Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
Load What?

Nice job by Matt Welsh on Emacs in Linux oumal issue #6. It really got me going! Encountered minor text bug using our 18.57 version. When trying to byte compile code, the “load-file” was missing a target file.

(defun byte-compile-if-newer-and
load (file)
"Byte compile file.el if newer
than file.elc"
(if (filenewer-than-file-p
(concat file ,'.el")
        (concat file ".elc"))
  (byte-compile-file (concat
file ".el")))
(load-file ) )
  (byte-compile-if-newer-and-load
"~/emacs/startup")

FIX:

(load-file (concat file " .elc") ) )

—Erik “Rev” Feddersenrev@datacube.com

Good Guy Gets Better

In the past few months, I've made a number of statements about Linux in your fonum stating that Linux documentation is worthless, Linux code is unreadable, and some Linux soffware is annoyingly unreliable.

I would like to retract, and apologize for, any statements I made about documentation or code. Documentation problems resuited from my not having read the Linux installation brochure carefully enough and from having missed the whence command. My code problems resulted from having picked a particularly obscure and locally undocumented bit of code (profil. c) as the first arid only test case. Having now used whence a few times and browsed around some other code in the LGX (Yggdrasil) Linux distribution, I find that the quality of almost all documentation and code readability ranges between pretty good and very good.

I still regard Linux as noticeably less reliable as a whole than the other Unix system I've used extensively, namely SunOS. Although I have found the Linux kernel Qile system, process scheduler, etc.) and shell to be extremely reliable, there are several specific problems in other parts of the system that are a source of ongoing annoyance:

  • If the X server ever nuns out of swap space, the entire machine locks up and I have to reboot. (I usually can't just shut down the server gracefully.)

  • gdb gets badly confused by optimized code, showing bogus variable values with no indication that they are bogus.

  • Attempting to debug profiled (-pg) code with gab offen results in strange, non-resumable traps when singlestepping.

  • Profiling sometimes produces very large variations in observed times when running under X-Windows. I find I have to shut down X in order to get repeatable results.

  • Having done a partially CD-ROM-based installation, I find the CD-ROM being invoked at unpredictable times and for odd functions; for example, just to do a ls 1 in the current (non-CD-ROM) directory.

Despite these problems, I have found Linux to be an excellent value for the price I would have paid for it (S99) if Yggdrasil hadn't sent me a free copy S99 won't even buy a decent C compiler in the PC world.L. Peter Deutsch,Aladdin Enterprisesghost@aladdin.com

YGGDRASIL RESPONDS:

...we have rearranged the order in which elements of SPATH are searched in the Fall 1994 release to reduce some of the CDROM accesses....

A minor correchon on pricing:Beta Release $60($99 for Beta + Fall 1993)Fall 1993 $49.99Summer 1994 $39.99Fall 1994 $34.99Adam I Richter,Yggdrasil Company Inc.adam@adam.yggdrasil.com

Linux Morality

I am a fairly experienced Unix user who has MSDOS on his home system. (I have used Unix for years at the low and high level at work and school.) I've been piddling with the idea of putting Linux on my box at home, and I even have a new 1GB hard drive (in addition to the 500MB one) just screaming to have Linux run its hands all over the cylinders. Affer reading the HOWTOs and the installguide, I was sure I could install Linux on my PC. I've installed other Unix OS stuff on other machines (okay, once).

However, your article “Cooking with Linux” (issue #5), finally pushed me over the edge. It leff me rolling on the floor in some places and it leff me with a feeling that I have a moral responsibility to wake up and use that other 95% of my brain.

Oh, and it convinced me to install Linux at home, too.

Thanks.Lewis W. Beardlewis@damops.wes.army.mil

Making Faces

Thank you for your article entitled “Emacs: Friend or Foe?” in issue #5 of Linux lournaL I was wondering if you might have an idea as how to set the color schemes in C mode for such things as reserved words, comments, strings, etc.Thanks in advance.Mike Clarkaseng@bsinet.com

MATT RESPONDS

The article describes how to set the faces “bold”, “underline”, “italic” and so forth. These are achually used within C mode to set colors for reserved words, stnngs, and so forth.

However, if you do M-x apropos face you will get a list of functions and variables containing the word “face”. These include:

font-lock-comment-face
        Variable: Face to use for comments.
font-lock-doc-string-face
        Variable:       Face to use for documentation strings.
font-lock-function-name-face
        Variable:       Face to use for function names.
font-lock-keyword- face
        Variable: Face to use for keywords.
font-lock-string-face
        Variable:       Face to use for string constants.
font-lock-type-face
Variable:       Face to use for data types.

Apparently, these are the faces used within Font Lock mode (described in the article) for the features you mentioned. I have notpersonally experimented with these faces, and they appear to be undocumented. Your mileage may vary. 10

______________________

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