Linux Gazette MailBag LG #48

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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.

Before asking a question, please check the Linux Gazette FAQ to see if it has been answered there.

envelope-8976982 Mon, 1 Mar 1999 14:28:50 -0800
From: Vijaya Kittu
Subject: Visual Basic for Linux ???

I’m looking for a good and easy « Basic » Language Port (such as VB in Windoze) on X-Windows.

If any one is using any Visual Development tool, kindly send comments back to me.

envelope-8976982 Fri, 29 Oct 1999 16:22:22 +0200
Subject: connecting SPARC and 386 for printing purposes

having a SPARCstation 10/20 with Redhat 5.1/SPARC working fine on it, I wanted to connenct a printer to the system. Since the parallel port is not supported under S/Linux, I wanted to connect my SPARC with a cheap 386. The 386 is working under MS-DOS.

I bought an ethernet card for my 386, and connected the in-board ethernet card on the SPARC with the ethernetcard on the 386. The cable is twisted-pair, since only two computers are to be connected.

If I turn on both computers, I can start a testing program for the ethernet card on the 386. It will wait for any external signal. When booting the SPARC (the 386 sensing for any action), the SPARC checks for ‘eth0’ but finds no other computer on the other side.

Questions: (1) how can I let my 386 tell to the SPARC he is there? (2) How can I make the 386 accessible (that is: the parallel printer port) from the SPARC?

Thanks in advance for any help!!

envelope-8976982 Sat, 30 Oct 1999 21:19:01 +0200
From: Dr. Bodo Zimmermann DD-260
Subject: problems with tcp/ip in kernel 2.2.x

I have found problems with ftp aund telnet (tn3270, x3270) in the kernel 2.2.5 and 2.2.10 when connecting to IBM mainframes (VM/ESA). I cannot tranfer any data!

There are no problems at all with a kernels 2.0.x

Whom may I address?

envelope-8976982 Sat, 30 Oct 1999 23:25:05 EDT
From: Richard Monte
Subject: Running MS applications on Linux?

I was wondering if I can run my MS applications on Linux? What would I need?

If I can, what are the advantages and/or disadvantages of doing so?

Are there any legal issues related to running MS applications on a non-Windows OS?


envelope-8976982 Sun, 31 Oct 1999 12:54:24 +0100 (MET)
From: Mika Numminen
Subject: Hmmm…. don’t know how to categorize this..

I usually log into my machine with SSH from home (no concole access) and I was wondering if there is a way to have processes still running after I log out. For instance an ftp-session loading an ISO, etc..

envelope-8976982 Mon, 1 Nov 1999 18:53:32 -0600
From: lordj
Subject: linux sound problems

I run sndconfig and the friggin thing just fails. it finds my card and then sets up the irqs and all that rot, and then when it trys to play the sound sample i get the failure « don’t know what to do with CONFIG CTL002b/4886122 … error parsing file » and stuff like that. what is wrong with it?

envelope-8976982 Tue, 02 Nov 1999 18:21:51 +0800
From: Zon Hisham Bin Zainal Abidin
Subject: Telnet 110 fails

Now that my LILO is back (up and running), it’s time for something else.

I have 6-7 pcs in the office on LAN. I am on RH6.0 and the rest on W98. I am trying to configure my pc as the email server for this small LAN.

I have managed to correctly setup DNS. A remote PC can resolve the DNS server correctly. Then I went into Linuxconf and setup the Email server portion. My Linux PC by the way is named svr and the domain is

We are using Netscape as the email client. I entered as the Incoming and Outgoing mail servers. Netscape client can sent email but were unable to receive (email) with the message: « Netscape’s network connection was refused by the server The server may not be accepting connections or may be busy. Try connecting again later. »

I did a telnet 110 with a « Unable to connect to remote host » message. But a telnet 25 is ok. That explaint why sending is OK but not receiving rite?

How do I fix this?


envelope-8976982 Tue, 02 Nov 1999 20:53:57 +0000
From: Anatoli B. Titarev
Subject: HELP with LT Win Modem and SB 16 Sound Blaster wanted!

I am a new Linux Red Hat 6.0 user.

I cannot connect to the Internet (still using Winows 98). My LT Win Modem connected to com3 is not working under Linux. (Someone wrote that trying to config Win modems for Linux is waste of time, is it true?)

Connection: 8, parity – none, stopbit – 1. I told the ‘modemtool’ to use to use the serial port to which my modem is connected. I removed the word ‘lock’ in /etc/ppp/options file.

I get ‘modem is busy’ in kppp configuration program or ‘mode is locked’ errors in other programs.

I also have a problem with SB 16 sound blaster. ‘sndconfig’ program doesn’t help!

I am looking for anybody who can help me to make my modem and sound blaster working with Linux.

