[UKUUG Logo] Copyright © 1995-2004 UKUUG Ltd


news@UK 4.4

The Newsletter of the UK UNIX Users Group
Volume 4 Number 4 (August 1995)

Editor's Column

(Susan Small)

One of our members, Adrian Sherriff, has written to me to suggest that he would find it helpful to see a list of useful, interesting, and even entertaining internet addresses listed in the newsletter. Readers could suggest sites to visit, software to obtain etc which would hopefully be of service to the membership. To start the ball rolling, the following web pages relate to our forthcoming events and may give you some useful background information:

http://www.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Mobile_Computing http://www.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Software/Protocols

Alternatively, if you're stuck for a witty quotation for your .signature you could try:


According to Carnegie Mellon University, there were 5,535,148 web pages available on the Net at the end of July 1995. Let me know of your favourites, those that you find really useful and if I publish "your" URL I'll send you a small gift, such as one of the rare, coveted UKUUG T-shirts!


Report from the Chair

(Mick Farmer)

At our recent meeting, your Council decided that it was a priority action to increase the visibility of the UKUUG, both as a way of showing existing members what services were available to them and as a way of attracting new members interested in our range of services. This decision provided us with a number of options for achieving this goal, all based on increasing the number of services available to members without increasing your subscriptions. We are now in a position to unveil some of these new services in order to gauge what you, our membership, think of these additional benefits of membership.

Historically, the UKUUG has always been known for the high technical level of its conferences and workshops and your Council wants to maintain that tradition. We are therefore planning an increase in the number of events that we offer each year. Here are the events planned for the next six months (more complete details of most of these events can be found elsewhere in this issue):

The UKUUG was instrumental in encouraging the growth of network services throughout the UK when UNIX was probably the only viable platform. Although UNIX is now not the only reasonable networking system, we intend to follow our tradition by providing our members with network services based on our new Internet connection at Owles Hall, and here we thank the SUKUG for generously donating the computer hardware. Services that we intend offering include:

The UKUUG is often asked whether we offer training courses and, at present, the answer is no. However, we realise that many of our members are consultants, educators, trainers, etc. willing and wanting to do just that. Therefore we intend to create a "Skills Register" of members. If you're interested, complete the details requested elsewhere and, within reason, we'll ensure that your information is available to callers at our Secretariat.

Of course, what's happening is a result of your Council getting together and deciding where we think the group should go. As always, we would love to hear your views on these services and any other aspects of the work done by the UKUUG. Don't deafen us by your silence!

I am especially pleased to include Richard Morin's article (The Joys of UNIX) in this issue. His mention of Jim Joyce reminded me of Jim at past EUUG (now EurOpen) conferences waxing elloquently about his early days with UNIX and his vision of the future of computing much of which has come to pass. He was always entertaining and good company to be with. As Richard says, he is widely missed by all his friends and acquaintences in the UNIX and Open Systems community.

Report from the Treasurer

(Ivan Gleeson)

I am pleased to bring you my first report following my election as Treasurer at the AGM last April.

To stand a reasonable chance of doing a good job over the next two to three years, I need to introduce effective controls on expenditure. This does not mean that no money will be spent, but that money will only be spent following consultation, and agreement on financial viability. However, it is important to remember that all historic decisions relating to expenditure will be honoured to ensure a smooth transition.

In summary, what I hope to achieve is that all costs (give or take a bit!) will be authorised prior to expenditure. Therefore it is essential that each "project" is supported by a budget submission.

In order to provide a consistent approach in the authorisation of "projects" and to ensure that "projects" will benefit the members, the following statements and plan will be used as a guide.

The relationship of the statements and plan can be considered as follows: Mission Statement – the reason why the UKUUG exists; Strategic Objectives – interprets the mission statement into objectives; and the Business Plan – how the UKUUG Council will meet these objectives.

I would expect that the Business Plan will change frequently to suit environmental (not the green variety!) issues.

Mission Statement

Strategic Objectives

Business Plan

Membership Services




Skills Register

(Mick Farmer)

Occasionally, organisations contact the UKUUG asking whether we run training courses in this subject or that subject. Although the group does not run such courses, we are willing to act as a clearing house to put organisations in touch with people willing to do the training. In this way an organisation may find someone local who is willing to do the work. To set this up, the group is creating a "skills register" of would-be trainers. If you are interested in being put on this register, please provide the following information.

1. Your name, contact address, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address if available.

2. Subjects in which you are skilled and willing to train in.

3. Your charging structure.

4. Geographic areas you are willing to cover.

The following information is also required before your details can appear on the register. This will enable us to ensure that only bona fide trainers are included. It will not be divulged to any third party.

5. Contact name and address of at least one person or organisation you have provided training for and who can verify your effectiveness.

Please send this information to the Secretariat at Owles Hall, or request further details.

The Matrix Today and the Internet Tomorrow

(John S. Quarterman)

I am delighted to be coming to the UK in October 1995 to present this tutorial. I will be in Edinburgh on 17 October and London on 19 October. The following is an Abstract of what will be covered:

The present of the Matrix in words, graphs, maps, and demonstrations:

The future of the Internet: John S. Quarterman is author or co-author of six books, including "Practical Internetworking with TCP/IP and UNIX", 1993, "The Internet Connection: System Connectivity and Configuration", 1994, and "The E-Mail Companion: Communicating Effectively via the Internet and Other Global Networks", 1994, all from Addison-Wesley. He is researching a second edition of "The Matrix: Computer Networks and Conferencing Systems Worldwide", 1990. Quarterman is Editor of "Matrix News", a monthly newsletter about issues that cross network, geographic, and political boundaries, and the color "Matrix Maps Quarterly", both published by Matrix Information and Directory Services, Inc., (MIDS) of Austin, Texas. He is a partner in Texas Internet Consulting (TIC), which consults in networks and open systems, with particular emphasis on TCP/IP networks, UNIX systems and standards. He is a partner in Zilker Internet Park, which provides Internet access from Austin, Texas.

Winter Conference '95 "Anytime Anywhere"

19-20 December 1995
York, UK

The theme of the UKUUG Winter conference will be "Location Independent Computing".

With the increasing changes to the working environment, with ever greater connectivity, the bandwidth explosion and the push to outsourcing, work-at-home, distance learning, and remote management and support, the design of workable applications and provisioning their support infrastructure becomes an ever more skilled area. What are the considerations? Is latency solvable?

In many US states the law now requires a proportion of information workers to telecommute, a way of work that will become ever more relevant here. Technical aspects of telecommuting can be addressed in the topics above, the social and legal aspects are just as interesting. Will increased work at home regenerate communities? Will crime be reduced? What are the benefits to the companies who have to drastically change their approach to management?

With decentralisation, the "groupware" claims can now be tested. What experiences can you share?

Call for Papers

Papers are requested on topics relating to the broad themes outlined above. Submissions on other Current Research topics are also welcome, the committee would particularly welcome presentations or posters from students, and student's sponsorship will be available on a discretionary basis.

All accepted authors will be expected to submit a paper in electronic form conforming to the conference guidelines. Copies of the guidelines are available from the UKUUG Secretariat, and on-line at http://www.ukuug.org/events/authors-guide.shtml.

You do not have to be a member of UKUUG to submit a paper. Submissions from speakers from outside of the UK are welcome.

Significant dates

Closing date for abstracts: 30 Sept 1995
Accepted authors notified: 7 Oct 1995
Final papers due: 4 Nov 1995

Method of submission

Potential authors may request further information by sending electronic mail to [email protected], or may contact a member of the programme committee directly.

