Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
Open Source Editorial

Phil, congratulations on a great magazine. Your editorial in the May issue on Open Source is excellent as far as it goes. Using the phrase “Open Source” in lieu of “free” should overcome many of the negative perceptions and biases that business has with “free”. In addition, “Open” has become a very positive buzzword in IT.

However, there is a crucial element missing in all discussions of Open Source. What is the underlying business model that can allow a business to make money? Though primarily a technology magazine (and a good one), Linux Journal could make a major contribution to the Open Source movement with a short article summarizing the business argument for Open Source. This way, those of us in industry can have a succinct response to “Sounds good, but how do I make money?” Obviously, this short article should stay away from MBA gobbledygook and concentrate on principles. A brief case history would be desirable.

Unfortunately, I am not involved in the Open Source industry and thus can't help with such an article. I can continue to persuade mainstream industry to recognize Open Source as viable software.

—David T. Kjellquist david.t.kjellquist@lmco.com

I agree, this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Russell Nelson has written a guest editorial describing just such a business model. See it on page 10 of this issue.

—Phil Hughes, Publisher phil@ssc.com

Summary: Dog eats LJ?

Some time ago I wrote here, asking people if their Linux Journal magazines were arriving in the mail as dog-eaten as mine. It seems some people get their LJ in pristine shape, and this is independent of distance.

Others get theirs in the same shape I do; these people frequently mention that this is puzzling, since they also receive other magazines, which arrive okay. It seems to be only LJ that has problems. This, in fact, is true for me.

Thus, I speculate that the size, page-count, binding method or other variables causes LJ to be susceptible to mangling in the Post Office machinery. I wonder if LJ might consider putting small sticky tabs on some edges of the Journal, to prevent them falling open in Fido Machineries' “Bow-Wow Special Mail Sorter”?

LJ would probably rebel at the suggestion that they send the magazine in an envelope, which, it would seem to me, would be the best preventative measure.

Thanks to all who replied, some with very amusing posts or e-mailed stories.

—Robert Lynch, Berkeley, CA rmlynch@best.com

Actually, we have been trying to find a solution to this problem for some time. Our current printer is not able to polybag domestic mail; foreign mail is outsourced and does go out in an envelope. Our cover is now printed on heavier paper. When we find an affordable solution that can be handled by the printer, our readers will be the first to know —Editor

Latvian Police Archives

I liked the use of Linux by the Latvian Police force to make a legacy single-user Clipper application available to everyone, although I think the use of DOSEMU is a bit dubious. In the first place, you require a DOS license for each user logged into the system, and second, it is certainly not the most efficient way to run applications. There is a commercial Clipper engine available for Linux (Flagship) which is available for a very modest fee. Using this engine to run legacy Clipper applications instead of DOSEMU should yield better performance with fewer resources and make it easier to evolve the system into something better, perhaps migrating to one of the Linux SQL engines (available both publicly and privately).

—Roger Irwin irwin@trucco.it