Best of Technical Support

Our experts answer your technical questions.
Adobe Fonts, TeX and Linux

I am trying to buy an Adobe type 1 font (Caslon 224) for use with TeX on a Linux system. I called Adobe to order the font and was told, “We only sell products for Windows and Macintosh. We do not support UNIX”. I tried ordering the Mac version of the font. When the package arrived it had three floppies. Two of them hold Adobe's ATM program, and Hfsutils could mount each of them on my Linux system. The third holds Caslon, and I could not mount it with Hfsutils or in any other way. In short, I see no way to get either pfa or pfb files for Caslon. I've spent several days poking around the Web, and I can't find any references to this problem—let alone a solution.

I am nearly finished with a Linux application for an academic journal. It allows the journal to code articles, book reviews and other material in the journal. My program produces a TeX version of the journal, HTML for the parts that go on the journal's web site, and index files compatible with 60 years of index data for the journal. I started the project with the understanding (from Walsh's Making TeX Work) that TeX can use any Adobe type 1 font. Now, it appears that is only true on a Windows or Mac platform.

Am I missing something (perhaps really obvious)? If not, this looks to me like a serious problem for Linux users who want to develop and run commercial applications.

—David Bausum

I agree with you, this is a real problem for Linux users. Commercial software packages tend to assume the user is not able to copy files around, so they encapsulate every data file into a proprietary format, and distribute their own executable programs to extract such data.

The right approach would be to distribute zip files, or another known data format, but everyone thinks they have the best format around, and they don't care about real-world computer users.

Although I have never used Adobe fonts, I'm pretty sure that after installing them on one of the supported operating systems you'll find the needed .pfa and .pfb files, which will work for Linux. This means you must first access a Windows or a Macintosh box to do the initial install of the fonts, then copy them to your Linux box.

—Alessandro Rubini

[As a side note, SSC has used the Windows versions of the Adobe fonts on Linux quite successfully on our Reference Cards. —Editor]

Easy Migration

I'm preparing to add a hard drive to my system. Is there a relatively easy way to migrate part of the file system to the new drive (/usr/bin) without a full backup or reinstall?

—Alan Jump Red Hat 5.0

You need to partition the new drive using Linux fdisk, changing the system ID flag for the partition(s). After that is done, you need to “make” new file systems, using mkfs. Mount the new file system on an empty directory such as /mnt. Then use cpio -pdum to copy the content of the old /usr/bin directory to the /mnt directory. Add a new line in the /etc/fstab file, indicating the new file system is to be mounted on the /usr/bin directory. Bring the machine to the single-user state, move the old /usr/bin to /usr/bin.old, and create a new, empty /usr/bin. Reboot, and the new file system will contain your /usr/bin files.

—Paulo J V Wollny

Downloading Photos

I need a program, script or information on how to get the pictures off of my Kodak DC20 digital camera. Yes, I have a Windows 95 CD and the twain software that came with the camera and plenty of hard drive space for a partition, but do I have to put Windows 95 back on my nice Linux box? I am new to Linux, but I want to use only Linux if I can.

—Dick Colclasure Red Hat 5.0

Check out “Kodak DC20 Secrets” web page:

—Pierre Ficheux

Unresolved Symbols

“Unresolved symbols in module” warnings at boot time are annoying me.

I've heard of several workarounds for this problem, but never found a final solution. I've recompiled my kernel several times, going through the Makefile to check that all kernel options are fine. I've followed the make sequence correctly (which includes the compilation and installation of all modules from scratch). Yet, I'm always surprised by at least one of these warnings at boot-time. Rather than a magical solution, I would appreciate a good description of the problem (which I'm sure will help me solve this issue).

Thank you guys. Keep up the good work.

—German Horacio

Kernel modules are stored in the /lib/modules directory in a subdirectory corresponding to the kernel release. So if you have just compiled kernel 2.0.33, the result of

make modules_install

would be to place all the kernel modules in /lib/modules/2.0.33. Unfortunately, if you already have a 2.0.33 subdirectory from a previous kernel compile or kernel install, these new modules will add to those already there. If some of the original modules were not compiled as modules or are not supported in the new kernel, they will generate an “unresolved symbols” error message when the new kernel is booted.

A safe solution is to always move the old modules directory to a neutral location, such as:

mv /lib/modules/2.0.33 /lib/modules/2.0.33.old

before executing make modules_install. It can be deleted later when you are sure you will not need the old kernel. This same error (and others) could be produced by failing to run

make modules
make modules_install

after a new kernel compile.

—Dwight Johnson

Answers published in Best of Technical Support are provided by a team of Linux experts.