January 2000, Issue 49       Published by Linux Journal

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 The Mailbag!

Write the Gazette at


Help Wanted -- Article Ideas

Answers to these questions should be sent directly to the e-mail address of the inquirer with or without a copy to Answers that are copied to LG will be printed in the next issue in the Tips column.

Before asking a question, please check the Linux Gazette FAQ to see if it has been answered there.

 Mon, 29 Nov 1999 22:30:09 -0600
From: Matthew Woodward <
Subject: Win98 ICS + Linux

Is there a way to have my Linux box access the internet via a Win98 box that has the Win98SE internet connection sharing (ICS) installed? I have my LAN setup fine (can ping, telnet, ftp, etc.), but I tried setting my Win98 box as my "default gateway" in RedHat 6.0, and it hits the Win98 box, but the connection is refused. Do any how-tos exist to get this to work?

 Tue, 30 Nov 1999 15:48:28 +0100
From: magni <
Subject: QUICK html browse/edit

Hi everybody,

I am in need of some program that let me browse and quickly edit HTML files. The reason is a grat lot of HTML local files that need VERY frequent updating. To launch the editor of Netscape - apart from the not-so-occasional crash, is way too slow.

It would be so fine to have a browser that, at the touch of some magic key, would allow to WRITE upon the html doc, and save it locally.

Are you aware of something like this?

Thank you


 Tue, 30 Nov 1999 15:48:23 -0800
From: H. Gorkem Kuterdem <
Subject: fopen() failure

Dear Editor;

I am having a weird problem (probably due to my omitting something someplace) with fopen. The program dumps core while executing the fopen() command. I have included some details below. I have tried to compile on different architectures (including Digital Unix 4.3 on an Alpha and the Windows (with Watcom C/C++ 10.5)) and this problem does not occur.

I would appreciate if you'd publish it in the Gazette or point me in the right direction. Your help will be appreicated.


Problem description:

Operating System: Redhat Linux 6.0 (With minor modifications to the boxed set, no significant additions to the programming packages except possibly efence)

Compiler: cc -c mss -g -lm *.c (thru make)
Debugger: gdb / ddd

#include <math.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <errno.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <assert.h>
#include <float.h>


FILE *fq;


The program dumps core (with a segmentation fault) while executing this line. The gdb output is:
Program received signal SIGSEGV, Segmentation fault.
chunk_alloc (ar_ptr=0x4011d580, nb4) at malloc.c:2723
malloc.c:2723: No such file or directory.
(gdb) up
#1  0x4008cb8a in __libc_malloc (bytes6) at malloc.c:2616
malloc.c:2616: No such file or directory.
(gdb) up
#2  0x40085e5b in _IO_new_fopen (filename=0x8052df2 "quan.071099",
    mode=0x8052df0 "w") at iofopen.c:42
iofopen.c:42: No such file or directory.
(gdb) up
#3  0x804f5e7 in scoll (seg=0x8062800, l1=0x8054610, l2=0x805a428,
    xpos=0x80638b0, d1=0x8060240, d2=0x8060bb0, d3=0x8061520,
    nseg=0xbffffcc0, mMU=0xbffffce0, Ntrx, numpts=3, topleaf)
    at scalc.c:640
640         fq=fopen("quan.071099","w");

 Wed, 01 Dec 1999 08:24:14 PST
From: samir dobaria <
Subject: sound card

i have installed linux 6.1 in my system. i am having ymf274 pci sound card (yamaha). when it autoprobes it detects the card but soon after it displays a message "This card is supported by Linux". so where can i get the drivers and how to install it.

 Wed, 1 Dec 1999 14:22:22 -0600
From: Web Development <
Subject: Virtual Domain LIMIT??

We are running Red Hat 6.o on our Linux Box and have one IP # bined to the machine.

On that one IP# we have presently about 30 domains. All virtual domiains. We've messed with and fixed the whole "Old Browsers will not..." problem...that's not our problem...

Now we have had the box lock up TWICE when configuring the "linuxconf" to add another domain to that IP#.

SOLUTION: ??? Is there a limit to how many virtual domains you can have bound to ONE IP# Can we just bind ANOTHER IP# to the box and begin doing more virtual hosts with it?

PLEASE HELP!!! WE cannot add anymore domains to our server until we can figure this one out!


 Wed, 1 Dec 1999 17:38:52 -0600
From: Gregory S. Waits <
Subject: SSl


i need to setup my server to allow users on the server to access their pages via SSL.

i have created a site on the machine that has a secure certificate. ""

i looked at the information on to see if i coould find the information on how to do this. i beleive the information i have included below may be what we need to do.

can you look at this and tell me if this is the procedure and how i can do it?

any guidance would be appreciated.



 Thu, 2 Dec 1999 01:26:24 -0800 (PST)
From: Michael Van Malderen <
Subject: Linux Red Hat installation kernel panic Unable to mount root

I'm not sure if anyone can help me out here.

On installation of Red Hat Linux 6.0, i receive the error

crc errorVFS: Cannot open device 08:21 Kernel panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on 08:21

And then it stops, i know the reason, i think, but i don't know what to do about it

I got windows 98 installed on a 9,5 Gb hard drive, and now, i want to install linux on the same drive. However, i did already install linux before, and in removing it, i removed my MBR(master boot record) under dos with command FDISK /MBR. So my MBR is blank now, and then i repartitioned my drive with partitionmagic 4.0 . Now, linux can't mount the drive because in the MBR there is nothing telling linux there is a drive.

This i the reason for not retrieving my root.

Does anyone have a solution, for rewriting the MBR or telling linux where to mount the drive ???

Any other solution would be welcome too.

 Thu, 02 Dec 1999 23:44:54 +0530
From: Naveen Aggarwal <
Subject: intel 810 chipset

Does Linux support intel 810 chipset. I recently purchased an intel 810 chipset based computer. I was not able to install red hat 6.1 and caldera open linux 2.2 as the chipset was reported to be unidentified. Can i get more help on the same ? Thanks Naveen

 Fri, 03 Dec 1999 06:24:55 -0600
From: Ken Mumme <
Subject: Sendmail Problem?


Have installed Redhat Linux 6.0 on a machine connected to the internet using a static ip address, and have enabled the pop3 mail server.

I can send mail from this machine to other accounts located on remote systems, but when I try to send email from a remote account to this machine I get the following:

Subject:    Returned mail: Service unavailable
   Date:    Fri, 3 Dec 1999 05:39:22 -0600 (CST)
   From:    Mail Delivery Subsystem 

The original message was received at Fri, 3 Dec 1999 05:39:21 -0600 (CST)
from []

   ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----

   ----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to
        RCPT To:<>
<<< 571 <>... relay rejected
554 <>... Service unavailable

Reporting-MTA: dns;
Received-From-MTA: DNS;
Arrival-Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999 05:39:21 -0600 (CST)

Final-Recipient: RFC822;
Action: failed
Status: 5.5.0
Remote-MTA: DNS;
Diagnostic-Code: SMTP; 571 <>... relay rejected
Last-Attempt-Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999 05:39:22 -0600 (CST)

Subject:   test
   Date:    Fri, 03 Dec 1999 05:43:54 -0600
   From:    kmumme <>
Is the problem due to the setup on "" (actually: or is it due to

 Fri, 3 Dec 1999 09:30:45 -0800 (PST)
From: james gan <
Subject: Problem


i can not install or detect my sound card can any one help me and teach me how to do it... and i can not a.out after i compile my program and i tried to find a,out but there is no such file. so i think there is no c program in my linux...


 Sat, 4 Dec 1999 11:44:38 +0800
From: Froilan N. Magdadaro <
Subject: Adding Hardware devices in Linux


I would like to ask a favor if you can give me the basic steps in adding hardware devices in linux (ie NIC, SCSI card etc.). How do i enable these devices every boot up and how do i install their modules.


Froilan :)

 Mon, 06 Dec 1999 09:48:03 +0100
From: Joaquim Homrighausen <
Subject: Not a tip, but rather a question

I'm looking to add "disk mirroring" (RAID-1) to a SUSE 6.1 system with an AHA-2940U2W.. I must be looking in the wrong places, but it seems like information about this particular issue is scarce at best.

Any ideas?

 Tue, 07 Dec 1999 00:12:57 +0600
From: Nandalal Gunaratne <
Subject: Help on database and stats for doctors

Dear Linux gurus and experts I am a surgeon who is planning to use Linux for the computer in the hospital I work in. I need a simple database program and a statistical program which can anlyse the data in the patient database. We are not programmers and so cannot use complex programs. The only useful feature is to auto fill certain records. Example if the operation is TURP, the category is major, region is prostate and code is J789EX, once I put it in the next time I choose TURP from a drop down list of operation names the other criteria should automatically be recorded. OK? Then I must be able to get the statistics say for the year, of the data I want analysed in graphical as well as numerical form. Number of a type of operation, a pie graph of the category of surgery etc. It must be easy to use in a GUI and must be freeware as well. I have looked at the Software Map but there are too many listed and it confused me more! Please advice so we can get going as soon as possible.

Nandalal Gunaratne
Sri Lanka

 Tue, 29 Jun 1999 11:28:37 -1700
From: DJ Hackenbruch <
Subject: Articles on touch-tone decoding.

I am interested in setting up a Linux box to receive incoming phone calls where the caller uses the touch tones to play specific messages. Any articles in your journal about this, or any ideas as to where I can look?

 Tue, 7 Dec 1999 18:10:05 -0600
From: Vic Herrera <
Subject: modprobe: can't locate module char-major-4

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

I am hanging on boot with respawning errors, I booted to single user and checked messeges, I added an alias for char-major-4 and I still have the same problem.

Dec  7 23:01:29 localhost /sbin/mingetty[560]: /dev/tty5: cannot open tty: No su
ch device
Dec  7 23:01:29 localhost init: Id "5" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minut
Dec  7 23:01:29 localhost modprobe: can't locate module char-major-4
Dec  7 23:01:29 localhost /sbin/mingetty[564]: /dev/tty6: cannot open tty: No su
ch device
Dec  7 23:01:29 localhost init: Id "6" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minut
Dec  7 23:01:29 localhost init: no more processes left in this runlevel
bash# vi /etc/conf.modules

"/etc/conf.modules" 2 lines, 60 characters
alias parport_lowlevel parport_ax
alias char-major-4 serial

When I run mingetty from the command line this is what I get

bash# cd /sbin
bash# more mingetty

******** mingetty: Not a text file ********

bash# mingetty tty1
modprobe: can't locate module char-major-4

I have searched a lot and am stumped.

This is RedHat 6.1 on a sparc2

 Wed, 08 Dec 1999 02:26:40 -0600
From: gLaNDix <
Subject: Epson Stylus Color 400 problems

ok, i have tried and tried, but i just can't seem to get my Epson Stylus Color 400 setup in Debian2.1... it worked in RedHat 5.x via printtool, but now i don't have this nice gui to aid in setting up my printer... using LPRng and magicfilter (i'm willing to change that if neccessary!!!), i am able to print ascii text files, but nothing else... everything else spits lots and lots of blank pages at me... WHAT DO I DO??? i've heard of APS Filter, and tried it to no avail (i couldn't even print text on that one)... please help me...


 Wed, 8 Dec 1999 11:46:40 -0500
From: <
Subject: Token-Ring LAN Streamer Configuration

I would like to know if you have had problems configuring a Token Ring PCI LAN Streamer card to run under Linux 6.1

 Wed, 08 Dec 1999 16:07:14 -0500
From: Ed Vander Ryd <
Subject: resource limits in Linux ?

Are there limitations in RedHat 5.1 Linux that would prevent me from hosting a certain number of virtual domains? I'm currently running on a P133 with 64 MB, hosting 42 virtual subdomains.

I'm currently running Apache 1.3.0 and Sendmail 8.9.1 and wu-ftp 2.5.0, Radius 2.01, etc.

I suspect that there may be a problem because of lost email messages from outside sources. My log files have not revealed any major flaw and the system has been working fine for four years. The only thing that has changed is the number of processes being run on the one server.

Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.

 Wed, 08 Dec 1999 18:10:25 -0500
From: Yihung Chen <
Subject: Linux Driver for the DigiBoard Xr/920 Serial Ports

I 'm trying to install Digi AccelePort Xr/920 4 port card on a DEC Alpha-based machine (Compaq XP1000) running Linux v. 2.2.4. The driver which I download form Digi was successfully built as a kernel module and loaded in. The board does not work after the command "digiDload" was run to initialize the hardware. The command fails with an error message "Could not start BIOS on card 1" . I'm wondering if any one can give me some tips on how to port the driver from the Intel-based version to an Alpha-based. Or is there any other model of serial multiport card in the market that would support Alpha based Linux? Thanks.

 Fri, 10 Dec 1999 08:07:41 +0530
From: satheesh john <
Subject: Specialix ISA card configuration in LINUX ver 5.2 and 6.1 after the installation of OS in the server

I am hardware service engineer and working in HCL Insys. Ltd., INDIA. In one of our customer sites the server came with two ISA Specialix IO8+ cards. But I am unable to configue it. Moreover those cards came after the installation of LINUX ver 5.2. So whether it can be configured after the OS installation or not. From Specialix internet site I came to knew that LINUX has inbuilt driver for these cards. But I don't know whether it can be activated only at the time of OS installation or not. So please kindly E-mail to me the procedure of configuration of those cards under LINUX ver 5.2 and ver 6.1 (bec- ause we have recently received a LINUX ver 6.1 server --there also I want to configure ISA Specialix cards.) Moreover kindly send me the IO base address setting dip switch positions--Because there is no manual for dip switch settings of Specialix card.

 Fri, 10 Dec 1999 13:44:41 -0500
From: Pierre Abbat <
Subject: How do I get mgetty to sendfax?

I am trying to send a fax with mgetty+sendfax. I have tried this on two machines, with two different modems. The one in the desktop box works with Windows; the other is a PCMCIA modem in a laptop that has only Linux on it. Both modems work for connecting to the net. I get the same error on both.


[root@neofelis mgetty+sendfax]# faxrunq
processing F000001/JOB...
/usr/sbin/sendfax -v ####### f1.g3
Trying fax device '/dev/modem'... OK.
/usr/sbin/sendfax: not a class 2/2.0 fax modem
command exited with status 3

 Sat, 11 Dec 1999 21:12:04 -0500
From: matt <
Subject: Can I run pppd from cron?

I'm attempting to run pppd from cron. It runs fine if I start it from the command line, but I want it to start at a designated time during the

day. I believe the problem is related to the fact that cron doesn't have an associated controlling terminal. Also, I don't want to use diald or demand dialing with pppd.

Question 1: How do you start a deamon process from cron. In one script I've tried using setsid() to create a process group for the daemon, and then redirect STDIN, STDOUT and STDERR, but that doesn't work.

Question 2: Has anyone done this before. If I'm breaking new ground by attempting this maybe it calls for a modification to pppd, and I'm chasing my tail trying to figure it out another way.

Thanks for the help.

 Sun, 12 Dec 1999 18:36:27 +0330
From: Mohammad Mahdi Motiei <
Subject: erro in loging in

Dear Sir. Hi. I have a serious problem with my Red Hat Linux 6.0 server. Our servaer name is "seismo". I can not login to it form 2 days before to now. Before that I had not any problem with it. When I trying to login to server, after type 'root' or any other valid usernames, against "seismo login:" on server, for example:

seismo login: root

the 'root ' or any other name was erased and ' seismo login: ' appeares again.


login name: root
login name:

login name: username
login name:


What can I do? Your help will make me glad. Regards. Thank you very much. M.M.Motiei

 Sun, 12 Dec 1999 11:35:32 -0500
From: David Sander <
Subject: pulse vs tone dialing

currently my modem dials using tone, but my phone line needs pulse, how do fix it?

 Mon, 13 Dec 1999 07:45:20 -0500
From: John C. Pardon <
Subject: Article idea: Linux and MS SMS

Is there a way to "fool" MS Systems Management Server into thinking that a Linux (or Sun/intel) machine is just another Win95 machine? I'm not sure of everything that MS SMS does, but aside from asking me for a network pasword they also check for the Explorezip worm... I've looked at the Linux HOWTOs and did not see anything on this subject.

MS SMS runs on Windows NT and comes in 2 pieces: server component and client component. Among other things SMS does: Hardware Inventory, Network Discovery, Software Inventory, and Compliance Checking. (see ) I looked at the SAMBA doc. at and see the following: "Samba runs on Unix platforms, but speaks to Windows clients like a native. It allows a Unix system to move into a Windows "Network Neighborhood" without causing a stir." This does not mention SMS. Can SAMBA "fool" MS SMS into thinking that my linux box is a Windows machine and permit me to logon on the network without raising alarms bells? SMS logon also seems to authenticate me to the MS Exchange Server from which I must retrieve email... I need this capability as well.

Given the "underground" nature of many Linux deployments, I'd be surprised if others have not had similar qestions. It would make for a good article and maybe a good HOWTO...

 Mon, 13 Dec 1999 20:00:39 -0600
From: Ben Kressman <
Subject: Linux Loop Device question - Not Covered before.


Wanted to say thanks about the tidbit of increasing the MAX_LOOP past 8 for the loop back device to get more than 8 devices. I've got mine set to 32, and it is working great.

Question is:

I know the loopback device has options for encryption, I wanted to know if anyone can think of a way to get it to do compression. IE. Gzip the loopfile, and have the system automagically parse the read/write through a decompressor/compressor.. It would be the same type of process like the encryption, except be compressed.

I really have a need in something like this, if you can think of any resources I could try, I would greatly appreciate it.

