Nevis System News 2002-2003 This is an archive of all the Nevis Computing News items released during the years from 2002 through 2003.


20031231-old-news

No, you didn't suddenly read a whole lot of news items without knowing
it.  I've archived all the news items from 2000 and 2001 in
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/status/news-2000-2001.html>.  Even
older items can still be found in
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/status/news-1997-1999.html>.

Happy New Year!




20031231-applications

As promised in an e-mail message, I've made some changes to software
available on the applications server.

A reminder: If you ever get confused about what options are available
via the "setup" command, just type "setup" by itself.  You'll get a
list of the current options.

- The commands "setup soffice", "setup office", "setup staroffice",
and "setup openoffice" no longer work.  Rationale: Almost all of the
Linux systems now have OpenOffice installed as a result of the Redhat
9 upgrade.

- The commands "setup compiler" and "setup gcc3" now just set your
compiler to be whatever is installed on the system.  Rationale: The
Redhat 9 systems already have GCC 3.2.2 installed.  The command "setup
gcc2" will use the GCC 2.95.2 compiler, but I make no promises that
this work properly on Redhat 9 systems; I will no longer maintain it.

- All the "setup *_gcc3" options are now gone, since GCC 3.2 is now
the default compiler.

- The command "setup cern" is no longer executed by default when you
login to the Linux cluster.  If you want to use PAW or HBOOK, you'll
have to type "setup cern" on your own (or put it into your ~/.mychrc
file).  Rationale: Fewer people are using CERNLIB now, and there's no
point in adding the overhead of the CERN libraries for all users.

- The version you get when you type "setup cern" is now CERNLIB 2003,
the only version that's compatible with GCC 3.2.  Versions 2001 and
2002, compatible with GCC 2, are still available.  All earlier
versions have been deleted.

- The command "setup root" will currently give you ROOT 3.05/07;
"setup root_new" will give you ROOT 3.10/02.  Both of these versions
were compiled with GCC 3.2.2, which will be standard from now on.
I've left "setup root304", for ROOT 3.04/02 compiled with GCC2.  In a
couple of weeks, I'll probably do the usual ROOT+Geant4 version
upgrade and made ROOT 3.10 the default version.

- The command "setup geant4" will currently give you Geant 4.5.2p2;
you can also use "setup geant460" to get Geant 4.6.0.  I've left one
version that was compiled with GCC2: Geant 4.5.1p1.  Again, in a
couple of weeks, Geant 4.6.0 will probably become the default version.

- A reminder: the Linux cluster now uses CUPS as the basis for
printing.  The commands needed to print files are documented at
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/software/printing.html>.

I know it's a lot of changes to make at once, but: (1) I needed the
disk space on the applications server that was being taken up by the
old, obsolete, or unnecessary versions of these software packages; (2)
despite the potential hassle of moving up to GCC 3.2, it save us from
a lot of programs that would not execute on the cluster because the
old GCC2 libraries were not installed on the systems.

If there are any problems, and I'm sure there'll be a few, please
contact Bill Seligman.



20031231-vacation

A little New Year's present for you...

You can now have Nevis webmail at
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/webmail> set up your vacation message
for you.  Login, select "Option", then "Vacation Message".  There's a
little more documentation on this (and a lot more on the vacation
program in general) at
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/mail/vacation.html>.

If you see any error messages, but everything appears to be working,
please don't bug Bill Seligman; I didn't write the program.  If it
doesn't seem to work, then contact me.




20031215-cups

When we upgrade the entire Nevis Linux cluster to Redhat 9, we'll use
CUPS as the printing service on all the cluster systems.  In
anticipation of this, I've revised the web page at
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/software/printing.html> with a review
of the basic printing commands.

If (or when) you are using a Redhat 9 system, please review that page
to learn the new print commands.  If you have any questions, please
contact Bill Seligman.




20031009-hp4300

The QMS 3260 printer ("qms1") has been replaced by a new printer, an
HP4300.

