The SLUUG Cronicle

June 2002

St. Louis UNIX Users Group

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Table of Contents

Calendar of Events

June 3 Monday SILUG - Carbondale 7:00pm - 9:00pm
June 4 Tuesday MOSLUG 7:00pm -11:00pm
June 6 Thursday SLACC 7:00pm - 9:00pm
June 6 Thursday SILUG - O'Fallon 7:00pm - 9:00pm
June 11 Tuesday LUCI - Newbie Night 7:00pm - 9:00pm
June 11 Tuesday CCSL - Dinner Meeting
  Topic: Wireless Networking
5:30pm -
June 12 Wednesday SLUUG - General Meeting
  TOPIC: Ruby
  TUTORIAL: Security Notions
6:30pm - 9:00pm
June 13 Thursday St. Louis Java Users Group 6:30pm - 8:00pm
June 14 Friday Flag Day
June 16 Sunday Fathers Day
June 16 Sunday CWE-LUG 1:00pm - 5:00pm
June 17 Monday SLUUG - Steering Committee 6:15pm - 8:30pm
June 18 Tuesday STLWEBDEV 6:30pm - 9:00pm
June 18 Tuesday XML SIG 6:00pm - 7:00pm
June 19 Wednesday BDPA 6:00pm -
June 20 Thursday St. Louis LUG
  TOPIC: Mandrake
7:00pm - 9:00pm
June 21 Friday First day of Summer
June 25 Tuesday Hazelwood LUG 6:30pm - 9:00pm
June 25 Tuesday LUCI 7:00pm - 9:00pm
June 25 Tuesday Wireless SIG?? 6:30pm - 9:00pm
June 27 Thursday St. Charles LUG
  Location TBD
6:30pm - 9:00pm
July 10 Wednesday SLUUG - General Meeting 6:30pm
July 15 Monday SLUUG - Steering Committee 6:15pm
July 18 Thursday St. Louis LUG 7:00pm
July 23 Tuesday Hazelwood LUG 6:30pm

NOTE: More information on these groups, including locations and web sites, can be found in the "Meeting Locations" section below.

Next General Meeting is Wednesday, June 12, 2002

6:30 pm Tutorial Security Notions by Stan Reichardt
7:00 pm Announcements Standard Introductions & Procedures
7:05 pm Q & A An opportunity to ask technical questions
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 Ruby by Kyle Cordes


Security Notions
by Stan Reichardt


These "Security Notions" are for the newcomer, gathered by a non-expert. Newcomers to UNIX (and Linux) may quickly realize that there is more to security than a good game of "xbill".

This tutorial is presented to complement those "xbill" motor skills learned with an eccentric romp through ideas about security. Maybe with significant impact.

This collection should be an informative distillation of interesting ideas about security gleaned from various books, their tables of contents, diagrams, paragraph headers, interesting quotations and side bar discussions. Also, slick magazine advertisements, popular slogans and email signatures.

I take little credit for these ideas, least of all "common sense". Most of them I just collected -- I didn't think them up. Well, maybe one or two.


Stan has been an important part of our little organization over the years. He has tirelessly dedicated a great deal of time doing all sorts of behind-the-scenes tasks. (OK, actually he usually looks pretty tired, but that's because he's over-worked and not paid.)

Stan is Dictator for Life of the Hazelwood LUG. It's there that he gets to spend some time giving back to the community by patiently helping out folks new to the whole Linux thing.


by Kyle Cordes


Ruby is an interpreted scripting language, similar in typical usage to Perl and Python. It has a wide array of features for processing text files, doing system management tasks, etc., but also offers some unique object-oriented features, including Smalltalk-like elements. Ruby has been gaining popularity, in spite of the crowded world of "yet another scripting language".

In this presentation, Kyle will introduce us to Ruby, and explore some of the features that make it unique. Even if you don't need another scripting language, you might pick up useful ideas that apply elsewhere.

For more information on Ruby, check out the web site at


Kyle Cordes is a developer and consultant who has used everything from Java and XML to assembly language / machine code, with lots of Delphi and database work in between. Kyle attained minor notoriety in the Delphi world a few years ago by compiling the BDE Alternatives Guide. (Rumors that Borland chose the name Kylix for the Linux version of Delphi because of Kyle could not be confirmed.) More recently, Kyle has worked with ASTA, Java, EJB, web applications, XML, enterprise applications, development methodologies and processes (including Extreme Programming), and software project leadership.