Please help!!!

envelope-8976982 Tue, 2 Nov 1999 16:09:01 -0600
From: smita narla
Subject: Re: your mail

hello, I’m doing a general survey on the testing techniques used in open source.I’ve a questionnaire with some 12 questions.Since you are a developer can you answer this questionnaire.I’m doin this for one of my class projects and i need to send the questionnaire to some 200 developers.Can you send me the addresses of some other developers ?

I’ll be glad if u can send me some questions to improve my questionnaire.

Thank you smita

The Editor sent some suggestions, and Smita responded:

Hello, thanks for your response. i ‘ve ghone to the sites u have mentioned in you previous mail. i got some info but not exactly what i’m looking for. i need some nice multiple choice questions for my Survey of testing techniques in open source.Some of the questions I’ve found are:

2. When ever you make a minor release do you make a complete regression tests and test for the bugs fixed in this released ?

3. For every major/minor release do you make tests for the bugs you fix ?

4. Will there a any test planning carried parallel to development of coding ?

5. What will be the acceptance criteria for the source you releasing (based on the test results) ?

6. Are you satisfied that test you are planning to execute will cover all the required conditions.

But i dont think they will serve the exact purpose. Ineed some real good multiple choice questions (which are easy to answer with out much thiking from the developers point of view).

I’ll be glad if you could help with some nice questions and some mailing lists of open source developers.

thank you, smita

envelope-8976982 Wed, 3 Nov 1999 00:14:11 +0100
From: cabotzen
Subject: a problem

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

Hello i’m french and i love linux, but i try to install it on a notebook with win98, i have a samsung’s notebook. After i have installed all the paquages, the instalation stopped when it wanted to reconize the mouse and i can’t continue the instalation. CAN YOU HELP ME PLEASE. Good buy

envelope-8976982 Tue, 2 Nov 1999 18:14:44 -0500
From: Paul Nathaniel (NOL1NXP)
Subject: Linux command questions

fsck /usr: What does this command do? What is its NT equivalent.

What is this command: cat /etc/passwd; and what is it’s NT equivalent?

envelope-8976982 Wed, 03 Nov 1999 07:44:42 CST
From: Jim Bradley
Subject: slowwwww ftp and partition problem

I have encountered two problems with linux (Mandrake 6.1) that I haven’t figured out how to overcome.

The first problem is the logon speed for ftp. I have 3 desktops and a laptop that I have networked with 100 Mbps ethernet. 2 of the 3 desktops are dual booted with OS/2 and linux, the remaining desktop and the laptop are linux only. If I try to connect to ftpd on linux with an ftp client on either OS/2 or linux, there is an approximately 3-5 minute wait before a logon prompt is returned. This is clearly not running properly! I can use a linux client to an OS/2 ftpd, and promptly get the logon prompt. I’ve tried « renice » at both -20 and +20 using KDE’s task manager. What do I need to do to speed this up?

The second problem is: I have one machine with an 8 Gb drive partitioned into a 2Gb,6Gb, and 128k swap. Mandrake 6.1 is installed on the 2Gb partition, hda1. The 6Gb partition, hda3, is an ext2 partition. After linux boots, the 6Gb partition is mounted to /mnt/hda3. The problem that I’ve encountered is that when copying files to /mnt/hda3, it is the first partition that fills up, not the second. What’s happening here? I was using kdisk to monitor the disk size when mirroring another site to /mnt/hda3, and it wasn’t the correct partition that enlarged. After this occurred, totally filling the smaller partition, I could no longer umount the partition, either, getting a message « device is busy. »

Any help to solve either of these problems??

envelope-8976982 Wed, 3 Nov 1999 10:49:32 -0600
From: Hunter, Kevin
Subject: LinNeighborHood

Thu, 28 Oct 1999 14:54:48 +0100
From: Network Desktop User Subject: Linneighbourhood

Hi, sorry to bother you with inconsequential mail but I think you of all people should know this !! I’m looking for some software called Linneighbourhood. It’s a network neighbourhood browser for Linux. I have scoured the net for it but to no avail !! Can you help??

From: Graeme Wood :

I think their is a gnome program that lets you browse the net neighbourhood as in win 9X. i do not know the name right now. but if you want i will figure it out

envelope-8976982 Wed, 03 Nov 1999 10:14:02 -0800
From: Chuck Newman
Subject: Linux Communications

Is there a Linux based communications program similar to pcAnywhere or Carbon Copy? I need remote PC control. Don’t need to transfer files.

envelope-8976982 Mon, 08 Nov 1999 16:18:50 -0500
From: Sunshine Smith
Subject: Installing RH6.0

I am trying to install RH 6.0 on a Thinkpad 760ED, unfortunately the cdrom (Teac 44E) does not appear on the supported cdrom drives, does anyone have any ideas other than buying an external (supported) cdrom drive.

