Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
Thanks for the On-line Reference

Over a year ago, you ran an article by John Little (“Setting up a Sun SPARCstation”, October 1997) on getting a SPARC up and running on Red Hat 4.2. Shortly after reading it, I came across an old SPARC IPX at the local computer graveyard that essentially needed a CMOS battery to function properly. I snapped it up and never got around to installing Linux on it until recently. Since I've moved, I couldn't find the original article and was overjoyed when I found it in its entirety on your web site. That information along with the Red Hat Powertools 5.1 disc allowed me to get the IPX up and running in under an hour.

Thanks again for all the great information with no fluff! —Leon Hauck leon@progcpu.com

Future of Linux Followup

I just received the October issue of Linux Journal and was alarmed to discover that I had omitted from my “Future of Linux” report the most important “Resource” link of all: that of the on-line version of the article itself, which I continue to update almost weekly:


Recent developments include Linux product announcements from Caldera (Netware), Citrix and Sybase; a San Francisco Chronicle report that the last of the large databases without a Linux port, IBM's DB2, will be announced for Linux by the end of September; and news about Dell's Linux pre-installations, a number of Open Source announcements and a new Linux quarterly in French: Linux Magazine France.

More important, perhaps, is the fact that the dozens of links embedded in the text (e.g., for the Top 500 supercomputer list or the AP1000+ multi-computer) are available. —Greg Roelof snewt@pobox.com

Re: July 1998 Issue

It's ironic that when I was reading Griffin Caprio's letter in the October issue, I had the July issue in my briefcase to take to work in order to photocopy two articles for some coworkers. Please do not let the prospect of big circulation lead you to water down the content of LJ. I have seen other computer magazines go that way, and abandoned them. LJ is now the only one to which I still subscribe. —Tom Kuiper kuiper@jpl.nasa.gov

Office Suite Review

In the article “Applixware vs. StarOffice” that appeared in the October LJ, Mr. Butzen states that his criteria for testing included portability, specifically the “... ability to import and export files to Microsoft Office.” While he touched on this issue briefly with his experience exporting to Word 6.0, he neglected a major issue in this regard.

To my knowledge, neither suite's presentation package will export to Microsoft PowerPoint format. While this may seem like a minor point to some, it is a huge issue for those of us who use presentation software as a routine part of our jobs. Most of us are not fortunate enough to have access to PC/projection systems running Linux and the appropriate presentation software, let alone fortunate enough to find someone willing or able to create 35mm slides from either of these formats. While exporting presentations to Windows Meta Files is supported, this is a poor substitute compared to having the project saved in a format that is easily edited and displayed, particularly when one is far from his friendly Linux box.

I have been a StarOffice 4 user for about six months. While I find it a bit slow, the major factor preventing me from completely abandoning Microsoft Windows95 and Microsoft Office is StarOffice's inability to export presentation files to a more “universal” format. I'm surprised that with Linux's popularity in the scientific community and the common use of presentation software in those endeavors, this subject has not received more attention. —Frank Lynch, MD flynch@statecollege.com

October STP Column

I enjoyed the October “Stop the Presses” column, but felt it was rather dated by the time it hit my mailbox, given the recent actions by Oracle, Sybase and IBM(DB2). Have you considered running the column on the LJ web site instead, so as to keep the column from becoming too out of sync with current Linux events?

I've been working in the database industry for the past 2 1/2 years now, so I naturally feel that the database market will be critical to Linux's future success. As such, I've kept a close eye on the Informix, Oracle, Sybase and IBM announcements of late. Although the Informix-centric information was most excellent, another article covering the recent adoption of the Linux platform by all the major database names would be most welcome. (I'd be interested in finding out whether my own suspicions about the meaning of these trends are shared by others.)

Regardless, I'm planning on photocopying the “Stop the Presses” article and posting it outside my door as the latest salvo in my long-running Linux-PR campaign I've been waging within my company.

Many thanks, and keep up the good work! —Peter Kuklaf ruviad@coil.com

We do sometimes put the “Stop the Presses” column on the web as soon as it is written, usually in our on-line e-zine Linux Gazette. However, that did not happen for this particular column —Editor