Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
vi, most used text editor

First of all, let me tell you how much I appreciate LJ, for the accuracy of the information it gives and the nice tone it uses.

I write you in reaction to the “1997 Readers' Choice Award” that the text editor vi received in the December issue. I'm an old addict of this program, and I still find it fast and useful. But I have always promised myself that I would learn Emacs one of these days, thinking I couldn't remain an old dinosaur using such an old tool. The problem is that I always found Emacs far too complicated. So when I saw the Award, I was genuinely surprised so many people think like me and I had a good laugh.

In short, after reading LJ, I decided that, despite vi being an old and ugly editor, I'll keep using it without any remorse for being an Emacs loser. —Pierre-Philippe Coupard coupard@mipnet.fr

Fujitsu Lifebook

I read the review of the Fujitsu Lifebook 420D in Linux Journal Issue 43 (November). Maybe some of the LJ readers would be interested in this information.

Since March 1997, I have owned a 520D, which uses a Chips&Technologies 6555x for its video chip set. It runs XFree86 just fine with up to 64K colors at 800x600 (virtual up to 1600x1200@8bpp), and acceleration using the SVGA server. I don't know if this model is still current; however, it's almost the same as the 420D except it does have an external floppy adapter. —Jeroen Beekhuis j.beekhuis@uci.kun.nl

Mixing Linux and NT

“Best of Technical Support” in Issue 44 (December) suggested a way to mix Linux and NT. Here's another way using the NT boot loader. Assume NT is on /dev/hda1 and Linux is on /dev/hda2, and that /dev/hda1 is mounted on /dosc.

  1. In Linux, edit the /etc/lilo.conf file so that:

  2. Run the following:

    dd if=/dev/hda2 of=bootsect.lin bs=512 \
    mv bootsect.lin /dosc
  3. In NT, edit the file c:\boot.ini to include (make it the default if you wish):


When you reboot, the NT boot loader will give a menu of operating systems and then timeout to the default. —Valerie Crump valeriec@amc.com

Jumbled Text and Setting Color

I have a few comments in regards to “Best of Technical Support”, November 1997. Shells like bash and zsh perform their own line editing, and to do this they need to know how long the prompt is. With Jim's PS1, bash thinks the prompt is 15 characters longer than it actually is, because the colour setting escape sequences don't take up any screen space. This can easily be seen when typing a command which reaches column 65, because bash assumes it is actually at column 80 and wraps the text at that point. The real solution is listed in bash's man page under PROMPTING:

\[ begin a sequence of non-printing characters, which could be used to embed a terminal control sequence into the prompt.\] end a sequence of non-printing characters.

Jim's prompt then becomes:

where “_” is a space. —Carey Evans c.evans@clear.net.nz

Yes, you are correct. My solution does address one problem but upon re-reading Jim's question, I realize that it will not solve his. Your solution is the correct one. Thanks Carey. —Chad Robinson chadr@brt.com

Linux in the Mainstream?

I was reading the article in Linux Journal #43 called “Linux in the Mainstream?” by Phil Hughes. As a Linux user I do like the idea of Linux becoming more mainstream. However, I don't agree with the suggestions that Mr. Hughes makes. Linux is something different, that's why we use it—well, why I and many others use it. Linux started as a small project and was taken on by a large community. It is not like other operating systems. There is no need to make Linux mainstream—Linux is becoming mainstream on its own power. This is not because of marketing—it is because Linux is a damn fine OS, and people are finding that out by word of mouth. We, as a community, should not look into marketing and certification programs, but rather we should keep right on with what we have been doing—telling others about this great OS. We don't need a central authority to hand out meaningless sheets of paper.

I am not saying that Linux is not lacking in some areas. It most certainly is, but as a community we should be working on the shortcomings simply for the sake of making a better, free, OS—not to win over new users. —Steve Carpenter sjc@delphi.com


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