Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.

I love your high-quality magazine and look forward to each issue. Only one complaint: you've started putting a thick black border around the feature article pages. The ink sticks to my fingers and gets smudged all over the pages, making it much less appealing to read. Please get rid of the borders! I would also like Metro-X to get rid of all the black on their back page ad, which also smudges all over the place, but I guess that's another letter to be written to their marketing department. Or maybe your whole magazine is just too hot to read! Thanks.

—Walter Cooke wcooke@paragon.bm

We added the border to call attention to the feature section—makes it easy to find. The smudge factor did not occur to us and doesn't happen on the copies we receive. However, yours is not the only complaint we have received and we are talking to the printer about possible solutions. Perhaps we need to rethink this one. Thanks for your comments —Editor

Compounding Errors?

I will be the first to admit there are no absolutes in this world, but the comment offered by Shawn McMahon in the Letters section, Linux Journal, June 1999 issue concerning PCI modems not working in Linux, is absolutely wrong. Unfortunately, your response to his letter was likewise in error, thereby perpetuating this misinformation. You stated, “PCI modems are basically Windows-only.” I realize you used a caveat in your response; however, as the (in my opinion) pre-eminent and “first-class” leader in Linux-related magazines/journals, you should do a little more research before making blanket statements that are inaccurate.

I am limiting my comments to one modem only for obvious reasons, but I must tell you that “some” PCI modems work equally well in Linux and Windows. For example, I recently installed a US Robotics/3Com V.Everything PCI modem in one of my computers, and have not experienced any problems with it whatsoever. I configured the modem to use com2 when operating in an MS Windows environment, and /dev/ttyS1 when using Linux. I connect to my ISP consistently at 48,000 bps (probably due to the antiquated wiring of our local telco) regardless of the OS I am running.

I enjoy perusing your journal immensely; in fact, I anxiously await its arrival every month. When it finally gets here, I scurry into my “library” and don't come out for an hour, much to the chagrin of the rest of the family. Kudos to all at LJ! Keep up the good work!

—Greg Bailey gsbailey@foto.infi.net

Sorry, everyone I talked to about Shawn's letter agreed he was right. With so much hardware available today, no one can know everything. Congratulations on finding a PCI modem that works for Linux and you —Editor

Linux in Schools

A Linux lab was constructed in December 1998 by a volunteer group of Linux users in Tucson, Arizona for Corbett Elementary school. All machines within the lab run only Linux, except for the district's server console—we were not given permission to remove Windows 95 from it, unfortunately. Even if it isn't the first Linux lab in a public school within the U.S., it's most likely the first in an elementary school (K-6). It contains 32 Compaq Pentium 90s, one AST Pentium 90 server, one 486 DX-33 Ethernet switch, one Gateway 486 DX/2-66 print server and one Compaq Pentium 200 MMX (district)—all running Slackware 3.6 and 4.0. The lab officially opened late January 1999, and the students love it. Some were having too much fun with XBill though, so we had to remove the gore. The entire district, which constitutes 105 schools, pipes out to the Net on a single T1—not everything can be perfect. On that note, I'm the network administrator for this lab.

—James Daniel root@phreaked.net

Linux Standards and Distributions

I think your article “The Distributions Take a Stand on Standards” by Norman Jacobowitz (June 1999) does not prove a thing. No vendor in his right mind would state that they will not go along with existing and upcoming Linux standards and invent their own for “product improvements”. Not even Microsoft did so before introducing new proprietary software solutions.

At the moment, it's all about market share for a huge upcoming market and who's best in keeping up a good “front show” while thinking about how to get the biggest piece of the pie in the back office. What do you think about new software for Linux labeled as running on “Red Hat Linux”? Check out www.kai.com/C_plus_plus/download.html#intel_linux.

I think Linux needs an independent organization like the OMG for CORBA. At the moment, there is not even one “Linux Standard”. How do you explain to your customer which Linux configuration your software runs on? Some distributions know how to use this fact for their own benefit and could cause standards to go down the drain in a few years. Greetings from Germany.

—Roland Koeckel roland.koeckel@gmx.de

The Linux Standards Base, written about in “The Past and Future of Linux Standards” by Daniel Quinlan in that same issue, is striving to become that independent organization you are wanting —Editor