CUUG FAQs and Info Files
New User Info
Mail the Mentor Group for help on connecting to CUUG and getting started.
Using Internet Mail.by Greg Lehey
CUUG Spam FAQ
File Transfer using FTP
World Wide Web
- What is CUUG doing about spam and viruses?
- I have a spam filter on my computer. Why would CUUG want to filter my email?
- How do I Use SpamAssassin?
- Where can I read more about Spam Assassin?
- Someone emailed me a file but I never received it
- How do I Stop SpamAssassin filtering?
- Is SpamAssassin up to date?
CUUG Home Page Policy
How to Make your CUUG Home Page
CUUG members can mail the Help Group for help on UNIX-related or CRC problems.
Documentation on using Solaris.
If it's not in our comprehensive FAQ you could look here: List of USENET FAQs.
(Ohio State CIS)
New User Info
- Why should I bother reading this file?
- This file outlines the most commonly asked questions from new users (new to
CUUG and new to UNIX). If you don't read this file first, your life will be
difficult, and you will receive answers like "Did you read the New User
FAQ" if you try asking us for help on anything covered in here. Be
- What are the rules on the system here?
- When you joined CUUG you signed a "CUUG Resource Centre Access Agreement".
Contained within this
document are all the "rules" such as they are. The big ones, though,
are No Hacking the System and No Pirating of Software. Oh ya, No Sharing of
accounts. If people abuse our "open"ness we will have to create a
more specific set of rules (I'd rather not do that).
- Can I use an account for my entire family/office/multiple people?
- No. One of the items that you agreed to when you signed on with
CUUG (remember that page they made you signed?) is that you WILL NOT
share your account with anyone. One account = One user.
- Can I use CUUG to do Commercial work?
- CUUG's volunteers do not maintain a commercial grade system. That
is, we do not provide any guarantees about system uptime, recovery
from crashes, or data integrity after a crash.
reasons, we discourage heavy commercial use.
How much quota am I alotted?
- A general rule of thumb is "Use only the space that you need to
store your files temporarily and clean out your account periodically".
This includes your system mailbox, so be sure to
read and clear your mail on a regular basis.
Years ago when disk space was more expensive we had a 2MB limit.
There is currently no set quota.
Today some members have several MB of personal web pages
and there is usually plenty of free disk space available for temporary use.
You might want to e-mail webmaster or help if you need a
lot more space on a continuing basis.
I missed the message of the day when I logged in. Is it stored someplace?
- Yes. Type 'more /etc/motd' to view it again.
I'm new to UNIX and whenever I type in "Command" it gives me an error. Whats up?
- UNIX is case sensitive. That is, it MATTERS whether a letter is upper
or lowercase. Try typing in the command you want all in lowercase
letters (this is the norm for UNIX). It should work.
A rule of thumb for UNIX: Start all directories with Uppercase letters
(i.e. Download, Bin, etc.) then you can distinguish between files and
directories - mind you this is only a suggestion, you don't HAVE to
I've never used UNIX before in my life. Are there any books you would recommend as an introduction?
- Well, depending on your knowledge of computers in general there are two
texts to 'recommmend'. One is "UNIX for Dummies" (one of those yellow and
black books). It's a fairly informal (funny) and non-technical
introduction to UNIX - great for people who know little about jargon and/or
computers. The Second is "A Students Guide to UNIX" by Harley Hahn,
published by McGraw Hill. It's "A superb introduction to UNIX ... In a
clear and lively language, the author tells the novice users everything
they want to know about UNIX and the Internet - covering UNIX Commands,
utilities, shells, vi, e-mail, netnews, ftp gopher, etc.".
I forgot my password. Who should I talk to to get it reset?
- Call the CUUG office. That's the only way to verify your membership and
arrange for your password to be reset. The Contact/Join link on the website
has the names and phone numbers for CUUG.
- I ran into a problem on the system it's ... Who do I report it
A: Send mail to help describing the problem and how you
discovered it and we'll take a look. You can help a lot by describing
the problem carefully: what you typed to find the problem, why you
think the behaviour isn't normal, etc.
- Are there any online help files to introduce a new user to UNIX and
the associated commands/features (mail, news, FTP, Telnet etc).
A: Try the man pages for the topic (say telnet) by running
A: There is a good book out for new users. It's called "UNIX for
Dummies". Don't let the title discourage you, it really goes into the
basics of a UNIX system and the commands for it. Another text called
"A Students Guide to UNIX" is a little more in-depth. You might want
to have a look at it too. I have heard that the Unix for Dummies book
is REALLY good - maybe I should buy a copy...
