The SLUUG Cronicle

December 2002

St. Louis UNIX Users Group

HTML version:

NOTE: The SLUUG general meeting will have a NEW LOCATION in January.

We'll have more details in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned.

Table of Contents

Calendar of Events

Dec 3 Tuesday MOSLUG 7:00pm -11:00pm
Dec 5 Thursday SILUG - O'Fallon, IL 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Dec 5 Thursday SLACC 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Dec 7 Saturday Pearl Harbor Day
Dec 10 Tuesday St. Louis Advanced LUG 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Dec 10 Tuesday Human Rights Day
Dec 10 Tuesday CCSL - Dinner Meeting ($ - RSVP) 5:30pm - ?
  Holiday Party
Dec 10 Tuesday LUCI - Newbie Night 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Dec 11 Wednesday SLUUG - General Meeting 6:30pm - 9:00pm
  TUTORIAL: Why Open Source?
  TOPIC: Open Source Software for Windows
Dec 15 Sunday CWE-LUG 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Dec 16 Monday SILUG - Carbondale, IL 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Dec 16 Monday St. Charles LUG 6:30pm - 9:00pm
  NOTE: 3rd Monday this month
Dec 16 Monday SLUUG - Steering Committee 6:15pm - 8:30pm
Dec 17 Tuesday Hazelwood LUG 6:30pm - 9:00pm
  NOTE: 3rd Tuesday this month
Dec 17 Tuesday STLWEBDEV 6:30pm - 9:00pm
  TOPIC: Choosing a web host provider
Dec 19 Thursday St. Louis LUG 7:00pm - 9:00pm
  TOPIC: Distro Fever
Dec 24 Tuesday LUCI CANCELED!
Dec 24 Tuesday Christmas Eve
Dec 25 Wednesday Christmas
Dec 31 Tuesday New Years Eve
Jan 8 Wednesday SLUUG - General Meeting 6:30pm
Jan 13 Monday SLUUG - Steering Committee 6:15pm
Jan 16 Thursday St. Louis LUG 7:00pm
Jan 19 Sunday CWE-LUG 1:00pm
Jan 23 Monday St. Charles LUG 6:30pm
Jan 28 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, December 11

6:30 pm Tutorial Why Open Source? by Craig Buchek
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 Open Source Software for Windows by Robert Citek


Why Open Source?
by Craig Buchek


What's so great about Open Source? In this presentation, we'll show some of the advantages of Open Source and Free Software. We'll start out by defining Open Source and Free Software, and where they came from. Whether you are a user, a developer, an administrator, or a CIO, Open Source can benefit you. Many of us came to Open Source due to the cost savings. However, when you look deeper, you'll see that there are other benefits: high quality, quick develoment cycles, and a strong user community.


Open Source Software for Windows
by Robert Citek


Untitled Document

Recent articles in the media leave the impression that Open Source software (OSS, or Free Software) exists exclusively on Linux and UNIX operating systems. Yet, one of the advantages of Open Source is that because the source code is available for anyone to browse and modify, these projects can be and are ported to other operating systems, including Apple's OS X and Microsoft's Windows. This presentation will highlight some OSS projects that run under both Windows and Linux. Examples will include:

along with a brief mention of: Several CDs containing the software presented will be raffled off as door prizes.


Robert likes playing with Linux. But when he cannot, does not mind using Cygwin under Windows.

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 (

December Special:

Books with a red sticker
(discontinued titles and older editions)
- 70% off
All books on Open Source or Wireless - 30% off
All other books - 25% off

Next St. Louis LUG Meeting Is December 19

Distro Fever
by various LUG members


Despite what you may have heard, Linux is not an Operating System. Linux is really just the kernel. A lot of other components are required to build the OS. A distribution is a collection of Open Source software packages that are bundled together with a kernel to create an OS. When you buy a Linux CD or copy it from a friend, you're really getting a Linux distribution.

There are many different Linux distributions available. That's because different developers have different opinions about which of the thousands of Open Source packages would be useful in an Operating System. Some distros try to pack in anything they can find, while others concentrate on bundling quality applications geared toward a particular use.

