Linux Gazette MailBag LG #40

Answers to these questions should be sent directly to the e-mail address of the inquirer with or without a copy to Answers that are copied to LG will be printed in the next issue in the Tips column.

envelope-4798521 Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 11:25:56 PDT
From: « Trenton Hergesell »,
Subject: Help with NEC 4X6 Multi-platter CD-ROM reader

I have Caldera OpenLinux 1.2 with 2.2.5 kernel installed. I need to know if the NEC 4X6 CD changer is supported under Linux, and if so how do you set up Linux to access the 3 other platters?

Thanks, Trenton

envelope-4798521 Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 23:53:39 -0400
From: « linalan »,
Subject: diald as backup?

I’m trying to figure out a way to automatically bring up a back-up line if my leased line goes down. For example, my T1 goes down. This is recognized, thus my back-up line (modem) gets brought up. I was thinking that this could somehow be done with diald and maybe some scripting. any suggestions?



envelope-4798521 Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 19:04:30 +0800
From: « Gary », Subject: Question for hp682c

I have a question , I can not print chinese with hp682c. Can you help me?


envelope-4798521 Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 01:54:06 -0400
From: « gurugarzah »,
Subject: Dual Monitors

Does Red Hat 5.2 Apollo kernal support two monitors with two separate video cards: S3 Virge and STB Velocity 4400 Riva TnT Chipset Worksin windows98?


envelope-4798521 Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 22:45:28 -0400
From: « Raymond Koenig »,
Subject: SoundPro

I recently upgraded my system and the new motherboard came with a « built in » sound card called Sound Pro. I run a dual OS system Linux and Windows 95, Windows only because my job requires it. the *sndconfig* file does not list this chipset. Do you know of any drivers for this card?


envelope-4798521 Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:03:27 -0500
From: LaFette Partee, Subject: Cable Modems Under Linux

I am trying to resolve a problem with getting the proper route and netmask configured for a cable modem under Linux RedHat 5.2. The configuration under Windows98 uses the DHCP to configure the connection. Which I used in linux as well. I have made the connection via PPP but I am unable to make the proper route to receive the information sent back via the ethernet. I can make a complete connection to a normal service provider via PPP only and it works fine.

The way the cable moden works is as follow:

You call the service provider via PPP and the information is sent back through the ethernet connection.

Any suggestions would be greatfully accepted. The cable company is Prime Cable in Chicago, IL.


envelope-4798521 Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 21:07:20 -0700
From: Rob Bertrand, cvp.rob@sympatico.cax
Subject: DV editing

I am a video editor/home studio who just discovered the Linux OS and would love nothing more than to leave the « other system », but I can’t seem to confirm if DV editing is ready on the Linux Os. In paticular my system is the Sparks DV firewire board made by Adaptec for DPS, I use Adobe Premiere4.2 and DPS’s Video action editors for post production non-linear editing. Any info would greatly be appreciated.


envelope-4798521 Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 15:12:39 +0200
From: « Roman Valuch »,
Subject: Help wanted

I’m looking for any small OPI server on Linux Red Hat 5.2. Thank you

Roman Valuch

envelope-4798521 Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 06:45:03 +1000
From: Lazar Lubin,
Subject: Help this old battler

I have a very smattering knowledge of Linux, and am having problems installing the ruddy thing. Can anyone help?! Thanx.


(Have you checked our Ron Jenkins’ series « Linux Installation Primer »? He’s done 8 parts so far, all full of good information. –Editor)

envelope-4798521 Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 14:30:14 -0500 (CDT)
From: « Michael J. Hammel »,
Subject: Re: a newbie’s grief

Sorry to take so long to reply. I was out of the country the entire month of March and am just now catching up on my email.

Thus spoke Erik Refner & Clara Lundqvist:

A few month ago I started getting interested in Linux. Everything seemed so wonderful in Linuxland, and the sheer Idea of a free OS spoke to my Scandinavian nature having a long tradition for free an « unpatented » knowledge. Today after having used two month of my spare time and my tenth try to get Linux (RedHat 5.2) and some programs (KDE-office) up running, I’m disappointed and utterly frustrated. I’m a graphic designer and use apps like Adobe PageMaker, PageFrame, Illustrator, Photoshop etc. I’m very well aware that new things take time to learn. But if this system is so wonderful, why make everything so damned complicated? I’m interested in using my computer as a tool in my work, not being a programmer. And of course I’m willing to pay for it too).

