Welcome to the first hypertext issue of the UKUUG newsletter.


Volume 3 Number 4 (August 1994)

Editor's Column

(Susan Small)

I hope that you will agree that it was worth waiting a little longer than usual for this particular issue. The newsletter was held up awaiting the arrival of the CD which you should find enclosed. [Please note the new telephone and fax numbers for Stuart McRobert at Imperial College.] The delay also meant that we could mail you the final programme and registration form for the IP Workshop in October 1994.

You will see from Charles Atkinson's article that he wishes to hand over the role of PC SIG co-ordinator. Anyone who is interested in taking over from him should contact the Secretariat.

Dr Gary Kildall died on 16 July 1994, cause unknown at present. I'm told that he was well known for designing the CP/M operating system, but famous for not selling it to IBM.

Deadline for October 1994 – 19 Sept
Deadline for December 1994 – 19 Nov
Deadline for February 1995 – 19 Jan



Around Europe

Across the Pond

From the Net


Small Ads

Calendar of Events


Report from the Chair

(Mick Farmer)

Following my pessimistic opening in the last issue of your newsletter, I'm now very optimistic about the new services being announced in this issue. What a difference a couple of months can make!

First, you should all have a CD-ROM with this issue. This is completely full with software that you requested. Stuart looked through all your requests and has packaged together something for most people. Remember that this is public domain software. If it's not on the CD, then it's on the archive at Imperial College. If you want it on CD then the UKUUG will build you a custom one – see Stuart's article for details. Your council intend this to be only the first of many such CDs provided as a service to our members.

If you haven't got a CD-ROM with this issue, then you're reading someone elses! Why not join the UKUUG and benefit from your own membership.

Second, I'm pleased to announce that the UKUUG now has a presence on the World Wide Web with its own home page. Initially, this page only outlines the services and benefits of being a member of the UKUUG. As many of these services gain pages of their own, then I hope to see information about all aspects of the group available on-line. Copies of this newsletter are already available. Soon you should be able to read about events as they happen, whether it be the demise of MicroSoft or initial details of a forthcoming event. Our Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is http://web.dcs.bbk.ac.uk/ukuug/home.html. I look forward to hearing your comments about this initiative.

Finally, it's good to see the initial announcement of Jim's IP Workshop. Many of us feel that one of the primary benefits of UKUUG membership is getting together at events to talk about common interests, problems, etc. This is our first meeting since the abortive event last Easter. I wish it well and look forward to seeing many of you there.

UKUUG CD Sampler Disk No. 1

(Stuart McRobert)

Many useful suggestions have been received regarding what should be included on this first UKUUG sample CD from The Archive – SunSITE Northern Europe. In fact many of the topics suggested would individually take one or two CDs themselves, but since this is a sample CD, I've picked areas of general interest and completely filled the CD from the rich collection of over 25 GB freely available online (via ftp, telnet, ftpmail, www, etc). The CD's top directory contains:

README.Welcome    computing
jupiter           sun
X11R6             gnu
ntp               tcl
astronomy         haskell
perl              usenet

Incidently, you can easily order fresh custom made CDs of complete areas of The Archive from the UKUUG (up to 650 MB fits on a single CD) and we make them individually to order, rather than selling mass produced CDs made months ago.

Currently the costs for a single standard CD of one area from The Archive e.g. X, or Gnu, etc. is 45 GB pounds for members, 55 GB pounds for non-members. The CDs are all mastered in ISO 9660 format with Rock Ridge extensions (makes them UNIX friendly!). Other CDs can also be made, either from your data or from several areas of The Archive.

For orders, please contact Jane at the UKUUG Secretariat.

I hope you enjoy the CD. Contents of the CD follows …


IP Workshop and Tutorials (11-13 October 1994)

(Jim Reid)

I am pleased to announce the final programme for the IP Workshop to be held at London Zoo, Regent's Park, London from 11-13 October 1994.

A booking form and additional details are enclosed with this newsletter.

Day 1 – Full Day Tutorial

UNIX Network Programming – Richard Stevens

Attendees should be UNIX/C programmers interested in learning how to write programs that communicate across a network. A basic familiarity with networking concepts and the TCP/IP protocols is assumed.

The goal of the tutorial is to provide the programmer with the knowledge required to write network programs and to develop and examine actual examples. Although the tutorial covers the Berkeley sockets interface, the tutorial focuses on UNIX network programming concepts using TCP/IP that are applicable to both sockets and TLI.

