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Help Wanted -- Article Ideas

 Date: Tue, 08 Sep 1998 11:02:29 +0000
From: Kyrre Aalerud, kyrrea@student.matnat.uio.no
Subject: Minilinux fails to load X11

I am out of ideas...
I am trying to get Mini-Linux to load the accompanied X11, but i get a error about some directory or file that dows not exist, and a "Unexpected signal 13" error... What am I forgetting... Is there anything special I have to load to get the D.. thing to work ?

PS: I cant find any CDrom-devices either.... (I have looked in etc and averywhere else but...)



 Date: Sun, 06 Sep 1998 23:29:09 -0400
From: Nathaniel Smith, slow@negia.net
Subject: Lost newbe

I find it hard to believe that every one thinks that all people know how to operate linux perfectly, and that all are born with this information. This must be the case for I cannot find a site on the web that teaches you how to operate Linux (and I am desperate to find one), I have run into people using windows 95&98 (12 people) that would like to try Linux but cant find out how to operate it (there is a real good deal at best buy on Red Hat Linux) so I bought it and a new Western Digital hard drive to put it on, though my trying to find somewhere that teaches Linux, I came upon an article that says you can have Linux and windows on the same computer while learning Linux, and after learning you can delete windows. Sooooooo how about giving us articles on how to utilize this great OS, and help hundreds us poor lost souls that are desperate. thank you Nathaniel alias poor lost desperate newbe

 Date: Thu, 03 Sep 1998 15:04:43 -0600
From: Hugh Shane, hughs@tetonvalley.net
Subject: Booting from LS120 disk drives

I know this information is out there somewhere, but I'd like to hear from anyone who has successfully gotten an x86 Linux machine to boot from an LS120 disk drive.


 Date: Wed, 02 Sep 1998 23:01:25 +0800
From: Lye On Siong, oslye@pacific.net.sg
Subject: some qn

Just like to ask a few questions.

My CD-ROM is on /dev/hdd. When I want to mount it, it tells me that it's not a block device. (previously, it was running fine.. dunno what happen)

How can my Linux kernel support PPP? How do I recompile my kernel to make it work?


 Date: Thu, 10 Sep 1998 02:03:46 +0530 (IST)
From: M Anand, manand@bhaskara.ee.iisc.ernet.in
Subject: proxy

How do I set the proxy server for lynx and irc in Red-Hat Linux 5.1/SuSE Linux 5.1?


 Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 01:25:44 PDT
From: parmentier remy, parmentier_remy@hotmail.com
Subject: Help : Modem + HP

I am close to commiting suicide!
I have already spent hours trying to fix my Supra336 PnP internal modem and my HP DeskJet 720C under Linux!
The result is always the same, no communication with teh modem and no page printed on the HP printer!
Could someone help me, I am close to abandon!
Thank you for answering. ( I use the RedHat 5.1 distribution )

 Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 13:35:01 -0400
From: Taylor Sutherland, taylors@boone.net
Subject: Canon BJC-250 question

I have a Canon BJC-250 color printer. I have heard many people say that the BJC-600 printer driver will let me print in color. But I have not heard anyone say where I can get such a driver. I have looked everywhere but where it is. Can you help me?

Thank you.
Taylor Sutherland

 Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 18:39:03 -0600 (CST)
From: Dion Rowney, rowney@enterprise.usask.ca
Subject: Article Suggestion

I just had a nasty problem this morning. I had recompiled my kernel the night before and forgot to tell lilo where it was. In the morning I found it sitting at the "loading linux ..." prompt hung. My idea would be help on getting around this problem, maybe a little about how lilo knows where the boot kernel is, recovering easily from this mistake (a good idea since as usual I chose the difficult way).

Just am idea because I felt like a tool because I had no idea how it could be fixed, aside from reinstalling or upgrading using the boot install disks.

Dion Rowney

 Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 11:51:10 +0200
From: Jan Jansta, ftx@rainside.sk
Subject: Problem mounting vfat filesystem ...

