The UNIX® CRONicle

June 2001

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

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Table of Contents

Next Meeting Details

Wednesday, June 13, 2001 at 6:30 PM
Sunnen Products, 7910 Manchester
See Meeting Directions

6:30 PM Tutorial Cron by Matthew Porter
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 not be possible after 7:20.
7:30 PM Presentation Open Source Alternatives to Commercial Software by Tony Zafiropoulos and Ed Wehner


by Matthew Porter

Cron is a program used to run particular programs at specified times. In this tutorial, Matthew will show us how to configure cron jobs to run at various intervals. He will also show what types of scripts are commonly run with cron.

Matthew Porter is currently working as a Java programmer at a local St. Louis company. In previous incarnations, he was CEO of Linuxgruven, a St. Louis based Linux service company, and Chairman of the St. Louis Linux Users Group.

Questions and ideas about this discussion are welcome; please send


Open Source Alternatives to Commercial Software
by Tony Zafiropoulos and Ed Wehner

In this presentation, Tony and Ed will explore various Open Source applications that can be used to replace commonly used proprietary programs.

Tony will start out with a look at the corporate desktop. KOrganizer and Ximian's Evolution will be evaluated as possible replacements for Microsoft Outlook, Starfish Internet Sidekick, and Time & Chaos Calendaring programs. KOrganizer aims to be a complete program for organizing your appointments, contacts, projects, etc. KOrganizer is the calendaring program solution within the KDE platform. Evolution is GNOME's next step forward in groupware technology. Evolution's tightly integrated mail, calendar, and address book brings your GNOME desktop the ultimate tool for personal and workgroup information management, from remote LDAP access to data delivery and scheduling resolution.

Ed will be evaluating Open Source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, including alternative accounting packages.

Tony Zafiropoulos is the president of CTiTEK, a Linux-focused computer consulting company.

Ed Wehner is the current president of SLUUG. He works at MEMC as Manager of Corporate Technology.

Ideas, questions and suggestions are welcome; please contact us by sending

Next St. Louis Linux Users Group Meeting Is June 21

Presentation: Love, Peace, and Linux - A perspective from IBM
by Charlie Cler

Corporate acceptance of the Linux operating system has surpassed all predictions. Linux deployment in corporate America is real. Topics to be addressed in this presentation include: The underlying reasons behind Linux's recent success; Why IBM is interested in Linux; An overview of IBM's Linux investments; and Will there be an IBM Linux?

Charlie Cler has been working with the UNIX servers for over 10 years. He is currently employed at IBM in St. Louis, working as an IT Specialist in the area of Enterprise Class UNIX Servers. Charlie provides IT architecture and system implementation assistance to customers throughout the greater St. Louis area.

Meetings of the St. Louis Linux User Group (LUG) are held from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM every THIRD THURSDAY of each month. Location: Indian Trails Branch - Saint Louis County Library. Meetings are free and open to everyone. Refer to for details and maps.

Comments, questions and ideas for the St. Louis Linux Users Group are welcome; please send

Special Promotions

Titles of the Month

The June special will be 30% discount on all books marked with a red sticker and a 20% discount on all other books.

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 we feature book titles related to that month's presentation or tutorial topic. Discounts off retail prices are offered to all members and each month's featured books may be additionally discounted. Usually, all titles are discounted 10%, while special titles are discounted 25%.