Thank you

envelope-8976982 Tue, 09 Nov 1999 10:36:19 +0200
From: Lucian Hanga
Subject: about ESS Solo 1

ESS Solo 1. Unfortunately I have one !!!! If smbd. kwon how to make it works !!!! Please email me !!!!!!


envelope-8976982 Wed, 10 Nov 1999 16:54:20 -0000
From: Ben Huckel
Subject: Virtual Terminals in windows

Can you offer any advice….? I am currently considering a project for my third year project of a bsc(hons) in computer science which would implement virtual terminals for windows 95/8…… Do you know if there is any info on this sort of thing, has it already been done? Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

envelope-8976982 Thu, 11 Nov 1999 00:06:50 +0000
From: Nadeem Oozeer
Subject: SDRAM Problem

I’ve got a PII with 128MB SDRAM PC100, with 8MB AGP onboard, running windows and Linux Red Hat 6.0. I’ve been told that the AGP uses 8MB from the SDRAM that’s why on windows I get 120MB in system. On Linux however, I get only 64MB of RAM in /etc/meminfo …. How can I get all the 128 MB ? I’ve tried append in lilo.comf, but it freezes my PC with strange codes ?

envelope-8976982 Thu, 11 Nov 1999 12:22:57 +0800
From: Brian
Subject: How to set the Linux as a router!

I would like to set a single PC as a router by using Redhat 6.0. However, I find difficulties in finding the related topics in books or journals. Can you tell me how I can find the related topics? Thanks!

Best regards, Yvonne.

envelope-8976982 Thu, 11 Nov 1999 13:47:55 -0600
From: anthony
Subject: Looking for open-source programmers

I need to start somewhere, so I’ll start here. I am trying to find programmers interested in developing a new piece of software. I thought I would give Linux Open License types the first shot at it. We are looking for this solution for our small company, but are willing to share it to help defray development costs.

Can you help direct me? Or am I spinning my wheels?

The initial write up on the proposed application is attached. I know this isn’t the normal way to develop software, but I wanted to give it a try.

Anthony O’Krongly, Dir. of I.T.

[If you just want to throw a project idea out and see if anybody is interested in helping, I’ll put it in the Mailbag. (Which I’m doing now. 🙂

If it’s a critical piece of software for your company and needs to be completed « soon » and with « professional quality », you might have a look at and instead. They act as auction brokers between those willing to pay to help get open-source software developed and those who wish to work on such projects.

The GNU Gnats program may partially meet your requirements. It allows one to keep track of « job requests » in several categories, and to see which ones have been followed up on and what needs to be done with the remaining ones. The Tkgnats program is a GUI front-end. Perhaps this could link into your ordering and accounting system somehow. -Ed.]

envelope-8976982 Thu, 11 Nov 1999 19:41:36 -0000
From: ggg
Subject: help please

please can you help me im new to remote booting i have got the hardware one network card with a boot rom and one with out so im fine on the hardware side but how do i configure linux for remote booting i am new to linux so i really have not got the foggiest.

envelope-8976982 Thu, 11 Nov 1999 17:20:41 -0800
From: Johnny Lam
Subject: hi

Hi, i’m very new to Linux but i got a question, it may sound silly but pls help me with it. I’ve just install linux 6.1 as a server, but for some reason i can’t get the x-window to work, can u pls tell me how i can use x-window as a server? thank you very much

envelope-8976982 Thu, 11 Nov 1999 20:51:35 -0500
From: Gary R. Cook
Subject: X-windows application for communicating over /dev/ttyS1 (COM2)

Does anyone know where I can find a utility (with source code) that uses an xterm window for communicating with a remote asynchronous device over /dev/ttyS1?


envelope-8976982 Sat, 13 Nov 1999 03:18:19 +1100
From: Greg W
Subject: Hello

I am sure you get swamped with questions, now that I have acknowledged that, I feel better about asking if you know, or know someone who can point me to a good working example for ipchains for a machine that is standalone, I have 64 IPs all routed through a PC, this PC is not Linux based, so I dont want MASQ or ppp examples

A straight up script to disallow spoofing, and everything else besides the « normal » services (i can easily add or remove as necesarry)

All examples seen so far dont work because they are based on like I said, MASQ or ppp0 being present.

envelope-8976982 Sat, 13 Nov 1999 20:42:18 -0500
From: zak
Subject: Apollo P-1200 Inkjet Printer

Today I purchased an Apollo P-1200 inkjet printer at the local drug store (yes, drug store!), the main attraction being it cost $90 *before* a $50 rebate! This is supposed to be a new ‘low-end’ printer, using H-P technology. The downside is that the CD that came with it only covers installation for ‘doze. Has any other LG reader purchased one of these? If so, where can I find an appropriate Linux driver for it? I tried the site, but all that’s there is also ‘doze stuff. If anyone knows the nearest this thing is with any H-P driver, that would also be useful. I mainly use a printer for printouts of txt and html documents, and with Corel Word Perfect 8.0 for Linux. Thanks in advance for any assistance. Zak

envelope-8976982 Sun, 14 Nov 1999 02:43:43 -0000
From: George Christofi
Subject: Getting linux to authenticate to nt domains.

