by Various
Problems with Paranoia

I'd like to point out a few things in the “Paranoid Penguin” article on DMZ networks (March 2001): RPC is remote procedure call and not RP control protocol; r commands like rsh, rlogin and rcp don't use RPC. In my humble opinion, examples should use runlevel three instead of two because three is the default runlevel for most Linux servers. Changes in level two don't have an effect because Linux runlevels are independents and not additionals as they are in other UNIX flavors.

—Vitaly Karasikvkarasik@ndsisrael.com

Bauer replies: You're right that RPC is remote procedure call and not RP control protocol and that r commands like rsh, rlogin and rcp don't use RPC. But my point was that both RPC and r commands are inappropriate for use on publicly accessible systems, and I stand by that. As far as which runlevel to use for examples, I could have been clearer on that. By the way, Debian defaults to runlevel two.

Korny Question

I hate to bother you with a question for Stew, but since it is a real newbie type of question you can probably answer it without getting him involved.

In his article in the April 2001 issue “Providing E-mail Services for a Small Office” he shares his cron job in Listing 5. I usually like Korn shell and write my little scripts there, but when I only use one > on redirecting output, I only get the last line sent to the file. Is Bourne better about understanding > vs. >> ? According to the way I read his tracking script, he would not get the output in listing 6. I would have had to put >> on all the lines except the first one if I wanted the output in listing 6. Am I missing something?

—Richard Keatingrkeating@ins.com

So far as I'm aware, > and >> mean the same thing in Korn, Bourne and, for that matter, csh. > replaces the file, >> appends to it. Listing 5 would not produce the output seen in listing 6. Looking at the author's original, it read:

if [ -s $ST -a -f $MS ]; then
        echo "General Mail Statistics" > $MSO
        echo ""
        echo "local = Mail local to fileserver

        echo "smtp  = Internet mail"
        echo "relay = Mail from/to Sun system

        echo ""
        cp /dev/null $ST
echo ""
echo "Mail Filter/Forwarding Statistics
echo ""
/usr/bin/mailstat -l /home/thriftycompany/mail/from
chown thriftycompany /home/thriftycompany/mail/from
cat $MSO | mail -s "Daily Email Summary"
rm $MSO
exit 0

Apparently the original was inadvertently modified at some point in the production process. The listing on our FTP site is correct. Our apologies.


Searching for Open Edition

Thank you all for the best computer-related magazine in all categories. I eagerly await every issue of LJ (we have a subscription at the school where I work as a teacher) and read almost everything from the front cover on. In the April 2001 issue I read a presentation of Kylix, which I have been waiting for, being a Pascal and Delphi programmer, but the price of these two commercial products has made it impossible for my budget. When I read your article “Stop the Presses” new hope came to me as I thought an Open Edition existed for free download. That hope turned to disappointment when I went to Borland's web page and didn't find any mention of an Open Edition, only the two overpriced commercial products. So where is this Open Edition of Kylix?

—Bertil Wergeliuswbertil@tjohoo.se

The free download version of Open Edition is expected to be available sometime in Summer 2001.



I wanted to let you know that I think you're doing a great job with Linux Journal, and the article “The New Vernacular” was one of the most intelligent articles I've ever read in a magazine.

—Jeremy Hayescotk_hayes@hotmail.com

O Captain, My Captain

I enjoyed the review on Descent 3 from Loki (Linux Journal, April 2001). I think I will enjoy this game because I like the thought of controlling a doomed ship and trying to find help from others, as well as investigating sabotage done to the ship and sending out radio transmissions. Everything about this game is quite intriguing. I do believe you sold me!

