General User Policy – Soda.CSUA.Berkeley.CSUA

This document describes the general user policy of Soda.CSUA.Berkeley.EDU. This file is subject to change at any time.

Last edited 21 Jan 95 by Ali “Hair Trigger Squish Finger” Rahimi.

HTMLized by Erik R. Agee.

Markdowned by Robert “Never” Quitt 13 Apr 18, after finding a copy of this page on


Soda is designed to promote a user community. Because of this, all users should have accurate Real Name information. We’ve hacked chfn to prevent users from making changes to this field; if you need yours changed, mail root. Custom .plan files can be used to let others get to know a bit about you. We also provide users with the ability to create WWW pages for themselves. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to other users.

In the interests of a user community, several group communication features are available aside from the usual person-to-person ones:

The newsgroup: The Usenet newsgroup is a forum for discussion of issues related to the Computer Science Undergraduate Association, soda among them.

Usenet newsgroups have fallen out of usage, but there is a mirror hosted on Google groups here. It contains ~700 posts dating from 1992-2007.


(DEPRECATED (for now)) The Message of the Day: The message of the day (/etc/motd) is created from the files /etc/motd.public and /etc/motd.official. All users can modify the public file to post questions and such, while the official file is reserved for important root type announcements. The actual motd is created from these files every few minutes by cron, so if you make changes, it may take some time to show up.

Wall: The program wall broadcasts a message to all users on the machine and everyone is encouraged to use it. By default, all new accounts are created so that they will not receive “walls”, but will receive writes and talks. To receive walls, type wallall y. To turn them back off, type wallall n.

There are a number of files in /usr/local/csua which are also related to promoting a user community. Many of these file are world-writable to encourage you to add your own input.


The mail alias staff@soda has been provided for reporting problems with the system’s operation. This alias is not intended for new user support and asking “how do I do this?” questions. Soda is not only for Computer Science undergraduates, but users are expected to know what they are doing. If you do not know what you are doing, UClink (241 Evans) or the OCF (Barrows basement) are probably more appropriate machines for you to use.

Users are strongly encouraged to solicit help from each other, as well as the man pages available online. As a last resort, the CSUA provides the help@csua mailing list for soda specific or general UNIX questions. You are invited to attend the UNIX help sessions presented as a joint effort of the CSUA, OCF, and XCF if you’re interested in learning more about UNIX. Finger help@csua or look here for more info.


Requests to install MUD clients or other similar software are likely to be ignored. In general, if you want some piece of software, install it yourself.

If you’re going to run a background process while you’re not logged on, you MUST leave a description of it in your home directory, with the name <prog; name>.doc;. Not doing so will result in the death of your process. If your background process takes up too many resources, it will be killed. If the load on soda is too high, your unattended background jobs will be killed.

It is possible for you to make the software you install on soda available to everyone by putting it in /usr/local/bin. You need special privileges to do this, however. Root may decide to give you these privileges if it deems it appropriate.


Soda should be a reasonably comfortable environment, so protection of user privacy is taken seriously. Any user who intentionally violates other soda users’ privacy will be squished. Any user who uses soda to violate the privacy of users on other machines will be squished. Any user who makes repeated violations of net.etiquette will be squished. Your soda account is not a birthright, and it’s much easier for us to squish you than to worry about Yet Another Problem User.


We just want to reiterate our position on hosers (you know who you are).

READ THIS if you are even REMOTELY thinking about EVEN POSSIBLY doing ANYTHING nasty on this machine EVER:

The staff on soda runs this machine, and has run many other types of machines in the past. We have experience in dealing with clever but misguided attempts to foil detection, and are resourceful at detecting abuses. And while we may not all have had childhoods as bad as blojo’s, many of us find that squishing bozos is a great way to relieve the built-up tension of a stressful week. There have been times in the past when bozos were tolerated on soda; this is not one of those times.

Specifically, the following will get your account turned off after one warning:

  • Sharing your account.
  • Running a program like Crack.
  • Running a MUD or other server without permission. No, we won’t give you permission.
  • Running a recursive shell script or other program which causes a load spike.
  • Running a shell script or other program which abuses soda’s net or the net of other machines (i.e. finger @every_machine_in_the_web).
  • Abusing write permission on a soda user’s tty.
  • Pissing off admins of other machines.

The following will get your account turned off WITHOUT a warning:

  • Having a weak password (see /usr/local/adm/
  • Cracking root.
  • Failing to respond to mail from staff regarding a violation of soda policy (if the mail requested a response).
  • Having pirated commercial software in your directory or anywhere else on soda.

We do not give more than one warning. These are not exhaustive lists, but they should give you an idea of what ‘not being a hoser’ entails.