Friday, February 26, 2010

4th Saturday: Linux SIG takes on Social Networking!

Look, Linux folks ARE social! Stop by HAL-PC Saturday from 2-4pm and learn to network! From your linux box!

The subject is Social Networks the names are
1. FaceBook: Val
2. Meetup: Rick
3. Linked In: Jorid, Joey

What we do not have time for this week, can be continued
on the next meeting.


Kojo (that's me!) was supposed to discuss Twitter and LinkedIn, but won't be able to make the meeting this week. Next time!


Here's what you missed last Saturday at the SAMBA SIG (and yes, I DO alternate my capitalization of "Samba". Sue me) We're continuing our goal of building an ISP-Grade mail server.

Today we got the spam script working and spammed our new server. Over a 100 MB
connection, it took about 14.5 minutes to send 10,000 messages. During that
time, CPU usage on the mail server shoot up to around 90%. However, even
during the storm, the webmail interface was still responsive. Nevertheless, it
showed that we need anti-spam measures.

In order to get the spam script running, we used another machine, then booted
with Knoppix 6.0.1 and installed sendmail (what the script requires). Knoppix
5.3.1 would not work with sendmail for some reason.

In the next meeting, we need to try to add some polish to our testing mail
server. The current list of items to address is:

1) Anti-spam measures and anti-virus measures. Current plans are to use
Amavis. It will be interesting to see what the load is on the server if we
repeat the spam storm with the measures in place.

2) Implement quotas. We can't have one user fill up the hard drive.

3) Change the squirrelmail url to something better and more standard, such as

4) Install a list manager. Mailman has been suggested.

It is likely it will take more than one meeting to accomplish all this.

Join in in two weeks!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Night Linux Workshop

Wednesday night means Linux Workshop at HAL-PC, 6-9pm.

Be there!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (which runs a version of OS X, which is a *nix)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Samba SIG Updates: "In our last episode, our heroes..."

Here are the notes from the February first Saturday Samba SIG meeting. Remember, the third Saturday is THIS Saturday! 2-4pm at HAL-PC in SIG Room C.

Pardon the bad formatting, I'm in a bit of a time crunch. I'll try to beautify it later.

Today work continued on the mailserver. Robert attempted to set up three interfaces to manage the users without resorting to raw sql statement and got two of them working. GRSoft MailManager is working and is a web based front end. Ispwebadmin we never got working. The final one is a bash script by manu that, although limited, works just fine. While this one won't be used much, it does leave open the possibility for a mass setup of email accounts with a little hacking of the script.

We also got squirrelmail working too. Next up is one of two things, to be decided on in the coming two weeks:

1) Set up a test network with some kirramail servers to test out the postfix mail server and make sure everything is working.

2) Set up virus and spam filtering on the new mailserver. We've got a volunteer to be the evil spammer. He will try to counter our measures to block spam (on the test network). He will have the advantage on knowing what countermeasures we are using.

Come join in !!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Samba SIG Updates: "A long time ago, on a server far, far away..."

This coming Saturday is the 3rd Saturday of the month, which means the Samba & Network Admin SIG will be going on at HAL-PC from 2-4pm.

Luckily for all of us, Robert Spotswood has been good enough to condense the activity from prior meetings. You can subscribe to the Samba SIG email list to get these announcements, but I'll also be posting them here. Here then, are the notes from the January meetings.
Subject: update for 01/09/10
Date: Monday 11 January 2010
From: Robert S
To: "SambaSIG Announce"

Rick and I continued to work through the Postfix/Dovecot tutorial. We have now completed it through the authenticated SMTP page. At this point we have a mail server that can send and receive emails, although so far we have only tested it via telnet. If telnet works, so should any regular email client. However, in doing tests that weren't in the tutorial, we discovered a problem with testing it further.

Gunn (at least I think this is his doing) has wisely chosen to block all outbound port 25 connections for most of HAL. This means we can't send email outside HAL to accounts we own. On the flip side, it also means a spammer can't enter HAL, use one of the public computers and leave HAL with a black eye. A good trade-off IMHO. The solution Rick and I came up with to play with the email server further is to set up our own mini-Internet with another email server (or two!). We can use the lab machines next door to SIG C, two of which have DVD drives and removable HD trays. The plan is to get two HDs, put them in removable trays, plug the trays into the two machines, install KirraMail on them, and set them up as other temporary email servers with fake domains so we can send and recieve email from other mail servers. We will need a couple of old HD's donated. We also will need to set up a DNS server for all of them to use, so the email servers can find the MX servers. Rick suggested Dell could write the config and zone files, and all we have to do is plug in the correct IPs once we know them. Can you do it Dell?

We will also have to adjust the resolv.conf on the two (or three) email servers to point to the DNS server, and maybe the client test machines. Since all the other computers get their DNS info via DHCP, this shouldn't cause any
problems with the rest of HAL while we do this. We can also use this setup for trying the other email server configs we will
be looking at.

Questions? Comments?

And THEN!!!

