Welcome to the second hypertext issue of the UKUUG newsletter.
All my regular reviewers and contributors don't seem to have surfaced from their summer breaks yet. In addition, I have been informed that the reason I find it difficult to get written reports from some LUG meetings is that the membership is sometimes inebriated at the end of the evening. Seriously, those members who don't have a "local" LUG, or who can't attend evening meetings, would benefit from even a short report from someone who was there. So, where are the tee-totallers, or the drivers?
Deadline for December 1994 - 19 November
Deadline for February 1995 - 19 January
Deadline for April 1995 - 19 March
There is not much to report for this issue, mainly because I was away on holiday in France for most of August and could not find an Internet connection anywhere! The Banks and Post Offices all have Minitel terminals for customers' use and I thought that I had read somewhere that you could use these to connect to the Internet. Unfortunately, my French is so bad that I did not have the heart to start explaining my requirements to a hassled employee as I knew that I would be there all day trying to comprehend their replies.
Our World Wide Web (WWW) page seems to be a success. I do not have statistics from the startup date, as our site recently upgraded its version of the server which meant that the previous log files were "lost". However, since the upgrade two weeks ago, the log shows our home page has been requested over 150 times, so we are averaging approximately ten hits per day. A hypertext version of the last issue of this newsletter was included last week and already it has been accessed over fifty times. The hypertext version of this issue of the newsletter should appear a few days after the printed version. Just to remind you that the URL for our home page is http://www.ukuug.org and that the newsletter pages follow from there. I am particularly interested in hearing your views about our WWW pages, especially how we can maximise the impact they make. You will notice that there are "feedback" pages in many places, so please use them. I want our group's pages to be the best around, so please inform me how they can best be improved. Constructive criticism preferred!
This all leads naturally on to the topic of our NetNews entryuk.ukuug. How many of you read this? The UKUUG membership is somewhat lethargic when it comes to communications so it is difficult for me to see if we are using this comunications channel to its full potential. What do you think?
My column, so far, appears to be asking for feedback from you, our members. I may as well finish in the same vein. We are contemplating creating a Linux SIG in conjunction with the ACCU (Association of C and C++ Users). There is obviously a lot of interest in Linux (possibly because it is free :-) but my question to you is: "Are you interested?" Personally, I think the UKUUG will benefit from supporting such a SIG. I expect to be overwelmed by the sheer number of replies either I, or your Secretariat, receives.
The July meeting was given a demonstration of a new 4th generation UNIX backup software product from Sirretta Microelectronics. The following information was made available by the company and may be of interest to those unable to be present at the meeting.
"Interbackup" is automated backup software for large UNIX oriented client/server networks. It is object oriented, with a full graphical user interface that uses icons. The software runs as a server on UNIX platforms that include SunOS, Solaris, HP.UX, IBM's AIX and SCO UNIX. Any UNIX workstation, PC or Macintosh computer connected on the network can have its data backed up and restored, automatically and unattended. Backup and restore administration is centralised, but may be initiated by a user, if permitted. Multiple backups can occur simultaneously. 4mm, 8mm opitcal disc, stackers and jukebox backup peripherals are supported.
"Interbackup" is sophisticated, yet easy to use: custom backup objects can be created using a picture-view of the entire network, allowing for zoom-in views of workstations, directories and files which are then selected for backup. Backup scheduling features a calendar window, with the option of automatically having shell scripts run both before and after a backup: this enables databases, such as Oracle or Sybase, to be "prepared" prior to backup.
Restores are simple with powerful tools to locate the right media and files from the backed up library and returned to directories that you specify.
Further details can be obtained from David Blumstein at Sirretta on 01734 258080.
The next meeting, which is being held at 1930hrs on 24 November 1994, is a joint meeting with IEE Thames Valley Specialised Section on Electronics Computing Communication and Control. Ian Wakeman of University College London will talk on Video Compression for Digital Networks.
The speaker will be in Lecture Theatre E, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex, with a packet-video link to the members of LUUG in Room 214, Computer Science, University College London, Gower Street WC1.
The use of packet switched networks to carry video will be discussed, with particular reference to the various compression schemes available and how they need to be modified to work over a packet network subject to variable delay, congestion and loss. Live demonstrations are planned, using the SuperJANET network.
