LJ Archive



Issue #79, November 2000

Readers sound off.

Thanks for the Samba

Your article on Samba in the August 2000 issue of Linux Journal motivated me to get my Samba tuned up and running right.

I also use NT 4.0 so there were some differences, and I ended up using a web article: www-4.ibm.com/software/developer/library/samba, by Daniel Robbins.

I realize you were describing your experiences with Red Hat 5.2. Your article did not describe what version of Samba you were discussing. I upgraded to 2.0.7 (RH wtmp).

One of the areas with which I had trouble was that Samba seems to take the first, or perhaps a random stab, at the interface on which it will run. The first try used my external DSL interface—not what I wanted. I found, in the Robbins article discussed above, that you could specify a global of interface = eth1 and that solved problem. Your article did not hint at the possible problem.

Robbins also recommended the use of “guest” rather than “nobody”, and that too solved a problem of the explorer not being able to see shares, even though net use/view could. PS: not many of the references discuss Internet use as did your article.

Thanks for getting me motivated.

—Paul Campbell seapwc@halcyon.com

Artists' Guide to Linux Desktop

I enjoyed Michael Hammel's Forum series, “The Artists' Guide to the Linux Desktop”. Having explored window managers in much the same way as Hammel, I was pleased to discover that someone else on planet Earth had reached similar conclusions about their various merits and defaults.

I would, though, like to point out an inaccuracy in Hammel's discussion of FVWM2. I imagine he'll thank me for it. FVWM2 does not, as he states, require the user to restart the window manager whenever a menu is changed. FVWM's “Read” command will reread and install the altered version of a menu file without requiring a window manager restart. The “Read” command, like all FVWM commands, can be bound to a menu, pop-up, key press, or mouse click. It can also be embedded in a function. The only thing to beware of is that the menu file should begin by destroying itself and any submenus (“DestroyMenu <name>”). Otherwise, the “Read” command will concatenate the new version with the old.

—Peter Schaffter df191@ncf.ca

Ads and Content

This is a reply to the letter from Tirath in the August issue. I think he is off base to complain about advertising in LJ. The rise of advertising has not harmed the editorial content as far as I can tell. In fact, it seems to me there is more editorial content than ever.

Far from being “junk”, as he call them, the ads let us know what companies, products and services are available to get things done in a Linux environment. In addition to the high information value of these ads, they also highlight the growing support for the Linux community and for LJ in particular. These companies are helping LJ to grow by the money they spend on advertising. Furthermore, by releasing products and services, they are helping Linux to grow. In my opinion, LJ is a perfect venue to make known such products and services. We ought to do business with these companies whenever possible.

—Bryan S. Tyson bryantyson@earthlink.net

Overseas Subscription Price Increase

As an international subscriber to LJ, I was shocked to see the international subscription price in the August issue. It appears to have risen from $37 to $62 per year. I understand that distribution costs are involved, however this seems a large increase, considering the cover price remains the same. I would appreciate your comments.

—Brian Galbraith brian.galbraith@bigfoot.com

Ever increasing postage rates and increased paper and production costs have forced us to raise our international subscription prices in order to keep offering them. Over the past few years, Linux Journal has lost a substantial amount of money on these subscriptions and, therefore, had to make a decision to increase rates to bring us close to a break-even point. We sincerely wish we did not have to pass this cost along to our international subscribers, but it was the only way we could continue to offer these subscriptions.


(Not So) WordPerfect Office 2000 Review

I have some disagreements with Jon Valesh's review of WordPerfect Office 2000. Nearly the first page and a half was devoted to the politics of office suite development for Linux. I'm not a big Microsoft fan either, but I buy software based on whether it effectively solves an existing need. I'm frustrated by having to reboot to Windows to deal with spreadsheets and documents that I have to use for my job...the question is whether Corel can help me solve this problem.

Mr. Valesh had very few installation problems. My experience was the opposite. Installation under SuSE 6.3 was a nightmare. I'll omit the details in the interest of time, but even after installation, the software regularly crashed or froze. I noticed that Corel's latest ad in your magazine mentions compatibility with “major” Linux distributions, but no longer specifically mentions SuSE. (On the software packaging, SuSE is mentioned as a compatible distribution.) This actually reminds me of my past experiences with Microsoft—get the product out now, whether it works or not, and then fix it later. And no, I certainly don't expect reviewers to try software on each Linux distribution, but it might not be a bad idea for the software developers.

