SIPB grumpy fuzzball
SIPB Project List
A lot of what SIPB does which is not helping users with immediate problems and answering questions falls under the heading of SIPB projects. SIPB projects are usually things that a member or two have decided are worth doing and are working on. The main qualification of SIPB projects is that they help the MIT community (or maybe just the SIPB community) in some way. In general they also involve computers.

In the past we have attempted to keep a list of projects that SIPB members are working on, and projects that might be cool to have someone work on. The old list, which was perennially outdated, can be found here. This new list attempts to have a lesser scope. It is directed at students and others looking to get an idea of what sort of things SIPB works on, looking for inspiration for their own project ideas, or looking for things already well on their way to help. Contact lists or individuals are listed with some of the projects below, if you're interested in getting involved.

This project list is no substitute for hanging out in the office and talking to people there, of course.

Services (Last Updated May 1, 2007)

Services are SIPB projects to which SIPB has made some sort of support commitment. That is, rather than something that someone did and then moved on, there is some sort of requirement that people keep working on the project to make it work. The following is an incomplete list of current projects:
In charge of running the web server at and the services that run on it.
Contact: stuffmaster, arolfe, jtu, astronut
In charge of running the scripts server, where users can run some of those web-ish scripts that the MIT webservers do not support. More info on their website.
Contact: scripts, quentin
In charge of running the Debian-Athena dialup,, which provides a public dialup capable of compiling software for Linux Athena and running linux-specific software.
Contact: linerva, tabbott
SIPB provides MySQL databases to the MIT community. Usage requires signup at
Contact: sql, presbrey
Library Access to Music Project
SIPB runs the LAMP project to provide free music streamed to campus via MIT Cable. Access the library at
Contact: lamp
Locker software
SIPB maintains a bunch of lockers with software, primarily sipb and outland but also graphics, perl5 and others. New people interested in maintaining pet software or in upgrading aging software are always welcome.
Contact: bug-sipb, bug-outland, bug-lockername
SIPB runs the second largest AFS cell at MIT. AFS is a network filesystem. The SIPB AFS cell is used for storage by many people, both in and out of SIPB.
Contact: sipb-afsreq
DNS hosting for the MIT community --- primary or secondary nameserver.
Contact: sipb-dnsreq
web interface that helps you print documents to Athena cluster printers at
Contact: quickprint, presbrey
SIPB runs a Tor entry and exit-node at
Contact: sipb-tor, presbrey
SIPB runs the primary MIT Usenet news server (
Contact: usenet
Webzephyr - jdaniel
A bidirectional web to zephyr gateway. Great for talking to your mom.


A lot of things around MIT and SIPB are just poorly documented, and would be really useful to people if they were documented. SIPB maintains some documents, and there are certainly others which could stand to be written. Some of the current SIPB documents are available on the SIPB documents page. Some other things that could use documentation:


Many SIPB members teach classes during IAP and other times. A list of the most recent IAP classes is available here. A list of recent and upcoming clue dumps is also available.


Projects are more ephemeral than services. Here are two lists. One has some projects that have happened, and the other has some projects that people have suggested would be cool, or have claimed they would do in their free time.

Projects that people have done for SIPB in the recent past:

Debian-Athena software packages, which are a port of Athena software from RHEL4 to Debian.
Contact: debathena, tabbott
Knoppix Athena - asedeno
A Knoppix CD that includes easy Kerberos and AFS access. Great for taking Athena with you everywhere.
Linux Installer - linux-dev
An installer for Linux-Athena that works on non-cluster hardware. Based on the RedHat linux installer. Good for personal and lab workstations.
imapback - alex_c, hongyihu
A tool in outland for backing up your IMAP mail.
Other projects that people have suggested would be neat. If someone has claimed ownership of the project, or is responsible for getting it here, they are noted. However, they are likely hosed with classes and lame, so feel free to get in touch with them or just show them up by doing it yourself. Here's the list:
SIPB library
SIPB has a lot of books. It would be useful to have a program that lets us enter books in our library into some database with a Cuecat/barcode reader, and making information in that database easy to read. - astronut
RT is a free software request tracking system. SIPB used to use it to manage various internal things, and offer RT queues as a service to anyone in the community who would like one. It would be cool to have a scripts-based RT install that would offer queues to the MIT community.
RSS feeds
Build an RSS/Atom feed for (or other useful webpages).
Other Web Scripting
SIPB still runs some services on, and there might be interest in adding more. - stuffmaster
MacOS X.
Some people in SIPB are interested in making Athena services available to users of MacOS X. There is a machine running OS X in the office. It has AFS and Kerberos and developer tools, but doesn't really have any direction in its life.
Mail Archive Web Front-end
Build a web front-end to the IMAP mail archiving system, imapback.
Imap-server based email archive
Archive email in publically readable IMAP folders.
Online Survey System
Many MIT students and groups take surveys on the web. A system for this that was actually good would be nice.
Mirror Site
There are a number of useful sites mirrored at MIT. It would be good to pull together a list of all the mirrors at MIT, what they hold, and then to add anything missing on a SIPB server.
Text Interface to MIT Libraries
The MIT libraries are now only accessible through the web. Frequently a command line client would be nice. This could either involve a client that worked through the web form, or a client that accessed their database directly. - alex_c
Give the Oracle server the love it needs. We have an oracle server and oracle wizards who would be happy to help. Currently we have no projects wanting to use oracle, so we may be putting the cart before the horse. - sipb-oracle
NetBSD Sparc
Some people in SIPB are involved in the port of NetBSD to the Sparc platform.
DUX Athena
Athena software running on Digital Unix, specifically on Alpha workstations. There is one machine in the SIPB office running this port of Athena, but it has not escaped yet. -