Eventually, the print queue to use this printer will be probably be
hp4300.  However, it turns out to be more trouble than it's worth to
visit all 35 Linux boxes and change the queue from "qms1" to "hp4300".
(Linux printing is hard to configure using an automated script.)

So for now, please continue to use the queue "qms1" to send documents
to this printer.  When the Linux systems are upgraded to Redhat 9 or
higher (later this year), a better queue for the new printer will be
available to all systems.

For details on printing on the Linux cluster (and on nevis1), see
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/software/printing.html>.




20031001-hushlogin

If you experience a long delay as you attempt to login, it may be
because that, by default, the login process checks to see if you have
new mail.  You can learn more about this, and how to turn it off, in
the following web page:

http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/mail/hushlogin.html




20031001-latency

The Nevis firewall has been configured to deny all ICMP packets.  The
practical consequence of this is that ping no longer works from within
the Nevis network to outside devices, and vice versa.

It is my hope that we'll be able to set up a more mature handling of
ICMP in the firewall some time in the future.  Meanwhile, since ping
no longer works, the latency page on the website simply shows nothing.
Therefore, I've removed the page.




20030829-latency

As a Labor-Day present for Nevis, I've prepared a web page that plots
the network latency between Nevis and some key systems.  This page is
located at:

<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/smokeping.cgi>

Note that this page plots the latency, that is, the interval of time
it takes an Internet packet to travel from one system to another.  To
see the total amount of traffic between Nevis systems, see:

<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/monitor/>

If you forget these web links, you can get to them from the Nevis web
site.  Go to the main page at <http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/>, click
on the "Computing" link to go to
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/computing.html>, and you'll see the
links to these network pages.

Note that, for now, the latency graphs are shown on a logarithmic
scale (since the latency ranges from milliseconds to about ten
seconds).  Eventually the network traffic graphs will probably be
shown on a log scale as well, but I have to wait for the next version
of the MRTG package to be released.  Also note that the time scale on
the network traffic scales is now fixed, and displays time increasing
as the axis goes from left to right.

If you have any questions, please contact Bill Seligman.



20030701-geant452

Geant 4.5.2 is now available on the Nevis Linux cluster.  To use this
version, type "setup geant452", or "setup geant452d" for the debugger
version.

Unlike previous versions of Geant4 available at Nevis, only libraries
compiled with GCC 3.2 are available.  You may wish to use the combined
setup for all the GCC 3.2-enabled libraries to work with this version:

   setup cern_gcc3 root_gcc3 geant452
 
Let Bill Seligman know if there are any problems with this new
version.  I will announce a proposed date for a switch of the default
version after the summer students have left.



20030528-gcc3-versions

To the users of the Nevis Linux cluster:

Last week I conducted a poll to see how many people would be affected
by a switch to versions of the standard physics analysis tools that
were compiled with GCC 3.2.  Only one person responded, indicating
that this would have no affect on him.

In order to facilitate a transition, I've prepared versions of our
standard tools compiled under GCC 3.2.2.  The following setup commands
will enable these versions:

   setup gcc3        # GCC 3.2.2 compiler 
   setup cern_gcc3   # CERNLIB 2003
   setup clhep_gcc3  # CLHEP 1.8.0.0
   setup root_gcc3   # ROOT 3.05/05
   setup geant_gcc3  # Geant4.5.1p01

A typical use (e.g., in order to compile LArG4, the Geant4 simulation
of the ATLAS liquid-argon calorimeters) would be:

   setup cern_gcc3 root_gcc3 geant_gcc3

As I promised, I will not make these the default versions until after
the summer students have left.  Please test these versions and let
Bill Seligman know if there are any problems.



20030520-geant451p01

To the users of Geant4 on the Nevis Linux cluster:

As promised, Geant 4.5.1 has become the default version of Geant4 on
the cluster.  In addition, I've applied patch 01 to the distribution.