The tutorial covers the following material:

Richard Stevens is the best-selling author of the books TCP/IP Illustrated (1994), Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment (1992) and UNIX Network Programming (1990). Currently he is an author and independent consultant residing in Tucson, Arizona.

Day 2 – Workshop

Day 3 – Full Day Tutorial

IP Network Administration

Attendees should have some prior experience using IP networks and should be familiar with number bases, bits, bytes, and machine representations of integers, but need not be experienced full-time programmers.

This course covers essential IP network administration and the background knowledge necessary to carrying out such administration.

Topics include:

Best known as the author of top William LeFebvre received his MS in 1987 from Rice University. He is currently the manager and analyst for the Argonne National Laboratory. William has been offering courses at conferences since 1990 and has been asked to serve as a "Guru" at USENIX conferences since 1993.


(Lindsay F. Marshall)

As part of developing a role for SAGE-UK in the system management community, it has been suggested that we try to put together a syllabus for a course in System Administration. Such a course could perhpas lead to a recognised qualification, eg City and Guilds, BTEC or NVQ certificate. There is a long way to go before that stage is reached. As a preliminary I would like people to send me their ideas of what they consider to be the core areas that a SA course should cover. If I get enough material, I will organise a draft of a syllabus for people to consider and this can then be shown to various course providers to get their opinion.

I should add also that if you think this is a silly idea, let me know, not forgetting to tell me why of course.

Cambridge LUG

(Jane Shute)

The last meeting was held on Thursday 28 July 1994 at the Applied Psychology Unit of the MRC. Three presentations were given: the first by Radan Business Systems, demonstrating a Client/Server using Oracle, as well as four integrated Oracle packages, including Forms and Book.

The second presentaion came from Sirretta Microelectronics who demonstrated Interbackup, a GUI backup product, which seemd to be generally liked.

The final presentation came from John Nutbourn of Sun Microsystems who came to tell us that he is now in charge of the pre-sales consultancy for the academic market in Cambridge, but that the ordering/selling will actually be done by Radan Business Systems.

The next meeting date is to be 22 September at Olivetti Research, with a presentation by Steve Platt and Jenny Martin.

London LUG

(Nick Williams)

Jan-Simon Pendry, now of Convex, has for a number of years been working on aspects of filesystem design. He is most widely known for his contribution to the UNIX community of amd, an automounter, and has been working on filesystem aspects of BSD4.4 for some time now. With his latest work on stackable filesystems he has brought together many ideas from amd and other filesystem work to produce a service which provides a number of benefits to a wide range of users. In his talk, Jan-Simon described his `work-in-progress' on stackable fileystems, a feature similar to the translucent file service found in SunOS, and explored some of the possibilities provided by such a file service.

A file system stack can be viewed as a traditional UNIX style mount, but where the underlying directory structure is not totally obscured by the new mounted filesystem. Rather, a new view is produced which is a union of all of the filesystems stacked at the same point. Many of the ideas behind Jan-Simon's implementation are in fact based on his previous work on union filesystems in amd.

When using a stacked view of a filesystem, any writes or modifications occur in the topmost filesystem on the stack. This facility immediately provides benefits: if one of the filesystems lower in the stack is a CD-ROM for example, a user can appear to be able to write and modify data on the CD-ROM (when actually they are just writing to the toplevel, writable filesystem). Another example given was in using it to provide source code management; rather than using RCS and symbolic links, a developer can simply stack their own working area over the source tree and then work without affecting the underlying reference code.

Jan-Simon's talk ranged over various implementation issues with the system, such as the difficulties with providing a whiteout facility (how to hide or delete a file in a lower level of the stack) and provided some interesting insights into the design of the general file service in BSD4.4, which provides facilities for an easier implementation of the stackable file service (although Jan-Simon was hasty to point out that it should port simply to other architectures).

When asked if a stacked view of a filesystem could be NFS exported to other clients, Jan-Simon explained how NFS requests do not have enough information available to be able to integrate well within a stack: the filesystem would not be able to determine the context, or which level of the stack the remote client was making the request from. He commented that it may be possible in the later versions of NFS, but it would still be an awkward implementation problem.

The talk was at an implementation level of design, and so did not discuss the user management of stacks. As the facility allows everyday users to create their own stacks (one of the major benefits of the service), extra tools need to be provided to help the user manage their stacks. For example, when a user tries to recreate a stack after a machine reboot, for example, is it up to the user to remember in which order the stack should be rebuilt, and which directory goes where?

Overall, the talk gave an interesting view into some of the ideas to be exhibited by future versions of BSD4.4 and highlighted that providing such services at the user level (rather than restricted to super-user privileges) can provide a wide range of useful applications.


