LJ Archive

Readers sound off.

If You Can't Reach Esc, How Do You Quit vi?

Here is a picture of my three-week-old son Nicholas Robert getting his first taste of Linux. Love your magazine—keep up the fantastic work!

Dan Behman

Redundant Storage Idea

I am the System/Network Admin in an office environment of relatively new PCs (about 25) and a few servers. When I started, it was 100% Microsoft. Now our department relies heavily on two Slackware servers. One of the duties of the bigger server is a Samba file server that everybody has access to. I had the idea one day of a pseudo RAID-5 implementation over the network. All these new PCs with 80GB hard drives, using only ~3GB, because everybody is using the Samba share.

What if someone took existing code from LVM and the highly stable RAID-x kernel modules and made a project that allowed you to create a file of a fixed size on each one of those Windows machines, say 40GB per machine, and then mount it as one large volume to be re-shared out to those who save everything to the X drive?

Because the Windows PC will have a single fixed 40GB file, it will be easy to configure remote or local backup software (I selected BackupPC) to ignore that file when performing a backup.

Your total storage with the above example would be (n–8)*40 where n is the number of PCs. 680GB of redundant storage is a big step up from the 80GB RAID 1 file server in use now. This would not be the best solution for large, frequently used files as the network would easily become a bottleneck, but for ever-increasing storage demands from archiving sales records and raw images for Web site products that are modified once then kept forever, it's a great solution. At least I think so. Thank you for a great magazine.

Chris Turner

If you can do that with good performance, stability and security, you'll never have to buy your own beverages at USENIX conferences. —Ed.

Focus, Please

I have been a subscriber to Linux Journal for several years now. One thing that I have noticed is that LJ doesn't seem to have a particular area to focus on. Are your articles intended for desktop users or for server administrators? Please choose your niche and stick to it.

In the meantime, I've just renewed my subscription for another year. I'd really appreciate seeing more desktop-oriented articles in future, and less of the server- and network-administrator stuff. I subscribe to other magazines for that.


Non-Linux OSes are cluttered with so much junk because people don't learn from other areas of development. The desktop, server and embedded environments have a lot to teach each other. —Ed.

One Computer, Hold the Fan

I'd like to second the suggestion by Ramer W. Streed in the February 2005 Letters section (page 6) for an article on fanless computers. Fans are noisy and irritating. Besides, my wife is a heavy smoker, and computer vents and heat sinks in our house tend to get clogged with smoke particles. Streed's request was for a fanless PowerPC, but I'd settle for anything without a fan, as long as it has reasonable capability and runs Linux.

A. T. Young

We might have a little surprise in store for you. —Ed.

Make the Competition Pay for Linux Info

My understanding of having ads in TV, radio and magazines is to generate money. As long as the ad is not ethically incorrect, why not publish it? Why not let Microsoft help pay to spread Linux knowledge? Microsoft had an ad on a Linux forum I visit regularly, and I would faithfully click on it every day. Sometimes twice a day. Would I use a Microsoft product? Not in the near future, but each and every click on that ad helped keep that forum free. A free forum is a good match to a free operating system.

We live in the information age. It is not the Microsoft vs. Linux issue that so many people try to create. It is monopoly vs. free-flowing information. As a matter of fact, not allowing something because it can compete is doing business the Microsoft way. I would not object to seeing a Microsoft ad in a Linux magazine. As a matter of fact, I would like to see those expensive two page or fold out ads pushing Microsoft products to pay for a new section called “newbie corner”, or something like that. If nothing else, I would rather flip over that ugly Windows logo than pay more for my magazines.

Brad Peters

Cuddly Penguin

Here's a picture of my son Gabriel, age 1 1/2 showing his affection to our beloved Penguin. Maybe we'll see it in one of your issues! All the best from one of your subscribers.


Cats Still Love SuSE Packaging

Greetings from Guatemala, Central America. Since 1999 this girl is in love with Linux and her cat!

David Salgado

Low-Priority Bug Report

In the diff -u section in the February 2005 issue, Zack Brown reports the bug found by Pavel Macheck in 2.4 kernel: in year 9223372034708485227, or 9.22 x 1018 all 2.4 kernels will immediately stop.