Kyle is the principal of Oasis Digital (, a consulting company specializing in software development and training.

Ideas, questions and suggestions are welcome; please contact Christine Wanta (

Book Sales

The O'Reilly and Associates line of books is available at each monthly general meeting as a convenience to our members. Proceeds from the book sales go toward running the organization. Most months we feature special offers on titles related to that month's presentation or tutorial topic. Discounts off retail prices are offered to all attendees.

Books that are not available at the meetings may be ordered to be picked up at the next SLUUG general meeting. Contact Sue Hurst (

June Specials:

Books with a red sticker
(Microsoft and older editions)
- 70% off
All books on scripting languages - 30% off
All other books - 25% off

June 20

Presentation: Mandrake
by Don Head


Mandrake Linux is one of the primary distributions. It started life as an "improved" version of Red Hat, concentrating on optimization for Pentium systems. Since then, it has concentrated on usability for desktop users, while not ignoring server usage. Probably the most unique thing about Mandrake is that it is backed by a commercial company, yet has a developer community that works much like the Debian community.

In this presentation, Don will show off some of the desktop-oriented features and applications that come with Mandrake. He will concentrate on the things that make Mandrake unique. In addition, Don will talk about the Mandrake community, including the Cooker list, where development takes place.


Don Head has been using Linux for a significant portion of his life. His work with Linux has included system administration, writing training materials, and mentoring.

Don holds several Linux (and non-Linux) certifications and is active on the Mandrake Cooker list.

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

Meeting Locations

SLUUG - St. Louis UNIX Users Group (
General Meeting

Meets the 2nd Wednesday of the month, 6:30pm to 9:00pm. Free and open to the public.
Sunnen Products
7910 Manchester (at Hanley)
St. Louis, MO
Directions: Take I-64 (US 40) to the Hanley exit south. Turn left at Manchester, then an immediate right into Sunnen driveway.


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

SLUUG - St. Louis UNIX Users Group (
Steering Committee

Meets the Monday following the 2nd Wednesday of the month, 6:15pm to 8:30pm. Open to the public. This is where we make decisions on what topics to cover and other administration of the group. If you want to get involved, this is a good place to start.
Daugherty Systems
One City Place, 2nd floor
Creve Coeur, MO 63141

St. Louis Linux Users Group (STLLUG) (

Meets the 3rd Thursday of each month, 7:00pm to 9:00pm. The room is reserved starting at 6:00pm. (Ask a librarian to let you in if it is locked.) Members are encouraged to come early to mingle and/or give informal demos or presentations. Free and open to the public. (Formerly known as the Linux SIG.)
Indian Trails Library
8400 Delport Drive (at Midland)
St. Louis, MO
Directions:   Take I-170 to Page east. Turn left at North-South. Turn left at Midland. Drive 2 blocks and turn left on Delport. The library is on your left.


St. Charles LUG (

JUST FORMED! We expect that meetings will usually be held at 6:30pm to 9:00pm on the 4th Thursday of each month, except during December, which will probably not have a meeting.
This is a SIG of SLUUG, intended for all Linux users in the Western and Northern parts of the greater metro area.
Currently in search of a regular meeting place.

Hazelwood LUG (

Generally meets the 4th Tuesday of each month, 6:30pm to 9:00pm. (NOTE: Start time is now 6:30.) Free and open to the public. This is a SIG of SLUUG, intended for Linux newbies.
Prairie Commons Library
915 Utz Lane (between Howdershell and Dunn)
Hazelwood, MO

CWE-LUG - Central West End LUG (

Generally meets on the third Sunday of the month from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Meetings are now held at the ACLU building.
4557 Laclede (just east of Euclid)
St Louis, MO 63108

MOSLUG - MO Open Source LUG (

Meets on the 1st Tuesday of the month, from 7:00pm to 11:00pm. Meetings are free and open to everyone. This is a Linux Users Group (LUG) for all levels, from new beginners to the more advanced users.
Culpeppers Restaurant (basement)
312 S. Kirkwood Road
Kirkwood, MO 63122

STLBSD - St. Louis BSD Users (

Does not have any official meetings, but they often gather informally at SLUUG meetings. Look for guys with little red daemons on their shirts.