Keep up the great work!

 Wed, 15 Dec 1999 00:47:34 EST
From: Scot Reichert <
Subject: Linux Paper

To whom it may concern, I am writing a paper on the LINUX operating system and would like some information on the following topics:

Origin of Linux
Type of operating system
Why use Linux
Why is it gaining popularity or is it?

If you could help out with some information any of these it would be appreciated.

Thank you,

 Wed, 15 Dec 1999 07:06:09 -0600
From: David Hayek <
Subject: Music CDs on Linux

I tried to find the answer to this question in the archives first but no luck. I can mount the cdrom and use data cds just fine, but if I unmount the cdrom, remove the data cd and put in a music cd and try to mount the cdrom again I get an error message that says the file system is unknown/unsupported. How do mount the cdrom to read music cds? I have Red Hat 5.2, kernel version 2.0.36. Thank you for you help.

[You don't mount music CDs. Instead, you run a CD-player program. Your distribution should have several console and X-windows utilities to choose from. -Ed.]

 Thu, 16 Dec 1999 08:56:28 -0800
From: Dr. Nicholas Graham <
Subject: limit: coredumpsize:

I am running Redhat 6.0 on a Dell 610. Recently (after reseting the system clock and rebooting), I began receiving this message on opening a terminal:

limit: coredumpsize: Can't set limit

This message is coming from /etc/csh.cshrc. Thinking perhaps that csh (who I suppose is exectuing csh.cshrc) thought that there wasn't enough disk space, I reset the value to 100000 from 1000000. That fixed the problem...sort of. However, now when I log in from outside via telnet I get the same message. Even this statement

limit coredumpsize 10

does not work from a telneted session.

I am worried that this behavior is due to some kind of hack attack. I am running tcp wrappers on most everything from anywhere, but I do use the web and thought perhaps something bad came in on a cgi script.

What can I do to figure out what is going on and repair??

Thanks in advance for any help.

 Sun, 21 Nov 1999 02:57:13 +0100
From: giancarlo ciancagli <
Subject: Question in Italian

Mi piacerebbe provare LINUX, dove lo posso trovare?

Grazie e buone feste!

 Fri, 17 Dec 1999 09:45:52 -0800
From: Francine Fortin <
Subject: Access 97


I'm a 3rd year Business/Technology student and need to design a database using Access 97. However, my client is using Linux. Can Access 97 run on a Linux platform?

Any direction you can provide would be very much appreciated.


 Fri, 17 Dec 1999 14:44:05 -0800 (PST)
From: djouallah mimoune <
Subject: new linux user from algeria

hello every one

I am a linux newbie, I use linux mandrake 6.0 and let say all thing work very fine( apart netscape composer ) I wonder if some one can send me some free applications like star office it will be very nicely, and if understand french you can visite my web site about linux

thanks a lot

 Sun, 19 Dec 1999 11:04:58 -0800 (PST)
From: john rafeal <
Subject: connecting to internet

Hello, currently i am using linux5.2 for intel and i also use win95. I have an account on the microsoft network (msn) to access the internet. is it possible to use this account to connect to the internet undermy linux system? if so how?

 Mon, 20 Dec 1999 15:54:40 -0500
From: Tue Hoang <
Subject: SSI on Win32 and Linux


I am currently trying to configure SSI to work on LINUX and WinNT environment and very much unsuccessful for both os. Is there any key configuration format and techniques that I should be aware of when configuring SSI on WinNT4.0/sp5 and on LINUX-redhat6.1? these platforms are on different machine.

Please assist,

 Wed, 22 Dec 1999 13:30:45 +0800
From: =?gb2312?B?wre54ruq?= <
Subject: Help


I have a machine with PII 233,64M RAM,SIS 6326 AGP Card. I can't config SIS 6326 with Redhat 6.1 to run Xwindow.

Where can I get the Driver for SIS 6326?

Thanks a lot.

 Wed, 22 Dec 1999 12:14:40 +0100 (CET)
From: taki mohamed <
Subject: Informations

Hello, my problem is:

I have smal ethernet Network (3 Pc-Hub) 2 pc work under win98 with TCP/IP protocole other pc work under linux redhat

Iwant to access to program in the pc redhat from pc win98. Thanks for you.

 Thu, 23 Dec 1999 16:50:42 +0100
From: Christian C. Schouten <
Subject: DSystems Wizar3d display adapter

Hello and goodmorning...

I have installed RedHat Linux 6.1 a few days ago - AND I AM NEW TO LINUX... - I just have one problem, or, actually, difficulty... I have managed to figure out some things to get my soundcard working, i am getting close to getting my zip drive to work - but one thing I cannot solve... I have a DSystems Wizar3d display adapter with 4096 Kb RAM and Linux says it is based on the Cirrus Logic GD5464? chipset. In windows, I could easily use it at 16.7 Million colors at 1024x768, but the graphical thing of RedHat (startx??) can't get more out of it than 8 bit color, 640x480, and I hate that tiny screen... I found a program called Xconfigurator or something and it tells me it can't display 1024x768, or even 800x600... it won't even give me more than 8 bit (256?) colors... I think it MUST be possible to get a screen I like - say 1024x768x16.7M colors? :-)

Who can help me???????????????????????

Signed, An almost desperate Dutch guy...

 Tue, 26 Jan 1999 07:08:24 +0800
From: Li Wei <
Subject: hookup to isp

i have Debian 2.0. i use pon to make a connection and after that i find i can't ping ip numbers (the output say "network unreachable" but i'm sure it is reachable.)

during startup, Debian says that it can't find /usr/sbin/inetd. is this the problem?

 Sat, 25 Dec 1999 09:46:29 +0530
From: Sam Dobs <
Subject: yamaha sound card.

i am having yamaha ymf274 pci sound card installed in my system. when it autoprobes it detects it but soon after it displays that "this card is not supported by Linux".

 Sat, 25 Dec 1999 17:05:21 +0800
From: Chris Chen <
Subject: NIS on Linux and Solaris

I have a Solaris 2.5.1 act as a NIS master working on the network. I tried to setup a RedHat 6.1 Linux act as a Slave server of the Solaris.

I have successfully setup the master NIS on the Solaris by isuue the "ypinit -m" command but when I try to run "ypinit -s master_name" on the Linux, the Linux always tell me the error message:

"Can't enumerate maps from master. Please check that it is running."

Is there anything I missed??

Thank you.

 Sat, 25 Dec 1999 14:01:24 -0500 (EST)
From: Jeffrey Meltzer <
Subject: Dual Pentium Pro (Vectra)

Hello. I'm trying to get Redhat 6.1 (kernel 2.2.12) up on an HP Vectra XU 6/200 (224MB Ram). I know all hardware is functioning because I had Solaris x86 loaded on it for a year.

The problem i'm having is that when I try and boot into SMP the system hangs at:

hda: ST39140A, 8693MB w/ 448kB Cache, CHS662/16/63

When I boot Uniprocessor it boots up fine

I've been searching around the net all day and haven't found much...I've seen a few things about the SCSI controller, and i've disabled it in the bios (using IDE disk) My lilo.conf looks like this:


Anybody have any ideas as to what i'm doing wrong? Thanks!

 Sun, 26 Dec 1999 03:43:26 -0600 (CST)
From: Isaac Tsalicoglou <
Subject: linux-win98 networking issues

Hi there and season's greetings! I have a 486/66 w/ 8megs RAM on which I recently installed Redhat 5.2 (a console only installation - no X-Windows). At home I've got a small network, with 3 PCs running Windows98, networked through both IPX/SPX and TCP/IP. SInce now that school is over for holidays I have the time to fool around with such things, I wonder whether there is a way I could network the Win98 PCs with the 486. I heard something about Samba, but I've got no clue about networks, considering that the setup of a network running WIn98 is piece of cake. Has anyone got an idea of what could be done with this issue?

Thanks in advance.

 Mon, 27 Dec 1999 01:06:13 +0530 (IST)
From: Raj <
Subject: to answer guy


i have a probem with netscape. the problem is that once the netscape starts up it takes around 2min 35 sec to display the next page, ie that page that is listed as the start page.

i have a working DNS (cache only). i am on a single dial up machine. this is the nslookup.

[root@localhost /root]# nslookup
Default Server:  localhost

Server:  localhost

*** localhost can't find localhost: No response from server ( took around 15 secs) Server: localhost Address:
Name: localhost Address: exit
the fwd resolv is not working since their are no A records to local host. (can you tell me how to set this right)
my DNS setup is like this
options { directory "/var/named"; }; zone "." { type hint; file "zone/"; }; zone "" { type master; file "zone/named.local"; };

the is the std file. named.local is @ IN SOA localhost.localdomain. root.localhost.localdomain. ( 1997022700 ; Serial 28800 ; Refresh 14400 ; Retry 3600000 ; Expire 86400 ) ; Minimum IN NS localhost.localdomain.

1 IN PTR localhost. which is again pretty std.

the message that came on /var/log/messages on ndc restart is

Dec 27 00:54:07 localhost named[836]: hint zone "" (IN) loaded (serial 0) Dec 27 00:54:07 localhost named[836]: Zone "" (file zone/named.local): No default TTL set using SOA minimum instead Dec 27 00:54:07 localhost named[836]: master zone "" (IN) loaded (serial 1997022700) Dec 27 00:54:07 localhost named[836]: listening on [].53 (lo) Dec 27 00:54:07 localhost named[836]: Forwarding source address is [].1040 Dec 27 00:54:07 localhost named[837]: Ready to answer queries. Dec 27 00:54:07 localhost named[837]: sysquery: sendto([].53): ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Network is unreachable

i have no idea why it is concerned with the [].53 also what is sysquery:

finally the /etc/resolv.conf is


actually i am not having any other problem other than the 2:35 sec delay but my mind does not let me ignore it. after all what could be wrong. this some how feels to me like a dns issue since the ps ax gives the lines

 752 pts/0    S      0:02 netscape --library-path /usr/i386-glibc20-linux/lib /
 769 pts/0    S      0:00 (dns helper)

like this i suspect the (dns helper) that might lead to the solution i suppose.

if you need any other info pl contact me

 Sun, 26 Dec 1999 16:43:10 EST
From: Facundo <
Subject: Install

Hi My name is Facundo and I'm trying to install LINUX to a clean HDD, but I'm having some problems. I was wondering if I would be able to get some help. my problem is that I get a message that sass "you must assign a root [/] partition to a LINUX native partition (ext2) for the install to proceed" can you help this is my first time to try something other than windows.

 Sun, 26 Dec 1999 23:12:31 -0600
From: Nicholas Jordan <
Subject: suggestions and ideas

I just got linux back up and went in with the intention of configuring XFree & fvwm.

That would have been simple except for three or four *GLARING!!!!!!!!* omissions in every HOW-T and linux page I have visited out of approaching a meg of code and ascii over the net & cd-rom bus.

1.. Once you get into the manual, how do you get out ? 2.. Copying files from one location to another. 3.. Use the Pico editor 'cause it's the only one with any hint of commands once you are in the application. These seemingly obvious help questions ...... ugh.

I formatted and re-installed my Linux partition, doing a custom install without my mentor being there, got the numbers for Xconfig and the monitor, went in and was going to make some progress. Once you are in these applications, there is no known way to get the commands to get out of it and you are really stuck.

 Mon, 27 Dec 1999 06:40:46 -0800 (PST)
From: ertugrul ugur <
Subject: network operating system


I am a student at beykent university. I have a question about network. What are the differences between Linux and Windows in network.?

Thank you!!!


 Mon, 27 Dec 1999 14:00:56 -0500
From: don owens <
Subject: SNA Server

Is SNA Server available for Linux, yet?

[Not knowing what SNA Server is, I asked one of our sysadmins, Rory Krause. He did a web search and discovered that according to the Microsoft web site, SNA Server is a "comprehensive gateway and application integration platform", a "LAN-to-Host gateway" (especially to AS/400 and mainframe systems), and a part of Microsoft BackOffice. Given that information, and the unwillingness of Microsoft to port its other products (e.g., MS-Office, Internet Explorer) to Linux, I would say not to expect SNA Server in the near future.

Don, what is it you need SNA Server to do? Possibly there are some existing Linux programs which could be combined to do the same thing. -Ed.]

 Sun, 26 Dec 1999 21:26:31 +0100
From: Filip Sneppe <
Subject: How do I disable network services on one network card ?

I have two linux boxes in a home network (connected via ethernet). One of my computers (the faster machine) has a second network card connected to the internet via a cable modem. I've read all about basic security and how I should not run too many unnecessary network daemons like ftp, finger, etc on a host that's connected to the internet. However I often use these services for testing purposes at home. Is there an easy way I can disable these services from running on the network card that's connected to the internet, sort of like the network bindings tab in NT where you can unbind NetBIOS from one NIC. I'd hate to have to run one computer as a dedicated firewall...

 Tue, 28 Dec 1999 15:51:13 EST
From: Kevin <
Subject: Rockwell modem configuration?

i have a rockwell 56k Data Fax RTAD PCI modem and i cannot get it mounted. I have used minicom and the pppd and control panel to try and configure it. I have it set on com2 and it is telling me my modem is busy. Any info on how to get this configured?? Kevin

 Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 19:09:39 +0530
From: "Krishnan Mani" <
Subject: Re Hat 6.0

I use a RH6.0 for a mail-server on a Pentium desktop and it works fine as a dream. But from time to time i notice the following message on the screen:

hda: status timeout: status=0xd0 {Busy}
hda: no DRQ after issuing WRITE
ide0: reset: success
what does this mean and do i need to do anything at all? i am sure that this is a common occurence

 Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 18:43:51 +0100
From: <
Subject: French dictionary for emacs I'm looking for a french dictionary for emacs. I've got Red Hat, my editor is emacs, and I use LaTeX on it.

General Mail

 Tue, 30 Nov 1999 22:53:59 -0500
From: Albin A. Gesek <
Subject: Problem downloading issues 47, 48

I have always downloaded the Linux Gazette to save and read off line and have all issues through 46. Since issue 47 I have not suceeded in downloading from the ftp site. I can read the issues on line but cannot get to the ftp site. Neither with Linux and Netscape nor with Explorer and Windows 95.

Am I unique in having this problem?

Trying TWDT2(HTML file) gets me truncated files. Up to general mail for 48 and only into help wanted for 47.

Pollywog < writes:


Issue 48 of LG does not seem to appear in its entirety, though I was able to access it just a few days ago.


[There are two issues here. We receive occasional complaints about both.
Not being able to connect to the FTP site at all:
Our FTP server allows connections only from clients whose forward and reverse domain names match. Is it possible your ISP doesn't have this set correctly? Our sysadmin insists this step is necessary for security. It was tightened down around issue 47, which may explain why some people used to be able to collect but not now.

Downloads aborting in the middle of a large file:
We have not been able to pinpoint the cause of this. It appears to be some peculiarity of how certain ISPs are set up in relation to our server.

In either case, please try a mirror site. Their servers will be configured differently, and possibly in a way that is more compatible with your computer. -Ed.]

 Wed, 1 Dec 1999 13:22:48 +0800
From: Li Wei <
Subject: reply

In a etter published in December (LG#48), Li wrote:
the 47th issue is the most boring lg i ever read. in other lgs, i can always find some interesting articles.

The Editor responded:
Which kinds of articles do you consider "interesting" and "boring"?

Li wrote back:
i apologize if i offend you. i firmly believe that any word of any lg is of interest to all readers. i just wish lg could as fun as Linux Humour in 45th of lg. (i translate "If Operating Systems Ran The Airlines" to Chinese and email to several Chinese PC magzines and they publish it. thanks very much, lg editor and Mike Orr, the original author.)

The Editor writes:
I'm glad they liked the article. Note that I did not invent the joke; I only reprinted a contribution from Bruce Kingsland. As it says near the top of the article, "The original author is unknown." As for getting more humor into the Gazette, that depends on the authors. Authors, are you listening? :)

 Wed, 1 Dec 1999 11:24:33 -0500
From: Gerard Beekmans <
Subject: Distinguishing diff. files

[This is regarding the LG FTP files, and how to distinguish when one has been corrected/updated when the file modification times have been changed by a mirror or client PC. -Ed.]

Joachim responded:

maybe one solution could be an aditianal note apended to one of the files - or a new file with that. The result should be a different filesize of the newly created tar.gz.

Perhaps publishing the size of the old - and the size of the new file may help.

I agree. I personally don't look at timestamps when it concerns two versions of files. For all we know, the date on the computer it was created on or uploaded to was wrong. In cases like this I check out the filesize and see if there's a change in the size of the file on my harddisk and one of the other files.

[I always use the timestamps for this and get irritated when a computer changes them. However, I have made a listing of the latest filenames, modification times and file sizes of the FTP files, which can be found in ftpfiles.txt on the main site or on your mirror. At the top of the file is a timestamp.

I will experiment with providing a history of changes. If this is feasable, it will debut in the February issue. If not, I'll just leave it as a listing of the latest files.

Further suggestions regarding how to make this file more useful are welcome. -Ed.]

 Wed, 15 Dec 1999 11:07:33 +0100
From: Davide Duran <
Subject: comliments

I like very much the new version of Linux Gazette....




 Fri, 17 Dec 1999 08:52:13 +0100
From: Pawel Moszumanski <
Subject: Translation of message posted to pl.comp.os.linux

I think it may be interested for all linux users.

