Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
Think Linux

Hello. My name is Giacomo Maestranzi. I am from Italy and I am a frequent reader of Linux Journal because I find it very interesting—especially the last issue (June 1997) which covered Linux use in my region (TRENTINO ALTO ADIGE and the city is BOLZANO). [“Traveling Linux”, Maurizio Cachia] What I just have to say is that I love Linux and everything related to it, and I have created a slogan for it that I would like to see in a future issue. The slogan is:


Thank you again for LJ. I apologize for my English, but this is my best.

—Giacomo Maestranzi hoteuropeo@well.it

Push Media

Kudos to Doc Searls for his insight into how the WWW has the “mainstream media/advertisers” scrambling to remain a monopoly. [“Shoveling Push Media”, June 1997]

I have been an active WWW user for about 2 years—started on AOL as a newbie and graduated to a direct ISP. I am not interested in push technology. My senses are offended often enough when I turn on the TV or radio. Push technology will appeal only to the “couch potatoes” of the world who purchase WebTVs to impress their technophobic friends. I say leave TV on the TV.

The beauty of the WWW is that I can control what I see. If I find a site uninteresting, I leave. The other compelling aspect of using the Web is that I can remove the classic “middle man” from my business transactions. When I want to buy something using the Web, I go straight to the person(s) who offers it. I do not have to be offended, goaded or otherwise angered by traditional advertising. This fact scares technologically savvy advertisers. I would be scared too, but that is the reason I write software for a living.

—Jeffery C. Cann jc_cann@ix.netcom.com

Perfect Box

Eric Raymond's article, “Building the Perfect Box” (April, 1997) was quite instructive, but he did not mention one essential component—the keyboard. In my experience, this is one place you should not skimp. A bad keyboard is frustrating to use and may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. I like the top-of-the-line IBM keyboards, but you should always try one out before you buy it. When you experiment, you should sit in the same position you use when typing.

By the way, if there is anyone out there who does not have Raymond's book, The New Hacker's Dictionary, go out and buy it right now.

—James R. Miller jimxc@jimxc.seanet.com

Wireless Solution

I read the “Linux Means Business” column with interest this month [“Connecting SSC via Wireless Modem”, Liem Bahneman, May 1997], as I have recently switched from an analog modem to a wireless solution for net access to the office from home. I recommend Metricom's Ricochet service (http://www.ricochet.net/) very highly. I consistently receive transfer rates of 2.5 to 3.5KB/s, and it is child's play to use it under Linux; it supports the standard Hayes AT command set. I've never received a busy signal and establishing a connection is lightning fast compared to an analog modem's handshake.

—Nick Silberstein nick@fusion.com

Wabi Article

I was surprised to see in the Wabi product review by Dwight Johnson (LJ, June 1997) a suggestion to chmod<\!s>666 /dev/fd0. Giving random users permission to write to your floppy drive is not exactly a good thing to do.

Also, near the end of the article, it was mentioned that one should wait for Wabi 3.0 to drive 24-bit displays. Last time I checked, Caldera's Wabi 2.4c (not yet released) should fix the 24-bit display problem.

As for the “seamless integration of Microsoft Windows with Linux,” I personally find Wabi's handling of the focus most annoying. For Windows tasks that take time to complete, you can easily create havoc by focusing on a Linux window to do something, just to be interrupted in the middle by a “regain of focus” by a Wabi task. For machines with a lot of memory (and therefore the ability to run two X servers), I find running Wabi on a separate X server to be the safest.

(The article also did not cover keyboard remapping; the information on keyboard remapping found on Caldera's web site is not exactly helpful.)

—Ambrose Liac li@acli%interlog.com

Security and Networking

I just received your recent issue of Linux Journal, and it was very helpful and informative. [“The SYN Denial of Service”, Douglas Stewart, et al., June 1997] I do have some problems with the SYN denial of service prevention. The source was published in Phrack magazine, and also includes the methods of prevention (which were the same as you had discussed in LJ). Unfortunately, TCP SYN flooding is only one of many attacks; there is also Project Hades which deals with TCP exploitation, and Project Loki which presents the theory of ICMP_ECHO tunneling. These are just the articles I have read. If you want to stay ahead in the security field, read these articles as they also contain methods of prevention. Phrack can be found at http://www.fc.net/phrack. I hope this is of some help.

—Tom McHannes pnmtofte@imperium.net