In this presentation, we will have members of the LUG talk about various Linux distributions. They will address the strengths and weaknesses of each. Some of the criteria will be target audience, ease of use, power, and amount/type of applications included. Hopefully, this will help you make an informed decision when choosing which Linux distributions to use in various situations.

This year, we'd like to cover some of the new distributions - Libranet, Lycoris, Xandros, and Knoppix. We'll also briefly cover what's new in the recent versions of Red Hat and SuSE. If you'd like to talk about another distribution, please contact us at the 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.
NOTE: We will have a NEW LOCATION in January 2003. We hope to keep the same date and time.
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 (

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

Advanced LUG ( -->

Meetings are not yet on a regular schedule. They are working to find an acceptable date.
This group is intended to be a venue for advanced topics as well as a time to work on Open Source projects as a group.
The meeting location for September is:
WDT Solutions
9450 Manchester, Suite 204
Rock Hill, MO

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 (

Just started holding official meetings, but no regular schedule yet. Also look for guys with little red daemons on their shirts at SLUUG and LUG meetings.
Rock Road Library 10267 St. Charles Rock Road (1 mile east of Lindbergh) St. Ann, MO 63074

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

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 314-995-4652 (by the previous Friday) or email for reservations. 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 1st Thursday of the month. It runs from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
O'Fallon City Library
120 Civic Plaza
O'Fallon, IL 62269

SILUG - Southern Illinois LUG (
Carbondale meeting

The SILUG Carbondale meeting is the 3rd Monday of the month, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Morris Library, Room 325
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

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, contact Tom Kimber ( or Arthur Hollman (
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.

Lightning Talks

by Mike King Untitled Document

It's that time of year again....

The 3rd Annual SLUUG Lightning Talks

at the February 12, 2003 SLUUG meeting

Lightning Talks are consecutive 5-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 any of these apply, then we want a Lightning Talk from you! 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 28th, 2002. The SLUUG Steering Committee will be presented with recommendations, and final selections of the 10 Lightning Talks, and 2 alternates will be made at the January Steering Committee meeting. Notification will be sent to the selectees, and the schedule announced at the Linux Users Group meeting on January 16, 2003. The final schedule of Lightning Talks will also be announced in the Cronicle prior to the February 12th, 2003 meeting. For more information, please check out the web page at

Free Software

by J.T. Morée

[Original article available at]

"How does a company that doesn't charge for software make money?" That's the first question everyone asks when you tell them that your company deals in free software. The response I give is another question, "How does a company that DOES sell software make money?"

One must understand a few things about software licensing to understand the differences between Free and Commercial software. When you go to the store and pay money for a box with some software CDs in it, you probably say that you "bought" that piece of software. In reality, you licensed the software. When you license a piece of software from a company such as Microsoft or Intuit, you are not purchasing the software itself. Purchasing an item gives you rights over the item to do with it as you wish. When you buy milk, no one tells you that you cannot put chocolate in it. Licensing, on the other hand, only gives you the right to use the item in specific ways--per the license agreement. Generally, you do not have the right to install Quicken on every computer that you own, unless you pay a separate license fee for each computer.

Software companies (and individuals) have the right to determine how software is used by the license. Some people believe that everything from software to music should be shared by everyone for free and pirating software is "stickin' it to the man." But neither I, nor current US law, agree with them. Just as commercial software has a right to charge for using the software, Free and Open Source software has the right to keep itself freely available.

Linux, for example--I know, you've been waiting for me to mention the 'L' word--uses a software license known as the GNU General Public License (GPL). The GPL states that anyone who makes improvements to the software must also make those improvements available to the public. There are also licenses, such as the BSD license, that give you the right to do whatever you want with the original software, including improving it and keeping the changes to yourself.

The license that is chosen depends mostly on the individual who starts writing the software. Some people want their work to be built upon but desire to retain some control over it. Others want no restrictions on their work whatsoever. In either case, the outcome can be a community of people built around that piece of software. Also possible, is a larger community, such as the Open Source community, that is built around using software with common qualities. In this case, the common quality is freedom to access, modify, improve, and redistribute the software.