Initial abstracts should be sent either by e-mail to [email protected], or in hard copy format to the UKUUG Secretariat. The committee would prefer all submissions to be in electronic form. We will acknowledge all submissions.

Programme Committee

Andrew Macpherson [Chair] Nortel Limited
Dr Peter Collinson, Hillside Systems
Dr Andrew Findlay, Brunel University
Simon Kenyon, ICL ITC
Neil Todd, Swiss Bank Corporation

Advanced UNIX And Internet Security Seminar

10-12 January 1996

Rik Farrow will be repeating the seminar he gave in February this year which was sold out. The venue has yet to be decided, but will probably be in London. Full details will be circulated as soon as possible.

For those who cannot make these dates, Rik will be repeating this seminar in Copenhagen the following week (see Calendar of Events).

Network Programming Tutorial

Richard Stevens presented an extremely popular network programming tutorial during last year's IP Workshop at London Zoo. We have decided to ask Richard to repeat the tutorial in order to give a second chance of attending to those who were not able to be at the Zoo. The date has not yet been finalised, but will be in April or May 1996. Full details will follow as soon as they become available.

London LUG

(Andrew Findlay)

Here's one for your diary! The October meeting will feature proponents of the various flavours of free UNIX explaining why their particular version is the best. Come and hear the champions of FreeBSD, Linux, and NetBSD. We also hope to have someone speaking on behalf of BSD/OS which, although not free, is reasonably priced. Come along and make up your own mind on what many people consider to be the true descendents of Bell Labs UNIX which are around today.

Andrew Findlay organises LUUG events, barndances, and ox-roasts. Between these momentous events, he is in charge of the team that deals with the exponential computing requirements of Brunel University.

Linux News

(Martin Houston)

Mick has asked me to relay some news of happenings in the Linux SIG to the wider audience of News@UK readers.

I have been busy trying out the new Linux-FT release from Lasermoon myself. First impressions are very good. The copycache system really makes my disk space go a lot further without all the usual problems of running off CD .

Since its launch in January the group has managed to produce two newsletters maybe three by the time you get to read this. We are also seeing the stirrings of interest in forming local groups. The newsletter is always in need of material to fill it, and members to subscribe to it!

The last issue of Linux@UK -March/April was ready to roll in early May but the still quite small number of paid up members does not allow for separate print run to be made. At present Linux@UK print runs are piggy backed along with News@UK so we are pretty much a slave to the publishing cycle of the UKUUG's other newsletter.

The way to resolve this is… more members. The minimum print run below which your membership fees would be squandered in printers charges is a thousand copies. We can print some copies in anticipation of other people joining the group, but there is a limit to how much of the members' money can be speculated in this way.

The early days of the ACCU (or CUG(UK) when I was chairman) were beset by a similar problem. The first few issues of CVu had to be photocopied rather than printed and were working out too expensive to produce – certainly freebie copies of a 30 page photocopy could not be given away lightly! Luckily the Linux SIG have the UKUUG as a parent and our printing requirements can be merged onto theirs.

If you want the bi-monthly newsletters as promised then three things have to happen:

Firstly the ratio of mailing list to paid up group members is about 5:1 at the moment. What we need is a lot more Fence Sitters to make the twenty quid commitment to becoming official members of the group and getting their newsletter printed rather than just by the Web. Remember that if you are a full individual UKUUG member then joining the Linux SIG costs nothing – you just have to tell Owles Hall to put you on the list!

Secondly any Internet connected Linux users should spread the word about Linux and the SIG to your non net connected friends. The whole point about having a user group with a newsletter and local meetings is that it is not just a net thing anymore.

Thirdly we need material for the newsletter. News of local events. Second opinions of new (and old) Linux products that go beyond just reproducing product announcements. Do you know some really neat tricks with Perl? WRITE ABOUT IT! Think Tk is going to annilate Visual Basic? LET US KNOW! Do you have a good beginners question – preferably with an answer, others may find it valuable and time saving. Linux is such a huge and daily growing subject that nobody can hope to master all of it. We need to co-operate to stay on top of things and keep the forward momentum.

What perhaps has not been made clear in the past is that some of your membership money can be used to promote Linux – getting computer magazines to cover something so different from the Microsoft dominated PC main-stream is an up-hill task!

Press Releases, Brochures, Posters, attendance at computer shows are all things that we should be doing to increase the number of people that are given a fair chance to see if they want to join the Linux community. If they don't have enough interest to make the commitment then fine; but people should at least be made aware of the issues involved.

This all costs money – your money. However the more members we can get, the more publicity we can generate and the more members we can get. This is NOT a plea for charity. Linux has shown that in the field of software at least, co-operation with others is very much in your own self interest. Increasing the size of the Linux community is in the interests of every Linux user. Take one example – Linux device drivers for computer hardware. Already in some specialised areas, such as multi-port serial cards, hardware manufacturers are supplying and supporting Linux device drivers. As the global Linux community grows to several million strong AND is organised to have a lobbying voice then you would have a right to proper device driver support for ANY hardware you wanted to buy. You should also be able to go into your high street computer shop and buy a PC with Linux instead of DOS/Windows loaded onto it; after all it will cost the shop keeper nothing to do it. Support services for Linux – as with any complex software is a different matter entirely.

I would like to see a 10,000 member strong Linux User Group by the end of the year! That is enough to have a real effect on the structure of the UK computer scene.

The current explosion in Internet access had to start somewhere. Demon Internet started very small, its founders wanted to provide a low cost dial up service and got the founder subscribers to pay for a year up front to help finance the original equipment purchase. Just look at how fast the dial up Internet market is growing now! By joining the UKUUG Linux SIG you will be doing your bit to help Linux and Linux based skills become the mainstream of computer use.

Just by being able to say "We have a 10,000 strong user group for Linux in the UK" will be powerful persuasion for the commercial applications and support services to become available.

There is the potential for a whole Linux based economy spread over the country at a local level. If your car breaks down or just needs a service you don't usually have to refer back to the factory where it was made – a local garage should be able to do the job, and you can always shop around. There are little back yard garages and there are shiny dealerships with plush receptions and manufacturer accreditations. Both might do as good a job on your car – although as a general rule a big place that charges more will give a better feeling of assurance that the job has been done right. With Linux the situation for software should be the same – there will always be place for big software houses like Logica or Hoskyns that are needed to manage big projects. But there will also be more of a place for the small software house to thrive with locally generated business. Not forgetting of course the vast army of people who will just want to do it themselves with Linux because it is productive, cost effective and fun!

Why should software users have to put up with all the worlds woes concentrated into a single manufacturers support centre ? Great news for fans of telephone hold music but not so hot for the rest of us who just want to get the job done!

Linux with its freely available source code does not need centralised support. Skilled Linux users can sell their support skills to those with lesser or just different skills. It leads to a whole economy where software is demystified and skills are widely spread and widely available.

Software is now getting so complex that tearing down the old restrictive practices is the only real way forward. Programmers; don't worry – there is still an infinite amount left to do, and people willing to pay for it to be done!

The time has come to shout about Linux. To let people know that there is a real, practical and genuine alternative to the old ways of thinking that are leading inexorably to one giant Big Brother software company to control our lives.

Joining the Linux/UK SIG (if you are not already a member of the UKUUG) costs twenty pounds per annum. Membership runs for 1 calendar year from January to December.

