Readers sound off.

I notice your December 2000 cover shows an IT guy as a fat, balding, bespectacled, bearded geek in an XXL black T-shirt and with an attitude problem. I'm most insulted by this stereotype. I shave.

—Bruce Richardson brichardson@lineone.net

Our cover model, Glenn, responded to an open ad to system administrators and was chosen for his expressive qualities.


Lose the Windows

I recently received the December 2000 issue of Linux Journal and went right to one of your feature stories—“A Linux-Based Automatic Backup System”. I was expecting to see something about tape drives and backing up and restoring a dead hard drive. Instead, I see a very brief tutorial on using Samba, cp, cron, and bzip on backing up Windows shares on a Linux hard drive. The author quotes that it's an “inexpensive and easy solution”—he's exactly right about that. I don't see creating a zip file on a hard drive a backup solution, nor do I see this article being a feature story. There was absolutely nothing in the article that even mentioned backing up Linux files or how to restore them. Articles like this and the wave of many others that you have published in the past are a complete embarrassment to Linux. They all seem to be Linux acting in a supporting role to Windows. Come on! Look at the front cover of your magazine! Publish some real articles about Linux for a change!

—Paul Sullivan wiley14@mindspring.com

A Real Bastard

Thank you for your short article in the December 2000 issue of LJ on the trouble with the Bastard Operator from Hell. Interesting from my point of view that I've never felt that my job has sucked. It's often busy and I have had to deal with a lot of bozos, but I've generally been having a good time. And I'm somewhat in the minority in that I did major in computer science.

I do have one question, though. I've just recently (this week) started at a new employer. Problem is, I've run into someone in my group who likely doesn't think BOFH is funny at all. Rather, he thinks it's a manual on how to be a systems administrator. I kid you not. So what do you do when you encounter a real life BOFH? It's serious enough that I think the guy should be just outright fired. I still don't know how he got hired and how he's lasted as long as he has.


Unfortunately, there's no Getting People Fired HOWTO. However, Simon Travaglia's BOFH stories, The Art of War by Sun Tsu and The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli are all available on-line.


Common Misconception

In Reuven Lerner's “At the Forge” article in the December 2000 issue he states “...CGI has a number of drawbacks...,it requires that the web server spawn a new process.” It saddens me to see that a regular columnist at Linux Journal misunderstands the meaning of CGI.

Even though he defines CGI as “common gateway interface” he fails to continue with the thought. It is an interface to a server. It is not a program. Any process that processes data given to a server with a QUERY_STRING is a “CGI program”. That means that mod_perl scripts, PHP, servlets, JSP, etc., all of which run in the server memory space—thereby not spawning new processes—are also CGI programs.

Yes, the common misconception is that CGI is a type of scripting, but as the leaders of the industry we should be precise in our language and meaning.

—Nathan Hokanson nathan.hokanson@home.com

Ada Boy!

I enjoyed the article by Frode Tennebo on Ada 95 programming in the December 2000 issue. It's exciting to see Ada's increasing popularity in the Linux world. It's because of the language's features and robustness that best-selling Linux author Warren W. Gay announced that he would be porting his open-source projects to Ada.

For the benefit of your readers, more information about Ada Linux programming is available through the Big Online Book of Linux Ada Programming (www.vaxxine.com/pegasoft/homes/book.html). This is one of the largest on-line resources for Linux programming for any language and is a good starting point for newbies.

Thanks for letting your readers know that there are alternatives out there to C++ and Java.

—Ken O. Burtch kburtch@sympatico.ca