With the speaker at Brunel, will be an audience from the Institution of Electrical Engineers. Some of the demonstrations will involve video sent from UCL over SuperJANET. Sound and video will be relayed back to the UCL lecture room over the network. It may be possible to arrange for groups to view the lecture at other UK universities and research locations.
It is likely that one such location will be at Cambridge. Other "mbone" sites are welcome to participate, though we may not be able to take questions from everywhere!
At the September meeting of the Small UNIX Systems Services Group held at The Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, Paul Kentish stood down as chairman of the group. Paul had been chair of the SU2SG since its creation and decided it was time for someone else to take over. The new chairman is Adam Nealis of the London Business School, and I am still the secretary.
The next meeting is scheduled for 2.30pm on Monday 16 January 1995 and will be held at Wye College, Wye, Nr Ashford, Kent. Obviously anyone who may be interested is welcome to attend.
The group is comprised of small to medium-sized computing services departments from a cross-section of academic institutions.
We are hoping to obtain a speaker for the January meeting.
For more details of the Small UNIX Systems Services Group contact email@example.com.
By the time you read this Newsletter we should just be days away from the IP event at London Zoo. At the time of writing, the bookings are coming in at a steady rate and we hope the event will be well attended and successful.
We are currently trying to organise an evening reception in the Elephant House, it certainly looks like an interesting and different venue.
As stated in the last issue Newsletter, delegates will have a chance to walk round the Zoo during the lunch breaks, although UKUUG does not accept any liability for delegates who wish to visit the lion enclosure by scaling the fence !!!!
The updated book list which was distributed with the August Newsletter has been well received by members and orders are continuing to flood in. Turn round of orders are still within 7 - 10 days.
There still remain a few outstanding subscriptions and these have been given a deadline for payment or cancellation. If your company has a problem meeting the deadline please contact the Secretariat as soon as possible.
Looking forward to seeing you at the Zoo..............
by James Murray and William vanRyper, published by O'Reilly Associates, Inc. ISBN 1-56592-058-9, UK Price 44.00 UK pounds.
This book weighs in at 900 pages, only a hundred short of that other heavyweight from O'Reilly, "UNIX Power Tools". It's called an Encyclopedia for a very good reason - it covers virtually every graphics file format in the known universe, certainly far more than I was ever aware of. It's quite amazing just how much information the authors have gathered from the far-flung corners of the graphics world. So, what's in it? The book is divided into three sections...
The first of these is a general overview of computer graphics and file formats (just a mere 185 pages). There's a brief tutorial on the basics of computer graphics and a gentle introduction to the concepts of file formats and graphics data. This leads into a trio of chapters describing bitmap files, vector files, and metafiles. During these chapters the issue of file (or data) size is first raised. A chapter on platform dependencies explains in clear terms the differences found in bit ordering, byte ordering, word ordering, etc. This gives us a framework for two further chapters on format conversion ("don't do it if you don't need to") and working with graphics files. This latter chapter contains the ironical quote:"We find it hard to imagine why anyone would think that the world needs another graphics file format."
There now comes a chapter on data compression. After a brief introduction, the authors describe the most common methods that are currently employed, such as Run-length Encoding, Lempel-Ziv-Welch, CCITT, and Discrete Cosine Transform. Personally, I would have liked to see more details presented here, especially about lossy and lossless compression. The last chapter in this section introduces us to multimedia file formats and some of the emerging formats and standards.
The second, and largest, section of this book describes nearly ninety different file formats in detail. This is certainly the encyclopedic part! When I first started to read this section, I thought that it would be repetitive and boring, and that I'd probably start skipping bits. As you can guess, this didn't turn out to be the case. The authors' style is such that they could maintain my interest through most of the formats. The details about even the lowliest format is quite astounding. Not only is each format carefully documented, each description includes an overview of how the format is (or was) used and up-to-date contact details in case we need further information. I especially liked their comment about the Tektronix Plot-10 format, which I remember from my early days with UNIX. I quote:"If you need this information, you really need it badly, and good luck."
The third section of the book contains two appendices which, I imagine, we'll see more frequently in books. The first describes the contents of the accompanying CD-ROM. Once again, there's a wealth of information that must have taken an age to gather.First, there's a formats directory containing a subdirectory for each file format described in the book (with a few exceptions). Each of these contains three subdirectories:
Second, there's a software directory, with subdirectories for the five major platforms: DOS, Macintosh, OS/2, UNIX, and Windows. Each of these subdirectories contains further subdirectories for each software package included on the CD-ROM. Here's the list for UNIX:
This software comes as uncompressed tar files. All the software is in source form, written in C. I checked the mpeg and pbmplus packages, as I use these on my workstation. As far as I could see, these were the latest versions available on the net. Although all of these packages are publicly available, I agree with the authors that it's nice to have them collected together on a convenient CD-ROM.