(Charles Atkinson)

Let's start with an apology to UKUUG Linux enthusiasts and to Martin Houston of the Association of C and C++ Users (ACCU). The last news@uk should have included a review of the Linux Journal and details of how to get hold of copies. It follows, en retard.

My best excuse is that I was doing a short consultancy and had no computer or e-mail access, so deferred sending a piece until my return home, which turned out to be after publication deadline. Sorry.

In fact other commitments now prevent me continuing as PC-SIG coordinator; which role I have been uncomfortably aware of not doing as well as you all deserve in the last twelve months. At one time PC UNIX looked very exciting – as the cheap PC hardware grew up to be powerful enough for UNIX, it looked as if UNIX system costs might come down to make it an extremely attractive option. As history now relates, software prices did not fall, nor quality rise, fast enough. And, my pet moan, accelerated graphics were not common enough for most people to have fast GUIs.

Of course PC UNIX will continue – there's a lot of it about and it does have some advantages over the competition. Vendor independence for one. But it has not seized the market share which would have made it a clear leader over Windows NT, or have made a big dent in Windows 4 sales. Those were possibilities at one time. UNIXware's recent aggressive pricing came too late. UNIX has missed the boat as far as low-end computing is concerned. My private development project on UNIX has been shelved and another started under Windows, using Visual Basic. Not a completely bug-free environment but much easier to slip into when contrasted with programming under UNIX.

All the same, I may look at Sentinel and Insight for a client so hope to be able to write the piece promised in news@uk Volume 3 Number 3 at some time. Potentially one of the most exciting things happening in PC UNIX is Linux. It certainly seems to be generating a lot of energy. One manifestation is the Linux Journal. I'm no Linux expert but the journal seems to present meaty and useful information, while very skillfully striking a balance between the needs of neophytes and sages. Well worth the cautious risking 'a34 for a sample issue and the bold risking 'a320 for 12 issues (plus 50p p+p per issue). Details are listed on the contact page.

Martin Houston, of the Linux Journal, has a number of ideas for joint UKUUG/ACCU Linux activities, which is even more reason for me to stand aside – if Linux is to become a major part of PC-SIG activity then the coordinator should be a Linux-aware person, as well as one who stays in the same place for more than a few weeks at a time and who has SOME spare time!

Those interested in taking on the role should contact Mick Farmer, Martin Houston, or telephone me on 0378 152248 (mobile) to discuss. Thanks to all who have supported the PC-SIG. Please continue to do so. I hope to remain an active member in an ad-hoc sort of way.


(Paul Kentish)

The next meeting of the SU2SG will be held on Tuesday 20 September 1994 at the Royal Free Hospital Medical School, Rowland Hill Street, Hampstead at 1430hrs. We shall meet beforehand in the Freemason's Arms at 12.30hrs(ish). For more details of the Small UNIX Systems Services Group contact [email protected]. For directions of how to find the venue(s) contact [email protected].

News from Owles Hall

(Jane Morrison)

As reported in the last issue Newsletter (June) we have recently chased all the outstanding subscriptions for UKUUG members.

This amounted to some 60 invoices, which isn't bad considering we have approximately 500 members. We have given these last few members a deadline to pay and hopefully the cheques will come flooding in. Any remaining subscriptions still outstanding next month will have to be cancelled. So if you know your invoice hasn't been paid please contact us if you wish to stay in membership and immediate payment isn't possible. Thanks.

Hopefully with this issue you should receive the updated list of books available through UKUUG. All items are at discounted price and include first class postage. There are many new titles included and tapes etc. We have recently been able to turn the orders around in 7 – 10 days so fingers crossed we shall be able to continue with this excellent service !!

Yesterday (21st July) Mick Farmer and I spent a day at London Zoo (I can hear you thinking what's this got to do with UKUUG?) – well the IP Event which was planned for September – now 11-13 OCTOBER is going to be held at the Conference Centre at London Zoo. We visited the centre to check out the facilities and it all looks very good (including FREE car parking). Jim Reid (UKUUG Council member) is busy arranging the Tutorials (11th & 13th) and the speakers for the one day Conference on the 12th. There should be more details of the content etc. elsewhere in this Newsletter. We wanted a venue with a difference and both Mick and I think that the Zoo fits the bill. Delegates will have a chance to walk round the Zoo during the lunch breaks etc. and we are investigating the possibility of an evening reception in one of the animal houses…… Watch out for further details.

