C o l u m n   A r c h i v e

Practical unix security
By Simon Taylor
January 2003

This paper describes the process involved in securing a computer running AIX - IBM's version of unix. AIX is derived from the BSD and System V variants of unix, with the addition of a system and device configuration database - the ODM. This has led to the creation of a large number of system-specific configuration and management commands which should be used instead of the default unix commands. For this reason, effectively securing an AIX system requires a system-specific approach. In any case, all versions of unix are sufficiently different to warrant a version specific implementation of general unix security guidelines. more

Simon Taylor is a Senior IT Specialist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He works in pSeries software support. He has been interested in AIX operating system security for about 4 years. Noting that while there are a number of free and commercial tools which can be used to test AIX system security, but no tools to harden AIX, he wrote his own toolkit. This paper is a description of the issues the toolkit attempts to assess and resolve.

The AIX Security Suite
By Erik Kluit
November 2002

Always busy, busy, busy ... you know the feeling? As an AIX guest instructor I must have past Michael Felt a hundred times in the last six years. Hardly time for a talk. But this time it was different. We started talking about security. The result of this conversation is this interview: giving you a glimps of who Michael Felt is, and of how some of the AIX Security courses are developed at IBM. more

Michael A.M. Felt is a certified AIX technical specialist (CATE) and the pSeries AIX Curriculum Owner in the Netherlands, based in Amsterdam.He has been with IBM for seven years with the role of educator, or knowledge transfer. Michael has many interests in the IT branch. Beside a masters degree in Cognitive Psychology on software ergonomy he has over 22 years ....

SARA: High Performance Computing in the Netherlands
By Erik Kluit 
July, 2002

SARA, the High Performance Computing (HPC) Center of the Dutch universities and research centers, recently acquired six POWER4  Regatta-eServer pSeries 690 supercomputers. The new machines will mainly be used by the institutes of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Vrije Universiteit (VU) and individual researchers in the area of Computational Research (natural science and chemistry simulations). The new Regatta's will deliver around five times the computational power of the present IBM supercomputer at SARA. more

SARA Computing and Networking Services is a center of expertise in the area of computers and networks, supplying a complete package of High Performance Computing- and Networking (HPCN) services. SARA was founded in 1971 by the Vrije Universiteit (Free University) in Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam and the Mathematical Center.
1985 SARA acquired the status of National High Performance Computing Center and hosted the Dutch national supercomputer. Apart from this SARA hosts a number of other supercomputers, some of which in co-ownership with other universities.
The Dutch universities are important SARA customers, and so are research institutes .... 

By Erik Kluit

April 30, 2002 the OpenOffice.org community (www.openoffice.org) announced OpenOffice.org 1.0. This free office suite features a word processor (WRITER), a spreadsheet (CALC), presentation manager (IMPRESS) and drawing program (DRAW) in 27 languages (more being constantly added) with a similar 'look and feel'. OpenOffice.org works transparently with a variety of file formats (such as used in Microsoft Office and StarOffice).
As most other end-users I use Microsoft Office, liking it or not. more

After studying Informatics I started in 1980 at the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands) as a System Administrator for a HP1000, and a Gould super-mini computer running a combination of BSD and SystemV Unix and later on as IT manager for the faculties. After that I worked at Wang as Unix Product Specialist and as Product Marketing Manager RS/6000.
March, 2001 I registered the ROOTVG.NET domain to fulfill a need for information for AIX Users and System Administrators. Nowadays I am a free(lance) AIX teacher.

By John Peck, Open Systems Management Consultant

TOPCAT2 (www.topcat2.com), an automated test and survey tool, which delivers free AIX Certification sample tests, has had a long history for any web application - over 6 years. It was the first Customer-facing web application to be officially run by IBM - all else being just flat HTML pages. I believe it has been well received and I know it has been well used, peaking at over 6,000 AIX sample tests per month and still going. More than 200,000 people have visited the various TOPCAT web sites! more

John Peck is an Open Systems Specialist with thirteen years' experience of UNIX operating systems and systems administration - with ten years working for IBM. He has developed and delivered both a full range of AIX Education courses and several IBM standard Open Systems consultancy offerings. John consistently attracts exceptional feedback from clients, he was the highest customer rated instructor for IBM. John's technical skill covers a wide range - with expert depth in system security, TCP/IP....

IBM alphaWorks
By Micheal Hwu, Business Development Manager, IBM alphaWorks

IBM's alphaWorks (www.alphaWorks.ibm.com) is a leading force in IBM's efforts to guide the course of software development by speeding emerging technologies to market over the Web.

The alphaWorks team, situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, scans IBM's research and development labs located around the world and identifies promising technologies for distribution to developers via its Web site. By providing direct access to early versions of its technologies, IBM is able to engage the broader developer community and harness its feedback to refine these technologies and incorporate them into market-driven products. The team's current focus areas are Java, XML, Multimedia, Pervasive and Security. more

Micheal Hwu, Business Development Manager, IBM alphaWorksMichael Hwu heads the alphaWorks Business Development Team as the lead Emerging Technology Analyst. He is responsible for identifying emerging technologies from the IBM research labs worldwide, evaluating them, and selecting the technologies that are appropriate for the alphaWorks process and website. Working closely with researchers, developers and IBM executives, he is also in charge of commercializing those technologies into new products or licensing opportunities, thus helping to steer IBM's global efforts in identifying and nurturing emerging technologies in the marketplace.