Someone Special has been an application developer and Linux user for more than twenty minutes. More than likely they are a recovering Microsoft victim.

Comments, questions and ideas about this session are welcome; please send

Check out The Linux Laptop homepage at if you can't wait.

Special Promotion(s)

blue triangle right Title of the Month

The October discount special will be 25% on CVS & Java books. There will be a 10% discount on all other books. 

All regularly priced titles are 10% off retail cost at the general meeting.
(Excludes featured, or specially priced or promotional items)
O'Reilly Logo

The O'Reilly and Associates line of books is available at each monthly general meeting as a convenience to our members.

Each month features a book related to that month's presentation or tutorial topic.
Discounts off retail cost are offered to all members and each month's featured book(s) may be additionally discounted. Usually, all titles are discounted 10%, while special titles are discounted 25%.

Upcoming Events

[St. Louis UNIX Users Group stuff] 

Nashville, TN
[Don't forget about this stuff]
Perl Mongers Oct 5, 2000

Columbus Day (Observed) Oct 9, 2000
4th Linux Showcase Oct 10-14, 2000 
Cobb Galleria
Atlanta, GA
SLUUG General Meeting Oct 11, 2000 at 6:30 PM
Sunnen Products
7910 Manchester (at Hanley)
St. Louis, MO
Steering Committee Oct 17, 2000 at 6:00 PM (Subject to Change)
Daugherty Systems
One City Place (2nd floor)
Creve Coeur, MO
Linux SIG October 19, 2000 at 7:00 PM
( TOPIC: ) Laptop Installation of Linux - by Someone Special
Indian Trails Library
8400 Delport Drive (at Midland)
St. Louis, MO
4th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems
Design and Implementation
Oct 22-25, 2000 
San Diego, CA
Daylight Savings Time Ends Oct 29, 2000

Perl Mongers Nov 2, 2000 
PhreakNIC Nov 3-5, 2000
Election Day Nov 7, 2000
SLUUG General Meeting  Nov 8, 2000 
Vetrans Day Nov 11, 2000
Steering Committee  Nov 14, 2000 (subject to change)
Linux SIG  Nov 16, 2000 

Meeting Directions

The STL!/unix/usr/group meets the 2nd Wednesday of every month at Sunnen Products, 7910 Manchester Blvd, just east of Hanley on Manchester.

Directions From Downtown

  1. Take 40 West to the Hanley exit.
  2. Turn left (south) onto Hanley.
  3. Turn left (east) onto Manchester, then turn right ASAP into the Sunnen Products driveway.
See map at

(NOTE: A security guard from Sunnen is scheduled to be at the door from 6:20 PM to 7:20 PM to allow entry. After 7:20, the door will be unattended and attendees may not be able to enter.)

The SLUUG Steering Committee meets the Tuesday following the general meeting at 6:00 PM in the 2nd floor training room of Daugherty Systems, One City Place in Creve Coeur.

The SLUUG Linux SIG (SLUUG-LS) meets the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Indian Trails Public Library.

See map at

Article(s):The following article(s) express(es) personal opinions and SLUUG exerts no more editorial control over such content than does a public library, bookstore, or newsstand. Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or Content expressed herein are those of the respective author(s) and not necessarily supported by SLUUG. SLUUG does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content, nor its merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose.

Book Review: World's First Computer

by Stan Reichardt

For those interested in the general history of computing, please note that the St. Louis County library has added an interesting new book:

SUB-TITLE: The Triumphs & Tragedies of the World's First Computer
AUTHOR: Scott McCartney
PUBLISHER: Walker & Co, NY
ISBN: 0-8027-1348-3
STL CALL: 004.1/M123E

This is really two books in one. The first part covers the development work done in creating the first general purpose electronic computing system. It details the development of ideas and practical improvements of devices to do the work. The second part covers the patent fights, the legal jockeying, licensing arrangements, marketing claims and interpretation of events.

This book seems to be very through with presenting historical events although I couldn't begin to verify how and when they unfolded. It gives a very interesting presentation of one view of what happened, particularly the fight over "who was the inventor". It also provides a remarkable view of how the U.S. patent system effects our interpretation of history.

