Letters

by Various
Layout for Linux?

I think I read somewhere that you use a Windows or Mac application to lay out and produce LJ. Is this correct? I produce a couple of newsletters for some local non-profits and want to move from MS Publisher to something in Linux. Thanks, and keep up the great work! P.S. Well, of course, I am a subscriber :)

—David Raeker-Jordan rkrjrdn@epix.net

Adobe has a beta release of FrameMaker for Linux. Framemaker is great for books and could be used for newsletters, but isn't the right tool for a magazine.

We continue to talk to Adobe about porting their software to Linux. Their new program, InDesign, is a magazine layout tool. Letting them know about your interest could help make a Linux port happen.

The Answer Is...

I just thought I'd note what a great site this is! I've been using Linux since the old Slackware was first released, and had just kind of fumbled my way along. Sure enough, we now have six Linux servers running here! And then a friend wanted a little Linux server too, so he brought along an old 586-100 which we turned into a Linux box. (Let's see NT run on that!) Anyway, he had an old Colorado Tape backup unit in it, and I thought, bugger, I've never used a tape drive under Linux before. Then I came across your article at http://www.linuxjournal.com/lj-issues/issue22/1215.html.

It was a piece of cake! It worked the first time. This brings out one of the best things about Linux: it's public! That is, not just to share around, but the information is out there and if there's anything you ever want to do, chances are someone has already done it, documented it and can often tell you how to do it, too! As someone once said, it's all about the community atmosphere, one for all and all for one, etc.

So thanks heaps for keeping all this information on-line and making it available. I'll make sure I subscribe to your magazine (if I can from here!).

—Timothy Findlay tfindlay@prodevelop.com.au

You sure can—we have 1000 subscribers in Australia!

I would just like to point out that lclint was written by David Evans, not John Guttag and Jim Horning, as stated in the article in issue 73. Guttag and Horning are credited by Dr. Evans with having had the “original idea”, but it was Evans who wrote the program.

Also, lclint can be downloaded directly from Dr. Evans' web page at lclint.cs.virginia.edu.

—Michael Powe michael@trollope.org

xv Article Feedback

One of the things I love about LJ is the mix of heavy technical reading and light information, like the use of xv. I was happy to read about xv, a tool I've been using for the past five years. But if you got scared off by the Root menu, you missed out on the best of all: it refers to the root window, the background image on your desktop. xv allows you to stretch, tile, or otherwise fill the boring gray of the desktop with an image. xv also has powerful command-line options, and back in school I used a start-up script to retrieve the latest Dr. Fun cartoon via FTP. The script would then call on xv to stretch it, dither it, and put it automatically on the desktop, for my daily entertainment. Just my two cents—thanks for this great magazine.

—Michael Jastram micky@alum.mit.edu

I enjoyed reading your article on xv. My only question to you at this point is, how does this program deal with the Unisys patent issue on GIF files?

—Donald Warf warfster@mail.tidalwave.net

xv itself does not deal with that issue, other than that it is an excellent tool to use to convert GIF files to a “free” format such as PNG.

More on Content

I would like to thank you for your article on XVScan, though I'm rather disappointed that you didn't fact-check it with me or on our web site before publication.

  • The license is not per concurrent user, but rather per installed computer. So, a work group can install XVScan on the computer with the scanner, and even though everyone uses it, only one license is required.

  • Not all “Linux-supported” scanners are supported by XVScan: only those listed on our web site at www.tummy.com/xvscan/scanners.html are. This includes all HP SCSI ScanJet scanners from the IIc to the most recent ones, and two Microtek scanners (E3 and E6 are no longer available). Many more scanners are supported by SANE (http://www.mostang.com/SANE/), a free scanner driver that works with the GIMP.

I would appreciate it if you would correct your on-line version of the review on these two points, and print a correction in the next issue of the magazine. Again, thanks for the review.

—Evelyn Mitchell efm@tummy.com

We stand corrected. Sorry for the errors. —Editor

I have been a subscriber to the print version of LJ for the past two years. Over these two years, the printed magazine has grown to 160 pages. Congratulations on having done a good job of growing the number of pages in the magazine, and taking it the way of Byte and all the other magazines that start and survive with the support of the technical user or novice who wished to learn something, and then become a huge glossy container for all the junk peddling that so-called advertising agencies churn out. This is junk that I do not wish to read, let alone pay freight for.

