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2004 USENIX Annual Technical Conference, June 27-July 2, 2004, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA
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Open Sessions











New for 2004, Special Interest Group sessions are one-day programs focusing on a single topic. SIG sessions are designed to provide you with an extended forum on a topic: more time for discussion, and more in-depth information by industry experts. The SIG sessions format includes invited talks, panels, and refereed papers by leading authorities in their field.

Advanced Sys Admin | UseBSD | Security | UseLinux | Extreme Linux

Complete Technical Sessions
By Day: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday
By Session: General Sessions | FREENIX | SIGs | Guru Is In | WiPs

Location: SIG Sessions will take place in Salon F.

Monday, June 28
10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Monday

Advanced System Administration SIG
Session: Automating System and Storage Configuration Sysadmin
CHAMPS: A Schedule-Optimized Change Management System
Alex Keller, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

IBM's CHAnge Management with Planning and Scheduling (CHAMPS) system gleans and exploits detailed structural knowledge about software dependencies in a distributed system. CHAMPS' ability to gather and optimize such information according to administrator-defined objectives, available resources in server pools, and financial constraints enables high-quality optimized solutions for quick and reliable software provisioning tasks, such as installations and updates.

Autonomics in System Configuration
Paul Anderson, University of Edinburgh

A computing installation is created from a collection of bare hardware and a repository of software. These same components may be used to build "fabrics" with very different objectives, from a GRID computing cluster to a network of desktop workstations. We use the term "system configuration" for the task of turning these raw components into an integrated system that satisfies the given objectives. However, we also want to maintain these objectives in the face of changing requirements and external influences. To do this, a system needs to be able to adapt autonomically. This talk discusses some of the problems of specifying and implementing configurations in an autonomic environment.

12:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m.   Lunch (on your own)  
1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Monday

Advanced System Administration SIG
Session: System Administration: The Big Picture Sysadmin
The Technical Big Picture
Alva Couch, Tufts University

Network and system administration are still considered bottom-up processes: integrating disparate hardware and software into a usable computing infrastructure, building a pyramid of capabilities and services upon a foundation of reliable core systems. By contrast, the true goal of network and system administration is to support a particular top-down mission or pattern of use, by expressing organizational goals as subgoals in an upside-down pyramid of needs. Looking at the profession from a top-down perspective leads to new metrics for the profession, some surprising and controversial conclusions, and several interesting questions for the future.

The Human Big Picture
Tom Limoncelli, Independent Consultant

Imagine rolling out a security patch, a new application, or a new operating system to 40,000 PCs—it's 65% communication, 25% technical work, and 10% ego management. System administration on a large scale becomes a study of human relationships: managing large teams of people on a project, managing expectations and resources with upper management, and coordinating with a user base. Psychology and public relations become just as important as technical prowess. Why aren't those skills taught to CS majors?

3:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.   Break  
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Monday

Advanced System Administration SIG
Session: Large Storage Sysadmin
Autonomic Policy-based Storage Management
Kaladhar Voruganti, IBM Almaden Research

The cost of managing ever-growing storage is now a dominant IT expense. Storage administration complexity is growing, and the amount of storage a single administrator can manage is not growing as quickly as a site's storage capacity. We present a new approach: autonomic policy-based storage management. This approach dramatically increases administrative leverage by moving storage admin to software that understands high-level policy goals with respect to performance, availability, security, and backup/restore. The talk discusses the architecture, algorithms, and implementation details of a policy-enabled storage-network planner—a key component of the overall policy-based storage management solution.

Experiences with Large Storage Environments
Andrew Hume, AT&T Research

I have worked with various aspects of the recording and billing systems for a large telecommunications company for the last several years. We process feeds from various UNIX, MVS (Cobol and PL/1), and AS/400 systems, to the tune of 4000 files comprising 300–700GB of new data per day. This data streams into several PC clusters, where it is chewed on, compressed, added to databases, and copied onto tape. This is not trivial to do. Sure, we have about 50TB of disk, but that doesn't go as far as it used to. Managing the space is harder than it ought to be; annually managing 2–3 million files and their life cycles is awkward, as is controlling the processing of these files. This talk will discuss these and other challenges in both hardware and operating system choices and will discuss solutions we've found.

Tuesday, June 29
10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Tuesday
UseBSD SIG BSD Networking
Using Globus with FreeBSD
Brooks Davis and Craig Lee, The Aerospace Corporation

Building a NIDS with OpenBSD
Kamal Hilmi Othman, NISER; Mohammad Rizal Othman, JARING

12:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m.   Lunch (on your own)  
1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Tuesday
The NetBSD Update System
Alistair Crooks, The NetBSD Project

A Software Approach to Distributing Requests for DNS Service Using GNU Zebra, ISC BIND 9, and FreeBSD
Joe Abley, Internet Systems Consortium, Inc.

3:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.   Break  
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Tuesday
Building a Secure Digital Cinema Server Using FreeBSD
Nate Lawson, Cryptography Research

Panel: The State of the BSD Projects
Chair: Marshall Kirk McKusick, Author and Consultant

The FreeBSD Project
Robert Watson, Core Team Member, The FreeBSD Project

Since 1992, the FreeBSD Project has been one of the the open source community's organizational and technical success stories. In addition to serving the needs of some of the most well-known players on the Internet, it has managed to forge some of the most significant and long-running ties between the commercial world and BSD's open source contingent. Robert Watson will discuss what lessons have been learned over the course of the last decade and some of the more recent developments in the BSD world.