From: Robert S
Date: Sat, Jan 30, 2010 at 10:32 PM
Subject: last meeting (01/15/10)
To: SambaSIG Announce

This time Dell, with just a little assistance from the crowd, set up a DNS server template with three "fake" domains. This is necessary to begin building an email server test environment. The reasons we need this were discussed in the 01/09/2010 update. At this point, it is complete and all we may have to do is change a 6 IP addresses once we know what they are, and reload the config. One HD has been donated to Rick to get an install from his KirraMail CD. We could use another. Anyone? In the meantime, this is enough to being testing the Postfix/Dovecot setup we have, which will hopefully happen next meeting.

We also have a DHCP failover lab coming up, but nothing is scheduled yet.
There you have it, notes from the January meetings. The first Saturday of February will be posted soon. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Night: Get Your Tech Up!

So, the Wednesday night Linux Workshop is in full swing! It goes from 6-9pm. Afterwards, a bunch of the group is going to Antidote Coffe in the Heights. You are encouraged to join in!

ALSO! In case you're not able to make it to HAL-PC, tonight, tune in to Technology Bytes on KPFT (90.1 FM in Houston or listen live from their web site or with your favorite stream catcher) from 8-10pm.

If you can't find a tech answer between THOSE two, it probably doesn't exist. I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

HLUG Video Archives

If you look in the upper-left hand corner (look now!), you'll see a link to our Video Archive. For those too lazy to look (you know who you are), the direct link is:

They haven't been updated in quite awhile, but the information is STILL quite interesting. Everything from an overview of Linux (which has surely changed since the video was made) to TCP/IP networking basics (an evergreen topic) to the History of HLUG (and what a history it is!)

So, if you're not able to make it to a meeting or you just want to know more about a topic, be sure to check out our video archive. We hope to start recording our meetings again at some point in the future, but we don't know exactly WHEN that's going to happen.

Also, don't forget about the Wednesday Night H-Town Tech Extravaganza! More on that later.

Friday, February 12, 2010

2nd Saturday means HLUG! Don't lose your data!!

Join us Saturday, February 13th at HAL-PC for another exciting HLUG meeting! Ron Lyle, our fearless leader, is planning a presentation on the dos and don'ts on data backup of the Linux desktop for home users.

If you're using Linux as a server setup, you've probably got all sorts of crazy shell scripts backing up things. But what if you're a 'standard' Linux user, just using a desktop setup for daily work? Word processing, spreadsheets, pictures, etc? You don't want to risk losing all your precious data, do you? But, there aren't a kajillion off the shelf backup solutions for the Linux desktop like there are for other OSes. That's where THIS presentation comes to your rescue!

Of course, you have to JOIN us at HAL-PC, Saturday from 2-4pm. Help US help YOU. :-)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Night: HLUG Workshop and Technology Bytes

A quick reminder; Linux Workshop tonight at HAL-PC from 6-9pm. And be sure to tune in to Technology Bytes, 8-10pm at or 90.1 FM in Houston.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


The HAL-PC Samba/Network Administration SIG (sometimes also called the Samba/Open Networking SIG, much to SIG Leader Rick Archibald's dismay!) is kind of a spin-off of HLUG (most Samba members are also HLUG members), so we'll be including updates from their meetings here as well.

You may be thinking, "Why would a Latin dance group have spun out of a Linux User Group?!?", but it's not THAT Samba, it's THIS Samba, the one that helps Linux and Windows share network resources. See? Doesn't that make more sense? So, beyond Samba, they discuss other networking issues as well.

The current project underway is mail server setup. Thanks to Robert Spotswood for summarizing the meetings and sending me his notes. I'll be posting those or a summary of them after each meeting.

I MAY also include pictures from the meetings. They'll be here. But, since we're not really photographers, this may or may not be an ongoing thing. It's a work in progress.

The Samba SIG meets on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month from 2-4 in SIG Room C at HAL-PC. You know what that means don't you? It means almost EVERY SATURDAY you can have Linux-y goodness! You KNOW that's what you want...

By the way, a listing of ALL the HAL-PC SIGs is here. A calendar of WHEN those SIGs meet is here. You know, in case you wanted more to do.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Night is Tech Extravaganza in Houston!

So, what do you do on a Wednesday night in the fourth largest city in America? You GEEK OUT, of course! Here's how:

  1. 6pm: Arrive at HAL-PC for the Wednesday night Linux Workshop, brought to you by HLUG! Bring a PC/keyboard/mouse (we've got monitors/ethernet/WiFi) and get answers to your Linux questions. Get help installing distros, drivers, specific packages or just hang out. It goes on until 9pm. HAL-PC is here .
  2. 8pm: While you're at HAL-PC, getting your Linux fix, tune in to Technology Bytes, 8-10p CST 90.1FM on your radio. Or take your web browser or stream catcher to or Get answers to any OTHER computer questions. Of course, as a Linux geek, you can probably PROVIDE answers. Join in their IRC and share your wisdom!
  3. 9pm: The HLUG crew usually goes out to eat afterwards.
How's THAT for battling Hump Day?!?