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Help Wanted -- Article Ideas

 Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 23:13:13 +0200
From: Tomas Valusek, tvalusek@vs.inext.cz
Subject: MIDI on Linux

I'm trying to understand how is MIDI supported on Linux. Can you write a detailed article about it?

Tomas Valusek

 Date: Thu, 02 Apr 1998 15:59:18 +0800
From: Kevin Ng, kng@HK.Super.NET
Subject: Patch troubleshooting

It is common nowadays for s/w to be delivered in form of patches, which makes sense in terms of saving network bandwidth and time. However, as a end user, when somehow a patch fails, I don't know what do do, except email to the original author.

I'd therefore like to see an article describing patches, i.e.,

Kevin (from Hong Kong)

 Date: Mon, 30 Mar 1998 16:51:09 -0800
From: Nate Daiger, daiger@newdream.net
Subject: HELP--Utility for changing NTFS partition sizes

I want to dynamically change my NTFS partition to install Linux, but can only find resizing utilities for FAT. If no such utility exists, is there a way to install Linux on an NTFS partition?

Nate Daiger

 Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 22:33:39 -0500
From: Ahmad Faiz, AFAIZ@cstp.umkc.edu
Subject: Printing with Linux

I'm running Red Hat 5.0 on my machine, and I've just bought a HP DeskJet 722C printer, but I couldn't get it to work. I asked around on the IRC channels, and so far everyone has answered that Linux does not support it - is it a windows-only printer?

If so, is it possible to write a driver for it? or does anyone know of where I can get my hands on the driver (if it's already been written, of course). I would love to try and write one, but unfortunately I'm new to Linux and to programming.

any help would be appreciated...thanks!


 Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 16:00:19 -0500 (EST)
From: Nordic Boy, jklaas@cs.albany.edu
Subject: SysV init for Slackware

I am wondering if someone out there knows of a package to change Slackware's BSDish inittab (and rc.d/rc.*) files to a SysV type structure with separate rc.d.0, rc.d.1, etc inits. I am asking because I recently installed KDE and I really like it and I was thinking of using the SysV init editor that comes with it, but it would be nice to have something to start with rather than starting from scratch.


James Klaas

 Date: Thu, 02 Apr 1998 16:03:00 +0800
From: Kevin Ng, kng@HK.Super.NET
Subject: How to enable swapping

My machine, which is a Pentium Pro with 64MB memory, reports no swap space being used. In procinfo, it always report 0K swap space.

I did a fdisk on /dev/hda and verified that a 64MB partition of type Linux swap (83) is actually there.

So why is the swap never being used ?


 Date: Fri, 3 Apr 1998 09:35:37 +0200 (CEST)
From: K. Nikolaj Berntsen, berntsen@bkm.dtu.dk
Subject: finite elements programs for Linux

At the department where I am sitting they are planning to buy a PC-bar, and they intend to put NT on the machines. I would benefit from them putting Linux on them, since I could then use them for simulations overnight.

I started talking to the ones buying it and my arguments stopped, when they said that one reason for using NT was that they should be running finite elements programs on them and that the frontier for those programs was now on the windows platform. I don't know s... about that, so I am looking for info; should I accept their arguments or is it that he just does not know what can be gotten for Linux? Commercial Finite Element Method (FEM) programs are also in the searchlight!

Happy Computing, Nikolaj

 Date: Mon, 06 Apr 1998 13:42:35 -0700
From: Peter D'Souza, dsouza@panix.com
Subject: Btrieve Port?

Our company runs two major apps using a Btrieve database. I was wondering if anybody has ported either Btrieve server or client to Linux. It is an extremely fast database (and highly underrated too) which would be excellent if ported to Linux. I'm not too sure if the developers of our Btrieve applications would move to Linux, but if I could test a Linux-based solution with sample datasets, perhaps they'd be more amenable to the idea of moving to a Linux platform (as an alternative, at least).