Some of the events provide a very good reminder that not too long ago IBM used to be the corporate bully. It also points out that UNYSIS (Sperry) still pursues domination using patent suits and other legal action.

Changing Steering Committee Night

by Gary Meyer

The SLUUG Steering Committee has debated changing the night on which it meets. Each SLUUG General meeting is always the second Wednesday of each month. The current Steering Committee meeting has always been the Tuesday following that General meeting.

The most immediate and pressing reasons for a change are that the St. Louis Web Developers meeting is currently on the same Tuesday evening and this is an unfortunate conflict for many regular attendees.

The proposals are for the Steering Committee to meet on either the Monday or Wednesday following the SLUUG General meeting. Currently the Monday option is favored.

Just as everyone is welcome to attend the meetings, so also, is everyone invited to join the discussion of this and other organization topics in the STEERCOM mailing list.

For more information members can contact Gary Meyer by sending mailto:gary@mail.sluug.orgfor details.

Lightning Talks

by Mike King

LIGHTNING TALKS are two sessions of five consecutive five-minute talks separated by a ten-minute recess.

Note: The most current Lightning Talks information is at

If any of these apply, then we want a Lightning Talk from you!

LIGHTNING TALKS are consecutive five-minute talks on a tight schedule. You should be prepared to take the stage immediately, explain your idea, and then leave immediately. If you want to take questions, chat, or trade business cards, resumes, or URLs, you do it *after* the session. Be prepared to provide a URL for your topic.

If you'd like to give a LIGHTNING TALK, send an abstract of about 50 words about your topic to:

All submissions _must_ be received no later than Midnight of Saturday, December 16th, 2000.

The SLUUG Steering Committee will be presented with recommendations, and will make the final selection of talks at the December 19th, 2000 meeting. Notification will be sent to the selectees, and the schedule announced at the December Linux SIG meeting on December 21, 2000.

The final schedule of Lightning Talks will also be announced in the Cronicle prior to the January 10th, 2001 meeting.

And, finally, my profuse thanks and credit to Mark-Jason Dominus ( ) for this brilliant idea which I have unabashedly stolen and replicated in its entirety from him.

The original Lightning Talks ( ) were at YAPC 19100 ( ).

InstallFest Success

On Saturday Sept 9, we held our 1st Linux Installfest. It went very well thanks to hard work and contributions from many people.

The Installfest was an opportunity for people to bring in their own personal computers and get Linux installed by our volunteers. It started at 1PM and went until after 5PM. We had over a dozen volunteers and serviced over 80 people with at least 4 different variants of Linux.

Since this was our 1st effort at this, we were happy we did not get more attendees but this was good training for us on doing more and larger installfests in the future (hopefully in a couple of months).

Matthew Porter brought together a lot of planning and got space and equipment donations. Andrew Hoog of Quatrix donated the use of their office space and helped us with innumerable details such as power cords, etc. Steven and Kara Pritchard brought equipment and much literature and merchandise to give away. Stan Reichardt brought a goodie bag of equipment. Susan Hurst did triage, figuring out who customers needed to see. Roland Krause and the rest of the volunteers spent the day doing installs and answering questions for many customers.

The Post Dispatch gave us exceptional follow up coverage on Monday, 18 September! They put Tux the penguin on the front page of the Monday Business Plus section and did two stories that covered 2 pages.

The Post Dispatch sent a photographer and a reporter, Peter Schekle to our Installfest. Craig Buchek was photographed taking a customer's computer apart. This was the first time the Post has really made an effort to cover the non-MicroSoft community and they did an excellent job.

Our members should WRITE INTO THE POST-DISPATCH EDITOR and let him know that is what we want to read! Contact the article's author, Peter Shinkle by or by phone 314-862-2180


Overheard at Cousin Hugo's Bar and Grill:

Well, in the war for the desktop, can you guess which side these soldiers are on?

General Protection Fault or General Public License?

Other brave soldiers, Kernel Panic, Major Device Number, Major Domo, Corporal Punishment ( we don't know who he works for...), Private Network and Private Variable.