- I know nothing about this internet stuff. Is there a book you
recommend to learn about it?
- A: Try "Internet for Dummies" - it's not bad. Some people also like
"The Whole Internet Guide and Catalog" put out by O'Reilly and
Associates and find it very good. There are several texts out there
that are designed to help you navigate around the internet. Have a
look in your favorite book store and see what they have! If you're
specifically interested in Canadian sites, try "The Canadian Internet
- Does CUUG support POP3?
- Yes. The mailserver is mail.cuug.ab.ca. Use your CUUG account username and password.
Note that you may have to check for incoming mail (perform a successful POP login)
shortly (30 min.??) before sending mail. This is an anti-relay countermeasure (POPb4SMTP) to prevent
CUUG's servers from being used by spammers.
- Can my friend send E-Mail to me over the Internet?
- Yes. Your internet Email address is <your_loginname>@cuug.ab.ca
- I would like to run a mailing list. Is this allowed?
- A: Yes, as long as the number of members of the list is small (less
than 20 or so).
- What mailers are available on the system and how do I use them?
- A: We have three mailers on the system: mail, elm, and pine. Once you've
picked which one you like, stick with it. Switching between the
mailers can make your mail hard to find.
elm: To use Elm simply type "elm". You will see a menu on the
bottom of the screen which shows you the options available to you.
Elm is the recommended mail reader.
pine: To use Pine simply type "pine". It is perhaps slightly
easier to use than Elm.
mail: Mail is reserved for the truly masochistic. If you have a
choice, use one of the others. To send a mail message using "mail"
type: "mail user" if the user is on a CUUG machine, or "mail
firstname.lastname@example.org" if the user is on another machine. On some
machines, you will then be prompted for a Subject. Enter the subject,
press return, and enter your message on following the blank lines,
pressing return at the end of each line. When your message is complete,
enter a line containing only a period. Run `man mail` for details.
To read mail messages in 'mail' type "mail" by itself and it will list
the Subjects of your incoming mail. To read a particular message type
the number on the "&" line. Type "h" on the "&" line for more
information on using 'mail'.
- How do I forward my email@example.com mail to another account
(UUCP, or otherwise)?
- A: Using a text editor such as pico create a file in your home directory called .forward. On the first
line place the following:
For UUCP this would be:
If you want a copy of your mail to be left at CUUG add the line
to the .forward file.
- How can I get my CUUG mail when I'm travelling?
- A: CUUG doesn't have a web interface for email, but what you CAN do is
redirect the mail from your cuug account to a free web mail service
such as Hot Mail.
Suppose you have a free web mail account called firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simply create a file called .forward in your CUUG account that
contains one single line: email@example.com. Every time someone
sends mail to you at CUUG, it will be redirected to
- I would like to get a listing of all the mail messages I have in my
'mbox'. How do I do this?
- A: "mbox" is created when you use "mail" to read your messages. The
easiest way to access what's in there is to type "elm -f mbox" and
you will enter the elm mailer and see a list of all the messages in
the mbox file.
- How do I get a list of what messages are in my inbox and who sent them?
- A: On any machine type "frm" at the % prompt and you will see two columns:
one of who sent the message and the next what their subject was.
- Is there any way to filter incoming mail messages on CUUG machines?
- A: Yes, have a look at the filter program (man filter). If you have problems
setting up your filter send mail to help and I'll help
you as much as I can (pending available time).
- I have been sending mail to my friends but it doesn't seem to be getting
through. Is there someone who I can chat to about this?
- A: You (or your friend) can send mail to postmaster and he
will be able to help you find the problem.
1. What is CUUG doing about spam and viruses?
- CUUG has installed SpamAssassin which deletes spam before your computer gets a chance to download it. Spam Assassin is turned off by default, but you can install it by following the procedure below.
- CUUG automatically deletes any email that has attached windows executable files (.exe, .bat, .com, .scr, etc.). Before we did this, whenever there was major virus incident, everyone's email box got clogged with this virus spam.
- Spammers use programs called "spambots" or "spiders" to collect email addresses from web pages! A CUUG member figured out how to hide emails from spider programs, but leave them visible to people who visit your site. Go to http://www.cuug.ab.ca/~babulicm/spam and see how it's done.
