LJ Archive



In Florian Haas' article “Replicate Everything! Highly Available iSCSI Storage with DRBD and Pacemaker” (in the May 2012 issue of LJ), we noticed some information that has loose factual bearing upon the conclusions that are stated and wanted to offer our assistance as the developers of the software.

When reading the article, we felt it misrepresented information in a way that could be easily misinterpreted. We have listed a few sentences from the article with an explanation and suggested corrections below.

1) Statement: “That situation has caused interesting disparities regarding the state of vendor support for DRBD.”

Clarification: we would like to mention that DRBD is proudly supported by Red Hat and SUSE Linux via relationships with DRBD developer LINBIT.

Correction: DRBD is widely supported by enterprise software vendors and also free open-source operating system developers. It comes prepackaged in Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Gentoo and is available for download directly from LINBIT. Red Hat and SUSE officially accept DRBD as an enterprise solution, and its customers benefit from having a direct path for support.

2) Statement: “Since then, the 'official' DRBD codebase and the Linux kernel have again diverged, with the most recent DRBD releases remaining unmerged into the mainline kernel. A re-integration of the two code branches is currently, somewhat conspicuously, absent from Linux kernel mailing-list discussions.”

Clarification: this is simply FUD and not true. DRBD 8.3.11 is included in the mainline kernel. DRBD 8.4 (which has pending feature enhancements) is not included in the mainline kernel until testing is complete and features are brought to stable. This does not mean code is diverged or unsupported; it simply means “alpha” and “beta” features aren't going to find their way into the Linux mainline. This is standard operating practice for kernel modules like DRBD.

Correction: Since then, DRBD has been consistently pulled into the mainline kernel.

Kavan Smith

Florian Haas replies: 1) In context, the paragraph that followed explained that the “vendors” referred to were clearly distribution vendors. Between those, there clearly is some disparity in DRBD support, specifically in terms of how closely they are tracking upstream. It is also entirely normal for third parties to support their own products on a variety of distributions. LJ readers certainly need no reminder of this, and the article made no assertion to the contrary.

2) From Linux 3.0 (in June 2011) to the time the article was published, the mainline kernel's drivers/block/drbd directory had seen ten commits and no significant merges. The drbd subdirectory of the DRBD 8.3 repository, where the out-of-tree kernel module is maintained, had 77 in the same time frame, including a substantial number of bug fixes. To speak of anything other than divergence seems odd, given the fact that the in-tree DRBD at a time lagged two point releases behind the out-of-tree code, and did not see substantial updates for four kernel releases straight—which, as many LJ readers will agree, is also not exactly “standard operating procedure” for kernel modules. After the article ran, however, the DRBD developers submitted an update of the DRBD 8.3 codebase for the Linux 3.5 merge window, and it appears that DRBD 8.3 and the in-tree DRBD are now lining up again.

The Digital Divide

I'm yet another reader who has mixed feelings about the new digital version of LJ, but I'm getting used to it. Unfortunately though, the transition to paperless just exacerbates the digital divide. Where I live in western Massachusetts, residents in most communities do not have access to better than dial-up or pretty-slow satellite service. I happen to be among the lucky few in my community to have DSL. But even over DSL, it takes several minutes to download the magazine. In general, I think I prefer the digital form of the publication. For one thing, it makes keeping back issues far more compact, and I guess being able to search for subjects should be useful. But, please do keep in mind that many of your readers probably live on the other side of the digital divide, being served by seriously slow connections. Keeping the file size more moderate will help those of us who are download-challenged. (By the way, in the community I live in, Leverett, Massachusetts, we are taking steps to provide ourselves with modern connection speeds.)

George Drake

I feel your pain, George. Here in northern Michigan, roughly half of our community members can't get broadband service. In an unexpected turn of events, it's starting to look like the cell-phone companies will be the first to provide broadband to the rural folks in my area. They've done a nice job installing more and more towers, and they have been marketing MiFi-like devices for home users. It's not the cheapest way to get broadband, but at least it's an option. Regarding the size of the digital issues, I've personally been impressed with Garrick Antikajian (our Art Director), as he keeps the file size remarkably low for the amount of graphics in the magazine. Hopefully that helps at least a little with downloading.—Ed.

Sharing LJ?

I'm a long-term subscriber of LJ. I was happy with the old printed version, and I'm happy with the new one. I don't want to go into the flaming world of printed vs. electronic, and I'm a bit tired of all those letters in every issue of LJ. But, I have a question. In the past, I used to pass my already-read issues to a couple of (young) friends, a sort of gift, as part of my “personal education in open source”: helping others, especially young people, in developing an “open-source conscience” is a winning strategy for FOSS IMHO, together with access to the technical material. But now, what about with electronic LJ? Am I allowed to give away the LJ .pdf or .epub or .mobi after reading it? If not, this could lead to a big fail in FOSS! Hope you will have an answer to this. Keep rockin'!


Ivan, Linux Journal is DRM-free, and the Texterity app offers some fairly simple ways to share content. We've always been anti-DRM for the very reasons you cite. Along with great power comes great responsibility though, so we hope you keep in mind that we also all still need to pay rent and feed our kids. Thanks for inquiring about it!—Ed.

