Cndnsd Vrsn: 4 PM Thursday December 2 ACS Room 123-- System Admin
The December meeting of the Front Range UNIX Users Group will be held at
4:00 P.M. on Thursday December 2. As always, FRUUG members and
non-members are invited to attend.
At this System Administration "Ask the Experts" panel. Brad Doctor, Paul
Kooros, Cricket Liu, and Evi Nemeth will be available to field
questions and discuss system administration issues. Come with your
nagging problems and plaguing issues in hand. Barb Dijker,
president of the USENIX System Administrators' Guild (SAGE), will also
introduce Colorado SAGE and discuss future meetings of that group.
Anyone unable to attend this meeting may want to subscribe to the
Colorado SAGE mailing list at
Panelists available for this meeting include:
Brad Doctor, a sysadmin for Mancala, a Boulder-based startup.
His areas of focus include large-scale messaging systems and
systems in a high-availability environments.
Paul Kooros, a consultant who regularly teaches Perl for Tom
Christiansen's Perl Consultancy. Paul also is keenly knowledgeable
of many things hardware and network related.
Cricket Liu, the co-author of "DNS & BIND 3rd ed," "DNS on Windows
NT," and "Managing Internet Information Systems." He is currently
working on the DNS & BIND 4th edition to include BIND v9 and runs his
own DNS consulting and training company, Acme Byte & Wire.
Evi Nemeth, co-author of "UNIX System Administration Handbook"
2nd ed. She is currently working on the 3rd edition and conducting
network related research. Evi developed one of the first university
system administration courses.
This meeting will be in room 123 of
the CU Academic Computing Center building at Arapahoe and Marine Streets in
Boulder. Marine St intersects Arapahoe at 38th St; the Computing Center is
on the southwest corner.
At our November meeting, Bill Joy, Chief Scientist of Sun Microsystems,
Inc., discussed the journey from
the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) of UNIX to the
development of Jini technology.
Bill's talk was a relaxed chat about the technologies that
have been developed during this time, and how the open source
movement has influenced them.
He talked about the state of computer science upon his arrival
at Berkeley and how CS departments often thought that research
consisted of theorem proving; not "experimental" computer science
that consisted of building systems.
A result of his time at Berkeley was the shift in perspective
that computer scientists should be able to publish
their code much as a physicist would publish a refereed paper--
both are the results of extensive research.
Bill talked about how TCP/IP became the standard
Internet protocol because the same set of code was developed and honed by
developers around the world. Whereas the OSI protocol stack was
"supposed" to supplant TCP/IP, the latter prevailed because of
its open source nature. At an early "connectathon," the code
was tested for interoperability between around fifty different
ports to different operating system environments. In contrast,
the same exercise with the ISO protocols consisted of a test of
fifty different implementations of the same specification--
a much more daunting problem.
Bill did muse that a weak point of the resulting TCP/IP protocols
is that there is now no commonality in how to handle transactions
and security because they were not planned and done in an ad hoc
fashion. For example, we have HTTP and HTTPS, but how about
SMTP and SMTPS for secure e-mail. We don't have these facilities
because they were never properly layered.
Bill talked about his search
for a "safe" programming language, knowing that C++, like C,
was basically a "peek and poke" programming language that is
fraught with the problems of languages that allow pointers
into memory. Bill reviewed the all-too-familiar debugging
session where one piece of code keeps a pointer, uses it
later, and interprets what was a string as a floating point number--
say 3.7-- and now you start trying to figure out who else in
the environment might have such a number floating around.
Java enables programming that is safe from these problems,
and also enables a world where one can freely send code around.
Because Java is interpreted, the world only has to agree on
an interpretation of the byte code. You don't need to have
tests between ports of the same code (as in the TCP/IP days),
only tests of 50 implementations of the Java virtual machine.
Bill closed with a discussion of the community source model
of Jini, and how it contrasts with the "free" licensing
used by other organizations, and with the licensing for Java that
has required the courts for enforcement.
The community source model limits access to code to those
developing the system or application, and requires the developers
to return the improvements to the community. The spirit of
the community sourcing model is that you join the community,
get access to the code, obey the rules, follow the compatibility
tests, and don't abuse the trademarks.
Bill compared Sun's community licensing strategy to the Visa
model, where the various organizations providing credit
cards to customers must interoperate with the Visa organization
and follow their licensing terms to utilize the trademark.
(Further information on Sun's licensing for Jini is available at
Apparently Bill enjoyed the meeting as much as we did, as
he stayed way beyond his intended departure time answering
questions for a good hour.
As Bill talked mostly extemporaneously, there are no
viewgraphs or other materials for our Web site;
resources from our other meetings are available at
Our next meeting will be on Sun's Jiro initiative and how it
can unify the management of storage across the enterprise.
Other meetings that are in the works include one on managing
spam, DNS, and more on Jini.
Addison-Wesley was kind enough to provide a stack of
the Jini Specification and JavaSpaces Principles, Patterns,
and Practice to give away at last month's meeting.
In addition, we have several other new books for the
FRUUG library from AW:
The Pragmatic Programmer, by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas
Programming Pearls, Second Edition, by Jon Bentley
A Programmer's Guide to Java Certification, by Khalid A. Mughal
and Rolf W. Rasmussen
Interconnections Second Edition, Bridges, Routers, Switches, and
Internetworking Protocols, by Radia Perlman
Extreme Programming Explained, by Kent Beck
Object-Oriented Network Protocols, by Stefan Boecking
O'Reilly has sent us a large collection of books, including:
Java Enterprise in a Nutshell, by David Flanagan, Jim Farley,
William Crawford, and Kris Magnusson
Java Foundation Classes in a Nutshell, by David Flanagan
UNIX in a Nutshell, Covering SVR4 and Solaris 7, by Arnold Robbins
Finally, the USENIX Association has provided us with the
proceedings from their Workshop on Embedded Systems,
Cambridge Mass, March 29-31, 1999.
You may check books out using your business card as your library card;
you must be on the membership list to check books out. Books are due at the
meeting following the one in which they are checked out.
We have recently updated our
overdue book list; please make
sure that, if we list your name, it's not in error.
We count on you returning books on time so that other members
may have the chance to use them as well.
Remember that your FRUUG membership entitles you to 20% off
books from O'Reilly & Associates when ordered through their
toll-free number, (800) 998-9938. Mention discount code DSUG.
Last Updated: November 22, 1999
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