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Extending the Bash Prompt by Giles Orr demonstrates the methods of customizing your xterm prompt in a Bash shell. Standard escape sequences can be incorporated to include user name, current working directory, time and more. Additionally, Mr. Orr shows us how to change the color of the prompt and manipulate the xterm title bar.

A High Availability Clustering Solution by Phil Lewis is the story of building a high-availability solution for his company, Electec. He reviews several clustering solutions, discussing cost and downtime for implementation. Also covered are load balancing, node takeover, networking hardware, partitioning and resynchronization. This article provides a thorough look at clustering and gives administrators a good start in building their own cluster.

Introduction to Sybase, Part 3 by Jay Sissom tells us how to write a web application using Sybase. Mr. Sissom begins with a discussion of some SQL Server basics, such as transactions, logs, backups and database consistency. He ends with a full-blown web application for providing an on-line bookstore. All code for the example is available on our FTP site.

Plug and Play Hardware under Linux by David Cantrell is a discussion of PnP sound cards—how they work and how you get them to play nice on your Linux box. Installation, configuration, usage and even compiling the kernel is all here for your edification.

Open Source Remote Sensing Effort by Dr. Shawana P. Johnson tells us all about a project of developing remote-sensing software for the Open Source community. The goal of this project is to bring space to your doorstep.

A book review of “Linux: The Complete Reference, Second Edition” is presented by Ben Crowder. Find out what's in the book and if it could be useful to you.

OS Sucks-Rules-0-Meter

This operating system quality and approval metric is based on a periodic AltaVista search for each of several operating systems, directly followed by “sucks”, “rules” or “rocks”. It can be found on the Web at electriclichen.com/linux/srom.html--thanks to Don Marti.

Stop the Presses

Jon “maddog” Hall will be leaving Compaq on June 18 to join the team at VA Linux Systems. He struck the deal with Larry Augustin of VA Linux Systems during Spring Comdex. I talked to him on June 8 while at the USENIX Conference in Monterey, CA. Jon is actually a member of the USENIX board. The big question I asked was why he is leaving Compaq. He gave me several answers. The bottom line is because VA is a Linux company. If VA gives him a computer for his home, that computer will be running Linux, so it will be able to talk to the firewall and everything and his documents won't be in Microsoft Word format.

Jon has worked for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) for 16 years; DEC was bought by Compaq last year. At DEC, he worked as an engineer, a marketing manager, a product manager and a Linux evangelist. He went to DEC to help them create the best UNIX system available, and he feels they have done that. Other people agree. He also introduced DEC to Linux, and they are now selling Linux systems.

Compaq has been selling servers without licenses for years, and today many of those are Linux systems. One problem with Compaq/DEC was a type of culture clash: whereas DEC sold thousands of systems, Compaq sold millions. Thus, the sales techniques were different all the way down to what could be given away at a trade show. Also, his local boss has to approve him traveling to Texas to talk to management; in other words, it's a big company with many employees and all the red tape that goes with being big. Jon will find a much more relaxed easier to deal with.

Working for VA will give Jon the opportunity to do the two things he wants to do on a full-time basis: evangelize Linux and put more time and effort into making Linux International a bigger and better organization. That is, he wants to create a real board of directors for Linux International, get the charter finished and get every company possible involved in it. One way for Linux International to do that is by initiating projects to which both big and small companies can contribute. Basically, get everyone involved in fun things, e.g., workshops. In other words, grow Linux International and give it a higher degree of visibility.

Larry has basically agreed that Jon's job will be evangelizing Linux and fixing Linux International. For the moment, at least, Jon will continue to live in New Hampshire; VA is based in Silicon Valley.

—Phil Hughes

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