Sales of the SAGE booklet, Job Descriptions for System Administrators, have been steady and we still have stocks available for 'a34, inclusive of P & P.


4.4BSD Manuals and CD-ROM Companion

(Mick Farmer)

4.4BSD is published jointly by the USENIX Association and O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.

When I first received these six volumes I started wondering how I was going to review a complete operating system, especially one that I've been lucky enough to have used daily for over fifteen years. However, it soon became apparent that all I had was the source code and the manuals to read. Let me explain.

4.4BSD is the final release of the Berkeley Software Distribution from the Computer Systems Research Group at the University of California at Berkeley. The research group has now been disbanded. BSD is probably the most successful variant of UNIX, as it's the basis of many commercial versions of UNIX. Since Bell Laboratories released the source code of UNIX, the researchers at Berkeley have either developed their own software or absorbed useful software from other developers into the various BSD releases.

The five-volume documentation set is an update on the Berkeley manuals that have sat on my desk for nearly ten years and which I still use. It's interesting to compare them volume by volume.

First, the System Manager's Manual (SMM). Out has come the references to the VAX architecture, debugging the kernel with adb, and nroff terminal descriptions. In has come the Network File System (NFS), the Automounter (AMB), and the perl computer language. Second, the User's Reference Manual (URM). Out has come more references to the VAX architecture. In has come the mandatory references to ANSI C, POSIX, and various network protocols.

The User's Supplementary Documents (USD) has changed very little. They've taken out the sections on network news. Strange that.

Changes to the Programmer's Reference Manual (PRM) are mainly cosmetic.

Finally, the Programmer's Supplementary Documents (PSD). This originally came in two volumes. Out has come some old favourites such as Lint, dbx, EFL, FP, Ratfor, and Franz Lisp. In has come the GNU debugger (GDB) and a new execution profiler, gprof.

The sixth volume in this set is the 4.4BSD-Lite CD-ROM Companion. The "Lite" release does not contain the source code for a small number of utilities, but it can be freely distributed. Everything else is there!

4.4BSD-Lite includes some major new facilities such as a new virtual memory system, ISO networking support, a new virtual filesystem interface supporting filesystem stacking, and much, much more. What makes fascinating reading in this volume are the listings of the people and organisations who have contributed, in some way, to the BSD releases (not necessarily 4.4BSD). It's a veritable who's who of the UNIX world.

In a curious way, this release completes a UNIX circle. Old timers used to say that you could carry the Version 6 manual around in your briefcase and they decried the additional baggage that UNIX was taking on. Now I can carry the source code and documentation in my shirt pocket thanks to CD-ROM technology.

Last but not least, the price. According to O'Reilly's agents in this country the five reference manuals will cost 22.00 GB pounds each. The CD-ROM Companion costs 29.95 GB pounds. So, at 139.95 GB pounds for the complete set, I imagine that you'll have to be a very serious programmer indeed to buy this for your toolkit.

MKS Internet Anywhere – Easy Windows Access to Usenet News & Mail

(Mick Farmer)

First, a little background information. I run MKS Toolkit (Release 4.2) on the DOS box in our house, but other members of my family use MicroSoft Windows (mainly for games), so I was quite happy to lose another 7 megabytes of disk space in order to review this product from MKS. I think that MKS have done an excellent job with their Toolkit. Release 4.2 contains more Windows-based applications than earlier releases so I was expecting MKS Internet Anywhere to be impressive.

MKS Internet Anywhere is purely a Windows application (Windows 3.1 or later). Initially I thought that it was a Windows front-end onto the Mail and News facilities found in the Toolkit, but I was wrong. The functionality is the same, but there is no interaction at all. For example, the username we use with the Toolkit isn't the same as the MKS Internet Anywhere username.

As usual, the MKS Documentation is very good. This package comes with three volumes. The first is entitled Getting Started, and contains full instructions on installing and configuring the software. The second is a comprehensive User Guide, with lots of information about Electronic Mail and Usenet News as well as guides through the different software components. The third is an Access Providers book, giving details of who can provide a UUCP connection around the world. The entry for the United Kingdom was reasonably up-to-date, containing entries for The Direct Connection, EUnet GB, ExNet Systems, PC User Group, Pipex, and Ukmail Network. It also contained a number of discount vouchers to encourage you to chose a particular access provider. For example, Ukmail Network were offering a 50% discount on your first year access costs.