Interesting Browsing
Follow up: - Nice telecom resource - Valuenet Web Mail

St. Louis woman wins cryptography prize

Message Stolen From: "gary j. meyer"

In mid-1999, a "white-hat" hacker group in the southeastern U.S., se2600 ( placed a Code on their website, with a prize offered to the first person to crack it. The Code can be seen at:

For a year, hackers from all over the U.S. had been working on the Code without success. Until Elonka Dunin of St. Charles decided to take a look at it in July 2000, and successfully cracked it in 10 days. She won VIP access (free hotel, T-shirts, drinks, etc.) to the next se2600 hacker convention, called "PhreakNIC v4.0," which will take place in Nashville in November (see the next article for more information about PhreakNIC).

Not satisfied with merely solving the Code, Elonka has also written a highly-amusing cyberpunk-style tutorial of how she did it. In it, she explains the several different cryptographic techniques that were required to get to the Code's center, and also throws in several in-jokes about the hacker subculture. You can see the tutorial at her website:

Congratulations to Elonka! You've done St. Louis proud. :)

Nashville Hacker & Technology convention

November 3-5, 2000, in Nashville (6-hour drive from St. Louis)

PhreakNIC v4.0 is Nashville's *FREE* annual hacker con. Sponsored by the "white hat" hacker group se2600 (, anyone with a genuine interest in computer security is welcome (and encouraged!) to attend, regardless of skill level. It's an environment for people who are interested in the more underground elements of technology to meet, exchange ideas and hopefully teach/learn. The primary focus is on computers and computer security, but also covers other topics, such as radio (ham, pirate & low-power/community), SETI work, robotics, high-power rocketry, satellites, phones and phreaking, cryptography, etc.

For more information, please check the PhreakNIC website at

This is its fourth year, and all are welcome. Of special interest to St. Louisans, this year our own Elonka Dunin, who recently cracked the PhreakNIC v3.0 Code, will be attending. Anyone else from St. Louis want to join her? If so, contact her by sending

[ Editor's notes:
The term white-hackers referes to people who are interested in code-breaking and security issues but intend their knowledge to be used for good and legal purposes.

Black-hackers have ethics (or some would say lack of ethics) that encourage or allow them to do things that are illegal and/or that are disruptive or in other ways offensive.

Obviously, these terms leave much room for subjective evaluations of actions and the ethics. ]

Personal Commentary
Submitted by Mike King

The following PERSONAL COMMENTARY expresses personal opinions and SLUUG exerts no more editorial control over such content than does a public library, bookstore, or newsstand. Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or Content expressed herein are those of the respective author and not necessarily supported by SLUUG. SLUUG does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content, nor its merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose.

Subject: Your privacy when Amazon goes chapter 11 or 13

Since recently announced a change to its "Privacy Policy" in an unclear way (they simply said it changed and it is in effect, you figure out the differences), I thought I'd share some thoughts as to what changed and why. See for plenty more info.

I noticed that the changes basically revolve around what happens to this valuable database of your personal information that Amazon has been collecting if, perchance, they were to go belly up, and needed to value this database as an 'asset' for creditors to seize. This is all hypothetical, but it is widely rumored that Amazon doesn't have enough cash to sustain them much past January 2001. Apparently losing money on every sale and making it up on volume doesn't work as a business plan. Go figure.

So, in order to be pro-active about protecting your privacy, here are some things you can do to take action before the Chapter 11 or 13 proceedings do so 'on your behalf'...

Personally, I have refused to do business with companies that enforce silly patents like '1-click shopping', and won't ever buy another thing from Amazon.

Take them up on their offer to review your account information. And edit it.

For example (what you do is your own business, and I am not responsible for your actions) one might change their "name" to "Do Not Contact". You might also change your shipping address to:

Which just happens to be's address according to their 'terms of use' contract page.

Your phone number might be something like: 800-201-7575 (their order line).

Clean out all of your CC info if they've "saved" it for "your convenience".

Then, wait a couple of days or a week for the change to settle into the database and backup tapes.

Then login again and 'delete' your information. I'd be surprised if they didn't try to 'salvage' information from delete requests if push comes to shove, and every penny ... er ... name counts when the big wall street firms start getting nervous.