I want to get linux to authenticate to my NT network. As a newbie, I am stunned by the complexity of the whole Linux thing. I find it easier and more reliable to do things with NT Server. I am not thick (just MCSE qualified), but cannot see how to get it to perform this seemingly simple task.

envelope-8976982 Sun, 14 Nov 1999 12:40:36 -0800
From: Kenneth MacCallum
Subject: Linux memory woes

Hi, I’ve just installed Red Hat 6.0 and it’s not detecting all of my memory. I tried typing linux mem=64M at the LILO prompt as recommended but then the boot-up fails. As it is it only detects 14M or so of my 64M.

I had a look in my bios, and I noticed a line saying that there is a memory hole at 15M. I’m guessing that this is causing Linux to not see memory above this, but I don’t know why this « hole » is there. I had a look in my motherboard manual (PC Chips M577) but it didn’t mention anything useful. This hole doesn’t seem to upset Windows; is there anything I can do to get Linux to work too?

I also tried swapping my DIMMs around, thinking that if the hole was due to a bad DIMM it might move up to 47M (?) but it doesn’t.

I’ve been searching about the web for some insight but I’ve had no luck so far.

Can you help?

envelope-8976982 Mon, 15 Nov 1999 12:12:50 -0500
From: Bruce Kramer

Editor, I’m looking for some help in the Detroit, MI area. I have a son, 16 yrs old – junior in high school, presently enrolled in some special projects at school. One of which is to learn Linux. He recently removed Windows from our home computer to install Linux. After attempting this for four weeks now he is frustrated and ready to give up. Rather than giving up and going back to Windows I thought that it might be possible to find someone in our area who could help get Linux up and operating on our computer. Any suggestions?

[Look at under « User Groups (GLUE) » and see if there are any contacts in your area. -Ed.]

envelope-8976982 Mon, 15 Nov 1999 22:00:36 -0500
From: Pierce C. Barnard
Subject: Looking for the Korn shell

Hi, I recently obtained Redhat V6.0 and I found out to my dismay, that it does not have the Korn shell with it. Does anybody know where I can find a copy of it? Thanks.

envelope-8976982 Wed, 17 Nov 1999 19:16:38 +0800
From: Yvonne Chung
Subject: How to set a PC as a router with Linux6.0?

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to set a single PC as a router by using Redhat 6.0. However, I find difficulties in finding the related topics in books or journals. Can you tell me how I can find the related topics? Thanks!

Best regards, Yvonne. —

envelope-8976982 Wed, 17 Nov 1999 13:03:37 +0100
From: Harold Konijnenberg
Subject: ipop3d/imap server problem

Problem with IMAP/Ipop3d server

I have a problem with getting the Ipop3d/Imap server to work. I use the Imap 4.5 package on my Red Hat 6.1 system. After installing RH 6.1 and configuring the system all services like Samba, Apache, FTP, telnet are working fine. But now I want to add a pop3 server. I checked my /etc/services file and Imap and pop3 services are enabled here. in the /etc/inetd.conf file the imap and pop3 services are not enabled, so i uncomment de following lines

#pop-3   stream  tcp     nowait  root    /usr/sbin/tcpd ipop3d
#imap    stream  tcp     nowait  root    /usr/sbin/tcpd imapd

After uncommenting these lines in the inetd.conf file i kill the inetd proces to reload /etc/inetd.conf with the following command:

killall -HUP inetd

When i try to telnet in to the linux box now by: telnet (my linux box) i can’t connect. FTP’ing into the linux box gives a problem with the in.ftpd daemon.

When i restore the original /etc/inetd.conf all problems are disappeared and eveything works fine again.

I can’t figure out what is the problem. I know that the problem starts when changing the /etc/inetd.conf file, so perhaps its some kind of security issue???

Any help is very welcome,

envelope-8976982 Thu, 18 Nov 1999 17:06:03 IST
From: nayab shaikh
Subject: How to configure isdn on linux

Hi friends,

Can anybody of you guide how to configure isdn on linux.I have Red Hat linux 6.0 server installed on my computer.I have a 56.6 kbps ext modem ….also is RADIUS is possible with it.(remote athentication dial in user service)….

Waiting for your reply…


envelope-8976982 Sat, 20 Nov 1999 12:22:12 +0530
From: Sivaraman Manivasagam
Subject: Regd Lexmark Printer Drivers

I’ve recently installed Redhat Linux 5.2 am having a problem installing my Lexmark Optra E ( PS Support ) Laser Printer .I have been to the Lexmark site and there are no drivers for Linux.Any help in this matter would be appreciated.

