"The Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

(?) The Answer Guy (!)

By James T. Dennis, tag@lists.linuxgazette.net
LinuxCare, http://www.linuxcare.com/


(!)Greetings From Jim Dennis

(!)DNS ports... --or--
DNS Ports: A bit about Name Resolution Protocols
(?)Seagate SCSI tape problem --or--
Tape Drive Errors
(?)DAT --or--
Drivers for SCSI/DAT Tape Drives
(?)Linux password lost --or--
Lost Password
(?)WUFTP and authentication --or--
When AUTH is ident, not Authentication
(?)Linux box as a router: Kewl! --or--
How do you say "Dial on Demand"
(?)ans guy ? --or--
Looking for ...
TAG, we're it.
(?)+routing -masquerading --or--
Hello Routing, Goodbye Masquerading
(!)January Answer Guy: "Can't See Ethernet Card" --or--
More on Linksys Ether16 Cards
(!)stty parity, LG Issue 48 AG item --or--
Clarification/Correction: stty -parenb
(!)radio receiver for serial port use; Published in Linux Gazette --or--
Radio Time Source with Serial Interface
(!)Id "x" respawning
(?)Outlook Clients Fail to find Mail Host
(?)LG49 Mailz --or--
Answer Guy Debunks Time Machine Myth for Y2K
(?)Reveal Sound Card --or--
Call Microsoft
(?)Question --or--
LILO for Loading "Other" OS': Setting the Default Boot Stanza
(!)KVM switch --or--
KVM Switches: All are NOT Created Equal
(?)Changing distributions, fstab and labels --or--
More on Maximal Mount Counts & Volume Labels and UUIDs
(?)Netscape Messenger --or--
Netscape 4.7 as a POP Client
(?)Linux 6.0 NTPd question --or--
error: Interrupted system call
(?)233mhz to 450mhz --or--
Overclocking a Motherboard? 233Mhz to 450Hmz?
(?)LiLo --or--
Fixing a lilo.conf After the Fact
(?)Here's a good question for you... --or--
CRC Error -- System Halted --
(?)holy linux --or--
Out of the Blue Strategic Advice for Red Hat
(?)"harden" Linux DNS server --or--
"Hardening" a Red Hat (into a Helmet?)
(?)Question --or--
Virtual Mail Hosting in a Single Inbox
(?)Foxbase --or--
Out-"Fox"-ing the Fox?
(?)Hard drive --or--
Adding a Disk
(?)How can I view ascii data coming across my serial port? --or--
Serial Capture
(?)Telnet --or--
Remote Control through Telnet
(?)X Server --or--
Jaton 107 Blade 3D and XFree86
(?)Redirecting stdin on telnet --or--
Redirecting stdin into telnet
(?)LI --or--
New Installation Stops at LI
(?)Redhat 6.1 and Netscape --or--
Netscape can't find ANY of THEM
(?)Can't Log in as 'root' via telnet
(?)Exceed & Linux --or--
Exceed (MS Windows X Server) and Linux
(?)just a question about linux. very puzzling --or--
Double Reverse DNS Strikes Again
(?)Open ports --or--
Closing Ports, Disabling Unwanted Services
(?)Now what? --or--
Using a Downloaded .iso Image for System Upgrade
(?)maybe you know where I can look --or--
Automated Login Around a Challenge Card
(?)Can you possibly shed some light? --or--
Mystery Question
(?)Idled Daemon on Linux --or--
idled RPM for Red Hat
(?)Monthly Win (Lose) Modem Question
(?)IMAP/POP daemon on RH 6.0 and 6.1 --or--
Installing a POP Daemon on Red Hat Linux

(!) Greetings from Jim Dennis

This is going to be a great year for Linux.
I was at a Fry's (a chain of computer stores in California and around the west coast of the U.S.) in Palo Alto a couple of weeks ago. They had Loki games for Linux at the endcap of one aisle, boxes of Corel's new Linux distribution at the end of another, and copies of _Linux_Unleased_ at the end of another. As Heather and I wandered past the a components wall we heard a customer insisting that he needed a "100% Linux compatible" motherboard. While I was browsing the magazines, Heather brought over a store employee who she heard telling one of his co-workers that he needed to go study Linux 'cause he was hearing so much about it. When we were in the check out stand the guy next to us was buying a copy of TurboLinux 4.0 and a small stack of books to go with it. (No, I didn't see copies of my book there yet. Darn!).

[ I brought that employee over to give him my business card, after answering a handful of his questions. Business is booming for Linux consulting, too. -- Heather ]

That was just a short trip to the store to get some party supplies (hosting some cypherpunks from the RSA conference). We wanted to special lighting.
While we were there we also picked up a couple of little UPS power strips (CyberPower Systems http://www.cyberpowersystems.com) for a couple of the workstations around the house. These were only about $70 each and there were the only ones in their price range that have serial connectors for UPS power management. This wasn't important for Heather and I, but we figured it would be a nice feature to play with. I figured that there wasn't much chance for there to be a Linux driver in the package (there wasn't) but there might be some freeware already done (there is).
The cool thing is that I found the link to the University of Iowa powstatd (power status daemon) (http://dollar.biz.uiowa.edu/powstatd). (The irritating thing is that that was a "JavaScript" driven link on CyperPower's web site, but they may yet get another helping of clue). So powstatd is available as RPM and Debian packages. In fact it's available as two different Debian packages depending on whether you need the encryption support that makes it less dangerous to remotely control the power/shutdown on other systems over your network using this tool.
The gist of this is that the Linux software for this peripheral is readily available, linked to the manufacturer's web site and that it probably offers more utility and better security than the included proprietary software. (Also the fact that Alberto Maria Segre's powstatd package is open source means that our *BSD cousins can use it and that future operating systems will find it that much easier to support).

