LJ Archive



Issue #80, December 2000

Readers sound off.

Setting Permissions on Open Linux

I've had the same problem with not being able to write to the Windows directory when running a dualboot of Windows 98 and Open Linux 2.4 (Best of Technical Support, September 2000). What Mr. Rubini does not mention is that Caldera sets permissions in the /etc directory as -rwxr-xr-x. This most likely was done to prevent the user from inadvertently deleting Windows files. Permissions to the fstab file need to be changed to “rwx” for the group and/or others. The fstab file can then be changed from “ro” to “rw”. If permissions are to be changed for non-root users, they should be changed to “rw,umask=000”.

—James Schoch jschoch@siscom.net

Graphic Card Follow-up

In the October 2000 issue, Matt Matthews' article, “Graphics: Pick a Card...Any Card”, states “...the 3500TV has a TV tuner that is supported under Linux”. I have been searching and can find no support...yet. Where is it?

—Al al_h@technologist.com

Matt Matthews responds: There are two projects working on the TV tuner that I am aware of, http://sourceforge.net/projects/v3tv/ and http://sourceforge.net/projects/tdfxTV/. The former looks like it has a workable solution with some bugs. It also looks like development has slowed. The latter seems to be in its infancy, having only peer review code available.


We Love Hackers

The cover of the October issue of Linux Journal states: Make Life Difficult for Spammers & Hackers. This calls “crackers” “hackers”, which they are not and, thus, throws mud on real “hackers” who are the very ones who give so much of themselves to make Linux and all open-source software possible in the first place.

Real hackers have been struggling against the media for years to recover the name “hackers”. And while it is normal for more ignorant segments of the media to use the term incorrectly, it is very annoying to see the term so misused and on the very cover of Linux Journal!

Do you really feel that Linus is someone that you need to “make life difficult for”? You really think he is going to break into your systems? As your magazine is directly and/or indirectly about hackers and their accomplishments, it seems to me like shooting yourselves in the foot to basically insult them by giving their group name a bad meaning.

—Terry Mackintosh—a hacker terr@terrym.com

As a longtime reader (I have Issue 1, Volume 1) who also sold Linux Journal at hamfests back in the early days, I say SHAME, SHAME, SHAME! I am talking about the cover headline that says “Make Life Difficult for Spammers & Hackers” on the cover of the October 2000 issue. You people should know better. A hacker is someone like Linus or RMS. Someone who breaks into computers is a CRACKER. Are you getting too preoccupied with the suits? This it the kind of headline I would expect from Time Magazine or The Washington Post, not from Linux Journal.

—Ken Firestone ken@firestone.net

We made a mistake. Everyone who worked on the cover will have to sing “Join Us Now and Share the Software” at the next Linux conference. We are committed to running articles by hackers about hacking.


Not a Book at All

I have just read Daniel Lazenby's review of The XML Handbook by Goldfarb and Prescod in the October issue of Linux Journal.

I must say I cannot agree with your positive appraisal of this book. First, this can hardly be called a “book”- it is essentially a collection of corporate white papers bound up with a CD-ROM of product demos. Prentice-Hall duped consumers by using Goldfarb's reputation to generate sales. Imagine the disappointment when readers discover that Goldfarb and Prescod have in fact authored only a small part of this work—the rest of the chapters were sold to vendors to hawk their wares. Prentice-Hall should steer clear of this tactic in the future, or they will be demoted to the ranks of Que, Sam's and other third-rate technical publishers.

To say this book was panned in the XML/SGML community would be an understatement—for many, this has seriously tarnished Goldfarb's and Prescod's reputations.

—Brad Clawsie bjc@yahoo.com

Assabet's Contribution to iPaq

I read with great interest the articles on embedded Linux and, in particular, the applications for handheld devices in the September 2000 issue of Linux Journal. I would like to emphasize though, that while the author of the article (“Compaq's Approach to Linux in Your Hand”) correctly points out the lineage of the iPaq as being the Itsy project at Compaq, one should be aware that Intel's Assabet reference design also contributed to iPaq's development. This is clearly seen when one looks at the system specification of the iPaq; this verifies that the system control registers are similar to the Assabet design. In particular, the unique audio codec solution on the Assabet has been identically implemented on the iPaq design. The Assabet platform is based on Intel's StrongARM* architecture (recently renamed as Xscale*), compatible SA-1110 processor and SA-1111 companion chip. The Assabet design offers significant technical attributes over the Itsy design, specifically the stereo audio, color display, power management, CF support and backlight to name a few.

