Linux Gazette MailBag LG #60

New submission address!

Send tech-support questions, answers and article ideas to The Answer Gang . Other mail (including questions or comments about the Gazette itself) should go to . All material sent to either of these addresses will be considered for publication in the next issue. Please send answers to the original querent too, so that s/he can get the answer without waiting for the next issue.

Unanswered questions appear here. Questions with answers–or answers only–appear in The Answer Gang, 2-Cent Tips, or here, depending on their content.

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

No unanswered ‘help wanted’ letters this month.

envelope-5463549 Fri, 3 Nov 2000 09:39:41 -0000
From: Arthur G S Wilkinson
Subject: LG FTP listings have bogus « @ » signs in them

I have noticed that the Linux Guides FTP site at returns the directory listing in a format which appears garbled in some versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Using the Windows command line FTP program the unix user and group ID’s appear with @’s in them this appears to confuse IE.

Can anything be done about this?

[This was an artifact of our upgrade of wu-ftpd from 2.6.0 to 2.6.1 following advisories against version 2.6.0. As near as I can tell, « @ » in the directory listings resulted from a defect in this new version of wu-ftpd. For this reason and because wu-ftpd was now experiencing segvs, indicating possible buffer overflows or memory allocation problems, we’ve retired it in favor of a relative newcomer, muddleftpd: From the netnoise I’ve found so far, this daemon is well-recommended. The configuration is very simple and covers our needs nicely. Take a look and give us some feedback if you like. -Dan.]

envelope-5463549 Sun, 5 Nov 2000 11:19:15 EST
Subject: suggestion

would help if content had a concise statement of what each article holds. sentence could appears only when cusor passes over.

[Regarding the first part (a concise abstract for each article), we’ll consider that the next time we revise the Gazette’s layout. The current Table of Contents doesn’t have room for it, and we really want all the article links visible with as little scrolling as possible.

What should the concise statement contain that isn’t already in the title? I try to make the title as descriptive as possible, so that readers will not miss an article about something they’re concerned about simply because they didn’t realize the article would be about that.

Regarding the second part (making the sentance appear only when the cursor passes over it) would require Javascript, and we have preferred to keep the site free of Javascript, style sheets, etc–anything which might cause problems for some browsers. Perhaps in the future we’ll revisit the question of Javascript now that it has a browser-neutral standard (ECMAscript).

envelope-5463549 Thu, 9 Nov 2000 16:36:35 -0600
Subject: Getting all the FTP files in one file

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Dear editor, I would like to know if there is any way I could download all the issues in HTML format within a tar.gz or .zip file. I know that I could download each issue alone,but it would be very helping if you could tell me a way to download all the magazine’s issues together.

[There is no single file that contains all the issues. However, you can have a program download all the files at once without human intervention. ftp

mget *

Do the prompt command once or twice until it says « Interactive mode off ». This prevents it from asking whether to download each file. ncftp

get *

rsync See mirror I don’t know the options…

I personally would use ncftp for a one-time download, or rsync to set up something which would regularly via cron, or rsync on demand via a simple shell script. The beauty of rsync is that it downloads only the portions of files that have changed, saving time and bandwidth, especially if your Internet access is expensive. -Mike.]

envelope-5463549 Fri, 10 Nov 2000 19:29:16 -0500
From: Andy Kinsey
Subject: Kudos

Just a note regarding one of your 2-cent tip submissions:

I attempted to perform the 2-cent tip, from the March 2000 Linux Gazette that places a weather screen on the desktop. I was having difficulty, so I e-mailed the author, Matthew Willis. Matt not only replied quickly to my question, but suggested a way to fix the problem, which worked. Thanks to Matt’s assistance (which he did not have to do), I discovered the problem and learned something new in the process. Matt is a credit to Linux Gazette, and I’ll be looking forward to many more tips from him and others like him.

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envelope-5463549 Sun, 12 Nov 2000 01:16:01 EST
From: Mike Cathcart
Subject: dmesg explained

I just finished reading the article ‘dmesg explained’. Good article, although I thought you might like to know that some of the excerpts from dmesg that are shown are not visible in Konqueror. Basically, any excerpt that did not include a
tag are not rendered. This can be fixed by adding a to the end of those excerpts, which will not change the appearance in other browsers. I’ll be filing a bug report with, but I thought you might want to ‘fix’ the page in the meantime.

Your Editor wrote:

You mean all the

 blocks need a 
just before the

? Or they need it on every line?

Mike responded:

Actually, they just need a
anywhere inside the


, it doesn’t really matter where or how many. Kinda weird, but that seems to do it.

[I added a
tag inside the manual page excerpt. Does it look all right in Konqueror?

I’m not interested in putting
tags in other articles, for this browser bug. I suppose if it were Netscape or IE, I’d have to. -Mike.]

envelope-5463549 Sun, 12 Nov 2000 01:16:01 EST
From: BanDiDo
Subject: Kudos for LG

LG is awesome, if you charged for it I would subscribe. When I get some free time one of these I hope to pen a few articles and such.

With appreciation for a fine publication BanDiDo

Your Editor writes:

Thanks. Linux Gazette was established as a free zine and we firmly intend to keep it that way. There are already paid magazines out there (we publish one of them :), but LG fills a unique niche. No other e-zine I know of (Linux or otherwise) is read, not just through a single point of access, but in large part via mirrors or off-line (via FTP files, CD-ROMS, etc).

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Also, because LG’s articles are written by our readers, you (readers) are truly writing your own magazine. I only put things together and insert a few comments here and there, and occasionally write an article. If it weren’t for our volunteer authors, there would be no Linux Gazette. When I first took over editing in June 1999, I used to wonder every month whether there would be enough articles. But every month my mailbox magically fills with enough articles not just for a minimal zine (5-10 technical articles), but for a robust zine with 15+ articles covering a variety of content (for newbies and oldbies, technical articles and cartoons). A year ago, we never predicted there would be cartoons in the Gazette, but the authors just wrote in and offered them, and it’s been a great addition. It is truly a privilege to work with such a responsive group of readers, and years from now when I’m retired (hi, Margie!), I’m sure I will remember fondly what an opportunity it was.

Our biggest thanks go to The Answer Gang, especially Heather and Jim, who each spend 20+ hours a month _unpaid_ compiling The Answer Gang, 2-Cent Tips and The Mailbag. This has really made things a lot easier for me.

We look forward to printing some articles with your name on them. See the Author Info section at

And you other readers who haven’t contributed anything yet, get off your asses and send something in! Write a letter for the Mailbag, answer a tech-support question, join The Answer Gang, do a translation for our foreign-language sites, or write an article. What do *you* wish the Gazette had more of? *That’s* what it needs from you.

BanDiDo wrote back:

Would be lovely if you guys established an EFNET irc channel 🙂

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Published in Issue 60 of Linux Gazette, December 2000