Letters

by Various
Linksys ProConnect Errata

I made a small mistake in my Linksys ProConnect 4-CPU switch review (March). The current models do not have a console serial mouse port, only a PS/2 port. They do have serial mouse ports for connecting to the computers you wish to control, though.

I apologize for not catching the discrepancy between the manual and the actual switch. That brings the error count in the instruction manual up to two.

I realize the review has already been published, so maybe you could run this in the Letters section of an upcoming issue.

—Ralph Krause rkrause@netperson.net

Painting the Town

I'm still migrating my business, which involves lots of letter and report writing, from NT to Linux, and so found the February story “LaTeX for Secretaries” to be timely. Three things I'd add for anyone contemplating LaTeX for day-to-day office chores are:

One, Lyx is a front end for LaTeX that helped ease the transition for me. I suspect a KDE-flavored version of Lyx, called KLyx, might be good, too.

Two, word2x is a terrific little program that converts MS Word documents into ASCII format. Of course, all that formatting is lost in the process, but at least you can get the content. I'm forced to use this far too often because MS Word seems to dominate the non-Linux world.

Three, Leslie Lamport's ancient but still excellent book LATEX: A Document Preparation System (1994, Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.) provides, as near as I can tell, everything there is to know about LaTeX in a friendly format.

—Mark Barnes mbarnes@pacifier.com

My Compliments

Consistent technical accuracy and depth of information in the Linux Journal is a pleasure to see. I find the depth of the articles and the resource sections better than any book I have purchased on Linux. Of course, there is nothing like reading the man page and /usr/doc/ files. The combination of my subscription for the past three years and the database search on Linux Journal Interactive (/) provides a very convenient and efficient way of locating articles to implement software solutions without having to sift through the table of contents of each journal on my shelf. I just wish I had subscribed earlier!

—Kevin Georgison keving@freenet.mb.ca

Another Instant Messaging Client

Your February 2000 issue had a small article about Jabber, an open-source instant messaging system. While I don't want to start our own instant messaging war, I would like to point out that Everybuddy is another alternative. This (http://www.everybuddy.com/) is an open-source client that today supports AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), ICQ, Microsoft and Yahoo.

—David C. Brown, N2RJTn2rjt@localnet.com

Error or Not? You Decide

Just wanted to let you know about an error in the February issue. In the feature article, “Gnome, Its State and Future”, there is an error on page 87. The paragraph entitled “The AbiWord Word Processor” states that “[you] can run the same word processor across UNIX, Win32, BeOS and MacOS.” This is not true. According to the AbiSource web site, on the FAQ page, there is a clear statement under the heading, “Will it work on my computer?”: “Currently, AbiWord does not work on a Macintosh.”

I'd appreciate a clarification in the next issue. I'd also like to say that, although I'm new to Linux, your magazine is one of the few that I read cover-to-cover every month. Congratulations!

—Patrick Beart patrick@WebArchitecture.com

Here is the state of AbiWord for the Macintosh. About three weeks ago, a group of four people got together, engaged in a flurry of activity, and got AbiWord to compile on MacOS. Of course, you cannot do anything with it except admire the created executable. This was a tremendous step forward. Of course, now is when the hard work begins.

—Robert Sievers bob@abisource.com

Letters in Issue 70

Here are my responses to a couple of letters in the February 2000 issue:

Concerning “Ads, Ads, Ads” from Kyle E. Wright, I disagree. I very much like to see the ads in your magazine. So long as you are expanding the magazine and not trading the space with content (which you confirmed), I think it's great. I like to know what's available for my Linux system, and I usually see a product or two each month that I'm interested in. I say, get as many ads as you can—the more money you make, the better your magazine can become.

Concerning “Too Much Red Hat?” from Can Bican, I also disagree. Red Hat is the leader, and as such has more news, more goings-on, etc. I don't mind hearing about them and I certainly don't mind making money in the stock market on Linux companies. Keep the news coming.

—John Dawson jdawson@tcainternet.com

We're Getting Better

You've just ensured my continued subscription.

Thanks for picking up Stan Kelly-Bootle. When I subscribed to UNIX Review, Stan's column was the icing on the cake; later, during UR's migration to “Performance Computing”, I found Stan's column was the only thing I was reading in that periodical. Now, I'm happy—no, ecstatic—to see that Stan is contributing to Linux Journal.

The content of Stan's first LJ column seems a little “dumbed down”; perhaps Linux users aren't as educated or sophisticated as UNIX users. Regardless of motives or machinations, I'm very glad to see Stan in one of my favorite magazines again.