I've switched to Linux-Mandrake 7.1, and I tried WP Office 2000 again with better results. However, there are still some major annoyances. For example, when I hit “File/Open”, the dialog box opens behind the document window. Mr. Valesh calls these problems “idiosyncrasies”. I call them annoying bugs. I wish the review had focused more on how the software works, and less on installation and philosophy. Then, people could make an informed decision on whether to purchase the product.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping that Corel offers some kind of an upgrade deal to registered users when they finally get the “idiosyncrasies” fixed. —Jim Mueller jmueller@advancenet.net

Font for Letters Column

I would just like to point out that using a sans-serif font for the Letters section of LJ is not the best choice; more and more letters are including URLs, file names, or other pieces of verbatim text where it is important to distinguish between capital “I” and lowercase “L”. The August Letters, for instance, contains two references to the iclint rpogram, one as simply “Iclint” and one as ”http://Iclint.cs.virginia.edu”.

If you're reading this message in a mail reader that happens to use a sans-serif font, then you've probably gotten the point already. If not, let me recast those as “#c#int” and “http://#c#int.cs.virginia.edu”, and pose you the hypothetical question of how you would feel about that letter if you'd never heard of iclint before, and had no idea whether you were reading about something called “lclint”, “lcIint”, “Iclint”, or “IcIint”. If it were me, knowing that most stuff in UNIX is case-sensitive, and knowing that host names are case-insensitive, I'd probably think you meant “lclint”, in which case I would be pretty frustrated if I tried to access that web site.

The same logic, of course, applies throughout your magazine, but I spotted it in the “Letters” column, so that's what I'm griping about.

—Cloister Bell cloister@hhhh.org

June 2000 Issue

I was excited when I felt how thick the June issue of LJ was, but when I opened it, I was a bit disappointed, ho hum how boring—well not all of it. But I long for the days when LJ used to feature exciting events and accomplishments like Robots, Linear Accelerators, etc.

I am sure you know Byte and Circuit Cellar Ink and its history; how about starting a section related to electronics and interfacing with Linux, various embedded hardware, etc.?

—Ross Linder ross@mecalc.co.za

Ross, you are in luck. We have been watching the embedded use of Linux grow and have decided to seriously address it. The September 2000 LJ focused on the embedded use of Linux. We also have a special supplement that will be mailed to our subscribers in October with a new magazine to follow in 2001.


Quicken for Linux and Alternatives

I was very interested to read your Focus Editorial and the “Linux Finance Programs Review” (August 2000). I was relieved to find I am not the only one who is addicted to Quicken. There seems to be plenty of support on your side of the Atlantic.

I am currently trying to make a transformation from using “The Other Operating System” to Linux. I have two problems. One that I can do nothing about is my employer's use of NT, and a need to work at home. The other is that I do not seem to be able to manage without Quicken, and there does not appear to be a viable alternative for Linux.

Ralph Krause has done an excellent review of the possibilities, but none of them sounds like a viable full alternative. Each has some of the functions of Quicken, but not all. None seem to deal with an investment portfolio at all.

As you presumably know, Quicken is written here in England by Intuit Ltd. I have just written to them to ask when (not if!) they intend to port Quicken to Linux, drawing their attention to your articles. I will let you know when (or if) I get any response.

—David R. Hignett Hignett@dial.pipex.co.uk

September 2000 Issue

I have used Linux for about five years now, starting with a simple umsdos installation. I have no computer training, and so at times it has been a struggle. The people involved in the “movement” have fascinated me as much as the system, and have made it fun to participate even in my little way. Your recent forays into presenting those personalities have been fun for me, and I particularly enjoyed this first installment with Phil Hughes. Keep it coming.

—Gary Dolan fred1@inebraska.com

Return of the Python!

I was shocked and dismayed, not by the cover, but by the response from some of your readers to the picture on the front of the Python Supplement (May 2000). Such a picture would barely raise an eyebrow here in Australia!

I find it to be a never-ending source of wonder that a nation that consumes so much of the world's resources and gives so little back in return can occupy itself so completely with this kind of moralistic debate. If the Puritan heart of middle America still can't reconcile themselves to the fact that the price of freedom is tolerance, then I strongly suggest they hand in their semi-automatic weapons and 454 cubic-inch pick-ups!

We have nothing to fear from depictions of the human body, only from the mindsets of those who want to use such images to peddle their simpilistic, narrow-minded views of the world.

—Arthur Watts arthur.watts@gbst.com

I know we promised we had published the last of the responses to the naked cover, but we couldn't resist.


In reference to the letter titled “Disgusted” in your September issue:

While I'm not as outraged as Dale Lakes, I must say I'm deeply disappointed to find out Linux Journal is using NT and IIS for anything. I realize you may be having problems coming up with a Linux solution, but just think of the field day Microsoft is going to have when they find out that one of the largest “Voices” of the “Linux Community” runs their e-commerce site off of NT and IIS, because they can't find a suitable Linux alternative.

—Howard Pepper hpepper@mindspring.com

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