by Various
Send A Message to Laurie

Laurie Dare's letter on the Linux Open Source Expo and Conference Program in Sydney (Letters, April 2000) struck a chord with me, and I decided to answer the letter.

First of all, I will mention that this was my third trip to Australia in the past twelve months, where I have given talks at much-lower-priced venues, such as CALU and AUUG, as well as free talks to various user groups in Australia.

The $1350 AUS price quoted by Laurie in the letter was the price for both the Linux conference and the ASPCON conference. The Linux conference by itself was $695 AUS, with a Government/Academic discount of 10% or an active LUG member being able to get in for $595 AUS. The dinner price was correct as stated at $125, but again I would like to point out for our non-Australian readers that this was $125 AUS and not 125 USD. Since USD were trading for 1.82 AUSD that day, it means the dinner really cost about 68 USD, not an unreasonable price for a dinner in Sydney.

Nevertheless, I was a bit upset to hear the dinner price was even that high, and I spoke to the organizers about it. They assured me that the dinner was a “break-even” event. I can imagine that, since the Sydney Linux User's Group tried to rent a room for a four-hour meeting in the same facility, and were charged $500 AUS (274 USD) for the privilege of having a room and chairs. This $500 AUS charge was picked up by LinuxCare, much to the relief of the SLUG.

Still not completely mollified by the explanation, I proceeded to put on five more one-hour talks over the next three days of the exhibition, at the small theaters in the Red Hat, LinuxCare and SuSE booths. These talks were free of charge, and were well received by the people who attended. Other “luminaries” such as Bob Young, Dr. Andrew Tridgell, Paul “Rusty” Russell and others talked in these theaters as well.. . . Warmest regards, —Jon “maddog” Hall, Executive Director, Linux International, maddog@valinux.com

Just an Old-Fashioned Guy

I'm happy to find a page (“Take Command”, March LJ) on the old-fashioned stuff. I love old-fashioned stuff; it saves a lot of time and typing. However, your article doesn't do justice to uuencode/uudecode. There is no need at all to save stuff on disk twice. I often just type:

tar cvzf -
  mail -s subject recpt@domain.com

which results in less typing, less waiting, less stuff to be deleted.

And the recipient doesn't need to save the mail and then uudecode file. It's easier to use the | (pipe) command of the mailer: |uudecode and the (compressed) file is output directly on disk.

—Alessandro Rubini rubini@gnu.org

Well, you are right, of course. However, the “Take Command” column is considered a newbie column, so I like to keep it short and simple. I didn't want to get into explanations of pipes or mailer options, both of which have been discussed in other articles. With mutt and other mailers, you don't even have to do the uuencode any more; just choose the attach option and it is MIME-encoded, then sent off. I was called to task by someone else for not mentioning that one —Editor

Can You Spell Linux?

“Office Wars: Applixware and StarOffice” (Jason Kroll, February 2000) was an interesting and informative article. I discovered an enlightening tidbit while using the StarOffice suite. We can only hope that Sun's commitment to the Linux community is not reflected in the fact that typing “Linux” into the StarWriter application produces a spelling error.

—Domenic R. Merenda dmerenda@geeks404.com

Whooping It Up with Apache

I was reading through issue 71 of Linux Journal when I happened across Raju Mathur's excellent little article on using the Apache proxy server to suppress banner ads. The technique is very interesting and fun to play with. I did, however, have a problem.

Setting up Apache as a proxy was a breeze. Getting mod_rewrite to work was not. It was only after some perusing of the Apache mod_rewrite documentation that I found my problem. Whether you are compiling Apache with mod_proxy and mod_rewrite, or loading them as modules, you must load mod_rewrite after mod_proxy or it will not work.

On a side note, I think it should at least be mentioned that many web sites make money (or at least try to alleviate their costs) by running the banner ads. Anyone who wishes to set this up should at least give that a thought before actually doing it.

—Stephen Carpenter sjc@delphi.com

Slink Not Debian

I just finished reading your review of “Learning Debian GNU/Linux” at http://www2.linuxjournal.com/lj-issues/issue71/3821.html .

Having owned this book and spent a good deal of time conversing with both O'Reilly and VA Linux, I think you have made an error that deserves mentioning. You state near the end of your review, “A CD-ROM containing the Debian 2.1 distribution is bound into the book.” This is incorrect.