Calendar of Events

June 4 Carbondale SILUG meeting CANCELED
Carbondale, IL
June 5 (7:30pm) MO Open Source Linux User Group
Culpepper's Restaurant (basement)
312 South Kirkwood Road
Kirkwood, MO
June 7 (7:00pm) Perl Mongers
5 North Jackson at Forsyth
Clayton, MO
June 7 (7:00pm) St. Louis Area Computer Club
Thornhill Library
12863 Willowyk Drive (off Fee Fee)
Creve Coeur, MO
June 12 (7:00pm) Linux Users of Central Illinois
Newbie Night
Springfield, IL
June 13 (6:30pm) SLUUG General Meeting Sunnen Products
7910 Manchester (at Hanley)
St. Louis, MO
June 14 (6:30pm) St. Louis Java Users' Group
CityPlace One Auditorium
One City Place
Creve Coeur, MO
June 17 Fathers Day
June 18 (6:00pm) SLUUG Steering Committee Daugherty Systems
One City Place (2nd floor)
Creve Coeur, MO
June 19 (7:00pm) Southern Illinois Linux Users Group
331 Salem Place, Suite 200
Fairview Heights, IL
June 21 Summer Solstice (first day of Summer)
June 21 (7:00pm) St. Louis Linux Users Group
Indian Trails Library
8400 Delport Drive (at Midland)
St. Louis, MO
June 26 (7:00pm) Hazelwood Linux Users Group
Prarie Commons Branch Library
915 Utz Lane (between Howdershell and Dunn)
Hazelwood, MO
June 26 (7:00pm) Linux Users of Central Illinois
Springfield , IL
July 11 SLUUG General Meeting
July 16 SLUUG Steering Committee
July 19 St. Louis Linux Users Group
July 24 Hazelwood Linux Users Group

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

The St. Louis Linux Users Group meets the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Indian Trails Branch Library.

See map at


NOTE: These articles may express 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 authors 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.

ITEC Show Wrap-up

by Christine Wanta

Once again, I think it can reasonably be stated that our participation in the St. Louis ITEC show was a tremendous success for our organizations and the advocacy of Open Source and Linux for many reasons.

For those unfamiliar with the ITEC forum, they are the second-tier, smaller region IT shows. They do locations such as St. Louis, Topeka, and Nashville. One reason I like the ITEC shows even though they are not the largest IT trade shows, is that they often provide access to local CEO/CTO/CIO's who simply do not travel to the bigger shows. They are often willing to find a few hours, but not days.

This year was definitely "OUR" show. We've had some very successful years and successful guest speakers, such as Ed Krol, author of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Internet", but this year we did so much more. (Maybe the show should be renamed the SLUUG show.)

This year our sponsored keynote was Robert Young, chairman and co-founder of Red Hat. His presentation brought in more attendance and retained traffic more than any other ITEC events this year. Whereas Robert Young not only filled the 200 plus seats, the seats were surrounded by a 3-6 deep, practically elbow-to-elbow, ring of people who not only stopped, but stood and stayed throughout the presentation. Seats of the few people that left (presumably to answer their pagers) were immediately filled. Robert was a wonderful orator, interesting and energetic, the attendees seemed ready to stay much longer, and were involved, responsive and attentive during his whole discussion.

The feedback I overheard was that they found him an interesting person to listen to and the content noteworthy (my words not necessarily theirs). Of particular interest was the information regarding patent and its applications in IT. I also think they delighted in hearing that the success of the "Open Source visionary" may not have been so much planning and intelligence as timing and enlightenment, giving hope to the rest of us stumbling along through life. Also, Robert was a great sport (even when they took a picture of him while someone sneaked in behind and held up a OpenBSD poster *grin*) Everyone really enjoyed meeting him.

Microsoft's XP pre-launch promo (which was before Young's presentation in the same theatre) had some draw, but did not fill the chairs, nor seem to retain attendees. It did not seem to have much impact on traffic. They filled about 80% of the chairs. There was little or no "stop, stand and stay" traffic around the perimeter.

Gartner presented a three-person panel (Microsoft, Accenture, and Asychrony) on Industry Trends the following day which was poorly attended and had little if any draw to the show. It provided no retention during the discussion itself either. The panelists were good when given good questions (something other than "how do you provide the services you do to your customer" over and over again), but I would have liked to see a better attendance for their efforts. Unfortunately I don't think those who did attend found content to the questions posed to the panelist initially by the Gartner moderator, and little spice or information on future trends. The content became a little better when questions were taken from the floor. By the time the questions were taken to the floor though most had left. In the end, barely a dozen attendees remained.

Our dual track Open Source seminars were also well received. The 2 tarcks were a test case for us. Normally we present 3-6 seminars over the two day ITEC show. This year we did two tracks, one for executives and one for technical folks. Each track had 5 seminars per day for a total of 20 seminars at the show. We had requests for expansion on that concept, several 'complaints' that they wanted to be in two places at the same time, and overall good attendance. There were a few 'dead' spots that we are going to analyze and we learned a lot about what worked. The ITEC Planning Committee will look at how to improve this forum. We will be looking not only at the next ITEC but as a local resource for training and conveying information.