Like you, I prefer to use my system for doing non-programming work: artwork, writing, etc. This despite the fact that I’m a programmer by trade. Many of the new faces to Linux are just like you and I – and they are experiencing some of the same issues you are facing.

At the moment I’m beginning to understand why Windows (and not Linux) is the most popular and used OS. It seems to me that Windows takes pride in making life easy to the user. If the user find it interesting he or she can start learning about the OS, writing programs and so on). Linux seems to do the exact opposite, and may I: I do not at all find it funny or interesting writing unintelligible words and commands.

Although I understand your comments, I think you need to put things into perspective. First, the Microsoft interface has about 8 years (going back to early DOS-based Windows) head start on the Linux interface. Although the components for designing the interface for Linux (the X Windows libraries and architecture) has been around for quite some time, it was never used to create a non-technical interface, ie a point-and-click, drag-and-drop style interface. Such a design has only recently been started by the Linux community within the past 2 years by KDE and only a little over a year for GNOME. The original use of the X Windows system was for more computer savvy users who wanted greater control of their environment, and they found they could have that with a mostly command line oriented environment. At least that was the case early on.

READ  Using SWIG to interface scripting languages with C/C++ LG #49

Things change, the world evolves. Linux brought X Windows to the non-technical user. So now projects like GNOME and KDE are working to provide the simpler to use interfaces that users like yourself demand from their computers. And you should demand it! Demands from users are what drive development.

As to the unintelligible words or commands, well, thats strictly a point of view. To me, DOS commands are cryptic. Why? Because I never use them. Unfamiliarity breeds contempt. Then again, many of the scripting languages you find on Linux (Perl, for example) are available from command line prompts on Microsoft systems too. Its just that many users never use them from the command (re: DOS prompt) line.

Its not that the words or commands are cryptic that annoys you – thats just a matter of becoming familiar with new surroundings – its that the interface to the OS is not graphical and intuitive. And thats a valid complaint for Linux at this time for users like yourself.

While trying to get Linux to obey my awkward commands I’ve been surfing the net in my look out for programs that would match above mentioned. Neither this seems to be successful. I may be wrong and would bee most delighted if you could advise me a page layout application like PageMaker/FrameMaker or QuarkExpress. I have seen LyX and KDE’s KWord, but they do not meet my needs (will they ever?). And what about press and prepress? It is crucial that I get my files back from printing without too much trouble. I have hardly been able to find anything about this issue. (I mean, everybody knows that CorelDraw is superior to Illustrator, but very few proffs use it because of the printing problems.)

The first question is an easy answer: there aren’t any such tools yet announced for Linux. The problem is simple – large application companies like Adobe and Quark haven’t yet found the demand on Linux systems to warrant their porting of their applications. But these application houses are driven by either commercial requests or consumer (end user) requests. Demand from either side will get them to port. Quark is rumored to be interested in porting if they can validate a supportable market for their products. Adobe seems less willing, but again, money talks. With large companies like IBM, Oracle, Dell, Compaq, and Corel showing large scale support for Linux, its only a matter of time before the application houses realize the demand is there to warrant their efforts to port their products.

Your concerns here are extremely valid. The problem is that Linux isn’t ready for prepress at the support level you need it because its still too early in the game. Corel will be shipping their products sometime this year (so I’ve heard, I could be wrong here) for Linux. I expect later this year we’ll start hearing announcements from other application level companies about their plans to support Linux.

In one of your articles last year you « advertised » for whishes regarding Linux and related software. These are mine: Window based ease-of-use and easy to install (no programming tricks)

Red Hat is working on this, with help from vendors like IBM, Dell, and Compaq. They’ve had to deal with these same issues in the past for the Microsoft environment and can offer both technical and end-user assistance to improve this area. Other vendors, such as SuSE in Europse and Pacific High Tech in Japan, will also benefit from this since the installation improvements are likely to be shared with the Linux community in general.

Applications like Adobe PageMaker, PhotoShop, Illustrator (Gimp, KIllustrator??)

Gimp has quite a number of improvements in the works, both from the volunteer developers and from a number of movie-industry special effects people who hoping to improve it for use with film and video productions.

Beyond that, Adobe will, in my opinion at least, eventually come around. There is demand for these products on Linux. Adobe isn’t likely to ignore a potential source of added revenue. It just may take a little while before we see this happen.

Press- and prepress-proof.