What is actually bound into the book is a copy of VA Linux's “slink and a half” modified version of the Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 distribution. This is not the Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 distribution, but a Frankenstein hybrid of the stable 2.1 (slink) distribution and the unstable 2.2 (potato) distribution. The new user may have some difficulty getting help with this hybrid, and VA Linux will not provide any support except to state that it is not Debian 2.1, and if you want support, you should purchase their boxed distribution. Please inform your readership of this state of affairs.

Thank you for your time in this matter.

—Richard Coleman richard_coleman@jws.com

Yet Another Linux University

I very much enjoyed the March issue of LJ. It was one of the best I had seen in months.

Since the focus of the issue was training, I would like to bring to your attention a project you may not be aware of: Linux University (http://www.linuxuniversity.org/). This is not the SGI training program of the same name, but a community-based effort to provide free Linux training to the free software community.

LU has been in existence for about two years, but has begun gaining momentum only in the last six months or so. The current course offerings are geared primarily toward developers, with classes in C and Perl, both of which have been taught in Nashville by members of NLUG. However, plans are in the works to offer classes entitled GTK+, Using the GIMP, Inside the Kernel, Linux Security Primer, Introduction to TCP/IP and Linux System Administration to the Web and Finding a User Group Near You.

The distinction of the project is that all training, whether it occurs in cyberspace or meatspace, is free of charge (although donations are welcome), classes are taught by members of the Linux community, content must be released under an open-source license, and it actively seeks to involve local Linux user groups.

If any of your readers would like to help, we encourage them to drop by the Linux University web site, check out what we have so far, and get their hands dirty filling in the holes. Thanks!

—Rob Huffstedtler rob@bagpipe.com

Mo or Les

Glen Wiley's Motif/Lesstif Application Development article in the August 1999 Linux Journal was a real standout, especially with the code downloadable from your web site. The article was packed with directly usable, accurate information.

The code was a model for any programmer who wants to set a high standard. The style and format was extremely readable. The comments struck a good balance between enough information and avoidance of excess.

I used this article as a guidebook to bring my limited Visual C++ and Visual Basic experience into my Linux proficiency. In two weeks, I was able to work through the program and get a respectable foothold in graphics programming in the most established and robust graphics platform in the UNIX/Linux world.

It is a very good guidebook that can accomplish that.

—Robert G. Young rgeyoung@a-znet.com

Better Late than Never

I am sorry this is late, however ....

I just want to tell you that I think your short article (“Red Hat buys Cygnus”) in the January 2000 issue is on the mark. I too share some of the same concerns.


Painting the Desktop

I was reading Michael Hammel's “Artist's Guide to the Desktop, Part 2” (and enjoyed it very much, by the way) and noticed the reference to GKrellM in the section on epplets. I appreciate his mentioning it, but would like to let you know that GKrellM is no more an epplet than is xmms or any other Gtk application.

Perhaps the source of his impression is that initially it became most widely used by Enlightenment users, but there are actually many KDE, AfterStep, Blackbox, etc. users. While I realize Mr. Hammel would probably not have mentioned GKrellM at all in your article had you understood this, I still want to nudge the record back to what my program actually is.

I have subscribed to Linux Journal for several years and have always found your columns very worthwhile. I hope you have many more articles to come.

—Bill Wilson, bill@gkrellm.net

Most probably. I enjoy working with them and have many ideas. Thanks for the kind words!

—Michael J. Hammel mjhammel@graphics-muse.org

Doc is Rocking the Boat

Mr. Searls, I've just read your article “Now what ...” in the April 2000 issue of Linux Journal.

My relations with salespeople have always been on the cool side. It has not mattered much whether the guy is trying to sell me something or if he is a colleague. And if sales guys get the fridge treatment, then marketing guys have been worthy of only the freezer technique.

I'd like to lodge a complaint. You are rocking my boat. You are moving my perspective. You are changing my world! I've been reading LJ for a couple of years and eyed this “marketing guy” who came onboard about a year ago with fear, uncertainty and doubt. Gradually that has changed, and I'm beginning to realize, “Hey! Maybe some of these marketing guys aren't so bad after all.”

I'm attending part of a Linux seminar next week. My boss okayed it immediately (when I reminded him of my request, that is)--a year ago, he would not even have considered it. It's not only the world of computers that is changing; it is the world. And, yes, we need marketing to achieve world domination, but maybe we can change the rules there as well. Articles like yours are changing the rules, attitudes and preconceptions.

Doc, you're all right.

—Stein Bjorndal stein@proact.no

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