Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
Japanese Word Processor

I have been a subscriber to your fine magazine for several months now, and each month I look forward to receiving the newest edition in the mail. Each edition is better than the last, and you folks always seem to cover issues I need more information about right around the same time the magazine arrives (are you psychic?). Perhaps the following might be of interest to your readers.

Would you like to work on an exciting project? There is a Windows application, called JWP—a Japanese Word Processor. This package was written by Stephen Chung, and as a GNU product it is freely distributable. I've used it extensively over the past few years, and it is a great package.

This project will never get off the ground without volunteers; therefore, I invite any interested X-Windows developer who wants to make a contribution both to the GNU and Japanese-speaking communities, to lend a hand with this exciting project.

The JWP-Port Project home page contains more information on the JWP package as well as the JWP-Port project itself. If you are interested, please visit the page at http://qlink.queensu.ca/~3srf/jwp-port/.

—Steve Frampton 3srf@qlink.queensu.ca

ispell

I just read your LJ article on ispell. [“Take Command”, February 1998] You obviously like it. I find it a large pain in the ass, and wish I had a normal UNIX spell-checker available on my Linux box.

I have two gripes concerning ispell. First, the word list it comes with is not very complete. I've added 382 words so far and keep adding. One reason for needing to add so many is that ispell (for reasons I have argued with its creator about) insists on trimming “'s” from possessives. That means that sooner or later I find myself having to add the possessive form of every noun in the language to my word list. And that's my second gripe: why can't they at least provide the removal of “'s” as an option?

The developer of ispell insists that this bug is a feature. I think his feature is a bug. What do you think? Doesn't this bug you?

—Andrew T. Young aty@mintaka.sdsu.edu

In general, ispell works well for me, although I do have my own frustrations. I'd like it to have a “change all” feature, so if the word is consistently misspelled throughout I only have to tell it to change it once. There are words I think should be in there that aren't: hydroponic and oxymoron, for example. I've added 304 words but many have been proper names (people and products), computer jargon and abbreviations.

The “'s” is a feature in the spell checker I have at home too; at least for words I am adding to the dictionary. I too find it annoying, but not as much as you evidently do.

—Editor

Linux

I just read the Letter to the Editor from searoy@aol.com [February 1998] and thought I needed to share with you our experience with Linux at work. First of all, you do not have to become a programmer to run Linux and many of its applications (my two sharpest guys are operators). The Red Hat 5.0 distribution (it costs a whopping $39 US) is very easy to install on Intel computers and even runs on Sun SPARCs and DEC Alphas (you need to be familiar with how SPARCs and Alphas work through the boot process). Red Hat comes with editors, databases, compilers, scripting languages (Perl, Expect, etc.), network security tool and several types of servers (web, SAMBA, printer, Novell, etc). Even the updates are easy to get off of the web and install on the computer.

The second thing we like about Linux is that it is supported by programmers, hackers, engineers and users around the world, so problems get fixed fast. I recently read an article in BYTE magazine about the bug in the Pentium processors, and the only OS to have a fix out was Linux. (The bug is in a piece of code that will try to stuff a 64 bit word into a 32 bit register.)

The third thing we like is that we learn how the computer, operating system and applications work, which has a snowballing effect. Each time we've solved one problem or gotten a program working it has helped on the Solaris and HP-UX systems we have. Last, you can get into Linux cheaply. Find an old 386/486 with 16MB of memory and at least 300 MB of disk space and you have a computer system for experimentation. Kevin (one of my operators) built a firewall for the local college with a 386/33 that they had in the scrap pile, and we run all of our network monitoring tools on 486/66 ASTs that were headed for salvage.

—Bernie Morin bm@aol.com

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