Digital on Portable Devices

I just subscribed to LJ for the first time in my life. I really love the digital formats. Things shipped to Bulgaria don't travel fast and often get “lost”, although things probably have been a little bit better recently. Anyway, this way I can get the magazine hot off the press, pages burning my fingers. I still consider my Kindle 3 the best buy of the year, even though I bought it almost two years ago. It makes it easy to carry lots of bulky books with me. I already avoid buying paper books and tend to go digital if I can choose. Calibre is my best friend, by the way. I have two recommendations to make. 1) Yesterday, I tried to download some .epubs on my Android phone. I logged in to my account and so on, but neither Dolphin nor the boat browser started the download. It would be great if you could check on and fix this problem, or provide the option in your Android app. 2) Send .mobi to the Kindle. This probably is not so easy to do, and I use Calibre to do it, but I still have to go through all the cable hassle.

Stoyan Deckoff

I'm not sure why your Android phone gave you problems with the .epubs. Were you using the Linux Journal app or downloading from e-mail? If the latter, maybe you need to save it and then “open” it from the e-book-reader app. As far as sending it to the Kindle, Amazon is getting quite flexible with its personal documents, and as long as you transfer over Wi-Fi, sending via e-mail often is free. Check out Amazon's personal document stuff and see if it fits your need.—Ed.

Add CD and DVD ISO Images

It might be a good idea to sell CDs and DVDs as an encryption key (PGP) and send a specific link to a specifically generated downloadable image for each customer. This is a fairly old idea, a bit like what shareware programs used to do to unlock extra functionality. I accept that the pretty printed CD/DVD is nice to hold and for shelf cred. But an ISO is enough for me at least, apart from which we do seem to get offered a lot of them only an issue or two different. A very long-time reader (number 1 onward).


I'll be sure to pass the idea along, or are you just trying to start a war over switching the CD/DVDs to digital!??!!? Only teasing, of course.—Ed.

Electronic LJ

I love it. I just subscribed. I was going to use Calibre but forgot that my Firefox had EPUB Reader, and it's great. I turn my Ubuntu laptop display 90° left and have a nice big magazine. Keep up the good work.

Pierre Kerr

I love the e-book-reader extension for Firefox! I have one for Chromium too, but it's not as nice as the Firefox extension. I'm glad you're enjoying the subscription.—Ed.

Reader Feedback

I think by now we all understand that there are people who do not like the fact that LJ is digital only and others who like it and some in between. Now, I can't imagine that these are the only letters you get from readers these days. It gets kind of old when every issue is filled with belly-aching about how bad a move it was to go digital (even if the alternative would've been to go bankrupt) and what not. We get it. I've been using Linux since 1993 and reading Linux Journal since the beginning. Let's move on and cut that whining.


Michael, I do think we're close to “everything being said that can be said”, but I assure you, we don't cherry-pick letters. We try to publish what we get, whether it's flattering or not. As you can see in this issue, we're starting to get more questions and suggestions about the digital issue. I think that's a good thing, and different from simply expressing frustration or praise. Maybe we're over the hump!—Ed.

Disgusting Ripoff

For weeks you've been sending me e-mails titled “Linux Weekly News”, which is a well-known highly reputable community news site that has been in existence for almost as long as Linux Journal. By stealing its name and appropriating it for your own newsletter, you sink to the lowest of the low. I'm embarrassed I ever subscribed to a magazine that would steal from the Linux community in this way.

Alan Robertson

Alan, I can assure you there was no ill intent. LWN is a great site, and we'd never intentionally try to steal its thunder. The newsletter actually was titled “Linux Journal Weekly News Notes” and has been around for several years. Over the course of time, it was shortened here and there to fit in subject lines better. We really like and respect the LWN crew and don't want to cause unnecessary confusion, so we're altering the name a bit to “Linux Journal Weekly News”.—Ed.

Birthday Cake

I am a Linux Journal subscriber and Linux user since 2006. I got rid of Windows completely in 2007, and since then, my wife and I have been proud Ubuntu users and promote Linux to everyone we know.

I have been working in IT since 1981, and I am also the proud owner of a French blog since November 2011 that promotes Linux to French Canadians with our bi-monthly podcast and Linux articles. The blog is still very young and modest, but it's starting to generate some interesting traffic: www.bloguelinux.ca or www.bloglinux.ca.

The reason for my writing is that I turned 50 on the 27th of May, and my wife got me a special cake to emphasize my passion for Linux. I wanted to share the pictures with everyone at Linux Journal.

The cake is a big Tux crushing an Apple. On its right is a broken Windows, and on the left, small Androids are eating an Apple.

The cake is a creation of La Cakerie in Quebec: www.facebook.com/lacakerie.

I'm not writing to promote anything, but I would be very proud to see a picture of my cake in one of your issues.

Patrick Millette

I think the Linux Journal staff should get to eat some of the cake too, don't you think? You know, for quality control purposes. Seriously though, that's awesome! Thanks for sending it in.—Ed.

Patrick Millette's Awesome Birthday Cake

LJ Archive