If you have any questions, please contact Bill Seligman




20030506-geant451

To the users of Geant4 and the Nevis Linux cluster:

I've installed Geant 4.5.1 on the cluster.  To use this version, type
"setup geant451"; to use the debugger version, type "setup geant451d".

Unless I hear an objection, Geant 4.5.1 will become the default
version (the one you get if you just type "setup geant4") on Tue
20-May-2003.

If you have any questions or problems, contact Bill Seligman.




20030430-cernlib2003

CERNLIB 2003 has been installed on the Nevis Linux cluster.  To use
this version, type "setup cern2003".

There is no major functional difference between CERNLIB 2002 and 2003;
the only signficant difference is that CERNLIB 2003 was compiled using
GCC 3.2.

As noted in a previous message, this is probably the last version of
CERNLIB that will ever be released.

If there are any problems, please contact Bill Seligman.




20030327-cernlib2002

CERNLIB 2002 has now been installed on the Linux cluster.  To use this
version, use the command "setup cern2002".

The default version (the one you get when you type "setup cern") is
still CERNLIB 2001.  I plan to change the default to CERNLIB 2002 on
Thu 03-Apr-2003.

If this would have a negative impact on your work, please contact 
Bill Seligman.

Incidentally, according to <http://wwwinfo.cern.ch/asd/cernlib/news/>,
CERNLIB 2002 is effectively the last release of CERNLIB.  If there is
a CERNLIB 2003, it will primarily exist for compatibility with gcc 3.2.

The ROOT home page is at <http://root.cern.ch/>. You can find my ROOT
tutorial at <http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/~seligman/root-class/>.




20030225-geant450p1

To the Geant4 users on the Linux cluster:

A quick note: Geant4.5.0 is now the default version of Geant4
available on the Nevis cluster, and the level 01 patch has been
applied.

If there are any problems, please contact Bill Seligman.




20030211-geant450

To the Geant4 users on the Linux cluster:

I installed Geant 4.5.0 a couple of months, but did not set a
timescale for making it the default version at Nevis; that is, the
version you get if just type "setup geant4".  I'd now like to set that
date: Mon 17-Feb-2003.

If this is not a convenient time for you, or you have any other
comments, please contact Bill Seligman.




20030115-root

Two new production versions of ROOT have been installed on the Linux
cluster.  To access ROOT 3.03/09, type:

setup root303

To access ROOT 3.04/02, type:

setup root304

If I don't hear of any problems, then I'll change the default version
of ROOT (the one you get if you just type "setup root") from 3.02/07
to 3.04/02 on Mon 03-Feb-2003.

If you have any problems or questions, contact Bill Seligman.




20021217-geant450

To the users of Geant4:

I've installed Geant 4.5.0, the latest version, on the Nevis Linux
cluster.  To use this new version, type:

   setup geant450

To use this version compiled with the debugger, type:

   setup geant450d

To see what's new, look at /usr/local/geant4.5.0/ReleaseNotes/ReleaseNotes4.5.0.txt

I have not set a timescale for making this new version the default; in
particular, some of the ATLAS code has to be revised before it will
work in Geant 4.5.0.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Bill Seligman.




20021111-pine-password

After a couple of requests from Stefan Simion and Stephan Schlenstadt,
I've figured how how to use Pine without typing in a passord on the
Nevis Linux cluster.  The procedure is documented here at
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/mail/pine-without-password.html>.

If you have any questions, ask Bill Seligman.




20021104-monitor

You may have noticed that the network monitor page at
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/monitor/> has a slightly different
look, and that some of the traffic history is flat or missing.

The new look is due to the different version of MRTG, the network
monitoring package, that's used by the new web server.

The traffic history was obscured or lost due to the replacement of a
network switch in room 119.  The network monitoring had to be shut off
during the weekend of Nov 1-3, 2002.  Afterwards, I had to create new
network history files for the new room 119 switch.

If you have any questions, please ask Bill Seligman.




