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Unix system administration bulletin, 1999

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Old News ;-)

[Dec. 21, 1999] The FreeBSD Diary -- System tools - toys I have found

Short discussion of last, swapinfo, systat, tops and z-tools.

[Dec. 21, 1999] Tom Limoncelli's Published Papers

Several interesting papers. Recommended. See Articles for more details

[Dec. 17, 1999] Linux PR Common UNIX Printing System 1.0.3 Released

Hollywood, MD (December 15, 1999) -- Easy Software Products today announced the 1.0.3 release of the Common UNIX Printing System ("CUPS"), an IPP-based printing system for UNIX®

CUPS 1.0.3 is a bug fix release, includes improvements to the HP-GL/2 and image file filters, and provides better error recovery when printing to networked printers. CUPS 1.0.3 can be downloaded from the CUPS web site at

The Common UNIX Printing System provides a portable printing layer for UNIX® operating systems. It has been developed by Easy Software Products to promote a standard printing solution for all UNIX vendors and users. CUPS provides the System V and Berkeley command-line interfaces.

CUPS uses the Internet Printing Protocol (IETF-IPP) as the basis for managing print jobs and queues. The Line Printer Daemon (LPD, RFC1179), Server Message Block (SMB), and AppSocket protocols are also supported with reduced functionality.

CUPS adds network printer browsing and PostScript Printer Description ("PPD")-based printing options to support real world applications under UNIX.

CUPS also includes a customized version of GNU GhostScript (currently based off GNU GhostScript 4.03) and an image file RIP that can be used to support non-PostScript printers.

Sample drivers are provided for HP DeskJet and LaserJet printers. Drivers for over 1600 printers are available in our ESP Print Pro software.

CUPS is licensed under the GNU General Public License. Please contact Easy Software Products for commercial support and "binary distribution" rights.

[Nov. 24, 1999] WebRAT

WebRAT consists of :

That may seem complicated, but once implemented, it is very easy to maintain, and extend. The system is supposed to be modular, and although adding modules is not (yet) the easiest thing to do, it will be much more easier in the future, once the module adding module is implemented.

The difficult part is in the design and the implementation, thus hiding all the complexity from the user of the system.

The way it works

WebRAT relies on a administration server which has the responsibility of keeping the hosts-to-be-administered database. Adding/removing nodes is on of the administration servers' responsibilities. Every node has its own "password" file, keeping user/module pairs, from which the node may authenticate if a user is allowed (or not) to use the specific module. This (password) file is also handled by the administration server. You may NOT add users of the system through the node, you have to add them through the administration server.

Several administrative scripts exist in order to handle administration server's requests. These should be considered as part of the administration server itself, but the choice to be different scripts was made in order to make all the scripts small and compact, for easier maintenance.

Each and every node has its own daemon , and a set of server scripts . Those have the same relationship as the administration server to the administrative scripts . Every user registered to perform tasks to the system may access the daemon, which allows him access to these tasks only. So, the superuser may distribute tasks to unprivileged users

Authentication is performed in every stage of the process, so that someone cannot override the client.

Security implications

As WebRAT relies on a WebServer, and the daemons are called through inetd, the whole system may be extremely secure, by the usage of independent, open source software, such as OpenSSL and TCP/wrappers.

WebRAT is written in perl, in order to

That last part is also the reason the scripts are not so compact. They could have at least 20% of lines of code less, if I was trying to make them compact, but I preferred to make them easily understandable

You may take WebRAT's latest version from here

[Nov. 24, 1999] MAT 0.20 - Monitoring and Administration Tool

Linux Today

I'm proud to announce a new release of the Monitoring and Administration Tool (MAT). New to version 0.20 is the replication module. This allows replication between UNIX hosts. A HPUX agent is now included, as well as a GNU libc build. There are several bug fixes in the backup module, as well as some fixes to the system monitoring module.

The MAT web site is at:

It contains screen-shots, as well as descriptions of MAT's functions.