The second appendix covers various graphics and imaging resources. There are sections on both commercial resources (such as CompuServe) and those found on the Internet. Newsgroups, mailing lists, FTP sites, telnet sites, and gopher sites are all included. At least here, the authors acknowledge a contribution from someone else! The blurb on the back of the book describes itself as:"the definitive work on file formats, the book that is becomming a classic for programmers"
Well, it's certainly definitive. A monumental tome that has only been made possible by two people collecting information from literally hundreds of individuals and organisations. Anyone who deals with the low-level technical details of graphics files should get this book for their bookshelf.
These and other O'Reilly books are available from the UKUUG Secretariat at reduced prices for members.
By Dale Dougherty Richard Koman 234 pages (est.), ISBN: 1-56592-094-5. With floppy disk containing Enhanced NCSA Mosaic V1.0 for Windows
Dale Dougherty, Richard Koman, Paula Ferguson, 220 pages (est.), ISBN: 1-56292-095-3. With CD-ROM containing NCSA Mosaic for the X Window System, V2.4
By Dale Dougherty Richard Koman 220 pages (est.) ISBN: 1-56592-096-1. With floppy containing Enhanced NCSA Mosaic for Macintosh V1.0
These books, one for Microsoft Windows, one for the X Window System, and one for the Macintosh, introduce readers to Mosaic and its use in navigating and finding information on the World Wide Web. They show how to use Mosaic to replace some of the traditional Internet functions like FTP, Gopher, Archie, Veronica, and WAIS. For more advanced users, the books describe how to add external viewers to Mosaic (allowing it to display many additional file types) and how to customize the Mosaic interface, such as screen elements, colors, and fonts. The Microsoft and Macintosh versions come with a copy of Mosaic on a floppy disk; the X Window version comes with a CD-ROM. All three books come with a subscription to The Global Network Navigator (GNN) (TM). GNN contains navigational guides that helps Mosaic users discover Internet resources.
Produced by Spry, Inc. Available late September (limited rollout)
Internet In A Box is the first shrink-wrapped package to provide a total solution for PC users wanting to get on the Internet. Internet In A Box provides instant connectivity, a multimedia Windows interface, a full suite of applications, and the first interactive guide to the Internet. It includes:
A subscription to the Global Network Navigator (GNN), the first interactive guide to the vast information resources of the Internet (viewed using Mosaic).
Software: The Air Series of Internet-access tools, including Mosaic, Gopher, electronic mail, Usenet news reader, drag-and-drop file transfer, and telnet.
Two books that clearly describe how to use these resources: "A Guide to Getting Started", and a special edition of Ed Krol's bestselling book, "The Whole Internet User's Guide Catalog."
By Cricket Liu, Jerry Peek, Russ Jones, Bryan Buus Adrian Nye. 1st Edition November 1994 (est.). 400 pages (est.), ISBN: 1-56592-062-7.
This comprehensive guide describes in detail how to create services for the millions of Internet users. By setting up Internet servers for World Wide Web, Gopher, FTP, Finger, Telnet, WAIS (Wide Area Information Services), or email services, anyone with a suitable computer and Internet connection can become an "Internet Publisher."
By Olaf Kirch. 1st Edition December 1994 (est.). 400 (est.), ISBN: 1-56592-087-2
A UNIX-compatible operating system that runs on personal computers, Linux is a pinnacle within the free software movement. Networking is a fundamental part of Linux. Whether you want a simple UUCP connection or a full LAN with NFS and NIS, you are going to have to build a network. Linux Network Administration Guide by Olaf Kirch is one of the most successful books to come from the Linux Documentation Project. It touches on all the essential networking software included with Linux, plus some hardware considerations. Topics include serial connections, UUCP, routing and DNS, mail and News, SLIP and PPP, NFS, and NIS.
by Don Libes. 1st Edition December 1994. 500 pages (est), ISBN: 1-56592-090-2
Written by the developer of Expect, this is the first book to explain how this new part of the UNIX toolbox can be used to automate telnet, ftp, passwd, rlogin, and hundreds of other interactive applications. Based on Tcl (Tool Control Language), Expect lets you automate interactive applications that have previously been extremely difficult to handle with any scripting language.
