LXNY 1999 Schedule LXNY General Meeting Tuesday 7 December 1999

Thanks to support of the IBM Corporation, LXNY had monthly meetings at their building at 590 Madison Avenue at E. 57th St. on the Island of Manhattan.

Thu 16 Dec 1999, LXNY at Bazaar
Jay Sulzberger organized a panel on Schools and Libraries at the Free Software trade show known as the Bazaar at the Javits Center.
Tue 7 Dec 1999, LXNY at IBM
General Meeting
Topics: LXNY SIGs. The Bazaar.

Tue 2 Nov 1999, LXNY at IBM
General Meeting

An Open meeting on a stormy night. Discussions focussed on BurnAllGifs, our attempt to free the world of this patented format. This led to a discussion of the threat of software patents generally, which included people's experiences at large corporations.

The danger of software patents has been discussed at several LXNY meetings. The Graphics Interchange Format has been a featured example. Our warnings have come to pass; fight back! Friday, 5 November 1999, Burn All GIFs Day, launched a wave to sweep away GIFs. Check out the major additions to the Burn All GIFs website, including the USA DoD announcement banning most GIFs! Free alternatives include JPEG and PNG Portable Network Graphics home (mirror)
League for Programming Freedom (LPF) GIF page

Tue 5 Oct 1999, LXNY at IBM
General Meeting

Panel discussion of Free Software in High Schools.
Other Topics: Fall Internet World.

Thu 16 Sep 1999 CANCELED
GNU/Linux Demonstration Day
Place: AboveNet, 2nd Flr, 111 Eighth Ave at W. 16 Street, Manhattan
Time: 3:00-8 P.M. CANCELED

Dress warmly! giveaways galore.

Tue 7 Sep 1999, LXNY at IBM
LXNY General Meeting

Speaker: Robert F. Young
Topic: General. Autobiographical in the computer business. Questions and Answers.
Bob resigned his LXNY post in October 1996 to devote himself full-time to being President of Red Hat Software, Inc. in North Carolina.
He is now Chairman and CEO of Red Hat, Inc.
The Coriolis Group should have his new book out about now, entitled: Under the Radar: How the Open Source Sneak Attack is Transforming the Technology War by Robert Young with Wendy Goldman Rohm.
He is a Board Member of UniForum.
He was the original co-publisher of Linux Journal.

This meeting is free and open to the public.
The meeting runs from 6:30 P.M. to 9:00.

Wed 8 Sep 1999, LXNY/LUNY/NYLUG at NSU
Install Fest - return engagement

Time: 6:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M.
Late comers are just as welcome as those who arrive at 6:00 pm.
Location: New School Computer Center
68 Fifth Avenue at 12/13 Street, Manhattan
Leaders: Kamel Merarda contact.
Alex Khalil is backup contact.

Tue 3 Aug 1999, LXNY at IBM

Speaker: Brad Allen
Topic: Public Key Cryptography with GnuPG The GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG, a Free PGP)

Wed 28 Jul 1999, LXNY/LUNY/NYLUG at NSU

LXNY Install Fest

Time: 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Late comers are just as welcome as those who arrive at 6:00 pm.
Location: New School Computer Center
68 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Leaders: Kamel Merarda contact.
Alex Khalil was backup contact.

Tue 6 Jul 1999, LXNY at IBM
LXNY General Meeting
Open meeting. Topic: Un*x Shells -- login/logout configuration.

Michael E. Smith gave a talk explicating shell differences and the ``user profile'' sequence. He agreed to give a formal version of this talk, with prepared examples, at a later date.

Tue 1 Jun 1999, LXNY at IBM
LXNY General Meeting
Open meeting. Topic: Preparations for PC Expo.

Discussions included:
software patents ( a link to a recent RMS interview),
the proposed UCITA legislation,
a non-Netscape free-cost (possibly free) Secure Socket Layer SSLeay faq.

Pat Lynch gave an ad hoc presentation on his new group FreeBSD Users of New York

Tue 4 May 1999, LXNY at IBM
LXNY General Meeting
Topic: Members gave unrehearsed presentations on Free Software that they have written.
Tue 6 Apr 1999, LXNY at IBM

LXNY Languages Group
Speaker: Jacob T. Schwartz
Title: "Keyboardless Programming - a Current Goal for the SETL System"

Speaker: Jacob T. Schwartz
Title: "Keyboardless Programming - a Current Goal for the SETL System"
Professor Jack Schwartz is a computer scientist and mathematician, an educator, a prolific and wide-ranging author, a popular speaker, an academician, and a former U.S. government leader. He founded the NYU Center for Digital Multimedia.

SETL is an elegant and powerful very high-level programming language based on set theory and available for GNU/Linux. Other very high-level programming languages are LISP (built on structured lists), APL (on matrices), SNOBOL (on strings), and PROLOG (on Horn clauses). Schwartz is one of the principal creators of the language. Some other SETL creators are principals of GNU NYU Ada = GNAT.

SETL deserves consideration by those interested in what are the best programming languages available for the Unix and GNU environments. The new wealth of memory and processor resources available has led to a revival of better languages that were less successful in their time due to these physical resource limits. LISP is a frequent LXNY topic; it is hoped that SETL will also receive renewed interest. [descriptions by Michael Smith]

What is the SETL language like?

C++ adds classes and object-orientation to C, so that the language has much in common with C.

SETL presents two aspects: it is a conventional programming language, and it is a mathematics language. Programmers of languages like Algol and C will find it familiar; they need little mathematical sophistication to program SETL. The mathematically-minded will use this conventional notation to program the abstract mathematical objects and operations that SETL provides. Thus, it is easy to express and manipulate functions, relations and sets. Both ordered and unordered sets are supported.