This is a translation of letter posted to news group pl.comp.os.linux from 06.12.99 Message-ID: <944515958.158951857@>

I would like to announce that as of 6 December 1999, the standard operating system of Jan III Sobieski Hotel (as per Manager's orders) is Linux and office software is StarOffice. As of now, all files will be delivered in the OS format using ISO8859-2 encoding. And now more seriously. As of today, the official operating system in Jan III Sobieski Hotel is Linux and SO. The system comprises 120 computers (servers, work stations, etc.) of which 9 in the BC and HR have Windows (payroll, HR - temporarily), Business Centre for guest convenience but Linux can also be used if requested. The installed software includes various releases from Linux, RedHat, SuSE, Mandrake, LX router, StarOffice, HS Partner and others. In order not to be accused of boasting, I would like to stress that a number of people made an enormous contribution to the project with me acting solely as the initial spark and the driving force behind their efforts. Apart from my closest colleagues, Piotr and Marek, the Linux project team in the hotel involved PKFL - Cezar with his "enlightened advice", HS PartnerProtest employees with Waldek and Piotr who acted as the fly-wheel behind the project, the invaluable Romek (I will always remember the 7 drivers of the apocalypse), Boczi who can work miracles with just one cable and two ports, Marcin, Maciek, Jacek Kijewski of Softomat, the CHIEF (spelled only in capitals) who is a walking encyclopedia of Linux knowledge and a master of black humour (such as we had sex today, but whatever we touched went wrong), Dooszek (the man of six dimensions - I have no idea how he does it, but he sees to the needs of ten users at a time) and Andrzej - the power of peace. I would like to apologise to all those I have not mentioned but who helped me tremendously - I had to keep the list short for lack of space. Last but not least, big thanks to all managers who trusted me and the penguin and to hotel employees who showed angelic patience when I experimented on them. Please forgive me for getting soppy, but I wanted to show you that our success had many fathers. Teamwork can work wonders if you have a clear goal, even a seemingly impossible one.

PS Special thanks to Dariusz Knocinski and Andrzej Pluta, they show me the way :).

Best regards from Poland. :)

 Tue, 21 Dec 1999 09:02:58 -0500
From: Diego Andrés Zuluaga <
Subject: Congratulations

Linux Gazette is a very interesting magazine, thanks for the colaboration to the Linux comunity.

Diego Zuluag
Medellin / Colombia

 Sun, 19 Dec 1999 16:07:22 +0100
From: Olle de Zwart <
Subject: New design

Hi there I was looking at the gazzete site and I find it verry good, except the design. It looks like #^*@"%&*" And I am a free lance webdesigner and I thought why not do a freebee. Why not offer you to design you a new site for free.

Well hope to hear from you soon

[Hi. Thanks for your offer. We have also been thinking of ideas for improving the site, but have not finalized anything yet. Major changes will have to be agreed to not just by me, but by the entire company that produces the Gazette, with an eye toward consistency with our other web sites. So, it would be best if you could tell me your suggestions first, and then we can put them on our brainstorm list.

A few criteria we're keeping in mind:

Given this, if you have any particular suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them. -Ed.]

This page written and maintained by the Editor of the Linux Gazette. Copyright © 2000,
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

News Bytes


 January 2000 Linux Journal

The January issue of Linux Journal is on newsstands now. This issue focuses on networks and communication, and has 3-D images on the theme of World Domination.

Linux Journal has articles that appear "Strictly On-Line". Check out the Table of Contents at for articles in this issue as well as links to the on-line articles. To subscribe to Linux Journal, go to

For Subcribers Only: Linux Journal archives are available on-line at

Distro News


Lynx Real-Time Systems, Inc., has announced an open-source product and support services initiative to extend Lynx into the emerging embedded Linux market space. Starting immediately, and through the coming year, Lynx will offer products and support services to address a broad range of embedded software development under the Linux operating system.

The Lynx Linux Initiative (L2I) is supported by five elements:

* BlueCat Linux, a version of Linux optimized for embedded applications developed by Lynx and offered to the open source community, available in January 2000.

* Version 4.0 of the LynxOS operating system with full binary compatibility with Linux, available in mid-2000.

* A Lynx open development environment for the Red Hat Linux host, available immediately.

* New technical support, consulting and training services for Linux developers working in embedded applications, available immediately.

* Endorsements from more than 20 software and hardware vendors in the embedded computing market.

The Lynx BlueCat Linux will be based on Red Hat Version 6.1, containing the Linux 2.2.5-15 kernel, and will be shipped with the Lynx open development environment capable of creating variations of the embedded Linux operating system, according to user requirements. The BlueCat Linux development environment will support cross development of Linux embedded applications using a PC running Red Hat Linux as the development host. Additionally, Lynx will extend Linux to include the industry-leading, high-availability technology currently available in Lynx solutions.


Ottawa, Canada - November 15, 1999 - Corel LINUX OS has been released. There are three versions of Corel LINUX OS: the no-charge download version, available today from Corel's Web site at; the Standard version, which will sell for a suggested retail price of US $59.95; and the Deluxe version, which will sell for a suggested retail price of US $89.95. The Standard and Deluxe English versions will start shipping in North America only on November 30, 1999 (international release dates to be announced later).

Corel LINUX OS Download version includes the Corel LINUX OS (based on Debian,, with the 2.2 Linux kernel); Enhanced KDE Desktop ( built on Qt (; Corel Install Express; Corel Update (formerly called Corel Package Manager); and Corel File Manager.

Corel LINUX OS Standard version includes three CDs. The main install CD includes everything in the Download version, plus Netscape Communicator; Adobe Acrobat Reader; Instant Messenger - ICQ compatible client; 20 Bitstream and Type 1 fonts; and Corel WordPerfect 8 for Linux (light version). The second CD is the open circulation CD, which contains those components from the main install CD that can be freely copied without the need to purchase additional licenses. The final CD is the open circulation source code CD. The Standard version also includes Corel LINUX OS User Guide and 30-day installation support (via email).

Corel LINUX OS Deluxe version includes everything in the Standard version, plus two additional CDs. The application CD includes BRU Backup software (personal edition) and Corel WordPerfect 8 clipart. The final CD contains Civilization: Call to Power game (limited edition). Both of these CDs contain proprietary applications that cannot be copied. The Deluxe verison also includes 200 Bitstream and Type 1 fonts; Corel WordPerfect 8 for Linux (full version); 30-day installation support (via email and phone); Corel WordPerfect 8 for Linux User Manual; eFax Plus Service (three months free); Enhanced OSS sound drivers (4Front Technologies); and a 3 -inch Linux penguin mascot.

Corel will also offer developer support for Corel LINUX OS from in the next few weeks. Details on this will be posted on this Web site shortly.


VA Linux To Help Bring Debian Package To Consumers. VA Linux Systems announced this week that it will tap Loki Entertainment Software to push the Debian GNU/Linux package to consumers through retail channels...

 Red Hat

RH acquires Cygnus, names Matthew Szulik as president and CEO. Bob Young will remain as chairman.

Red Hat and Dell Pump Up Linux Agreement


Vancouver, Canada--December 15, 1999--Stormix Technologies, Inc. announces the release of Storm Linux 2000. Pre-orders are now being taken for the Standard Edition, which ships December 15, 1999 at a price of $49.95US. The download edition is available immediately at . Retail packages will be available shortly from major distributors. Storm Linux 2000 builds on Debian GNU/Linux, an older version widely known for its comprehensive testing and stability.

The Standard Edition also includes 30 day telephone installation support and 120 day e-mail support. In addition, users can receive community support by joining the Stormix mailing lists at

Storm Linux 2000 Standard Edition also includes: Applixware Office 4.4.2 for Linux demo, PartitionMagic, VMware 1.1 (a virtual machine that allows the running of other operating systems, such as Windows, from within Linux), BRU Trial version (backup software), and Krilo (a strategy game by -BlackHoleSun Software, Inc.).


Las Vegas, NV -- 15 November 1999 -- SuSE Linux 6.3 launches December 1 with a new graphic installation program, making it even easier to get into Linux now. With one DVD or six CD-ROMs, SuSE Linux provides a current and consistent Linux operating system with over 1500 application programs included. The cost is $US 49.95.

Users get a wealth of new software. SuSE Linux 6.3 includes 230 new programs and demos as well as 180 updated packages. Hummingbird Excced, the best X-server for Windows platforms, is included as a 60-day evaluation version for Windows 95/98. With Excced, you can run Linux programs under Windows on a Linux server. With the 30-day demo version of VMware 1.1.1., you can run programs from different operating systems on one computer - simultaneously. Users also get the demo versions of the popular games "Civilization - Call to Power" and "Railroad Tycoon II."

News in General

 News from The Linux Bits

The Linux Bits is suspended for the holidays but will resume publication in January.

 Upcoming conferences & events

8th International Python Conference for the Python programming language. January 24-27, 2000. Arlington, VA.

LinuxWorld/Linux Expo (France). February 3, 2000. Paris, France. (URL unknown)

Software Development Conference & Expo. March 19-24, 2000. San Jose, CA.

"Libre" Software Meeting #1 (Rencontres mondiales du logiciels libre), sponsored by ABUL (Linux Users Bordeaux Association). July 5-9, 2000. Bordeaux, France. French: English:

The latest updates are on the Linux Journal events page.

 Frozen Linux (non-profit Linux directory)

I've created a linux directory site called frozenlinux at It's (of course) non-profit and in need of help... mainly submissions. I believe all my cgi scripts and things like that work, and I have (I think) most of the categories that it'll need defined already... I just need people to submit sites to it. I have added some sites, but it's a very time consuming task and I can't really make a directory myself. I'd appreciate if you'd put a mention of it in your magazine or on your website, that would really help to get the ball rolling.

 New Age Entertainment requests input from the Linux community

New Age Entertainment Inc.--Toronto, Dec. 24th, 1999-- The time has come that the world recognizes the value of Linux over Microsoft Operating Systems. We are creating a tightly integrated integrated Operating System / Office Application Suite that will replace MicroSoft as THE mainstream software company. The next step is to provide a viable alternative to front and back-office programs and applications for the desktop. Integration is the key word here. To New Age, integration means input from the Linux Community. Already, the business community has demonstrated considerable in this project. We value your input, opinions, and development skills. They are necessary in order to make this truley a Linux project rather than just a business deal. Voice your opinion, you will be heard! I am the project organizer, so contact me soon: Keith Mastin <>.

 SGI - Itanium

SUPERCOMPUTING '99, PORTLAND, Ore. (Nov. 15, 1999) SGI (NYSE: SGI) today hosted a special session at the SuperComputing '99 conference on the future of high-performance computing and demonstrated the first-ever cluster based on the Intel IA-64 Itanium processor. The event featured speakers from the National Computational Science Alliance, Intel Corporation and SGI.

"The high-performance computing community is at a critical juncture in its history. The community will either continue down its familiar path of company proprietary software and RISC processor building blocks or begin to move toward a new model of high-performance computing based on commodity, high-volume parts and common software building blocks," said Larry Smarr, Director, National Computational Science Alliance and its leading-edge site, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). "The NCSA will aggressively pursue this new model."

 Linux Links

If you haven't heard why VA Linux Systems' IPO made front-page news, see this short story. (Their ticker symbol "LNUX" raised some eyebrows in the Linux community. Remember, folks, VA is not Linux. They are just one company offering Linux-based products. On the other hand, perhaps they will act as a counterbalance to Red Hat, who also wants to see itself as synonymous with Linux in people's minds.)

Interview with Linus

Embedded Linux portal: news about Linux in embeddedd systems.

Progressive Systems Linux firewall is free for personal use and to Linux user groups.

The Hunger Site is a place where you can donate food to the needy just by clicking. The cost is paid by their advertisers.

Reference sites:

Linux: Windows competitor ... NOT! USA Today article about the difficulties in using Linux. provides comparisions of commercial and open-source software items. "Before making that sometimes costly mistake of purchasing a software package you thought would solve your problems, do your research!" The site invites companies to list their Linux products at the site.

sourceXchange officially launched December 7. SourceXchange is a site which matches up open-source developers with those wishing to hire their services.

Software Announcements

 LinuxCAD new features

As of 11/26/1999 , LinuxCAD development team rolles out the 1.99 release, in new release of LinuxCAD the following important features were added:

- XREFs or external references , a special kind of a block that may be located elsewhere in the filesystem as opposite to normal block that must be present in the drawing itself ;

- AutoLisp compatible tool has been added ;

- major improvements have been done in LinuxCAD ADS where more then 200 new functions were exposed for application developers ;

- LinuxCAD ADS already have been used to implement custom graphics and reporting (OLAP) tools on several Fortune 500 companies.

- Support for DWG format was significantly improved ;

- previously optional DXF import module was added in standard basic version of LinuxCAD.

Currently LinuCAD is one of the major Linux Application tools, it is used by thousands people worldwide.

PS. To your special consideration: it does not make sense to wait for release of real AutoCAD for Linux from Autodesk Inc. Autodesk Inc. has a strategic alliance with Microsoft and they will not do it , period. The best and the fastest way to make the Autodesk to reconsider their behaviour is to buy more copies of LinuxCAD !!!

 Complete business solution - SITEFORUM Suite

SITEFORUM Suite is everything you could imagine you would like to do with your web, come to life. Unlimited, Forums, Chat, Contact Management, Shops, Catalogs and Shopping Carts (Jan1, 2000) and intelligent email system, with centralized development, administrative and access control functionality, all dynamic and database driven out of the box ready to run on nearly any server/OS platform including Windows and Linux. SITEFORUM Suite is complete and even includes its own Webserver and database software!

Can you imagine, having your website fill in your contact database automatically, replying to emails without your intervention or providing a self perpetuating client support base with discussion forums, building a community around your products and services? Engage in real time discussions with clients on your website with live chat, automatically process orders and sales and many more, distinctive features not available in any single solution, anywhere.


WASHINGTON, DC - December 8, 1999 - Signiform today announced the release of ThoughtTreasure 0.00022, a new version of its comprehensive natural language/commonsense platform for building question answering services, information extraction systems, and world-aware applications. ThoughtTreasure 0.00022 contains a natural language parser and generator hooked up to a knowledge base and lexicon of 25,000 concepts, 55,000 English and French words and phrases, and 50,000 assertions.

New features of ThoughtTreasure 0.00022 include scripts, a web-enabled knowledge base, and easy-to-use knowledge base flat files. Scripts are machine-understandable representations of typical activities such as going swimming or making a dinner reservation.

For more information on ThoughtTreasure, please visit


The ThoughtTreasure server runs on Linux and supports Java and Python clients. To download a copy of the ThoughtTreasure 0.00022 distribution for noncommercial use, visit For information about obtaining a commercial license, contact .

 Other software

The Xi Graphics hardware-accelerated 3-D X-server supports more than thirty different 3D video cards.

HTMLDOC v1.8.2 produces indexed HTML, PDF and PostScript files. GPL. Commercial support available for $99.

ILOG has ported its entire line of embeddable optimization, visualization and rules engines in Java and C++ to Red Hat and SuSE Linux, for use in e-commerce applications.

Sun is releasing a version of the Java 2 Platform Standard Edition (J2SE) for Linux.

Quick Restore 2.6 is "the first enterprise-ready, heterogeneous, network backup and recovery solution for Linux servers".

This page written and maintained by the Editor of the Linux Gazette. Copyright © 2000,
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

(?) The Answer Guy (!)

By James T. Dennis,


(!)Greetings From Jim Dennis

(?)How do I do it? --or--
Installing to a 2nd HD
(?)Sendmail Startup --or--
Sendmail Takes a Long Startup Time
(?)Telnet not working on recent RedHat/Mandrake --or--
Incoming Telnet for and Mandrake Users
(?)Only see 16M of 64M in Compaq Prosignia 300 --or--
Linux only see 16 of 64 Mb of RAM
(?)NT 4.O Wkst + SP5 no dialup to RedHat 6.0/internet --or--
No Dialup to Internet from NT 4.0(sp5) through 6.0
(?)linux ether16 support --or--
Can't See Ethernet Card
(?)(No Subject) --or--
Disk Druid UI Failure? USE fdisk!
(?)Driver for Savage 4 pro --or--
Savage 4 Pro
(?)Recover password for SUN sparcstation --or--
Root Password Recovery on non-Linux UNIX Systems
(?)Windows 95 Connectivity --or--
Needs Samba Configuration Advice
I am new to Linux and I am attempting to setup the following system.
(?)HELP! --or--
Lost CMOS Password
(?)Lilo Woes --or--
More Problems with LILO
(?) xftp: (Proxy or "Third Party" FTP Requests
(?)Do you know where the include files are? --or--
Which RPM Provides A Given Set of Files?
(?)issue 46; networking docs --or--
Advanced Routing in the Linux Kernel
(?)Try & Buy wrapper technology for Linux apps --or--
Try & Buy Wrapper Technology for Commercial Linux apps

(!) Greetings from Jim Dennis

[Jim has the flu this month so he was unable to write his usual electrifying blurb. Get well soon, Jim. Also, The Answer Guy column is all one file this month because there was an upload corruption in the .tgz file, and I was unable to obtain a replacement by press time. -Ed.]

(?) Installing to a 2nd HD

From Eric Lindbloom on Wed, 01 Dec 1999

How do I install Linux on a second hard drive? I have the hard drive installed but have no idea how to access it and install the Linux os. Any ideas?

