Affiliate News

Hungarian Affiliate Joins UniForum

First former Iron Curtain country forms affiliate group

UniForum Hungary, he first affiliate group from the former Soviet Bloc, has joined UniForum. The group is a newly formed amalgamation of three organizations, says Otto Hutter, the group's affiliate liaison officer. One, the 50-member Hungary UNIX User Group (HUUG), is an affiliate of EurOpen, the European open systems group that supports various national groups. HUUG formerly supported EurOpen's Internet operation, EuNet, which allowed members to use the EuNet and connected them to the Internet. Because of a recent realignment, EuNet has been separated from EurOpen, and as a result, HUUG is less active than it used to be, Hutter says. Other Hungarian Internet providers have taken up the slack.

The second organization making up the affiliate is Hungarnet, with about 300 institutional members, including universities, high schools, libraries, and others. Hungarnet "is very important in Hungary because it operates a Hungarian X.25 electronic mail system, called Ella," Hutter says. "This is a centralized mail system with a host that you can reach by X.25 [standard protocol] from a simple PC. This was the first country-wide electronic network in Hungary."

Another activity of Hungarnet is the operation of a Hungarian Internet backbone connecting the largest cities in the country.

Open Show is the third organization that is now connected to the new UniForum Hungary. Open Show is a small trade show and conference that is held in Budapest twice a year. The conference attendance is usually about 150. Exhibitors demonstrate interoperability by connecting their machines to various networks. This show will be sponsored by UniForum Hungary for the first time this year, during the second half of November.

Another planned activity of UniForum Hungary will be monthly meetings, organized jointly with HUUG. Hutter says the affiliate also would like to set up a network server for UniForum members, operated jointly with Hungarnet. "We will unify the three groups in UniForum Hungary, and their activities will be coordinated," Hutter says.

UniForum Hungary, just getting started, has not held a formal election of officers. Hutter, an educational services editor for the Computer and Automation Institute in Budapest, spends his time organizing UNIX and open systems courses for the public and private companies. He is also editor of the Hungarian UNIX Newsletter and gives presentations to user group meetings.

Hutter is cautiously optimistic about the future of his fledgling organization. "In November I hope we have a quite successful exhibition," he says. "I can say more after that."

UniGroup of New York Continues 11-year Meeting String

A meeting open to all attendees of UNIX Expo will be held by UniGroup of New York, the UniForum affiliate, on Oct. 5 at Javits Convention Center in New York. The meeting will begin immediately following the close of the exhibit floor, about 5:30 p.m., in one of the conference rooms in the convention center basement.

The meeting is one in a series held every other month for 11 years by UniGroup of New York. A group of a dozen UNIX users incorporated under that name in 1983. "We had been meeting informally since 1980," says Peter Gutmann, one of the founders, a former executive director and now associate executive director. "We started out as being a bunch of Onyx users. Onyx computers are long dead and gone, but they were one of the UNIX boxes. It was a machine with a 36MB disk and it ran [UNIX] System III. We've been meeting pretty much every other month since then.

"It was a technical group and we would get together to discuss the various things that were going on and the problems we were having. If you think support is bad now, it was worse then. There were fewer people who actually knew anything. Any clues were appreciated. There was a lot of self-help. UNIX existed in maybe 200 places in the world then, in 1980 and 1981. It's only been around 25 years and it was a real sleeper for the first 15.

"People like Onyx had gone to AT&T and paid them for a source license with binary distribution rights, and that was how it was done. The manuals were reprints of the AT&T manuals. The Onyx was modeled on a classic minicomputer. A modern equivalent would be a DEC VAX or something like that."

UniGroup of New York pre-dates today's UNIX Expo trade show and was consulted by the organizers before the first show was presented. UniGroup now has 140 members and meets the third Thursday of every other month. Meetings have been spread around Manhattan over the years and now ordinarily take place at the headquarters of Chemical Bank at 55 Water St.

Guest speakers are invited to each meeting, but "We don't want anybody selling us anything, be it hardware or software," says J.P. Radley, group treasurer. "If we find an expert who works for a vendor, we ask then to give a non-vendor-specific kind of talk. People don't come here to be sold. And we don't sell our mailing list to personnel people."