Grex moved away from the system described in these notes long ago. It is now running on far more modern hardware (as of mid-2017 an x86 based machine) and far more modern software (as of mid-2017, a modern BSD). Grex is also in considerably healthier financial shape than when these notes were written, and buys new hardware from various vendors, rather than bottom-feeding used stuff. Similarly, demand on Grex's resources has decreased over the years, as Unix access has become less novel. The supply of Sun hardware that used to be kept around has largely disappeared as Grex moved out of its old home and into a co-location facility years ago. Finally, all of the dialin lines have gone away, as dialin itself is pretty much a rarity these days

That said, these notes may still be of interest to some, if only as an historical reminder of how one group did a lot with very little, and overcame many technical challenges. Hence, it is presented here, in near-original format, with notes such as this one preceeding the information to describe the ways in which Grex has evolved.

Grex Staff Notes: Introduction

This series of web pages is produced by the Grex Staff to describe various administrative and technical matters related to Grex. These pages are meant as a way for staff members to share knowledge and information about how Grex works both with other staff members and the general public.

Some of these pages are meant for the general reader, while others delve very deeply into technical details of how things work on Grex.

Grex's staff believes that good system security should not depend on obscurity. Therefore, there is quite a lot of detailed information included here about things like how passwords are stored on Grex.

We encourage anyone who has comments or suggestions about the contents of these pages to send mail to Please send questions about Grex to, not to individual members of the staff. Many staffers are swamped with too much e-mail and may reply very slowly or not at all.

Grex's Staffers

Grex has always been staffed entirely by volunteers. Staff members don't have fixed areas of responsibility, but tend to accumlate specific areas of primary activity. Currently, the staff consists of the following people:
Name Login Activities
Glenda Andre glenda General system configuration.
STeve Andre steve General system configuration. Sun hardware. Security monitoring. Reaping expired accounts.
Walter Cramer i Conference administration.
Kip deGraaf kip General system configuration. Security monitoring. System backups. Reaping expired accounts.
Joe Gelinas gelinas Daily monitoring of system performance and staff mail. System backups. Reaping expired accounts. Network configuration.
Bruce Howard bhoward
General system configuration. Daily monitoring of system performance. Security monitoring. Reaping expired accounts.
Charles Mitchell arthurp x86 hardware. Conference administration.
Marcus Watts mdw Author of picospan, newuser, and queuing telnet daemon. Maintainer of grex versions of sendmail, mail, login, passwd, finger, and fingerd. E-mail guru. Network configuration. Sun hardware.
Steve Weiss srw Co-author of backtalk. Webmaster. Staff mail. Password changes. Kernel blocks. FAQs.
Jan Wolter janc Author of party, write, gate, web-newuser, watch, orphaned process killer. Co-author of backtalk. Staff notes.
Steve Gibbard scg Former staff member. Network configuration. Terminal servers.

Past staff members include Dan Cross, Greg Cronau, Tom Dohne, Meg Geddes, Michelangelo Giansiracusa, Steve Gibbard, Dan Gryniewicz, Scott Helmke, Rob Henderson, Jeff Kaplan, Dave Lovelace, Valerie Mates, Mike McNally, Carl Miller, Michael O'Leary, John Remmers, TS Taylor and Marc Unangst.

Several people assist in the running of Grex but do not have superuser access. Ryan Antkowiak (ryan), Eric Bassey (other), Nissa Austad (snow), and Jill (beamer) are party administrators. Morena Vasquez (munkey) is a webmaster. Mary Remmers is the Grex archivist. A number of other users, including Jared Mauch, Rob Argy, Mike McNally, Klaus Wolter, Mark Conger, Dave Martinelli, and Sri (nt) have been very helpful in assisting the Grex staff in various ways, as have all the users who volunteer as helpers, assisting other users with problems.

Staff Notes

A Tour of the Pumpkin
Photos of Grex's computer room, with descriptions of our equipment.
About Grex's Hardware and Software
An overview of the hardware Grex runs on, and the software customizations we have installed.
Grex 2003 Assembly Notes
Construction of Grex's future computer.
Security Goals
A general description of Grex's security.
Privacy on Grex
A discussion of the kinds of circumstance under which Grex's staff might look at private user files or E-mail.
The Kernel Blocks
A detailed description of how Grex's Kernel has been modified to enforce our restrictions on outgoing telnet and ftp connections.
The Password Database
A detailed description of how passwords are stored and encrypted on Grex.
Eggdrop on Grex
A FAQ discussing why we do not support or allow eggdrop on Grex.
Information for people who would like to help the Grex staff, or perhaps join the ranks.
Equipment Inventory
A list of the equipment currently owned by Cyberspace Communications.
Equipment For Sale or Swap
A list of the computer equipment Grex has that we would like to get rid of.
Equipment Wish List
A list of the computer equipment Grex is looking for.
Document History:

Jul 18, 2008: Dan Cross (cross) - Updated to reflect historical nature.
Jun 4, 2005: Joe Gelinas (gelinas) - Updated staff list.
Feb 9, 2004: Joe Gelinas (gelinas) - Updated staff list.
Jul 30, 2003: Jan Wolter (janc) - Updated staff list.
Nov 8, 1999: Michelangelo Giansiracusa (spooked) - Updated staff list.
Nov 4, 1999: Jan Wolter (janc) - Updated staff list.
Jan 14, 1999: Jan Wolter (janc) - Updated staff list.
Jul 10, 1998: Steve Weiss (srw) - Added "volunteering" note.
Apr 9, 1998: Jan Wolter (janc) - Added Overview page.
Mar 9, 1998: Jan Wolter (janc) - Added Eggdrop page.
Aug 21, 1997: Jan Wolter (janc) - Initial Revision.