The SLUUG Cronicle

July 2002

St. Louis UNIX Users Group

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Table of Contents

Calendar of Events

July 1 Monday SILUG - Carbondale 7:00pm - 9:00pm
July 2 Tuesday MOSLUG 7:00pm -11:00pm
July 4 Thursday Independence Day
July 4 Thursday SLACC NO MEETING
July 4 Thursday SILUG - O'Fallon NO MEETING
July 9 Tuesday LUCI - Newbie Night 7:00pm - 9:00pm
July 9 Tuesday CCSL - Dinner Meeting ($)
  Topic: SOHO Roundtable
5:30pm -
July 10 Wednesday SLUUG - General Meeting
  TOPIC: Zope
6:30pm - 9:00pm
July 11 Thursday St. Louis Java Users Group 6:30pm - 8:00pm
July 15 Monday SLUUG - Steering Committee 6:15pm - 8:30pm
July 23 Tuesday STLWEBDEV
  TOPIC: Focus on the User
6:30pm - 9:00pm
July 17 Wednesday BDPA 6:00pm -
July 18 Thursday St. Louis LUG 7:00pm - 9:00pm
July 21 Sunday CWE-LUG 1:00pm - 5:00pm
July 23 Tuesday Hazelwood LUG 6:30pm - 9:00pm
July 23 Tuesday LUCI 7:00pm - 9:00pm
July 23 Tuesday XML SIG (STLWEBDEV) 6:00pm - 7:00pm
July 25 Thursday St. Charles LUG 6:30pm - 9:00pm
August 14 Wednesday SLUUG - General Meeting 6:30pm
August 19 Monday SLUUG - Steering Committee 6:15pm
August 15 Thursday St. Louis LUG 7:00pm
August 22 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, July 10

6:30 pm Tutorial Linux HOWTOs by Robert Citek
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 Zope by Scott Granneman and Robert Citek


Linux HOWTOs
by Robert Citek


The Linux Documentation Project ( houses probably one of the greatest Linux resources: the Linux HOWTOs. With its collection of HOWTOs, mini-HOWTOs, man-pages, guides, and FAQs, you are sure to find the answer to your Linux question. This month's tutorial will give an overview of the various HOWTOs: from the history of Linux to installation to security to writing your own HOWTO. Occasional points-of-interest will be demonstrated.


Robert Citek is a microbiologist who traded looking at bugs under the Leica microscope for Perl running on a Linux laptop.


by Scott Granneman and Robert Citek


Have you ever wondered what Zope is, or what it can do?  From the Zope web page (  "Zope is a leading open source application server, specializing in content management, portals, and custom applications. Zope enables teams to collaborate in the creation and management of dynamic web-based business applications such as intranets and portals."

Rather than try to understand that marketing buzz, we decided to install it, try the tutorial, and see what kinds of Web and information sharing challenges Zope can solve.  Here are our stories and experiences.


Scott Granneman is a consultant, teacher, writer, and activist.

As a consultant he works for Bryan Consulting as a specialist in emerging technologies for business and education. He teaches courses in the areas of technology, Web development, and Linux at Washington University in St. Louis and Florissant Valley Community College. As a writer he has published works in several journals of educational technology and most recently in Security Focus, the premier security Web site on the Net.

Robert Citek is still a microbiologist looking at Perl bugs.

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 (

July Specials:

Books with a red sticker
(Microsoft and older editions)
- 70% off
Books on Web development/security/administration - 30% off
All other books - 25% off

Next St. Louis LUG Meeting Is July 18

Topic To Be Determined

We currently have no presentation planned for the July LUG meeting, and are looking for suggestions. If you would like to give a demo or presentation, please contact Craig Buchek at the email address below.

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.
513 South Main St. (just north of I-70)
O'Fallon, MO

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.

Finding Help

by Jonathan Drews

Finding help on how to run your Linux computer is important. Linux is a sophisticated operating system and to derive benefit from it you should know where to get help on the programs and GNU utilities. The following resources should provide a starting point.

man Pages

One of the obvious places to start is the manual pages. These are accessed with the man command. One difficult problem is that you often don't know the name of the command that does what you are looking to do. In this case, you can sometimes find what you are looking for with a keyword search. Specify man with the -k option and a keyword you want help on.

info Pages

The info pages are intended as a replacement for the older, and more difficult to understand, man pages. The info pages cover such topics as GCC (compiling), bash, libg++ (the GNU C++ library), gawk (the GNU version of awk), sed (the Stream Editor), and ed. Ed is the entry that contains instructions for using Regular Expressions. The info pages frequently have very good worked examples.

You can read the info pages in several ways. The most convenient is to start Emacs and then do CTRL-h and then 'i'. This will load the info pages index into Emacs. You can then use the arrow keys and the buttons on the top bar of Emacs to navigate amongst the entries. Position the cursor over one of the entries and hit Return to view that subject.

Another info page viewer is tkinfo. It should be available on most distribution CDs, or downloaded from or your distro's FTP site.

In some Linux distributions, The Nautilus browser in GNOME has the info pages indexed. These can be accessed by clicking on the 'help' tab on the left.


Information on how to use many installed programs can be found in the /usr/share/doc directory. There should be a subdirectory for each package installed. The files in these directories are generally the documentation files included with the original software distribution.

