MUUG Monthly Meetings for 1995-96

September 12, 1995: Round-Table Discussion

A small crowd was in attendance this month, so the meeting was held in the conference room rather than in the auditorium. The meeting consisted of a round-table session, which was rather lively, and featured a mix of general UNIX-related questions and some Linux-specific ones.

Gilbert Detillieux announced a couple of offers that have been made to the Linux SIG from two companies producing material for the Linux market. (This announcement was repeated at the following week's Linux SIG meeting.)

October 10, 1995: Writing Software for Portability

After a few announcements, and other formalities, Gilbert Detillieux presented the featured topic. It was a look at the issues involved in writing software from scratch, in such a way that portability will be made easy. This involves the selection of the right programming language, language features, and library functions, the proper structuring of the code, to isolate any machine specific or OS specific sections, and the use of conditional compilation directives to further isolate such code.

In addition to the structuring of the code, there are many issues concerning the definition of the data itself, that can help or hinder portability. Issues such as data types, element sizes, the way data structures are organized, and so on, must be considered. If data is to be stored in binary files, other issues must also be considered. Finally, Gilbert stressed the importance of sticking to standards, as much as possible, and clearly documenting the data file formats you define.

November 14, 1995: UNIX and 64 Bit Technology

Bary Finch, MUUG Past President, chaired the meeting, and presented a brief overview of his experience at UNIX Expo in New York. This is one of the premiere UNIX events each year, combining seminars and an exposition of vendors to give a complete perspective on the emerging Open Systems technologies.

The main topic of the meeting was about migrating to 64-bit technology. In the midst of the PC world's noisy and hype-filled transition to 32-bit operating systems, the UNIX market is girding itself for a transition to 64 bits. Why is this happening? Is there a real need for 64-bit systems, or is this another example of vendors creating uniqueness through unusable features. What about recent industry initiatives for 64-bit standards?

Glenn Bontje, High Perfornamce Computing Product Manager for Digital Equipment of Canada, addressed this subject. Although Digital is among the most vocal proponents of a 64-bit architecture, he provided a reasonably unbiased survey of the technology, the market requirements, and the state of current vendor offerings and plans. Discussion was lively in the Q&A period that followed.

December 12, 1995: Christmas Wine & Cheese

As the holiday season approaches, we take the opportunity to do something a little different than our usual monthly meetings. In the spirit of the season, we throw a party which gives members a chance to socialize with one another, and chat informally. A show & tell style presentation may also be held, where members could showcase interesting or unique applications of computer technology that they're working with, or browse the other displays. (We are also considering displays from local Internet service providers, in order to allow our members to assess their options in this rapidly evolving area.)

Linux fans please note that our order of 5 LUG/nut CD-ROMs has finally arrived! This is the version 2.1 of this CD, from late October, which contains both Slackware 3.0, and Red Hat Commercial Linux, version 2.0. We will be keeping one of the copies, to lend out to MUUG members who are interested in trying it out. We will be selling the other 4 copies for $12 each. (This is MUUG's cost, after factoring in shipping, exchange, GST, and Canada Customs charges.)

Since there will likely be a lot of interested parties, we will likely have a "lottery" to decide which lucky members will be able to buy a copy right away. We will also take orders for more copies, and place that order with SSC shortly thereafter. (Orders can take quite long to be filled, however, particularly if we end up being put on hold for the next edition, as happened last time.)

January 9, 1996: Round Table Discussion

We've had a cancellation, so there was no presented topic this month. Instead, we had an informal round-table discussion, on whatever UNIX-related topics people wanted to discuss. Attendance was rather small (around 15 people), but the discussion was lively nonetheless. Topics were mostly technical, and ranged from trying to gain root access on an inherited SGI machine (who's root password was unknown), to setting up network access using dial-up IP.

February 13, 1996: Java and HotJava

This month, Ian Watts of Sun Systems of Manitoba, and Paula Ehn of the University of Manitoba (and employed by Sun, through their campus access program), presented Sun's hottest new technology, the Java language, and their HotJava Web browser. This presentation included a live demo of the software.

Ian Watts started with a general overview of Java, and described Sun's strategy with respect to that product. Paula then provided a technical description of Java, including a demo. Scott Hamilton, also from Sun, was on hand to answer technical questions.

March 12, 1996: Managing Client/Server High Availability

Presented by Mike Sniezek, of BMC Software.

If it seems like you are spending all your time fighting fires and trying to track down the cause of problems, you might have benefitted from this presentation. Mike talked about some of the most common and persistent problems in the distributed environments, whether it's a heterogeneous or homogeneous environment. And whether you're dealing with databases, applications, underlying technologies or all of it. The talk focused on solving these problems with real-world, common sense solutions. (A lot of the advice dealt with PC hardware configuration, and nothing specific to UNIX. But this advice is nonetheless useful to most people working in a mixed network environment, where PCs are likely to be involved.)

The talk concluded with a brief Q&A period. Free t-shirts as well as product information and video tapes from BMC were given out to those who wanted them.

April 9, 1996: Round-Table Discussion

Due to circumstances beyond MUUG's control, we were unable to meet at the usual location this month, so the topic originally scheduled for this month has been moved to May. In its place, we had a round-table discussion, on various topics of interest to UNIX users. Topics varied quite a bit, and included questions and discussions on AIX, installing Solaris, network security under Linux, Windows NT, and even VMS.

For this month only, the meeting was held at ISM, at 400 Ellice Ave, where the Linux SIG usually meets. (Our thanks to Doug Jackson, of ISM, for hosting this meeting, and to Doug Shewfelt for chairing it.)

May 14, 1996: Oracle Webserver Technology

Presented by Gavin Sellman, Oracle Canada. The Oracle WebServer (tm) combines the simplicity of the World Wide Web with Oracle's leading edge database technology to enable a whole new generation of powerful Web applications. The system consists of several modular components, which follow standard protocols and interfaces. The WebServer itself is a standard HTTP/1.0 server, with support for external CGI programs. WebAgent is such a CGI, and provides the interface to the Oracle database server, via a TCP/IP based protocol. Queries are passed along to the database server, which executes stored procedures to extract the requested data, and produce HTML output, which is then passed back to WebAgent, WebServer, and finally the web browser.

During this presentation, Gavin demonstrated Oracle Web applications running over the Internet. These were simple demos of an employee database, and an online order system. All of the demonstrated software is available, for a free 90-day trial, for several platforms, at Oracle's Web site.

June 11, 1996: MUUG Barbecue (6:30 PM)

Another long-standing MUUG tradition is that we kick off our summer break with another party! As the warm June sun lures us away from dark, stuffy meeting rooms, what better way to get together with other UNIX users than at our annual BBQ?

This year, the barbeque was held at Assiniboine Park. Unfortunately, despite almost ideal weather for it, the turn-out was very small. There were only 10 people, and most of them were board members and spouses. Only one non-board member showed up, which was rather disappointing. Thank you to those who did come out; I hope you had a good time. A big thank you to those who helped coordinate, and get the required stuff.

July 1996: No meeting this month

August 1996: No meeting this month

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