Our booth itself was the most active on the floor, and remained either *extremely* or *very* busy the entire duration of the show. The demonstration of Open Source software and applications on laptops in the booth provided tangible examples of alternatives many had never seen displayed and would not have looked at otherwise. The availability of the O'Reilly books mixed with the ability to get recommendations on reading material from "subject matter experts" was its usual "feeding frenzy". The booth staff looked exhausted, particularly those who worked all day, but happily so. Everyone was thrilled with our volume of traffic. We had a great group and the cross-population of advocates (BSD, Linux, Unix, Open Source, etc.) made for some lively conversations. Our booth is often considered the 'place to get answers' albeit some of the questions are interesting and this year was no exception.

Overall the show was a tremendous success for us. I think we did a lot to promote Linux and Open Source options, generated discussions on many important topics such as licensing options, promoting a healthy restriction on blanket copyright in IT, etc., provided information regarding the many user groups in our region and finding good resources and support, and had a great time doing it.

Thank you to everyone involved, a special thanks to Linux International, who helped arrange for Robert Young to attend. And thank you to everyone else involved. Thanks to each and every person who worked the booth, acted as team leader, helped with organizing, helped with moving, unpacking, packing and again moving all the tables, equipment and books, and every other little detail.

ITEC 2001 As Seen From The Sidelines

by Stan Reichardt

Lots of things went on prior to this year's ITEC show. This year I was only able to help out at the booth on the first day and wasn't nearly as active as the real ITEC volunteers. Those volunteers labored relentlessly in the background using our ITEC mailing list. Planning, planning, and more planning. Outsiders have no idea of the heat and smoke genrated by concentrated thinking. They also miss out on the fun went things go right.

Some things went supprisingly right. We remembered to advise everybody to avoid long lines by pre-registering on line with our own SLUUG code number. For our Events For The Week ANNOUNCE mailing we added a topic rich list of SLUUG provided Open Source seminars.

It was a very busy week with SILUG.ORG hosting Dave McAllister from Egenera giving an advanced presentation (a much more technical version) on Linux clusters on Monday night at the normal meeting place of the St. Louis Linux Users Group at Indian Trails Library. Kara Pritchard of SILUG arranged to have Egnera sponsor a dinner at Emporer's Wok (a excellent Mongolian BBQ and International Buffet) in O'Fallon, IL on Wednesday.

Some things went not as well as we would have liked. Getting short term volunteers to commit early was still the biggest heartburn for the teams. However, at the last minute SLUUG bodies showed up to pitch in. Our booth was very busy. The book sales for the first day ran into a technical snag with the credit-card scanner hardware but still generated an impressive number of books sold. Other improvements in the sales procedure still sped up this year's book sales. We didn't lose book sales like had happened at prior ITEC events.

We remembered to have small signs listing upcoming meetings for SLUUG, STLLUG and other groups. The bookmarks were a cost effective hot item that listed locations and websites. Christine Wanta had estimated that between 800 to 1200 went out on the very first day.

We had laptops demonstarting Linux and BSD, and running a cloned version of our web site. We also gathered names and email addresses for our mailing list, thanks to John Brooks and the St. Louis BSD group.

Our ITEC planning couldn't completely overcome some of the SNAFU's like IMARK sending hard copy mailouts that listed Red Hat's Robert Young speaking on the second day in one section, and getting it correct (he spoke on the first day) in another section. SLUUG did get a nice 1/3 page blurb along with FishNet and the CCSL in the "Featured Companies" section, which came *before* the "Sponsor Descriptions" section.

Most impressive was the fact that Microsoft's earlier pre-launch presentation of their Windows XP/Office XP rollout met a luke-warm reception compared to the standing room only crowd that came to see Robert Young.