On-line sites

General Linux/UNIX info: The 660 page RUTE Users Tutorial is an excellent downlaodable PDF reference on Linux.

Using RPM:

Setting up kppp: (This is specific to AT&T but other ISP's should be similar.)

Help for Newbies on UNIX and using the vi editor: Very good introductory help here. It's concise and covers the most important basics.

Another good introduction to Linux: This one is by Eric Raymond and emphasizes how computers work. A very good primer on how the software actually interacts with the hardware.

Review of "Perl & XML"

reviewed by David Dooling

"Perl & XML" by Erik T. Ray & Jason McIntosh
2002 O'Reilly and Associates, 202 pages

For the impatient: 3 out of 5

Overall, "Perl & XML" is a well-written book that accomplishes what it sets out to do. It states in the preface that it is written for Perl programmers who want to learn about XML and what is available in Perl for XML processing. It achieves this goal, but little else. When you are done reading this book you will have been given an overview of Perl and XML, know where to begin to attack an XML document, and know where to look to find more information.

The book starts out with a brief explanation of why XML and Perl are well-suited for each other. It then provides a teaser of things to come: an explanation of how to use the XML::Simple module. The first chapter concludes with some warnings and gotchas that seem a little premature since they have not really explained XML. Fortunately, most of these gotchas are covered in context later in the book.

The second chapter provides a whirlwind overview of XML -- covering its structure, DTDs, schemas, and XSLT (transformation). The discussion of XML in general, its history, and parts of an XML document are well done. They give someone who is familiar with static HTML the needed background to understand the structure of an XML document and the vocabulary used to describe it. Unfortunately, the discussion of where XML begins to distinguish itself from HTML, namely with DTDs, the new replacement for DTDs called schemas, and the transformation language XSLT, is too brief. They gloss over these topics with little explanation and few examples. That said, there are other books that do provide more in-depth coverage of XML. (This book only promises an introduction.)

The next five chapters cover Perl modules designed to process XML, starting with simple parsers and writers. Only methods and syntax relating to XML processing are explained. Therefore, if you are considering reading this book, you should be fairly comfortable with Perl and object-oriented (OO) interfaces to CPAN modules (nearly all the modules discussed provide OO APIs). Again, there are other books and perldoc documentation that cover Perl and it's OO features; so read them first if you are not familiar with OO Perl. If you are familiar with OO Perl, these chapters provide a good overview of the different ways XML can be processed (stream- and tree-based approaches), the advantages and disadvantages of each, and the Perl modules best suited for each approach. These chapters are the biggest strength of this book. The modules discussed in these chapters are by no means an exhaustive list of XML-related modules available from CPAN nor do the explanations of each module cover everything the module does. These chapters do, however, provide the reader with enough information that she can begin to process XML documents intelligently and know where to turn when she needs more information.

The next chapter, Chapter 8, covers XML tree iterators, XPath, XSLT, and XML::Twig. All of these topics are covered in a span of 16 pages (with only slightly over two pages dedicated to XSLT). Indeed, after reading the chapter, you may get the feeling that it was only included so the authors could cram more trite colloquialisms into the book. The short shrift given to these topics creates the impression, which is strengthened in the chapters that follow, that this book was rushed a bit to press.

Chapter 9 discusses applications of XML, including RSS and SOAP, and Chapter 10 is mostly example code. These chapters are intended to give you a feeling for what is possible without really giving you enough information to make it happen. The main problem with these chapters are the examples: the examples are long and the explanations are short. Thus, they are more useful as templates or a quick reference than for learning these topics in detail. Of course, the authors never promised you would be programming SOAP applications when you were done reading this book. And again, there are other books out there which discuss these topics in more detail. So the authors stay true to their promise throughout the book: they will introduce you to XML and tell you how to interact with XML using Perl, no more.

As with most first edition books, the index was adequate but not complete. For example, XML::Twig, which has an entire section covering it, does not appear in the index at all.

Personally, I found this book did, in general, give me enough information to get started using XML and pointed me where I needed to go to get more information. I am an experienced Perl programmer who is new to XML and comfortable with on-line documentation. This book seems to be written for people who fit this profile and who want to learn by doing (finding the answers to the "hard" questions as they arise). It does introduce a wide variety of XML-related topics and the Perl modules used to interact with them, which is what the authors promised to do in the preface. While it is by no means an authoritative text on Perl and XML, there is something to be said for keeping promises...


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


When inlaws are outlawed, only outlaws will have inlaws.
 -- Finkployd on Slashdot

Everything takes longer than you expect, even when you fake it.
 -- Not Hofstadter's Law

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the 
urge to rule.
 -- H.L. Mencken

I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor
should they be considered patriots.
 -- George HW Bush

Last night [my girlfriend] finally cracked when I installed a network
point in the bathroom and [she] told me that either the connection 
went or she did.
 -- Edward Almos on Slashdot

The limits of my language are the limits of my world.
 -- Wittgenstein

Only dead fish swim with the stream...
 -- Gaccm on Slashdot

You should never invite policemen or vampires into your home.
 -- 1010011010 on Slashdot

There's nothing in human experience compared to which a sendmail 
config file could be considered simple.
 -- Unknown

Whistle while you bill.
 -- Dustin Anders, contractor

Don't make it cheaper to have you killed than firing you.
 -- John Hoffler's advice on CEO golden parachutes

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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