The MIT Student Information Processing Board


SIPB (pronounced ``Sip-bee'') is the Student Information Processing Board, the student group concerned with computing at MIT. We administer several machines and an AFS cell, provide Usenet access to Athena, are available for telephone (253-7788) or in-person (W20-557) consulting at almost any time of day or night, have one-of-a-kind meetings Monday evenings at 7:30 pm, write documentation of all sorts, run a wide variety of servers, including a WWW server, hack, and generally have a good time. We also act as an advocate for student computer users and student computer access on campus.

For Athena Users

SIPB maintains a locker, /mit/sipb. There is a README file in /mit/sipb/README which describes the layout of the filesystem. To access the programs and files on it, you type attach sipb. This filesystem is the place where SIPB-written or modified programs and documentation can be found. The source code for most of the programs in /mit/sipb can be found on the /mit/sipbsrc filesystem (attach sipbsrc) in the /mit/sipbsrc/src subdirectory. We hope that people will find the programs useful and the source code instructive.

Since Athena provides SGI Indigo, SGI Oxygen, Sun SPARC, and Sun Ultra workstations for public use, most SIPB programs are compiled for use on all these platforms. In addition, some SIPB programs are compiled for the DEC VAXstation, IBM RT, Linux, NetBSD, and IBM RS/6000, Sun4 and NeXT machines. To automatically use the versions of the program appropriate to the workstation type you are using, you should add the apropriate of vaxbin, rtbin, decmipsbin, rsaixbin, sun4bin, or NeXTbin subdirectory of the filesystem to your PATH. The PATH variable determines which directories are searched for executable programs if no explicit pathname is given.


To tell Unix to use the /mit/sipb programs in addition to the standard Unix programs, add the following line to your .path file:

set path=($HOME/$bindir /mit/sipb/$bindir $athena_path .)

This will put SIPB programs in your path before standard Unix and Athena commands. This means that any SIPB programs that have the same names as standard Unix or Athena commands will ``mask'' these other programs, so that when you type only the program name the SIPB version will be used. (You can still use the Athena versions by typing the full pathname of their version of the program.) We believe that the programs in the SIPB directories which have the same names as standard Athena programs are more useful than the standard Athena versions, and so we recommend putting the SIPB directory in your path before theq Athena path. If you wish to always use the Athena-supplied programs in preference to the SIPB programs, put the /mit/sipb/$bindir after $athena_path in the line above. fter you attach the SIPB filesystem, you will need to type rehash to re-initialize your shell Your shell is the program to find the programs in /mit/sipb. In order to read SIPB manual pages, set your MANPATH variable (do this in your .environment file):

setenv MANPATH /mit/sipb/man:$MANPATH

Read the manual page on man for details on how MANPATH works. If you invert the order of and /mit/sipb/man, you will get the standard manual pages before SIPB manual pages if there are identical names in both; as presented above, the SIPB manual pages have precedence. Here are many other attachable filesystems with interesting and useful programs on them; it is not possible to catalog all of them here. We can only suggest you ask your friends who might know where the interesting "hacks" are stored. However, there is a short list of some useful filesystems presented later in this document.

Problems or questions with sipb programs should be sent to, except for problems with Usenet news programs, which should be sent to