Kindly mail to :
a copy to :

envelope-8976982 Sat, 20 Nov 1999 19:24:56 -0500
From: GZukoff
Subject: None

I have stumbled upon your website and was exterely pleased!!! I am a newbie to Linux but have been interested in alternate OS’s for about 18 months after trying (in vain) to install FreeBSD. I have downloaded and am installing Corel Linux 1.0 and was hoping you wil be doing a write up regarding it son. I am anxious to see how it stacks up against the other Linux releases.

envelope-8976982 Sat, 20 Nov 1999 22:33:04 -0500
From: outofstep
Subject: xwindows display problems?

i recently installed redhat 6.1,, i have a voodoo banshee 2 graphics card, and i get ditorted pixels on the screen when i scroll and move windows… is there a driver update or something i need to fix this? please help. so far i love linux, and this is my only problem 🙂

envelope-8976982 Sat, 20 Nov 1999 21:27:52 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Question


I hope this is the right address to right to with a Linux question.

I have a lot of Joliet format CD’s made with DirectCD in Windows. Linux can read the CD’s, but on files with long names (Over 20 characters or so) the filesize is dramatically misreported. 6-7 meg files are listed as 2-3 meg files. Linux can’t see it all, and this of course means the file is pretty much corrupt and of no use in Linux. The CD’s are readable fine in Windows, but not Linux. I’ve searched high and low and can find no answer to this problem. I hope you can help.


Steve –

angry fruit salad (n.)

A bad visual-interface design that uses too many colors. (This term derives, of course, from the bizarre day-glo colors found in canned fruit salad.) Too often one sees similar effects from interface designers using color window systems such as X; there is a tendency to create displays that are flashy and attention-getting but uncomfortable for long-term use.


envelope-8976982 Thu, 18 Nov 1999 21:47:28 -0500
From: Edith & Steve Dolesch
Subject: Fw: Disability Features.

Lire aussi... The PATH environment variable

I just need to know if Linux has disability features like Windows (all versions)? I’m a disabled person and use StickyKeys to write with one hand if needed and the Numeric Pad to move the mouse cursor.

[The Linux Access-HOWTO explains the capabilities Linux systems have for people with disabilities. It says that X-windows has a StickKeys feature, and the FVWM window manager can be controlled without a mouse. -Ed.]

envelope-8976982 Tue, 23 Nov 1999 10:30:53 +0800
Subject: winNT+MSproxy+linux question

My PC is in a WindowsNT-based LAN which has a MSproxy system, under win9x session in order to connect to internet I have to login the WinNT domain, and Of course the win9x is equiped with msproxy client. A linux system is also installed in my machine, but how to visit the internet?

Thank you

envelope-8976982 Mon, 22 Nov 1999 21:55:00 EST
Subject: do you know the USB(network adapter 10T) can run under linux?

Do you know the Universal serial bus with ehternet ‘s network adapter can work under Linux? or where we can down load driver?

hope to get your reply and help

envelope-8976982 Mon, 22 Nov 1999 21:10:13 -0800
From: Yunfei Deng
Subject: Setup network printer

I have RedHat 6.1 installed, but need to figure out how to use the network printer. The network printer is shared on a NT domain which is available to use if I login in NT. Any tip is welcome.

envelope-8976982 Tue, 23 Nov 1999 11:16:44 -0600
From: Carlos Alarcon
Subject: Hi!!! I have a big problem

I just bought a new computer. It has an « on-board » video card, Intel 810 chipset. I couldn’t configure X to work with this type of card. First, I let Linux probed, it failed. Then I looked at the list, of course, it wasn’t there. Then I tried an unlisted card and configured it as a general svga, it still failed. What to do now?

envelope-8976982 Tue, 23 Nov 1999 21:09:22 PST
From: Edgar Henry
Subject: Accessing previous partition (path 16 and 32)

I am trying to install redhat linux 6.0 on my PC which is dual booting on Windows 98 and windows NT and has a patition of Path 16 and 32. When I try to install Redhat Linux choosing the workstation its automatically installing and I cannot access my data anymore using the windows 98 or NT since it is not recognizing the partition.

It is possible for me to get my data from my previous windows.

Thank you very much

envelope-8976982 Wed, 24 Nov 1999 02:57:15 -0800
From: kevin hartman
Subject: Direct Cable Connection between Win95 and Linux, by Thomas P. Smyth

Would you happen to have a current e-mail address for Thomas P. Smyth, author of Direct Cable Connection between Win95 and Linux?

envelope-8976982 Sat, 30 Oct 1999 17:47:57 +0100
From: Andy D Williams
Subject: a complaint about issue 47


I am a regular reader of your gazette magazine who is using windows 95. I download and extract your magazine onto a local disk for reading at my pleasure and I find it very useful and informative about installing and use of linux. I intend to move over to a unix like system permanently sometime in the future and prefer to read your magazine on my windows hard disk while I’m learning to get to grips with linux.