SLACC - St. Louis Area Computer Club (

Meets the 1st Thursday of every month, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Thornhill Library
12863 Willowyk Drive (off Fee Fee)
Creve Coeur, MO

St. Louis Java Users Group (

Meets the 2nd Thursday of every month, 6:30pm to 8:00pm.
CityPlace One Auditorium
One City Place
Creve Coeur, MO 63141

STLWEBDEV - St. Louis Web Developers (

Meets the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. Meetings are free and open to everyone. This is an open group to facilitate communications between diverse professions involved in Internet/Intranet design and development. STLWEBDEV is also the St. Louis chapter of the International Webmasters Association and the HTML Writers Guild (IWA-HWG).
CityPlace One Auditorium
One City Place
Creve Coeur, MO 63141

Wireless SIG (

Meets the 4th Tuesday of the month, from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. Meetings are free and open to everyone. Refreshments at 6:30, program begins at 7:00. This group is a cooperative effort of both the St. Louis Web Developers and the St. Louis Java Users Group.
CityPlace One Auditorium
One City Place
Creve Coeur, MO 63141

CCSL - Computer Consultants of St. Louis (
Monthly Dinner Meeting

Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at Cheshire Inn. RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. Cost is $20 for members, $25 for non-members. Call Susan Pope, 314-995-4652. Social hour starts at 5:30pm, meeting starts at 6:30pm.
Cheshire Inn
6306 Clayton Rd.
St. Louis, MO

SILUG - Southern Illinois LUG (
O'Fallon meeting

The SILUG O'Fallon meeting is generally on the first Thursday of the month. It runs from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
O'Fallon Public Library
120 Civic Plaza
O'Fallon, IL

SILUG - Southern Illinois LUG (
Carbondale meeting

The SILUG Carbondale meeting is the 1st Monday of the month, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Life Sciences III
1059 Auditorium
Carbondale, IL

LUCI - Linux Users of Central Illinois (

All LUCI meetings are held at the same location, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. General meetings are on the 4th Tuesday of the month, and Newbie night is held on the 2nd Tuesday of the month.
Illinois State Museum Research & Collections Center
1011 East Ash St.
Springfield, IL 62703


BDPA (Black Data Processing Associates) is a member-focused organization that exists to provide professional development programs and services to position its members at the forefront of the IT industry. Its members, minority and non-minority, share a desire to bridge the Digital Divide.
Meetings are held at 6:00pm on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, and are free and open to the public.
Computer Village 4411 N. Newstead (at Pope and Carter) St. Louis, MO 63115

CORCC - County Older Residents Computer Club (

Meets (almost) every Friday from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Provides free classes for seniors 55 or older. For info, call Jackie Oughton at 314-838-9050 or Barbara Stevenson at 314-739-2454.
Prairie Commons Library
915 Utz Lane (between Howdershell and Dunn)
Hazelwood, MO

We publish meeting schedules of groups in the St. Louis region that may be of interest to our members. If you would like to have info added about your group, please mail the newsletter editor ( or call any of the SLUUG officers.


WARNING: 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.

April 13th Linux InstallFest

by the Conspirators

Linux Installation events (called InstallFests) are growing in popularity. The previous one held by the St. Louis Linux Users Group had little advance publicity, but there were still more than 40 people at the October 2001 event.

On April 13th the St. Louis Linux Users Group held its 4th InstallFest at the EDC Advanced Technology Center building in Historic St. Charles, Missouri. It was a perfect early Spring day that just got better.

Arrangements to use the EDC site were coordinated by Tony Zafiropoulos (of and Fred Smith (of Along with Craig Buchek, Carl Fitch, Travis Owens, Christine Wanta, and Stan Reichardt, they did much of the advanced planning.

At this event, a few teams of our more experienced Linux users assisted those who wished to install and learn about Linux and Open Source software. Presentations and demonstrations were held in some of the conference rooms. More than 20 folks showed up for these sessions and just to generally observe the activities. More than a few attendees commented that they regretted not bringing a machine for installation.

There was high-speed Internet access available to download special hardware installation drivers. Outside phone lines were available to test modem configurations.

Attendees are always encouraged to bring all of their own equipment to make sure that their specific hardware will work after they leave. Most attendees brought in all equipment with their computers. There were some additional monitors, keyboards and mice available to substitute for forgotten equipment (courtesy of Equus Computer Systems -- As usual, there were not enough power strips.

Some free copies of the popular Red Hat 7.2 and Mandrake 8.2 Linux distributions were provided on CD-Rs and CD-RWs. Installations were about half for each, along with at least one BSD installation.