What does all this license babble have to do with you? Well, the bottom line is that there is free software sitting on the Internet waiting for you to download it. A lot of it is extremely good software too. Open Office, Linux, Gimp, Apache--the Apache web server runs most of the web sites on the Internet. The saying "Anything free is not worth having" does not apply on the Internet.

Now, hold on before you get download-clicky-happy. (You're thinking it sounded too good to be true?) It is true, but there are a few other things that you may want to know. Using free software does not eliminate all costs associated with software. Software must be evaluated, installed, and maintained--whether the software itself is free or commercial. Labor by people can cost money! Also, free software is often written by people who are not being paid, so be nice when something doesn't work or doesn't work the way you would like it to. There are user groups and software developers all over the world who are willing to help for free. Here in St. Louis, MO, there are over 5 groups that meet every month to help people install Linux and Open Source software free of charge. (You can find links to most of them at If you need support right away, find a local IT shop that deals in Open Source software. Start by asking them if they deal in the particular package that you are interested in, and then ask them about Open Source software in general.

When you start using Open Source software you become part of the community. Since you are probably not paying for the software, you should report bugs and perhaps join a discussion list. This is how Open Source software works. Everyone pitches in a little and everyone benefits from the software improving over time. The costs involved are a little less tangible when reporting bugs and participating in the community, but most companies do similar things with commercial software as well.

Q: So how does a company selling software make money?
A: They convince you to upgrade every year.

Q: How does a company that doesn't charge for software make money?
A: We sell services, not software. And we don't ask you to upgrade every year.

Saga of the 500 GB Disk Array

by Mike King

In August, I was lucky enough to procure a 500 GB storage unit. With the help of donations from members of the various users groups, we were able to purchase the unit and co-locate it at K&S Pritchard Enterprises ( in order to provide a large FTP mirror. This site is in support of the greater St. Louis area Linux Users Groups (SILUG, LUCI, and STLLUG) and the larger Open Source Software community.

Yes, you read that correctly. That's HALF A TERABYTE of storage. It is an MTI SCSI DAS array with 12 drives of 50 GB each. The drives are set up in RAID-5 configuration, with a hot spare. So, 10 x 50 GB = 500 GB!

Unfortunately, the drive array lost one of its power supply mid-November. MTI, the manufacturer, was no help in obtaining a replacement, refurb, or salvage. Although their local rep was very helpful (off the record) in providing information about the unit, its history, and so forth, they never did get us anything tangible to work with their own product.

We found an alternate OEM firm, Xyratex, that has a darn-near-identical product, but they wanted $600 for a power module. Strangely enough, I found an identical MTI chassis with 18 GB drives in it up on eBay just before Thanksgiving. Steve was able to snag the winning bid.

Over the holiday weekend, Jeff Licquia of LUCI picked up the beast and brought it home to Steve and Kara's. I believe Steve is planning to sell the drives to raise funds to pay for the unit. So if you need an 18 GB SCSI SCA (hot-swap) 7200 rpm drive, talk to Steve. We should see the unit back in full operation (both power modules) soon. Luckily, these things have redundant power supplies in the first place!

Thanks Steve and Kara! Thanks Jeff!
Just don't ask them "What's beeping?"

Christmas Greetings to Newbies

by Bill Bronson

The holiday season is a great time for little stocking stuffers. I have a lot of kids, and they all want to know what to buy me for Christmas. Most things are really expensive, and I hate to waste my kids' money. Of course, if you leave them to pick a gift out themselves, they usually spend far too much, and get something you may not need or want.

A great gift idea, and a real bargain to boot (not to be confused with /boot) is Linux related software. The boxed sets available at electronics stores are complete and even have very nice books included. Just think, where else could you get an operating system, complete office and graphics suites, and the chance to learn something new? Even though you can download Linux for free, it helps the Linux vendors if you buy their releases. This makes charity affordable and fun.