—Jose CausingSilhouet98@cs.com

Linux Too US-Centric

Paul Taylor (Letters, LJ March 2001) complains about SuSE 7.0 defaulting/reverting to a German keyboard. I'm afraid he won't get any sympathy from those who don't live in the US and have to put up with this type of behaviour from the majority of products. The arrogance of US companies means that most systems default to US dates, US keyboards, US spellings and US measurements, often requiring considerable effort by users to “fix” their machines for their own locale. Linux is particularly poor in this area compared with, for example, Microsoft. At least with a Windows OS, if the locale is set correctly on initial install, it stays that way for all Microsoft applications and most other third party applications (although Microsoft's idea of Metric measurements has a strange US flavour—what is “A4 Letter”?). Not so with Linux. I have often been caught out on Linux, particularly with log files, because the dates are formatted wrongly. The Linux crowd do care about the end user, as long as the end user is a techie and an American. I would rewrite Paul's last sentence as: I think the basic problem with most of the software development crowd is that they don't give a rat's arse about the non-US end user.

—Mark Easterbrook, Southampton, UK

Disturbing FX

I read the article “GFX: XFree and Video4Linux” (April 2001) by Mr. Rowe, and I must say, for the first time in my life, an article in LJ really disturbed me.

Mr. Rowe presents himself as a person who hasn't followed Linux from the beginning and doesn't know it, but having picked it up he now dislikes it. He says that Xf86Config is “prehistoric”, Xf86Setup is “not good enough” for him, pure text programs are “dated applications”, dselect is “primitive” and so on.

“Why our mouse wouldn't work was a mystery”, he says, and he says also that some desktop managers “also include a window manager, but desktop managers have a lot of other features”. It's ridiculous: can one really come to LJ and print such things?

It is clear that (after the X server) the window manager is the first component you need to decore your screen, but obviously enough, Mr. Rowe never tried twm, fvwm, olvwm and all the tiny windows managers that can run on the i386 with 2MB of RAM and 60MB of hard disk. Saying that Xf86Config is prehistoric indicated that one must never have tried to tune manually the timing lines on XF86Config, too.

—Franco Favento dei Favento da Triestef.favento@ieee.org

Rowe replies: Franco, sorry my article disturbed you. Thank you for writing to let me know. I like Linux, but I still see things that need improvement. Many involved in the development of Linux and Linux-based software share this opinion. Otherwise, why the ongoing effort? The criticism that bothered you wasn't really about Linux, was it? It was XFree86, a GUI also used by FreeBSD and other operating systems. If we compare the available configuration tools to editing modelines by hand, then you are right that we should appreciate a great improvement. If, on the other hand, we compare to configuration in Windows, Mac and BeOS, then saying XFree86 is primitive is one of the kinder things that may be said. Many users experience distress configuring XFree86. In response to your question, I have used twm and olvm, but have not tried fvwm. Back when my desktop was a Sun Sparc20 I developed multimedia software running on OpenLook (that is, olvm). Open-source software can be responsive to a cry for improvement. And, what better place to point out what we should be thinking about improving in Linux software than Linux Journal? My column is not about moving to Windows (as you suggest), but about moving from Windows to Linux. Thanks again for writing. I hope some of my future articles may be more to your liking.

Simple Accents

This is about the keyboard question to get á or ç (Best of Technical Support, April 2001). I think the answers there were too complicated.

Just edit your XF86Config and make sure your keyboard section does not have any “no dead keys” statements. Finally, pick “en_US” instead of “us” which is the default. Now all those trs intéressantes combinations will be available using your dead key. It will work everywhere too, even on consoles.

Below is a sample of what that section might look like.

XkbKeycodes “xfree86”XkbTypes “default”XkbCompat “default”XkbSymbols “en_US(pc104)”XkbGeometry “pc”XkbRules “xfree86”XkbModel “pc104”XkbLayout “en_US”

—Hassan Auragiaurag@geocities.com


I got cracked on my birthday! Now, I have the April edition of Linux Journal on my lap, and I'm about to dig into the Paranoid Penguin article “Battening down the Hatches with Bastille”. Every Paranoid Penguin article is great reading. (The problem in this case is that I only read the article, I didn't actually apply it yet!)

—Paul Aginpagin@kwiknet.net

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