As you may have realised from the above paragraph, this software only offers a UUCP connection to the Internet, regardless of what any particular access provider can arrange. Installation of the software was painless; the only difficulty I encountered was that the installation assumed I was running DOS under Windows and wanted to alter my autoexec.bat file. I had already set up UUCP for the MKS Toolkit so there were no problems with this section. However, I went through everything step by step (strictly this should be window by window 🙂 and my impression was that even a first-time user shouldn't have any difficulties in configuring UUCP.

I was not so lucky when it came to testing the set-up. Already programmed into the administration is a UUCP connection direct to MKS on a free USA 1-800 phone number. It's nice for MKS because it means the software is automatically registered (so be careful if you lend this package to someone), but unfortunately these numbers aren't available in the United Kingdom. I rang MKS Technical Support and they agreed that this was a problem and that they needed to find alternative numbers outside the USA and Canada. However, since I was already running UUCP with their Toolkit I didn't expect any problems with MKS Internet Anywhere, and so it proved.

My normal UUCP connection is to my office workstation. I don't download Usenet News to save both time and money, but read the News at work. There is some e-mail traffic. I had to remember to kill my normal TSRs, leaving MKS Internet Anywhere to handle timed connections, etc. This all seemed to work without any problems.

Since I didn't want to start downloading Usenet News, I tested this part of the software by creating some local news hierarchies (home.jobs, home.events, etc.) and reading and writing to these. Personally, I'm not a MicroSoft Windows fan, but the software worked well and didn't contain many dark corners. Similarly, the Windows e-mail interface was reasonable and intuitive. The only disappointment here was identifying who was sending e-mail. MKS Internet Anywhere has the concept of a login field (remember that this is independent from the MKS Toolkit username), but the system can only accept a maximum of four different users! I assume this is probably enough for home use, but it would tax a small office using a single PC.

In conclusion, I don't think that I'll run this product in place of UUCP provided with my MKS Toolkit. However, if you're unlucky enough to be running MicroSoft Windows on a PC and want to have some initial Internet access, albeit via a dial-up link, then I think you should seriously consider this software. The documentation is thorough and contains introductions to e-mail and Usenet News for beginners, the usual pieces on netiquette and when not to use News. The Windows interface is fine, if you like that sort of thing. So, ideal for Internet beginners trapped in a DOS/Windows world.

Available from:

Mortice Kern Systems Inc
35 King Street North
Ontario N2J 2W9
Tel: (519) 884 2251
Fax: (519) 884 8861
Net: [email protected]

Around Europe

ICT Round Table No. 8

(Mick Farmer)

In the last issue of the newsletter I reported that the European Commission (EC) has initiated a set of "Round Tables" involving all organisations involved in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) at the European level.

Round Table Number 8 on "Access to Community Information for Users" held its first meeting on 21 June in Brussels. This Round Table is chaired by EurOpen, so it was important for some of the national groups to be present.

About 24 people turned up; at least six were representing departments within the EC and the rest of us representing various user communities around Europe. I was impressed to see that Walter de Backer, principal advisor to the EC on IT matters, was there – although he left for another meeting at lunch time. As you'd expect, the user groups were a motley bunch, national groups like the UKUUG and the NLUUG, some hardware-specific and software-specific groups (the MAP User Group for example), and a fair sprinkling of organisations involved in publishing or information dissemination.

Walter de Backer, here representing DG X111 of the EC, led the EC into bat first. The EC was being criticised for not listening to the voices of those involved in IT within its member states. Therefore, the EC was embarking on this series of Round Tables, including all aspects of IT, so that the EC could learn more about the real world. More importantly, the EC wanted to know what we expected, or wanted, from them in terms of information. Here the various Eurocrats present chipped in, stating that they had access to volumes and volumes of information but weren't clear what we, as IT users, were interested in or how we wanted it presented.

It slowly emerged that our Round Table will investigate the structure and content of information useful for users, in terms of media, networks, types of information, access methods, translation, price, etc.

In the afternoon it was the turn of the users, each of us being asked to describe our organisation and what we expected from this meeting. Immediately, it was obvious why the publishers were there. They wanted access to the EC's raw databases so that they could sell the information in zillions of different ways throughout Europe. After briefly describing the UKUUG, I said that I didn't know what to expect from such an initial meeting. This sentiment was echoed by most of the user groups.

What really intruiged the Eurocrats was what I (and Marten van Gelderen from the NLUUG) said about EUnet. They were literally astounded that a collection of national user groups, and EurOpen, could create a pan-European IP network without heated political wrangling. The impression that I got was that they'd thought about this but hadn't got very far. So, for the next meeting, Marten and I are to present a short report on the history of EUnet (mainly Marten as he's actively involved with EUnet).

