April 2004

St. Louis UNIX Users Group

HTML version:

Table of Contents

Next General Meeting is Wednesday, Apr 14

6:30 pm Tutorial To be announced by someone special
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
7:30 pm Presentation The OSI Model and its role in explaining communication between networks by John House


To be announced
by someone special

Tutorial to be announced

We have two possibilities for tutorials this month, but neither is confirmed at this time

Any member of the St. Louis Unix User Group or an affiliated organization is welcome to present a tutorial. SLUUG members are an informed, but supportive audience, and we appreciate it when you share experience and insights, or demonstrate software and utilities that could help us.


Please contact Terry Linhardt if you would like to make a tutorial presentation.


The OSI Model and its role in explaining communication between networks
by John House


THE OSI Model as a means to explain communication between networks

The Open Standards Institute (OSI) model describes the roles of hardware and software components in a network. It defines strata of media and functions, and explains the interaction between them. While this model is largely defunct as a standard, it is used universally to define the relationships among elements of a protocol stack and to compare different protocol stacks.

Tonight's presentation offers general insights into data transmission between networks. The OSI model is the focus for definition and abstraction of the roles of hardware and software elements within this communication.


John House

John House runs SUSE, openBSD and freeBSD hosts at his home. He is a willing student. He is also willing to share information as soon as he learns it.

John is also responsible for the typos in the CRONicle. As editor, he strives to diminish that responsibility and to increase the number and variety of interesting articles and commentaries on technology issues.

Ideas, questions and suggestions are welcome; please contact Terry Linhardt (

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.


Next St. Louis LUG Meeting Is Apr 15

Novell commitment to cross-platform environments
by Evan Bills

Novell Cross-Platform Strategy and Services for Linus

Novell has a long history supporting cross-platform environments, and with the recent acquisitions of Ximian, the creator of the Outlook replacement Evolution, and SUSE, a major vendor of Linux, Novell has committed to supporting the Linux community. Evan will present Novell's strengths in supporting and integrating these cross-platform environments, and provide information on the value Novell expects to bring to the Linux community.

The acquisition of SUSE will add a significant amount of combined value to the solutions Novell can bring to the Enterprise marketplace, and we will focus on Novell's products and technologies available for the Enterprise today.

Bio for Evan Bills

Evan Bills is a Central Network Specialist and a Linux Specialist for Novell. Although he joined Novell recently, he has had 12 years' IT experience, mostly with Linux. In his own words, "I am very excited about the moves Novell is making in the Linux industry and hope to share that with your group."

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 (

Meeting Time Date Place
2nd Wednesday of Month 6:30-8:30pm April 14 Graybar Electric

SLUUG - St. Louis UNIX Users Group Steering Committee (

Meeting Time Date Place
1st Wednesday of Month 6:15-9:00pm April 7 #60 Ladue Estates (rear)

St. Louis Linux Users Group (STLLUG) (

Meeting Time Date Place
3rd Thursday of Month 6:30-9:00pm April 15 Indian Trails Br County Library

St. Charles LUG (

Meeting Time Date Place
4th Thursday of Month 6:30-9:00pm April 22 JJ's, O'Fallon

Security UG

Meeting Time Date Place
4th Thursday of Month 6:30-8:30pm April 22 EPC, 70 & Truman Rd, St. Charles

Hazelwood LUG (

Meeting Time Date Place
4th Tuesday of Month 7:00-9:00pm April 27 Prairie Commons Library, St. Louis

CWE-LUG - Central West End LUG (

Meeting Time Date Place
3rd Sunday of Month 1:00-5:00pm April 18 ACLU Building, St. Louis

Advanced LUG (

Meeting Time Date Place
1st Monday of Month 6:30-8:00pm April 5 St. Louis Bread Co, Brentwood

Extreme Programming (

Meeting Time Date Place
1st Wednesday of Month 7:00-9:30pm April 7 CAIT, Clayton

MOSLUG - MO Open Source LUG (

Meeting Time Date Place
1st Tuesday of Month 7:00-9:30pm April 6 Culpeppers, Kirkwood

STLBSD - St. Louis BSD Users (

Group is planning a new meeting schedule. Consult website for current meeting information.

St. Louis Java Users Group (

Meeting Time Date Place
2nd Thursday of Month 6:30-8:00pm April 8 CityPlace One Auditorium, Creve Coeur

Gateway JUG (Java Users Group) (

Meeting Time Date Place
1st Tuesday of Month 6:00-8:00pm rsvp April 6 Maryville Technoligies

STLWEBDEV - St. Louis Web Developers (

Meeting Time Date Place
3rd Tuesday of Month 6:30-9:00pm April 20 SAVVIS Auditorium (Hwy 40 & 141)

GAMUG - Gateway Area Macintosh Users Group (

Meeting Time Date Place
2nd Tuesday of Month 7:00-9:00pm April 12 Parkway Central High School

SILUG - Southern Illinois LUG (
O'Fallon meeting

Meeting Time Date Place
1st Thursday of Month 7:00-9:00pm April 1 O'Fallon City Library

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 area that may be of interest to our members. If you would like to have info added about your group, please mail the newsletter editor whose link is on

Upcoming Events:

WARNING: These articles and notices 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.