Magic words. These are things I’d love to see too. I just don’t know when they’ll happen. All I know is that Linux is growing fast – and someone will fill this void eventually.

Until then I will use my spare time on my family, off and on read your recommendable column, and try Linuxland once again in a couple of years from now. — Yours sincerely Erik

Not a bad plan, really. Keep an eye and ear open on the Linux community. Things move fast here. You might check back in August to see if I’ve heard anything new, then again in December. I really do expect to start hearing of more application ports soon.

READ  Mail2News Mini-Howto: Overview of the system

The demand is growing. You’re one of the early pioneers from the non-programming world into Linux. Its not an easy road for pioneers like yourself, but in the long run I think you’ll find it a worthwhile pursuit.

Thanks for the note! I hope I’ve helped put your mind at ease about the state of the Linux world for now.


envelope-4798521 Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 02:54:15 +0100
From: George Russell,
Subject: KDE – so what?

Am I just being obtuse, or does KDE feel like a heavy, bloated, resource-intensive desktop environment? If that’s what I wanted, I would stay with M(I’m sorry, I can’t say the word)t.

Being unable to utter the name of Microsoft does show a certain obtuseness.

Features and benefits be damned, FVWM2 comes real close to the type of responsiveness I feel should be expected of the desktop … KDE doesn’t even come close.


  1. Fix it
  2. Use something else
  3. STFU.
  4. Try and understand KDE is *NOT* a Window Manager and fvwm2 *IS*. Direct comparisons are obviously *POINTLESS*. A Window Manager does not a desktop make.

If your going to fix it you can do one of several things

  1. Hack the code, and make it better
  2. Use a better compiler. Turn up optimisatiions to -06, target the pentium or whatever your CPU class is, use PGCC (pentium gcc) for cutting edge performance, use egcs and optimise for size (ie small), compile Qt and KDE yourself with –fno-exceptions.
  3. Replace or remove whatever you find to big / slow about KDE. Edit startkde and # comment out what you don’t want and replace it. Don’t use sound? edit out kwmsound and kaudioserver. Don’t want kwm? use Window Maker, Blackbox, flwm, or any other WM. Don’t want KDE to set backgrounds or use root menus? comment it out. Don’t want the panel? Don’t use it. KDE is not a monolith.
  4. But some decent hardware. If your running slow hardware, don’t expect anything to run other than slow.

And WHY hasn’t anyone else complained? At least, not in a forum that I’ve been aware of. Is it that everyone is so enamored of the acceptance that Linux has been getting that they are afraid to rock the boat?

Other people are capable of actions other than whining about how they don’t like something that they aren’t forced to use. You have a choice. Use it.

KDE is an example of what many, many people want. A layer on top of X11/Unix, in which they can carry out their daily work, without recourse to the command line or editing text files to configure trivial software behaviour.

On the other hand, I suppose that we (the Linux user community) feel like we can pass this KDE thing off as a ready replacement for W(I’m sorry, but I can’t say that word, either)s, given that it is so slow and bloated that W(you know)s users will feel right at home. Yeah, that’s the ticket, we’ll make ’em feel right at home.

They’ll see you running fvwm2, think « Oh my god, thats ugly », and go straight back to Windows. KDE makes the use of UNIX bearable for many, and acts as a platform from which to explore the depths of the operating system. Throwing them in at the deep end will merely deter them.

George Russell

envelope-4798521 Date: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 19:25:20 +1000
From: « Anthony Johnston »,
Subject: New page layout

I like the look of the new page layout. I have been reading your articles for several months, and they have helped me with so many things …. keep up the excelent work!!

AJ 🙂

(Thanks. –Editor)

envelope-4798521 Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 09:44:56 -0600
From: « Worth, Norman »,
Subject: NT Article

A recent article in « Windows NT » magazine [RUSS] needs to be answered. Unfortunately, I am not well enough acquainted with the kernel internals to do so properly. Any volunteers?

The main thrust of the article is that Linux is unsuitable for large networking or enterprise applications due to inherent problems in thread handling, kernel reentrant code implementation, and scalability. In some cases, the author does not seem to see the big picture – that certain actions will be required to take place somewhere, regardless of the specific implementations. In others, he raises legitimate issues. There is also the matter of style – Linux and NT approach the world in quite different ways despite their similarities.

