The UNIX® CRONicle

February 1999

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, February 10, 1999 at 6:30 PM
Sunnen Products, 7910 Manchester

6:30 PM Tutorial Spong by James Chapman
7:00 PM Call For Help (An opportunity for you to ask technical questions of the group)

7:15 PM Social, off-line conversations, & book sales

7:30 PM Elections
7:35 PM Presentation Ethernet - Part 2 (The New Advances) by Gary Meyer & Rich Seibel


Last time (December), Rich & Gary presented on LANS, IP, and the beginnings of ethernet. They looked at computer communications starting from the physical wires and cables up to the applications that use the communication system. Concentation was on the Internet protocols and current technologies, but some history and future technologies were discussed as well. This months continuation will be "Ethernet Part II - The rest of the story." They will move into the newer versions of ethernet and the differences that come with speed and topology changes such as switched hubs and full duplex. We expect more time for questions and answers with this session.      At press time, the subjects include:
Full dup
Gigabit 1000B-T
Aggressive devices
Performance expectations
Cable spec
      Cat 5
      EIA/TIA-568a/b for RJ-45
Gary Meyer is a consultant with University Consulting. Gary has been an integral member since prior to the incorporation of SLUUG. He has served as an officer including Vice President and is currently serving as President. He has also served as a director for the organization.
     Gary has been involved with data communications and Unix for 20 years. He was Department Leader of Network Services at Edward Jones and formerly worked building the Network Control Center for Concentric Network (Quicken/Intuit, Web TV, etc.)
     Rich Seibel is a consultant for Advanced Resources, Inc. Rich has been an integral member of SLUUG since its inception. He currently holds the officer position of Secretary as well as being a director. Rich has been involved with computer communications for over 20 years and has used Unix for over 10 years. Currently, Rich is a software developer for client server systems.


Spong by James Chapman

Simple System/Network Monitoring - Spong v1.1

This is a simple system monitoring package called spong. It has the following features:
* client based monitoring (CPU, disk, processes, logs, etc...) 
* monitoring of network services (smtp, http, ping, pop, dns, etc...) 
* grouping of hosts (routers, servers, workstations, PCs) 
* host specific contact information 
* host specific downtime information 
* configurable on a client by client basis 
* results displayed via the web 
* history of problems 
* messaging (via email or pager) when problems occur 
* verbose information to help diagnosis problems 
This is hopefully a *simple* tool. It does not compete with Tivoli, OpenView, UniCenter, or any other commercial packages. It is not SNMP based, it communicates via simple TCP based messages. It is written in Perl, so hopefully it can be run on multiple systems (including NT - although it has not been ported yet).

Hopefully this package is as simple as possible (but no simpler). There are just 5 "pieces", 1 program that runs on "client" machines, and 4 programs that run on your web server (where the results are displayed). There are also only 2 config files, one that defines OS and system specific information, and one that defines what hosts you want to monitor, and who to contact when there is a problem.
James Chapman is a system administrator for a large retail concern.

Special Promotion(s)

blue triangle right Title of the Month
TCP/IP for UNIX and TCP/IP for Windows NT
Both titles will be 25% off at the 10 February 1999 meeting.

All regularly priced titles are 20% off retail cost at meeting.
Excludes specially priced items or promotional items
O'Reilly Logo

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

Each month features a book related to that month's presentation topic.

Discounts are offered to all members and each month's featured book(s)will be additionally discounted.

Upcoming Meetings

Main Meeting February 10, 1999 at 6:30 PM
Sunnen Products
7910 Manchester
St. Louis, MO

*NOTE: This month & next we are downstairs in cafateria*
Steering Committee February 16, 1999 at 6:00 PM
Daugherty Systems
One City Place (2nd floor)
Creve Coeur, MO

Linux SIG February 18, 1999 at 7:00 PM
Topic: SmallTalk for linux. Preliminary, check web page.
Indian Trails Library
8400 Delport Drive
(at Midland)

CTI SIG Currently they have moved to a webboard format.

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.

(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 2nd Wednesday meeting at 6:00 PM in the 2nd floor training room of Daugherty Systems, One City Place in Creve Coeur.

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

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. Elections have arrived!

SLUUG holds officer advisory elections at our February meetings.

Currently running for offices are:

President - Gary Meyer
Vice President - Ed Wehner
Secretary - Rich Seibel
Treasurer - Christine Wanta
If you are interested in an officers position, or would like more information about the administrative duties for the organization,please visit our website at, or contact Chris Wanta at There also is one of the 5 seats up for election. So far, Gary Meyer, the incumbent, is the only announced candidate but any member can run. The elections will be held after 7:25pm.
SUBSCRIBE to our New LISTSERVER discussions!

We have 3 e-mail lists ready to play. They are called: discuss, steercom, and announce.

You can subscribe by sending an e-mail message to {x} where {x} is one of the above list names. When mailing into {x}-request just put the single word 'subscribe' as the body of your message.

We encourage anyone and everyone to participate. To limit spam, announce will only be posted to by the management. Discuss is intended for the general discussion of any UNIX topic that tickles your fancy.

All the NEWS thats fit to Print!

To keep up with NET events: news for nerds - stuff that matters! daily updates of Internet software releases.
(check out the "Appendix" button). daily news of mostly (but not only) Linuxevents. for detailed followup on the demise of BYTE.

"IBM, HP, & Compac announce additional LINUX support." excerpt submitted by Gary Meyer

InfoWeek, in its 25 January issue, reports 3 companies with new LINUX initiatives.

IBM will be supporting Tivoli, as well as DB2 and Transarc under LINUX.

HP will be supporting HP OpenView under LINUX.

Compac will be supporting LINUX on the DEC ALPHA architecture.

