Best of Technical Support

Our experts answer your technical questions.
Doubling Connection Speed

I have heard that it's possible to set up Linux to combine two analog modems into one so as to double the speed of a connection. Is this true? If so, how does this work and where can I get more information on how to do this? I have Slackware 96. —Keith Bell

Load Balancing

What you want to do is called load balancing. There is a feature you must compile into your kernel for load balancing to work and it is designed to work only with SLIP or PPP. The feature you must compile is EQL, or “Serial Line Load Balancing”. As you configure your kernel there is a small amount of help available on the option. If you look at the file /linux-source-directory/drivers/net/README.eql, you can get more information on how this works and what you need to do. Be aware that this must be supported by the other end of the connection—either another Linux box compiled with this feature or a Livingston Portmaster 2e. —Chad Robinson, BRT Technical Services Corporation

Mysterious Messages

I am running named as a primary DNS server. It appears to be working fine, but my /var/adm/messages file is full of lines like the following:

Dec 5 09:34:14 lancomm named[105]: NSTATS 849796454 849648847 A=528
PTR=76 MX=96 ANY=202
Dec 5 09:34:14 lancomm named[105]: XSTATS 849796454 849648847 RQ=902
RR=634 RIQ=0 RNXD=49 RFwdQ=393 RFwdR=562 RDupQ=5 RDupR=6 RFail=1 RFErr=0
RErr=0 RTCP=0 RAXFR=0 RLame=15 ROpts=0 SSysQ=53 SAns=509 SFwdQ=393
SFwdR=562 SDupQ=426 SFail=19 SFErr=12 SErr=1 RNotNsQ=886 SNaAns=339

These messages are logged every few minutes. Are these merely extraneous debug messages, or is named misconfigured? —Bill Cunningham

Extended Statistics

They are debug messages, and don't mean there is a configuration error. Those messages are the “extended statistics”, a compile-time option for named. If you'd like to disable this logging, simply recompile named with the XSTATS option commented out in the file:


Bob Hauck, Wasatch Communications Group

More Colors in X-Windows

When I run X-Windows the desktop resolution is 340X400 with 16 colors. I am wondering how to get my X server to run with a resolution of 800X600 with 256 or higher colors. I am having a hard time finding documentation or manual pages on how make this change. I am running Slackware 1.2.1 and using a Cirrus controller. —Matt Linak

Upgrade Needed

Your distribution is very old. You should switch to XFree86-3.2, which includes many more supported cards. Most Cirrus controllers are supported now. Take a look at the README.Cirrus file in the XFree86 web site: . —Pierre Ficheux, Lectra Systemes

Setting Up An X Terminal

I am running Linux 2.0.0 and have a second PC that I use a a terminal (serial) using a DOS term program. It's a 486 that used to be my main machine until I upgraded. I have been trying to find information on setting it up as an X terminal, but all the HOWTO and /usr/doc files seem to focus on other things. It's my understanding that if I put a small Linux kernel on it and use NFS for root that I should be able to do this as the machine has very limited resources these days. I know I can switch to PLIP for reasonable speed, and I have good documentation on using NFS as root, but I have not uncovered the missing information on setting it up as an X terminal. Can you direct me to a source? —Josh

Inexpensive Hardware and xdm

You do need at least some disk resources to be able to set your H86 up as an X-terminal. There are ways to do a complete net-boot on a PC, but those include obtaining a 3C509 or NE2000 Ethernet card and a boot ROM. I haven't dealt with this method, though, because hard disks are becoming very cheap.

I recommend getting a 120MB IDE drive (you should be able to find a used one for around $25), and installing that. Then install a minimal Linux system including X, and you are set. You will need networking of some type since most Linux distributions require Ethernet for a network install. If you don't have a CD-ROM on that box, you'll probably want to do a network install, so pick up a cheap networking card (new NE2000 clones run about $25).

Now, for using the 486 as an X terminal, the easiest way is with xdm. You run it on your main machine, configure X on your 486, and you can then run X -query hostname on your other machine. That solution will run an X server locally, but will run all binaries off your main machine. —Donnie Barnes, Red Hat Software


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