So onto the complaint! How can I read your magazine if your tar.gz files won’t extract onto my hard disk! Why won’t they extract or why won’t issue 47 extract? Your issue 47 tar.gz appears to be using a dos/windows reserved system name for a directory or filename! the lg/issue47/aux directory can’t be created on my windows disks because aux is one of those names. Assuming you or your contributors have used dos and windows in the past why didn’t they know about these names in dos and windows?

Are you trying to stop windows users from learning about linux?

I have been able to read your excellent magazine from issue 1 to issue 46 without any problems and would like to continue until and after I am no longer using windows as my primary operating system.

Thank you very much

Andy Williams

[Argh, I forgot aux is a reserved devide name under DOS/Windows. This was corrected in early November. (The directory name is now misc.)

I also corrected a link to a program listing in JC Pollman’s and Bill Mote’s article Backup for the Home Network. If you were unable to view these files earlier, please try again now. Apologies to the authors of an excellent article which is being widely read, judging from the number of messages I received about this link.

Starting in issue 47, I have been moving all program listings into their own text files rather than keeping them inline as part of the HTML. This will hopefully be a convenience for readers who wish to run the programs or borrow code from them. –Ed.]

envelope-8976982 Fri, 12 Nov 1999 10:05:43 +0100
From: Joachim Krieger
Subject: AW: Duplicate messages, unreadable listings, Pollman article

[The following are excerpts from a larger conversation. The issue is, after there’s been a correction to the LG FTP files, how does one tell whether the file(s) s/he has are the old ones or the new ones? If the file date at the main FTP site is newer, obviously the user has an old file. But if the user’s program or a mirror site touched the file, its modification date could be misleadingly recent. -Ed.]

Is there any criteria that allows to distinguish the old issue47 from the new one ? ( beside the file-date/time )

OK – I got the fix and offer it on our server. ( http://www.the45er/lg resp. )

Not your – but my problem is, that the .gz-file carries date/time-stamp of my download – and that’s Nov 11.

Assume: Someone has an old version – including the problems you’ve fixed. This person is looking for the fixed file. Question: does this person have to download ‘lg-issue47.tar.gz’ and unpack it

  • to find out he/she got the same (old) stuff
  • or he/she got that, whats wanted.

File date/time can’t be the criteria, because of touching by some clients…

The Linux Gazette Editor wrote:

I’m not sure how to deal with that situation. I’ll put it in the Mailbag and see if somebody can come up with a solution. It might be worth adding a changelog to the README, but that won’t help you decide whether the file you have is the old one or the new one. I could link the new file to a different filename (lg-issue47-fixed-nov-2.tar.gz), but that would cause too much clutter in the directory and may not be welcomed by the mirrors.

It seems like this is what the modification date is for, and if some programs aren’t preserving it on downloads, the solution is to fix those programs or figure out how to work around them (e.g., set up an alias with the correct command-line options to preserve the timestamp); otherwise, you’ll have even more problems later with other files, trying to figure out what is up to date and what isn’t.

Joachim responded:

maybe one solution could be an aditianal note apended to one of the files – or a new file with that. The result should be a different filesize of the newly created tar.gz.

Perhaps publishing the size of the old – and the size of the new file may help.

[Readers, would this be helpful? Or exactly what information would be most helpful to you? -Ed.]

envelope-8976982 Fri, 05 Nov 1999 09:57:04 -0500
From: Darren and Kristen Morin
Subject: Excellent job!

Yeah, THIS is the kind of content I like to read.

Hello my name is Darren and I have been a linux user for about two years. While I may be past the point of out-and-out newbie, I’m certainly NOT a Guru. The articles in the Nov.99 issue are excellent1 It is almost like you folks were picking my brains, because these were the kinds of issues on my mind right now, especially the features on security and running unix as a home user. More features like this, please!

Keep up the great job folks. I don’t know if you get many encouraging letters, considering this as one of them.

Bye for now

envelope-8976982 Mon, 1 Nov 1999 23:19:07 -0800 (PST)
From: Heather
Subject: Re: New format: My 2 cents

Sorry, not to offend, but I really don’t like the new Answer Guy format! I prefer to read it in « The Whole Damn Thing » format.

TWDT is always available but please, read onward…

I find that I can pick out the things that interest me much easier if I can scan the message contents as well as just the titles. I usually just use the down arrow and pagedown keys to browse through the articles.

November’s style *not* a new format; this is a special edition. People have been asking for the titles to be indexed, and it was clear that some i of them did not spot the « Index to Past Answers » gadgets found at the bottoms of the single messages (see October issue, any message, footer).

There were a great many messages this month, but they will be published in December’s issue, in the same format that October’s was.

I understand that the new format is more search engine friendly so maybe a compromise is in order. How about a complete page in TWDT format for each primary topic. That way those of us that like to scan a whole series can do so without having to bounce back and forth between individual articles and the index and the associated page reload delays.

Not mentioned before is that cooking the TWDT version is a normal part of my submission at the end of the month… Mike, this sounds like a request to normally link that in at the Answer Guy Index level.