Further details are available from the UKUUG Secretariat.

Summertime Blues

(Andrew Benham)

You may be aware that the United Kingdom is about to change the algorithm used to determine the changeover dates for British Summer Time, in order to harmonise the changeover dates within the EEC. Note that we will still use the GMT and BST timezones, so there is to be no common timezone in the EEC.

The change of algorithm means that many of our computers need a modification to ensure that clock time will continue to be displayed correctly. The algorithm used recently has been based on the Summer Time Act 1972, which defined that BST started at 02:00 GMT in the morning of the day after the third Saturday in March (unless that day was Easter Day, in which case BST started a week earlier), and that BST finished at 02:00 GMT in the morning of the day after the fourth Saturday in October. Parliament has in recent years reserved the right to alter the changeover dates to bring the changeover dates in the UK closer to those of other countries in the EEC.

The Seventh Directive (94/21/EC) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 1994 defined the start and end dates of summer time throughout the EEC, using a new algorithm with effect from 1996 (the algorithm being to start on the last Sunday in March, and end on the last Sunday in October, always at 01:00 GMT).

For 1995, the start date was 26 March: the end date will be 22 October in the UK and Eire, and 24 September in the rest of the EEC.

Note that effectively the rest of Europe has agreed to postpone the end of their Summer Time for a month, and in exchange we have slightly altered the changeover date rules to be the last Sunday in the appropriate months. Note also that the changeover time is now 1:00 GMT, i.e. an hour earlier than before.

We need to update computers with a new rule for 1995 (BST ends a week earlier than normal), and with a new rule for 1996 onwards.

(This applies certainly to the HP400 and HP700 series machines). The environmental variable TZ is set to a string (usually GMT0BST), and the file /usr/lib/tztab contains all the rules – the rules matching the current value of the TZ variable are used. The GMT0BST rules in this file currently are:
# Greenwich Mean Time, British Summer Time
0 3 25-31 3  1983-1984 0  BST-1
0 3 23-29 3  1985-1990 0  BST-1
0 3 25-31 3  1991-2038 0  BST-1
0 1 25-31 10 1983-1985 0  GMT0
0 1 23-29 10 1986-2038    GMT0
(for the format of this file, see man 4 tztab). This table needs to be changed to:
# Greenwich Mean Time, British Summer Time
0 3 25-31 3  1983-1984 0   BST-1
0 3 23-29 3  1985-1990 0   BST-1
0 3 25-31 3  1991-1995 0   BST-1
0 2 25-31 3  1996-2038 0   BST-1
0 1 25-31 10 1983-1985 0   GMT0
0 1 23-29 10 1986-1994 0   GMT0
0 0 18-24 10 1995      0   GMT0
0 0 25-31 10 1996-2038 0   GMT0
The Sun uses information in /usr/lib/share/zoneinfo. The machine should be set to use "GB-Eire" as a timezone, and the file /usr/lib/share/zoneinf o/GB-Eire contains the rules. Note that this is a binary file. The information in this file is produced by the zic command (/usr/etc/zic). The file /usr/lib/share/zoneinfo/europe contains descriptions of timezones in Europe. In the United Kingdom section, the section under # Current rules currently reads (there should be only two lines of rules):
# Current rules
Rule GB-Eire 1981 max - Mar lastSun 1:00s 1:00 BST
Rule GB-Eire 1972 max - Oct Sun>=23 1:00s 0 GMT
The starting rule can be left (which means that it was wrong before!), but the ending rule needs to be split into:
Rule GB-Eire 1995 only - Oct 22 1:00s 0 GMT
Rule GB-Eire 1996 max - Oct lastSun 1:00s 0 GMT
So some movement of rules from 'Current' to 'Historic' needs to be done.

The work to generate the new binary file is actually performed by the zic command which, according to the man page (man 8 zic), takes the textual description file (/usr/lib/share/zoneinfo/europe in the UK case) and produces the binary files for each zone found in the textual description file.

The PC's North American origin causes problems. Some BIOSes allow Daylight Saving Time to be enabled on the Real Time Clock, but if this is done then the user gets the changeover dates as per the USA algorithm (first Sunday in April, last Sunday in October) and so the start of BST is delayed by a week. In addition, if the environmental variable TZ is set to GMT0BST, then programs which seek to derive UTC will also use the USA algorithm (thanks to library code in various compilers – I have the code in question for Borland C++ v3.1, for example). Unfortunately one of the prime examples of such a program is the RDATE client code used to synchronise the PC's clock with a Time (RFC868) server.

The only practical way I have found is to set the timezone manually to GMT0 or BST-1 twice a year, AND reset the clock to the correct time. I have new code for implementing a timezone variable which includes the rule (e.g. GMT0BST-1,M3.5.0/01:00 ,M10.5.0/02:00). However this cannot be used to set the TZ variable (since software not written to cope with it would read that TZ was GMT0BST and give the USA algorithm again).

Linux uses the same technique as the Sun. I found a shareware RDATE client for the Macintosh (called, I believe, "Network Time") which allowed the rules to be set explicitly. However the version I found caused problems this (1995) spring when it ignored its configuration and changed late (on the first Sunday in April). My Macintosh users are currently using K-Time (from Xinet's K-AShare package, synchronising to the K-AShare server), and I wait to see what happens this autumn.

Note that similar changes ought to be applied for the rest of the EEC.

Thanks to:

UNIX News International

(Julian Marszalek)

The APT Data Group is best known as publishers of newsletters such as Computergram and IT titles such as UNIX News. They recently launched an online version of UNIX News called UNIX News International and would like to alert members of the UKUUG to its existence.

UNIX News International is the online sister publication of UNIX News and is aimed at managers who need to know about all aspects of UNIX and open systems. UNIX News International appears monthly but is editorially updated every two weeks. While it includes some material common to the paper copy – namely the cover story, news analysis and product reviews – it will also include a large amount of new material and a grouping of resources that should make it the most comprehensive source of UNIX and open systems available on the Internet. Readers can access UNIX News International free of charge by opening: http://www.globalnews.com/UNI/.

If you have any queries regarding UNIX News International, please e-mail or call me.

News from Owles Hall

(Jane Morrison)

It has definitely been a very busy time since the last Newsletter was circulated.

Subsequent to the appointment of Ivan Gleeson as a new Council member at the May AGM, your Council actually attended a face to face meeting instead of the usual Tele-Conference.

Of course it's very difficult to come up with a meeting venue which suits everyone, considering that Mick, Andrew and Ivan are based in the South with Lindsay in Newcastle and Jim in Glasgow. Anyway the meeting was organised at the Stansted airport hotel on 21st June. It was a typical grey airport hotel but it served its purpose for the day long meeting which I think achieved a great deal.

If everything discussed and planned at the meeting actually works then it's going to be a busy time with at least three very good events between now and Christmas.

I am currently working on the December conference which will be held at the University of York. It is hoped that members will appreciate the fact that the venue is not in London and will easily be able to attend from all over the country. Coupled with the fact that the meeting will start at lunchtime one day and finish at lunchtime the next this should give plenty of time for travel. The package we are discussing with the University at the moment is fully inclusive and therefore the delegate price will include all meals and accommodation. This is something that many delegates have requested on returned questionnaires at other events.

At the time of writing, the Quarterman Tutorial at the impressive Bank of England looks almost organised and there is a possibility that it can be hosted again in Edinburgh two days before.