(!) Exact details of any Linux installation procedures depend quite a bit on which distribution and version you are using.
The basic installation process which is common to all PC based Linux distributions is:
  1. Boot
  2. Detect/Select Installation Source (Device/Medium/Method)
  3. Create/Select Target Devices/Partitions
  4. Make Filesystems & Choose Layout
  5. Select and Install (Unpack/Extract) Packages
  6. Configure Packages
  7. Write Boot Record (Make New OS Bootable)
  8. Reboot
  9. Have Fun!
Generally you boot PCs from floppy or CD-ROM. Some PCs and most other systems can be booted from network servers (usually using a bootp/tftpd combination). However, I'll assume that you will just be booting from diskette or disc.
It's also possible to "boot" Linux from an MS-DOS prompt. You do that using a program called LOADLIN.EXE (often called by a batch file named LINUX.BAT or even SETUP.BAT or INSTALL.BAT). This works from a DOS prompt because MS-DOS is more of a "program loader" than an "operating system." (Windows '9x might be considered to be a "re-hosted OS" which is (transparently) loaded through MS-DOS, much as Netware used to be). In any event, you might be able to start your Linux installation by simply inserting a CD in the drive and running a batch file.
Every Linux distribution has its own installation processs. These range from shell scripts, through elaborate GUIs. Most use fairly similar color/text dialogs (ncurses) which allow you to "fill in the blanks" and tab around to little checkboxes and "radio buttons" (which are selected using the space bar). This interface seems "intuitive" to people who've used MS-DOS or learned to drive MS-Windows programs with their keyboards.
I've found that Mac and SGI Irix users with no PC experience do NOT find the "text dialog" interface to be intuitive --- since the mouse typically doesn't work at this point. (The best bet for them is to use one of the recent Caldera, Corel, or Storm Linux distributions. Those newer distributions can be installed using a "GUI boot-to-grave" interface. Or they could learn how to handle keyboard driven text mode dialogs. Meanwhile the authors of these programs could provide more interactive and context sensitive help to explains these assumptions to new users).
After the boot is complete the installation routine will usually attempt to detect any hardware that's not detected by the kernel. Many distributions will also provide prompts/options to allow you to specify more information about your hardware (possibly offering to allow you to load kernel modules which may be needed to detect and support some of your additional hardware).
This can be important if your secondary hard drive is on some interface isn't linked directly into your distribution's kernel. For example, if you have your primary drive on an IDE controller and your second drive is attached to a SCSI host adapter or one of these Promise Ultra66 specialty IDE controllers then you may need to load an additional module through your distribution's installation interface. It's also possible that you might need to provide the kernel with some additional command line arguments to help it detect some device or controller that is in a non-standard location (assigned to unusual I/O or other addresses).
In the worst case you might have to build or download a custom kernel. If you already have Linux installed on another machine (at home or work), or if you have a friend who can build a new kernel for you, that can help with some of the more exotic hardware configurations that you might encounter.
Once the drive controller is recognized then you should be able to select that drive through your distribution's partitioning interface (step 3 above). If you don't see any option to do this, you can try to go to a shell prompt (try hitting [Alt]+[F2] then [Alt]+[F3] and so on until you see a screen with a # (hash) prompt). You can try various shell commands at that prompt. You might try the 'fdisk -l' command from there. This might give a list of all recognized drives --- or it might not (some distributions don't populate enough of a /dev directory in this mini-root RAM disk to allow the fdisk command to find your hard drives --- they "work magic" to get their fdisk to see the necessary drives).
I realize this is confusing. It all depends on which distribution you're using. As I say, with most of them all you have to do is read the screens and menus carefully. If it prompts you for fdisk parameters try /dev/hdb (the typical name for a secondary IDE disk drive), then /dev/hdc (primary drive on your secondary controller; sometimes a third drive or sometimes a second drive).
I should mention the normal Linux device naming conventions:
               Primary IDE Controller:
                        (Master) Drive:         /dev/hda
                        (Slave) Drive:          /dev/hdb
                Secondary IDE Controller:
                        (Master) Drive:         /dev/hdc
                        (Slave) Drive:          /dev/hdd
                Tertiary IDE Controller:
                        (Master) Drive:         /dev/hde
                        (Slave) Drive:          /dev/hdf
... NOTE: Any of these: hdb, hdc, hcd, etc might be CD ROM drives, or LS-120 or other IDE block media. Any letters may refer to empty "slots" (cable connectors).
               First IDE Tape Drive:           /dev/ht0

                SCSI Host Adapters:

                        First  Hard Drive:      /dev/sda
                        Second Hard Drive:      /dev/sdb
                        Third  Hard Drive:      /dev/sdc

                        First  CD Drive:        /dev/scd0
                        Second CD Drive:        /dev/scd1

                        First  Tape Drive:      /dev/st0
                        Second Tape Drive:      /dev/st1

                        First  "Generic Device":        /dev/sg0
                        Second "Generic Device":        /dev/sg1
... etc
... NOTE: These are from the first detected SCSI adapter through the last. "Generic Devices" include the CDR recorder mechanisms (though the use of these as CD-ROM readers still goes through the scdX name/driver). (CDR drives are associated with scdX and different sgX names (device nodes)).
... Note the differences here. IDE drives are assigned names based on the controller/channel and the device. IDE CD-ROM drive names are indistinguishable from HD drives. For SCSI the drives are detected (enumerated) on each chain (host adapter) in order from lowest SCSI ID to highest. SCSI CD-ROM drives are give distinct names from the hard drives and other SCSI devices.
As you can see, the answer to your question also depends quite a bit on your hardware. If you have a typical IDE based PC with a hard drive on /dev/hda and a CD-ROM on /dev/hdc then your second hard drive migh be /dev/hdb or /dev/hdd. You might have reconfigured your CD-ROM drive (making it /dev/hdd or even /dev/hdb) leaving your new hard drive on /dev/hdc).
If this message (and the docs and help screens for your distribution) don't clarify the issue enough for you, then send another message with the following details:
Distribution and version Primary HD and OS Second HD (controller type, and "position" or ID) Output of fdisk -l (if possible)
Remember to look through the comp.linux.* newsgroups and copy/post further queries to ONE of them (read first, then choose carefully). There are lots of answer guys on those newsgroups.
Once you get some Linux partitions on your drive, then your distribution's installation should be able to make filesystems on them and install your software without too much trouble.
Finally, when it comes time to make your new OS bootable (step 7 from my list above) you have to consider some extra issues. Most PCs can only boot from the first and second drives on the primary controller. Thus you usually can't boot from /dev/hdc or /dev/hdd (they are on a secondary controller/channel) and you usually can't boot from any SCSI drive in a system with an IDE drive in the /dev/hda slot.
All of this depends completely on your BIOS. The BIOS must be able to find your device, partitions, boot loader/code and kernel in order for LILO (the most widely use Linux boot loader) to work. I've described LILO in many previous issues; and I've described a couple of alternatives to it on a number of occasions.
You can use LOADLIN.EXE (if you have DOS or Win '9x partition). You might have to boot into "safe mode" in order for LOADLIN.EXE to work. You can create a boot floppy (with just a kernel or with a boot loader and a kernel on it). If you use a boot floppy, use SYSLINUX (a floppy boot loader that works on MS-DOS formatted floppies but boots Linux kernels).
There are many ways to boot Linux. Fundamentally a Linux kernel doesn't "care" how it got loaded. Once you get the kernel into memory and jump into its entry code then the kernel can find any filesystem on any partition on any device that's linked into it. The kernel will have a default location to search for a root filesystem (and any Linux boot loader, like LILO, LOADLIN.EXE, or SYSLINUX will let you pass kernel parameters to over-ride that default and name the root fs directly.
Once a root fs is mounted, then the Linux kernel will search for a /dev/console device and a /sbin/init program, opening the one and executing the other. From there everything else will follow (read your /etc/inittab and each script that to which it refers for the gory details).
There are some other tricky bits about "initial RAM disks" (initrd) and "linuxrc" programs/scripts that might get involved in some installations. Most modern distributions will handle those details for you if they need them. I won't cover them here. However, I will leave you with a last summary of how a PC boots Linux:
... That's basically it. This last step continues until a shutdown command sends init a command to shut down and either reboot or halt. Obviously a hardware failure, reset switch or power outage can interrupt the process at any time.
I'm not sure of the exact order for some these steps. I'm still a bit unclear on exactly where the initrd is loaded (I've read that it's done by the boot loader, but I've seen boot parameter options that suggest that it might sometimes be done by the kernel).
The reason I give this list is to help people do their boot time (and installation) troubleshooting. When you understand the general sequence listed here, and you read the /etc/inittab and the various rc* files (and any man pages for the daemons and configuration utilities that these invoke) then you should be able to troubleshoot almost any boot time problem.

(?) Sendmail Takes a Long Startup Time

From Rich Hayden on Sun, 05 Dec 1999


I was wondering why the "sendmail" app takes so long to configure itself during startup. I am using Ret Hat 6.1 (Cartman).

Any info you have would be greatly appreciated..

Thanks, Richard C Hayden Natex Communcations

(!) The delay is usually caused by loading sendmail while you're not connected to the net. It's trying to perform a reverse name lookup and you have no nameserver handy.
There are various ways around this. One is to remove the sendmail script's symlink from /etc/rc3.d and configure your /etc/ppp/ip-up and /etc/ip-down scripts to start and stop your sendmail daemon as your PPP link comes up and goes down. Another trick that helps is to put an IP address with your hostname into your /etc/hosts file.
If you have one or more ethernet addresses in addition to some intermittent connection to the Internet (and its nameservers) you can add /etc/hosts entries for each of them.
You may need to modify your /etc/nsswitch.conf (or /etc/hosts.conf for older libc5 based distributions/ installations). Be sure to lists "files" before "dns" on the hosts line, and you probably want to remove all references to nis and nisplus in the nsswitch.conf files or rearrange the service/module names on each line so that nis and nisplus come last and are preceded by "[notfound=return]" entries.
(You probaby aren't using NIS or NIS+ for name services or account management; you'd almost certainly know if you were). Red Hat's /etc/nsswitch.conf is configured all wrong for 90% of the users out there; though the errors just slows things down rather than actually causing failures.
Yet another thing you could do is run a nameserver on your system. There are some experimental nameserver daemons that are designed for use on systems with intermittent connections.
Unfortunately Linux (and UNIX in general) is still not well configured for intermittent connectivity. It can be done, but the defaults in all major distributions aren't suited to it. I used to use UUCP before I had a full-time DSL connection. This was a good way to queue up mail for scheduled/deferred delivery. However, finding UUCP neighbors has become difficult, and setting it up was never easy.
I don't have an example of it, but the preferred configuration of sendmail/named for intermittently connected hosts would be to have split DNS (your system's /etc/resolv.conf points at your own nameserver, which claims to be authoritative to the work but acts as a "slave" to outside domains), and has sendmail configured to "Hold Expensive" and then has an ip-up script that does queue runs to actually deliver the queued up mail.
Linux also supports dummy networks and reject routes which allow you to quickly "deny" traffic when the connection is down (your scripts lose these while the link is up).
As I say, I don't have some working configuration samples handy. Perhaps another reader will come through with a whole mini-HOWTO or a URL.

(?) Incoming Telnet for and Mandrake Users

From R. Smith on Sun, 05 Dec 1999


I've seen a spurt of letters in "The Answer Guy" and elsewhere about telnet not working with recent versions of RedHat and Mandrake. I would like to point out that the rpm packages have been split into two, one for the telnet client and one for the server. When I installed Mandrake 6.1 the client package was installed but the server package wasn't. I guess this was done to improve security. When someone has problems with telneting into a 6.x RH/Mandrake linux box, they should make sure the server package is installed! I also would like to point out that you cannot telnet into a stock RedHat/Mandrake box as root.

(!) Good point. The telnetd (daemon/server) package is rightly separated from the telnet client. This is also true of Debian.
Actually I still have to suggest that people consider telnetd to be a deprecated service. Use ssh, STEL, ssltelnet, SRP or any service with strongly encrypted, authentication in lieu of it (or use FreeS/WAN IPSec underneath it).

(?) Linux only see 16 of 64 Mb of RAM

From Eric Yihching Tao on Sun, 05 Dec 1999

Windows 2000 sees all 64M and runs fine, but linux only sees 16M and runs horrorably slow, please help!


(!) What version of the kernel are you running?
What if you try adding the mem=64M to your kernel command line? (type that manually at the LILO prompt). If that works, then add a directive like:
... to the appropriate "stanzas" of your /etc/lilo.conf (using a text editor, read the lilo.conf man page for details). You can put this line right after each of your "image=" directives).
This does sound very suspicious since Linux has always been pretty reliable at auto-detecting RAM upto about 64M. Newer (2.2 kernels and later) are pretty reliable at detecting memory above 64M. So I would expect that their is something else weird here. However, you don't say anything about what version of Linux you're running, or how you are see what memory is in use. What does the exact output of your 'free' command look like?

(?) Only see 16M of 64M in Compaq Prosignia 300

From Eric Yihching Tao on Mon, 6 Dec 1999

Thanks. You solved the problem for me, it works!
I inserted the line like you said and run
lilo -C /etc/lilo.conf
and reboot the system. It works great!

(?) No Dialup to Internet from NT 4.0(sp5) through 6.0

From JCCSystems on Sun, 05 Dec 1999

Hi, Odd problem here:

NT 4.0 workstation + SP5 will logon to a new Linux RedHat 6.0 ISP server via modem dialup.
(!) I assume you're saying that you can establish a PPP connection to your RH6 remote access server from your NT client/workstation.

(?) You can ping the server, but the Linux server will not register the NT 4.0 client on the internet.

(!) I don't know what this means. Register with what service? Are you saying that you can't route packets through the RH/Linux system to it?

(?) The server is also hosting a domain for the client.

(!) I presume you mean either that it is acting as a nameserver, a web server or both. That is to say, the Linux system is hosting some services for a domain.

(?) The Linux server will work well with a NT Workstation with SP3 installed. The account itself is fine with Win9x. dialup.

The NT 4.0 box is fine with any web server tried, EXCEPT the Linux RedHat 6.0 with the hosted domain.

TCP/ip is reinstalled dialup checked etc in the NT 4.0 client Service Pak 5 issue in NT 4.0? We are reluctant to reload NT 4.0 as the client has a large and complex batch of financial software.

Any ideas would be a help. This makes no sense to us other than it seems to be a TCP/IP issue.

Cordially, WDavis

(!) Your question makes no sense. Let me try to get the gist of it:
You have a Linux system with some sort of access to the Internet and a modem that's configured to allow dial-in.
What software is providing your dial-in on the Linux box? (Usually that would be a package called mgetty). How is that configured? (mgetty.config, /etc/login.config, or /etc/mgetty+sendfax/login.config or something like that).
(Don't scramble to debug your mgetty configuration. That sounds like it's working O.K. as is).
(Information about mgetty can be found at:
How are your authenticating? Are you using AutoPPP (trying to use the Win '9x default ISP/RAS connection features)?
This is a fairly complex question. The traditional way for a client to log in to any dial-up server was through a simple text "chat script", which is the way that most Linux systems still act at PPP clients. PPP also allows PAP and CHAP authentication techniques. It's actually possible to use all three authentication methods for every single PPP connection (the user has to supply a username, a password, and their PPP daemon as to supply PAP and CHAP credentials). That would be silly, but it's possible. All of that is used for normal Linux/UNIX PPP connections and with any other OS.
To use these protocols and connection automation methods with Win '9x and NT you have to have one of the utilities from their "Plus Pack" (or some clone thereof). Otherwise you'd have to use an interactive terminal window.
To avoid the interactive terminal window (and automate the connection process) you can use "AutoPPP" which is a feature of mgetty that implements the same protocol that Microsoft uses for their MSN dialup (maybe they also use it for their normal RAS --- remote access server --- mechanism).
If your Win '9x and NT4.x(sp3) systems are already working with your Linux system (as you seem to say above) then you probably have mgetty with AutoPPP already working correctly.
So, now the question becomes, what isn't working. You say that the affected system can connect to the Linux system, and ping it. This suggests that the modems, PPP, IP addressing and routing are all working. You have transport.
However, you don't say what you mean by "register." Presumably some or of your applications layer protocols aren't working.
Can you telnet to the Linux box? Can you see web pages on the Linux box? (Is it running an httpd)? Can you ping something that's "behind/beyond" the Linux system (from the NT box)?
If you can't ping anything beyond the Linux box it might be that you aren't allowing IP_Forwarding. This is easy to overlook. You can fix that by adding the "ktune" directive to your /etc/ppp/options file on the Linux box, or by adding a command like:
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
... to one of your start up scripts. (There is an entry in one of the /etc/sysconfig/ files that Red Hat uses that does this for you. That's one of those things that every Linux distribution does slightly differently, which is one reason why Paul added the ktune directive to recent copies of pppd).
However, I'm not sure this is your problem. You seem to say that your Win'95 and NT4(sp3) (service pack 3) systems work fine. If that really is the case then the problem isn't on the Linux box at all. It would have to be something that Microsoft changed, or something that differs between your NT(sp3) and NT(sp4) systems. For that you should contact your NT support reps. Don't let them tell you that "connections to Linux systems are unsupported" or anything like that --- if you have one of them working and another failing, they should be able to help you isolate the problem. (Of course, these days you're probably paying for all of your NT support, so don't let them push you around about this).
Although I haven't read all of it, and it doesn't seem to be on the LDP mirrors, I did find the following link that might be helpful.
Modified Linux PPP/NT HOWTO
I'm copying Siegfried Schoen, and Diederick van Dijk, (original author and current maintainer of this document respectively) to encourage them to submit their HOWTO to the LDP and to offer them a chance to correct me or expand on what I'm saying.
I'm also copying my co-worker at Linuxcare, Paul Mackerras (author and current maintainer of the Linux PPP daemon), and Gert Doering (author of mgetty) so they can also comment if they choose. (This is not to suggest that technical support questions should have gone to them, but rather to give them a chance to correct me so that they don't get questions from people who read this in the Linux Gazette).
I've recently started writing a completely new version of the PPP HOWTO. The one by Robert Hart hasn't been updated recently --- and I've gotten enough questions about it over the years that I've decided to start "tabula rasa" and see if a free approach will help.
If the suggestions here haven't helped, please be sure to let me know specifically which services aren't working and tell me more (much more) about your configuration.

