Letters

Readers sound off.
Praising Wayne

I'd just like to pass along my praise for the article “Algorithms in Africa” by Wayne Marshall in the June 2001 issue. This is a definite upgrade over the typical Linux success story. Insightful, committed, poignant, experienced and informed, you should consider Mr. Marshall's perspective as paradigmatic for covering the emerging global presence of Linux. The principles and values here have definite application to domains such as India (where the FSF is opening a branch office), China (where the government has adopted free software, if not political freedom, as its own) and many other areas of the world such as Eastern Europe and South America. Please keep us up to date on global development. And thanks for a superb magazine.

—William G. McGrath

Hurrah for Us

I just wanted to write to let you know that I've consistently found Linux Journal to have the highest quality content in the magazines that cover Linux and technology. I am constantly getting refresher courses, learning about new code and projects, and generally getting fantastic info from your publication.

I especially wanted to compliment you on your regular sections: At the Forge, Cooking with Linux and Paranoid Penguin. Much of the information is applicable to other *nix to boot, making your publication one I keep around for a long time (much to the consternation of my wife). Anyway, thanks folks, and keep up the good work.

—Joe Heck

Unchecked Checker

In the July 2001 LJ article “Debugging Memory on Linux”, I noticed that the open-source memory checker I've been using was not listed in the article. The checker contains a replacement malloc library plus patches for gcc. The gcc patches wrap C++-like constructors around local variables and insert tests before memory references. This allows checked programs to detect memory overwrites of local variables and some global variables in addition to malloced buffers, and the checking catches overwrites as soon as they happen. You may freely mix object modules compiled with and without checking. The checker also includes replacements for mem* and str* routines and can detect invalid calls against checked memory objects, even from modules compiled without bounds checking.

There are links to the checker from the gcc extensions page at gcc.gnu.org/extensions.html.

—William Bader

Proprietary Parity

In your article “Debugging Memory on Linux” in the July 2001 issue of LJ, you list Purify from Rational as a proprietary tool. As far as I can tell from their web site, they do not support Linux. Also, a while back I did talk to a Rational salesperson who said they didn't have any plans to support Linux. Do you know something else?

Sorfa replies: It looks like you are right. At the time of writing the article (early this year), there was a hint that Purify would be supported on Linux. I assumed (wrongly) that by the time the article made it to press, it would be available. It is a pity and I apologize for the incorrect info. It looks like the only proprietary alternative is Insure++.

Certification Revisited

I must respectfully disagree with Allan Hall in his letter of the July 2001 issue. Certification per se is certainly no substitute for experience, but it does show that a candidate at least took the initiative to attend some classes, read some books and pass some tests. It also usually requires putting a few hundred dollars up front.

I don't see how one could give a certified candidate anything but an edge over an uncertified one, experience levels in the two being equal.

—Bill Cunningham

MPlayer Magic

Just want to write to let you know that Robin Rowe's article “MPEG-1 Movie Players” (May 2001) was very helpful and also convinced me to renew my subscription to Linux Journal. I wanted to play movies on my new notebook and had played with xanim before, but your recommendation of MPlayer was great. It compiles, installs and works like a charm. Thanks again.

—Chuck

Kinder, Gentler CVS

It's articles like “CVS: an Introduction” (July 2001 issue of LJ) that keep me subscribed to Linux Journal. I've been doing basic RCS for years and knew there had to be a better way. But let's face it, the man page for CVS is a little overwhelming to the uninitiated. But the day after reading the article, I was using CVS at work (the magazine is opened on my desk to page 72 right now), and I'm feeling much better about long-range management issues now. Keep 'em coming! So many thanks to you and Ralph Krause for putting this together.

—John Evans

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