Finally, all the user groups were asked to go back to their members and ask them "What information would you like to see coming from the EC?". I'm doing so now. I look forward to hearing from every one of you.

GURU 1994 Open Systems Conference & Exhibition (ROSE '94)

The second Conference & Exhibition specifically for Open Systems in Romania, ROSE '94, will be held on 3-4 November 1994, in Bucharest. The Event organiser is GURU – Romanian UNIX User Group, a member group of EurOpen – The European Forum for Open Systems.

The Conference's aim is to promote the knowledge and use of the information techniques based on Open Systems, by favouring the sharing of experiences and information between specialists with similar interests and the direct contact between users and suppliers of Open Systems products.

Two tracks are intended at the Conference: a technical track, in which specialists from Romania and abroad are invited to present papers on all topics related to Open Systems technology, and a business-oriented track, in which leading suppliers of software and hardware will present their strategy towards the Open Systems market; their products will be on show at the Exhibition organised together with the Conference.

The theme of the ROSE '94 Conference is: "Open Systems, Technology for an Open World".

Submission of Papers

Topics for the Conference will cover the spectrum of recent research, development and experience using Open Systems technology. Papers are solicited on all aspects related to Open Systems, including:

Submissions should be in the form of extended abstracts or full papers (5-10 pages in length). The Conference language is English. Please submit the papers, by post or e-mail, to Alexandru Rotaru, the programme chair, at:

P.O. BOX 63-42
or [email protected]

Accepted papers will be published in the Conference proceedings, which will be distributed to all attendees. Presentations will usually be scheduled for 30 minutes.

Important Dates

3 Sept 1994
Deadline for submission of extended abstracts or full papers
17 Sept 1994
Notification of acceptance to authors
8 Oct 1994
Deadline for receipt of the final papers

Attendance Fees

The Conference attendance fee for individual participants is $80, lodging and travel fees are separate from fees for the Conference & Exhibition.

Across the Pond

Looking for a Few Good Writers

Are you an open systems professional with expertise in a particular area such as security, procurement, networking, or object technology? Do you focus on specifics while also taking a broader view? Do you have something to say and the desire to get it into print? If so, we'd like to talk with you.

UniForum Monthly is the magazine for open systems professionals. We're looking for writers who have a solid grounding in topics pertinent to the open systems industry and the ability to write informed, articulate, opinionated, and sometimes amusing articles. This isn't a call for promotional material or marketing hype. It is an invitation to open systems professionals who would like to use their expertise, keen view of the industry, and strong writing skills to contribute to our features or departments.

If you're interested in the possibility of writing for us, send your resume and samples of your writing to:

Meg Peterson
2901 Tasman Dr., #205
Santa Clara, CA 95054
[email protected]

From the Net

Internetworking Changes The Way We Communicate

(Tom Vassos, Chairman of UniForum Canada)

A couple of years ago I was approached by a computer magazine editor who asked me to write an article predicting major computing trends.

At the time I predicted an explosion in internetworking and specifically in the use of the Internet. Here is the article as it appeared in "Canadian Datasystems" (now called InfoCanada):

The "Open World Philosophy" Reshapes The World

Have you ever made a phone call or sent a fax to someone in Canada or another country, only to find out that you could not complete the call because of incompatible phone systems? – Never.

Have you ever tried to communicate between two computers, only to find out that you could not complete the connection because of incompatible computer hardware, communications hardware, connectivity software, etc. etc. etc.? More often than not, the answer is yes, or that you wouldn't even attempt something like that because it is beyond your level of expertise.

Technologists and prognosticators have forecast for many years that this seamless integration of computers will happen '96 once we have all installed UNIX or TCP/IP, or once we have all moved to OSI. They say that once we all move to the same technology, communicating between computers will be as easy as picking up the phone and dialling a number.

I hate to be obvious, but I predict that we will NEVER all move to the same technological base. On the other hand, I believe that we are on the verge of a breakthrough which will allow this seamless integration to become a reality. The breakthrough I speak of is not a technological breakthrough, but relates to the way we think about and use computers.

Yes, we will still see an explosion of Open Systems enabling technologies such as UNIX, TCP/IP, and OSI, but more remarkably we will witness the birth of an "OPEN WORLD Philosophy".