Event details will be sent to you once printed. Early booking is essential.

Your Council and the Secretariat all left the meeting at Stansted with a long list of actions. The next meeting – Tele-Conference will be held in the next couple of days when it will be interesting to see everything come together.

I have had one training day on the new SUN machine (all I could fit in due to being very busy). I am hoping to get more training over the next couple of months. It sometimes seems just as easy to get Andrew Macpherson to talk over any problems by phone as this usually solves things instantly… thanks Andrew. In the next couple of months OH will get an Internet connection which I'm really looking forward to.

Well, its certainly another very hot day here in Buntingford. We are in fact very lucky working at Owles Hall as it's not until late afternoon that the office actually gets too warm. Being a very old stone built building it takes quite a while for the heat to penetrate, but there again it take ages for it to get warm in the winter …….


The UNIX-HATERS Handbook

Simson Garfinkel, Daniel Weise and Stephen Strassmann (Eds).
IDG Books Worldwide. 1994
ISBN 1-556884-203-1
(Iain A F Fleming)

This is not a half-hearted book. The authors (a journalist from Wired magazine, a researcher from Microsoft, and a senior scientist from Apple) do not like UNIX. Not even a little bit. They make that clear from the very first page: "Modern UNIX is a catastrophe". The rest of the book is devoted to proving this thesis. And they make no bones about their own fitness for the task "our judgments are keen, our sense of the possible sure, and our outrage is authentic".

Their view of UNIX can be summed up in the "UNIX Barf Bag" included with each book.

The book consists of the edited, annotated, and amplified highlights of the eight year life of the UNIX-HATERS mailing list. The authors take the postings from the list and use them as the skeleton of the book. This is perhaps the first, and major failing of the book. The posts are, to a large degree, written by people who have been pushed to the end of their wits by UNIX. Their posts are a kind of catharsis, purging them of their bile. As an alternative to taking an axe into the machine room, or tossing their workstation from the window, they probably have value. But in a book they have the air of a bar-room braggard about them. They are not rational, balanced academic discourses. Some are abusive, some vulgar, and some extremely funny. Some are all three. But they were posted to an uncritical audience – UNIX-HATERS membership is by invitation only. And invitation is offered only to those who have demonstrated their hatred for UNIX in a public forum. The intended audience is, I suspect, a super-set of this group.

Much of the content is informed by a vague nostalgia for the better times gone by – times when TOPS-20, Lisp Machines, Multics and home-brew operating systems ruled the earth. This nostalgia is coupled with a feeling that things could be done better.

The book is laid out in three main sections. These each set out to debunk a facet of the UNIX myth, as seen by the authors.

Part 1 (User Friendly?) deals with UNIX as seen by the naive user. In the first six pages of this section, UNIX is offered to us as: a virus, a plague, and a designer drug. In the second chapter we move on to guns and cars. The authors are fond of extended metaphor.

Beyond the metaphor, the authors target the inconsistency of UNIX commands. These are mostly well-known problems – the terse command names, the inconsistency of command-lines between similar programs, the problems of shell-expansion and poor error messages.

A few interesting points are made, beyond the usual complaints of obscurity. Why doesn't UNIX lock binaries that are being executed? Why is shell job control so complicated? And why is it not documented? No answers are forthcoming, apart from the odd cheap shot "UNIX doesn't have a philosophy: it has an attitude". No comparisons are made showing how much better other systems are. Is UNIX so much worse than all the rest?

An opportunity for a cheap shot is seldom passed up. The eponymous mail program (mail in general merits its own chapter) is used as an example of just how much "Unix sucks". One section, which berates it for a particular bug, ends "his bug seems to be fixed now. Or perhaps it just moved to a different application". A few pages later, another two-page bug description concludes: "this particular feature…has been fixed". So why mention it at such length? Are we to believe that only UNIX has ever been shipped with bugs?

Discussion of mail is followed by a chapter devoted to UseNet. The authors seem to see UseNet as an exemplar of the UNIX culture, even though it is no part of the official operating system. This chapter, in particular, descends into simple name-calling, and plain insults. It is simply not about UNIX or the people who wrote UNIX. Laughing at the zoo of UseNet may be an amusing pastime, but blame for it cannot be laid at UNIX's feet. The authors even admit this "Usenet is not about technology, but about sociology".

The next target is terminal handling. Here the authors are on firmer ground, as this task is central to any operating system. And it is undeniably hard to set up a terminal for UNIX. And it seldom takes advantage of all full features of a terminal anyway. There is a fairly thorough critique of TERMCAP and CURSES (both written off as "half-implemented hacks"). No mention is made of the newer System V TERMINFO terminal database. Is it better? The same? Maybe it works, and just didn't offer scope for wisecracks. We aren't told.

From terminals we move onto window systems, and the X Window system, or rather "The X Windows disaster", in particular. The main targets of the contributors' ire are the complexity of setup, the size of the binaries, and lack of easy communication between programs.

The authors' view of X is summed up in the metaphor-salad verdict on the ICCM protocol, which is "a toxic waste dump of broken protocols … a twisted mass of scar tissue … to cover up the moral and intellectual depravity of the industry's standard naked emperor". In the case of X they do suggest an alternative, Sun's NeWS, which "solved the very problems that X was designed to create", whatever that means.

Part 2 (Programmer's System?) kicks off with a headlong tilt at UNIX shells. Here, the authors' dissatisfaction seems to be based around the fact that there are so many to choose from, "there is no standard shell in UNIX". Which ignores the fact that the Bourne shell is present on all UNIX systems. There is another set of gripes about inconsistent handling of symbolic links and NFS directories. The comments, or rather, war stories, from the mailing list are at their best here. The authors' comments add little.

Programming languages and environments are next on the hit-list. Much is made of the paucity of tools available in UNIX – "most PC debuggers put UNIX debuggers to shame; interpreters remain the play toy of the very rich". The availability of similar tools, such as SGI's cvd or CodeCenter, under UNIX is dismissed as they don't come with the system.

There a few more gripes about well-known oddities in particular programs, such as make and yacc. Many of these are fair criticism, but are here presented as some kind of conspiracy against the poor programmer. A quick, and accurate, tour of the pitfalls of C is terminated with the implication that all UNIX programs are riddled with bugs simply because they are written in C.

C++ fares little better than C. Many people, even UNIX-lovers, would disagree with the authors that "C++ is fundamentally crippled". But what starts as a promising discussion of the language soon deteriorates into a criticism of programming style in C++ tutorial books. It then wanders off into a long discussion of the C pre-processor, which most C++ programmers would contend is unneeded in the language. The only really relevant attack is about the global namespace. And even that is too short.

Throughout this section no assement of UNIX as a system to write programs for is offered. Maybe UNIX is so bad that the authors don't want to encourage this practice. We aren't told what is wrong (or right?) with the system calls, standard libraries or memory management (apart from a paean of praise for garbage collection). The thrust is that UNIX has a poor programming environment, given the standard out-of-the box tools, when compared to, say 3rd party DOS tools, or a Lisp Machine. A fair comparison?

The final section (Sysadmin's Nightmare) is mainly a list of gripes about the difficult and non-portable nature of most system utilities, and file system tools in particular. Backup in particular gets given a hard time.

Despite the fact that few large UNIX sites use the backup/restore pair as their primary archive method, these are dissected in detail. And, unsurprisingly, found wanting. Other targets of disgust are configuration files (why are there so many?), the absolute power of root to do damage, the dangers of SUID programs, and the general lax security inherent in UNIX.

