LJ Archive

Letters to the Editor


Issue #23, March 1996

Readers sound off.

Keep it Separate

I'd like to make a short comment on the Product Review (December '95 pg. 34): Caldera Network Desktop.

I agree with Roger Scrafford “It's slick...” etc., but if Caldera could separate the commercial stuff from the free parts they would be playing more on the “team of FSF and Linux”.

I would be willing to pay for products like the full-blown CRiSP editor (Yes I love it, being a Brief user way back) or WordPerfect 6.1 with HTML.

But a student or hacker could download the Caldera Desktop for free.

As Linus Torvalds says (and I fully agree): “...the future is the desktop...”---meaning that what Caldera is doing for Linux is very important.

With this separated distribution method, maybe the Caldera Desktop could be a big success (like Netscape?).


O.J. -> Ole J. Utnes (Ole.J.Utnes@hive.no)

P.S. Keep up the good work with LJ.

They Do!

To answer your first point: Caldera does separate them, very carefully. It makes it very clear in the manual which parts are free, and which are commercial, and makes it clear that you can install only the free parts on as many machines as you wish.

The desktop application is one of the commercial pieces they licensed from someone else, just like the font server, backup.unet, and the NetWare connectivity tools.

However, the Caldera Network Desktop is based on Red Hat Commercial Linux, and all the free pieces of CND are in Red Hat, which is available for FTP from many sites on the internet, including ftp.caldera.com, so your wish is granted.

That is, your wish is granted unless you specifically want them to give away their desktop application. Linus wasn't talking about a desktop metaphor like Looking Glass when he said that the future is in the desktop. He was talking about machines that sit on the desktop, as opposed to servers that live in a “glass house” and are administered by all-knowing gurus.

Index Wishes

I think the index should:

  • Quietly appear in every December issue.

  • Be printed on the last pages of the issue (like in science journals).

And, by the way, I think my father's TeX'ed index is better. But that's my own biased opinion. I think he e-mailed you about it just because you printed yours...

Peter Galbraith, research scientist galbraith@mixing.qc.dfo.ca Maurice-Lamontagne Institute, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Coming Right Up!

You will be glad to know that the index is scheduled to appear in every December issue, covering the previous year.

It will probably not be printed on the last pages of the issue. We've sold that advertising space, and we can't just take it back for a month.

Your father's index is different—it's more like the index to a book; ours is more like an extended table of contents. We may end up providing his index via the WWW and/or FTP.

You might also check out our index on our WWW site (http://www.ssc.com/). When we have all our articles on-line, that should be capable of a full-text search; it's currently capable of a keyword search.

More Questions

First I said: “Oh, a possibly boring issue...” from the titles on the cover. But no! You had a really good article on find, and I knew I'd learn something in that Linux System Administration article on adding a new disk.

One question to all of you: The find article uses cpio to copy a directory tree and the Administration article uses tar. I typically use:

tar cf -> ./ | (cd TARGET_DIRECTORY; tar xvf ->)

so I learned about the ->C DIRECTORY tar option from Aileen's article. But should I be using cpio? What's best?

Also, a note on “Hints for splitting Linux across two disks”. I use her method of moving directories and pointing soft links to them as a last resort. Isn't it better to mount the second disk under /usr (or something) to begin with and then safely fully install Linux? Then at least everything is where is should be with a minimum of (sometimes confusing) links on the system.

Thanks for another good issue,

Peter Galbraith

It's a Matter of Taste

Most people prefer tar because it is a little easier to learn how to use, for most people. When cpio needs to create a directory that isn't explicitly included in the archive, it does it with 700 permissions, whereas tar uses 755. 755 is arguably more useful in most circumstances. Some people simply prefer cpio's interface (see Eric's article on page 44). find and cpio are often thought of together; in fact, SVR4 find has a ->cpio option that can be used as an action to add files to a cpio archive. I understand that some versions of tar have not properly preserved hard links, but I've just tested to make sure that GNU tar does preserve hard links correctly.

In general, most of the advantages of each archiver have been added to the other over time, so it's a matter of taste.

Eric Goebelbecker replied, in response to the second point:

“I would move the software over and soft link it myself for one reason: I did it, and know what I did. Come upgrade time, that knowledge becomes real valuable...”

S.u.S.E. Linux

Dear Editor,

I would like to commend the folks at S.u.S.E. in Germany for being generous enough to give something back to those from whom they have gained.

It is their practice to offer a free copy of their distribution to the authors of free software that they include. As the maintainer of GNU awk, I recently received my second distribution from them, and I felt that the Linux community ought to be aware of this company's fine practice.

Arnold Robbins arnold@gnu.ai.mit.edu

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