Letters

Readers sound off.
Keep up the Technical Stuff

Congratulations on a very good issue. As someone who first encountered UNIX via Coherent and then later turned to Linux, I want to let you know that Linux Journal provided me with many interesting articles on new and useful open-source products.

As the Linux user base continues to grow, LJ is faced with addressing the needs among the growing ranks of newbies as well as those who have followed Linux for several years now. Hopefully, LJ will strike a good balance. I for one thoroughly enjoy articles on “nuts and bolts” items, such as kernel internals, libraries and shared module implementation.

Also, case studies are great. At work, we are very interested in using Linux for noncritical “ancillary” applications. These case studies help us learn from and avoid any mistakes others may have made.

Keep up the good work, and don't shy from the in-depth stuff.

PS: The “centerfold” in the June issue was more than a little tongue-in-cheek, and although I found it somewhat funny, it seemed out of place in a quasi-technical magazine. —Allan Peda apeda@interpublic.com

Disgusted

Today I'm ashamed of being a Linux Journal subscriber. I am disappointed with LJ and SSC almost beyond all reason. Why is the Linux Journal eCommerce site (store.linuxjournal.com) running on NT and IIS? Don't you people have a fundamental problem with that? How could you betray the Linux community in such a manner?

Is there some extenuating circumstance? Is this some sort of mistake? How little faith do you have in Linux that you would do this thing?

These are not rhetorical questions. If I don't get a satisfactory answer, my subscription is history. I read LJ front to back every month, and I would miss it terribly, but I will not support you if your politics are wrong: in a capitalist society, a dollar spent is a vote cast. Why are you voting for Microsoft? —Dale Lakes dale@multiverse.com

In order to serve our store customers better, we wanted to outsource the web presence and fulfillment to the same company. WAS offers this service, and plans to port their software to AIX. This was the best alternative we could find. If you know someone running Linux who offers the needed services, let us know —Editor

Problem with Dynamic Class Loading

I read the article “Dynamic Class Loading for C++” in the May issue of Linux Journal. I've been experimenting with this technique awhile, and I experienced a problem that is not mentioned. I had some name clashes between libraries: if two libraries have an internal class, function or public symbol with the same name in both, once they are loaded, the executable behavior is unpredictable.

It seems that when a library is linked in, the dynamic linker starts searching all libraries for symbols, even for the libraries' internal ones. I do not know if this problem was solved in recent versions of the dynamic linker, or if there is a linker option I missed.

I solved it by putting all internal symbols in name spaces. Making sure there were no name spaces with the same name in two libraries (unless desired) eliminated the odd behavior. —Dario Mariani dmarian@fi.uba.ar

Not Quite Everybody

I just read the “We Talk to Everybody” article in the June issue and found it very instructive, since as a “late” Linux user, I ashamedly confess I didn't know all the names listed in it.

However, I think two more people deserve to have their names written on the “Linux Hall of Fame”: Paul McKerras and David Hinds (hope I didn't misspell their names) for PPP and PCMCIA. Without them, I wouldn't be able to send you this e-mail (I run Linux on a notebook).

I know we have to do a sort of lightweight patching on the kernel sources for these to work, but I am really thankful. —Nguyen Tuan nguyen_a@cnam.fr

Russian Fonts and Office Suites

I have wanted to write about this issue for quite some time now. Everybody is lamenting a lot lately about the “necessity” of having Microsoft Office for Linux as the definitive way for Linux to succeed on the desktop. I happen to have some reservations about that.

First of all, I am lucky enough to work at a UNIX-centric office, so having Linux on my workstation is a given. Aside from my primary job functions, I use Office (StarOffice, that is) for office-related stuff. I use word processors and spreadsheets equally. I used to have Windows on a separate partition as a dual-boot machine, but it's gone now. I needed the space for something else.

The office suite problem still exists for me, though. Being bilingual, I often need to use Russian fonts/encodings on a variety of machines, mostly Linux (x86 and PPC) and Macintosh. Well, it also has to be readable on Windows. MS Word has its own most weird (incompatible) way of encoding (I'd say scrambling) Russian characters, rendering them unreadable on any other hardware/software configuration. So it's unusable for me, period. StarOffice is actually very good in creating nice portable bilingual documents that can be imported into practically any other application. Bummer there's no StarOffice for Macintosh! Corel WordPerfect has the same limitations as StarOffice, but it is even further restricted regarding the OS (no Solaris version). The only “word processor” that is actually available for any platform/OS and works with any national character set is Netscape Communicator. The output of this application beats all competition in terms of universality and portability, but it does suck as a word processor.

Bottom line: I need an office suite that is reasonably full-featured (like StarOffice), available for all major and minor OS platforms (like Netscape), produces absolutely portable text output (again, like Netscape) and doesn't cost an arm and a leg (like Netscape and StarOffice). I want to reiterate that incompatible features of MS Office make it unacceptable for me even for free. Does anybody use a non-stolen version of MS Office anyway? —Alex Aitouganov Alex.Aitouganov@Eclipsys.com

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