Peter D'Souza

 Date: Wed, 08 Apr 1998 11:12:53 +0200
From: Denny Åberg, Denny@ele.kth.se

Hi, I'm tired of starting my X-session with 'startx -- -bpp 16' to get 16 biplanes instead of the default 8. How do I get xdm to run with 16 bpp? If I use it now, it starts X with 8bpp on my Red Hat 5 installation.

Denny Åberg, Sweden

 Date: Sat, 11 Apr 1998 17:18:11 +0000
From: pheret, pheret@linex.com
Subject: floppy problems

Hi there. Okay, i don't know if this is a floppy problem, or what, but here goes.

I am able to mount my diskette, but when I try to copy something from the disk to my hard drive I get this error:

floppy0: disk absent or changed during operation
end_request:  I/O error, dev 02:00, sector 1
bread in fat_access failed
cp: <file name>:  I/O error
Is this because it is mounted umsdos? Should I mount it something else?

I am running Linux 2.0.0 on an AST ascentia950n. I only have my basic system right now because I can't get my floppies to copy! arrgh.

anyhow, if you can help me, could you please send suggestions to pheret@linex.com? Thanks!

 Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 17:53:47 +0200
From: letromb@tin.it
Subject: cd rom

Hello.I have the Linux Slackware 2.0.30 Walnut Creek.I installed it on a Pentium 200 MMX with a 24x CD-ROM. During the installation I had to write "ramdisk hdd=cdrom" for reading the CD-ROM, but after the installation Linux doesn't see the CD-ROM. I have an atapi CD-ROM, and when I tried to compile my kernel another time, I saw that atapi is the default !!! So I don't understand where is the problem . What can I do ?

Thank you for your reply,

 Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 13:45:54 +0000
From: Jason Powell, jay@Lauren.dyn.ml.org
Subject: Red Hat Linux 5

Anyone know when Red Hat Linux 5.1 is coming out? I'm running a severely modified version of 5.0 now, and needless to say it stinks. I can't compile anything that uses sockets because of broken headers. Suffice to say, I find it to be quite an annoyance.

 Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 16:02:09 +0200
From: Lambert van Eijck, eijck@iri.tudelft.nl

I'm having a problem with my menus in X. I can access all menus (by mouse), but the items of those menus which are WITHIN a "X-box" are not selectable, somehow. The menus I'm talking about are menus like the 'vt fonts', 'main options' and 'vt options' in the Xterm. Or the 'file' and 'page' menu of Ghostscript.

If anyone has a suggestion on why I can select the menu but not menu item, please send me a mail. I'm using Debian 1.3.

Lambert van Eijck

 Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 13:12:53 +0800
From: Guan Yang, guan@wk.dk
Subject: How do I set up XDM?

I have heard that one can login to Linux via XDM. How is this done? Also, I have also heard that you can get a Linux penguin at boottime or something like that. Tell!

 Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 14:42:28 +0200
From: Ola Ekdahl, ola.ekdahl@swipnet.se
Subject: Modem

I am a real Linux newbie and I wonder how do I configure my modem. It's a sportster flash modem.

 Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 17:01:59 -0700
From: tng, tng@sosweb.com
Subject: getting ppp-2.3.3 to work

Anyway I finally decided to migrate to linux kernel 2.1.94 mainly because of the .94 indicates that they are almost ready for the next stable release...

The problem I have is ppp 2.3.3 I downloaded is read the README compiled the required parts and installed flawlessly...Now I CANNOT conect to my ISP.. They are running a linux network with redhat 5 for web hosting and slakeware controling the raid and passwords. I'm running slackware. (redhat would crash every couple days wipeing out my harddisk...got tired of rebuilding my system...got real good at backups : ) )

the ppp-2.2 I was using I had to use the +ua <file> switch where file contained the username and password for upap auth. after upgrading this swich was no longer available so I simply added it to my /etc/ppp/pap-secretes file:

username    *    password
this didn't work. So, I tried the following:
localhost    *    username:password
*                 *    username:password
My ISP hangs up on me. I changed the order of the fields every which way I could thing of but nothing worked. I would like to get my linux box back on the net because of better transfer times and a more stable environment. (linux connected at 33.6 and windoz connects and 24.# with the same serial settings modem init etc.)