Carl Fitch acted as event Beach Master, coordinating all volunteers, provided over-all directions, greeted all that attended, signed them in, and tagged their equipment.

Stan Reichardt acted as Ring Leader -- he briefed attendees prior to installations, reviewed general hardware capabilities, directed room assignments, and queued installations.

Around 60 people were at the April 13th Installfest, nearly all of them left happy. Of the 28 installations attempted, 25 were successful. The 3 installation failures were because of 2 severe hard drive problems and 1 CPU unsupported by Linux (a uniquely odd CPU called a WinChip).

There were a lot of people that left with really big grins on their faces. Much fun and pizza were had by all. It was fun and it was a blur. Ed Holland took a number of event photos that can be seen on his web page (

The EDC Small Business Incubator

by the InstallFest Team

Our most recent Linux InstallFest and the charter meeting for the St. Charles LUG were held in April at the EDC Advanced Technology Center @ Historic, St. Charles, Missouri. This site is known as a Small Business Incubator facility.

Incubators are facilities in which a number of new and expanding businesses operate under one roof with affordable rents, shared services and equipment. With conference rooms, high-speed Internet connectivity and other professional support services, this proves to be a most excellent site.

About 80% of the companies nurtured in incubators survive their first five years, as opposed to an 80% failure rate for businesses in general.

We again thank EDC for the use of those facilities and the pizza. Further details are available at their web site, or at (636) 441-6880.

St. Charles LUG Meetings Begin

by Carl Fitch & Stan Reichardt

The word got out rather quickly after the 13 April Linux InstallFest that interested recovering Microsoft victims would finally gather in St. Charles Missouri to start a Linux Users Group on 25 April. As conspirators Carl Fitch and Stan Reichardt threw together some electrons, put up a web page, did some posting to various web sites and added an announcement to the weekly SLUUG ANNOUNCE mailing list.

Even with such little publicity the Charter meeting of 25 April was larger than expected! There were 21 names on the sign-in sheet.

The meeting started in a small room off the side exit. It soon became apparent that was not going to work so we moved into a conference room. About the time the room was set up it was determined that there was already too many people for that room. Everyone moved to the Lobby so we could spread out over the steps.

The first half of the meeting was discussing the aims and future of the new group. It was agreed that StcLug (pronounced sta - clug) is to be a SIG of SLUUG. The group as a whole selected Carl Fitch as leader. Carl proclaimed himself as Prime Minister and appointed Travis as his Deputy. Travis committed to heading up the next meeting which would again be held at the temporary EDC Advanced Technology Center in the Historic St.Charles location. Meetings would continue to be held on the fourth Thursday of each month (except December). Much discussion covered desirable factors in a more permanent meeting location. The search is on for a location that meets one or more of the following:

  1. Central to St. Charles County preferably within 5 miles of Hwy 79 & I-70
  2. Open later than 9:00 P.M.
  3. Allows (or sells) food or drink.
  4. Open source location (free)
  5. Allows the sale of items during the meetings.

The second half of the meeting was spent on Questions and Answers (Q&A). Carl Fitch began a discussion on how to dual boot with two drives (from memory, it was urged that everyone RTFM (Read The Fine "man" pages) before trying this at home!. Next Stan Reichardt discussed the use of rpm, tar and gunzip for installing.

After the official meeting some of the participants headed to Kreigers on Main Street but soon discovered that they closed at 9:00 P.M. So some of those assembled there went on to Shermans at Highway 94 & Sherman Road.

The second scheduled meeting was held on 23 May with Deputy Travis Owens taking the lead. Attendance was 10, small but still respectable for now. Actually a fair attendance with ITEC distractions and the upcoming long Memorial Day weekend. Three new attendees and

Free copies of the June issue of Linux Journal magazines were handed out. Questions and Answers ranged from Mandrake and Red Hat installations to Sendmail and qmail servers to StarOffice and OpenOffice.

Travis then lead off with displaying the full SuSE 8.0 distribution, support, documentation, DVD, CDROM discs, software package management, configuration, and community. General comparisons were made with other distributions to include installation process, System Administration tools (YaST), included software packages (SuSE includes about half of the Internet and the kitchen sink).

Then Travis began a detailed description and walk thru of the SAMBA configuration files. There were short discussions of Win4Lin, LinNetwork, access techniques, file permissions, and security (among many others).

