MUUG Monthly Meetings for 1998-99
Please note our meeting location:
IBM Canada's offices in the TD Centre,
at the corner of Portage and Main. We gather in the lobby on the main
floor - please try to be there by about 7:15 PM. Steve Moffat will then take
us up to the meeting room just before the meeting starts at 7:30.
Don't be late, or you may not get in.
Parking is available either in the parkade behind the TD building, off
Albert Street, or in the ground level lot just north of the TD building.
Entrance to the lot is from Albert Street, behind the parkade. Either way,
parking is a $1.25 flat rate for the evening. You purchase your ticket from
a dispenser, so make sure you've got exact change - a loonie and a quarter,
or 5 quarters.
September 8, 1998: Applied Multimedia Training Centre
This meeting, hosted by Dwayne Marling of the
Applied Multimedia Training Centre, provided us with an opportunity to
learn the power of Silicon Graphics (SGI), IRIX-based, 3D Animation
Applications. AMTC's Animation
Instructor Larry Mersereau discussed and demonstrated the latest in
Computer Animation Technology as used in block-buster special effects
movies like Titanic and Jurrasic Park. These features are
computationally intense and rely heavily on the high-end, real-time
graphics capabilities of the new SGI O2 UNIX systems. Larry's demo went
in-depth on the advanced software functions of Softimage -- Dynamic
Simulation, Displacement Mapping, Ray-Tracing and the use of Particles
to create those incredible 3D effects.
The meeting started off with the usual lively round table discussion,
which was dominated by discussion about the upcoming
Linux Install Fest.
The meeting ended with a door-prize draw for a copy of the
O'Reilly & Associates book
Linux in a Nutshell.
This was not a regular monthly meeting, but a special event, jointly hosted
by MUUG, the University of Manitoba Department of Computer Science, and the
Computer Science Student Association.
If you're interested in Linux, you may want to find out
what you missed!
A write-up of this event also appeared in the
as well as the January 1999 issue of
Linux Journal (pages 82-83).
October 13, 1998: Low-cost Super-computing with Beowulf and PVM
Dr. Peter Graham,
of the U of M's Computer Science department,
spoke on the use of Intel x86 family processors running Linux
to build a cluster parallel computer.
design approach utilizes off-the-shelf components, increasingly cheap
high-speed networks, and public domain software to build computer systems
capable of performing computations which were previously only feasible using
extremely costly proprietary parallel machines.
The results obtained using such machines are surprisingly good
and the cost-performance ratio is excellent.
Dr. Graham described the Beowulf software and hardware components,
and talked about problems that can effectively utilize such technology.
The meeting started with the usual lively round-table discussion, and
ended with a door-prize draw for two of our MUUG Online CD-Rs containing the
Hat Linux/Intel 5.1 distribution.
This particular distribution image was compiled from the free portions of
Red Hat 5.1, available on our FTP mirror, and contained all the latest
We will not be burning any more CD-Rs with this image,
but we've made the ISO-9660 image for the CD available online for
for those who may wish to burn their own copy.
This month, Mike McComb and Allan Churney from
provided us with a technical overview of another option
for high-speed residential data communications that is being deployed
in Winnipeg, the Cable Modem.
Cable Modems promise a significant increase in data transfer rates
over the conventional 28.8Kbps or 56Kbps modems.
The presentation included a description of how a cable modem works,
what happens at the subscriber and the provider ends,
and the services provided by Shaw@Home.
This was followed by a lively question & answer period, which covered lots
of technical details, such as security issues, bandwidth and expected
transfer rates, noise sensitivity and potential sources of interference.
The meeting started with the usual round-table discussion, which included
such varied topics as Linux installation and setup, merging database output
into TeX documents, strange X Window behaviour, and more.
The meeting ended with door prize draws for t-shirts and mouse pads from
Shaw@Home, and a t-shirt from
O'Reilly & Associates
(courtesy of Glen Ditchfield).
December 8, 1998: Play Time! (Games for UNIX and Linux)
This month, we examined the state of the art in UNIX and Linux games.
Kevin McGregor, MUUG's own illustrious newsletter editor,
presented a whirlwind tour
of the best-of-breed games available for your home (or office!) UNIX/Linux
system. There were some old stand-bys and classics including
X-MAME, the Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator, which ran
several of everyone's old favourites like Galaga, Asteroids, Frogger,
Dig-Dug, and Gravitar.
Kevin also talked about some of the more sophisticated game console emulators
like the Atari 2600 VCS, and about work that's under way on Sony Playstation,
NES, SNES, and Nintendo 64.
Also shown or described were strategy games like FreeCiv (a Civilization II
derivative) and some of the new 3D games. It was an exciting attempt
by Kevin to cram all this into one short presentation.
As usual, we began with our round-table discussion,
which was dominated (again) by discussions on the Millenium Bug and
the hype that surrounds it. Also discussed were Netscape quirks,
various ways of configuring a Linux system for PPP access, Linux ports
(e.g. to the ARM processor), and various other hardware and software issues.