But the main ghouls in the sysadmin's nightmare are the file systems UFS ("the root of all evil") and NFS ("nightmare file system"). These two critiques contain most of the real technical meat of the entire book.

The section on UFS attacks many of the pillars of UNIX wisdom: files are untyped, there are no record-oriented files (both almost religious issues to those who have tried to feed program output back to a compiler on some operating systems) and lack of file locking. That robust file locking has been introduced in newer UNIXes is ignored.

Fundamentally, however, the attack is ill conceived, as fewer and fewer sites are using the original UFS code. Straw men are also raised: at one point, UFS is berated for being unable to cope with "intermittent hardware failures, SCSI termination problems and intermittent block transfers". The Berkeley FFS is briefly mentioned, in order to tar it with the same brush. Alternative file systems (AFS, Sprite, AIX's JFS) are briefly mentioned, in order to be dismissed out-of-hand as "nonstandard".

The chapter on NFS has each topic headed by a cute reinterpretation of the NFS acronym. Despite this whimsy, the well-known failings are discussed in accurate loving detail. These centre on unreliability, general lack of security and UNIX-dependencies. Interestingly, whenever the level of technical content rises, as it does in these sections, the number of posts from the UNIX-HATERS list goes down.

In the appendix a paper by Gabriel, of the MIT AI lab, is reprinted. This paper, though it is only 5 pages long, expresses far more coherently than the preceding 300, exactly what is wrong with (an admitted caricature of) the UNIX philosophy, and, unlike the rest of the book, Gabriel presents an alternative, as well as reasons why we must learn to live with UNIX.

Overall, this book contains many pieces of sound criticism, and is worth reading for these. It's just a shame that they have to be hidden amongst such a large amount of point-scoring, wise cracks, cheap shots, and "UNIX is a conspiracy" nonsense. It could be much improved if the posts from UNIX-HATERS were removed (or much reduced). It would also benefit if less space was given to humour, and more to presenting real alternatives to the problems discussed.

All in all, this book reminds me of Johnny in Rebel without a Cause "What are you rebelling against, Johnny?" "What have you got?". Despite the claim in the introduction that the authors and contributors are operating system writers, I suspect that this book will appeal more to dissatisfied users and undergraduates.

As Dennis Ritchie says in his Anti-Foreword: "it is not a tasty pie: it reeks too much of contempt and envy".

Around Europe

Publishing on the World Wide Web

NLUUG (Dutch UNIX User Group) Autumn Conference
23 November 1995
Ede, The Netherlands

Call For Papers

The annual NLUUG Conference will be held in the Conference Centre De Reehorst, in Ede, The Netherlands on 23 November 1995. The program committee is looking for speakers who can present papers or tutorials regarding publishing on the World Wide Web.

Suggested topics are:

On this conference we would like to run three tracks: Technical, Commercial/Management, Graphical design. If you would like to participate in this conference by giving a lecture or tutorial, please contact the NLUUG or program committee and send them your abstract as soon as possible.

Across the Pond

The Joys of UNIX

(Richard Morin)

I didn't get to UNIX early, but I have stuck around for a while. When Ken and Dennis were hacking B, I was learning to program on Stanford's experimental Wylbur system. Following that, I used about a dozen different operating systems, from single-tasking executives to plush time-sharing systems. My actual motivation for getting into UNIX was the fact that I had been spoiled by time-sharing systems like VMS. I was also entranced by the promise of graphics workstations, but couldn't afford the cost of a suitably equipped VMS system, ie a multi-tasking system, a reasonable set of tools, virtual memory, a bit-mapped screen, etc. I cast about a bit, floundered a lot, and ended up buying a Sun system. I liked the story the founders were telling, and I thought they might actually succeed, ie, delivering me a suitably equipped system at a price I could (barely) afford, and staying in business long enough to support it for a while.

Sun seems to have succeeded quite admirably, so I guess I made a good choice. More to the point, I could have done a lot worse; many of the vendors present at the 1982 USENIX trade show have long since gone to that great surplus store in the sky. Had I opted for a different UNIX vendor, my losses might not have been all that bad. I would have ended up throwing the computer away, but I would have kept the knowledge of how to use the operating system. As my original Sun (serial #285) has long since passed out of my life, I'm not sure how different this is from my current situation.

Had I bought a proprietary system, however, I would have had to learn yet another text editor, yet another command language, et tedious cetera. Having done this already several times, I could certainly have survived the experience. I've given up on volunteering for that kind of gratuitous pain, however, so I'm just as happy to have missed it.

The real loss, from the perspective of 1995, would have been the fact that I would have missed out on experiencing the joys (and pain 🙂 of UNIX.

UNIX is Different…

UNIX is a first cousin to time-sharing systems like VMS. A weird first cousin, but definitely part of the family. It has all the normal baggage of a time-sharing system: hierarchical file system, multi-tasking and multi-user capabilities, networking, and of course, a Turing-complete command language. Actually, it has several command languages and a long list of useful utilities and little languages". These make UNIX an unusually facile and productive programming environment; I'd get downright nasty to anyone who tried to take them away. UNIX also has an unusually gifted community of users and programmers, along with a culture that promotes sharing of ideas and even source code. The open approach and level of technical detail found in USENIX talks and conference proceedings is unmatched by anything I've seen in the proprietary world. These folks are actually designing the next generation of kernel code, by means of a (mostly) friendly war of ideas. As a programmer, I am very happy with the fact that UNIX programmers tend to exchange their contributed software as readable, modifiable source code. I don't have a philosophical problem with shareware or even strictly proprietary packages. I do have a problem with binary-only software, however, and I am happy when I can avoid being trapped by it.

Combining the new tools with existing UNIX features, I continually find new ways to think about problems. This is not a complaint! I like learning how to do new things, and even like finding out how to do old things in better ways. If I wanted a boring field, I wouldn't have picked Computer Science!

In short, UNIX provides me with a flexible and powerful set of tools, a stable and expanding software base, an interesting, adventurous, and cooperative programming community, and the opportunity to learn from others on a continuing basis. This seems almost perfect for a computer science dilettante like myself, and I would not hesitate to recommend UNIX to any interested programmer.

And It's Not for Everyone…

On the other hand, I would never recommend UNIX to Joe or Sally Sikspak. It's too difficult to set up, manage, and use. The same learning curve that delights me would simply frustrate and annoy them. The ability to join commands together in interesting ways appeals to me, but Joe and Sally tend to like integrated environments, menus, hand-holding, and low administrative effort.

Sounds like a Macintosh to me…

Macs set up like a dream, require essentially no maintenance, and have short, shallow learning curves. At this point, all of my close relatives have Macintoshes. Even my father, who wrestled with CP/M for a few years, has converted. My niece, at four, was never given a choice, but likes the Mac just fine. As she grows up, she is likely to become fiercely loyal to the Macintosh way of doing things. She will get just as snippy as I do when an existing feature is broken in the process of being improved". New features that don't work well with the existing system will receive sarcastic comments and little use. In both cases, my niece and I will be helping to safeguard a very valuable part of our chosen work environment: consistency.

When a user can predict how a command will act, just by knowing how things should" work, s/he can save a lot of wasted time and effort. Consistency is important, and UNIX and MacOS both benefit from it.

So What?