2. I have a spam filter on my computer. Why would CUUG want to filter my email?
CUUG attempts to filter spam out of incoming email at the server level, before it reaches addressees. Spam costs time and it costs resources... and it's not just the time that you waste by downloading mail that you don't want to read.
Spam slows down our internet connection by wasting bandwidth because we have to receive messages that you don't want to read from the sender... only so much data can move through the "pipe" at any time. Then we waste hard disk space storing the messages that you don't want to read, so that you can pick them up. Our mail server has actually crashed a couple of times because hard disks filled up! Our volunteer sysamins, and they are few, have to waste time cleaning up these messes instead doing something productive. Finally, spam slows our internet connection even more when you download the messages that you don't want to read.
3. How do I Use SpamAssassin?
To install SpamAssassin, you must
- Login to CUUG
- Login to the mail server once you are "inside CUUG"
- Run the SpamAssassin setup command
If you don't already have a personal .procmailrc file, then the standard CUUG .procmailrc will be copied to your home directory (from mail:/etc/mail/spamassassin/procmailrc). This file tells CUUG's mail server to filter your email with SpamAssassin
The very next e-mail you receive will be checked by SpamAssassin. Every email will be given a "spamminess" score. Email that scores too high will be thrown out.
Email that is probably spam will be stored in a mail folder called "probably-spam". You should read this mail folder from time-to-time for false positives (using pine or elm) and delete the rest of the mail
4. Where can I read more about Spam Assassin?
SpamAssassin's home page is at http://www.spamassassin.org
5. Someone emailed me a file but I never received it
CUUG automatically deletes any email that has certain types of file attached. Some of these files have names that end with:
.exe .com .cmd .bat .pif .scr
These are windows executable files and are sent by most viruses. Before we did this, whenever there was major virus incident, everyone's email box got clogged with virus spam.
It you need the file, tell the person who sent it to either:
- "Zip" the file and send the compressed copy, or
- change the file extension to something that won't be filtered
If you don't understand the above advice, please consult a geeky friend for help. It's actually very simple to work around the filter and removing the filter is not an option. Virus spam would inconvenience our members even more, perhaps even endanger them!
6. How do I Stop SpamAssassin filtering?
To uninstall SpamAssassin, you must
- Login to CUUG
- Login to the mail server once you are "inside CUUG"
- Run the SpamAssassin remove command
This renames your .procmailrc file to .procmailrc-disable, stopping SpamAssassin filtering
7. Is SpamAssassin up to date?
At the time of writing (November 2003), CUUG is using an older version of Spamassassin (2.55). The current version of SpamAssassin is 2.60, which was released on Sept 23, 2003.
- How do I read usenet news?
- The easiest way is to just run "rtin".
- What is the program for posting news messages?
- A: Type "Pnews" and answer the series of questions it poses. It's that
simple! Also, most of the newsreaders have commands for posting news.
- I ftp to a given site on a regular basis and usually go into the same
directory. Is there any kind of script that I could use to speed
A: If you try and use a script, you can't work interactively. However,
you can set up a file called ".netrc" in your home directory. Entries
in this file should look like this:
machine <site> login <user> password <pass> macdef init
<site> is the name of the site you wish to log into.
<user> is the username you wish to use (eg. anonymous).
<pass> is the password. (leave this out if you have a different password)
<blank line> is neccessary to terminate the macro
** The key word "machine" can be replaced with "default" which will use
"anonymous" as the user, and "user@site" as the password.
** everything after "machine " is optional.
** it is a security risk to use the password option for personal accounts.
** the ".netrc" file cannot be group or world readable.
A: You can use a program called "ncftp". It has a few features in it
(like last directory recall) that might be of use to you. Please
refer to the man pages for more information (man ncftp).
- How do I ftp multiple files at once?
A: Well, you can't actually do them all simultaniously, but you can
do them in one command. If you use ftp, type:
until it says "prompt off". Ncftp users can skip that step. Then,
mget file1.zip file2.zip file3.zip
and wait until it's done!
- I get the message: "Can't build data connection"
A: Set your ftp client to "passive" mode. The firewall doesn't like active mode.
- What is the WWW and the Web?
- A: The WWW stands for The World Wide Web, sometimes called just "3W"
or "The Web". The Web is a collection of documents published by a
wide variety of people and organization that can be viewed online.
