Minutes 1-12-02
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January 12th 

Members attending the meeting included:   Richard Foerster,  Alan
Shoemaker,  Mac Shaver,  Dick Mathews, Jim Lucha,  and  Eric Schwartz and Martin Fleming who were visiting the meeting for the first time, 

New members, Ossil Macavinta, Dana Rodden, Mark DiNicolai,  Karl Pomroy, Joe Bruner, and Eric Holland.   were unable to make the meeting.    Also missing at this meeting were Dave Reisz, Gary Taylor, Ken Howels, Klaus Herzog, Don Evinger, Hung Nguyen, Kandy Phan, Tad Peters, Isaac Saldana ,  Forrest Sherman,  Craig Carignan, and  Jim Vassilakos 

Dick Mathews brought in a 486 system that he had been working on that was hanging during boot up.  He got some tips from members on how to trouble shoot the system.  In the process it was determined that some needed directories such as /etc were missing, so the Dick planned to re-do the installation.  One tip, was to boot at the lilo prompt with: linux  init=/bin/bash,  which lets you get started with minimal devices.

  Jim Lucha, ask for recommendation on xterm fonts, for an application environment he is developing at work.  Several suggestions were offered including: eterm f 10x20, which he will be able to try.  Eterm is a color vt102 terminal emulator intended as a replacement for xterm available at: . While on the topic, several personal favorites were suggested including IceWM  is a small, but powerful window manager for the x windows system, and SWM (the Small Window Manager)  was written for small computers with very little memory and small screen sizes. It aims to be one of the most configurable window managers with a minimum size of about 12kb.

  On desktop compatibility theme discussed during several recent meetings, Alan and others commented on experiences related to Crossover, a $19.95 product from Codeweavers..  The CrossOver Plugin,  , lets you use many Windows plugins directly from your Linux browser.

CrossOver works on any Linux distribution and will integrate with most browsers including Netscape 4.x, Netscape 6.x, Konqueror, Mozilla, Galeon and Opera. CrossOver also integrates with Gnome and KDE to let you transparently open any Word, Excel or PowerPoint file. You can open attachements among these types directly from any mail client. Because CrossOver uses the native Windows plugins, you get the best compatibility possible. Reportedly, this is the only 'QuickTime on Linux' solution that supports the Sorenson movie format used by most sites.  Finally CrossOver and the related Windows plugins are very easy to install.

In addition to desktop compatibility and usability challenges, desktop alternatives also need to consider security and management issues.  The Mandrake distributions have led by including Bastille firewall technology since 7.2.  Also included are TripwireLogcheck helps spot problems and security violations in your logfiles automatically and will send the results to you in e-mail. This program is free to use at any site. Logcheck is part of the Abacus Project of security tools.   Incidentally, if you are using tripwire, there is a temporary file vulnerability in versions of Tripwire prior to 2.3.1-2. Because Tripwire opens/creates temporary files in /tmp without the O_EXCL flag during filesystem scanning and database updating, a malicious user could execute a symlink attack against the temporary files. This new version has all but one unsafe temporary file open fixed. It can
still be used safely when using the new TEMPDIRECTORY configuration
option, which is now set to /root/tmp.  More information is available at: MandrakeSoft Security Advisory

Both Eric and Martin made significant contributions to our discussions.  Eric is new to this area, but until recently he has been a involved in the Nasville, TN. LUG.  Martin, is from Canada and now working at ESRI.  

The meeting was a great success, and we are all looking forward to our next session on February 9, 2001

Since the meeting, Jim Lucha posted an article on Everyman's Linux on the forum, see message 1272,  and the February 2002 issue of the Linux Journal has a very interesting article: Subversion: Building a Better CVS, {page 40}  which can be used as an *improved* Tripwire replacement with a couple of small Perl scripts.