Please help...I hate to downgrade after houres of work upgrading.

 Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 10:31:14 +0800
From: Stephen Lee, sljm@pobox.org.sg
Subject: Help Slackware

I am running Slackware 3.2 and I want my machine to have a name like stephen.merlin.com when people dial into my machine using PPP or Slip (My idea is to run some sort of a intranet BBS with poeple dialing in using Dial-up networking and people can telnet in) but apart from setting /etc/hostname do I need to run "named" perhaps you can have a article on how to set up this type of service.

General Mail

 Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 09:45:11 -0600
From: Mike Hammel, mjhammel@graphics-muse.org
To: STunney@ahcpr.gov
Subject: grammer sites?

You recently wrote to the Linux Gazette to express your aggravation about the use of apostrophes and the world "alot" in many articles and letters. You are correct - both of these are misused often in email, even more so in general email not destined for an online magazine. I often find myself trying to reword a sentence to not use "alot", and am aggravated with myself for having used it so often I can't think of more proper wording! You also mentioned that there were online dictionaries available. My only problem with your letter was you didn't mention where these could be found. If you have a few references, a follow up letter to the Gazette would be grealy appreciated. I know I often have need for a dictionary and a theasaurus in my own writings. Although I have one of each, they are pocket editions and somewhat limited. I realize I could look for references via Yahoo or other online search engines, but I thought since you had mentioned their existance you might already have the references.

Michael J. Hammel, The Graphics Muse

 Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 11:55:05 +0100
From: John Hartnup, slim@ladle.demon.co.uk
Subject: Regular Expressions

Great April issue. Thanks.

The further reading section for the Regular Expressions in C++ section misses out the *excellent* O'Reilly book Mastering Regular Expressions.

I suspect that most people, like me before I read the book, don't realise the sheer power behind regexs. It's revloutionised my coding methods (especially in Perl!).


 Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 19:51:30 -0500 (EST)
From: Casimer P. Zakrzewski, zak@acadia.net
Subject: IBM 8514 Monitor and X

I hope you have the space to publish all of this letter. I would certainly appreciate it if you did. Back in the Feb 98 issue of LG, my request for help with installing X on the old IBM monitor I have was published, and I received a number of replies, from all over the world as you'll see. I wish to thank:

        Corey G. <chds652@BOTCC.COM>;
        Todd Jamison <jamison@littonos.com>;
        "War Hound" <warhound@worldnet.att.net>;
        Justin Dossey <dossey@ou.edu>;
        Martin Vermeer <mv@fgi.fi>;
        Alexy Yurchenko <ayurchen@bell.aispbu.spb.su>;
        Robert Reid <reid@astro.utoronto.ca>; and,
        Miss Valarie Frizzle
Many advised using 'xvidtune' to get the proper settings, and a couple advised me to get RH5.0. I only got around to trying out anything about two weeks ago.

Now this may come in handy for anyone else with a monitor like mine. It was so simple it was foolish. First, I couldn't find 'xvidtune' after reinstalling RH4.2, so I figured I'd play around with the X configuration. If I blew the monitor, well.....

In the RH installation, when I got to the selection of monitors, I bit the bullet and selected 'custom'. A new menu came up, and guess what? In it was a listing for an 'IBM 8514 or compatible'. (As the younger people say today, I said "Duh?") I kind of figured my monitor was as compatible as it could get!

After I clicked on that and popped in what freqs I knew, X worked perfectly. Which is a nice end to the tale, but doesn't address the problem. The problem was that I was afraid to (as Ms. Frizzle says) 'Take chances; get messy.' I was too happy webbing along in the Win95 world. To newbies like me out there, all I can say is: do just that. I advise having a notebook and pen handy at all times, though, to write down anything you change and where you changed it.

Does RTFM sound familiar? Do that, too. A lot. Linux can be confusing, especially when you're trying to do something supposedly simple like installing PPP (I'm *still* working on that) and at different web sites you find three or four different ways to do that, and none seem to work in your case.