These documents are connected by hypertext links that allow you to
jump from the document you are viewing to another relevant document.
In fact, some documents are simply a list of links to other
interesting documents. Documents can contain text, graphics, sound,
and many other forms of information. A vast variety of topics can be
found on The Web, ranging from leisure topics such as games, sports,
and hobbies to business topics such as finance, job opportunities, and
stock market information to academic topics such as technical papers
and graduate programs at universities world-wide. There's something
- What is a URL?
- A: URL stands for "Uniform Resource Locator". On The Web, a URL
usually specifies a particular document on The Web and typically looks
something like "../". If you know of a
particular URL, you can connect directly to it by running "lynx "
or "netscape " where is an URL. For example, "lynx
http://www.sun.com/" would connect you directly to the specified URL.
URLs can specify resources other than http, such as ftp and gopher.
So, ftp://oak.oakland.edu/ is a valid URL. Lynx and Netscape are
capable of connecting to a variety of resourses including ftp and
- What is CUUG's WWW address?
- A: The URL for CUUG is http://www.cuug.ab.ca/ and can be accessed
by running "lynx http://www.cuug.ab.ca/" on any of CUUG machines
or any other machine on the Internet running lynx.
- Can I create my own home page?
A: Yes. Create you page in your ~/public_html directory, and let the
Webmaster (email: webmaster) know. He will include a link from CUUG's
home page to yours. For details, see
- What is HTTP and HTML?
- A: These acronyms compose the technical aspects of The Web and are
unnecessary for beginners. Briefly, HTTP stands for HyperText
Transfer Protocol and is the protocol on which The Web is based.
Basically, all computers on The Web support HTTP. HTML stand for
HyperText Markup Language. It is a text-based extension to text
documents similar to TeX that allows for hypertext links, bold text,
titles, lists, etc. Lynx and Netscape are both HTML interpreters.
- Where can I learn more?
- A: Try the WWW FAQ . It
starts simple and moves to topics I know nothing about. If you have a
specific question about the Web in general, this is a good place to
look. BTW, if anyone knows the location of a Lynx or Netscape FAQ, I'd
like to hear about it.
A: For info on writing HTML documents, try
Also check out the CUUG
home page (by viewing it as 'source', or downloading it) as an example.
A: The comp.infosystems.www.* newsgroups discuss the WWW. There you
can find lots of people with lots to say about a variety of WWW topics
as well as many announcements of interesting new WWW sites. The
topics, however, are generally technical (as opposed to, say, social
and political) and more easily understood once you've browsed the Web
- Can I add a page hit counter to my home page?
- A: There are some publicly available counters on the Net that you
can use. Please e-mail help
for more details.
- Can I find out how many times my page has been accessed, or browse
the www (httpd) access logs?
- A: No, the httpd access logs are not readable.
- Where is the Computer Resource Center (CRC)?
- A: Our server is located at Spots Interconnect, Inc.
- How do I check how much disk space I'm currently using?
- A: At the unix prompt, just type:
This will list off
each of your subdirectories, the amount of space each is taking and
a grand total at the bottom. The numbers are how many kilobyte blocks
you are using
(On some UNIX systems du reports the number of 512 byte blocks, try `du -k` instead).
If your total is
more than a few megabytes, you might want to consider downloading
files to your own machine or using `compress` to archive them (zip them).
To use `compress` on a file type: "compress filename" It will add a .Z
extension to the file. Remember, you are responsible for backing up
your own account! The more you have, the more you can lose!
- I pressed control-Z to abort a process/suspend a process but I can't
figure out how to get back in. Is there a command somewhere for this?
- A: There are two ways of returning to a suspended process. If you only
have one suspended process or would like to return to the most recently
suspended one, type "fg" and it will bring it to the foreground. If you
have multiple suspended processes and would like to return to a particular
one, type "jobs" and then "%#" where # is the number of the job you
wish to return to (located in square brackets [#]).
- I'm trying to exit the system and it's telling me I have suspended
processes. How do I find out what these are and kill them?
- A: First, to get the process id (pid) type "ps" or "jobs -l". Then
type "kill -9 " where pid is the number associated with the
process you want to kill (with "ps" its in the "PID" column, with
"jobs -l" it's the number between the +/- and the word "Suspended").
- I don't like csh. How do I change my default shell?
- A: Just run "ypchsh". When you realize csh
isn't so bad, run the same program to change it back. :-)
- How do I correct my name or change/remove my phone number from
my e-mail/usenet posts/finger info?