Another suggestion would be to reply to the email with something like the following:

It has a chance of being as legally binding as the email they sent you.

As I said, what you do about *your* personal information is your own business. Knowledge is power. Why give it away (or have it deceptively recorded and duplicated) for others to profit from at your expense?

Special Interest Groups (SIGS)

As our membership grows, we have had some inquiries about the possibility of having Special Interest Groups in several areas. If you are interested in starting or participating in a SIG for System Administration, Networking, C, Object Oriented Programming, a specific vendor, etc., please call Dave Mills at 230-5151, extension 103, or contact any officer of the group.

St. Louis Unix Users Group - Linux SIG (SLUUG-LS)

Visit the Linux SIG home page ( ) for the latest meeting details.
Indian Trails Public Library
8400 Delport Drive
(at Midland)
Follow 170: Exit Page east to North-South Rd., go left on North-South Rd. to Midland, go left on Midland one block to Delport, the Library is on your left (see map at ).

For more information on SLUUG-LS refer to the WWW home page for the group at or contact Matthew Porter by

Digital Alpha SIG

The Digital Alpha SIG is for those interested in Digital UNIX and the DEC Alpha architecture. Visit the Digital Alpha SIG's home at for more information.

St. Louis UNIX Users Group Steering Committee

The SLUUG Steering Committee meets the Tuesday following the general 2nd Wednesday meeting at 6:00 PM in the 2nd floor training room of Daugherty Systems, One City Place in Creve Coeur. The guard can direct you to the meeting location. Anyone is welcome to attend. If you would like to become more involved in the planning of SLUUG, feel free to join us at the next Steering Committee meeting. Meetings usually last 1.5 to 2 hours.


  • Analysts International
  • Andersen Consulting
  • Bradford & Galt
  • CIBER, Inc.
  • Cypress Systems, Ltd.
  • Daugherty Systems
  • Informix Corporation
  • Maryville Data Systems, Inc.
  • O'Reilly & Associates
  • Phoenix Networks
  • Phoenix Networks
  • Renaissance Worldwide, Inc.
  • Sacerdoti Linux Machines { link may be down }
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Stopka & Associates
  • Sunnen Products
  • Sykes Enterprises, Inc.
  • Technisource Inc.
  • Triple-I Corporation
  • Venmar Systems, Inc.
  • The Law Offices of Rich McLennan, send

    For more information about sponsoring the St. Louis UNIX Users Group, contact Ed Wehner, send

    SLUUG on the World Wide Web

    The St. Louis UNIX Users Group maintains a WWW page at Visit us to learn more about who we are and what we do, visit other UNIX user groups' WWW pages, sign up for a SIG, or just to browse.

    SLUUG Administration is volunteer based.

    SLUUG is looking for volunteers to help with presentations, web page development, managing corporate sponsorships, and many other tasks. If you would like to help out contact Gary Meyer by


    We publish other user group meeting schedules on a reciprocal basis. If you are a member of another non-profit group, please inform them of our policy and invite them to exchange meeting information by, or call any of the SLUUG officers.


    BBS Questions Gary Meyer
    Corporate Sponsors Ed Wehner
    O'Reilly Books Dave Mills Work: (314)230-5151, extension 103
    Presentations Open Position Send info/ideas by
    Editorial team:
    Publisher  Sanjiv Bhatia  Home: (314)519-9272 
    Work: (314)516-6520 
    FAX: (314)516-5400
    Editor  Stan Reichardt Home: (314)298-1183
    Steering Committee
    Gary Meyer Home: (314)781-8644
    SLUUG Secretary Rich Seibel
    SLUUG Treasurer Mike Kriz
    Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
    Linux SIG Chair Matthew Porter Home: (314)353-7988

    Submitting Articles to the SLUUG CRONicle

    If you would like to submit an article to the CRONicle of general interest to the members of the St. Louis UNIX Users Group, send The deadline for article submissions is two weeks before the next general meeting.

    SLUUG PO Box

    The St. Louis UNIX Users Group has a P.O. box. All official correspondence with SLUUG should now be sent to:
        St. Louis UNIX Users Group
        P.O. Box 411302
        Creve Coeur Post Office
        St. Louis, MO  63141-9998