Below is a description of this release of MAT.

Monitoring & Administration Tool (MAT)

MAT is an enterprise monitoring and administration tool. It allows you as an administrator, or authorized individual, to manage a hetrogeneous UNIX network. It hides most of the complexity of the standard configuration files making it easier administer. The monitoring daemon provides historical information about a hosts status. Several monitored parameters can be graphed to aid capacity planning. The monitored parameters can trigger events when a threshold is exceeded, alerting administrators to problems.

Some of the advanced features include the ability to upgrade it's self as new versions, or upgrades become available, the ability to allow other users to control some or all of the administrative functions. The ability to see the "health" of a host.

MAT is in three parts, the MAT agent, the MAT daemon, and the MAT console. The MAT agent does the actual work of modifing files, running commands, and inspecting the system. The MAT daemon MATd periodically monitors system parameters, and can send alarms. The MAT console provides an easy to use GUI which sends commands to the MAT agent to manipulate and query standard UNIX configuration files. It also provides an easy to use GUI for graphing the MATd results and controlling the parameters monitored by MATd.

MAT is available for Linux, SunOS 4.1.x, and Solaris. An alpha port to IRIX 6.x is included. Currently MAT allows you to add, modify and delete the following:

MAT allows you inspect many of the common system parameters including:

The monitoring deamon MATd runs scripts for monitoring of:

SWAP, and Memory use are monitored in the Linux version. A simple plotting tool allows you to graph the various monitored parameters. The monitoring scripts are written in Perl, and should be easy to customize and expand. The MAT probe has been updated to display it's current status.

For the MAT agent you need a UNIX machine running:

Perl 5.x is needed for the monitored parameters and alarms. The Console requires Tcl/TK on at least one host.

[July 17, 1999] durep -- Psiren

June 07th 1999, 23:04 EST durep is a perl script used for disk usage reports. It can generate text output with bar graphs to allow easy comparisons of disk usage between directories. It can also generate web pages which can be navigated through the directory structure. This allows easy visual monitoring of disk usage.

[Jun 25, 1999] Linux File Associations in Linux

Windows style association

You are no longer restricted to native executable file formats (ELF, a.out, etc), in Linux. With kernel 2.2 onwards, there's support for multiple file formats, that is, you can make the kernel recognize any file format provided you've an interpreter for it. These files can then be run just by typing their name at the prompt, like any pure executable. You could, for instance, associate all text files with the vi editor. Whenever you type the name of a text file on the shell prompt, the vi editor will automatically load with this file.

[June 24, 1999] open source IT - Tutorials Using RPM

[June 23, 1999] Unix System Administration

[June 20, 1999] Unix::ConfigFile

The Unix::ConfigFile distribution is a suite of modules that provide simple interfaces to various Unix configuration files. The objective is to free the system administrator from dealing with the trivial formatting details of the files, and allow him or her to concentrate on the information therein. Currently supported files include:

[Apr 21, 1999] Linux Administration Made Easy by Steve Frampton, <> v0.99u.01 (PRE-RELEASE), 21 April 1999. A new LDP book.

[Apr 21, 1999] ISystem and Network Performance Tuning, Hal Stern, Sun Microsystems

[Apr 10, 1999] The Sys Admin

a nice tale about sysadmins

[Mar 10, 1999] The Best Windows File Server Linux!

NetBench 5.01 shows how well a network operating system does at the mundane task of file serving, by measuring Wintel file input/output. Natively, Linux doesn't work with DOS/Windows files, but Samba, an open-source Server Message Block (SMB) client and server that ships with all commercial Linuxes, provides that capacity. And how!

You might think that Linux would operate at a disadvantage here, but Linux kicks NT's butt. Only at the lightest loads does NT hold any advantage over the Linuxes. Once the load moves to 12 clients, all the Linux platforms take commanding leads over NT. At 32 clients, SuSE, the weakest Linux, has more than double NT'



Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater’s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

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