Well, the peculiar thing about all this is that neither UNIX nor MacOS is winning the OS popularity contest. Instead, Microsoft's MS-DOS and Windows lead the pack, and Windows NT is quickly gaining ground. I find this to be rather appalling, but not directly threatening. I'm used to being in the minority, and as long as I can keep UNIX on my desk, maybe I shouldn't care. Besides, won't the popular systems appropriate the most useful features of MacOS and UNIX, over time? Well, they may, but I'm not at all convinced that the results will be tasty. Windoze is about as good a copy of MacOS as MS-DOG is of UNIX. In both cases, the loss of consistency causes annoyance, frustration, and loss of productivity.

Consequently, I think that we all need to proselytize a bit more. If you couldn't be as productive on a different system, tell your fellow programmers about it. Tell them, as well, about the flexibility and safety offered by the open systems approach. If you see a naive friend or relative getting ready to buy a PC, warn them about the deficiencies of that approach. Tell them about the pain they will go through in configuring new hardware and software. You may keep them from making a dreadful mistake. One major vendor reports that their multimedia CD-ROMs require ten times as much more support per user under Windows, as compared with MacOS. This isn't accidental, and some of this support load will fall on you, unless you're very quick. Why not avoid it entirely by steering them to a well-designed system?

Besides, isn't it a GOOD THING to keep the Microsoft Mafia from force-feeding the world with ugly, watered-down, inconsistent crud? Don't we want productive and elegant systems to survive and prosper? I think so, and I intend to keep making noise about it. Think of it as self-defense!

The Joyce of Titles

Back in late 1982, I visited Mountain View to discuss the purchase of my first Sun system. My salesman (John Gage) muttered something about needing a slogan that highlighted something unique that Sun had to offer. Making a play on a founder's name, I suggested The Joy of UNIX". John ran off to make buttons for the 1983 Winter USENIX and was, I gather, quite happy with the results. Not to be overlooked, Rob Pike, Dennis Ritchie, and other Bell Labs notables promptly donned stickers saying The Pike of UNIX", etc. The title of this column, however, also refers to a dear friend who shepherded and assisted my introduction to UNIX. Jim Joyce was a clever, convivial educator and wordsmith. I owe Jim a great deal, and so does the UNIX community as a whole. I miss him, the more so for his unnecessary and untimely death.

This first appeared in the July issue of SunExpert and is kindly reproduced by courtesy of the Editor.

LISA '95

18-22 September 1995
Monterey, USA

In response to the growing demand for technical information by system and network administrators, the USENIX Association and SAGE, the System Administrators Guild today announced the program for LISA '95-its ninth Systems Administration Conference. The USENIX LISA Conference is widely recognized as the leading technical conference exclusively for and by system and network administrators from sites of all sizes and kinds. LISA '95 is expected to attract over 1200 professionals to the Monterey Conference Center on 18-22 September.

System and network administrators have some of the most demanding and critical jobs in computing. They are expected to keep increasingly complex networks, spread ever farther apart, running smoothly and securely. LISA '95 is designed to provide critical information on such emerging issues as integration of non-UNIX and proprietary systems and networking technologies, distributed information services, network voice and video teleconferencing, and managing very complex networks.

The keynote, given by John Mashey of Silicon Graphics, is entitled "Hardware, Wetware, and Software". Dr. Mashey will be bringing an INDY workstation and the software used in Jurassic Park. The two-day tutorial program will offer full and half-day tutorials, with expert instruction for administrators, novice through senior. Topics include: System and Network Security; Firewalls; DNS; Writing HTML and Web Server Management; Perl; Introductory System Administration; Solaris Administration; Sendmail 8.7; Communicating to Non-Technical Staff; and Performance Tuning. Other conference activities include Works-in-Progress sessions, an evening reception, evening Birds-of-a-Feather sessions and an informal table-top display featuring the latest tools from manufacturers.

A special workshop "Advanced Topics in System Administration" will be held on 19 September. The workshop will focus on the latest-breaking technical issues as introduced by participants. There is no additional fee for the workshop, however, participants must be registered for LISA '95. To attend, submit a short proposal to the organizer, John Schimmel of Silicon Graphics, via email to [email protected] no later than 1 August. The proposal should contain a topic for discussion and explain why it is controversial. Workshop acceptances will be sent by 14 August.

Since 1975 the USENIX Association has brought together the community of system administrators, engineers, scientists, and technicians working on the cutting edge of the computing world. The USENIX conferences have become the essential meeting grounds for the presentation and discussion of the most advanced information on the developments of all aspects of computing systems. SAGE, the System Administrators Guild, a special technical group within the Association, is dedicated to the recognition and advancement of system administration as a profession.

USENIX 1996 Technical Conference

San Diego, California
22-26 January 1996

The 1996 USENIX Technical Conference Program Committee seeks original and innovative papers about the applications, architecture, implementation, and performance of modern computing systems. As at all USENIX conferences, papers that analyze problem areas and draw important conclusions from practical experience are especially welcome. Some particularly interesting hot application topics are:

A major focus of this conference is operating systems practice and experience. We seek papers describing original work and results in the design, implementation, and use of modern operating systems. Submissions describing extensions or modifications of complete and widely used operating systems are particularly encouraged in addition to those describing research systems or prototypes. Topics of interest in this area include, but are not limited to: Note that the USENIX conference, like most conferences and journals, requires that papers not be submitted simultaneously to more than one conference or publication, and that submitted papers not be previously or subsequently published elsewhere. Papers accompanied by non-disclosure agreement forms are not acceptable and will be returned to the author(s) unread. All submissions are held in the highest confidentiality prior to publication in the Proceedings.

Dates For Refereed Paper Submissions:

Extended Abstracts or Manuscripts Due: 18 July 1995
Notification to Authors: 31 August 1995
Camera-ready Papers Due: 14 November 1995


On Monday and Tuesday, you may attend intensive, immediately practical tutorials on topics essential to the use, development, and administration of UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems, windowing systems, networks, advanced programming languages, and related technologies. The USENIX Association's well-respected program offers you both introductory and advanced courses, presented by skilled teachers who are hands-on experts in their topic areas. USENIX will offer two days of tutorials covering topics such as:

– System administration

– Systems and network security

– Distributed computing: DCE, DFS, RPC, CORBA

– Kernel internals: SVR4, Chorus, Windows NT

– Systems programming tools and program development

– Portability and interoperability

– Client-server application design and development

– Sendmail, DNS, and other networking issues

-GUI technologies and builders

An Invited Talks track complements the Refereed Paper track. These talks by invited experts provide introductory and advanced information about a variety of interesting topics, such as using standard UNIX tools, tackling system administration dificulties, or employing specialized applications. Submitted Notes from the Invited Talks are published and distributed free to conference technical sessions attendees. This track also includes panel presentations and selections from the best presentations offered at 1995 USENIX conferences and symposia.

The Invited Talks coordinators welcome suggestions for topics and request proposals for particular Talks. In your proposal, state the main focus, include a brief outline, and be sure to emphasize why your topic is of general interest to our community. Please submit via email to: [email protected].


Do you have interesting work you would like to share, or a cool idea that is not ready to be published? Work-in-Progress Reports are for you! Work-in-Progress Reports, scheduled during the technical sessions, introduce interesting new or ongoing work. The USENIX audience provides valuable discussion and feedback. We are particularly interested in presentation of student work. To schedule your report, contact Peg Schafer via email at [email protected].