(?) Can't See Ethernet Card

From Chuck Whinney on Sun, 05 Dec 1999

I cant seem to get my Linksys Ether16 LAN card to work under linux. I turned off the PnP liek teh linksys website said, and I turned the motherboard setting from PnP on that IRW to the ISA setting. Linux still never recognizes it.

Any ideas? Thanks! Chuck

(!) What error to you get? If it looks something like:
 SIOCSIFADDR: No such device
 eth0: unknown interface: No such device
... then you're asking the right question. Some possible causes:
Some possible answers:
Neither of these lists is comprehensive. Their just some ideas. The idea of buying or even borrowing a different cheap ethernet card is useful, since getting any card working will give you a baseline to work towards.
On using the ether= parameter on our kernel command line (or on the insmod command line for your ether drivers) read your bootparam man page and/or the Linux BootPrompt-HOWTO (
There's a chance that the last of these tricks will hang your system, or that conflicts among the different ethernet drivers could cause problems. That's pretty rare, but it can happen. Try loading them by hand one at a time, until you've eliminated most of them.

(?) Disk Druid UI Failure? USE fdisk!

From Loki Cane on Sun, 05 Dec 1999

I need some help. When I get into Disk Druid, it shows me two partitions. They look like this:

> <not set> hda1 1220M 1220M WIN 95 FAT 32
> <not set> hdb1 407M            Dos 16-bit>=32

> hda [621/64/63] 1222M 2M 1220M 99%
> hdb [899/15/62] 408M  1M  407M  99%

I've tried deleting one and both partitions to create the Linux, but when I do, I can not click on the next button. If you can take me through it, I would appreciate it, because the book didn't help any to figure this out.

(!) So, use fdisk instead of Disk Druid.
Personally I don't like Disk Druid. The thing has little bugs or quirks in it, and seems to cause more trouble then it solves most of the time.
So, go into fdisk. It looks like you have a 1.2 Gb drive and a 400Mb drive. That means you'll have to go into fdisk twice (once for /dev/hda and again for /dev/hdb).
There are several different partitioning packages for Linux. In addition to Disk Druid and the plain "shell" fdisk there's cfdisk (curses interface, no color), and sfdisk (scriptable version with advanced features). Mandrake uses an improved version of Disk Druid that they call DiskDrake *( There's another called gparted (GNU partition editor).
You can read more about partitioning in the Linux Partition (mini) HOWTO by Kristan Koehntopp ( (Although it would be nice to be add a section about partitioning tools; to that HOWTO).
You could do a Freshmeat search for more of them.

(?) Savage 4 Pro

From pot on Sun, 05 Dec 1999

Please, tell me how to instal a Savage 4 pro with linux (Red Hat 6, and S.u.S.E. 6.2) Is there a mesa driver for my savage If it is possible i want the repons at my e-mail adress

(!) I always send my "repons" (sic) via e-mail.
I presume that a "Savage 4 Pro" is a video card and that by asking how to "install" it you're actually asking how to get X Windows (presumably XFree86, the free Linux X Windows server package) configured to use it.
I also presume that you're referring to the Mesa 3D (a free implementation of some graphics APIs that are similar to those provided by SGI's OpenGL).
Of course I don't know any of this. There are too many video cards and they designs and chipsets on those cards change too fast (often out of sync with the model names and numbers). I've never used Mesa or OpenGL.
A quick search on the terms "Linux XFree Savage Mesa" returns links to about 100 mirrors of Linux Gazette issue 34 where someone else asked basically the same question (with no answer; that one wasn't sent to me).
So I go to the best place for info on XFree ( and search their FAQ at:
Where I find:
  Q.F18- Is a server for the S3 Trio3D, Trio3D/2X or the S3 Savage3D
  or the Savage4 available?

   XFree86-3.3.5 supports all these chipsets as part of the SVGA server.
   Please note that S3 Savage3D support was not tested and Savage4
   support is currently restricted to Linux and the Intel Platform.
So I supposed you should just try the SVGA server and run one of the setup front ends like: XConfigurator, XF86Setup or the S.u.S.E. XSax. Any of those should configure basic X support for this card.
(You might have to upgrade your XFree*.rpm packages to get version 3.3.5, which is pretty new. This might entail upgrading some of your other libraries and packages, so you might end up wanting to upgrade the whole distribution).
Next we go on to Mesa. A Google! search on the phrase "Mesa GL" shows us that it has its own web site at: where we look for a "search" feature or an FAQ. There I learn that referring to this as MesaGL is a "no-no" (trademark concerns) and that the package is to be known as Mesa 3D. The second link on their index page lists "supported platforms and systems" and describes the ongoing efforts to provide broader support.
This suggests that Mesa doesn't work on your chipset. If Mesa support is important to your applications, you should either buy a supported card, or look for OpenGL support (if that will suit your needs). (Contributing to the XFree86 and Mesa3D projects would also help).
I really wish the XFree86 user base would cough up their own answer guy. I realize that most new Linux users can't tell where Linux ends and X begins and that X is a vitally important part of the average home, and desktop workstation user's experience --- but I'm not much of a resource on these topics.
This is one of those many cases where I'm just acting as a semi-intelligent interface to Google! (, Yahoo! (, Alta Vista (, DejaNews (, the LDP (, and the man pages, /usr/doc/* tree, etc.

(?) Root Password Recovery on non-Linux UNIX Systems

From Jeff McGuff on Sun, 05 Dec 1999

I saw your answer on how to recover password on a Linux box, but what about a Sun Sparcstation. My freind got one in a yard sale, and we would like to log in to it to make changes!

Thanks, Jeff

(!) First, read the SunOS/Solaris FAQs (
You can find FAQs on MANY subjects at the "Internet FAQ Consortium" (
In this case we search on "password" and find (after three jumps through "next") that it's answered in question 99:
99) I do not know the root password, What do I do?
First thing to try: (SunOS 4.x.x)
Get to the boot monitor prompt by holding down the stop and A. Type sync to help ensure that you have no filesystem corruption on booting. You will need to hit STOP-A again to interrupt the boot process.
Now at the '>' prompt type
b -s
Or at the 'ok' prompt type
boot -s
This should give you a root prompt as long as the console entry in /etc/ttytab is marked secure. If you get the '#' you should be able to edit the the /etc/passwd file and remove the encrypted string for root's passwd or set it to what you want using the passwd command.
Once you are done type reboot to bring the machine back up.
Second thing to try: (SunOS 4.1.x and Solaris2.x)
Boot off the network or CD-ROM and mount the root device and edit the passwd file.
Note: both of these assume no eeprom password.
Last Updated: January 17, 1995.
This last method is referred to as "booting into the mini-root shell."
Of course the issue get a bit more complex when you think about them. Did this system come with any software pre-installed? Did you get the media, documentation and licensing information for that software? What are the licensing terms regarding transferral of usage? (Just because you bought a system with a bunch of software installed on it doesn't mean you have any right to use that software).
Then there are practical issues. Whose data is laying around on that system? Can you trust the installed software?
In other words you should probably wipe whatever is on that system and start with a fresh installation of your own OS. That could be Linux/SPARC (or even Linux/68K if this is an old enough Sun), or you might be able to use the SunOS or Solaris that probably came with the system (ask Sun about that).

(?) Needs Samba Configuration Advice

I am new to Linux and I am attempting to setup the following system.

From Foster Ken on Sun, 05 Dec 1999

I have Redhat 6.0 Linux and Win95 setup on a dual boot with the Linux as the default. I want to setup this system as a server and load some windows software on it to be used on a closed network through a unmanaged hub. I am trying to access the Linux as a server with Win95 software residing on the Win95 partition so that other Win95 workstations can log into the Linux box and get the 95 applications from the server. My limited new exposure to Linux may not allow me to correctly format the questions in the right order. I have TCPIP setup and addresses assigned and can ping from either machine to the other and can even telnet to the Linux box. I have finally settled on SAMBA and am trying to configure it. I am willing to even do a fresh install of the OS'es if need be.

Ken Foster

(!) O.K. You have IP addressing and routing working. (You can ping your servers from your clients).
Now you want to configure file and printer sharing using Samba. Probably you want to start by fetching the latest version of Samba for your Linux distribution.
Red Hat Linux uses the RPM system for managing packages. The Samba team pre-packages Samba in RPM format for a large number of different Linux distributions. (Most Linux distributions use RPM, but several have different sets of package names and dependency identifiers, so it's often necessary to have different .rpm files for Red Hat, S.u.S.E., TurboLinux, etc).
In this case you can find a copy of Samba 2.0.6 at:
You can fetch that and install it with a command like:
rpm -Uvh samba-2.0.6-19991110.i386.rpm
Then you can read the the SMB HOWTO at:
... and peruse the web pages at:
... for lots more information about Samba and how to configure and use it.
You probably want to install and use the SWAT (Samba Web-based Administration Tool) for your initial configuration. Although I've never used it, Tridge (the principle author of Samba) tells me that its definitely the way for newbies to go.
You probably want to start your perusing with "Samba: An Introduction"

(?) Lost CMOS Password

From Jim Nui on Sun, 05 Dec 1999



486DX2-66 MHz 540 MB HARD DRIVE] 4 MB




(!) Jim, I hope that password also unlocks your CAPS mode.
In general you can reset the password on any PC motherboard using one of four methods.
First, some of them have an external battery holder which usually holds some double or triple A batteries. There's a thin lead to some pins on the motherboard. Just remove the lead, wait thirty seconds and put it back. This is typically on old 286 and 386 motherboards, but you might find it on some older 486s as well. In some cases there is a small flat watch battery that's held unto the motherboard with a spring clip. Simply take that out wait thirty seconds and replace it.
In other cases (excuse the pun) you may find that there is a set of pins on the motherboard which can be used to reset the system to the factory defaults. Typically you'd turn off the system, open up the case (you'd have taken these two steps in the previous example, too --- I'll belatedly note), place a jumper (conductor) across the pins, power up the system (resetting the CMOS registers) and then power down, remove the jumper, close the case and be happy. The trick is to find the right jumpers (if they exist).
In other cases you might find a rechargeable battery soldered unto the motherboard. In that case take a paper clip or other wire (preferably a 10 to 50 Ohm resister, actually) and short across the ends of this little "barrel." Hold that pose for about 30 seconds to one minute.
In yet other cases you might find a socketed CMOS/clock chip (looks like a small ROM or RAM DIP --- a little rectangular bug with two rows "legs" (pins) --- DIP stands for "dual in-line packaging"). If it's socketed instead of soldered into the motherboard, then you can pull the chip, wait ... (you guessed it!) ... thirty seconds, and then re-insert it (in the same orientation as you found it!).
If you can't find out which components are which, find a friendly neighborhood geek, bribe him or her with pizza, chocolate, a good microbrew, or a date and let him or her point it all out to you (in glowing and unending detail).
[Hey! I resemble that remark!]
By the way: The magic "30 seconds" to which I so often referred in these instructions is roughly the time it can take for a CMOS chip to dissipate its settings after power is removed from it.
You can also find a list of common "backdoor" passwords (burned into the ROM/BIOS' of some computers by their manufactures, to allow their technical support to help with this situation). Naturally this puts the "value" of the passwords at just about useless but manufacturers care far more about technical support costs than most people do about "real" security.
For an easily accessible discussion of this topic let's go over to the "Internet FAQ Consortium" and look at:
alt.2600 FAQ Revision .014 (1/4)
(search on the term CMOS).

(?) More Problems with LILO

From Leif Steinhour on Sun, 05 Dec 1999


I'm trying to install Red Hat 5.0/Win 95 on my new hard drive (3.2

GB, UDMA, 6256 cylinders, 16 heads) and having major difficulties. The file system seems to go on fine, but LILO just won't load, and I can't figure out how to edit lilo.conf without it resetting itself. I've tried changing the BIOS settings (in an attempt to exhaustively try all the options), but nothing really seems to help with this problem. According to the lilo documentation, this could be the result of a geometry mismatch, but I've specified the software CHS settings to lilo to be the same as those I used on fdisk and also tried turning on LBA/linear addressing to no avail. All my partitions are below 1023 cylinders, and I can't even get it to work with 2 100MB partitions! I really want to have a dual boot setup: any ideas?

(!) Search my back issues for the term LOADLIN.EXE. Use an MS-DOS partition to store copies of your kernel and some LINUX.BAT files. Forget about LILO.
(BTW: I realize that you probably long since have solved this problem. I just found it languishing in a dusty corner of my mail spool).

(?) xftp: (Proxy or "Third Party" FTP Requests

From moi on Sun, 05 Dec 1999


Sorry to bother you, but I can find no information on whether wu-ftp can do xftp (third party remote file transfers).

If it is capable of this, please help me know how to set it up and/or turn on this feature.

Thanks Bob Weaver

(!) I'm not sure but this sounds like you're asking if WU-ftpd can be used to transfer a file from one server to a third party. Obviously most FTP traffic is solely between the client and the server.
Unfortunately this rather obscure feature in the FTP protocol is a BAD idea. The idea has been subverted by crackers for performing "FTP bounce" attacks. This is a technique where an attacker tricks an FTP server which supports this feature into directing arbitrary traffic to our victim.
I don't know the full details of the vulnerabilities and I've never used the feature legitimately. So I can't say much about it (without spending a few hours in research and testing to figure it out).
This is one of those cases where I'll have to say:
Even if you can get WU-ftpd to do that you probably don't want to. Look for a different way.

(?) Which RPM Provides A Given Set of Files?

From Larry Sabine on Sun, 05 Dec 1999

I did an almost complete install of RedHat 5.2, but I seem to have passed over the gcc package -- so I got that, installed it, but all them include files like stdio.h and so on aren't there (there being /usr/include or even /include). I can't figure out what RPM installs those. Do you know? Larry Certified Seat Filler

(!) I don't know off hand. However here's a way to find out which RPMs contain files matching any regex (pattern):
               mount /mnt/cdrom
                cd /mnt/cdrom/RedHat/RPMS

                for i in *.rpm; do
                        rpm -qpl $i | prep -q 'stdio\.h' && echo $i
... that example will find all RPMs on your distribution CD-ROM that contain a file named "stdio.h"
On some distributions you might have to use a command more like:
               find /cdrom -type f -name "*.rpm" | while read i ; do
                        rpm -qpl $i | prep -q 'stdio\.h' && echo $i
... this does basically the same thing but it traverses directories to look for .rpm files.

(?) Advanced Routing in the Linux Kernel

From Mark Lamb on Sun, 05 Dec 1999

For what it's worth I've got a site ( with copies of or links to all of the docs I've found on the advanced networking stuff. Might be helpful to ya.

-- Mark Lamb
I'm a hacker -- I don't know the meaning of sleep

(!) It is interesting information that covers the use of the ip command management of addresses, interfaces routes, policy rules, and tunnels.
I do find the depth of the document tree that LaTeX2HTML is generating to be a bit distracting. Also those 1cm (font size references) near the instances of "NB:" (nota bene) throughout the document are ....
Maybe a bit of hand touchup of the HTML would help. You could merge some of the shorter sections (Like all of the Abbreviations & Objectives notes) into combined pages.
Regarding the content: The main issue is that there doesn't seem to be any introduction. We'll also need to come up with some case studies (longer than the usage examples --- going into a bit of detail about the desired effects, then explaining the solution.
For example, on of the primary examples of how people will be using these advanced routing options has to do with a scenario like this:

   +------+                                          +------+
   | ISP1 |--------+                          +------| ISP2 |
   +------+        |                          |      +------+
                                  |       |
                               +--+--+    |     +--------+
                               | WWW |    +-----| FW/GW  |------- Internal
                               +-----+          +--------+          LAN

Here we have two ISPs, with either one router to each or one router with interfaces to each (or possibly redundant routers which each have interfaces to each ISP).
The key point is that these ISPs are not peering with us. They don't know that we are "multi-homed" and don't care. So we have no AS (autonomous systems) number, and
we aren't running gated (for BGP4 or other dynamic route management).
However, we have multiple Internet links and we want to use them to as efficiently as possible.
We can balance the incoming load using round robin DNS. This is easy if we have multiple different WWW servers (some of them have addresses from ISP1 while others have them from ISP2). However, if we want one WWW server to serve both ISPs (or we want each WWW hosts to server all ISPs for fault-tolerance and failover) then we have a problem.
Under the classical IP routing methods each host will have one default route that is active at any moment. If that route goes down we can have routes with a higher metric which will then become active.
The problem is that all of the responses, to all web queries, will go out through one of the ISPs or the other. This is bad for two reasons. First we overload one of our routers. Worse we've created an asymmetric route, some packets come in one way and all packets go out another. That means that some response packets don't follow anything like the same route as those to which they are responding.
Asymmetric routing is legal, and not always bad. However, it should be avoided by design and policy wherever possible. Any routing problems that do occur are much more difficult to isolate and troubleshoot when one encounters asymmetric routes.
This is where our policy based routing comes in. We can have routing policies that match the router to the source addresses. So, if a connection comes in on eth0:1 (from ISP1) then we can ensure that the responses to that connection go through the "right" router (or the left one if you're looking at my diagram above).
Another way in which we'd like to optimize the utilization balance between these two ISPs is from the connections that our users make to the outside world. In that case we can configure our "FW/GW" node (the firewall/gateway router that leads to the internal LAN in our example) to use equal cost multipath routing for some or all of our local traffic.
I'd love to see a detailed explanation of this sort of scenario (with recommended ip rule and ip route scripts, etc) put into your documentation (complete with cheesy little diagram, of course).
One question I have: when I use "equal cost multipath" routing: will the same route be selected through a given TCP connection, or might it change for different packets during the course of that connection?