Of course this returns us to torturing the search engines as it would hit on TWDT.lg_answerNN.html for every amazing topic in linuxdom. (Because we get a wide variety of questions each month, and so few search engines search for the keywords being anywhere near each other.) I’m not at all sure I favor this. This is why it hasn’t been linked in even though my submits have included TWDT format subfiles for a long time. Mike, Jim, any opinions?

However, Rob, to address what you really seem to be asking for: No. Sorry. I am *not* going to republish the whole of the past answer guy messages in TWDT format by the topics I selected. It’s weird enough that I only picked one classification each, when several of them fit more than one. Several of them are superseded long ago by changes in Linux itself. It’s an *index* … that means it does *not* contain anything but pointers. Since it doesn’t point to any new content, it would be a waste of time better spent on the newer messages. Please bear in mind I do this work for LG on a volunteer basis. I have consulting work to do as well, and would like to limit the time I spend on this.

As a side note, I usually read the Gazette on my work machine which is that other OS 🙁 which complicates the process of reading the tar.gz version.


That question is answered in the FAQ. WinZIP for « that other system » handles tar, gzip, or tgz files without complaint. If you insist on doing it the hard way I believe tar and gzip might have been ported as commandline utilities, but you’ll have to go find them yourself, perhaps at

I hope you enjoy next month’s column.

* Heather Stern, HTML Editor for « The Answer Guy »

[I’m currently doing a lot of « under the hood » work on how the Gazette is linked together. That is, writing scripts to auto-generate the links and update them, rather than placing the links by hand. Once this is complete, we can look at adding links to make The Answer Guy more readable. But first, we have to get used to the new Answer Guy format for a couple issues, so we can see what is working well and what isn’t. -Ed.]

envelope-8976982 Tue, 16 Nov 1999 10:08:03 +0100
From: marco masini
Subject: « great ideas » ??? :-))

Hi guy How are U? U make a good work with linux gazette

Why U don’t create an « index » by word (analitical index is better? 🙂 ) ?

I’ m looking for emacs but I don’t know how to find something about it on your pages.


PS. I apologize for my englis

[There is a search engine at the main site. Starting this issue there is a « Search » link near the top of both the Table of Contents and the Front Page.

I typed « emacs » into the search dialog and got lots of links back. -Ed.]

envelope-8976982 Mon, 15 Nov 1999 11:43:26 -0800 From: Guillermo Schimmel

Subject: Re: I can’t access

I can’t access anymore. Is my problem or the server is down?

[The server has PARANOID turned on, which means your (the client’s) forward and reverse DNS names must match or it won’t allow access. Could that be the problem?

I asked our sysadmin if we could turn off the PARANOID feature, since the files are public anyway. However, he was adamant that it’s a necessary security measure. -Ed.]

envelope-8976982 Sun, 31 Oct 1999 10:21:14 +0100
From: Paul Dunne
Subject: to MIME or not to MIME?

I can’t take issue with your plea for writers-in to stop using HTML. But I do take exception to this:

And if your mailer splits long lines by putting an « = » at the end of the line and moving the last character or two to the next line, please try to turn that feature off. Also some mailers turn punctuation and foreign characters into «  » and « =E9 » and the like. I can’t reformat those, since I don’t know what the original character was! -Ed. P.S. This the first time ever I have resorted to blinking text, which I usually despise. I understand some mailers don’t allow you to turn off this obnoxious « multimedia » formatting. But if you can, please do so.

If your mailer can’t understand MIME, and translate a so-encoded document it back into proper text when appropriate, then your mailer is broken, and you need either to fix it, or get another that isn’t broken. It really is as simple as that.

[I use mutt, which is supposed to be one of the most MIME-capable mailreaders around. -Ed.]

From: Pepijn Schmitz

You can use any extensions you want, as long as you configure your webserver to use the text/plain MIME type for them. It’s the mime type that the browser uses to decide whether or not to display a file, not the extension. Only when the web server doesn’t provide a MIME type does the browser try to guess at it using the extension.

Also, regarding your request to turn off quoted printable characters (, etc.), my question is: why? It’s a lot better than leaving the original 8-bit characters in, which may display very differently on your screen than the author of the email intended, or may be control characters which will screw up your terminal settings. Quoted printable characters (and also the =’s at the end of a line) are part of the MIME standard and should be converted back by any MIME compliant mail reader.

HTML email is even better, because it allows you to include international characters in a platform independent way (quoted printable is not platform independent). If I were you, I’d upgrade to an email reader that will handle all these things, such as Netscape Messenger.

envelope-8976982 31 Oct 1999 14:00:10 -0800
From: Stephen R. Savitzky
Subject: Re: Filename extensions for web program listings

You [the LG Editor] write:

My question is, which filename extensions are safe to use so that they’ll show up properly as text files in the browsers? I’m wavering between using a language-specific extension (.c, .sh, .pl, .py, etc.) vs putting .txt at the end of all of them (or .sh.txt, etc.) What about listings that don’t have an extension on the source file? They display as text on my browser, but do they display properly on yours?