I have permanent problem with mounting any vfat/dos filesystem with write permisions for all users on my Linux machine. I'm using RedHat 5.1, kernel version 2.0.34

I've already tried -

mount -t vfat -o mode=0777 /dev/hdb1 /dos
I've also tried to change permisions for /dos via
chmod 777 /dos
It didn't work as well.

Does someone know what's not working properly ?


General Mail

Last month I printed a letter from Hugo van der Kooij in which he asked me to quit using the word "Damn" in the Table of Contents of Linux Gazette. I said I would put it to a vote. Well, I received quite a bit of mail on this issue, and the vote was essentially 6 to 1 in favor of keeping this word.

That said, I intend to renege on my statement that I would abide by the vote. Much of the mail I received is not printable, and some of it is quite entertaining. The best, most well-thought out answer I received is printed directly below, and this letter alone convinced me that I should accede to Hugo's request. From now on I intend to call that section containing the entire issue TWDT -- this is the best compromise I could think of. We all know what TWDT stands for, it will just not be printed there. Newcomers may be a bit confused but they'll survive.

Enough said. This is my final decision, so please don't write asking me to change my mind. As many reminded me, we have more important things to spend our time considering, such as helping others to learn and love Linux as we do.

Marjorie Richardson, Overseer, Editor and now Ruler of Linux Gazette :-)

 Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 15:12:55 +0800
From: Mark Harrison, markh@usai.asiainfo.com
Subject: Drop the "Damn"

Given his e-mail address, there is a reasonable chance that Hugo van der Kooij may be a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, probably one of the most strict Protestant denominations.

They are generally quite excellent people (most of the Dutch nationals imprisoned by the Nazis for sheltering Jews were in this denomination, following their [correct] interpretation of the Bible.). They are also very strict in observing proper behavior, such as no swearing.

I don't advocate a wholesale removal of the various naughty words from the culture (The title of Audie Murphy's famous book summed up his experiences perfectly), but for this case, I see no harm in dropping the offending word.

Mark Harrison, Beijing, China

 Date: Wed, 09 Sep 1998 14:03:04 +0200
From: Sean Mota, smota@polar.es
Subject: links between identical sections

Now and then I've found myself reading an article in an issue of the gazette and thinking of a past article that I read in a previous issue, both belonging to the same section (normally the Graphics Muse). Since I would like to read again that past article and I never remember in which issue it was published, I have to go to the main page, select an issue an view the table of contents, and finally click on the section I'm interested in. It would be much quicker if "last"/"next" buttons between articles of different issues but belonging to the same section were available. That way, if I were reading the Graphics Muse's article of this month and he mentions something about OpenGL, I might remember there was an article on this subject (OpenGL) a couple of past issues; then, with the aid of the "last" button, I would start reviewing past articles of the Graphics Muse until I found the one I was interested in.

Maybe this is a bit complicated to implement, but I think it would certainly be a great improvement. Another application would be: a quicker way to find an article belonging to a certain section whose subject is not listed in the table of contents. The search engine of the gazette is only available online.

Thanks for the marvelous job your doing with the gazette:

Sean Mota

(This is a good suggestion and one I have gotten before. It is actually on my list of things to do. I'll try to find time for it sooner rather than later. --Editor)

 Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 23:43:49 -0400
From: "Michael Longval", mlongval@interlinx.qc.ca
Subject: Linux installation not easy.

As a computer user and technology observer for the past 20 years I fear the domination of the tech sector by one very large corporation aka Microsoft. We are alas left at the mercy of a company not known for the quality of it's products, but rather for the intensity of it's marketing of it's products.

Windows 98 works ok for me, but I'm frustrated by it's instability.

I have installed Red Hat 5.0 on my IBM ThinkPad 380, but can't get the X windows part up and running. I'm left with the shell only prompt.

I have looked at the manuals and checked the newsgroups, the web sites but still can't get the X windows parts up and running. I'm not a tech dummy. I've played with complicated systems before. Understand C, Rexx, Pascal, Delphi, and others.

However I'm still stranded. So I still use Windows 98...

