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Re: Collecting Athena release features

daemon@ATHENA.MIT.EDU (Greg Hudson)
Thu Sep 20 13:04:55 2007

Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2007 13:04:07 -0400
Message-Id: <200709201704.l8KH47DB020071@equal-rites.mit.edu>
From: Greg Hudson <ghudson@MIT.EDU>
To: Greg Hudson <ghudson@MIT.EDU>
CC: release-team@MIT.EDU
In-reply-to: <200709181905.l8IJ59TJ020593@equal-rites.mit.edu>
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Here is my list of the sixty-odd Athena release features I could find
by going over the package list, examining changes to third-party
software, and peering at the scripts we have under the packs
hierarchy.  Not every single one of these is a commitment for Athena
10; in several cases, the new solution is likely to be "this won't
happen any more."

* Users can connect to the mainframe with the x3270 terminal emulator.
* Users can send and receive Zephyr messages.
* Users can browse the web with Firefox.
* Users can easily connect to the MIT Chat service with Gaim, and in
  addition can use the gaim-encryption plugin for end-to-end message
* Users can easily read MIT mail using Evolution or Pine.
* Users can read archives in Discuss.
* Users have access to a rich C development environment as well as
  basic installations of Perl, Python, and Java.
* Users have access to a variety of non-standard utilities (jot, lam,
  saferm, etc.).
* Users can print to Athena network printers with the lpr command and
  from applications which support printing.
* Users have access to the enscript command to format text documents
  into postscript for printing.
* Users can run emacs with Athena site customizations.
* Users can conduct single sign-on logins to other Athena machines
  (provided they have a keytab and are configured for remote access)
  or compatible non-Athena machines via kerberized ssh, telnet,
  rlogin, or ftp.
* Users can query and manipulate IMAP mail stores with the mailquota,
  mailusage, from, and mitmail* commands.
* Users can access and run software from AFS lockers through /mit
  paths via "attach", "add", and related commands.  Home directories
  are also treated as lockers.
* Users can use a network-enabled replacement for "write" between
* Users can query Athena hesiod information with the hesinfo command.
* Users can spell-check documents using the ispell command.
* Users can pull down MIT mail with the emacs movemail command
  (currently uses kpop).
* Athena machines have a selection of international fonts installed.
* Users can talk to serial devices using kermit.
* Users can process TeX and LaTeX documents.
* Athena machines can access Windows file shares using a Kerberos-
  enabled smbclient which is pre-configured for the win.mit.edu realm.
* Athena machines have attach-and-run scripts in the default path for
  various bits of locker software such as the Moira tools.

* Athena users can run an old desktop interface based on dash and mwm
  instead of GNOME if they have opted to do so.
* Athena users can elect to run Sawfish (an outdated GNOME window
  manager) instead of Metacity.
* Users can read mail with the nmh command suite (currently uses
* Users can browse the web with Mozilla instead of Firefox.

* Any MIT user can log into cluster machines using their Kerberos
  passwords and their AFS home directories.
* Users can change their Kerberos passwords with the passwd command.
* Private machine admins can configure who can log into machines
  remotely and locally.
* Athena machines tagged as quickstations display a timer and nagging
  warnings to log out after a set period of time.
* Users can temporarily enable and disable remote access daemons on
  Athena machines with the access_on and access_off commands, if the
  machine is configured to allow this.

* GNOME Bonobo components from one login session will not be reused in
  another login session because they may not have access to the same
  tickets and tokens.
* Users can log in simultaneously from multiple machines without
  running afoul of GNOME software locks in the home directory.
* User processes generated by Athena software components do not stick
  around after the user logs out.  On cluster machines, user processes
  are forcibly killed after the user logs out.
* Athena machines have a screensaver which accepts a Kerberos password
  to unlock and which allows the user to be logged out after a set
* GNOME won't display a dialog about changes in X keyboard settings
  from one login to another, since the same account is used on
  multiple machines.
* Basic GNOME functions will work when the user's home directory is
  inaccessible (such as when the user's AFS tokens have expired) or is
  over quota.
* GNOME's trash handling has fixes for AFS compatibility.
* gnome-vfs's "move a file" handling has fixes for AFS compatibility.

* Athena machines can be queried via athinfo for various bits of
* Athena machines forward some syslog notices to a central host for
  monitoring purposes.
* Athena machines send information about whether they are in use to a
  "larvnetd" daemon on a central host which can be queried using the
  cview and xcluster commands.
* Athena machines report centrally about their existence, machine
  type, and version so that they can be counted.

* Athena machines have filesystem-level access to AFS.
* Athena machines periodically clean up files in temporary areas to
  avoid slowly filling the disk.
* Athena machines automatically take updates when we put out new
* The default GNOME panel setup contains a menu of important Athena
  locker software (currently unmaintained).  For performance reasons,
  the files representing this menu must be stored on local disk.
* Some lockers containing frequently-used software are stored on local
  disk for performance reasons.
* Cluster machines perform some self-integrity checking to repair
  accidental and casual changes to their configurations.
* Particular aspects of Athena machines can be configured by editing
* Admins can enable various nework services with the "mkserv" command;
  the most popular of these is "mkserv remote" to permanently enable
  remote access daemons.
* Athena machines automatically synchronize the hardware clock
  following Daylight Savings Time changes.
* Athena users receive messages of the day prior to logging in (the
  gmotd) and upon logging in (the motd) and can also be sent
  personalized system messages upon logging in about things like
  impending account cancellations (lert).
* Users can submit bug reports to the appropriate channel using the
  sendbug command.

* /usr/sbin/sendmail is configured to inject mail through
  outgoing.mit.edu and to use Kerberos authentication if the user has
  valid tickets.  The sendmail queue is flushed once an hour in case
  mail has to be queued locally.
* The MIT certificate authority is automatically configured into
* Users can see system messages in the "console".
* GNOME is configured to use applications available on Athena to open
  certain document types.
* Athena machines can have either a krb5 keytab or a krb4 srvtab and
  Kerberos daemons will use either one, preferring the keytab.
* Athena login sessions follow a complicated set of rules regarding
  user dotfiles.

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