That's when you take chances and get messy. And you may well (as I've had to do), hit the big RESET button when it's a total SNAFU, and maybe have to reinstall. Breaks of the game. And that's where the notebook you've been writing all your changes comes in very handy. If you try to keep it all in your head, the kumpewter will win every time.

In addition, there is a lot of help from off-line sources, like library book sales. Last year, for example, I picked up an 'outdated' SAMS book entitled, "X Window System Programming". That was before I even thought about putting together another 'puter - over eight years from touching a keyboard. I may never use it; but it only cost $.50. Local gurus; if you're lucky enough to have them, be subtle in your approach to them. Like, 'Uh, gee, you can really get your (whatever it is) really whipping up a storm. Mine kinda...', and let it drag out. Ten years ago when I was a supposed 'guru', that *always* got me going. And I learned from a guy who had a really modern system back in the '80s, so I got one just like it.

When you say, "TRASH-80", you better smile, pardner! Mod-1, no less. 4K RAM. Damn thing could do just about anything.

Your ISP may or may not be a help, but try it. Where I am, when I walked in to sign up and the word Linux passed my lips, I thought they'd hang balls of garlic around their necks.

But if you want to do it, you will. I still don't have PPP on Linux, for example, so under Win95, if I find something tempting on the web, I still download it. It can always be put on a disk, if necessary - say you don't have a dos mount - and then tarred to your Linux partitiion.

But write it down; write it all down.

That's all I have to say, except I again all those who sent me help. That's what Linux is all about anyway, isn't it.

PS: I hope I was correct in the above to please the English purists. If not: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maximum culpa.


 Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 14:30:29 -0600 (MDT)
From: Dale K. Hawkins, dhawkins@teton.Mines.EDU
Subject: Bazaar ISP...

Hello, I was wondering if anyone has ever considered the idea of a bazaar model for running an ISP. By a Bazaar model, I of caurse refer to the infamous Cathedral vs. Bazaar model for software development. So what do I really mean. I mean an ISP by the people for the people. I have found that most ISP's are very restrictive in how things are run, i.e., many of the interesting utilities are strictly off limits. For example, I was recently trying to setup cvs to work as a server. The normal way to do this is by adding a line to inetd.conf. However, being only a "user" on my ISP, I had no way to accomplish this. So I though of a more complex way to set this up, but that method require the use of crontab. Again this service is not available to Joe User.

I am very aware of the obvious security issues, but surely there must be a way to improve the situation in someway. I cannot but think about rms (Richard Stallman) and some of his lestures on the evils of a sysadmin and thinking, "how true". But how can one deal with the open system issue, while still maintain a certain level of system security. I would be very pleased to see this erupt into a deep and lengthy thread somewhere. Just my 2 cents.


 Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 21:12:00 +0100
From: William Chesters, williamc@dai.ed.ac.uk
Subject: Linux is not ready for the desktop

David Wagle ("Evangelism: A Unix Bigot and Linux Advocate's Spewings", Linux Gazette #27) points out some good reasons why converting people to Linux can be harder than we expect.

But he seems to shy away from the natural conclusion. It is not currently possible to put together a setup which makes it possible for people to do normal day-to-day work and simple admin without serious trouble---whether or not they care about abandoning their existing Windows software. Ergo, Linux is simply not, in all conscience, a suitable platform for unsupported users who just want to get their jobs done.

It very nearly is. I run the maximally friendly Linux installation with Red Hat, linuxconf, KDE, Netscape and Word Perfect; my experience is that intelligent non-Unix users can manage fine 90% of the time. The remaining problems are very obvious, but here there are anyway spelt out in order of seriousness:

Yes, progress over the last year or two has been breathtaking. The developer community has shown itself capable of coming up with really lovely utilities and tools for non-initiates, and it no longer seems implausible that Linux will soon develop into something that rivals NT for ease of use. But in the mean time, proposing Linux to anyone not already conversant with Unix is tantamount to suggesting a new hobby: one with tangible rewards, to be sure, but let's admit that's what it is. Linux is not ready for the desktop.

Published in Linux Gazette Issue 28, May 1998

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