The realization of this dream requires that incompatibility barriers between computers be removed. Emerging technologies will allow all computers in the world (proprietary and open) to participate in the new "OPEN WORLD Philosophy". The technology to make this a reality is already in place today. I refer to this growing trend as "internetworking". This worldwide acceptance of "internetworking" will mean that we will not just be able to send electronic memos to others in our own firm '96 we will be able to communicate electronically with anyone in the world. This will occur, as long as you are connected to "the NET".

As quickly as fax technologies have taken off in the past few years, "internetworking" will explode in the next few years. This will revolutionize the way we do business, much like the phone did in the 20th century, personal computers did in the 80s, and fax machines did in the 90s. Although networks such as the Internet are already in place to make this a reality, it's now up to each of us to take the next step and link up to "the NET". Demand interaction in this fashion in your business dealings, much like you ask someone for their phone number or fax number. Only then will the "OPEN WORLD Philosophy" become the "OPEN WORLD Reality". This transition will not occur without upheavals. Even Richard Hooker knew, 400 years ago, that: "Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better".

End of article.

Since writing this article, Internet use has exploded. It is now used by 20 million people across 30,000 computer networks in 127 countries, and 150,000 new users are joining the network every month. The Internet Society president has predicted that there will be a billion Internet users by the year 2000!

There are several reasons why you would want to become an Internet user.

The next step is to learn about the Internet and the information resources available to you. Most book stores now carry several introductory books about the Internet. Buy one and read it! Try titles such as: "Navigating the Internet" by Mark Gibbs and Richard Smith (Sam's Publishing); "The Internet Navigator" by Paul Glister (Wiley Publishing); "The Internet Yellow Pages" by Harley Hahn (McGraw-Hill Ryerson); or "The Whole Internet" by Ed Krol (O'Reilly & Associates). Next you may want to attend a conference where you can learn more about the Internet and software products such as Mosaic.

To get connected to the Internet, contact an on-line services company in your country. (In the US, companies such as Compuserve [Ed Note: this is available in the UK also ], Delphi and Genie will sell you access to the Internet for about $20 US per month.) Your local UNIX or Open Systems user group will also probably be able to give you some help in connecting up to the Internet [Ed Note: contact your Secretariat for details].

As we have discussed, there is a vast amount of information available on the Internet. The problem has been that it is very difficult to sift through all of the data to actually find what you're looking for. To improve this situation there are now several products on the market called "software agents" which are aimed at helping specific users find the information they are looking for. They can "filter" through mountains of information to retrieve specific data that the user has asked for. Another free software product available is called "Mosaic". It is a navigational tool or global browser that allows users to search, retrieve, display and store data from anywhere in the world. This data can be in the form of text, images, video and audio. "Mosaic" uses a point-and-click interface which makes it much easier to navigate through the Internet to find what you're looking for.

The use of the Internet for commercial purposes is exploding. Companies can streamline business communications with their suppliers, partners and customers. Product descriptions can be made available, and orders can be taken. Software companies can even distribute their product (software) via the Internet. Support can be provided and customer inquiries can be answered. In the computer industry we can then even electronically distribute software fixes to solve specific customer problems.

Another factor which will make the Internet even more popular is the marriage between Internet and fax technologies. The Internet is capable of sending e-mail messages directly to a fax machine. Therefore companies can begin to make use of the Internet even before their customers or suppliers have begun to use the system. This Internet to fax alternative can also be very cost effective. A company wanting to fax information from France to the US for example, could send the item via the Internet and eliminate the long distance charges.

IBM has also proven that they are committed to Open Systems and vehicles such as the Internet as a form of open communications. They have already made significant commitments and investments in this marketplace. For example, several years ago IBM, MCI, and Merit founded a not-for-profit corporation called Advanced Network & Services. This corporation has had a major involvement in upgrading the backbone of the Internet network.

The exploding use of the Internet and electronic communications could have enormous social and political implications. Mr. Andy Archambault from the USA found this out the hard way. He became the first person to be charged with "Stalking" by sending unwanted and repeated advances to a female via e-mail. The Internet is a new mode of personal communications that could revolutionize our lives. The Internet is a new way of doing business that could revolutionize global trade. Now it's your turn to harness this amazing resource.

Star Trek Lost Episodes" transcript

Picard: "Mr. LaForge, have you had any success with your attempts at finding a weakness in the Borg? And Mr. Data, have you been able to access their command pathways?"

Geordi:"Yes, Captain. In fact, we found the answer by searching through our archives on late Twentieth-century computing technology."

Geordi presses a key, and a logo appears on the computer screen

Riker looks puzzled: "What the hell is Microsoft?"