(?) Try & Buy Wrapper Technology for Commercial Linux apps

From CMerrin1 on Sun, 05 Dec 1999

Are you familiar with any off-the-shelf wrappers that would allow me to take an existing linux app, and wrap it for try &buy? I am look for a solution.

If you know of any solutions, I would love to hear about them. Thanks

Charles Merrin

(!) I presume that you want some sort of "license" manager that will automatically nag and possibly disable a commercial software package after it's been in use, unregistered for some period of time.
I know of no such package. I suspect that the "license manager daemon enforced try and buy" market will be pretty lukewarm for for Linux. Linux users get most of their software for free.
Ironically the vast majority of them have a far greater respect for the propriety of software licenses than the average user of most commercial operating systems. Like me, many of them find the idea of software piracy loathsome and would rather write our own (free) software, and spend countless hours hunting through free software archives then simply steal someone's software.
In other words, you're probably going to get a much better registration and purchase rate for reasonably priced, high quality shareware under Linux than anyone ever did for MS-DOS or MacOS shareware.
Of course the perception of "reasonably priced" and the expectation of quality are someone different in the Linux market. When we get a CD full of high quality free software for twenty bucks, and we donate a $100 a year or so to the FSF ( (as I do) then we expect a package to be pretty good and pretty cheap before we'll shell about $30 "just for it."
I do worry a bit about Linux and GNU as a "business model." Of course I'm sitting pretty working for the premier support and services provider for the platform. So the business opportunities that we're pursuing are in good shape.
However, we have to continue to educate the corporate and consumer populace at large.
If only 10% of the estimated Linux users only contributed 10% of what I do to the FSF and other key free software interests --- we'd have no problem sustaining the business.
If only a small proportion of the corporations that rely on free software contributed about the same as I do (a few hundreds of dollars per year each) then they'd be able to get any sort of software they wanted. They could re-implement even the most byzantine APIs (Microsoft) and reverse-engineer the most convoluted file formats (more awards to Microsoft). They could eliminated viruses and most common security vulnerabilities from their networks.
Of course it's like the classic "Prisoner's Dilemma." We all win if we enough of us do our part. But, if we don't win then those who do their part lose all that they contributed.
Luckily the very foundation of free software are the programmers who give away their software. For them there is no dilemma. They wrote it to suit their own needs (as learning experience, for personal use, hobby, even as art form). For them the release of this software is actually more risk than reward (they'll get flooded with tech support and enhancement requests, etc). However, we're all very fortunate in that they all choose to take that risk and put up with those "rewards."
Anyway, good luck in your efforts. Personally I'd strongly suggest either a pure "shareware" approach or a very well marketed "money back guarantee" campaign if you really want to sell general consumer commercial Linux software. Anti-piracy, dongle, and "license manager" approaches are likely to earn nothing but derision from this market.

Copyright © 2000, James T. Dennis
Published in The Linux Gazette Issue 49 January 2000
HTML transformation by of Starshine Technical Services,

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

More 2¢ Tips!

Send Linux Tips and Tricks to

X and DPMS mode

Sat, 4 Dec 1999 18:41:42 -0500 (EST)
From: Matthew Willis <

I like putting my monitor to sleep when I leave the computer. It uses DPMS time out after 15 minutes, but sometimes doing it manually is nice. The problem with doing it manually is that you can easily "un-trigger" DPMS by accidentally hitting the mouse. In an xterm I use this trick

sleep 1; xset dpms force standby

For a fancier setup I have an icon on my KDE desktop that runs <A HREF=misc/tips/standby.tcl.txt>this tcl/tk script</A> that counts down from 5 and then enters dpms standby mode.

Film scaanners

Sun, 12 Dec 1999 06:07:19 -0700
From: Warren Young <

Another section in the Linux driver gap just got filled: until recently, the only film scanners Linux supported (via SANE) were two of Nikon's units: one is low-powered and expensive, and the other is top-of-the-line and *extremely* expensive. :) So, I chose an affordable Mintolta scanner, and had to run it under Windows.

I was unimpressed with the scanning software that came with the unit. As it happens, Hamrick Software ( makes a shareware package called VueScan that does a much better job than Minolta's software. I bought it, and then sent Ed Hamrick an email saying how easy I thought it would be to port the package to Linux. He didn't seem interested, but then a month later, I happened back by his site, and there the Linux version was! I've been playing with it for the last few months, and it works every bit as beautifully as the Windows version.

VueScan is a bit like 4Front's OSS sound drivers: closed source, and payware ($40 for all versions), but high-quality and indispensible if you can't find equivalent free drivers. The $40 actually buys you a different package, called VuePrint, which I guess is an image catalog and printing program, but I've never actually used it. VueScan sort of comes along for the price, almost like an extra, but that's the only piece I'm interested in. VuePrint hasn't been ported to Linux anyway.

The package is also noteworthy in that Ed Hamrick really cranks out the code: new versions sometimes appear weekly!

Please give this guy some publicity. He really deserves it.

2 cent tip: Automagic updating of RPMs

Thu, 16 Dec 1999 15:00:06 +0100 (CET)
From: Ove Gram Nipen <

If you have a permanent connection to the Internet, and are running a linux system based on RPM packages, here's a tip on how to make sure these are always updated. The following presumes that you run RedHat, but it can be easily adapted to suit other RPM based distributions.

USE AT OWN RISK! This tip will impose changes on your system, and if anything goes wrong, don't say I didn't warn you. I will not be responsible.

The following commands are to be issued as superuser (root). Change to superuser mode by running

su -

and entering the superuser password.

First, you find an nfs server that exports the redhat-updates directory. I use, which is stationed in Norway. Mount up this server on your local file system, by adding this (or something similar) to /etc/fstab: /mnt/updates nfs defaults 0 0

(all in one line). Then, make sure that the directory exists by issuing the command

mkdir /mnt/updates

and mount it up with

mount /mnt/updates

which should yield no error messages. Hopefully.

Now we should be well connected. Check this by changing to the appropriate directory for your system upgrades, e.g.:

cd /mnt/updates/6.1/i386

You ought to see a lot of .rpm files. The rpm program has one nifty parameter, namely --freshen. Let's try it out.

rpm --freshen *.rpm

After a bit of waiting, your system should now be updated to the very latest security patches and soforth.

Next, you want to schedule some sort of automagic running of the above line. Let's try crontab. Say you want to run this update once a day, perhaps in the middle of the night. updatedb usually runs at 4 am, so why not run this command at 3 am? run crontab -e, and insert the following line: (not the one starting with #, that's just a comment).

# Min Hr Day Month Wday Command 
  0   3  *   *     *    rpm --freshen /mnt/updates/6.1/i386/*.rpm 

Save the file, and exit. Crontab will now be updated.

That oughta be it. Please don't mail me with questions like "Where is the nearest nfs server carrying redhat in <insert your home country here>". I really don't know. Actually, I only know of

Good luck.

File deletion

Thu, 16 Dec 1999 10:43:07 -0700 (MST)
From: M. Leo Cooper <

Dear Linux Gazette,

The following (bash) ; shell script; is useful for deleting files containing nasty characters, such as *, +, (, embedded spaces, etc. If you like it, you may publish it in your 'tips' section or wherever else you find appropriate.


Tips in the following section are answers to questions printed in the Mail Bag column of previous issues.

ANSWER: Mailbag answer: Linux Communications

Tue, 30 Nov 1999 15:14:27 -0600 (CST)
From: Michael P. Plezbert <
From: Chuck Newman <> Is there a Linux based communications program similar to pcAnywhere or Carbon Copy? I need remote PC control. Don't need to transfer files.

Check out VNC at It will allow you to control a Windows PC from an X session, or vice-versa, or control either one from a java-capable web browser.

ANSWER: Re: Hmmm.... don't know how to categorize this..

Tue, 30 Nov 1999 18:04:54 -0500 (EST)
From: John Beimler <

You asked in Linux Gazette on how to run stuff after you log out

Take a look at screen:

It is a great package that does exactly what you are looking for (and more)



ANSWER: Re: leaving processes running [was: Hmmm.... don't know how to categorize this..]

Tue, 30 Nov 1999 22:25:34 -0500
From: Steven G. Johnson <

>I usually log into my machine with SSH from home (no concole access) >and I was wondering if there is a way to have processes still running >after I log out. For instance an ftp-session loading an ISO, etc..

You'll probably get a bucketful of responses, but the general way to do this (from the shell) is:

nohup command >& command.out &

("nohup" means "no hang-up" and is what allows the process to keep running after you log out, and the "&" puts it in the background.) Here, "command" should be whatever command you want to leave running. I've redirected all of its output to the file "command.out"; you can omit this and any output will be redirected by default to "nohup.out", or use "/dev/null" to discard the output.

You can't (directly) use this for something like ftp that requires interaction. One option would be to write an "expect" script (man expect) to script an ftp session. A better way, however, would be to download something like the GNU wget program ( which lets you fetch a URL directly from the command-line without any extra interaction, and is useful both for scripting and for use with nohup. (I hope that wget will become a standard part of Linux distros.)

Cordially, Steven G. Johnson

ANSWER: Re: Looking for the Korn shell

Tue, 30 Nov 1999 22:32:15 -0500
From: Steven G. Johnson <

> Hi, I recently obtained Redhat V6.0 and I found out to my dismay, that it >does not have the Korn shell with it. Does anybody know where I can find a >copy of it? Thanks.

You want "pdksh," the Public Domain Korn Shell. (Note that the GNU bash shell has many of the Korn shell's features, too.) See:

Cordially, Steven G. Johnson

ANSWER: Re: Telnet 110 fails

Wed, 1 Dec 1999 10:22:34 -0500
From: Gerard Beekmans <
I have 6-7 pcs in the office on LAN. I am on RH6.0 and the rest on W98. I am trying to configure my pc as the email server for this small LAN. I have managed to correctly setup DNS. A remote PC can resolve the DNS server correctly. Then I went into Linuxconf and setup the Email server portion. My Linux PC by the way is named svr and the domain is We are using Netscape as the email client. I entered as the Incoming and Outgoing mail servers. Netscape client can sent email but were unable to receive (email) with the message: "Netscape's network connection was refused by the server The server may not be accepting connections or may be busy. Try connecting again later." I did a telnet 110 with a "Unable to connect to remote host" message. But a telnet 25 is ok. That explaint why sending is OK but not receiving rite? How do I fix this?

The problem you're having is a system lacking a POP3 server. You can easily fix this by downloading a POP3 server and install it.

You can find some at

Gerard Beekmans

ANSWER: Re: HELP with LT Win Modem and SB 16 Sound Blaster wanted!

Wed, 1 Dec 1999 10:25:18 -0500
From: Gerard Beekmans <
I am a new Linux Red Hat 6.0 user. I cannot connect to the Internet (still using Winows 98). My LT Win Modem connected to com3 is not working under Linux. (Someone wrote that trying to config Win modems for Linux is waste of time, is it true?) Connection: 8, parity - none, stopbit - 1. I told the 'modemtool' to use to use the serial port to which my modem is connected. I removed the word 'lock' in /etc/ppp/options file. I get 'modem is busy' in kppp configuration program or 'mode is locked' errors in other programs. I also have a problem with SB 16 sound blaster. 'sndconfig' program doesn't help! I am looking for anybody who can help me to make my modem and sound blaster working with Linux. Please help!!!

It's true; Winmodems don't work under Linux. Winmodems are specially designed to work with Microsoft Windows and are not supported in Linux. The only way to get a modem to work is to buy a non-winmodem.

Could you specify your sound blaster problem?

Gerard Beekmans

ANSWER: Telnet not working on recent RedHat/Mandrake

Wed, 01 Dec 1999 10:39:07 -0500
From: R. Smith <


I've seen a spurt of letters in "The Answer Guy" and elsewhere about telnet not working with recent versions of RedHat and Mandrake. I would like to point out that the rpm packages have been split into two, one for the telnet client and one for the server. When I installed Mandrake 6.1 the client package was installed but the server package wasn't. I guess this was done to improve security. When someone has problems with telneting into a 6.x RH/Mandrake linux box, they should make sure the server package is installed! I also would like to point out that you cannot telnet into a stock RedHat/Mandrake box as root.

ANSWER: Re: slowwwww ftp and partition problem

Wed, 1 Dec 1999 10:42:34 -0500
From: Gerard Beekmans <
I have encountered two problems with linux (Mandrake 6.1) that I haven't figured out how to overcome. The first problem is the logon speed for ftp. I have 3 desktops and a laptop that I have networked with 100 Mbps ethernet. 2 of the 3 desktops are dual booted with OS/2 and linux, the remaining desktop and the laptop are linux only. If I try to connect to ftpd on linux with an ftp client on either OS/2 or linux, there is an approximately 3-5 minute wait before a logon prompt is returned. This is clearly not running properly! I can use a linux client to an OS/2 ftpd, and promptly get the logon prompt. I've tried "renice" at both -20 and +20 using KDE's task manager. What do I need to do to speed this up? The second problem is: I have one machine with an 8 Gb drive partitioned into a 2Gb,6Gb, and 128k swap. Mandrake 6.1 is installed on the 2Gb partition, hda1. The 6Gb partition, hda3, is an ext2 partition. After linux boots, the 6Gb partition is mounted to /mnt/hda3. The problem that I've encountered is that when copying files to /mnt/hda3, it is the first partition that fills up, not the second. What's happening here? I was using kdisk to monitor the disk size when mirroring another site to /mnt/hda3, and it wasn't the correct partition that enlarged. After this occurred, totally filling the smaller partition, I could no longer umount the partition, either, getting a message "device is busy." Any help to solve either of these problems??

Your first problem; do you get the long waits on a particulair linux box or on all?

For the second; are you sure that the 6GB partition is mounted to /mnt/hda3 ? if not and you copy files to /mnt/hda3, it just copies files to the 2GB partition since /mnt/hda3 is just a directory on the 2GB disk.

if you run 'mount' you get a list with currently mounted file systems (that is; if the mandrake bootscripts are proper so that mtab gets updated as soon as the root partition is mounted in read-write mode. Every time something gets mounted, /etc/mtab is updated, but that wont' happen on a read-only system. So /etc/mtab could contain old information).

To make sure that the partition is actually mounted, try this command: mount -o remount,rw /dev/hda3 /mnt/hda3

Try to copy the files again and see if things go ok this time. If so, then something goes wrong when your system tries to mount the partition to /mnt/hda3. If so, contact me again and we'll walk through your bootscripts to find the problem.

Gerard Beekmans

ANSWER: Linux Communications

Wed, 1 Dec 1999 10:44:51 -0500
From: Gerard Beekmans <
Is there a Linux based communications program similar to pcAnywhere or Carbon Copy? I need remote PC control. Don't need to transfer files.

I don't know any names of such software, but I think I've seen it around somewhere. But I'm not 100% sure.

But why don't you telnet to that linux machine? Then you have all the control you need; it'll be like you're at the keyboard at that machine. That's what you want right?

You can configure the linux machine to accept dial-up so you can dialinto that machine and start a PPP session and then telnet into it.

Gerard Beekmans

ANSWER: help please

Wed, 1 Dec 1999 10:50:57 -0500
From: Gerard Beekmans <
please can you help me im new to remote booting i have got the hardware one network card with a boot rom and one with out so im fine on the hardware side but how do i configure linux for remote booting i am new to linux so i really have not got the foggiest.

I figure the mini HOWTO Remote-Boot might be a good place to start.

If you have HOWTO's installed on your system, try looking in there (the mini HOWTO's are often placed in /usr/doc/HOWTO/mini).

If not, then you can always find them at (the Linux Documentation Project's site - the 'guys' who maintain all the HOWTOs).

Gerard Beekmans

ANSWER: X-windows application for communicating over /dev/ttyS1 (COM2)

Wed, 1 Dec 1999 10:53:42 -0500
From: Gerard Beekmans <
Does anyone know where I can find a utility (with source code) that uses an xterm window for communicating with a remote asynchronous device over /dev/ttyS1? Thanks!!

What you do in an Xterm is the same as you do on a console when you don't have the X Window System ; run console programs.

So whatever you run in an xterm you can run without X too. So the bottom line is; what kind of device is it? And how do you want to reach it? Dial into it? If you have to dial into it, you can use the minicom program.

If not, then i need to know more about the hardware before i can give suggestions.

Gerard Beekmans

ANSWER: Re: Linux memory woes

Wed, 1 Dec 1999 10:59:13 -0500
From: Gerard Beekmans <
Hi, I've just installed Red Hat 6.0 and it's not detecting all of my memory. I tried typing linux memdM at the LILO prompt as recommended but then the boot-up fails. As it is it only detects 14M or so of my 64M. I had a look in my bios, and I noticed a line saying that there is a memory hole at 15M. I'm guessing that this is causing Linux to not see memory above this, but I don't know why this "hole" is there. I had a look in my motherboard manual (PC Chips M577) but it didn't mention anything useful. This hole doesn't seem to upset Windows; is there anything I can do to get Linux to work too? I also tried swapping my DIMMs around, thinking that if the hole was due to a bad DIMM it might move up to 47M (?) but it doesn't. I've been searching about the web for some insight but I've had no luck so far. Can you help?

