Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
Storm Clouds Brewing

As a regular reader from a far-flung shore, I felt compelled to write regarding a problem I see looming on the not-too-distant horizon.

The other night while I was trawling the Internet checking the availability of drivers for new hardware, I discovered something that gave me great cause for concern—the state of Linux support for the sleeping dragon that is USB.

Like most devices in the Linux world, support takes time, since dedicated coders often write drivers in their spare time. The speed of support for a given device is often directly related to the number of people needing that device. At present, Linux support for USB appears to be zero. This is not worrying in itself, but the development effort going into USB drivers also appears to be virtually zero, which is worrying.

Ironically spurred on by Apple's iMac and proper support in Windows 98, the USB has finally taken off big-time—witness the number of USB peripherals in the shops, with new ones being released almost daily. Again, this is not a particular problem, but soon manufacturers will be selling PC machines without serial or parallel ports, and probably without keyboard or mouse ports either, relying instead on the USB versions of such devices.

Apathy in the development of USB support may yet do what the combined might of Microsoft's strong-arm tactics has failed to do—relegate Linux back into the pack of “also-runs”, as people find they cannot use Linux on their increasingly standard machines.

—Nick Eller bysolo@cableol.co.uk


In the June issue interview with me, the web address for IGEL in Germany was misprinted. The correct addresses for our companies are:

Americas and Canada: http://www.igelusa.com/ and Infomatec IGEL Labs GmbH: http://www.igel.de/Infomatec AG: http://www.infomatec.com/

Thank you very much for your continued support. Keep up the good work!

—Hans L. Knobloch President & CEO, IGEL LLC


Is this a technical magazine or a sales pitch? Try putting in a few technical articles among the endless ads and Open Source flag waving.

Each issue is getting less and less informative. You are starting to look like PC Magazine. I had to ditch Byte, then Sys Admin. Is Linux Journal next? Is the magazine going to grow up or grow stale?

—Aaron C. Springer a.conrad@ix.netcom.com

It is true—the number of ads is rising along with the popularity of Linux. However, the proportion of content pages has remained about the same, because we have increased the size of the magazine to accommodate both more content and the ads. The October issue was 132 pages —Editor


I have been an avid reader of your publication for almost four years now, and you never fail to amaze me. This (August '99) issue of LJ blasts away all the other issues I have read. In fact, I just may re-subscribe (I hope the past problems with your fulfillment service have been resolved). What strikes me the most from this issue is the addition of “upFRONT”—very interesting and informative in a light fashion. Keep up the extraordinary work.

—David Comeau davitron@vl.videotron.ca

Thanks for the good words. As for the subscription fulfillment problems, we have taken subscriptions back in-house (announced in the October issue). Things should be working much smoother by the time this issue is out —Editor

“Focus on Software” Column

You mentioned a package called “Ministry of Truth” that you reviewed in an earlier issue, which has since morphed into a job-tracking system. Could you give me a URL for the product? I might have a need for its new incarnation.

Thanks for the help, and thanks for the great column—it's my favorite!

—Chris Sherbak csherbak@tuc.com

It's at http://tomato.nvgc.vt.edu/~hroberts/mot/. The package I was talking about is the version 2 stuff. I've already used it to create a database of systems that I work on. Happy Linuxing.

—David A. Bandel david@pananix.com

1024 Cylinders

In response to a tech support question in the August issue of Linux Journal, Mario Bittencourt said:

Using the installation's fdisk (or disk druid), create the partitions you will need with the first one for DOS/Windows. Then separate a small (64-128MB) partition for swap and the rest for Linux. When you finish your installation, make sure you pick “MBR install” for LILO.

No dice; that won't prevent the problem. The kernel has to be in the first 1024 cylinders, and with your solution, it will be there only by coincidence. Build a new kernel on a very full drive, and it'll wind up outside the first 1024 cylinders—blammo, not bootable.

The other solution posted (creating a /boot partition in the first 1024 and putting your kernels there) is the best one I've managed to come up with. I usually go for 10MB instead of 8, but 8 is good too.

—Shawn McMahon smcmahon@eiv.com