Cover V02, I02


New Messages

Hi Leor,
I just read your article "In-Line Input or Bust" from the November/December issue of Sys Admin and thought you might be interested in knowing that it is in fact possible to do in-line SQL scripts to isql. For example, this is one I use for doing queries on my phone database to allow me to quickly locate information on someone:


export DBPATH

isql phone - < EOF 2&1 | more
select  	*
from   	ph_work
where   	name_last matches "*$1*"
order by 	name_last;

The key is an undocumented (at least it was the last time I remember looking for this in a manual) switch: the "-" after the database name and before the << redirection.

You can also get a command line driven version of isql by doing:

isql - -

Just send an EOF (^d) when you're ready to return to your shell or calling program.

Michael Faurot,

Yes, several folks have pointed this out, but yours is the most detailed explanation. I'm relieved to hear this feature is indeed undocumented, because I know I tried to look it up in the manual at one point. All I can say is that somewhere, out there, must be an application that really doesn't accept standard input to which one might apply my technique . . . Thanks, --lz

To: Laurie Sefton
I agree with much of what you have written in your article, "UNIX Security in a Networked Environment" from the Jan/Feb issue of Sys Admin. I've worked on the security of our Sun systems here at GMI and many of the holes you mentioned are almost second nature to me.

I do have one small improvement on searching for setuid and setgid files. In SunOS 4.1.2, the manpages for find describe the -perm operator this way:

-perm onum

True if the file permission flags exactly match the octal number onum (see chmod(1V)). If onum is prefixed by a minus sign, more flag bits (017777, see chmod(1V)) become significant and the flags are compared: (flags&onum)==onum.

If the specified permissions are prefixed by a minus sign, you can search for files with permissions that match what you're looking for, but may also have other permissions set. For example, this is how I search for setuid files:

find / -perm -4000 -print

For setgid files:

find / -perm -6000 -print

Those commands will find any setuid or setgid file regardless of how the user, group, or other permissions are set.

Also, on redirecting the output to a file, I find it more convenient to pipe it through mail:

find / -perm -4000 -print | mail
lsloan &

I liked your article and I would recommend to anybody that they keep a copy of it around for reference.

Lance Sloan
Assistant Programmer
UNIX Support and Administration
GMI Engineering and Management Institute
Flint, MI

We've forwarded your message to Laurie Sefton but wanted to share it with our readers also. Thank you for writing. --mm

Hello, Sys Admin mag:
Love your magazine so far (2 issues). Hope to see future articles specific to MIT X administration install/upgrades or user support from admin point of view. I am user support person at a supercomputer site running UNIX (crays and Sun minicomputers over ultranet) where X11R5 and X11R4 is available.

However, I've just entered a subscription and the expiration date on my mailer label is: May 93.

My question is: I just subscribed to Sys Admin in Oct, 1992. If the subscription ends May 93 I only receive 1/2 year of your most excellent publication. Hoping for email reply (if this is possible ) to

Best Wishes for Success
John Skinner

Thanks for the nice words -- we'll try to cover some of the subjects you mention in upcoming issues. As for the misleading information included on your mailing label: it seems that our label program forgot that Sys Admin was a bimonthly magazine -- thus interpreted 2.5 (your actual expiration issue) as May rather than September/October. The actual data concerning your account is all in order, and I believe we've fixed the label problem. Our apologies to you and all others who were inconvenienced by this glitch! --mm

To: rdpub!saletter
Subject: Hi
Status: RO

Congratulations on the new magazine. If your first issues are any measure, you folks look to have a winner on your hands. It would be nice if there was more coverage of stuff for Data Genera AViiONs, but I expect you can only print what someone's submitted. Maybe this'll nudge someone into writing something.

Have you ever considered running a regular feature that covers system management tools that are available over the Internet? It looks like there's a lot of useful public domain/freely redistributable stuff floating out there -- unfortunately, not only is it all scattered around and difficult to find out about, there are a lot of us who only have access via UUCP through UUNet. Even one-paragraph descriptions, along with file names and locations, would be a real help.

Dan Sugalski

I think that's a good idea. In fact, it seems I've seen a summary somewhere in one of the news feeds. Perhaps one of our readers can help me find it, or write one? --rlw

Subject: Content
Status: RO

I picked up your Nov/Dec 92 issue (my first) at a bookstore and am impressed. I would like to cast my vote for _NOT_ succumbing to the attitude voiced in the Russ Hill letter referenced by J. Wojno. We are all novices in some area of UNIX, and I feel the level of writing and the presentation of your magazine is excellent. For instance, I'm pretty good with BSD, but have little exposure to System V unique problems (I don't even want to hear about SCO). So don't change anything!

Keith Hollister

Gee, I'll invite you to all my evaluations. Thanks. --rlw

Subject: Article suggestion
Status: RO

I'd like to see an article (or six) on how NetNews works. I'm thinking of topics such as nntp protocol, how news servers work, what's involved in setting up a server served by dialup, what's involved in maintaining a server. I realize that some of this is covered by O'Reilly books, but I'd like to see a capsule summary of these topics to de-mystify them for the sysadmin who's considering adding news to a machine. I've used nn a little, so I know what the user sees. What I want to know is what goes on under the hood.

Kenneth Porter

Another good suggestion, at least I'd certainly like to know more about how this stuff works. So, do we have an author out there? You write it, I'll print it. --rlw

Subject: archive
Status: RO

Assuming some (many? all?) of the programs in Sys Admin are of use to readers, could they perhaps be dumped into some generally available location, like Or are they copyright and thereby not freely available?

Like the journal....keep the good stuff coming!

Mal Raff
Applied Biosystems, Inc
Foster City, CA 94404

All the code is already available on uunet. For our reader's convenience, we run a small "house ad" in every issue which includes more details about network access. This ad is indexed in the "Departments" section of the table of contents (on the cover) under "Source Code Availability". --rlw