Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
Slackware to Debian

...I read the article “Is Linux Reliable Enough?”, by Phil Hughes in the July 1997 issue. Mr. Hughes indicated that SSC is using Slackware 96, but is changing to the Debian distribution. Here are a few questions:

1. Why are you considering a change to Debian?; 2. Is there a problem with the Slackware 96 distribution?3. What are the advantages/disadvantages of Debian?4. What are the advantages/disadvantages of Slackware 96 and other versions?

I would also like to see articles on the following if it is possible:

1. Comparing the RDBMS products such as Solid, Empress, mSQL, Postgress and etc products.2. Comparing the Motif and other GUI development tools such as Xforms.3. Many articles stressing the important uses of Linux in the Real World —Edmund P. Morgan Senior Software Analyst Emorgan@cup.net

While Slackware has been reliable, its upgrade management tools are lacking. Debian (and Red Hat) offer an installation system that includes dependencies. In addition, Debian offers a menu choice to upgrade all installed packages. When you are managing the software on 25 systems, good configuration management can save you substantial amounts of time. We are planning to do an article comparing the various distributions next year in our June issue.

You must be reading our Editorial calendar for next year: our focus for the February 1997 issue is databases, for March, it is GUIs and for April, it is Business Solutions. In past issues we have done reviews of most of the databases as well as addressing GUI development tools; we have also covered Tcl/Tk and Xforms and present a monthly “Linux Means Business” column. —Phil Hughes, Publisher phil@ssc.com

LJ Cover on Education

I was on your web page and saw the cover for the October Education issue. I was a college professor when I felt my life most had meaning, and because of that, I always enjoy working with college students. Your cover brought that feeling home to me again.

It looks like a good issue, and I expect to enjoy reading it. —Jon “maddog” Hall maddog@zk3.dec.com

My First Issue

Yesterday I received my first issue of Linux Journal in my mailbox. I have not put it down since. This is the best source of information for Linux I have found. I run a production Linux network/Internet site, and I am always looking for information about new tools and other Linux information. LJ has already helped me solve the problem of how to monitor my Linux servers. I've been using Linux since 0.99.something and have completely converted from other partial Unices. Keep up the good work. The only thing I can see that would help LJ is if it came out once a week instead of once a month. I can dream... —Darren Young youngd@cirrusnet.com

Bridging the Generation Gap

My parents just left with two copies of Linux Journal (#38 and #39, #40 appeared in the mail today)--in spite of the fact that up until now, they have only used MS-DOS for their computing needs.

In Dutch we have this proverb: “Je bent nooit te oud om te leren”--you're never too old to learn. So, who knows ... —Toon Moene, The Netherlands toon@moene.indiv.nluug.nl


After reading Mr. Temple's letter to the Editor in the August 1997 issue, I must disagree. The popularity of Linux has exploded in the past year, not because of people who want to see how a true preemptively-multi-tasked operating system works, but because people want to use this operating system to accomplish tasks (i.e., real work).

I can find my way around a kernel; in fact, hacking the Minix kernel was required in my Operating Systems class in college. However, my main interest in using Linux is to do my job. To that end, I've used Linux on a surplus 386 SX/20 to build a company firewall/gateway and e-mail server/router. Using IP masquerading, sendmail and a few custom Perl scripts, this throw-away machine is now responsible for routing both incoming and outgoing e-mail and for firewalling our Intranet over a single dynamic PPP line. To me and to a lot of other readers of LJ, networking is the main draw to Linux. One of the beauties of Linux is that it has something for everybody.

Keep “Kernel Korner”--I read it—but keep on including the networking articles. Linux is too diverse for LJ to resemble PC Magazine. —T.J. Harrell III harrell@navajo-refining.com