Among the issues raised is the lack of standard benchmark reports (TPC-C, TPC-D, SpecWeb) for Linux. Has anyone done these? A big issue is how the select routine handles events. The objection is that all processes are notified of all events. This may be more of a style issue than a real performance issue, but it requires an answer. Another big issue is that because the kernel IO code is not rentrant, true asynchronous IO and adequate multiprocessor scaling are impossible.

READ  Building Software Packages for Linux: References and Further Reading

The fact that Linux seems to be more stable and a better performer in Web servers and some enterprise servers than NT is ignored. Indeed, the apparent Linux advantage may be simply a matter of how the applications are implemented on the systems, rather than inherent operating system characteristics.

A good, two-sided discussion of these performance issues would be helpful. Linux seems to perform quite well in networks and as a standalone system. I’ve seen (actually seen) some real horrors recently when NT was applied to large networks. The horrors are slowly being resolved, and I’m sure anyone could foul up a Linux network too.

[RUSS] Mark Russinovich, « Linux and the Enterprise », « Windows NT », April 1999, p.93

Norman Worth

envelope-4798521 Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 18:03:02 -0500
From: « John E. Malmberg »,
Subject: Comparison of Server-Based Operating Systems

A well written comparison that even covers operating systems not mentioned.

Sean Bullington wrote:

Sun has even started to recognize the benefits of enthusiasts and hobbyists using their operating system and has started offering Solaris for free (the user pays just the media and shipping/handling fees–see

Be also aware that Digital had a free HOBBY license available earlier than sun for the OpenVMS Operating system. The media was available at very low cost. If you wanted to program in something other than BLISS-32 and Macro-32, Much of the GNU software was already ported, including GCC. The right to use the POSIX software was also included.

Compaq has improved the OpenVMS Hobby license recently. It now covers both ALPHA and VAX systems. In addition to that, a variety of very efficient compilers and other programs are now available. See for complete information.

SCO UNIX is also available free for non-commercial use. See Their program may have started before Digital’s.

John Malmberg

envelope-4798521 Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 05:27:02 -0500
From: « D Gartner »,
Subject: Linux, and Freedom of Choice Petition

If you want the right to choose what software and hardware products are installed on your own computer, then the Freedom of Choice Petition is for you. No matter what p.o.v. you have about the Microsoft monopoly, and whether you are a Linux home or business user, software developer or computer re-seller, you are invited to join us in this Petition to stop the exclusive pre-installation [bundling or tying] of a single company’s software on the computers sold, bought and used across the world.

Many of us realize that PC makers such as Compaq, Dell, Gateway etc. pre-install Microsoft software on the majority of new computers, along with hardware e.g. modems and chipsets « optimized » just for Windows. We are given no other choice. The PC maker will not install any other mix of software brands for us. Though many of us will delete the MSFT Windows software from our systems, neither MSFT nor the computer companies will give us a fair market exchange or refund. With such a lack of fair choice, we are forced to pay double– first when we pay for Microsoft programs that we don’t intend to use, and secondly when we buy Linux software that we really want.

The only real, long-term solution is to buy new computers with a choice of all available software in any combination, including no software whatsoever. Likewise, new computer hardware must support a wide range of operating systems such as Linux– not merely the operating environments pushed upon us by Microsoft.

Our computers indeed belong to us and _not_ to Microsoft nor the PC makers; those companies must respect our right to choose for ourselves which programs and hardware will be installed on our own property! You can help us send that direct message to the PC companies, just by supporting IACT’s Freedom of Choice Petition. Take a moment to read the Petition in the « Connections » section of our website at…

…and « sign on » to the letter with us!

Diane Gartner, IACT Co-ordinator

envelope-4798521 Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 17:15:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Theo Chisholm
Subject: IBM Announces Linux Web Site

In just a few years, Linux has gone from the pet project of a Finnish university student to the fastest-growing server operating environment.

IBM recently announced support for Linux, alliances with key Linux distributors and product plans that will enable more companies to integrate Linux into their enterprises.

We are pleased to announce a Web site to keep you abreast of the latest news about IBM’s offerings for Linux, at: The site gives details about IBM offerings for Linux as well as links to informative resources for open source and Linux.

We know the time constraints you work under and hope this Web site will be a useful tool for you. For more information please contact me.


Theo Chisholm, IBM Software

Published in Linux Gazette Issue 40, Mid-April 1999

indexnew-4257310 homenew-1298281 fwd-3203720

This page written and maintained by the Editor of Linux Gazette,
Copyright © 1999 Specialized Systems Consultants, Inc.