[ Chances are pretty good that FreeBSD's support for Linux binaries would run it directly. It's probably more important that our cousins on non-Intel hardware, whether running Linux, *BSD or something else, will be able to recompile it. -- Heather ]

(I went back to a different Fry's last night and picked up a copy of "Heroes of Might & Magic III" for Linux, which was ported by Loki Software http://www.lokigames.com. They had Linux copies of Civilization, Quake III, and Railroad Tycoon. They also had plush stuffed "Tux" penguins all over the store).
To many new Linux users this may not seem remarkable. However, to those of use who started using Linux back in about '92 it's pretty incredible.
Last month I was looking through Microtimes and Computer Currents (a couple of freebie local computer "newspapers" which are almost all advertising for regional computer stores; they each have SF Bay Area and Los Angeles editions). I noticed that many (about 25%) of the ads for computers systems now mention Linux (and FreeBSD in some cases).
Of course, some people would hasten that the Silicon Valley isn't middle america, and Fry's isn't the venue for "Joe Sixpack." However, it's hard to deny that this is happening in other places, too. (Linux is particularly popular in other countries, particularly Europe and Asia). I seem to recall that IDC or Gartner recently had to revise their estimates of how fast Linux was growing --- especially on the desktop/client side.
I've experienced another indication of Linux growth over the last few months. When I first started doing the "Answer Guy" column I received an average of 30 questions a month. Now I get about 50 per week!
(Sorry I can't answer them all. I don't even have a "fair" or sensible way to pick which questions I answer. Basically I answer them when I see them or set them aside and hope for a night when I'm watching TV and have idle fingers).
Some people might complain that "answer guy" mail volume is not a representative sampling of overall Linux usage. It could be that I'm getting more popular among the existing Linux userbase. Who knows. I'm just a sysadmin, support guy and sometimes writer.
But this sure looks like a good year to be a Linux geek from where I'm sitting.
Of course anyone who wants to look into it for themselves can point their web browser at http://www.google.com and search on the string: "Linux market research" and read what lots of other people are saying on the subject).
Makes me glad that I'm such a "curses curmudgeon." The truth is that the main reason I chose Linux is because Microsoft was pushing MS Windows so hard. I don't like GUIs and for a long time I couldn't afford a monitor that was big enough to display a reasonable working area (for an environment that insists on cluttering half of the available space with menus, titles, scroll bars, status lines, icon ribbons, ruler bars and other crap that I don't need to see) and that had enough of a refresh rate to let me work for hours without that exhausting flicker.
So, I decided to Learn UNIX so I could still do most of what I wanted in "text mode" (through a terminal if necessary). I grabbed a (used) copy of Coherent and played with that enough to do the basics. From there I started reading the alt.os.linux news group (just after its split from alt.os.minix, which I also used to read). Eventually I got access to enough bandwidth to download my first distribution (SLS). Later I bought my first Linux on a CD (Yggdrasil).

[ Although we know what happened to it (others became more popular by updating faster) I swear I still don't know what happened to its author, Peter MacDonald. Even the Linux CREDITS file has no address for him.

There was an excellent article on the early distributions in Linux Journal, Issue 2. -- Heather ]

But enough about the past. Now about the future. I don't know any more about the future than anyone else. However it does appear that I'll be in New York at the LinuxExpo that'll be going on there from February 1st through the 4th. My co-authors should also both be there, so come on my the Linuxcare booth or hunt me down in the hallway track or at the BoFs (birds of a feather meetings).

[ Hey, let's keep that straight. It's LinuxWorld conference and expo in New York ... they couldn't take the URL "linuxworld" because Linux World magazine already had it. They did manage to snag "linuxexpo.com", but "linux-expo.com" leads to Linux Expo 2000 is in Paris, France, on the 1st through 3rd of February.

It's hard to tell, but I think it's the same parent group running it, so maybe that makes it less wacky that they're on the same dates (essentially competing with each other). Apparently even the conference folks agree, there's enough Linuxers to go around.

I ask, would it have been too hard to offer "paris.linuxworldexpo.com" and "newyork.linuxworldexpo.com"? I'm getting really tired of seeing entire domains squished into the tiny existence of "www" being their only visible host.

And before anybody asks, no. We're NOT going to both shows. -- Heather ]

Hope to see you all there.

Copyright © 2000, James T. Dennis
Published in The Linux Gazette Issue 50 February 2000
HTML transformation by Heather Stern of Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

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