The day I can easily boot up Linux to a STANDARD GUI DESKTOP is the day I'll start thinking about switching. Unfortunately for me that day has not arrived yet.

Michael J. Longval M.D.

 Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 23:33:36 -0400
From: "Chris Bruner", cbruner@ionline.net
Subject: support problems

I purchased the Red Hat brand of Linux chiefly because of the 90 day installation support. In a nutshell, at first I'm told some very basic things which I had already tried, then when I ask if an alternative was a viable solution (recompiling the kernel with PnP built in) I was told that my problem was no longer covered under the installation support. I still don't have sound and as for my other open tickets, only one other was responded to (after weeks) and I haven't heard back on the rest. So I'm not on the Internet yet, I have no sound yet, and I'll never recommend Red Hat to anyone because of their support.

Chris Bruner

 Date: Tue, 01 Sep 1998 21:08:59 +0000
From: Trey, abelew@wesleyan.edu
Subject: Linux Desktop

I was flipping through the recent Linux Gazette and noted the article about Linux on the desktop. I thought perhaps I should chime in as I have had a purely Linux system sitting upon my desk now for well over a year and would not have it any other way.

Ashton Trey Belew

 Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 16:01:11 +0100
From: Peter Houppermans, envelope@pobox.com
Subject: Linux acceptance

I've seen quite a number of letters stating that to improve Linux acceptance it should have an easier to use GUI et all.

I'm not sure I'd agree entirely with this. The point where Linux is making inroads is not in the desktop arena. I'll most likely attract lots of flames for this, but Microsoft has done a reasonable job in making their desktop products useful, and easy to use. How many people need the manual with Word or Excel ?

Sure, it crashes frequently for some people, but for a large number of users it doesn't matter because they shut down the machine at the end of the day, conveniently saving slow memory leaks from exposure. And I have a W95 system that tends to get rebooted every two weeks, just to clear it up. No need to do it more often. So that community has zero interest in an alternative, other than for cost saving reasons. To convince those people you'll have to give them something that is nearly as easy to use, at a lower cost -and that includes staff costs for setting it up. What is needed here is a way of actually restricting the richness of the XWindows interface so users don't get the chance to shoot themselves in both feet and reduce support needs. I'm sure it is possible, but there has been no concise effort towards this idea. KDA, Gnome and Enlightenment are extremely impressive efforts, but they enrich the setup, not lock it down for Johnny EndUser who just wants to run his word processor. Give them a command line and they'll panic ;-(...

Where Linux *IS* making a difference is in the server arena. If a desktop crashes it affects one (1) user, if a server crashes it takes everyone down who's connected. Instantly, the impact on productivity is amplified. What creates reluctance to accept Linux as an alternative is the lack of people to shout at if it goes wrong. Also, there are only now a few companies that offer a Service Level Agreement on support for Linux, and lack of support is a very nervous thing if you run mission critical applications. Yes, I agree with many that the main issue is not support, but not having a need for it, but one has to deal with disaster recovery as well, and overall system management. Only now CA has brought out some management modules for Linux (to make Linux systems visible in Unicenter TNG). And I'm not aware of any HP OpenView MIBs for Linux (if there are I'd be very happy to hear of them and I'd like to see both of these packages themselves run on Linux).

Any company that wants to use Linux wholesale will want to manage it, and until hard commercial tools are there this won't happen unless through the back door.

I would be very happy to see an alternative to NT, if only just for keeping MS on their toes. Linux is very hard on its way to become that alternative, but I'm not sure it is entirely there yet. Support from SUN, Oracle, CA and Netscape makes a difference, but it takes more than that to change a corporate strategy. Case studies where Linux is shown to be a viable Enterprise OS with the associated cost savings, improved reliability, manageability and all that goes with being a grown up OS will do more to convince the board than any other well-meant effort.

Just an observation....

For the record:

I myself use Red Hat Linux 5.1 on most of my home systems (except the one W95 box) and on my Toshiba 480CDT (HOWTO web page appearing shortly), and I've used virtually every version of Windows and DOS since DoubleDOS appeared, and all versions of OS/2 since v2. I've been a Linux user for about 6 years, having had no previous exposure to Real Operating Systems <g>. So I'm not an expert, but I'm not entirely clueless either ;-).

Regards, Peter

 Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 15:31:40 +0200
From: Ian Carr-de Avelon, ian@emit.pl
Subject: GUI and novices

This is my response to the letters by James Mitchell (Sep 98) and Antony Chesser (Aug 98). Well designed GUI's speed up the learning process because the user can see that there is a possibility. The user may have no idea what the icon of scissors will do, or even recognize that they are scissors, but if there is a button you learn very quickly you can click on it with the mouse and so lets give it a try. That simple peace of knowledge, that buttons can be pressed, will get you quite a way in a GUI. Knowing that you could use "<esc>d5" in vi will not take you nearly as far. Not only novices benefit, also it is a major help to users who work with a program only occasionally. Finding the button which does "that" is easier than remembering a sequence of keys. Microsoft have added standardization. You click on the little x button and the program stops. A command line program could require you to type: end, quit, exit, bye... etc. Even with a foreign language version of Windows you can normally manage a few things, just because the layout is standard. I run a local ISP so I have used Linux daily for over 2 years, almost exclusively in command line mode. I understand its strengths but I can still recognize the problems which other users would have. Possibly that is because I visit clients to help them with their problems, or maybe it is because I worked as a teacher and later as a designer of educational material. At any rate I can see that Linux is not yet a real option for most users and anyone who cannot should offer a few hours of their time to support new users, the revelation would come quite soon.

This is a truth which I find quite painful to take, because there is nothing about the Linux OS which makes it so. The installation does not have to end with # prompt and Linux has not just one but several GUIs available any of which could be used in a consistent way by well designed programs. Although Microsoft have done more work in that respect, they are as far from being the best that their could ever be as their OS is in other ways. Many people who really want to see Linux being more widely adopted feel that this does not matter. Linux is being adopted for server applications and they hope that that will be enough to get people to make the effort to learn how to use it. My feeling is that most users choose NT because it looks like 95 which they have on their work station. Linux needs to selectable for basic office tasks before it will be widely accepted. Maybe Linux Gazette should run a competition for a best GPL suit for novice users:

A small novice package which could be included in most distributions and start up at boot time or alternatively with a standard command like "desktop". Would make it much easier to say to clients who's win95 has died again "Why don't you let me install Linux for you?" Yours Ian

 Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 14:24:23 +0200
From: Stefan Zandburg, szandb@cis.HZeeland.nl
Subject: text browsers

Ijust have read some of the Linux Gazette. It contains quite a bunch of useful information. On many pages some of that information is for me difficult or impossible to read.

The reason is that <B> bold text </B> is hardly visible in the browser i use. (lynx 2.7.2 beta, alternative, an even older version) The machine that acts as a terminal to the Novell Server only has a monochrome screen. As you may have concluded from stating the Server, it is beyond my abilities as user to install a graphical browser. I wish to read the Linux Gazette though and cannot do that on my home computer because i do not have an internet connection there.

If you'd use other tags like the Italic tags <I>.. </I> or the Font tags <Font size+1>...</Font size> people like me would be able to read your Gazette. The browser ignores unknown tags but it does support the bold tags and displays it awkward.

Here at our institute nearly 5000 students use the same browser to regularly visit the web. Although we all wouldd prefer using a graphical browser that is not likely to happen within reasonable time. Using the other tags in the future however would be only a small effort for you.