Robert Young plugged the St. Louis Unix Users Group, St. Louis Linux Users Group and Hazelwood LUG just like he was an avid member that attended each meeting. If you have one of O'Reilly's "Anatomy of a Linux System" posters, hang on to it - it's now a collector's item. Susan Hurst gave one to Bob Young before his talk. He then mentioned this neat poster to the crowd, all of whom proceded to our booth to get one. Some of the crowd must have sneaked out early to get one because we had none left by the time the presentation was over. There are no more posters - they are out of print. At one time, Susan Nichols from O'Reilly offered to have them re-printed. We hope she can still do that as lots of people left business cards so we can let them know if and when we get more.

An after ITEC, post-mortem project follow up meeting will be held on Thursday June 14 to gather suggestions, comments, critiques, finalize all reports, activities, and compile lessons learned for next year. It will be held at Applebees Restaurant (attached to Drury Inn) 6:30PM 11950 Olive Blvd, on Olive (EAST of I-270). For more information contact Christine Wanta (

Graybar Electric Makes Major Donation to SLUUG

by Gary Meyer

A big thanks is owed by our membership to Graybar Electric. Their IS department has donated almost 20 RS6000s to us. These AIX boxes are a great improvement to the BBS.

We have been doing some recombination of the boxes to combine memory, disks, etc. and have been making progress. Many have noticed the increased performance on Dark, our web server. The new CPU and memory have increased its performance dramatically.

We have also shared this good fortune with the Washington University chapter of the ACM. This has allowed them to have their own web server and playground for members. A few of our members have also been using the new machines for educational betterment, using them for installs and system administration education. A local community college was teaching a class in AIX administration and the use of one of these machines was invaluable as an opportunity to practice and explore what was discussed in class.

We hope to also use these boxes to provide a great playground or sandbox for the new AIX 5L release. IBM is giving us copies this week, so this will give us a great opportunity to be an early explorer in their new entry into the Linux world. We had looked into trying to bring Linux or BSD up on these hardware platform but they are MicroChannel Architecture (MCA), and there is no known BSD or Linux port. If any members would like to explore which Linux or BSD releases may work or do the needed porting work, please talk to Ed Wehner, Stan Reichardt, Mike Knight, or Gary Meyer.

A big thanks to the crew of volunteers who helped to transport and reengineer these boxes. They are heavy!

And again, a very big thanks to Graybar Electric. A number of their IS people have been members and attended our meetings for some years and it has been so nice of them to think of us and take the effort to get us these systems. THANKS, GRAYBAR!

Graybar Electric is a wholesale distributor of electrical and data/communication equipment. Check out their web site at


I have not dropped the ball, I'm just rolling it very slowly.
  -- Gary Meyer

Basically, whatever money you have, they'll take it.
  -- Tony Z, referring to advertising prices at a local radio station.

The object of war is not to die for your country,
but to make the other bastard die for his.
  -- Patton

Cole's Law: thinly sliced cabbage

When duplication is outlawed, only outlaws will have /bin/cp.

It's not that information wants to be free.
It's that free disk space doesn't.

Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish.
Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries. 

I think I am, therefore, I am. I think.

I want to thank Wietse and his PR manager for their time and responses.
  -- This Open Source programmer actually has his own PR person!

Interesting Browsing





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 314-997-1104 extension 351, or contact any officer of the group.

St. Louis Linux Users Group

Visit the St. Louis Linux Users Group home page ( for the latest meeting details.
Indian Trails Library
8400 Delport Drive (at Midland)
(314) 428-5424
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 the St. Louis Linux Users Group, refer to the web page at or contact Craig Buchek (

St. Louis UNIX Users Group Steering Committee

The SLUUG Steering Committee meets the Monday 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, 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 Book Sales Susan Hurst
Home: (314) 822-9314
Cell: (314) 486-3261
      Newsletter Editor Craig Buchek
Home: (314) 426-5780
Cell: (314) 374-5780
      Contributing Editor Stan Reichardt
Home: (314) 298-1183
      Steering Committee Info     Gary Meyer
Home: (314) 781-8644
      Secretary Tony Zafiropoulos
      Treasurer Mike Kriz
      Linux Users Group Chair Craig M. Buchek
Home: (314) 426-5780
Cell: (314) 374-5780

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 your info or complete article to The deadline for article submissions is the second last day of the month.

SLUUG Mailing Address

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