The correct solution is to use the correct language-specific extensions, and to configure your server to give files with those extensions the MIME type « text/plain ». This means that the browser doesn’t need to guess (and guess wrong, in most cases) about what type the file really is.

Language-specific extensions would be the most ideal, because they offer the possibility of syntax highlighting if the browser supports it. (Does any browser support this?) However, I know I’ve tried to view files on other sites that I know perfectly well are text-readable, but the browser insists on downloading them rather than viewing them because it doesn’t recognize the type. (Of course, that’s better than the corollary, where it tries to view .tar.gz or .mp3 files as text.)

All browsers should use the type supplied by the server in the headers; only if the server fails to provide a « Content-Type: » header is the browser permitted to guess. If your server is Apache, for example, you can perform the extension-to-type mapping in a « .htaccess » file in the directory containing the listings — see the Apache documentation for details.

Syntax highlighting can be done by providing two versions of the file, one in plain text and the other (with, e.g., a « .c.html » extension) in HTML as generated by a clever highlighting programm that you run once, on the server side. Again, nothing is left up to the browser; it’s all done on the server.

From: Rich Brown :

My suggestion is xxxxx.c.txt,,, and so on.

Keep up the great work. LG is one of my prime resources.

From: Anthony E. Greene :

I’d say no extensions should be used. Most web servers default to text/plain when sending unknown files to browsers. I’ve never seen a browser that supports highlighting, so language-specific extensions are of limited utility.

From: :

What about listings that don’t have an extension on the source file? They display as text on my browser, but do they display properly on yours?

Not easily (am using StarOffice-5.1a).

Language-specific extensions would be the most ideal, because they offer the possibility of syntax highlighting if the browser supports it. (Does any browser support this?)


The answer to both objections is an easy-to-use, GUI, Mime setup program. The other side of this is that so many software packages ignore the system (and user for that matter) mailcap and mime-type files in favor of their own.

No extension should not be an option. Without an extension there is *no* handle to decide what to do with the file. Add « .txt » to these.

Where an extension is already present, leave it, but provide an alternative of the same filename + « .txt ». Thus « foo.c » would be available both as « » and « ».

Hope this helps,
== Buz 🙂

From: walt

use the .txt extension

and if you really feal froggy, call it « .text » so the point and click crowd doesn’t get confused.

From: Vrenios Alex

First, I believe that I can « set » my text editor to be called up when a « .sh » or a « .csh » suffix is found. But that might be oo much of a pain for most people (even me) to do for every possible extension. Here’s my recommendation:

Given mountfloppy.csh, a C shell script that mounds a floppy disk, use mountfloppy_csh.txt

Given convertIP.c, a C language program that converts an IP address from hex to dotted decimal or back, use convertIP_c.txt

The use of that underscore is visually descriptive, letting everyone know exctly what kind of file it is intended to be, which the dot-txt tells your OS which editor to bring up, for every one of these ascii files.

Are there any files that you are considering setting up that are -not- ascii text files? If not, maybe this will work. Good luck.

From: Jeff Rose :

Subject: Filename extensions for web program listings …

I’m enjoying reading this issue of LG on my Palm Vx after downloading your text version then using a small conversion util to format into PDBformat.

Anyway, I vote for the age-old ‘.txt’ extention for filenames. Why re-invent the wheel? And the less formatting – the better. We have _plenty_ of utilities for conversion: but TEXT vs. PDF, etc., .txt is the painless route.

My $0.02.

From: Sylvia Wong

Language specific extension wouldn’t work coz it’s too much hard work to change the mailcap to browse a few program listing. I prefer language extension + .txt. This way, when I want to save the file (I’m using Netscape), I could just delete the .txt and don’t have to type a .pl or .c or whatever.

Does Windose handle files with 2 extensions well? (Or maybe we don’t care about them at all as why would anyone read Linux Gazette using windose).

[I decided to go the *.sh.txt route, using a language-specific extension when one exists, but always ending in .txt. This should ensure the files can be both read and downloaded verbatim on the widest variety of web servers and browsers.

BTW, a lot of people do read the Gazette on Windows machines. -Ed.]

envelope-8976982 Thu, 04 Nov 1999 18:49:22 +0100
Subject: Spanish tranlations of Linux Gazette

Dear editor,

As you said in your reply to Mr. Offret currently there’s no Spanish translations of Linux Gazette. However, the only Linux on-line magazine translated into Spanish is Linux Focus (ok, they’re your competitors, but it’s the only you can get in Spanish for free). There’re also a number of Linux magazines in Spanish but, as far as I know, they’re all printed editions and they’re not free!. Here is a list:

  • « Solo Linux »
  • « Linux Actual »
  • « Linux Journal »