LJ Archive

Letters to the Editor


Issue #42, October 1997

Readers sound off.

Corel License from Caldera

In Phil Hughes' response to Thomas L. Gossard in the July LTE column, he said that Corel's license to Caldera for WordPerfect allows its use only on Caldera's version of Linux.

Corel's web page (http://www.corel.com/) has links which lead to a page on http://www.sdcorp.com/ for WordPerfect 7, showing it as certified for Red Hat, Slackware and OpenLinux, without mentioning any restrictions on using other versions of Linux. The current Corel port is WP 6, which is getting fairly old now. The Corel/SDCORP web pages say that WordPerfect 7 for Linux will be available in June (until a few days ago, it said May).

—Bob Nielsen nielsen@primenet.com

I was referring to the use of WordPerfect 6, the only one available at the time. All new Caldera licensing will allow use on other Linux platforms.

—Phil Hughes info@linuxjournal.com


“The first virus able to infect a Linux system has been found by McAfee Associates. The virus, named Bliss, has spread to Linux systems, as many Linux users play Internet games while logged in as root.” [“From the Editor”, May 1997]

Have you done ANY independent research about Bliss, or do advertising dollars simply obligate you to propagate untruths which the marketing-driven McAffe Associates has spread about this virus?

Bliss cannot be spread by playing Internet games whiled logged in as root.

Check your facts.

—Kirk Haines khaines@oshconsulting.com

For the record, McAfee Associates has never advertised in our magazine. Thanks for letting us know that Bliss cannot be spread in this fashion.

Errors in July Issue

I just received LJ Issue 39 and have discovered some errors in the published article “Porting Scientific and Engineering Programs to Linux”, which I wrote with Charles Kelsey.

In the first line of the fifth paragraph, there is a reference to NCBO code. I don't know what NCBO means. In the manuscript that I submitted this line read “One thing that makes porting this code to a new platform somewhat challenging is that it is a safety related, pedigreed code.” Perhaps you intended for the final product to read, “One thing that makes porting the MCNP4a code to a new platform somewhat challenging is that it is a safety related, pedigreed code.”

Also, in Listing 1. FORTRAN Patch File, whoever retyped the patch file typed less than symbols (<) where there should have been commas (,). Humorous and quite understandable, since they're on the same key. Fortunately, the files offered for download at URL ftp://ftp.linuxjournal.com/pub/lj/listings/issue39/2177.tgz appear to be correct.

Thank you for your attention and for the opportunity to share with the Linux community.

—Gary Masters gmasters@devcg.denver.co.us

Please accept my apologies for these inadvertent changes in your text.

Correction to Correction

Regarding the Correction in the July issue, page 93, I would have thought that most Unix C programmers would know that the main() function in C is required to return an integer result. Thus, the correct first code line for Richard Sevenich's main() is:

int main()

not void main(). See Steve Summit's excellent comp.lang.c FAQ for a more in-depth explanation. There seems to be more than enough confusion about this point propagated by the DOS/Windows crowd without LJ contributing to it as well.

—Matthew Saltzman mjs@clemson.edu

Inherent Limitations in FORTRAN Articles

In “Porting Scientific and Engineering Programs to Linux” [July 1997], the authors [Charles Kelsey and Gary Masters] write:

“The f2c has inherent limitations, leaving g77 as the only viable alternative for compiling large, complex applications written in FORTRAN 77 under Linux.”

I was amazed to read such a blanket dismissal of f2c. At Berger Financial Research, we've been using f2c to compile FORTRAN since kernel .99pl8. We write volumes of FORTRAN and use standard libraries such as SLATEC, LAPACK, MINPACK and various routines from TOMS. The last time we had a problem with f2c was a couple of years ago, and the maintainer fixed it within a week of reporting it.

What exactly are the “inherent limitations” of f2c that the authors refer to?

—Dr. Harvey J. Stein abel@netvision.net.il

Java Articles?

Why don't you ever have articles on Java in the WWWsmith section? It seems all you ever cover is Perl and CGI. Is WWWsmith supposed to be about web programming or web mastering? If it's supposed to be about web programming, I think Java topics are very important (probably more than Perl, CGI and SQL). I mean, which gets more press coverage?

—Jeff Warren jwarren@sun.science.wayne.edu

Perl and CGI seem to predominate because Reuven Lerner, the author of the “At the Forge” columns, likes to write about them. We have four Java articles promised to us by various authors that have not yet come in. We also have an article about Java and the kernel that will be published soon, and Java was the focus of the October, 1996 issue of LJ, so it is not a subject we have ignored.

Possible Improvement to Magazine

I was trying to find a local store that sells Linux distribution CD-ROMS. I ended up buying a book with Red Hat 4.1, Slackware and Caldera's Lite version from Barnes & Noble ($59.99 US—good deal, comparatively speaking). Many popular computer magazines package shareware or demo CD-ROMs with their magazines, so why couldn't Linux Journal print a special edition for newbies that would include a CD with a working distribution of Linux? If you released a quarterly edition for $10-$15 US, I would buy it just because I hate downloading updates. If you use my idea, send me a free subscription or something (assuming I'm not the 10,000th person to suggest this).

—Joshua Neal tinara@null.net

Well, you're certainly not the first to suggest it. It's on our list of “things we'd like to do sometime”.

XForms Article

I really appreciated the article “Programming with the XForms Library” [Thor Sigvaldason, July 1997]. I am looking forward to the next two segments of that series.

I am a Software Engineer with a day job developing exclusively for Windows 95 and NT. I am in the process of developing a large application in Java that will run on the NC, but that is the first project that I have worked on outside the realm of Microsoft platforms.

I have a personal interest in pursuing development in Linux. As far as I am concerned, you could dedicate 90% of the Journal to development and the other 10% to configuring the system. I realize that this probably doesn't line up with most of your readers' interests (and I am probably exaggerating a bit anyway), but I think there are a lot of Linux users, novice as well as experienced, who would appreciate seeing a little more space dedicated to development.

—Jeff Brown jbrown@fastrans.net

XForms Article

This is a response to an article by Thor Sigvaldason in Issue 39 of LJ, titled “Programming with the XForms Library”:

How can you encourage people to write programs using the XForms library? Since the sources aren't free, only a selected range of platforms are supported.

Furthermore, the most recent version of this library is (v0.81) available for Linux only in ELF format. What will those people do, who are using the a.out binary format for good reasons? Well, nothing, because the latest a.out library is v0.80j, which is incompatible with v0.81. And the authors of the XForms library aren't going to support the a.out format in the future.

In my opinion, this is contrary to the spirit of those who developed Linux initially. It was meant to be a free Unix system based on free tools and a free kernel. (With maybe one exception, Motif, which is an established standard for nearly every available platform.) XForms doesn't fulfill this criterion.

—Thomas Ott Labalutsch@aol.com

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