Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
Happy Hacking Keyboard Price

The correct price for the Happy Hacking Keyboard at the time of the article was $159, not $189. Today I cut the price again from $159 to $139 as a standard price. Please let your readers know.

—Ted Abe, PFU America, Inc. tetsu@pfuca.com

BTS Correction

In the November 1998 “Best of Technical Support”, weird things have been happening to Eric Benoit's system. su misbehaves, as do man and less. Scott Maxwell thinks it may be terminal options, but the answer lies with /dev/tty. My bet is that somehow, something has changed the permissions on it and it is no longer readable. Just type:

chmod u+rw /dev/tty

and all will be well. You should probably make sure it is writable while you are at it.

I guess most programs that decide to access /dev/tty to talk to a real user never consider the possibility that they do not have permission to do so.

In general, processes inherit an open file handle to /dev/tty from their parent as stdin, stdout and stderr. The process that opens them in the first place is login which is running as root, so it has no problems. Either that or the top-level program opens a particular real or virtual terminal using a device name which will have the permission bits set differently.

—Adrian Pronk apronk@sangacorp.com

Linux Journal and Red Hat

I have been a subscriber for about one year and I really like the articles. I am happy to see that Linux is stealing the spotlight from Microsoft.

I first got into Linux in 1996 after working with the HP-UX workstation on a job and realizing that you can connect to the Net with any OS, not just Macintosh, Windows 95 or Windows 3.x.

Red Hat is a good distribution and I have been running 5.0 for a year without any problems. I plan to get 5.2 soon.

For all you newbies, I recommend Linux for Dummies, UNIX for Dummies and Teach Yourself Linux in 24 Hours. These books include the operating system and some applications. I would recommend Red Hat to anyone.

—Fred Nance fnance@eclaim.com

VFS Error Messages

Regarding December's “Best of Technical Support”, “VFS Error Messages”: another reason for the failure to mount the root partition during boot is that the root file system was compiled as a module when the kernel was built, rather than compiled into the kernel itself. When the root file system is first mounted during the boot process, no modules are loaded, and modules cannot be loaded until the root file system is mounted. If the file system driver is a module, then the kernel cannot mount it—so it panics.

—Rob Singleton single@nortelnetworks.com

Real Life Business Story

As a system integration tool, Linux has allowed us to prepare custom network file servers which can do the following:

  • Provide complete web-server services (Apache).

  • Provide Internet connectivity for many users on the local LAN (IP-Masquerade).

  • Provide file and printer services for Windows/DOS users (Samba).

  • Provide file and printer services for Netware users (MARS_NWE, NCPFS).

  • Provide complete internal/external e-mail services (Sendmail).

  • Provide inexpensive terminals in both graphical and text-based platforms with the X Window System which can be connected in a variety of ways (Ethernet, serial, etc.).

  • Provide complete point-to-point protocol (PPP) implementation for routing and other remote-oriented operations.

  • Provide a fully scalable system that can grow with the company.

All of the above have been thoroughly tested and implemented. We could not be happier with the performance and continued development of this OS.

—Larry Rivera larrydog@coqui.net

Review of Learning the Bash Shell

In the review of Learning the Bash Shell, Second Edition (December 1998), Bob van der Poel points out that the book examples available by FTP are from the first edition and that the correct ones might be available by the time the review was printed. That should now be true, as I asked the publisher to correct this mistake in October.

—Cameron Newham, Author cam@sspl.demon.co.uk