20021025-webmail

The web server switch described in
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/webguide/web-server-switch.html> is now
complete, with no big problems and easily-resolved minor ones.

There's a new facility available on the new web server: web-based
e-mail.  To see it, use the URL
<https://www.nevis.columbia.edu/webmail>.  This is described in more
detail in the still-incomplete discussion of Nevis mail readers at
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/mail/mail-readers.html>.

If you have any questions, contact Bill Seligman.




20021009-gcc-3.2

As part of an administrative update, I've upgraded the "public" GCC3
compiler on the applications server to version 3.2.  This means that
if you use "setup gcc3", you'll get GCC 3.2 (instead of the old
version, 3.0.3).  For more information, see
<http://gcc.gnu.org/gcc-3.2/>.

This upgrade can be useful because Redhat 8.0 comes with the GCC 3.2
compiler pre-installed.  The issue of Redhat using a 'private' version
of the GCC compiler, which plagued the Redhat 7 releases, is now
resolved.

If you have any questions, please contact Bill Seligman.




20021009-web-server

At 3PM 23-Oct-2002, the web server at Nevis will be changed.  The
alias "www.nevis.columbia.edu" will point to "ada.nevis.columbia.edu"
instead of "nevis1.nevis.columbia.edu".  For more information, see
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/webguide/web-server-switch.html>.

If you will be affected by this change, you should already have
received an e-mail message.  If you have any questions, please contact
Bill Seligman.




20021007-cd-burner

For users of the Nevis Linux cluster with CD burners:

I've added the programs "xcdroast" and "koncd" to the list of programs
that any user is allowed to run with administrative privileges.  This
means that if you try to use these programs to burn CDs, and you get
an error message saying that you need a root password or need to run
the program as root, then you can exit the program and type:

> sudo koncd

or

> sudo xcdroast

as appropriate.  You'll be prompted for your user password.

For more information, see man sudo.  If you have any questions,
contact Bill Seligman.




20020828-nevis1-upgrade

The purpose of this news item is to document what was done to nevis1
this week.

1) The nevis1 sendmail configuration was changed to that of a "null
client", the same as most machines on the Linux cluster.  This change
is described in detail on
<http://www.nevis.columbia.edu/mail/nevis1-null-client.html>.

2) The version of IRIX was upgraded to 6.5.16f.  This corrected a
large number of security and stability issues on nevis1, some of which
were pending for at least two years.  The upgrade will eventually
allow nevis1 to interact more closely with the Linux cluster; e.g.,
allow users to maintain only one password and home directory on both
systems.

3) The mail inboxes are now stored on franklin, the new mail server.
The benefits of this are:

-- increased efficiency of having the mail inboxes and the
mail server on the same machine;

-- the mail files on franklin are mirrored onto hypatia every hour,
archived every night, and backed up to tape every week;

-- I've learned that SGI will release important security upgrades in
the near future that may require more nevis1 outages.  Mail services
will no longer be interrupted during nevis1 upgrades.

4) AFS is no longer running on nevis1. If you need to use AFS, I
suggest using it on the Linux cluster, on which it is more stable,
more secure, and easier to maintain.



20020822-geant441p01

At the request of Mikhail Leltchouk, I've applied patch 01 to Geant
4.4.1 on the Nevis Linux cluster.  Please let Bill Seligman know if
there are any problems.




20020717-openoffice

OpenOffice 1.0, a Linux office suite that's the successor to
StarOffice, has been installed on the Linux cluster applications
server.  If you want to try it out, you have to go through a one-time
setup procedure:

# setup openoffice
# $SOFFICE/program/setup

The program will walk you through an installation procedure.  Select
"Workstation installation" when it prompts you for the type of
installation.  Don't try to install Java or Adabas; they're not
available from Sun for Linux systems.

After you've gotten through the one-time setup, you can use OpenOffice
by typing:

# setup openoffice
# soffice

OpenOffice can read both MS-Office and StarOffice files, although I do
not know how well it does on files with complex formatting.