Manager of Manager Design Principles

by John House A Decentralized Manager of Manager Philosophy

Anyone can implement a Manager of Manager (MOM) in some fashion by contacting a reliable vendors. Vendors will predictably recommend replacing many of your processes with their proprietary processes and your hardware with their proprietary hardware. Vendors will typically support their solutions using their equipment as you adjust your needs to accommodate this. Although this viewpoint is cynical, it often reflects reality.

Our goal is to generalize the network administration and system administration practices some enterprises use to minimize the disruption to their network design and administration. This goal has many consequences:

A prudently designed MOM needs vendor input to provide multi-site expertise, well-written and debugged software, and experience with a variety of hardware. But you need to ask who will "drive the bus." One approach is to use a "best of breed" selection criteria and to integrate optimal contributions from one or more vendors. Such thinking is the antithesis of a single-source vendor selection process.

In MOM design, the first reward for taking responsibility is freedom. Predictably, the finished product of a MOM design will be hierarchical, like a Cascading Style Sheets. Processes will send status messages to monitors, which in turn summarize and pass data upstream to other monitors. However, your design of the MOM is more analogous to creating a key-bound database. You have the freedom and responsibility to arrange granular and disparate information to identify critical functions and describe the condition of the entire enterprise's IT infrastructure.

A MOM reporting system can describe the enterprise in any of the following respects:

You are correct in noticing that above-listed bullets are redundant. Good MOM design is concise because it continuously provides views of the enterprise through overlapping sensors. Good MOM design distinguishes a server failure (hardware) with a process failure (program or stack). You will know if an event is a failure of one process on one server or an enterprise-wide application failure on hundreds of hosts, for example.

You can choose to design the MOM in a manner that is concurrently hierarchical and decentralized. Your enterprise's departments and business operations have had monitoring for their own areas of responsibility. For example, a NOC will monitor circuits while a database group will monitor database processes throughout the enterprise. A decentralized approach permits groups to continue using their processes, while you use the traps that are currently in use to be passed to an enterprise-wide MOM. Therefore if a new business group determines that a novel monitoring system is optimal for its purposes, this model of MOM development would more likely to incorporate that new concept.

Such flexibility requires monitoring software that is highly interoperable. The vendor providing such software must support interoperation with a wide variety of platforms, processes and hardware. Scripting languages become very important: both the IT staff and the vendor need to become adapt at script and API design. Such skill includes the craft of programming and the art of learning new programming or scripting languages efficiently. Proficiency with open protocols such as ICMP, SNMP and MIB enable interoperability based on industry standards and butress your vendor independent approach.

Because a MOM oversees an enterprise, it necessarily aggregates the data and generalizes it. Several characteristics follow from performing this generalization properly:

Moving to a MOM (Manager of Manager) solution offers myriad potentials for creative and responsible IT planning. Rather than becoming technical experts supporting a procurement decision, you can chose to maintain the organization's technical investment, conserve infrastructure value, and meet business needs. IT managers should continue to rely upon their craft and imagination to meet enterprise needs in the most flexible and cost effective manner.

Scope analysis, the benefit of a clear purpose and maximum freedom

by John House Defining Scope

On March 26, Ivan Sutherland spoke at Washington University on "The Importance of SCOPE in software, hardware, design, economics, and life." Dr. Sutherland is a Sun Fellow and a Vice President at Sun Microsystems.

I cannot do justice to the topic, but Dr. Sutherland's remarks left me with something you might find useful. A well stated scope makes design happen and avoids legacy (aka baggage or structural obsolescence). Specifically, a well defined scope limits the parameters of the problem, assures maximum freedom in generating solutions, and assures interoperability.

Let's say that you and three companions are on vacation in a foreign city, and you want to find a landmark that is not published on a tourist map. You know it is nearby, but guides have no knowledge of the landmark. So, each companion sets off on an agreed purpose: to find the landmark. You have also agreed that each person is to stay in touch by cell phone, and no one should travel in the same general direction.

All of your companions go in different directions, asking residents as best they can about the landmark. Eventually, each person finds it, but one of your companions knows the most direct route. Another knows a route that passes the best restaurants and shops, a third companion knows a route that also leads past other sites of historical significance to this exotic country, and the fourth, well, he found a watering hole with great music that was known only to local people, and that is where all of you spend the evening.

By defining a simple, clear scope, then leaving people freedom to pursue it, you have several ways to reach your purpose. Then you can choose the best way for the moment's needs (optimization).


For more information about sponsoring the St. Louis UNIX Users Group, contact Christine Wanta.).

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 .


To relieve our officers and volunteers of unwanted SPAM, we no longer include email addresses in the newsletter. Nonetheless, we are eager to hear from you. You can find links to our email accounts on

  President Craig Buchek
  Vice-President Ed Wehner
  Secretary Derek Polston
  Treasurer Mike Kriz 
  Linux Users Group Chair Craig Buchek
  Board of Directors Clarence Johnson
Craig Buchek
Leland V. Lammert
Stan Reichardt
Christine Wanta
  Presentations Terry Linhardt
  Corporate Sponsors Open
  O'Reilly Book Sales Carl Fitch
  Newsletter Editor John House
  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 newsletter editor. The deadline for article submissions is the second to last day of the month. Plain HTML format is preferred.

UNIX® is a registered trademark of the Open Group
Linux® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds