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The Mailbag

HELP WANTED : Article Ideas

Send tech-support questions, answers and article ideas to The Answer Gang <linux-questions-only@ssc.com>. Other mail (including questions or comments about the Gazette itself) should go to <gazette@ssc.com>. 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 might appear here. Questions with answers--or answers only--appear in The Answer Gang, 2-Cent Tips, or here, depending on their content. There is no guarantee that questions will ever be answered, especially if not related to Linux.

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

kernel tuner's helper

Mon, 04 Jun 2001 14:56:15 +0200
Antonio Sindona (Antonio.Sindona from italtel.it)

There is a tool to monitor kernel parameters and to change the limits. I explain better: I'd like to have a look in some occasions if there is some kernel parameter which has reached its limit, and have the possibility to change it. Moreover I'd like to see anyway ALL kernel parameters available to set them to optimize it. With HP-UX there is a tool (SAM) which makes this work. Any idea for a Linux box ? Thanks in advance

Antonio Sindona

What Type of Hard disk ( SCSI/RAID)

1 Jun 2001 20:29:11 -0000
Alpesh K and Sachin Vyas (both alpesh8 from rediffmail.com AND sachin-vyas from usa.net)
Both of these users asked pretty much the same question. They are SuSE users but because the question is about the kernel overall, the result should be useful to everyone. But this could also serve as the starting point for an article about using RAID, or about working with the proc filesystem, or an inspiration to write this "tool like an sg interface" they have conceived of. If you decide to answer this directly, please mail both of them and cc linux-questions-only@ssc.com. -- Heather

Alpesh K


Is there a programming interface through which I can find out type of hard disk ( SCSI/RAID)? I have Suse Linux 7.1 (x86) with two SCSI hard disks and one SCSI is connected through AMI megaraid hardware RAID controller. RAID driver is megarid and lsmod displays it.

I need to find out which is RAID/SCSI ? I looked at /proc/scsi/scsi but that didn't tell which is SCSI/RAID.

But another SuSE 7.1 system having Mylex h/w RAID controller and DAC driver has /proc/rd/c*d* entry.

1. So why not there is an entry /proc/rd/c*d* on system which has AMI RAID controller?

2. Is there any ioctl through which I can find out which disk is SCSI/RAID, if device name ( /dev/sda , /dev/sdb etc.) is given.

...in a later mail he added... -- Heather

I looked at scsi generic interface(sg ) but as I understand It cann't be used for all the types of RAID Controllers.( Mylex DAC, Compaq smart array etc.) A generic interface like sg which works for all the RAID controllers will be very helpful.

I looked at looked /proc/scsi/scsi and /proc/rd/c* but that may vary , so if I have to use /proc then I have to hardcode /proc pathname.

I will be very thankful if somebody tells me how do I do this.

Thanks in advance.

sachin vyas

Hi All:

...Sachin asks similar questions as Alpesh, but adds: -- Heather

Can I use /proc/partitions which will give all the disks then I can filter out IDE by looking at /proc/ide , SCSI by /proc/scsi/scsi and remaining becomes RAID ?

I will be very thankful if somebody tells me whether using /proc/partitions is correct or not ? If not how this be done.

Thanks in advance,

I believe that the remainder would also include old model CDROMs or tapes that had private controllers. -- Heather

WordPerfect 8 and RH 7.1

Fri, 25 May 2001 13:00:56 -0400
James P. Harlos (harlos from localnet.com)

For reasons which seemed good to me at the time I switched distos and upgraded to RH 7.1. After some work everything seems to be ok except for sound. However, I got a big surprise when I tried to load WordPerfect 8 from CD. This is a purchased copy of WP 8 Personal Edition that worked fine. The install script would not run! I went to Corel's site. They apparently don't help people who purchased their product. In any event they seem to be more concerned with their new product WP 2000. On one of their user group boards there was a tread concerning this, suggesting the problem was in the initial install script, install.wp. Well the long and short of it is I made the changes suggested with no change in behavior. Do you have any answer?

We don't have the script at hand, but someone who does might tell you haw they forced it to install correctly. Which needn't be by using what Corel provided. -- Heather

I find it unfortunate that Corel takes the path of install scripts rather than RPM or even tarballs. I used WP way back under DOS and liked it. I liked it even more when the first verions of Word came out. Sadly, WP rested on their laurels and their product withered. When Corel brought out WP for Linux I thought this was good, tried out the free download, liked it and bought it in version 8. After this I will not buy another Linux product from Corel. Enough soapbox.

Jim Harlos

I think it's worth mentioning that both the RPM format and DEB format, plus possibly other packaging types, do have they ability to have install and remove scripts. What you actually want is for them to work. -- Heather

modem installation help

Mon, 28 May 2001 10:22:05 -0700 (PDT)
bxb 3 (bxb32001 from yahoo.com)

to the guys n' gals of tag:

Hi! First of all I'm somewhat of a complete newbie and that my brain is muck (overloaded, uncooperative and maybe just almost totally inaccessible)from what I've read and tried to understand... I just need a... well, a quite simple explanation...

I have an internal ESS ES28381 modem... I did a... (what was it?).. a /cat /proc/pci whatever and got this about the (uhmm PCI?):

Bus 2, device 4, function 0:
Communication controller: ESS Technology ES28381).
IRQ 9.
I/o at 0xc400 [0xc40f]

Well thats about it and that under the other OS my modem was at COM 4.


thanks anywayz.... and you don't really need to put this in the mag if it doesn't sound that interesting or if it seems totally dum... I agree I'm quite a bit. I just need a little help so a reponse would be greatly appreciated.

wvdial or kisp might do it for you; but troubleshooting using modems for the first time under Linux is worth an article in its own right. -- Heather

Microphone trouble

Tue, 5 Jun 2001 22:23:20 -0700
j_c_llings and Rafael Lepra (both j_c_llings from netzero.net AND rlepra from adinet.com.uy)


I have noticed that my microphone does not work in linux. The impression I am getting is that this is common in the Linux community since most folks don't use them and there are always bigger fish...( er... penguins?) to fry. Would it be possible to convince you to cover the general configuration and most common problems with microphones?

Rafael Lepra

I have a motherboard GA 7ZX with a Creative PCI 128 sound chip. I have installed RedHat 6.0 (I got the CD from a magazine). First of all I could not initialize XWindows cause it did not recognize the Rage 128. I downloaded and instal XFree86 4.02 and it worked.

But I have not been able to put the PCI 128 to work, the sistem just did not find the chip. I have read the Sound How TO but it looked rather criptic to a newby. Could you give me some advice. Please take into account I am quite new in Linux.

If someone would like to work with these two to improve these HOWTOs (there are more than one related to sound, see http://www.linuxdoc.org/HOWTO/HOWTO-INDEX/apps.html#MMAUDIO) then you should also copy the author of the HOWTO you're going to be looking at. But we'd love to see an article about just getting sound going so you can play cute "tada" sounds and talk to your computer. -- Heather

Viewing gzip'ed pages with Netscape

Sat, 16 Jun 2001 00:32:54 +0900 (JST)
Aron Lentsch (lentsch from nal.go.jp)

Dear Answer Gang!

In my previous version of Netscape (4.75) gzip'ed HTML pages where displayed in just the same way as normal (unzipped) html pages. However, after upgrading my system including Netscape (now version 4.76), this function is not available anymore.

What do I need to do, in order to make Netscape read compressed html-pages again?


A comparison review of the most recent web browsers and how easy or hard they make common tasks such as this would be a very cool article. -- Heather

tighter mail security.... using SSL

Mon, 11 Jun 2001 02:01:37 +0800
Renato Tiongson III (nats from mtech.com.ph)


I'm currently doodling around with rh 6.2 configured as a mail server with sendmail as the mta. I'd like to know how to go about implementing SSL for POP / IMAP & SMTP? Also would like to know how to implement authentication when relaying mail / SMTP.

Thanks in advance!



Tired Newbie

Wed, 20 Jun 2001 14:09:02 -0700
Paul Bussiere <webmaster from checksix.net>

On the article in this month's Gazette


The link to The Answer Guys doesn't address anything from me, as alluded to in the article. Had a few folks email me asking "Why didn't they answer your questions?"

Just a heads up

I'll let Heather respond re where that link was supposed to point to. We did have a big debate about Unix PATH vs DOS PATH, but I'm unsure if it got published. It would have been published under an unrelated topic, I think about printing.

No, he's quite correct, it got entirely lost in the shuffle. A matter which has been fixed, this time! I've made sure that cross-referenced threads were the first to get handled. So check out TAG... -- Heather

By the way, we did receive an offer for a WinDweeb column. Jeff Lim, a self-titled WinDweeb, is preparing a regular column full of miscellaneous Linux advice for those familiar with Windows. In particular, he wants to provide straightforward "how-to" pieces for tasks he doesn't think are covered adequately in the manpages and in the HOWTOs, or are so far buried in them that you can't find the info you need. Look for it in next month's issue. Thanks, Jeff! --Iron


Mon, 04 Jun 2001 12:34:11
darrell rolstone (globalance from hotmail.com)

Dear Dan, ( and stern Heather too!)

Actually, "stern Heather" Stern is not stern. She has a dry sense of humor, looks like a punk girl, and wears a big red hat (no pun intended) with a wide brim. --Iron
The complete thread he is thanking us for can be found in TAG this month. Because he's offering his service to the community I also am mentioning it here. I offer no opinions in any direction about his service - you'll have to consider that on your own.
The long letter he is referring to is in the TAG list archives at http://www.ssc.com/mailing-lists/tag/200105/0020.html
He hopes to set up a site at http://www.team-synergy.org but will need technical help to do that. -- Heather

Thanks SO MUCH for answering! Now I know that my letter did infact arrive! I REALLY appreciate it and all that you and the other volunteers do. I hope that my "interesting questions" generate some "food for thought" among linux programmers! It looks like IBM and their new associates will be addressing many of the drawbacks that I pointed out ....by paying their programmers to code using the linux kernal (along with the NSA)! I hope that "far-reaching" programs like the two I have initiated will garner monetary support somehow!

Please know that I put myself "at your service" to the whole of the linux community, as a "synergy design consultant" ( which pretty much covers EVERYTHING) and would be glad to volunteer to contribute my prospective on any projects/problems!

Remember: "the significant problems we face today cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein.

May the Source be with you, Darrell Ernest Rolstone aka "Rollee"...w/o's

Yet Another Helpful Email

Tue, 05 Jun 2001 08:04:47 -0700
Benjamin D. Smith (amp from benjamindsmith.com)

Read your post at June's Linux Gazette - And, it might be a good thing to document the long and sometimes frustrating journey from the Windows to *nix camps.

I once heard a teacher put it the best I've yet heard it.

Imagine a graph.

Windows gets you started and going quickly (line rises sharply) but you rapidly run into the limitations of the system and Operating System, so very quickly your productivity levels off.

*nix, on the other hand, has a steep learning curve, so steep that at first your productivity actually DIPS (line drops below the "0" line) at first, until you start to "get it". Then, as your knowledge accumulates (took me about a year of using Linux primarily before I really "got it") the productivity climbs, and just keeps climbing with how much you learn.

I've not seen that there is a discernable cap - the more I look, the more cool stuff I find I can do!


Ben has also submitted a 2c Tip for us, which is in this month's column. -- Heather

ssh-agent article

Tue, 05 Jun 2001 15:19:02 -0500
Dustin Puryear (dpuryear from usa.net)

Dustin Puryear wrote to Jose Nazario, one of our authors:

Jose, I read your article on Linux Gazette about the SSH key agent.

(http://www.linuxgazette.com/issue67/nazario2.html) in the June issue.

Very nice. However, I noticed you neglected to mention a way to load the agent when the user logs in rather than doing so manually. Following is a simple addition to a user's .bashrc (or edit for your particular shell) that will do the job:

# load local keys
env | grep SSH_AGENT_PID > /dev/null
if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
ssh-add -l | grep $USER@$HOSTNAME > /dev/null
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
ssh-agent /bin/bash

Feel free to pass this on to your readers. Regardless, good work.

Regards, Dustin

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Published in issue 68 of Linux Gazette July 2001
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