Did you disable the memory hole in your BIOS? This memory hole option is *only* meant for PC's with 16 MB of *less* memory. If you have more than 16MB, you should disable this option. If you use the memory hole option, the BIOS gives 15MB to your system available and reserves the memory between 15 and 16MB for other purposes (I forgot what it was for since it's a long time ago I've used it). Also Windows will only see 15 MB (or 14MB after you substracted the 640MB conventional memory and a little bit that's reserved for other purposes).

So do disable it and try Linux again. Trust me, you don't need the memory option at all in your system.

Gerard Beekmans

ANSWER: Re: Looking for the Korn shell

Wed, 1 Dec 1999 11:11:06 -0500
From: Gerard Beekmans <
Hi, I recently obtained Redhat V6.0 and I found out to my dismay, that it does not have the Korn shell with it. Does anybody know where I can find a copy of it? Thanks.

You can find it at

Gerard Beekmans

< writes:

Yes it does - pdksh. It also has the zsh, which is an expanded version of the Korn shell. They are also available at

ANSWER: Re: Question

Wed, 1 Dec 1999 11:16:06 -0500
From: Gerard Beekmans <
I hope this is the right address to right to with a Linux question. I have a lot of Joliet format CD's made with DirectCD in Windows. Linux can read the CD's, but on files with long names (Over 20 characters or so) the filesize is dramatically misreported. 6-7 meg files are listed as 2-3 meg files. Linux can't see it all, and this of course means the file is pretty much corrupt and of no use in Linux. The CD's are readable fine in Windows, but not Linux. I've searched high and low and can find no answer to this problem. I hope you can help.

Perhaps upgrading your kernel might work. The kernel contains drivers for reading file systems like the Joliet format. You can find new kernel sources at

Since that above site is very busy most of the times, try ftp://ftp.<country> (like in my case for Canada).

Gerard Beekmans

ANSWER: Re: Linux command questions

Wed, 1 Dec 1999 10:29:45 -0500
From: Gerard Beekmans <
fsck /usr: What does this command do? What is its NT equivalent. What is this command: cat /etc/passwd; and what is it's NT equivalent?

fsck /usr checks the file system that is mounted under the /usr directory. The MS DOS/Windows equivalent to fsck is scandisk

cat /etc/passwd writes the contents of the /etc/passwd file to standard output. You don't *have* to specify /etc/passwd, you can use any text file you wish (you can 'cat' binary files too but that doesn't has much use).

The MS DOS equivalent to cat is uhm there is no standard program that does this. The closest thing in DOS is 'edit' which is a text editor, so that is more a very very light equivalent to programs like Vim, Emacs, Pico, Ed, etc.

[The DOS counterpart to cat is "type". -Ed.]

< writes:

fsck /usr checks the partition mounted at /usr for errors and attempts to corect them. Similar to scandisk in Windows.

> What is this command: cat /etc/passwd; and what is > it's NT equivalent?

cat /etc/passwd displays the contents of the file /etc/passwd (the password database file) on the screen. The NT equivalent of 'cat' is 'type' but it's not as straightforward to view the contents of the password database (the SAM). A tool that will let you do this is l0phtcrack -


3 Dec 99 06:58:59 PST
From: Darrell Scott <


Winmodems are not supported by the Linux kernel. Think of them as dumb modems - Windows does all of the processing for them, unlike a normal modem which understands Haynes commands.

Fortunately, all is not lost! Check out:

They are working on a "Linmodem" driver that may eventually help solve your problem! By far the best solution however is to buy a proper modem!

As for your sound card... a SB16 should work under Linux fine. Have you checked out the Sound-HOWTO (I think you'll find in in /usr/doc/HOWTO on your RedHat box, if you installed the documentation).



3 Dec 99 07:05:44 PST
From: Darrell Scott <


Try VNC (

VNC runs on a variety of platforms - I use it regularly to access my Windows PC at work from my Linux box at home! Works well!


ANSWER: Re: Neighbour table overflow (fwd)

Thu, 9 Dec 1999 10:44:21 -0700 (MST)
From: Dale M. Snider <

Hi Marcus,

That did the trick. THANKS!!

I did not have file "/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifup-lo" but had file "/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-lo"

It was corrupt and had only

Put in


ANSWER: Re: Linux memory woes

Sat, 11 Dec 1999 10:03:37 +0100
From: Joachim Noffke <

The "memory hole" does not mean there is anything wrong with your physical memory. It is a BIOS setting that reserves the memory between 15 and 16 MB for use by some (especially ISA) expansion cards. Since this is a relic from the 80286 era, you probably don't need it if your hardware is not too old. Try disabling it in the BIOS.

Booting with the "mem=..." parameter is necessary only if you have *more* than 64 MB. The first 64 MB should always be found automatically.

ANSWER: Re: Configure X to work with Intel 810 chipset

Sat, 11 Dec 1999 13:05:50 -0600
From: Winston Chang <

Precision Insight has written an X server available at

Their code will be included in the next version of XFree86, 3.3.6.

Gihan Dias < writes:

I had the same problem. Intel provides X support for this "card". Get the drivers from:

This definitely works since I'm sending this message using it! (on a Compaq Desqpro EP)

Now if someone can tall me how to get the sound working with this chipset....

Harshawardhan S. Gadgil < writes:

hi there just see this adjoining XF86Config File which i changed for my sis card. This is for redhat 6.1. for 6.1 version the display maliciously flickers and shows only black boxes in place of text. Any help is most welcome. as a result only 8bit color can be used which gives looks very poor in comparision to the quality of 16-bit crisp display.

For redhat 6.0 version even 16 bit and 24 bit color works perfectly.


RYAN < writes:

i am try to install Redhat 6.1 and i setup X-windows only 16colcos but i see intel website has release about 810 linux driver i am try to do it but it always 16 colors so who can help me


Joel Hewitt < writes:


I just bought a new computer. It has an "on-board" video card, Intel 810 chipset, or somewhat like that. I couldn't configure X to work with this type of card. First, I let Linux probed, it failed. Then I looked at the list, of course, it wasn't there. Then I tried an unlisted card and configured it as a general svga, it still failed. What to do now?

I am in the same boat as you, I found this on Intel's web site about some drivers they have for X and 810. I haven't tried them yet (as I am still at work), but if you get it going let me know, or I will let you know it Intel's software makes it work. I have gotten my computer to work in 640x480 in 16 colors. And as you can imagine it lookes terrible.


ANSWER: nohup

Sun, 12 Dec 1999 19:44:23 -0500 (EST)
From: Jimmy O Regan <
I usually log into my machine with SSH from home (no concole access) and I was wondering if there is a way to have processes still running after I log out. For instance an ftp-session loading an ISO, etc..

nohup command-string &

'nohup' tells the program to ignore the hangup signal which is sent when you disconnect.


Sun, 12 Dec 1999 19:45:23 -0500 (EST)
From: Jimmy O Regan <
We are using Netscape as the email client. I entered as the Incoming and Outgoing mail servers. Netscape client can sent email but were unable to receive (email) with the message: "Netscape's network connection was refused by the server The server may not be accepting connections or may be busy. Try connecting again later."

I did a telnet 110 with a "Unable to connect to remote host" message. But a telnet 25 is ok. That explaint why sending is OK but not receiving rite?

How do I fix this?

Open /etc/inetd.conf, find the line that has pop-3, and uncomment it (remove the #). Then use /etc/rc.d/init.d/inet restart

ANSWER: Linux Remote Control

Sun, 12 Dec 1999 19:51:14 -0500 (EST)
From: Jimmy O Regan <
Is there a Linux based communications program similar to pcAnywhere or Carbon Copy? I need remote PC control. Don't need to transfer files

Are you trying to control a remote linux box? Console or gui? For console, just telnet, or better from a security POV, use ssh ( If you want to remotely run graphical apps, X has this capability built in. Just telnet to the remote machine, and use

export DISPLAY=local_IP:0.0
in bash, or

setenv DISPLAY local_IP:0.0
for csh/tcsh and on the local machine, use

xhost remote_IP

If you want to control a remote windows or linux box, use VNC (

ANSWER: Authenticating Linux in an NT Domain

Sun, 12 Dec 1999 19:53:39 -0500 (EST)
From: Jimmy O Regan <
I want to get linux to authenticate to my NT network.

Use PAM_SMB - If you use a RedHat system, you can find an RPM at

ANSWER: DOS/Linux connection

Sun, 12 Dec 1999 20:11:10 -0500 (EST)
From: Jimmy O Regan <
I bought an ethernet card for my 386, and connected the in-board ethernet card on the SPARC with the ethernetcard on the 386. The cable is twisted-pair, since only two computers are to be connected.

I'm assuming the cable is terminated. If not, get yourself two 50 ohm terminators (as well as t-pieces). This could be why they aren't seeing each other.

If I turn on both computers, I can start a testing program for the ethernet card on the 386. It will wait for any external signal. When booting the SPARC (the 386 sensing for any action), the SPARC checks for 'eth0' but finds no other computer on the other side.

It won't just automatically check - try pinging the IP of the DOS machine.

Questions: (1) how can I let my 386 tell to the SPARC he is there? (2) How can I make the 386 accessible (that is: the parallel printer port) from the SPARC?

(1) ping. (2) Use the 'net share' command to share the printer, and use Samba on the Linux box. contains information on using windows printers from Linux via samba, it shouldn't be too difficult to adapt this for dos.

ANSWER: Re: Setup network printer

Sun, 12 Dec 1999 20:13:19 -0500 (EST)
From: Jimmy O Regan <
I have RedHat 6.1 installed, but need to figure out how to use the network printer. The network printer is shared on a NT domain which is available to use if I login in NT. Any tip is welcome.

Check out

ANSWER: Re: Linux Gazette MailBag LG #47

Tue, 14 Dec 1999 20:53:02 +0100
From: Ingo Saitz <

I hope you were not flooded with mails about this subject. But, if it is not too late, I would play my 1/50 Euro in your mailbox.

Please, readers, e-mail your questions and comments in
 format, not HTML.

Just kidding ;) But your document does not parse correctly because <BLINK> is not allowed by the HTML 3.2 DTD. *duck*

And if your mailer splits long lines by putting an "=" at the end of the line and moving the last character or two to the next line, please try to turn that feature off. Also some mailers turn punctuation and foreign characters into "?" and "&eaacute;" and the like. I can't reformat those, since I don't know what the original character was! -Ed

You can pipe the mail through:

perl -pe 's/=\n//;1 while s/=([\dA-F]{2})/chr hex $1/e'

See latin1(7). These magic numbers are the ascii value of the letter they represent. This form of encoding is called quoted-printable and it is used to transfer 8bit emails over (old) 7bit smtp mailers. The mail must contain a header saying "Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable" (see RFC 1521). This seems to go missing which is not neccessarily your fault.


[Thanks. the script works like a charm. -Ed.]

P.S.: The signature is for your practice ;)

See the result
See the raw signature file
See the script

ANSWER: Re:Hmmm.... don't know how to categorize this..

Sun, 19 Dec 1999 01:23:08 -0500
From: Srinivasa A. Shikaripura <
From: Mika Numminen <mika@Oink.Midgard.HIG.SE> I usually log into my machine with SSH from home (no concole access) and I was wondering if there is a way to have processes still running after I log out. For instance an ftp-session loading an ISO, etc..


You could use a program called 'screen'. All your processes keep running. You can detach from screen, go to home, and re-attach to it, Voila! all your process are there running!

cheers -Sas

ANSWER: Re: Telnet 110 fails

Sun, 19 Dec 1999 01:27:50 -0500
From: Srinivasa A. Shikaripura <

You need to run pop or imap servers on the RH6.0 machine. Then only it can act as a mail server. Search for pop/imap servers at

happy setting up...

ANSWER: No Ethernet connection

Sun, 19 Dec 1999 01:27:50 -0500
From: "Long, Douglas" <

The first thing you need to do is check for a link light, if it is on, you have connectivity. If it is not on, you may be running a straight through twisted pair Ethernet cable. If you are connecting two Ethernet cards together with out a hub what you need is a crossover Ethernet cable. Here is a simple diagram [of how the wires on one end of the cable should be connected to the other end to form a crossover cable].

RJ45    RJ45

ANSWER: connecting SPARC and 386 for printing purposes

Tue, 28 Dec 1999 23:41:29 +0100 (CET)
From: Roland Smith <


Concerning your question on how to use a 386 as a printer server for a SPARCstation 10/20 in Issue 48 of the Linux Gazette:

AFAIK, DOS doesn't come with lots of networking stuff. Why don't you install Linux on the 386? Then you can use ifconfig to configure the network interface, and lpd (Line Printer Daemon) for printing.

As an alternative, there are printers with a serial interface, or even models with their own ethernet interface.

HTH, Roland

ANSWER: Running MS applications on Linux?

Tue, 28 Dec 1999 23:41:29 +0100 (CET)
From: Roland Smith <


Concerning your question to run MS software on Linux, there are several alternatives:

There is a pretty good DOS emulator available, dosemu (

For windows software, there is also a windows emulation library/environment called WINE ( On the website you'll find a list of programs that will or will not work with it.

Both of the above programs are free (GPL).

An alternative would be to install windows in a virtual environment using the commercial vmware emulator (

ANSWER: help with LT Win Modem and SB 16 Sound Blaster wanted

Tue, 28 Dec 1999 23:41:29 +0100 (CET)
From: Roland Smith <You wrote:
I cannot connect to the Internet (still using Winows 98). My LT Win Modem connected to com3 is not working under Linux. (Someone wrote that trying to config Win modems for Linux is waste of time, is it true?)

Essentially, yes. Winmodems are not really modems. There are missing some signal processing hardware, the functionality of which has been replaced by the necessary software driver. Of course, these drivers only exist for .... You've guessed it :)

There are some efforts to make Linux drivers (search the 'net for "linmodems", I don't have an URL handy), but only for winmodems with a particular chipset.

My advice would be to buy a real modem. If you want to be sure that it works with linux, get an external modem.

I also have a problem with SB 16 sound blaster. 'sndconfig' program doesn't help!

Recent soundblaster 16's can be configured with DIP-switches or PnP. You use a switch to choose between manual setting or PnP-mode. Read the documentation on the CD that comes with the card (It's a PDF file). Check if the card is set to manual configuration an then try sndconfig again.

I'm not familiar with sndconfig, but you can always recompile the kernel so that the sound driver has the right address, IRQ and DMA channels, or use the appropriate values as arguments to the insmod(1) command.

ANSWER: Installing RH6.0

Tue, 28 Dec 1999 23:41:29 +0100 (CET)
From: Roland Smith <You wrote:
I am trying to install RH 6.0 on a Thinkpad 760ED, unfortunately the cdrom (Teac 44E) does not appear on the supported cdrom drives, does anyone have any ideas other than buying an external (supported) cdrom drive.

Is the CD-ROM not on a "supported" list, or have you tried to install and it doesn't work?

In the first case, don't worry. Most CD-ROM's are ATAPI devices these days, and should work without a problem.

In the second case, does the laptop have a network card? in that case you can try installing over a network.

More information about Linux on laptops can be found at he web-page:

There are even pages specifically for the Thinkpad 760:

Or for Thinkpad's in general:

There are also several mailing-lists:

<linux-thinkpad>: see (mailing list home on instructions on how to subscribe and for an archive.

<>: send mail to <> with the following command in the body of your email message: subscribe linux-laptop YOUR-EMAIL ADDRESS (unfortunatly no html-archive known.

<>: To subscribe or unsubscribe, send mail to <>. In the body, simply type subscribe (unfortunatly no html-archive known)

Obviously also all standard linux news groups such as comp.os.linux.advocacy, comp.os.linux.announce, comp.os.linux.answers, comp.os.linux.development.apps, comp.os.linux.development.system comp.os.linux.hardware, comp.os.linux.misc, comp.os.linux.setup and comp.os.linux.x are good information sources.

ANSWER: Setup network printer

Tue, 28 Dec 1999 23:41:29 +0100 (CET)
From: Roland Smith <You wrote:
I have RedHat 6.1 installed, but need to figure out how to use the network printer. The network printer is shared on a NT domain which is available to use if I login in NT. Any tip is welcome.
Basically, you need the smbclient program, and the smbprint shell-script. This is all covered in the SMB-HOWTO. (/usr/doc/HOWTO/SMB-HOWTO.gz, if you've installed the HOWTO's)

This page written and maintained by the Editor of the Linux Gazette. Copyright © 2000,
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Linux From Scratch HOWTO


[This article was submitted in the Linux HOWTO format. Click here to begin reading. -Ed.]

Copyright © 2000, Gerard Beekmans
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Linux for Nana: Accessibility for X


This installs X Windows twm for your Nana

     Have you got a Nana? Is she old and suffering from cataracts and glaucoma so that she has blurred vision? My old mom is a Nana for her little grandkids, and she has the blurred vision plus a touch of forgetfulness (halfzeimer's). Can you see exploded frozen Pepsi cans in the freezer; left there to cool down quick? Yes, I know, flowing cold water is faster, but the old girl thinks "freezer for cold", and her synapse pathways are ancient and nigh unbreakable.

     Well, the problem with her and a linux box is the small print on those X applications; not to mention detailed pixel-by-pixel rodent twitching. Nana is not a mouser. Window after window opens up in a tiny font that is frustrating for her and she wanders off in disgust. She especially wanders off when the internet is loading up one of those "dynamic" (ha!) web pages that take up tons of RAM and take five minutes to conclude their "exciting" scripts. All we want is big text and we want it right now; so we use lynx around here. The "dynamic" scripts can not execute on the little lynx browser, and like the Answer Guy says, it acts as a twit filter. The Netscape browser goes into service when Nana wants to see a site that she saw on television.