The NetBSD Project
Christos Zoulas, President, NetBSD Foundation

Celebrating its 11th year of development, NetBSD is the most portable operating system in the world. It runs on everything from the oldest VAXes to the latest AMD64 systems, from big-iron servers to embedded and handheld devices.

The DragonFly BSD Project
Matt Dillon, Project Leader, The DragonFly BSD Project

Wednesday, June 30
10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Wednesday
Security SIG Security
Panel: The Politicization of Security
Moderator: Avi Rubin, Johns Hopkins University
Panelists: Ed Felten, Princeton University; Jeff Grove, ACM; Gary McGraw, Cigital

Like it or not, security has become political. Technologists once interested only in how security apparatus works and how it fails need to be cognizant of the ramifications of their activities. These days, announcing a security flaw can lead to personal and professional attack by corporate spin control. Pointing out that the emperor has no clothes can wind you up in jail. Demanding secure voting induces smear campaigns—even in a democracy.

This panel is about what happens when security and politics collide. Using particular real world examples, we will discuss the politicization of security. Examples we will discuss include:

  • The RIAA and the DMCA
  • Electronic voting apparatus
  • Compiler flaws and Microsoft security response
We will debate the finer points of:
  • Disclosure of security problems
  • Civil liberty and security
  • Fighting stupid security
Come join us!
12:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m.   Lunch (on your own)  
1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Wednesday
Security SIG Networking Security
Panel: Wireless Devices and Consumer Privacy
Organizers: Ari Juels, RSA Laboratories; Richard Smith, Consultant
Panelists: Markus Jakobsson, RSA Laboratories; Frank Schroth, Ulocate; Matthew Gray, Newbury Networks

Location-based services, RFID, Bluetooth, and 802.11 promise a more seamless interface between the physical and virtual worlds. Like many information technologies, they have also ignited fears among privacy advocates, ranging from the legitimate and pressing to the fantastical. The goal of this panel is to adumbrate and compare the threats to individual privacy and civil liberties posed by several popular wireless technologies. Is RFID a greater threat to privacy than a GPS-enabled mobile phone? Is Bluetooth an emerging threat? How much do 802.11 devices reveal about you when used in public venues? More generally, the panelists will consider how technology itself can effectively combat the very privacy problems it is creating.

3:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.   Break  
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Wednesday
Security SIG Security
Debate: Is an Operating System Monoculture a Threat to Security?
Dan Geer, Chief Scientist, Verdasys, Inc.; Scott Charney, Chief Trustworthy Computing Strategist, Microsoft Corporation
Moderated by Avi Rubin, Johns Hopkins University

Dan Geer's Opening and Closing Remarks

Thursday, July 1
10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Thursday
UseLinux SIG Coding Linux/Open Source Sysadmin
The FlightGear Flight Simulator
Alexander R Perry, PAMurray

Making RCU Safe for Deep Sub-Millisecond Response Realtime Applications
Dipankar Sarma and Paul E. McKenney, IBM

Making Hardware Just Work
Robert Love, Ximian

12:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m.   Lunch (on your own)  
1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Thursday
UseLinux SIG Coding Linux/Open Source Sysadmin
Custom Debian Distributions
Benjamin Mako Hill, Debian Project

Building and Maintaining an International Volunteer Linux Community
Jenn Vesperman, Author and Consultant, and Val Henson, Sun Microsystems

Indexing Arbitrary Data with SWISH-E
Josh Rabinowitz,

3:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.   Break  
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Thursday
UseLinux SIG Coding Linux/Open Source
Linux and Genomics: The Two Revolutions
Martin Krzywinski and Yaron Butterfield, Genome Sciences Centre

Thin Client Linux, a Case Presentation of Implementation
Martin Echt, Capital Cardiology Associates, and Jordan Rosen, Lille Corp.

Towards Carrier Grade Linux Platforms
Presentation Slides (PDF)
Ibrahim Haddad, Ericsson Research

Friday, July 2
10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Friday
Extreme Linux SIG Linux/Open Source Networking
Cluster Interconnect Overview
Brett M. Bode, Jason J. Hill, and Troy R. Benjegerdes, Ames Laboratory

Infiniband Performance Review
Troy R. Benjegerdes and Brett M. Bode, Ames Laboratory

12:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m.   Lunch (on your own)  
1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Friday
Extreme Linux SIG Linux/Open Source Networking Security
A New Distributed Security Model for Linux Clusters
Presentation Slides (PDF)
Makan Pourzandi, Open Systems Lab, Ericsson Research

Implementing Clusters for High Availability
James E.J. Bottomley, SteelEye Technology, Inc.

3:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.   Break  
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Friday
Extreme Linux SIG Linux/Open Source
Scaling Linux to Extremes: Experience with a 512-CPU Shared Memory Linux System
Ray Bryant, John Baron, John Hawkes, Arthur Raefsky, and Jack Steiner, Silicon Graphics, Inc.

Quantian: A Single-System Image Scientific Cluster Computing Environment
Dirk Eddelbuettel, Debian Project

Cluster Computing in a Computer Major in a College of Criminal Justice (PDF)
Douglas E. Salane, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

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Last changed: 13 July 2004 ch