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ACLUG news 4-14-1998

ACLUG news 4-14-1998

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To: aclug-announce@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: ACLUG news 4-14-1998
From: aclug@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: 14 Apr 1998 20:51:26 -0500
Reply-to: aclug@xxxxxxxxxxxx

Hi everyone,

We had a great crowd out at our Free Linux Installation last
Thursday.  It was great to see so many people there.  We got Linux
installed on a number of computers, enjoyed the free pizza and pop,
and got a glimpse of the future of Linux by way of a demo machine that 
was there.

Here is the basic plan for now.  We would like to meet the third
Thursday of every month at 7:30 PM.  This means that our next meeting
would be May 21, conveniently past finals week.

I will need to find out if Jabara Hall will be unlocked and available
at that time on that date; if not, we will need a different location.


In planning our next event, I'd like to get feedback from everyone on
what sorts of topics you'd like to see presented.  Here are a few
suggestions that I have.  Feel free to let me know if you like/dislike 
these suggestions, and give any other good ideas that you might have.
Please send me your comments on these ideas -- also, let me know if
the third Thursday each month is good for you.  We may also consider
moving to a biweekly schedule in the future if there is sufficient
interest.  Comments welcome on this too.

 * Linux kernel compilation.  This lets you "tweak" your kernel.  It
   also well let to add support for things that the default system
   doesn't have, such as sound.  This is a good topic for everyone.

 * Mobile Linux.  Linux works great on laptops.  This probably doesn't
   apply to a whole bunch of people, except for the "WOW" factor
   <grin>.  This could be a demo alongside a different event like
   was done with the Linux demo machine on Thursday.

 * Upgrading Linux.  There will be a new Debian 2.0 out by that point,
   unless something comes up and the release date slips a month (not
   common).  This could cover a demonstration of how to upgrade your
   Debian machine to 2.0.  However, I don't want to leave the people
   using RedHat and Slackware out in the cold -- the upgrade procedure
   varies widely from distribution to distribution.  Therefore, this
   again may be a good sidebar to a main event.

 * Linux showcase.  Now that you all have Linux on your machines
   (you do, right? <grin>), you may be wondering what it can do.
   Well, it can do A LOT.  We can demonstrate some of the more
   impressive things Linux can do, and show you how to do the same
   thing with your home Linux computer.

 * XEmacs -- often described as an "editor and kitchen sink".  I have
   no problem declaring it the most powerful editor available today.
   The sticking point is that it is not as intuitive as it should be.
   We can cover xemacs -- how to use it and what it can do.  This
   shouldn't take a full evening so we can probably have something
   else as well.

 * Command-line Linux.  Linux does have a number of pretty and
   powerful Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs).  It also has a very
   powerful command line interface that some people find faster.
   However, the command-line can be daunting if you aren't used to it,
   so this may be a good topic to cover.

 * Connecting to an ISP.  Always an important topic.  We can cover
   how to set up Linux for your ISP.  We can perhaps even touch on
   some advanced issues such as automatic demand dialing and IP
   masqueradning (known in the Windows community as VAT, and
   implemented by WinGate....Linux's implementation is much better,

 * Linux as a server.  What you can do to set up Linux as a server in
   your situation -- be it two computers in your bedroom connected
   with a $2 null-modem cable or hundreds of computers at your
   workplace networked with fast ethernet.

 * Other ideas?  Comments welcome!

In other news...

 * Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, was interviewed on NPR
   lately.  I'll be posting on the ACLUG events page at regarding this, including a
   link to a RealAudio version of the interview.
 * Mirabilis has ICQ-Java available, which runs on Linux.  Linux
   users, however, have a more versatile option in the ytalk and
   irc(d) programs that come with Linux.  ICQ is good for talking
   to your Windows friends, though.
 * Debian 2.0 is nearing completion -- will be out in a week or two.
   At 1800 packages, it will be the largest Linux distribution ever.
 * RedHat has some updates to RH5, mostly fixing security bugs.
   If you run RedHat, you ought to upgrade.  You can find the updates

Finally, I have been asked about this line in my .signature:

uuencode - < /vmlinux | mail -s "Windows NT security fix" bgates@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

This takes advantage of some more powerful Linux shell syntax and is
intended to be humorous (it does work; please don't try it.)

The "uuencode -" part accepts binary input and converts it into a form 
suitable for transmission in e-mail.  (Your e-mail programs often
perform base64 encoding, which is similar to uuencode, when you attach 
a file.)  The "< /vmlinux" tells it to read from the /vmlinux file.
On Linux, this file contains the kernel, and can easily be in excess
of 500k -- which makes it rather large for a mail.

The "|" character tells Linux to take the output from uuencode and
send it to the "mail" program as input.  This is a simple example of
the powerful technique known as chaining or piping commands.

"mail -s" says to send an e-mail, with the subject after the -s, and
send it to the address at the end of the line.

So, if you typed in this command on a Linux machine, you would send a
500+k e-mail to Bill Gates, with the Linux kernel inside, and a
subject of "Windows NT security fix".  I'm sure he would be quite
appreciative <grin>.

Well, this got a bit long so I think I'll close here.  We'll be sure
to keep you up-to-date with important ACLUG and Linux happenings.  As
allways, your comments are welcome -- just hit the reply button in
your mail program.

John Goerzen

John Goerzen             | Developing for Debian GNU/Linux (
Custom Programming       | Debian GNU/Linux is a free replacement for
jgoerzen@xxxxxxxxxxxx    | DOS/Windows -- check it out at
uuencode - < /vmlinux | mail -s "Windows NT security fix" bgates@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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