Linus Torvalds has released the new 2.2 kernel of LINUX.
This was mentioned in the same InfoWeek edition of 25 Jan and was confirmed as happening in the last couple weeks by Stan Reichardt.
It's Deja Vu All Over Again (Yogi Berra) THE BOOKWORM'S CORNER by Stan Reichardt

Must be official. Byte magazine is dead. Got a postcard from CMP Media Inc., wanting to know if I wanted to finish out my subscription by reading WinDoZE pabulum. I just want my money back.

If anyone cares about the whole tragedy see the SLUUG September 1998 newsletter and coverage.

For those mesmerized by G. Hussain Chinoy's fascinating January SLUUG tutorial on XML see the November 1998 issue of Linux Journal (LJ) magazine to get more information. The LJ had a two page (64-65)article "XML, the eXtensible Markup Language" which reinforces those points covered in the tutorial.

I enjoyed Barry Flachsbart's future view of technology at our January SLUUG session so much that I can't hardly wait for his return presentation. Audience participation was the most interesting part. We also gave him some interesting areas to consider in return -- security, encryption, privacy vs. data mining, Open Source Software and GPL (no cost) licensing.

For those that just can't get enough of any presentation, no matter how detailed or good, see the January 1999 issue of LJ to get more information on Lyx. The January presentation by Dr. Roland Krause at the SLUUG Linux SIG was one of the most complete and informative given to date. Tremendous in depth coverage was given by following the internal Lyx tutorial. The live demonstration was presented along with experienced information. Most everyone could follow the strengths and demands of this powerful editor. It is most understandable why the Lyx WYSIWYG editor is considered both liberating and restrictive. Lyx may not be for everyone; but, it has considerable power that may be worth the learning curve for using it's features.

"Microsoft Trial Judge questions MS evidence tape." excerpt submitted by Gary Meyer>

On Wed 3 Feb, Paul Kangas on the Nitely Buisness report said that the judge in the Microsoft case was concerned about the video tape submitted as evidence by Microsoft. I believe I heard him say that the tape was a demonstration of how easy and undamaging it is to remove MS's Internet Explorer browser. I believe I heard Mr. Kangas say, the government attorneys pointed out inconsistencies in the videotape.

"New Internet law struck down as UNCONSTITUTIONAL by federal judge." excerpt submitted by Gary Meyer

Apparently there is at least one federal judge left who has read the constitution. On Mon. 1 Feb. Lowell A. Reed, a federal judge in Philidelphia, declared the Online Child Protection Act a violation of our rights under the 1st amendment. This ruling followed some weeks of consideration.

The OCPA was also refered to as CDA 2 or Communications Decency Act 2, a name relating to its predecessor that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last fall.

The OCPA was passed and signed last October with no publicity nor debate of which I'm aware. It was trickfully worded to try to escape the ruling of the court on CDA.

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.

PERSONAL COMMENTARY: First, this secrecy by the congress and president should be disturbing to all of us. Why couldn't this be publically debated instead of "snuck in" at the last minute before the election?

Secondly, all of us should be upset at this attempt by the government to regulate our 1st amendment rights as a ploy of relieving parents of their responsibilities.

I've heard that Clinton's original Solicitor General quit in part over his embarrasment at the original CDA and his desire not to attempt to defend it. (The Solicitor General number 3 man in the justice department. Its his job to make the administration's arguments before the Court.)

Thirdly, besides their sneakiness and the unconstitutionality of it, we should think of the economic effects. The CDA would have made an ISP responsible for ALL the content crossing its lines. If anyone didn't like someones web-page he could call it obscene and take any ISP or carrier that transfered the page to court...tying up the ISPs and our courts!

Only large corporations would likely be able to maintain the legal staff to defend themselves and the technical staff to police their membership. Prices for service would go up. Small ISPs would likely not survive.

There are software packages such as NetNanny and SurfWatch or a customer can simply buy service from an ISP that does provide editorial monitoring of content. If a customer wants this service, let the customer pay for it. Protect your ISP charges... ...Protect your tax dollars... ...and protect our Bill of Rights!!

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 (SLUUGLS)

Visit the Linux SIG home page ( for the latest meeting details.

Indian Trails Public Library
8400 Delport Drive
(at Midland)
From 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 SLUUGLS refer to the WWW home page for the group at or contact Matthew Feldt at

Computer Telephony Integration User's Group (SLUUG CiTI)

The CTI SIG is no longer having regular meetings and is currently using a webboard format.

The Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) Users Group is a non-profit organization open to developers, end-users, sales people, and others who share the common interest of melding the telecommunications and computing worlds.

For more information on SLUUG CiTI contact Tony Zafiropoulos at or (314)878-9855.

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.


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

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 Chris Wanta at or visit


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 with, or call any of the SLUUG officers.


Address Changes
and Membership
Klaus Mueller Home: +1 (573) 334-6477
331 S Spring Ave
Cape Girardeau, MO 63703
BBS Questions Jim (Knight) Ford
Corporate Sponsors Ed Wehner
Editorial team:
Publisher: Sanjiv Bhatia Home: (314)519-9272
Work: (314)516-6520
FAX: (314)516-5400
Editor: Steve Totten Home: (618)931-0037
O'Reilly Books Dave Mills Work: (314)230-5151, extension 103
Presentations Open Position
Steering Committee
Gary Meyer Home: (314)781-8644
SLUUG Treasurer Steve Pautz
Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

Computer Telephony
Integration (CTI)
Tony Zafiropoulos Phone: (314)878-9855
Linux Matthew Feldt Home: (314)429-5433

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, email it to The deadline for article submissions is two weeks before the next main meeting.


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 1184
    Fenton, MO  63026-1184