Data turns to answer. "Allow me to explain. We will send this program, for some reason called Windows, through the Borg command pathways. Once inside their root command unit, it will begin consuming system resources at an unstoppable rate."

Picard: "But the Borg have the ability to adapt. Won't they alter their processing systems to increase their storage capacity?"

Data: "Yes, Captain. But when Windows detects this, it creates a new version of itself known as an upgrade. The use of resources increases exponentially with each iteration. The Borg will not be able to adapt quickly enough. Eventually all of their processing ability will be taken over and none will be available for their normal operational functions."

Picard: "Excellent work. This is even better than that unsolvable geometric shape idea."

. . . 15 Minutes Later . . .

Data: "Captain, we have successfully installed the Windows in the command unit and as expected it immediately consumed 85% of all resources. However, we have not received any confirmation of the expected upgrade."

Geordi: "Our scanners have picked up an increase in Borg storage and CPU capacity to compensate, but we still have no indication of an upgrade to compensate for their increase."

Picard: "Data, scan the history banks again and determine if there is something we have missed."

Data: "Sir, I believe there is a reason for the failure in the upgrade. Apparently the Borg have circumvented that part of the plan by not sending in their registration cards.

Riker: "Captain we have no choice. Requesting permission to begin emergency escape sequence 3F . . ."

Geordi, excited: "Wait, Captain I just detected their CPU capacity has suddenly dropped to 0% !"

Picard: "Data, what do your scanners show?"

Data: "Appearently the Borg have found the internal Windows module named Solitaire and it has used up all the CPU capacity."

Picard: "Let's wait and see how long this solitaire can reduce their functionality."

. . . Two Hours Pass . . .

Riker: "Geordi what's the status on the Borg?"

Geordi: "As expected the Borg are attempting to re-engineer to compensate for increased CPU and storage demands, but each time they successfully increase resources I have setup our closest deep space monitor beacon to transmit more

Picard> "How much time will that buy us?"

Data: "Current Borg solution rates allow me to predicate an interest time span of 6 more hours."

Geordi: "Captain, another vessel has entered our sector."

Picard: "Identify."

Data: "It appears to have markings very similar to the Microsoft logo."


Data: "The alien ship has just opened its forward hatches and released thousands of humanoid shaped objects."

Picard: "Magnify forward viewer on the alien craft."

Riker: "Good God captain! Those are humans floating straight toward the Borg ship with no life support suits! How can they survive the tortures of deep space ?!"

Data: "I don't believe that those are humans sir, if you will look closer I believe you will see that they are carrying something recognized by twenty-first century man as doe skin leather briefcases, and wearing Armani suits"

Riker and Picard together horrified: "Lawyers!!"

Geordi: "It can't be. All the Lawyers were rounded up and sent hurtling into the sun in 2017 during the Great Awakening."

Data: "True, but appearently some must have survived."

Riker: "They have surrounded the Borg ship and are covering it with all types of papers."

Data: "I believe that is known in ancient venacular as red tape it often proves fatal."

Riker: "They're tearing the Borg to pieces!"

Picard: "Turn off the monitors. I can't stand to watch, not even the Borg deserve that."


Dear Editor

As far as I'm concerned the reason I've stopped attending UKUUG meetings is primarily financial. Even if I'm giving a paper then it's very difficult to get financial support from the Department. When I did it didn't cover the cost: UKUUG conference fees are much more expensive than Psychology conferences which is difficult for me to explain to my colleagues, even when some of the differences may be tangible, like accommodation etc. The difference in the costs may be due to differences in size of membership, more psychologists than "unixists", larger membership fee (e.g. several people are covered by the one UKUUG membership), more free help. Are conferences held in hotels more expensive than those in Universities?

A second reason, which is somewhat similar, there are too many meetings each year. Perhaps people can only afford one per annum. A third reason is that the dates are not all that convenient for me personally.

Re the Committee vacancies: I think that employers are not so keen now to allow employees to use the firm's time doing things for outside organisations, even where there's some kudos. I hope these comments help.

R Brian Clark
Manchester University

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Calendar of Events


12-16 Sep,
Interop, San Francisco, USA
19-22 Sep,
GUUG Conference and Exhibition, Wiesbaden, Germany
19-23 Sep,
Systems Administration, San Diego, USA (USENIX)
11-13 Oct,
UKUUG IP Workshop & Tutorials, London, UK
26-28 Oct,
Very High Level Languages, Santa Fe, USA (USENIX)
3-4 Nov,
ROSE '94, Bucharest, Romania
15 Nov,
NLUUG Conference, Ede, The Netherlands

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