LJ Archive

Letters to the Editor


Issue #57, January 1999

Readers sound off.

Thanks for the On-line Reference

Over a year ago, you ran an article by John Little (“Setting up a Sun SPARCstation”, October 1997) on getting a SPARC up and running on Red Hat 4.2. Shortly after reading it, I came across an old SPARC IPX at the local computer graveyard that essentially needed a CMOS battery to function properly. I snapped it up and never got around to installing Linux on it until recently. Since I've moved, I couldn't find the original article and was overjoyed when I found it in its entirety on your web site. That information along with the Red Hat Powertools 5.1 disc allowed me to get the IPX up and running in under an hour.

Thanks again for all the great information with no fluff! —Leon Hauck leon@progcpu.com

Future of Linux Followup

I just received the October issue of Linux Journal and was alarmed to discover that I had omitted from my “Future of Linux” report the most important “Resource” link of all: that of the on-line version of the article itself, which I continue to update almost weekly:


Recent developments include Linux product announcements from Caldera (Netware), Citrix and Sybase; a San Francisco Chronicle report that the last of the large databases without a Linux port, IBM's DB2, will be announced for Linux by the end of September; and news about Dell's Linux pre-installations, a number of Open Source announcements and a new Linux quarterly in French: Linux Magazine France.

More important, perhaps, is the fact that the dozens of links embedded in the text (e.g., for the Top 500 supercomputer list or the AP1000+ multi-computer) are available. —Greg Roelof snewt@pobox.com

Re: July 1998 Issue

It's ironic that when I was reading Griffin Caprio's letter in the October issue, I had the July issue in my briefcase to take to work in order to photocopy two articles for some coworkers. Please do not let the prospect of big circulation lead you to water down the content of LJ. I have seen other computer magazines go that way, and abandoned them. LJ is now the only one to which I still subscribe. —Tom Kuiper kuiper@jpl.nasa.gov

Office Suite Review

In the article “Applixware vs. StarOffice” that appeared in the October LJ, Mr. Butzen states that his criteria for testing included portability, specifically the “... ability to import and export files to Microsoft Office.” While he touched on this issue briefly with his experience exporting to Word 6.0, he neglected a major issue in this regard.

To my knowledge, neither suite's presentation package will export to Microsoft PowerPoint format. While this may seem like a minor point to some, it is a huge issue for those of us who use presentation software as a routine part of our jobs. Most of us are not fortunate enough to have access to PC/projection systems running Linux and the appropriate presentation software, let alone fortunate enough to find someone willing or able to create 35mm slides from either of these formats. While exporting presentations to Windows Meta Files is supported, this is a poor substitute compared to having the project saved in a format that is easily edited and displayed, particularly when one is far from his friendly Linux box.

I have been a StarOffice 4 user for about six months. While I find it a bit slow, the major factor preventing me from completely abandoning Microsoft Windows95 and Microsoft Office is StarOffice's inability to export presentation files to a more “universal” format. I'm surprised that with Linux's popularity in the scientific community and the common use of presentation software in those endeavors, this subject has not received more attention. —Frank Lynch, MD flynch@statecollege.com

October STP Column

I enjoyed the October “Stop the Presses” column, but felt it was rather dated by the time it hit my mailbox, given the recent actions by Oracle, Sybase and IBM(DB2). Have you considered running the column on the LJ web site instead, so as to keep the column from becoming too out of sync with current Linux events?

I've been working in the database industry for the past 2 1/2 years now, so I naturally feel that the database market will be critical to Linux's future success. As such, I've kept a close eye on the Informix, Oracle, Sybase and IBM announcements of late. Although the Informix-centric information was most excellent, another article covering the recent adoption of the Linux platform by all the major database names would be most welcome. (I'd be interested in finding out whether my own suspicions about the meaning of these trends are shared by others.)

Regardless, I'm planning on photocopying the “Stop the Presses” article and posting it outside my door as the latest salvo in my long-running Linux-PR campaign I've been waging within my company.

Many thanks, and keep up the good work! —Peter Kuklaf ruviad@coil.com

We do sometimes put the “Stop the Presses” column on the web as soon as it is written, usually in our on-line e-zine Linux Gazette. However, that did not happen for this particular column —Editor

Redirecting to Console 9

In my previous letter you published in the “Letters to the Editor” column, I referred offhand to “redirecting output to Console 9, as described in a previous issue of Linux Journal”. I have received quite a few inquiries as to which issue that was in and how to do it.

The issue was #31, the column was “Novice to Novice: Keyboards, Consoles and VT Cruising” by John M. Fisk and the page was 17, the section heading “Putting that Unused VT to Work”. However, you don't have to look up that issue, as it is quite simple. Just add the following line to /etc/syslog.conf:

*.*        /dev/tty9

and all your syslog messages are sent to console 9 as well.

Thanks, Linux Journal, for publishing that tip back in November 1996. It has made a lot of system administration tasks easier. —Cynthia Higginbotham cyhiggin@pipeline.com

Intel and Red Hat

I have been using Linux since 1992 and have built up a successful business providing offices with an effective cheap alternative to expensive Microsoft servers and products. Up until the beginning of this year, it did not matter which distribution you used; everything worked just fine. Okay, each distribution worked slightly different, but they all used the same libraries and kernel. When I read in the computing press that the big software houses were starting to support Linux, I knew that before long, Linux would rival MS on the same level for both back end and desktop.

However, within a few weeks of Intel buying a stake in Red Hat, I read that some products will work only with the Red Hat version of Linux. We must stop this now, or in two years we will have a situation of Intel-Hat becoming the next Microsoft with an 85% stake in the Linux market. Last week I installed a mail, Samba and web proxy server into an office in London. I was asked, “Is this Red Hat you are installing?” I said “No, it is Linux.”

I believe we must push for a common standard. Any product released for Linux must work on all distributions. Please don't let Intel-Hat muscle their way in or we will be in the same position in two to three years as we are with Microsoft now. —Robert Weeks robert.weeks@csfp.co.uk

Review of Applixware vs. StarOffice

I read LJ here in Germany and have often read good reviews in your magazine. Anyway, this special review “Applix vs. StarOffice” by Fred Butzen in the October issue is somewhat incorrect.

StarDivision released StarOffice 4.0 some time ago, and three service packs have already reached the users. Since 4.0, they are no longer using Motif but their own StarView GUI which has a Windows look and feel. Speed, features and reliability have all been improved greatly since the 3.0 version. By now, the Linux StarOffice 4.5 preview release is out and can be tested. This preview got released even before the other 4.5 preview releases had been shipped. You can even buy an official version of StarOffice 4.5 including the handbook and a sheet with notes about the differences between the Windows and Linux versions. They are actually selling the 4.0sp3 version now, with the guarantee of sending you the new 4.5 CD-ROM as soon as it is no longer a preview/beta version. —Holger Lehmann lehman_h@informatik.fh-hamburg.de

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