—Sean Russell ser@efn.org

Maybe Stan was just getting his feet wet with that first article —Editor

Proprietary Software As God

I do not agree with your magazine's apparent worship of every proprietary software package released for Linux. It is good that Linux is growing in popularity, but you miss the point. Particularly in the February 2000 article in the Forum called “Matlab—A Tool for Doing Numerics”, you disappointed me greatly. GNU Octave is a great program that is a replacement for the proprietary Matlab. It is version 2.x, so it has been around a while and works. It can even import Matlab files. The Octave developers deserve our support and thanks for giving of themselves. The Matlab creators do not.

—Pat Mahoney pat13@gmx.de

In the July 1997 issue, we ran an article entitled “Octave: A Free, High-Level Language for Mathematics” by Malcolm Murphy. We have presented many articles on free software and how to develop it. Our column “Focus on Software” is devoted to free software. If you think we worship proprietary software, you obviously haven't read any of Jason Kroll's articles. Creators of both free and proprietary software for Linux deserve our support —Editor

How Many Daemons...

In response to Jason Schumaker's article “The Wide World of Linux” (/article/5381), there were only three daemon women and only one of them in latex, a custom outfit of her own choosing. She was a volunteer; the other two women were actresses from a local agency and wore normal red jeans and blouses. All three women enjoyed themselves immensely and expressed great interest in doing this again (it was the volunteer's second appearance; she also did this at COMDEX). Funny how it's always the uninvolved making value judgments about what's sexist and what's not—yet another common defect in human nature. :)

Anyway, since Jason felt compelled to rip on our booth, I figured the least he could do would be to rip on it accurately. Here's some photographic evidence which may also jog his memory for those all-important details: www.freebsd.org/~jkh/lw2000/daemonbabes.jpg and www.freebsd.org/~jkh/lw2000/daemonbabe.jpg.

—Jordan Hubbard jkh@FreeBSD.org

I had intended to write something more here, but I must say the names of your jpg files say it all—daemonbabes, indeed! And what's up with bsdchicks.com? It is true that the uninvolved are often the ones making the value judgements, and that is usually true because the involved don't recognize the sexism in their own actions. —Marjorie Richardson, Editor

The Dæmoness Herself

As one of the BSD girls, the only one in latex, and the one who uses the OS and was there as a volunteer, I believe Jason Schumaker (“Going for the Gold”, /article/5164) wins the hypocrisy award for assuming none of us were doing this on our own volition, or knew anything about BSD or Linux. ;) And, hey. Coffee substitute and FAQ-answering roles included, it was a great show. And I'll include my congrats and a “great job” to Elthia, the woman in the dustpuppy outfit.

—Cerene@uclink4.berkeley.edu

For many years, I was a programmer in the oil industry and attended many SEG (Society for Exploration Geophysicists) conventions. At the first ones I attended, most of the booths had pretty women dressed sexily in much the same manner as the dæmon “girls”. These women were actresses who were hired for their looks and charm to attract the many men in the industry to the particular booth they worked at. I was offended that women were being used as sex objects and that men were considered stupid enough to fall for such tactics. All these women were happy to have jobs and seemed to be having a good time—this attitude does not change the inherent sexism of the situation. The conventions did not change until enough women became a part of the oil industry to have their voices heard.

BSD's motives may be pure—Mr. Hubbard's letter certainly seems to indicate he feels they are. But looking at the pictures on his site certainly reminds me of the bad old days in the oil industry, and the time and effort women put into changing this sort of attitude. Perhaps using a dæmon guy would help, and costumes not so tight and low-cut.

Jason Schumaker made neither of the assumptions you say he did. I congratulate him for being sensitive to this issue and willing to say so publicly. Congratulations to you on knowing and using BSD! Perhaps when you start thinking of yourself as a woman instead of a girl, you will understand the difference between the dæmon costumes and that of the dustpuppy.

—Marjorie Richardson, Editor

Revisiting the ORB

The Castlewood Orb removable disk drive was reviewed in LJ's December issue. I was intrigued, despite the reported slow speed; I figured there must be a faster SCSI model. In fact, they no longer make the parallel port version you reviewed. It's available as external SCSI or USB, or internal SCSI or ATAPI. I purchased an external SCSI model and I can report the following: I measured write speed at over 3000KB/sec, and hdparm reports reading speed at 8.3MB/sec. Being SCSI, it is trivial to create a Linux-native file system on it and mount it. All and all, I'm very satisfied with my Orb 2.2.

—Peter S. Galbraith GalbraithP@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

I Want My Quicken

You know, I'd love to be using Linux full-time as my home desktop OS, but until it can run Quicken and TurboTax, it's a dead issue. In the meantime, it runs great as my home server...

—Jerry Mooth jerrymoo@yahoo.com

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