The always popular Birds-of-a-Feather sessions (BOFs) are very informal gatherings of persons interested in a particular topic. BOFs often feature presentations or demonstrations followed by discussion, announcements, and the sharing of strategies. BOFs are offered Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings of the conference. BOFs may be scheduled at the conference or in advance by telephoning the USENIX Conference Office.

2nd Symposium On Operating Systems Design And Implementation (OSDI '96)

29 October – 1 November 1996
Seattle, Washington, USA
After a successful first OSDI symposium, the OSDI '96 will again bring together professionals from academic and industrial backgrounds. The focus will be on practical issues related to operating systems for modern computing platforms such as workstations, parallel architectures, mobile computers, and high speed networks. OSDI '96 will emphasise both innovative research and quantified experience in operating systems.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

The symposium will consist of one day of tutorials, followed by 2.5 days of single-track technical sessions with presentations of the refereed papers, and a half-day workshop on a topic yet to be determined. One of the technical sessions will be dedicated to work-in-progress presentations and will be described in later announcements. The refereed papers will be published in the Proceedings, provided free to technical session attendees and available for purchase from USENIX. The Proceedings may also be distributed to ACM SIGOPS members. Papers of particular merit will be selected to receive an award and will be published in the IEEE TCOS Bulletin.


Full papers due: 7 May 1996

Notification to authors: 30 July 1996

Revised papers due for shepherding: 19 August 1996

Camera-ready full papers due: 16 September 1996


We seek papers describing original work concerning the design, implementation and use of modern operating systems. Besides mature work, we encourage submissions describing exceptionally promising, well-grounded speculative work, or enlightening negative results. Papers will be judged on significance, originality, clarity, relevance, and correctness. The committee will favor papers with reproducible results, especially those supplying detailed data and explanations, or offering to make data sets or source code available. Authors are required to submit full papers, no longer than 14 pages, single or double-column format. Very similar papers must not have been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. All submissions will be held in the highest confidentiality prior to publication. Accepted papers will be shepherded through an editorial review process by a member of the program committee. Authors of accepted papers will be expected to provide an HTML page containing the abstract and links to their paper, slides, and software, if available. This will be collected after the event for inclusion in an electronic version of the symposium.


Submission of all papers must be made in both paper and electronic form. Fifteen (15) paper copies (double sided if possible) of the paper must be sent to: Willy Zwaenepoel, Department of Computer Science, Rice University, 6100 S. Main St. Houston, TX 77005, USA and one electronic copy in Postscript (not ASCII) must be submitted by electronic mail to: [email protected]. For administrative reasons (not blind reviewing), every submission (in both its paper and electronic form) should include an additional cover sheet containing: (i) paper title and authors, indicating any who are full time students, and (ii) for the author who will act as the contact to the program committee, his or her name, paper mail address, daytime and evening phone numbers, e-mail address and fax number, if available. The cover sheet mailed with the electronic paper submission should be in ASCII to facilitate accurate on-line bookkeeping and should be included in the same electronic mail message as the PostScript file containing the paper. All submissions will be acknowledged. If your submission is not acknowledged by 21 May 1996, please contact the program chairs promptly at [email protected].


Materials containing the OSDI technical and tutorial programs, registration fees and forms, and hotel information will be available in August 1996. If you wish to obtain this information, contact the USENIX Conference Office.

Universal Desktop unifies UNIX desktop

Kovisoft, Inc. have announced that Universal Desktop version 1.0, a standard implementation of the Common Desktop Environment (CDE), is now shipping on HP-UX version 9.0.5, Novell's UnixWare 2, SunOS version 4.1.3, Solaris SPARC version 2.4 and Solaris x86 version 2.4. CDE is a joint effort of Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, Novell, Inc. and Sunsoft, Inc. and is comprised of the best desktop technologies contributed by each company. Universal Desktop is a standard implementation of CDE originally licensed from Novell, Inc. which includes many software corrections and will be ported to all conceivable UNIX operating environments. Universal Desktop provides a consistent, feature-packed desktop Graphical User Interface (GUI) for users and Application Programming Interfaces (API) for software developers.

Ramana Kovi, President of Kovisoft, Inc., commented on the release, "We're proud to be the first vendor to ship pure CDE for several operating environments. Our plan is to provide CDE as the Universal Desktop with all the latest and greatest improvements and bug fixes in the most standard bundling possible, to many flavors of UNIX. It is our hope that our mix of standard packaging and good value to the end-user will help CDE earn its position as the de facto UNIX desktop."

Until October 31, 1995, the single workstation license of the Universal Desktop Personal Edition can be purchased for US $260. The Universal Desktop Personal Edition is priced at US $345 for a single workstation, US $695 for a workgroup bundle of three licenses and US $1,995 for the departmental bundle of ten (10) licenses. Each license bundle includes one set of desktop user manuals: CDE Installation Guide, CDE Administration Guide, CDE User's Guide, and CDE DTksh Manual. The Universal Desktop Developer Edition is available for US $595 and was designed specifically for software developers who plan to support the CDE standard. The Universal Desktop Developer Edition includes additional documentation such as the Application Builder User's Guide, CDE Style Guide and Checklist, ToolTalk Messaging Overview and the Internationalization Programmer's Guide.

Common Desktop Environment (CDE)

The Common Desktop Environment (CDE) is the industry-standard Graphical User Interface (GUI) for UNIX desktop computers. Originally a joint effort of the COSE partners including Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, Novell, Inc. and Sunsoft, Inc., CDE has now been endorsed by nearly two dozen major software vendors. CDE provides what UNIX client software has sorely lacked in the past: a consistent GUI for users across workstations, X terminals, and personal computers. CDE also provides a single set of Application Programming Interfaces (API) across all major UNIX platforms. Universal Desktop is the first packaging effort of CDE dedicated to the delivery of pure CDE technology without extra cost, vendor-specific features.

Universal Desktop

The Universal Desktop offers a number of advantages for UNIX desktop users. A complete Motif license with Kovisoft performance improvements is included. The SunOS and Solaris versions support OPEN LOOK applications within the desktop environment without modification. Furthermore, the consistency of the user interface across different operating environments saves both learning, training, and system administration time.

The Universal Desktop includes features for software developers such as Electronic Mail API, Calendar Scheduling API, ToolTalk Development Libraries, Drag and Drop, Application Builder, Icon Editor, CDE Motif Libraries, CDE Motif Window Manager, CDE Widget Libraries.

The Universal Desktop includes tools for users such as Electronic Mail, Text Editor, Motif-based Terminal Tool, Login Manager, Session Manager, Workspace Manager, Application Manager (Program Manager), Calendar Manager, Print Manager, File Manager, Style Manager, Help Manager.

O'Reilly's Website Shipping for Windows 95

O'Reilly & Associates, is the only World Wide Web server available now for the millions of Windows users upgrading to Windows 95. WebSite allows Windows users to make their information available to any of the Web's estimated eight million users. The TCP/IP connectivity built into Windows 95 demonstrates the increasing impact of the Internet on current and future businesses.

"WebSite has been running on Windows 95 for months," said Gina Blaber, the WebSite product manager. "We've been shipping full-featured, Windows 95-ready software since May, and providing comprehensive tech support. Not only is WebSite winning in the testing labs, it is winning in the Windows 95 marketplace. To put it bluntly, WebSite is real and successful now, while other Web servers are still trying to get their first release to market."