See <http://www.openoffice.org/> for more information.  If you have
any problems or questions, please contact Bill Seligman.




20020621-ssh

If you keep track of the current internet security news, you may have
heard that a security flaw has been discovered in SSH; among other
places, you can find information about this at <http://www.openssh.org/>.

I wanted to let everyone know that the latest, patched version of
OpenSSH has been installed on all the machines in the Linux cluster,
on nevis1, and on nevise9.

If you administer a UNIX-style system that runs an SSH server, I
strongly recommend that you upgrade to the latest version.  It may be
only a matter of time before this security flaw is exploited in the
standard rootkits that float about the Internet.

If you have any questions, please contact Bill Seligman.




20020606-xkeycaps

For the users of X-terminals:

At the suggestion of Rafe Galea, I've made the xkeycaps program
available on all the Linux cluster systems and on nevis1.  This will
hopefully allow X-terminal users to fix problems with the backspace
key, the '1' key, and other annoying keyboard issues that often come
up when connecting to the Linux cluster.

If there are any additional problems or questions, contact Bill Seligman.




20020306-geant440p2

To the users of the Nevis Linux cluster:

Geant4.4.0 has been upgraded up to patch level 2.  There is still no
fix for the ROOT compatibility issue, and so I have still not made it
the default version.

If there are any problems, contact Bill Seligman.




20020306-pine444

To the users of nevis1:

On Monday, March 11, I plan to upgrade the version of Pine on nevis1
from 4.10 to 4.44.  Apart from an introductory panel that will notify
you of the version upgrade, you should experience no changes in your
use of Pine -- except for the increased functionality that the new
version provides; see <http://www.washington.edu/pine/> for more
information.

If you have any difficulties with the new version, please contact 
Bill Seligman.



20020220-gcc3

For the users of the Nevis Linux cluster:

I've upgraded the version of gcc3 on the cluster to GCC 3.0.3.  To use
this new version, type "setup gcc3".

Note: In addition to the usual gcc, g++, and g77, GCC3 includes a java
compiler: gcj.  For documentation, use info: start Emacs, use "C-h i"
to start info, type "g", then "($GCC_DIR/info/gcj)"; instead of "gcj",
you can also type "g77" or "gcc" for documentation on those compilers.

If you have any problems or questions, contact Bill Seligman.




20020213-acroread

To the users of the Nevis Linux cluster:

In order to fix a bug reported by Michel Sorel, I've upgraded the
version of acroread on the cluster to v4.05.  This is known to be a
more robust version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader in general; it
certainly seems to run better on the Linux cluster.

However, if you encounter any problems with the acroread command,
please contact Bill Seligman.




20020130-gsview

To the users of the Nevis Linux cluster:

At the request of Rafe Galea, gsview 3.6 has been installed on the
cluster.  Like gv, gsview is able to view postscript files; unlike gv,
gsview is able to convert postscript files to PDF or bitmap images,
and add previews to the postscript.

Documentation is available at <file:/usr/local/doc/gsview-3.6/> on our
Linux cluster.

If you have any problems or questions, contact Bill Seligman.




20020117-geant4-root

To the Linux users at Nevis:

Geant 4.4.0 and ROOT 3.02/07 are now available on the Nevis Linux
cluster.

To use the new version of Geant4, type "setup geant440" for the
optimized version, or "setup geant440d" for the debugger version.

To use the new version of ROOT, type "setup root302".

You can also set up both at once, with "setup geant440 root302", but I
don't recommend it.  There's an incompatibility between these two
versions; you can upgrade to either one individually, but not to both
at once.

Given this incompatibility, I'm not planning to make either version
the "default" at Nevis (i.e., the version you get if you type "setup
geant4" or "setup root").  The default version of Geant4 is still
4.3.2, and the default version of ROOT is still 3.01/06.

This problem has been reported to the ROOT team.  When it's resolved,
I'll make the updates.

If there are any questions, please contact Bill Seligman.



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