Readers sound off.
Font for Letters Column

I would just like to point out that using a sans-serif font for the Letters section of LJ is not the best choice; more and more letters are including URLs, file names, or other pieces of verbatim text where it is important to distinguish between capital “I” and lowercase “L”. The August Letters, for instance, contains two references to the iclint rpogram, one as simply “Iclint” and one as ”http://Iclint.cs.virginia.edu”.

If you're reading this message in a mail reader that happens to use a sans-serif font, then you've probably gotten the point already. If not, let me recast those as “#c#int” and “http://#c#int.cs.virginia.edu”, and pose you the hypothetical question of how you would feel about that letter if you'd never heard of iclint before, and had no idea whether you were reading about something called “lclint”, “lcIint”, “Iclint”, or “IcIint”. If it were me, knowing that most stuff in UNIX is case-sensitive, and knowing that host names are case-insensitive, I'd probably think you meant “lclint”, in which case I would be pretty frustrated if I tried to access that web site.

The same logic, of course, applies throughout your magazine, but I spotted it in the “Letters” column, so that's what I'm griping about.

—Cloister Bell cloister@hhhh.org

June 2000 Issue

I was excited when I felt how thick the June issue of LJ was, but when I opened it, I was a bit disappointed, ho hum how boring—well not all of it. But I long for the days when LJ used to feature exciting events and accomplishments like Robots, Linear Accelerators, etc.

I am sure you know Byte and Circuit Cellar Ink and its history; how about starting a section related to electronics and interfacing with Linux, various embedded hardware, etc.?

—Ross Linder ross@mecalc.co.za

Ross, you are in luck. We have been watching the embedded use of Linux grow and have decided to seriously address it. The September 2000 LJ focused on the embedded use of Linux. We also have a special supplement that will be mailed to our subscribers in October with a new magazine to follow in 2001.


Quicken for Linux and Alternatives

I was very interested to read your Focus Editorial and the “Linux Finance Programs Review” (August 2000). I was relieved to find I am not the only one who is addicted to Quicken. There seems to be plenty of support on your side of the Atlantic.

I am currently trying to make a transformation from using “The Other Operating System” to Linux. I have two problems. One that I can do nothing about is my employer's use of NT, and a need to work at home. The other is that I do not seem to be able to manage without Quicken, and there does not appear to be a viable alternative for Linux.

Ralph Krause has done an excellent review of the possibilities, but none of them sounds like a viable full alternative. Each has some of the functions of Quicken, but not all. None seem to deal with an investment portfolio at all.

As you presumably know, Quicken is written here in England by Intuit Ltd. I have just written to them to ask when (not if!) they intend to port Quicken to Linux, drawing their attention to your articles. I will let you know when (or if) I get any response.

—David R. Hignett Hignett@dial.pipex.co.uk

September 2000 Issue

I have used Linux for about five years now, starting with a simple umsdos installation. I have no computer training, and so at times it has been a struggle. The people involved in the “movement” have fascinated me as much as the system, and have made it fun to participate even in my little way. Your recent forays into presenting those personalities have been fun for me, and I particularly enjoyed this first installment with Phil Hughes. Keep it coming.

—Gary Dolan fred1@inebraska.com

Return of the Python!

I was shocked and dismayed, not by the cover, but by the response from some of your readers to the picture on the front of the Python Supplement (May 2000). Such a picture would barely raise an eyebrow here in Australia!

I find it to be a never-ending source of wonder that a nation that consumes so much of the world's resources and gives so little back in return can occupy itself so completely with this kind of moralistic debate. If the Puritan heart of middle America still can't reconcile themselves to the fact that the price of freedom is tolerance, then I strongly suggest they hand in their semi-automatic weapons and 454 cubic-inch pick-ups!

We have nothing to fear from depictions of the human body, only from the mindsets of those who want to use such images to peddle their simpilistic, narrow-minded views of the world.

—Arthur Watts arthur.watts@gbst.com

I know we promised we had published the last of the responses to the naked cover, but we couldn't resist.