Perhaps you use the high-priced brand name software, and long for something cheaper and better. You may have even tried Linux earlier, and were completely disappointed with the need to learn vast amounts of mind-numbing command line entries. Worse yet was the fact that if you tried to help yourself and do it from the GUI (graphical user interface), you could not find enough information to get everything configured without having to use the command line. Going to the Linux web sites was also frustrating because they seem to be written by experts for experts.

Now, this is all changing. With the new focus on the GUI, you can easily help yourself. The latest releases are finally addressing the issues which keep most of us out of the Linux game. One particularly fine release is Red Hat Linux 8.0, which is the best I have seen. It is really easy and intuitive to load, and the GUI (graphical user interface) allows total configuration without a single stroke of command level input. This includes all configuration, file maintenance, and adding of programs and updates/bug fixes. The Personal Edition is available for only $40, and includes everything you will ever want or need.

Almost anyone can afford to buy you this software, and you will have a ton of fun loading and configuring it. I had mine up and running in the same day, and that included networking with my Windows machines. I will however make an important recommendation, which is to make sure you have a good hardware platform to install it on. The nature of Linux is that it needs roughly twice the RAM and processor speed of a comparable Windows installation to give the same feeling of speed which you are used to. I recommend a minimum processor speed of 450 MHz, at least 128 MB of RAM, and a 10 GB hard drive, which should give you all the room you need. Many used computers are well up to these requirements. If you have more than one person buying you a gift, have one get the RAM, another can buy you the software and you can get yourself a better mother board and processor.

All this will make for the best Christmas you have had in years, and you will enjoy these gifts for the rest of your life. Now that the GUI is moving to the front, and the command line is taking a long-awaited back seat, "the other software" will get some real competition. What the government could not and in my opinion should not have done about the monopoly, us consumers can now do, thanks to the low cost, and fine improvements to the Linux product line.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


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


The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet.
 -- William Gibson

There is no such thing as implicit trust, and if you think there is, 
please send me a blank check.
 -- aphor

Microsoft follows standards the same way fish follow migrating caribou.

And trust me, the people I trust don't revere me and think I'm 
always right. These people call me "pinhead" and tell me when I'm 
full of sh*t. If these people don't believe in your project, don't 
blame me and think it's because I "poisoned their minds".
 -- Linus Torvalds, on getting patches accepted

The only way to make music that cannot be copied is to make music that 
cannot be heard.
 -- Gene Kan

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
 -- Carl Sagan

Spam will grow as a problem. [...]
Significant numbers of people may stop using e-mail as we know it.
 -- Gene Spafford,

Linux price to performance ratio: Error: Divide by zero. Continue? (Y/N)
 -- stienman on Slashdot

Microsoft Palladium: where will we allow you to go today?
 -- nurb432 on Slashdot

If you think we've seen the last of an arrogrant, monopolistic, 
vindictive Microsoft, I have a 630-foot stainless steel arch on the 
St. Louis riverfront you might be interested in leasing.
 -- Gene Schneider (Ballwin, MO)
    eWEEK Reader Mail, page 71, November 18, 2002

Remove wrapper, open mouth, insert muffin, eat.
 -- instructions on the packaging for a muffin at a 7-11

 -- Phil Lelyveld, Disney Executive, 
    urging the FCC to enforce the Broadcast Flag

Copyrights in the digital age must be reformed. To enforce the kinds 
of entitlement monopolies publishers have enjoyed since the British 
Crown created the first publishing cartel in the 15th century will 
require legislation so draconian as to make the former communist 
eastern block appear liberal in comparison, governance equipment in 
every home, office, car, and every portable electronic device that both 
monitors and reports a user's data usage habits, and a crippling of 
new emergent technologies that would have made any luddite of the 19th 
century, and every buggy whip manufacturer of the early 20th, proud.
 -- FreeUser on Slashdot,

Three statisticians went out hunting, and came across a large deer. The 
first statistician fired, but missed, by 10 feet to the left. The second 
statistician fired, but also missed, by 10 feet to the right. The third 
statistician didn't fire, but shouted in triumph, "We got it! We got it!"

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. Plain HTML format is preferred.

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