OK, so you've just installed a brand-new copy of Linux on your system,
and things went smoothly so far. Now what?
Some of the setup issues that typically come up after you've installed Linux
are network-related, such as PPP dial-up support, Ethernet network setup,
BOOTP, DHCP, DNS, and so on.
Kevin McGregor gave a concise review of his experiences setting up
his Red Hat Linux 5.1 system with the Shaw@Home cable Internet service.
Most of his troubles and frustrations were not related to Linux, and not
even directly related to the cable modem setup, but were Windows setup issues.
After getting that working, the transition to networking under Linux was
trivial, and simply involved enabling DHCP client support - the DHCP daemon
and the corresponding server at Shaw's end did the rest.
Gilbert Detillieux provided a brief tour of the basics of setting up
dial-up networking on a UNIX/Linux system, specifically PPP on Red Hat Linux,
with a few side trips into various other configuration files,
the syslog facility, and some of its log files.
Due to a recent cancellation, we had to come up with a new topic
on fairly short notice. We continued on the theme of post-installation
setup issues, which we started with last month's presentations on network
setup under Linux.
One of the most common, and potentially one of the trickiest, setup tasks
under Linux is configuring the XFree86 server to work correctly -
and optimally - for your graphics hardware. In this informal, interactive
presentation, Gilbert Detillieux looked at some of the issues and some of
the methods used to get X Window support up and running on a Linux system.
This included a look at SuperProbe, the Red Hat Xconfigurator program,
manual tweaking of the XF86Config file, the xvidtune utility,
and finally a look at the new XF86Setup program that's included
with the XFree86 distribution.
March 9, 1999: Virtual Network Computing (VNC)
stands for Virtual Network Computing. It is, in essence, a remote display
system which allows you to view a computing `desktop' environment not only on
the machine where it is running, but from anywhere on the Internet and from a
wide variety of machine architectures.
The VNC protocol is completely platform independent.
Servers and viewers exist for a variety of platforms.
The viewer is stateless, small and simple.
A viewer implemented as Java classes can be run from any Java-enabled
And best of all, the
(It's even available in RPM form, for various Red Hat Linux versions, on the
MUUG FTP server.)
This month, Kevin McGregor presented VNC, and demonstrated the servers
and viewers being run on a number of platforms, both local and remote.
This included the Xvnc server, the X vncviewer, and the Java VNC viewer
running in Netscape Navigator, all on an IBM ThinkPad, as well as remote
VNC servers running on both a Red Hat Linux and a Windows NT system,
accessed over a PPP connection.
A brief write-up on VNC appeared in the
March 1998 MUUG Lines.
April 13, 1999: Network Infrastructure for E-Business
Mark Lehmann, from IBM, braved the rain and a bout of laryngitis to do this
month's presentation, which focussed on trends in the Internet
(what will the Service Provider Network look like over the next 5-10 years),
trends in Local Area Networks (switching, ATM Backbone, Gigabit Ethernet),
and technologies for the Internet such as web caching, server load balancing,
and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) using IP Security (IPSec).
Mark Lehmann is a Network Specialist in the IBM Networking Systems group.
Mark has been with IBM for 13 years and has spent most of his career in the
area of networking.
from Sun, talked about some of the new technology
that can be found in Sun's latest OS release, Solaris 7, which is available
for both the SPARC and Intel x86 architectures.
He also speculated on some of the directions Sun will take with the next
releases, Solaris 8 (which is under development now), and Solaris 9.
Stephen also provided the following interesting Solaris-related web sites:
June 8, 1999: Connecting a Home Network to the Internet
Michael Doob, from the University of Manitoba's Math department,
did this month's presentation. The topic was as follows...
Upstairs/Downstairs, Inside/Outside, or
In this presentation a minimal setup was described that allows
several Linux computers to be used together in a home network. This
permits the sharing of facilities such as a printer or hard disks
among the computers. The network was then linked to the internet
so that all machines have access through a single modem and
how to set up your own home network and connect it to the internet
For the most part only standard UNIX or Linux tools were used.
IP masquerading was used to connect several computers to the net through
a single modem, and vnc was used to allow X Window applications to run
from a masqueraded computer.
Michael provided us with a
web page with his notes,
for those who'd like to try this at home.
The presentation prompted a lot of questions,
and discussion on related networking topics, such as the
Linux Router Project,
where your entire system fits on a write-protected floppy.
The meeting began with a very lively round table discussion, which covered
topics such as sound card configuration under Linux,
installation issues with Red Hat 6.0,
and a Linux emulator for Solaris/x86 called
(Various printed web pages on lxrun were circulated, including this
technical overview from the
Solaris Developer Connection).
There was also a lot of discussion about
a piece of software for Linux (and Windows NT soon) that uses the Pentium's
virtual machine capability to let you run one or more ``guest''
operating systems simultaneously.
(A write-up of this product also appears in the
Apparently, a new open source project, called
freemware has been started, with the
goal of producing something equivalent to VMware.)
July 1999: No meeting this month
August 1999: No meeting this month
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