This is a great discovery that should be presented to the astronomical community. Following J.D. Barrow & F.J. Tipler in The Anthropic Cosmological Principle book, at the same time 2.4 kernel Linuxes will die, Neutron Stars will cool to 100 degrees Kelvin and planets' orbits will collapse via gravitational radiation. All of this will happen long after the Sun abandons the Main Sequence (5 x 109 years) and all the stars become white dwarfs (1 x 1012 years).

I think this is a new astronomical landmark that all Linux users should ask to include in the astronomical almanac of the foreseen history of the Universe.


Certified by Who?

I was working on a newly purchased server, and in the documentation package, I came across this CD. Nothing special about the disc itself, but the label was rather entertaining. Notice that the disc is both Microsoft Certified and Powered by Linux. Hope you find it as entertaining as I did.

Kris Linville

Names, Please

The fact that most of the comments on the new Web site are posted by Anonymous makes reading the threads very difficult, particularly when contrary views are espoused. A good example is the thread following this article: www.linuxjournal.com/article/7719 It's hard to know who is saying what and who is new to the conversation. How about enforcing the entry of a name, even if it isn't a real one?

Nick Rout

Mmmm, Penguins

There is this fantastic confectioner in Walpole, New Hampshire that makes these cute little chocolate penguins. They also have a shop for gifts: www.laburdick.com. They will ship boxes and baskets and of course the penguin.

Daniel Hoviss

Photo of the Month: NASA Site Tour

These two future kernel hackers had not seen a computer taller than themselves until I took them to see NASA Ames' 10,240 CPU Linux system, Columbia. Tony (foreground), an avid collector of spongy penguins given out at various Linux events, now thinks computers were created by penguins, or vice versa. Ronnie, on the other hand, no longer just asks to go to Daddy's work. He now wants to see Daddy's “Big Work”.

Wayne Vieira

Photo of the Month gets you a one-year extension to your subscription. Photos to info@linuxjournal.com. —Ed.

Two Penguins, One Baby

I first congratulate you and your team for your excellent Linux Journal—I wait for it every month. I attach a picture of my seven-day old son, Sebastian, who seems to sleep very well with his favorite penguins. He doesn't like worms, bugs or horses (maybe trojan ones).

I'll let you guess which OS he most likely will be familiar/comfortable with in the near future. Penguins are a very common animal here in Chile. There is a group of them about 40km From where I live.

Marcelo Maraboli

Which Laptop?

You've been fiddling with Linux laptops. Doc has an EmperorLinux Toucan (aka IBM Thinkpad T41), and Don has reviewed the HP NX5000. Doc has used Apple PowerBooks in the past. I've felt that trying to use Linux on a laptop was always a “hack”. Never really worked right. And, I've tried it on more than once with more than one distro. So, which is the way to go? A PowerBook with a Power PC Linux Distro? An EmperorLinux hybrid? DIY and hope for the best?


That's a tough one. We're impressed with how all of HP's hardware was working out of the box, that the system price didn't include a proprietary OS “tax” and that we could get hardware and software phone support with one call. EmperorLinux will sell you a working Linux install on a wide selection of name-brand systems. Don and Jill both have IBM ThinkPads from them, but Don's new Linux load is definitely on the DIY side. LinuxCertified also sells x86 Linux laptops, and Terra Soft will pre-install on Apple hardware, but we haven't reviewed either one. —Ed.

Xen, Please

I would like to read about virtualization using Xen in Linux Journal. Are you considering publishing an article about this issue?

Ralf Strandell

Yes, we are. —Ed.

Project Directory Permissions Tip

Good articles on setting up NIS [see Alf Wachsmann's articles in the February, March and April 2005 issues]. There is one additional step that can be done when setting up the project area. After running the commands in the article, set the group sticky bit, which will cause new files to inherit the group ownership from the directory:

chmod g+s /projects/X/

That eliminates the need to use newgrp so much. But still, users need to be reminded about their umask. In this case, I'd recommend either 007 (no world access) or 002 (no world write acccess). I also like to set the owner of the /projects/X/ directory to be the point of contact for the project.

Jon Miner

LJ Archive