Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
Various Comments

I would like to commend you on such a fine publication. It is good to see a magazine published on a regular basis about Linux, that has such excellent content. I would just like to make a few comments.

My first comment is regarding a couple of letters to the Editor from the September issue (Issue 41). The two letters are “More Novice Articles” and “More Technical Articles”. I feel that LJ has a nice balance of both novice and advanced articles, which makes it useful for the beginner, the guru and everyone in between.

My second comment is about the article “Robocar: Unmanned Ground Robotics” by Kerry Kruempelstaedter (also Issue 41). I found this article very interesting, although I believe that many of the pictures were missing from the article. The first figure is Figure 5, and 1 through 4 are...nowhere in site.

And finally, I have a question regarding your article titled “Quota: Managing Your Disk Space” (and again, issue 41). Towards the end of the article January says that to give everybody on your system the same quota use edquota -p <prototype> *. If this gives everybody on your system the same quota. Wouldn't this cause some problems? It is fine that all users get the same quota, but what about root, bin, daemon and other such users?

Overall though, it was yet another excellent article.

—Philip Cox phil@yucc.yorku.ca

Yes, pictures were left out of the Robocar article. There was not room for all of them, and the ones in the magazine did not get renumbered.

It's true that you would not want to set root, etc. to the same quota as users. In the article, Mr. Rooijackers mentions setting soft and hard to 0 for those accounts that should not have a quota. In the quota HOWTO, it recommends turning quota on and off for various partitions. Thus, if all your users are on one partition, while root is on another, you can use the above command to set the quota for all users, while not setting it for root.

London Times?

I don't know why you invented a non-existent paper to blame the Hewson anti-Linux article for in LJ #40 [From the Editor]. You get it right in the footnote (The Sunday Times), but there is no such paper as The London Times as in your heading. The Times, the paper some people think published the article, is a different newspaper from The Sunday Times.

Congratulations on the generally high standard of LJ.

—Keith Briggs, England kmb28@cam.ac.uk

Sorry about that—the reference to it I had said the London Times. The editor who checked the article later and added the footnote should also have changed the reference in the body of the article.

Microstation95 for Linux

The article on Microstation for Linux, in the July issue was nicely done and well written. The only problem is in the section “Installed Base” where it states “The review kit states that there are over 200,000 users of Microstation...” I am sure they don't include academic versions in that number. If this is the case, then none of the 200,000 are running Linux. In addition, the academic version is all that is available for Linux and to get it you must prove you are a student or faculty member of a four-year-degree university.

The sad truth of the matter is that Bentley, and for that matter most other software companies, don't get enough requests for Linux ports of their product, to justify the production costs. To illustrate this point, here is a portion of an e-mail I received from Phil Chouinard, a Bentley Representative, on August 4, 1997.

... to date, a complete commercial port hasn't happened. About the only thing that is holding us back right now is a commitment from the business community. Note that we do not get involved or wrapped up in OS wars—there is no winner in such (in fact, we've heard the same arguments from MacOS loyalists, OS/2 followers, etc.) Since we have commercial products running on these OSes where others don't, and we have also committed to the Internet—recently licensing Java from Sun, convincing us to do a full -fledged port really won't convince the business community to go to Linux, but the opposite may be true.

The above, I fear, is typical of the software community as a whole. Linux is now at an awkward moment. If business will use Linux, software companies will write programs for it. If software companies will write programs for Linux, business will use Linux. Neither wants to be first. How do we get out of this catch 22?

—Dave Blond elln9jdz@ix.netcom.com

More information on Bentley Systems, Inc., publisher of MicroStation 95, can be obtained from their web site at http://www.bentley.com/academic/products/order.html.