Everyone was quite positive about the prospect of another meeting next month. Location of the June St. Charles LUG meeting is yet to be determined and will be posted on the web page. The search continues.

For more information contact Carl Fitch by sending or visit the web page.

Review of Beginning Perl for Bioinformatics

by Rex Nelson, SLUUG member

Beginning Perl for Bioinformatics: An introduction to Perl for Biologists by James Tisdall, O'Reilly, 2001, 368 pp.

According to the back cover of the book, Beginning Perl for Bioinformatics was written to be a practical introduction to the Perl programming language for biologists. Tisdall approaches the introduction of Perl to non-programming biologists by introducing Perl programming using examples and exercises that focus on the use of nucleic acid and protein sequence data. This is a major departure from most texts which use examples involving doing things to the venerable "FooBar". While amusing and illustrating the concepts, the traditional way makes translating the examples to real-world problems difficult. Having examples and problem sets involving sequence data is particularly useful because it allows the reader to write programs that can be used immediately to handle simple bioinformatic tasks.

As the book progresses, more complicated examples and problem sets are presented. The problem sets are designed to rely heavily on subroutines written in previous chapters. As presented in chapter 6, these subroutines can be collected together into your own Perl module. In my opinion, chapter 6 contains the clearest description of what a Perl module is and how it is created that I have seen so far. However, the subject is not presented in enough detail to construct a fully functioning and documented module. Interested parties should consult more technical texts (such as the CPAN documentation at

The author takes the time in chapter 12 to present the BioPerl project and its associated modules. The text contains a detailed summary of where and how to download BioPerl, which is a collection of modules to handle many of the usual bioinformatic tasks. The author also presents a step-by-step description of how to install the software on their own system. Some of the modules are presented in the text as examples and in the problem set as a demonstration of their utility and ease of use. The use of Perl modules in the examples and problem set help to demystify the whole concept of BioPerl and make it look less intimidating to set up and use.

If you are looking for a technical treatment of the basics of Perl this book is not for you. If you are a programmer looking into bioinformatics for the first time, this book may be of some use; however, it is no substitute for a molecular biology text. The complexities of gene structure and function are not rigorously presented in the text because it was written to provide a starting point for biologists to learn Perl programming by example. The author does provided a nice appendix section with suggested texts for information on molecular biology and advanced programming techniques. Appendix B contains a concise summary of Perl commands with short but helpful descriptions.

In all, this book is written in a way that it accomplishes most of what it set out to do -- specifically, provide biologists with a "practical introduction to Perl". As such, this book could serve nicely as a "Primer" for Perl programming in an undergraduate or graduate level bioinformatics course. I would rate this book 4 stars out of 5.


For more information about sponsoring the St. Louis UNIX Users Group, contact Dave Mills (


It is easier for many larger businesses to make a hiring mistake 
than a firing decision.
 -- peterdaly on Slashdot

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
 -- Tacitus 

People think Microsoft is the answer. Microsoft is just the 
question, "No" is the answer.
 -- Tide on Slashdot

Never argue with an idiot, he'll just lower you to his level and 
beat you with experience. 
 -- Konichiwa on Slashdot

I've been billing hard today.
 -- Dustin Anders, contractor

All billing and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
 -- Paul Vinson, contractor

History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
 -- Mark Twain

Imagine how much easier life in Washington would be if the 
Constitution had been written in pencil.
 -- Thomas Claburn,

($do || !$do) && undef($try); # Master of Perl, Yoda is. Hmmmm? 
 -- ffattizzi on Slashdot

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
 -- Unknown

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 contact any officer of the group.


SLUUG administration is volunteer based. We're always 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 Christine Wanta (


  President Ed Wehner
  Vice-President Scott Granneman
  Secretary Buck Pyland 
  Treasurer Mike Kriz 
  Linux Users Group Chair Craig Buchek
  Board of Directors Rich Seibel
Ed Wehner
Craig Buchek
Robert Citek
Stan Reichardt
  Presentations Christine Wanta
  Corporate Sponsors Dave Mills
  O'Reilly Book Sales Susan Hurst
  Newsletter Editor Craig Buchek
  PR Stan Reichardt
  Steering Committee Info Gary Meyer
  BBS Questions Gary Meyer
  Official Correspondence SLUUG Mailing Address PO Box 411302
St. Louis, MO 63141

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.

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