The book briefly describes Tcl and how Expect relates to it. It then describes the Tcl language, using a combination of reference material and specific, useful examples of its features. It shows how to use Expect in background, in multiple processes, and with standard languages and tools like C, C++, and Tk, the X-based extension to Tcl. The strength in the book is in its scripts, conveniently listed in a separate index.
by Simson Garfinkel. 1st Edition November 1994 (est.). 250 pages (est),ISBN: 1-56592-098-8
PGP is a freely available encryption program that protects the privacy of files and electronic mail. It uses powerful public key cryptography and works on virtually every platform. PGP: Pretty Good Privacy by Simson Garfinkel is both a readable technical users guide and a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at cryptography and privacy. Part I of the book describes how to use PGP: protecting files and email, creating and using keys, signing messages, certifying and distributing keys, and using key servers. Part II provides background on cryptography, battles against public key patents and U.S. government export restrictions, and other aspects of the ongoing public debates about privacy and free speech.
CD-ROM plus 80-page guide, ISBN: 1-56592-084-8
The X CD-ROM contains over 600 megabytes of X11 related software. It includes complete MIT X11R6 "core" and "contrib" source code with fixes 1-21 applied to core and complete MIT X11R5 "core" and "contrib" source code. It has precompiled binaries of MIT X11R6 core software for Sun4, Sun3, DECstation, and IBM RS/6000 platforms. Comes with an installation guide.
by Mark Harrison. 1st Edition December 1994 (est.). 250 pages (est), ISBN: 1-56592-101-1
The USENET Handbook describes how to get the most out of the USENET news network, a worldwide network of cooperating computer sites that exchange public user messages known as "articles or "postings." These postings are an electric mix of questions, commentary, hints, and ideas of all kinds, expressing the views of the thousands of participants at these sites.
Tutorials show you how to read news using the most popular newsreaders -- tin and Trumpet for Windows and nn, emacs and gnus for UNIX. It also explains how to post articles to the Net. The book discusses things you can do to increase your productivity by using the resources mentioned on USENET, such as anonymous FTP (file transfer protocol), mail servers, FAQs, and mailing lists. Network etiquette, processing encoded and compressed files (i.e., software, pictures, etc.), and lots of historical information are also covered.
By Linda Mui Valerie Quercia. 1st Edition October 1994 (est.). 750 pages (est.) plus CD-ROM, ISBN: 1-56592-019-8
X User Tools provides for X users what UNIX Power Tools provides for UNIX users: hundreds of tips, tricks, scripts, techniques, and programs - plus a CD-ROM - to make the X Windowing System more enjoyable, more powerful, and easier to use. This book emphasizes useful programs culled from the network, offers tips for configuring individual and systemwide environments, and includes a CD-ROM of binary files for some--and source files for all--of the programs.
By Linda Branagan Mike Sierra. 1st Edition October 1994 (est.). 500 pages (est.), ISBN: 1-56592-009-0
A thorough, single-volume guide to using the UNIX version of FrameMaker 4.0, a sophisticated document production system. This book is for everyone who finds themselves creating technical manuals and reports, from technical writers and editors who will become power users, to administrative assistants and engineers. The book contains a thorough introduction to Frame and covers creating document templates and assembling books and Frame tips and tricks.
By Bill Gallmeister. 1st Edition November 1994 (est.). 400 pages (est.), ISBN: 1-56592-074-0
Real-world programming (typically called real-time programming) is programming that interacts in some way with the "real world" of daily life. This book covers the POSIX.4 standard for portable real-time programming. The POSIX.4 standard itself is a massive document that defines system interfaces for asynchronous I/O, scheduling, communications, and other facilities. However, this book does more than explain the standard. It provides a general introduction to real-time programming and real-time issues: the problems software faces when it needs to interact with the real world and how to solve them. If you're at all interested in real-time applications this book will be an essential reference.
By John Shirley, Wei Hu David Magid. 462 pages, ISBN: 1-56592-045-7
A hands-on programming guide to OSF's Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) for first-time DCE application programmers. This book is designed to help new DCE users make the transition from conventional, nondistributed applications programming to distributed DCE programming. In addition to basic RPC (remote procedure calls), this edition covers object UUIDs and basic security (authentication and authorization). Also includes practical programming examples.