"I was able to install WebSite in minutes and turn my Windows 95 desktop into a World Wide Web server," said Rob Wiese, network administrator at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center. "WebSite brings a powerful feature to Windows 95 users. My system now has the ability to serve information up on our internal system or, by connecting to the Internet, to make it available to anyone with a Web browser." "WebSite integrates smoothly and works great with Windows 95," said Chris Duke, Systems Engineer at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and developer of WebBoard, a new conferencing system. "I was the first Windows 95 beta tester for WebSite and it has worked great ever since I received the first beta. I run the WebSite server on my office PC (486/33) and the server is so robust and efficient that I never notice it is getting the number of hits it receives. Its performance is fantastic, the tools are very intuitive, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in publishing information on the web."

WebSite offers several new Windows 95 user interface features, such as tabbed dialogs and tree displays, and Visual Basic support. Current data from spreadsheets and databases can be incorporated into Web documents using WebSite's special Windows CGI (Common Gateway Interface) along with Visual Basic, Delphi, or other Windows tools. WebSite's CGI can also accomodate ODBC and OLE automation within Web documents on your server.

WebSite works just as well on a LAN as it does on the Internet, acting as a powerful and easy-to-use workgroup server. A single Website installation can serve multiple workgroups through multi-homing and remote administration features. The Windows CGI support allows corporate users to integrate desktop tools like Excel and Acess. Web publishers can begin publishing with only SLIP or PPP account from their Internet providers. WebSite's graphical display manager for documents and links on the server allows an individual or administrator to run a complex Web site. With the access control features of WebSite, Webmasters can restrict access on all or part of their servers.

To set up a WebSite server, Windows 95 users need the following system requirements: a 386 or higher; VGA video display adapter; 3.5" disk drive; 12 MB RAM (16 MB recommended); 5 MB free disk space; TCP/IP connectivity; and, of course, Windows 95.

WebSite is created in cooperation with Bob Denny and Enterprise Integration Technologies (EIT). Bob Denny created Win httpd, the 16-bit server for Windows 3.1 which has been available on the Net and widely praised since early 1994. EIT, long-time developer of software tools for Web server administration, also founded TERISA Systems, the leader in Web security technology, and the CommerceNet Consortium, driving deployment of Internet electronic commerce.

SOFTBANK COMDEX Inc and UniForum Announce Expanded Relationship

SOFTBANK COMDEX Inc., the world's leading producer of Information Technology Tradeshows and Conferences, and The UniForum Association, the International Association for Open Systems Professionals, together announced that they have reached agreement to embark on an aggressive expansion plan of the UniForum Tradeshow and Conference Program, beginning in 1996. This multi-year agreement strengthens SCI's commitment to provide optimum venues for vendors and conference participants as they expand even further into the multi-platform environment of commercial, high performance computing. Further, the agreement helps fulfill UniForum's mission of providing state of the art educational programs to a growing audience of end users who need the skills and information necessary to implement open technology solutions throughout the enterprise computing industry.

Richard H. Jaross, Executive Director of The UniForum Association, said that "this agreement will bring together complementary strengths to create a powerful partnership that will benefit our two core constituencies: users and vendors of open systems. We've prided ourselves for years on providing the finest educational programs for UNIX and open systems professionals, and the logical extension of our mission is to bring this valuable service to thousands more through our new relationship with SCI."

This relationship calls for expansion in three different venues in 1996. Enterprise Computing Solutions will run concurrently with UniForum '96, on 12-16 February 1996 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA. UniForum '96, along with Enterprise Computing Solutions, will both present comprehensive programs designed to address the needs of their particular audiences, including extensive conference programs, critical keynote addresses and key vendor participation on the exhibit floor.

These concurrent events, in essence marrying the enterprise computing solutions and applications development for business, with that of technical implementation and interoperability issues, provide a unique opportunity for all platforms to be presented within one environment and will have an impact in moving the industry forward.

A UniForum Showcase, comprised of exhibits and conference programs, will be an integral part of the Enterprise Computing Solutions '96/Windows World Show slated for 10-12 April at the Georgia World Congress Center, in Atlanta, GA.

Jason Chudnofsky, President and CEO, SCI, stated that "it was a natural migration for the two events to present a unified presence, as the issues and technologies of open systems and enterprise computing converge. Our timing is consistent with what we see occurring in the marketplace."

The UniForum presence grows again, with another UniForum Showcase at COMDEX/Canada '96, to be held in Toronto, 10-12 July 1996.

SCI first managed the UniForum Association-sponsored event last March in Dallas, Texas and future plans call for global expansion.

From the Net

A politically correct OS

(Steve Ravet)

I've been giving the recent (ok, continuous) operating system wars some thought, and I think I have a new perspective on the problem. Perhaps instead of judging these systems on their technical merits, we should judge them by common social standards. Using an economic model, for example, leads to surprising results:

DOS is the most capitalistic operating system commonly available. If you are an application, you have free reign of the machine. CPU time (money) is available in any quantity that you wish. All resources are available for your use, and you (the application) bear responsibility for any problems resulting from your actions.

The socialist model is supported by Windows. You still are free in some sense to do as you wish, since the system is not pre-emptive, but the use of most major resources requires a system call, which will block and give other processes a chance to run. Clearly this is mandated sharing of common resources.

The loser in a social sense is clearly UNIX. It is the epitome of communism. CPU time is divided equally among processes, regardless of their own desire to excel. In fact, processes that use more than their fair share of CPU time are punished by having their priority lowered. Clearly this system fails to reward those (applications) who strive to be superior.

I'm going to remove all traces of windows and UNIX from my machine as soon as I finish typing this…

Calendar of Events


6-8 Sep, EurOpen Security Workshop, Budapest, Hungary

11-13 Sep, EurOpen Security Workshop, Stockholm, Sweden

18-22 Sep, LISA IX, Monterey, USA

18 Oct, The Matrix Today and the Internet Tomorrow, Edinburgh, UK

19 Oct, The Matrix Today and the Internet Tomorrow, London, UK

19-20 Dec, UKUUG Winter Conference, York, UK


10-12 Jan, EurOpen Security Workshop, London, UK (UKUUG)

15-17 Jan, EurOpen Security Workshop, Copenhagen, Denmark (DKUUG)

Acronyms for 1995

French UNIX User Group
Advanced Research Projects Agency
American Standard Code for Information Interchange
Bulletin Board Service
Because It's Time NETwork
Compact Disk-Read Only Memory
Common Desktop Environment
Security Checker System from Purdue University
Central Processing Unit
Digital Equipment Corporation
Danish UNIX User Group
European Academic and Research Network
European Networking Backbone
European Currency Unit
European Union
Swedish UNIX User Group
File Transfer Protocol
Graphical User Interface
International Business Machines
Information and Communication Technology
Internet Protocol
International Standards Organisation
Internet Security Scanner
Local Area Network
Large Installation System Administration
16-bit microcomputer manufactured by DEC
Local (UNIX) User Group
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Network File System
Network Information System
Personal Computer
System Administrators' Guild
DEC's Firewall Consultancy Service
Special Interest Group
SOCK-et-S (Firewall Proxy Host)
Small UNIX Users Systems Group
Tool Control Language
See Tcl and Tk
See TCP and IP
Transmission Control Protocol
TriTeal Enterprise Desktop
Internet Remote Login
Trusted Information Systems (Firewall toolkit)
Toolkit for the X Window System
Change Control Software from Purdue University
Wide Area Information Server
Wide Area Network
World Wide Web
XINU Is Not UNIX, an operating system for LSI-11s
Tel: 01763 273 475
Fax: 01763 273 255
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