Letters

Readers sound off.

Letters

Try Puppy Linux

Wow, what a great article by Louis Iacona [LJ, April 2008, “Puppy Linux”]. I was pleasantly surprised to find it so in depth for a magazine article, which is usually no more than two pages. It definitely encouraged me to try Puppy Linux, which I will do. I hope to see more articles by this gentleman and hope he was well paid. Thank you for such a great magazine.


George Mulak

On ISOs

I have noticed mention of ISOs now and then in LJ articles.

While working on our own applications, we've often gone searching on the Internet for tools and applications that might already be found in the form of a ready-to-run ISO.

Because ISOs are relatively new to the public, we concluded that currently, it is difficult to find such works or list them if you are an author.

Therefore, we have created a new site, www.isotogo.com, to help the public and authors in working with ISOs. There is no cost to use it or to list your works, and because it is new, we are working hard on moving up the search engine ladder.


Mike Paradis

Comments on the OLPC XO

Dave Phillips is effusive in his praise of the OLPC XO [LJ, June 2008], and most of it is well deserved, indeed. But it must be conceded that the keyboard is a piece of absolute trash. After just a few hours of use, mine developed keys that stick or fail to actuate or actuate with Alt applied unpredictably. This got worse until it was completely unusable. A Google search turned up many such complaints and detailed instructions for excising and replacing the keyboard (serious tinkerers only!). The USB keyboard is really a necessity, but that is not convenient in all circumstances.

The mouse does have two active buttons, as you can verify by copying the binary of gpm from a compatible system (I use Fedora Core 6 on a Dell Latitude). Run it as:

gpm -m /dev/input/mouse0 -t ps2 -r 5 -a 3

and play with the -r and -a settings to get it the way you like.

The display is a little bit strange. Plotting a bunch of random pixels in white on a black screen makes red, green and blue dots. A white-on-black line may show bands of color, depending on the point density and inclination. So your favorite graphics apps may need some tweaking.

If you want to run something that uses SVGALIB, you need my framebuffer version of that. It's not complete yet, but it does basic pixel, line and block functions. I'll put it on my SourceForge site soon, but meanwhile, if interested, send me a note at mcconnau@biochem.wustl.edu.


Bill McConnaughey

Yet Another One-Liner

The June 2008 issue of LJ published a letter from David Newall, which responded to a letter from Joao Macedo published in the February 2008 issue, which was, in turn, a response to Dave Taylor's column in the December 2007 issue. Both Joao and David wrote in with one-liners using the echo and bc commands to do floating-point calculations in place of using Dave Taylor's solve.sh script. Joao's example embedded an actual newline character, whereas David Newall's used the escape code version of the same. There is yet another way to do this, and it is, in fact, my preference, as it is much more intuitive to folks accustomed to writing shell scripts. In bourne-shell scripts, a semicolon can be used to place commands together on a single line. It can be used for the same purpose with bc. Here is a third rewrite of the example to demonstrate:

echo 'scale=4;11/7' | bc



James Williams Zavada

Correction

First off, great magazine! While reading page 13, in the UpFront section [LJ, June 2008, “Eee PC Gets an Upgrade”], Doc talks about the upgrade that the Eee PC is getting, along the lines of the larger screen, larger SSD hard drive and more memory. He lists the new Eee PC 900 as having 1GB of RAM, and say that this is “up from 512KB”. I dunno about you, but my Eee PC (from which I am sending this letter) has 512 megabytes, not kilobytes! If yours has 512KB of RAM, you should send it back! Great magazine, small typo, I forgive you!


Eric Jennings

Thanks

I just wanted to send a quick note to thank all of the contributors to LJ. You have inspired me over the past couple of years to migrate over to Linux as my OS of choice and motivated me to learn new projects. I am in the middle of setting up an LTSP project for our home-schooling community and using info gained from various LJ articles and book recommendations.

Keep up the good work. Hopefully I will send some converts your way soon!


Dean Anderson

Sony

I'm happy to see the coverage of Sony's use of Linux in the June 2008 issue. There is actually an even bigger list of Sony products running Linux at www.sony.net/Products/Linux. Myself, I was surprised to find my new digital camera on that list. Now if only we could turn this into some sort of quality label instead of a hidden feature. (Disclaimer: I am a UNIX sysadmin working for Sony.)


Nico De Ranter

More Must-Have Firefox Extensions

I'm surprised the article [Dan Sawyer's “Must-Have Firefox Extensions” in the June 2008 issue of LJ] didn't even mention AdBlock Plus. It's the first extension I put on any Firefox installation I come across. After I installed it on my girlfriend's laptop, she exclaimed, “now I understand why you actually like that one site!” Her laptop's running Kubuntu with VMware Workstation for those pesky Windows-only apps, by the way.

Another helpful extension is Cookie Button, which prevents all those cookie confirmation windows from popping up and still allows one to enable them easily for a specific site if required.

I also enjoyed last month's article regarding using virtualization on Mac OS X, because that's what I've been doing ever since I got my MacBook Pro [Dave Taylor's “Running Ubuntu as a Virtual OS in Mac OS X” in the May 2008 issue of LJ]. It's running Parallels with Kubuntu and Windows XP, and it allows me to develop and test software on all three operating systems with ease.

And, I can run Amarok to listen to music, because iTunes simply doesn't measure up.


U. Hertlein

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