SETL is an outstanding language for many algorithms. SETL even provides assertion and backtracking facilities.

Sets can be of heterogeneous data type! Typing is flexible (weak typing), more akin to shell (scripting, command) languages than to lower-level programming languages. Sets (arrays and structs are expressed as ordered sets) grow automatically -- the programmer does not calculate bounds and check (and re-allocate) memory. So, two of the major burdens of programming are reduced or eliminated!
As if in support of this position, Larry Wall writes in his article in the April 1999 Communications of the ACM (v42n4), "If you're a mere mortal, two things drive you nuts: memory allocation and data typing. And everything from Teco to Java bogs you down in various kinds of arbitrary limits." (page 40)

SETL links

Bacon's SETL description, documentation and links (165,373 bytes) . Hummel's SETL documentation. You can run SETL live on the Web


[to be added]

Speaker biographical information


Jacob T. Schwartz
Professor, Computer Science, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU; Ph.D. 1951, M.A. 1949, Yale; B.S. 1949, City College.
Major Interests: robotics and computer vision; computer design; language design; compiler optimization; non-numerical computation; operating systems. [End official] He has wide interests outside the field as well.


Includes these:
Schwartz, J.T., R.B.K. Dewar, E. Dubinsky, and E. Schonberg, PROGRAMMING WITH SETS: An Introduction to SETL, New York: Springer-Verlag, 1986

Dunford and Schwartz, Linear Operators

Schwartz, J.T., Introduction to Matrices and Vectors, McGraw-Hill, 1961, and New York: Dover Publications, 1972

Schwartz, J.T., Relativity with Illustrations, New York: NYU Press, 1962.


A computer CD-ROM version of his book on Relativity.
Founded the NYU Center for Digital Multimedia.


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency hired Jack as its Director of Information Science and Technology, where he decided on research projects. One of the projects he backed was the development of the Internet (aka ARPANET).

The NYU Ultracomputer

One of the famous supercomputer projects. Schwartz was one of the principals.


Work on compilers with John Cocke.
The SETL system.
The LITTLE compiler language.


Numerous technical and popular papers.

Mathematics Educators take note!

Jack has a serious interest in the high school mathematics curriculum.

LXNY had a general meeting Tuesday 2 March 1999.

At our general meeting, two LXNY members made presentations to the group.
Michael Smith presented a talk on "How to Learn GNU/Linux", followed by a Q&A session. Ed Stasic gave a short presentation on the new Linux 2.2 kernel.

Learning GNU/Linux - an Abstract
A plan by Michael Smith
The Problems:


Unix is vast!


In general, there is no central point of contact for help and documentation. Some GNU/Linux distributions have a command named `documentation' that provides such a point for documentation. This only ties together disparate sources, it does not unify them. Thus, using these materials still requires much knowledge. There is no index in the full sense. This talk will explicate the types of documentation including some indices. What to do if you don't know where it is, what it's named, or how it's spelled.


Most Unix documentation presupposes considerable knowledge of the system including vocabulary. Tutorials do exist, but may not be available; they are not comprehensive. Good books do exist.

My approach:
  1. Know the terrain and terminology. What types of documentation exist, where is it stored, how to access it, what is it for?
  2. Know the tools
  3. Use a computer to do some of the work

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This will be a short and preliminary version of a forthcoming presentation at theBazaar. It will sketch these areas, with some details, but the emphasis will be on a framework for further work by the student, rather than as a prep session. I will try to keep it short and allow the Question and Answer sequel to determine which portions to explore in any depth.

Level: Most of the material will be for the advanced beginner, although there will be some material at lower and higher levels. Experienced students will not be challenged, but will probably encounter a novel approach and perhaps gain an enhanced understanding. Even experts often miss some points on their path to expertise -- watch for something you missed or don't remember, and bring your favorite tips.

LXNY will meet regularly
the first Tuesday of each month at IBM throughout 1999.
LXNY and its supporters thank IBM for the donation of this meeting space.
LXNY also thanks those who,
inside and outside of IBM,
worked in favor of this gift.

The Schools and Libraries Project is today bringing free OSes and other free software into New York City schools and libraries. A brief report on the Project will be made. The Project stands in need of sysadmins, teachers of *n*x, and volunteers who do not yet know *n*x.

We'd like to have as many laptops running a free OS as possible at our meetings, since there may be people at the meeting who have never consciously seen a free OS in action.

Eric S. Raymond Meetings

Eric S. Raymond, hacker, adept and student of the martial arts, visited twice during the week of 22 February 1999.

On Thursday evening, he visited the Connecticut Free Unix Group, at Wallingford, Ct.

On Friday, 26 February, Raymond spoke at Columbia University in the City of New York at 5:00 P.M.
Title: "The Open Source Revolution -- successful development and advocacy tactics for reliable software"
501 Schermerhorn Hall
temporary link for more info

Eric S. Raymond's Home Page
This meeting was sponsored by the following four organizations:
The Columbia Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery Columbia ACM
Columbia University AcIS (Academic Information Systems)
LXNY - New York's Free Software Organization

General Meeting February 2, 1999

The Hardware Initiative will be discussed.

Refund Days will be discussed. After the meeting there will be an informal gathering of people who want to take part in Refund Day (2), which is 15 March 1999.

Copyright © 1999 Michael E. Smith
Copyright © 1999 Jay Sulzberger
other copyrights retained by their respective authors.
All rights reserved.
Permission to copy in whole or in reasonable part is granted, on condition that copyright is preserved and attributed properly.