- A: To change your name or phone number, type `ypchfn`. After
answering the questions, give it as much as an hour before checking to
see if the changes made it through.
- I would like to use "(" ")" in my (finger) name on the machines.
- A: Sure, if you don't mind people knowing you as "555-1212)" instead
of "Ima User [555-1212]". Use the "[" and "]" instead - it will save
a lot of problems in the long run.
- I log into the system and get greek characters (^[1;1H etc.) when I
try and use things like more.
- A: Very common. You are trying to use an ANSI terminal emulation when
you are connected to a machine that is using VT100. Change your comm
package to use VT100 and your problems will go away.
- What should I use for a password? How do I Change it?
- A: First the don'ts. Don't use a single English work or name. Don't
use a space. Don't replace the letter O with the number 0, or I with
the number 1. Don't use your name. Don't use the name of your spouse,
children, relatives, pets, cars, etc. These can be easily guessed.
Don't use any of those kinds of words or names backwards either, they
are also easy to guess.
Passwords shouldn't be real words at all, they can be two acronyms or
"pretend" words seperated by some form of punctuation or special
Pick a password that IS NOT IN THE DICTIONARY and is of at LEAST 6 letters
and/or numbers but no more than 8. To protect it's users, CUUG runs a
password cracker every so often (unannounced) and if your password is
guessed, your account will be disabled until you phone the CUUG office and
confirm your identity. At that time the admin will call you back with your
new password (which you have to change the next time you log in).
One of the most effect ways to come up with a password is to use a
phrase or song lyric and then take the first letter of each word. You
can then capitalize one or two of the letters, and toss in a special
character or number. This has the advantage of being easy to remember,
and being difficult to crack.
Here's an example: We start with the line from a classic poem "Little
Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet". That gives us "lmmsoat", now we can
add some capitals and make it "lMmsoAt", and toss in a special charater
or two... "lMso!At". We have a secure password that we can remember.
To change your password, type
"yppasswd" at the "%" prompt. First, there will be a request for your old
password, then a request for a new password and finally a confirmation of
your new password. If your old password is incorrect or if the new and
confirmation passwords do not match, your password will not change, and you
will get an error message. If that happens, don't worry. Just type
"yppasswd" and try it again.
Be careful when you enter in your passwords as they will NOT be displayed
on the screen. Again, remember that UNIX is CASE SENSITIVE. That means
"Password" is different from "password". Be careful what you type!
Make sure that you remember your new password!
(If you don't know how to change your password, read faq-newuser)
- How can I learn UNIX commands?
Below are some of the common UNIX commands. This, by far, is not a complete
list. If you are new to UNIX you may want to pick up a reference text to help
you. Some good texts include "UNIX for Dummies", "UNIX for the Impatient" and
"A Students Guide to UNIX". Check your local computer book store.
Further details can be obtained by typing "man " where is
the command you wish to have more information on. If you need more information
than that provided in the man pages, you can send mail to "help"
Remember, UNIX is a case sensitive operating system. That is, a command entered
in uppercase letters is different than one entered in lowercase letters
(i.e. "COMMAND" is not the same as "command"). Most UNIX commands are
in lowercase letters.
yppasswd ||Change your password.
pine ||A user-friendly, menu-driven UNIX e-mail program. Press "q" to quit.
tin ||A user-friendly, menu-driven Usenet News reader. Press "q" to quit.
pico ||A user-friendly, DOS-world style editor. Press ^X (that's ctrl-X) to
lynx ||A user-friendly, menu-driven, text-based World Wide Web browser.
Press "q" to quit.
more ||An interactive file browser ("more "). Use "q" to quit, space
bar to page forward, "b" to page backwards, and "h" to get help on
ls ||List files in current direcory ("ls"). Can also list files in
another directory ("ls ").
mv ||Rename a file or directory ("mv ") or move a file
to another directory ("mv ").
cp ||Copy a file to a new filename ("cp ") or to
another directory ("cp ").
rm ||Delete a file unconditionally ("rm ").
cd ||Change your current directory ("cd "). To move up a
directory, use "cd .." (note the space after the "cd"). To move to
your home directory, just type "cd".
mkdir ||Make a new subdirectory ("mkdir ").
rmdir ||Remove an empty directory ("rmdir ").
man ||Get more information on a command ("man ").
apropos ||Get a list of commands regarding a particular subject