Letters

Readers sound off.

Letters

Cliché Busters

I'm in the building industry in the Chicago area and had an interesting conversation the other day with one of my suppliers. In the past I've heard the phrase “You'll never lose your job sticking with Microsoft.” I don't believe that's the case anymore; the supplier I just mentioned, this week, let go of its IT guy of the last 12 years because he wanted to stick with Microsoft and wouldn't consider any Linux alternatives.


Joseph B. Roth

Good Articles in October

Man, that October 2004 issue rocks. I particularly enjoyed Forster's “The Politics of Porting”. It's always a good story when someone bets it all and wins.

Hollenback's “Point-to-Point Linux” brought back memories of how we used Linux for T1 connectivity at Wayport. There is a single-port LMC (now SME) T1 card in every Wayport hotel. Hats off.


Jim Thompson

Choice in Fortran Compilers

Many Fortran programmers now use Linux, and there are about ten vendors selling Fortran 95 compilers for Linux. I would like to make Linux Journal readers aware of two open-source Fortran 95 compilers under development, g95 (see www.g95.org) and gfortran (see www.gfortran.org). g95 is already able to compile many large production codes, as listed on the g95 site. gfortran will become part of the Gnu Compiler Collection, gcc.


Vivek Rao

Portugal, Land of Fine Wine

I am an LJ subscriber and Linux user. Every month I read the magazine cover to cover and always enjoy every article, especially if it has some electronic device involved, like the USB programming articles or some embedded Linux device like the Linksys wireless router.

One article I always read with special attention is Cooking with Linux by Marcel Gagné. Besides the technical information, I always am excited to see what wine will he talk about each time. And until now, and I think I am not mistaken, he has never mentioned the fine wine from my country, Portugal. I expect Marcel to correct this fault in one of the next issues of LJ. I will not give any example of Portuguese wine here, because I am confident Marcel will find the finest brands of Portuguese wine. Regards to all. Keep the good work.


Luis Sismeiro

I believe he already may have some wine from Portugal in the cellar. Check page 26. —Ed.

Photo of the Month: Vin de Pingouin

Here is an image of a cute wine bottle; Francois may want to buy a case or two for the Linux chef. It was recently featured at a party to celebrate a successful prototype of my Wi-Fi HackTenna Project.




Pat Kane

Hosting Provider Supports SCO

Wow, EV1 has a full page ad (November 2004, page 87). Could this be the same EV1 caught consorting with SCO's “Linux License” scams last year?


Harold Stevens

Yes, EV1 gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to The SCO Group, the company known for its apparently baseless legal attacks on Linux. At the time, some posters to the EV1 message board wrote that they were Linux users canceling their accounts over this controversial decision. —Ed.

Security Advice

I read Don Marti's October 2004 column with interest. I agree that Linux is quite a way ahead of some OSes when it comes to security. SELinux is an excellent example of this. However, I differ with Don concerning his plan to implement SELinux for “simple bastion hosts such as name servers”. Although SELinux does bring a lot to the table, it is probably overkill for the majority of applications Linux is used for. When you increase the security of a system you reduce its usability. In the majority of cases, following a few simple steps will result in a very secure system without having to implement SELinux.

1) Perform OS installation disconnected from a network and install only those packages that are required for the system to function. 2) Install updated packages from media (CD-R, tape) created on another system. 3) Configure system services to run in as secure a mode as possible. For example, run BIND in a chroot()-ed environment. 4) Consider implementing a host-based firewall solution. 5) Enable comprehensive logging and develop processes that allow you to examine your logs thoroughly. 6) Keep your system packages up to date.

An excellent source of information to help secure Linux, and several other OSes (as well as Oracle and Apache) can be found on the Center for Internet Security Web site at www.cisecurity.org.


Keith Rice

On a name server, where no users need to run applications, the extra layer of protection could be worth the setup. See page 56 for more on SELinux. —Ed.

Less Clustering, More USB

Almost time to renew—I got my second reminder a while back. Then the November 2004 issue arrives and contains very little I can even understand, let alone need. Some of your articles are so focused that surely no more than two or three people in the world could benefit from them. Oscar?? Lots of cluster stuff. Event mechanisms???

Big debate on whether to renew. I can see what Marcel's article is about, but can't see anyone needing to do it. Some useful ideas on bash in the Paranoid Penguin article. No Best of Tech Support. Mostly a wasted edition.

Then I see Coming Next Month!!! Entertainment. Just the thing I need help with. Yes—renew. And tell Dave—he'll want to see this too. We'll just hope they address the problems I keep having: sound, video and USB. And hope for more desktop stuff: Bash, gimp, spam control and USB help.

I'd like to end with “Keep up the good work”, but have to make it, “Help me more.” The check is in the mail.


Bruce Bales

Penguin Cake for Web Class

After seeing the Tux cake in the November 2004 issue, I just had to send you a photo of the Tux cake one of my LAMP students made to celebrate the end of the Summer semester.




Darryl Bedford

Sweden.population++;

Great seeing Sweden featured in your LJ Index, October 2004. Unfortunately, the figures are a bit outdated as we are now officially 9+ million living here.


Nit Picker
aka Martin S.

Conference on Non-Linux Web Server?

I was cruising Netcraft and saw that the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo site is hosted on Microsoft Windows and IIS. I think a small letter-writing campaign could fix that problem. I think mentioning this in the editorial section would generate enough hate mail for these guys that they would correct their oversight.

I'm sure we could gather up resources to build, configure and maintain that server from volunteer resources. So they would be out only the hosting costs.


Dan

It's a good thing hate mail doesn't work, or everyone with software to promote would be flaming you. If you want to attend a conference with a Linux-based Web site, try linuxsymposium.org. —Ed.

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