I agree that advertising is where you and your publishers and owners get their icing from, but I request that a balance be struck on the so-called advertising, plain essays and informative technical articles, but not at the expense of code, especially since that is what the open software under GPL is all about. Therefore, please include the full code listings. I can appreciate how LJ provides a downloadable version of the program listings, because it saves a tremendous amount of typing time, especially for slow two-finger typists like me. Unfortunately, the downloading can be very time-consuming and frustrating on a slow link, which happens frequently. And, many times the downloading has to be restarted because the file is only partially downloaded and the server connection has broken. Well, I suppose if this is what electronic commerce is all about, I shall have to bear with it, just like the vast silent majority.

The most important reason is that I am a print reader. I can take the light magazine anywhere with me to read at my convenience—even to bed; but can you plug the flat-batteried 7-pound laptop into something (needing power to recharge) beside a lovely waterfall?

So maybe it's time to review your editorial content policy before you lose that group of readers who buy LJ for its detailed technical content and not its glossy paper or models (e.g., there were only two pages of Best of Technical Support out of 160!). If Linux was so perfect, and easy to install and use, it would have put Windows on the side path a long, long time ago. But, as most people will endorse, it has a rather steep learning curve, and the newbies need all the help and support they can get.

—Tirath tirathp@pd.jaring.my

The reason LJ has been able to grow is because of advertising revenue. This isn't an issue of icing; it is a fact of life. For most of the first three years of publication, LJ lost money. Today, editorial content has grown as advertising has grown. While the magazine may weigh more than you want, that additional advertising is what has made additional editorial content possible.

What we have done is taken advertising related to Linux only. Many of our readers see added value here. Those who don't may want to consider the fact that these ads are what make the magazine and our web site possible.

Is LJ Partial to Python?

I've been a subscriber for almost a year now and in this year, I've seen more articles on Python than on any other language. It seems that every month, you have someone to write well about Python and who despises other languages.

I like Python a lot, but that's not the only thing I program in and I don't think it's fair to other languages, because you always have Eric Raymond and Guido van Rossum talking about... Python! The thing is, they are people just like you and I, with their own personalities and preferences accordingly.

Why don't you have articles that advocate other languages, so we can read what their thoughts are and compare ideas? Why just Python?

—Roberto Mello rmello@cc.usu.edu

Take another look. At the Forge almost always includes Perl code. Kernel Korner regularly includes C code. Java articles appear regularly as well. Yes, we are excited about Python, but not at the exclusion of other languages.

I read with interest your addendum on Python, but here is my “problem” which might not be so uncommon. I would like to get back into programming (I have not written a single line of code for about 20 years; then it was FORTRAN and BASIC). Now, I am totally puzzled as to which language I should learn; Python, C++, Perl, Java... where do I start?

I would like to see a series of articles on the strong points of each language and the type of applications they are best suited for. Then I should be able to make a better choice. I am pretty sure that would raise lots of bandwidth.

Linux Journal is great, it makes my day when I receive it, so keep up the good work.

—L. Paul Bedard pbedard@saglac.qc.ca

Good suggestion. I have added it to our list of articles wanted. —Editor

People Behind Linux?

“People who helped make Linux possible”, eh? Ian Kluft? How did he merit more write-up than H.J. Lu? It doesn't even appear that he made any kernel contribution at all:

Ian Kluft ikluft@thunder.sbay.org Smail binary packages for Slackware and Debian

And from the current “Credits” file, it appears that he's added “beta tester” and “vote-taker” to his list of Linux “contributions”.

So, you really had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to flesh out your article, eh? I mean really!! How hard is it to go to the linux-kernel mailing list and discover that Stephen Tweedie's e-mail address is sct@redhat.com and interview him?

—Ronald Cole ronald@forte-intl.com

There are so many contributors to the Linux effort that we knew we would miss some important people. We have been contacting people we missed, and by the time you read this, there will be new profiles up on the LJ web site. —Editor

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