by Various
The OS of the People

I'm writing to express my entire support for what Jason Kroll has written in his article “Musings on Linux Profiteering” published on the Linux Journal web site (http://www.linuxjournal.com/articles/misc/012.html). I've always had the same fears and beliefs, especially because of the love I feel for GNU/Linux, the one and only OS that actually came to me, without asking me for money or anything—on the contrary, offering me great amounts of knowledge I wouldn't have with another OS. The moment I noticed the existence of GNU/Linux, a big change was made in the course of my life. In a country where you have to pay to get proper education, these things mean a lot to all of us—the people who don't have the resources to pay for private education. Not only to us, but to all people who in some way work with computers, providing a way to expand and improve our knowledge.

That's why I fear the monster of money so much, and the harm it could cause the entire GNU/Linux community. And this is why I'm not using FreeBSD, regardless of its good aspects: its license promotes commercial development, allowing anyone to prohibit the use of the software to someone like me, who does not have the resources to pay for software.

Thanks a lot for the article; it could help people realize how much they have to protect.

—Pablo Baena greyheart@fnmail.com

Love that Penguin

It was great to see Feathers McGraw featured on your magazine cover. I accidentally discovered Wallace and Gromit while flipping channels a few years ago. PBS was playing two of Nick Park's features; we later purchased a tape of “The Wrong Trousers”. These movies have become favorites of the entire family. The Linux box I set up at work is named Feathers after this character, because he's an outlaw. Hopefully that will soon change.

—Steve Brant steve@brant.nu

Upgrade Error

Kirk Petersen's “Using the Red Hat Package Manager” (January 2000) is a nice article, but has one problem. In the paragraph on “Upgrade Mode”, the example given:

rpm -u penguin-3.26.i386.rpm

will return the following error messages: “error: --u and -uninstall are deprecated and no longer work.” and “Error: Use -e or -erase instead.” At least, it will if you use RPM version 3.0.2 as I do. The command:

rpm -Uvh penguin-3.26.i386.rpm
would work much better. The man page is not very clear, but the info page calls it out correctly.

—Joe Luker spooky@cnmnetwork.com

How About that Date?

I noticed that even though the cover page of the Linux Journal had the right date (JANUARY 2000), all the inside pages on the lower right were stamped JANUARY 1900, with an editor's mark changing it to 2000.

Was this intentional or just another Y2K bug? Either way, it bothers me that I didn't notice it until the second reading.

—Arthur Hammerschmidt ajhammer@cgocable.net

It was intentional. A continuation of our joking claim to be Y2K-compliant on the December cover. The idea was to provide a laugh at all the Y2K uproar and ourselves —Editor

Y2K Strikes LJ

I usually do read my LJ before any dust collects on it, but I'm just now getting my fix with the January issue. In the “thanks, I needed that” kudos department, I really got a huge laugh out of your date. Thanks.

—Greg Edwards Greg.Edwards@usa.alcatel.com

In Linux We Trust

I would like to acknowledge Phil Hughes' article, “Linux Public Trust” (LJ web site, http://www.linuxjournal.com/articles/buzz/027.html). How timely it seems, given the announcement today of the Linux Open Source Expo & Conference Program to be held in Sydney, Australia in March. All the “big names” of the Linux world will be there, with keynote addresses by Robert Bishop of SGI and Robert Young of Red Hat, Inc. Bob Young's credentials include “a career in the computer finance arena, with 20 years of computer industry finance and marketing... which allowed him to see an opportunity with a phenomenon called Linux in 1993.” And here I was, thinking these guys were just hackers in suits!

By the way, the price of a ticket on this gravy train is $1350 AUS. For an extra $125, you can attend the TUXedo Night, featuring none other than John “maddog” Hall. How many other Linux luminaries are attending? Only time will tell. Perhaps one (or more) Linux Journal staff would also like to attend, if only to let the rest of us poorer Linux users know how the other half live. Public Trust? I'll drink to that, but with a virtual beer, at home in front of my computer.

Thanks for what is still an informative and enjoyable magazine, even if the suits appear to be more numerous these days.

—Laurie Darerough planet@ozemail.com.au

Spinning the Web

I read with interest Doc Searls' comments on operating systems being used on web servers (upFRONT, January 2000). My own site is being hosted by Virtualis, and they use FreeBSD quite extensively for virtual hosting. Their dedicated servers come with two options, namely NT/FreeBSD. Upon enquiring for a client, one of the support staff for Virtualis stated that NT is buggy as far as virtual hosting is concerned.

To come back to the Media Metrix survey, two of the five sites being hosted on NT belong to Microsoft—namely, msn.com and microsoft.com. I guess one can ignore those two, which brings the NT tally to 3...

Thanks for a most enjoyable magazine!

—Johan Pretorius JohanPretorius@flysaa.com

Ranting and Raving

Do you wanna know what really pisses me off about Linux? It's touted as a “free” OS (in other words, you can get it without paying a cent) but it's obviously not. I'd like to try Linux and see if it really is a good competitor to Windows. I understand there is very little software sold that can actually run under Linux, but I am still interested to see how the OS works. My question is simple: why pay some vendor my hard-earned money for an OS that finding software for is such a chore? And why should I trust anyone that says “it's free” and then wants to charge me for it?! I understand it costs money to make and distribute CD-ROMs, but why can't I simply download it if it really is free? Your web site says I can, yet I see no link to the FTP site. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to spot this lie.

As for Windows, I firmly believe Microsoft earned their market share by the fact that they created a terrific OS that a vast majority of computer users love. It's called supply and demand (duh). Yet I tend to scratch my head in wonder when I hear about some OS that's being touted as better (more stable), and free (when I can't even find the free software on the Internet) and especially when I don't see software that says it works under Linux. Usually, when a better product exists, there is a very competitive market for it (such as cars—Ford and GM are a perfect example).

My conclusion is this: Linux is nothing more than a cult following, like Apple's Macintosh. Mac users are cut from a strange cloth. They seem to insist on using a Mac, simply because they want to be different. They also appear to hate Microsoft, just because Microsoft has created some of the best software on Earth and millions of people gobbled it up like turkey sales at Thanksgiving.

As for the (corrupted) Justice Dept. vs. Microsoft... well, just because someone makes a superior product that has overwhelming customer demand doesn't make them a criminal enterprise.

—Scott Moore scottbomb@hotmail.com

Actually, we didn't think it took a brain surgeon to find Linux on the Internet. Just click on our “How to Get Linux” button, and you will find many download sites. More and more software products support Linux every day. Check out the ads in our magazine and the Linux Software Map at http://www.ExecPc.com/lsm/ —Editor

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