Key developers of the Assabet platform are at a new company called ideaLogix, which is currently developing wireless video streaming products and services for visual information management.

—Jumbi Edulbehram jumbi@idealogix.com

Following Up with Security

Thank you for the good article “Good-bye Bandits, Hello Security” in October 2000's From the Editor column.

I believe it is of vital importance to do a follow-up study of the major Linux distributions such as Red Hat, SuSE, Debian, Slackware and about 20 more, and see to what extent security is implemented in the next versions. Please examine the security, ease of use and default setup from installation program. With such a study, LJ will force the major distributions to set standards for this issue. As you mentioned in your article (aimed at distributors?, good) there are many new Linux users hooked up permanently by DSL or cable, and if security is not set up by default, or is too difficult, they will choose some other OS (I will not spell it out).

—Bertil Palmqvist Bertil.A.Palqvist@telia.se

Clarification for DNS Beginners

I was reading “Securing DNS and Bind” in the October issue and noticed an error that some beginners to DNS may not understand. When talking about the computer querying for an IP address to wiredmonkeys.org (or whatever it was), the author states that it will look to ns.isp.org instead of ns.someisp.org. This can be confusing to people who may wonder why it would leave their domain (someisp.org) and search a name server in isp.org.

—Brandon Shirey brandons@mail.esi.net


I'm shocked at your response to Dale Lakes' letter in the September issue (Disgusted, page 6). It is ridiculous for a magazine like yours to hire a company which uses NT and IIS to fufill your web hosting and e-commerce needs.

Don't you get it?

The Linux OS needs the support of the IT community. We need to be able to answer the objections of corporate managers and home users who can't think outside of the Microsoft Box. We all need to prove to our friends, family, coworkers—everyone!—that we can expect a PC to be reliable, stable and secure. We don't have to be overcharged for less than promised. We can concentrate on using our computers rather than being used.

However, when a Linux magazine has to rely on Microsoft to have a web presence, you make us all look like fools. You'll have no credibility and deserve none until you start practicing what all of us are preaching every day: “Expect More—Use Linux!”

By the way, your response said you're looking for a company that can do web hosting and e-commerce on Linux. My Google search (http://www.google.com/) returned 97,000 hits. Three of the companies listed had ads in your September issue.

—Randy Cook randy@rcook.com

LJ Store Web Site Provider Responds

I would like to respond to the reader whose letter was published in the September 2000 issue of Linux Journal under the headline “Disgusted”. The author complained because Linux Journal's e-commerce and fulfillment partner (that's us) runs the Linux Journal Store web site (http://store.linuxjournal.com/) on Microsoft NT and IIS.

While the complaint is accurate, it doesn't begin to discuss how we use computing resources at WAS Inc. Let me say to this customer, and every other potential customer, that our use of technology is completely subordinate to the task at hand: satisfying the shopper. We don't pick operating systems due to popularity, we pick them for their suitability to our needs. (For various reasons, NT happened to be the best choice for our internally-developed software. We use, in addition to NT, Linux, IBM AIX, OS/2, PC-DOS 7, Mac OS and Windows 98. All singing, all dancing, all SAMBA-ing.)

We are, in fact, currently in the process of moving from NT to AIX as our primary platform, for the same reason: NT did not meet our needs. We discovered some serious scalability problems and needed to think hard about our platform of choice. We write our own e-commerce software (we do not use Microsoft's), so we have more invested in object-oriented technology and our current code structure than we do in any one operating system. Our product runs today on OS/2, Windows NT, IBM AIX, Sun Solaris and HP-UX. We'd be on Linux today if IBM supported our language there. (Please write and ask them to make VisualAge Smalltalk available on Linux.) We will be on Linux in the future even if they don't. But our immediate move will be to AIX on RS/6000 systems.

While I appreciate your correspondent's feelings, I wish he knew us better. We're Linux fans and Linux friends. We've run Linux since our first distribution—that's Softlanding Systems (SLS) 0.99. (I don't even know if they're around any more.) We did not discover Linux when Red Hat came along. I've personally been a Linux Journal subscriber in the past, way back in the first year. (I admit that now I read the back issues as they come into the warehouse—don't tell anyone.)

NT made business sense once. Linux and UNIX make more sense to us for the future than Windows 2000. This is where we get off the MS Windows boat. I would think our correspondent would be cheering.

We're not Redmond's mind slaves!

—Les Kooyman Vice President, WAS Inc.


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