By Kevin Jameson. 354 pages, (includes two diskettes) ISBN: 1-56592-059-7
For any programming team that is struggling with build and maintenance problems, this book - and its accompanying software (available for fifteen platforms, including MS-DOS and various UNIX systems) - can save dozens of errors and hours of effort. A "one-stop-shopping" solution for code management problems, this book shows you how to structure a large project and keep your files and builds under control over many releases and platforms. Includes two diskettes that provide a complete system for managing source files and builds.
By James D. Murray William vanRyper. 928 pages, (includes CD-ROM) ISBN: 1-56592-058-9
This is the definitive work on file formats - the book that will become a classic for graphics programmers and everyone else who deals with the low-level technical details of graphics files. It includes technical information on nearly 100 file formats, as well as chapters on bitmap and vector files, metafiles, scene description, animation and multimedia formats, and file compression methods. Also included is a CD-ROM that collects the original vendor file format specification documents, graphics test images, coding examples, and graphics conversion and manipulation software.
By David Flanagan. 1024 pages with CD-ROM ISBN: 1-56592-044-9
Motif Tools and the Xmt programming library that accompanies it on CD-ROM offer resources to empower Motif programmers and dramatically speed up application development with the X Toolkit and Motif. While the book is a complete programmer's guide and reference manual for the Xmt library, it is not just a dry volume about programming mechanics; it also describes a holistic philosophy of development of a complete application: from first conception, through design and implementation, and on to the finishing stylistic touches.
Edited by Adrian Nye. 300 pages (est), ISBN: 1-56592-089-9
This book is for programmers who are familiar with Release 5 of the X Window System and who want to know how to use the new features of Release 6. It is intended as an update for owners of Volumes One, Two, Four, And Five of the O'Reilly an Associates' X Window System series, and provides complete tutorial and reference information to all new Xlib and Xt toolkit functions. It includes:
Together with Volume Two and Volume Five, owners of the Programmer's Supplement for Release 6 have a complete set of reference pages for the current X Consortium standards for Xlib and Xt.
Edited by Paula M. Ferguson. 222 pages (est.), ISBN: 1-56592-069-4
A quarterly working journal for X programmers that provides practical, timely information. The X Resource includes in-depth articles and documentation not available elsewhere. Articles for Issue 12 include:
In the last issue of our newsletter, I explained that this Round Table has been formed to accertain what information IT users, i.e. you and your colleagues, wanted from the EC. I asked the question and received nothing in response. I just don't believe that this means not one of you is interested in exploiting European markets (perhaps nobody reads this far into the newsletter :-). Therefore, I'll take some space in this issue to briefly describe ECHO, the EC's attempt to provide an information services market within the EC.
According to Michel Carpentier, Director General of DG X111, ECHO's major aims are:
The EC wants to encourage users to test the ECHO system and to distribute essential information without hassle. Internet access is provided via telnet (telnet echo.lu). The ECHO service is accessible around the clock. Contact your secretariat for further information, if you encounter problems, or wish to provide information to the EC databases.
The Retrocomputing Museum is dedicated to programs that induce sensations that hover somewhere between nostalgia and nausea. Many are emulations of languages that were once important, but are now merely antiques. A few are games and curiosities that recall bygone ages, nice if you want to be able to demonstrate to the younger set what life was like back when programmers were real men and sheep were nervous.
The Museum site is ftp:locke.ccil.org:pub/retro.
The curators of the Museum are:
Eric S. Raymond (firstname.lastname@example.org)
John Cowan (email@example.com)
Summary list of packages in the Museum:
algol-60, cfoogol, focal, intercal, jcl, mixal, oisc, pilot, teco, trac, wumpus
Following the package descriptions is a "COMING SOON..." section describing current Museum projects, and a want list of specifications and implementations we'd like to add to the Museum.
Magnus Olson is working on a BCPL-to-C compiler. Jonathan Chandross (firstname.lastname@example.org) is building a better FOCAL. Richard Wendland (email@example.com) is working on an Algol-68 to C compiler, to be available in mid-1995.
Implementations, or softcopy specifications, for the following languages: Plankalkul, IPL-V, RPG, JOVIAL, CORAL, JOSS, POP-2 or POP-10, 1401 Autocoder, MAD, PL/M.
Sample programs to add to the distributions for the following languages: FOCAL, ALGOL-60, JCL, TECO.