Stefan Zandburg

I sympathize with you, but bold and italic are used for two different purposes. If I always used italics, the difference in emphasis would not be apparent. There is also the problem that most articles come to me already tagged and I don't have the time to change them. I will think about this though and see what I can come up with. I mainly use bold for the subject lines of letters. That I can change easily. Consider it done. --Editor

 Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 14:34:18 EDT
From: Bobnhlinux@aol.com
Subject: Linux is the #1 OS on the Internet

Many of you may have seen these results, but I hadn't seen anything on any of these lists, so here it is:

Based on surveys of 810,000 European Internet servers, the Linux Operating System is the most used OS on the Internet. Three different categories were polled, web servers, FTP servers, and news servers. Not only was Linux number one in each category, but there wasn't even a consistent number two. Linux's market share went from 25.7% for news servers, to 26.9% for web servers, to 33.7% for FTP servers. In order to get a number two position in web servers and FTP servers, Windows 95/98 was lumped together with Windows NT. They aren't the same system. For news servers, Solaris came in second.

To get to the survey details, go to:

 Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 08:48:10 -0500 (CDT)
From: eanna@kc.net
Subject: WilberWorks

I ordered the GIMP CD from WilberWorks quitre some time ago and have heard nothing. E-mails have been ignored; I am getting ready to actually call them I wonder if others have had trouble with them? At their web site their FAQ includes several questions from people wondering where their CDs are--but those are fairly old, so either people wised up (except me) or they improved.

Jim Clark eanna@kc.net

 Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 22:06:58 -0700
From: Ken Linder, KLinder2@nos.com
Subject: YMGP (Yet More Good Press)

More mainstream press! And in a rather high-brow weekly CEO/CIO type periodical. The September 21st, 1998 issue of Computer World has it on page 34 in their "Computer World Quick Study" column. Very well done, IMPO. Also references Red Hat and Linux Journal.

With it in this paper, hopefully, the CIOs and CEOs will start talking with their technical people, trying to find out more about this OS. Normaly when I see the CEO heading twards me, I try to find somewhere to hide, but if he wants to ask about Linux, hey... I can talk to him as long as he likes!


 Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 13:31:01 -0400
From: David Nelson, nelson@er.doe.gov
Subject: In Praise of Wabi

With Wabi selling for $45 or less, I wanted to share my satisfaction with this product in case anyone else is interested. I have been running WIN 3.1 and Wabi on top of Linux for about five months with very good results. It lets me use several Win 3.1 (16 bit) applications, primarily Quicken 4 and MS Office 4.2, that previously forced rebooting into DOS. I am running a 200 MHz Pentium with 32M of memory. No problems with memory (about 13MB to run Quicken, WIN 3.1, and Wabi) and only a small speed hit (20-30%) on calculation intensive operations. I use the printer, floppy, and modem under Wabi, but no sound, as advertised. Wabi has limited printer drivers, but if your Linux is set up to print Postscript, using Ghostscript drivers for your printer, it will work fine. My Powerpoint viewgraphs, including art, look identical under Wabi, printing to Postscript and under Win95, printing directly to PCL. The Windows clipboard works as expected, and in addition I can cut and paste between Windows and X Window applications.

Wabi accesses my application and data files in the DOS/Win95 partition, so I could convert transparently from DOS over to Wabi -- a nice trick for Wabi to look through Linux back to the DOS file system. Though I haven't tried it, I expect I could see files on my other networked computers using SAMBA. My total extra disk space is 12MB for Wabi, and 24MB for WIN 3.1 files. You need a copy of WIN 3.1, WIN 3.11, or WIN for Workgroups in addition to Wabi. WIN95 won't work. As a bonus, you can run Windows applications remotely using an X-terminal, such as another Linux box. This is like Citrix Winframe, but a heck of a lot cheaper.

Is it a perfect fit? Not quite. I have a formatting problem printing checks from Quicken on my ancient FX80 dot matrix printer, and there are a few quirks such as a disappearing cursor and "bleed through" from background windows in Quicken. But I consider these minor nuisances that don't reduce utility. Sure, I can't use 32 bit Win apps, and some might say that Quicken 4 and MS Office 4.2 are ancient. But I have Quicken 96, 97, and 98 as well as Office 97 sitting on my shelf. I tried them and for my needs there was no more useful functionality, just more bloat and glitz. You make your own decision; I found $45 a good deal.

David B. Nelson

Published in Linux Gazette Issue 33, October 1998

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