Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
More Praise for Debian Linux

Having just attempted to install Debian Linux, I read your product review on Debian 1.1 in the November Linux Journal (#31) with interest. My installation was plagued by problems with an inconsistent file system on my CD from iConnect, apparently as a result of “growing pains” in the process of upgrading Debian to kernel version 2.0. The problems gave me ample opportunity to correspond with the Debian “bugs” server and the folks who develop and manage several of the various packages which make up Debian Linux.

This led me to what I consider (in spite of my failed installation) to be one of the real strengths of Debian Linux—a feature not mentioned by the authors of the LJ article. Debian is obviously supported by many people who believe strongly in its value and genuinely want it to work for everyone. The Debian bug reporting system is well organized and efficient. All my questions and problems were addressed promptly by folks who not only sent me friendly and astute replies, but continued to correspond with me, and in a couple of cases, asked for my input and observations. Debian, like GNU software and Linux itself, is truly a community effort.

This is in stark contrast to my experience with another popular distribution which I'm also using. After having SCSI host adaptor problems with the distribution boot disk (identical to one of the problems I had with Debian), I submitted a problem report to both the distribution author and the primary distributor. After several months, I have yet to hear from either.

The Debian folks at iConnect are sending me a replacement CD, and I'll certainly give the distribution another shot.Lindsay Haisley fmouse@fmp.com, http://www.fmp.com/

Linux for Secondary Schools

Linux would seem, in many ways, well positioned to satisfy the growing thirst for computer technology in the secondary schools. It's cost effective, it excels at networking, and the open orientation of the Linux community offers an antidote to both the Mac vs. PC turf wars and over-dependence on a few corporate providers. Perhaps more importantly, Linux offers the option of lots of cheap, reliable, quiet, easy-to-maintain, dumb terminals attached to a single server, vastly increasing the workstation-to-pupil ratio schools can achieve within their meager budgets. Such terminals may not meet our expectations for colorful graphics, but are quite adequate for teaching and using communications skills (word processing, e-mail, ftp), office use (records management), etc. Is anyone in the Linux community targeting this area? Jack McGregor jackmack@interserv.com

Graphics Are Important

Hello, Linux Journal! I've just read LJ issue 31 and was positively surprised that most of the articles were about graphics. “Multimedia” is important for the desktop market and the private user, but it was forgotten in former times. I found the article on GGI an important concept for Linux. It cannot be the future of Linux that all device drivers must be programmed by hackers on the Net—the manufacturers must be more involved in this part of developing. The GGI article mentioned an essential way to achieve this: the manufacturer can link his own optimized driver in object form into the system that provides a well-defined interface to communicate with the special type of device. I think this must be possible for any type of device, so the manufacturer has minimal work to provide a driver for Linux. Olaf Milbredt o.milbredt@gsn.pb.nw.schule.de