     If you have a linux distribution available to you, then you can easily install X Windows in a big enough format so that she can finally see her desktop. Even old neglected machines can install linux X Windows, all you need is 110 megabytes (other than swap) on a hard disk to hold it all. Want to bug some NT or W2K users? The T-1 connection for file downloads for has Apache web server, ftp, and X inside and it uses a total of 110 megabytes for the system. Total cost, less big disk drive, under 100.00 Canadian (like 20 bucks US:).

Debian can do this thing

     Just about all linux distributions can do this little twm setup. There is a very disturbing trend away from small installations of linux. Even though you can get a super linux-powered, tiny, complete file-server-on-a-flash-ROM-disk-drive like kyzo's pizza box, most distributions will overload your hard disk on an automatic installation. The main one to overload is RedHat and the other rpm-based distributions. When a minimum Custom install takes 125 megabytes, you automatically exclude a lot of devices, not just old machines.

     You need a thin client/thin server (a small installation) for the new wave of networking gadgets that were under your festive dead tree (or simulated dead tree). Yes, WAP-enabled devices and destinations (voice powered interfaces to Wireless Markup Language enabled cell phones) are text based internet browsers that are just begging for a few linux-powered buttons. Your Palm PDA and your other handheld PCs are using 8 megabytes of memory in total. If you go with the new Bluetooth network devices, you can jam a 340 megabyte tiny Microdrive disk drive onto your device.

Flight of Fancy:

     Right now you can have a voice-activated, hands-free linux box by using Emacspeak and ViaVoice. Your desktop is already in the future thanks to T.V. Raman. Now we are faced with all of these tiny internet devices. The challenge for linux developers will be to figure out a way to get some linux box power out of these miniature marvels. Then you will truly need to play with a small installation of X in order to keep yourself from WinCEing. I imagine that a flat screen cell phone flipped up like Captain Kirk's communicator will soon appear; complete with internet buttons to push and a tiny rodent-mover thumbswitch. Linux-powered with X, of course. Please visit those wacky kyzo hackers to see what you can get done in a small space.

Small X with Big Fonts

     Anyone who can read can install X Windows and get it configured for large print on a small 14" screen. The plus side is that you do not need a huge graphical user interface. Simple twm which comes with X Windows can be easily configured. Good old Debian has the small purposeful ".deb" packages that you can put in one at a time to make a very small yet powerful linux box. This article fires up Debian and installs a big format for twm so that you can simply point your Nana at the machine and click, uh, let her go linuxing.

A lot of targets

     The target system is any thing you want; Mac(m68k), Amiga(m68k), Atari(m68k), Alpha, ARM, Sparc, UltraSparc(sparc64), Hurd(hurd-i386), PowerMac(powerpc), i386 PC; with 16 MB RAM, a 1.44 MB floppy and at least a tiny hard disk, 110 megabytes small. Some of you will scoff, but there are a lot of small hard disks attached to a lot of old garage/attic computers. Thank goodness we can put the NT-killer linux on them; it enables the average Joe to run a home or business network of seven machines for the same price as a single pentium-CPU-melter.

     We begin at the source for our distribution, good old '/debian'; at the top of the distribution tree. The Official CDROM or the internet machine will hold all the X files you need. If you have not yet installed X, I congratulate you on having more balls than the general cyber population. Or it could be that I sympathize with you on being told that you did not have enough space for an X installation. Fie on those festering file-bloat-fostering folk.

Apt-get, dftp, dpkg or dselect

     Note that you just need the name of the package, not the full version number. Note that the list of packages is in /var/lib/dpkg/available and you can read it with less; less is more.

No rodent clicking here; watch your fingers and press once per key:

less /var/lib/dpkg/available

     To search in less, type / then the word you seek. Type n to go to the next instance of your search word.

     If you do not have X Windows (XFree86) then we need to login as root and grab these files:

     If you have apt, (you do on Debian 2.1 and up) you can log onto your network and then use apt-get to download them and install them and then clean up its own mess. The usual term is "apt rocks!".

For example:

apt-get install xbase-clients xfree86-common 

     You may wish to use dpkg as well, since some of us like to grab the client by the collar and shake hard.

     Then we will install them with dpkg -i filename.

For example:

cd /debian/dists/slink/main/binary-i386/x11
dpkg -i xserver-vga16

     The good old way is to use dselect, but since it requires patience to learn how to use it, many 'frantic clickers' do not bother. Too bad for them. The dselect utility requires that you know where your '/debian' tree begins; either on the internet machine or somewhere else. This is the first hump. The dftp package will let you install direct from the internet machine (for example, -- only in Canada, eh). Hump two is that you need to know the names of your packages. That one is easy, just fire up a second vt with a LeftAlt-F2 and then type dselect. You already have less pointed at /var/lib/dpkg/available on vt #1.

     Now you can bounce between the two vt's and find a filename easily. To search in dselect, type / and then the filename, just like in less. Put a plus in the highlighted line for your package and press Enter. Bingo! All of the other files you need will be suggested to you. Take them and press Enter again. Job done.

Configure X

     Type XF86Setup and follow the directions.

Start X

     Funny how a few simple changes can stop you in mid-stream. Now that you have X inside, how do you start it? The usual old way is startx, which will fire up xinit and read the '.xinitrc' file in your home directory. The Debian standard now gets it to read '.xsession' in your home directory. Tastes great and it is less filling.

     The graphical login screen is very popular and you get that from gdm, kdm and their grandfather, xdm. Stick with Gramps. The xdm is started with "xdm" (surprise) and it then reads a load of files to get you to the pretty picture login.

Here are the X files

     Login as root to muck about with these:

     Copy these to your home directory (~/):

     Edit these in your home directory (~/):

     Whooee. And they say linux is tough to configure. This is full access and control, baby. Nobody else dares to let you in on it. Only open source software can be this much fun; similar to building your own car, but not so greasy. If you want greasy, go sit in on a sales presentation for something proprietary or monopolized.

Scripting is the mojo for linux

     In the world of GNU/Linux Open Source there is a fine art to this configuration fiddling. Unfortunately you need to know what is going on inside the code before you can really get a handle on custom configuration files.

     So we will rely on the manual pages and the info pages and the README files and the very special comments inside the configuration files themselves. All you are doing is scripting your little machine's movements. All you are doing is taking absolute control of your machine. You got the mojo workin'.

     Fire up mcedit (it comes with Midnight Commander. You do have it, yes?). Go to the file you will edit and block out the script with the F3 toggle and then F9 copy it to the ~/.cedit/cooledit.clip file. Exit with F10.

     Then type mcedit your-new-file-name. It will give you a nice blue page to F9 insert the ~/.cedit/cooledit.clip file. Edit it in your personal way and F2 save it, or F9 save it as your-new-script-name.

     Huh? What does a configuration file do? It provides all of the setup instructions for your program to read into the setup. You are the director and the program awaits your instructions. It gets them from the configuration files.


     The way to avoid a graphical login is to remove this file from /etc/init.d. Copy it to somewhere first, no 'frantic deletions', please. CAUTION.

To get a boot to the console, move this file to somewhere else.

mv /etc/init.d/xdm /root/bucketofiles/xdm


     Let us make a giant login for Nana's login screen.

xlogin*font: -b&h-lucida-medium-i-normal-sans-25-180-100-100-p-141-iso8859-1
*Font: -b&h-lucida-medium-i-normal-sans-25-180-100-100-p-141-iso8859-1


     So you want to change virtual consoles for your xserver?

:0 local /usr/bin/X11/X vt7


     To prevent the xconsole from starting, you put a little # in front of the offending line to disable it. Some of us can not understand the little xconsole messages.



     Here is your file for giving the order of your preferred window managers for X. The top one gets loaded.



     The Nana does not like monkeying around with Control-Alt-KeyPadPlus to change screen resolutions. "Revolutions? What is that? Is it that spinning sound?", said Nana. We will set up 640 x 480 and that is it for her machine.

# found in 'Screen sections' last part of the file
# this is done in the stanza matching the xserver (SVGA in this case)  
#Modes       "640x480" "800x600" "1024x768"
# below is the new line and now all you get is one resolution
Modes "640x480"

In your home directory now


     The features you will need for xterm are put in here. Calling for just a simple 'xterm &' will pop out an xterm with all of these settings.

XTerm*geometry: +0+10
# Use 12x24 for your 1024x768 screen, HUGE on a 640x480
XTerm*font: 12x24
# The Nana needs lots of reminders and prompts
XTerm*title: Right-click here to maximize
# This will give you Shift-PageUp scrollback of 59 half-pages
# you want to see what she has been doing, it can get interesting:)
XTerm*saveLines: 700


     We simply need to tell the machine about the programs to start up right away. This copy you made is Branden Robinson's excellent example xsession file. You can chop it down for the Nana.

# this is nana's .xsession file to pop open a big font for this damn thing.
# the xset stops auto repeat of the keys if you uncomment it.
#xset -r
xsetroot -solid pink
xclock -geometry -0+0 &
xterm -geometry 52x18+0+0 -fn 12x24 -T "Nana's mc Editor" -e mc -c &
exec twm


     This is the one to work on.

# this huge font can even be seen by Nana at 1024 x 768
TitleFont "-adobe-courier-bold-r-normal--24-240-75-75-m-150-iso8859-1"
MenuFont "-adobe-courier-bold-r-normal--24-240-75-75-m-150-iso8859-1"
IconFont "-adobe-courier-bold-r-normal--24-240-75-75-m-150-iso8859-1"
IconManagerFont "-adobe-courier-bold-r-normal--24-240-75-75-m-150-iso8859-1"
# random placement will plunk down a program for you, no fiddling
# this will show you the program icons with a Control-s, Control-h to hide it
# you can try out the keyboard controls here, but it is tricky
"s"     = c : root|window : f.showiconmgr
"h"     = c : root|window : f.hideiconmgr
# the 3rd button is a right-click in the title bar to maximize a window
Button3 = : title : f.fullzoom
# the menu can have more menus inside it, but write them separately.
# good menu choice descriptions beat cryptic one word codes every time 
menu "defops"
"Twm Command Menu"      f.title
"New Window"  "window"
"Kill a Window" f.destroy
""              f.nop
"Quit Xsession" f.quit
""              f.nop
"Grab a HTML Browser" "browser"
menu "window"
"New 8x16 Font Window"  f.exec "xterm -geometry +0+10 -fn 8x16 &"
"New HUGE Font Window"  f.exec "xterm &"
"New Editor Window" f.exec "xterm -fn 8x16 -e mc -c &"
# the Nana calls mc the editor, so why quibble?
menu "browser"
"Big Old Arena Window" f.exec "arena -lens 2 &"
"tiny arena window" f.exec "arena &"
"Huge Font lynx" f.exec "xterm -e lynx &"
"tiny lynx window" f.exec "xterm -fn 8x16 -e lynx &"
"Internet dial" f.exec "pon &"
"Internet hangup" f.exec "poff &"
# tiny font for Nana is 8x16 but she can read it well at 640x480


     The keyboard is yours to command.

# because the XKEYBOARD extension in the XF86Config file is in use,
# there is no need to edit this. Really.
# However, you can get serious about new keycodes and keysyms here.


     You need a big Nana prompt. To make it even with the left side of the screen, you need to make this prompt in the same size of xterm that the Nana will use. It changes with the font, because the xterm columns and rows change to fit the X root window, especially in 640 x 480.

PS1="Nana: Middle-click the title-bar to see hidden windows;
      Left-click and hold on the pink window to see the menu;
       Your cancel key is Control-C or try Control-Escape;
        Your wipeout X keys are Control-Alt-Backspace;
         \h:\w/Nana's prompt $"
alias mc='mc -c'


     The remote machine will give you this prompt when you login from the internet machine to remotely administer your remote machine. Would you like a Marguerita on the beach while you type?

PS1="\h:\w/Nana's prompt from cyberspace$"

Finding a font

     Going on a font-finding mission is easy enough. You can install the xcontrib package and use xfontsel to see and select your fonts.

     The xfstt is your TrueType font server, very nice. Works best for applications needing scalable fonts. You can use the exact same fonts that you have now on your monopoly machine. Just copy them over.

     Without xfontsel, you can still get your list of fonts with this:

xlsfonts | less

We are going live to

     On your screen is a little window called "Debian/GNU Linux". It only shows up when you are at a working xdm login. It is also so darn big that you can read it from across the room. That is the real reason for making a big font setup for your screen. If you have to strain to see the tiny print on your 1024x768 screen, then you can choose the groovy format of your present setup on a bigger screen or you can make an easier-to-read screen.

     Making your present window manager into an accessible X Window machine for the vision impaired is very rewarding. I got fresh and delicious cake for my efforts.

     The biggest problem we face with these newfangled desktops like GNOME or KDE is their complexity. Window after window of tiny buttons and fancy formatting looks very nice on a seventeen inch screen. We only have fourteen inch screens here, and a lot of folks are in the same squinting, headaching, eyestrain boat.

     For the fourteen inch screen we needed easy installation, well commented configuration files, good README files and a distribution that could fit onto a small disk drive.

     The answer is /debian. Always is.

Reference reading and links:

Access-HOWTO - required reading for all developer linuxians

Keyboard-and-Console-HOWTO - we need to make new keymaps for the handicapped

Emacspeak-HOWTO - we really need speech control software

/usr/doc/xfree86-common/README.Debian - very important to know what the re-organization does

The Installation Guide for Debian 2.1 - good basic stuff here

linux on CD

     Your CHGUY Debian 2.1 CD set is labeled B1, B2, S1 and S2. The B1 CD (#1 of 4) is the installer for a regular desktop machine. The B2 CD (#2 of 4) is slightly tweaked for installing Debian 2.1 on your laptop machine. For installing via dselect, either one can go in the CDROM drive. Those wacky hackers are ready for anything.

X Windows is compact

     When you install the Standard Server package it only fills up 50 megabytes on your hard disk. Add in 32 megabytes for a swap partition and you have only used 80 megabytes from a small, old hard disk. That will leave you enough room for the xbase ".debs" plus your video-card-specific xserver and the rest of the XFree86 window system.

RPM based bloat

     You can squeeze a small rpm installation into 125 megabytes from the Custom install option on the rpm based RedHat-style distributions.

     However, a RedHat Custom install does not include X unless you leave it checked on the menu. Leave about 340 megabytes for X and you will also get KDE or GNOME setup as well.

Installation Type | size in megabytes |   partition size
GNOME Workstation   561 Megabytes     | uses 650 M partition
KDE Workstation     573  "     "      |  "   650 M "    "
Server system       324  "     "      |  "   400 M "    "
Custom system       125  "     "      |  "   140 M "    "        
     The Automatic Desktop installation of RedHat will suck up 700 megabytes in a flash. Mandrake will grab about 500 megabytes, with the other rpm-style installers doing a similar big desktop; either GNOME or KDE. Accessibility for those two desktops is simply a matter of choosing a big font, but that is too big a system for a non-mouser like a Nana. Too many buttons, too much clicking, too much RAM needed. So we keep it simple with twm or ctwm with this article.

The total X

     Branden Robinson hands out the straight goods yet again, and here is the total list of files that make up the Debian packages for installing X. You need "rstart, rstartd, twm, xbase-clients, xdm, xfree86-common, xfs, xmh, xproxy, xserver-common, xsm, and xterm. Some files from the old xbase package were also placed in xlib6g (XKB and locale data) and xlib6g-dev (development tools)." Please see /usr/doc/xfree86-common/README.Debian.

     Looking good is one thing, looking smart is another. If you get eyestrain from your tiny fonts and busy screen, remember that you can save your eyes by setting up BIG and getting an infra-red mouse and sit across the room from your linux box. Happy holidays and Happy linuxing!

made with mcedit on an i486
running Debian 2.1 Linux 2.0.36
No systems were frozen or crashed during the testing of these procedures.
All references to outperforming NT or W2K are true.

Copyright © 2000, Bill Bennet
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

A Brief History of the 'rm' and 'rmdir' commands


Unlike many of the most basic Unix and Linux utilities, the rm command's name is not actually older than Unix itself. In Unix's predecessors, the Compatible Time Sharing System (CTSS) and Multics, the command used to remove files was called delete, which in Multics could optionally be abbreviated to dl. In Unix, the name became rm, probably to reflect the philosophical change from deleting files to removing the directory entries that linked to them.

Also part of Unix by the time of its First Edition manual (November 3, 1971) was the rmdir command to remove directories. Today the rmdir command just makes an rmdir() system call for each of its arguments and reports any errors. But in 1971 there was no rmdir() system call, so the rmdir program had to do all the work itself. It would make sure the directory being removed was empty and that its permissions were correct and then remove the ``.'' and ``..'' special links before unlinking the directory itself. This situation persisted until 1983, when the introduction of the new Fast File System in 4.2BSD made the creation and removal of directories the responsibility of the kernel.

The 1971 version of rm did not have any of the options that current versions have. It was also willing to remove read-only files, though the manual noted that it ``probably should ask.'' It was changed so that it did ask (as CTSS's delete had been in 1965) in a new version whose manual page was dated January 20, 1973, and which included these options:

rm -f   don't ask before removing read-only files
rm -r   recursively remove subdirectories

The way the rm -r option was implemented at that time, when rm encountered a directory among the files it was removing, it would cd (then called chdir) to that directory and start another instance of rm -r * to remove its contents. A version which did the recursion within a single rm process appeared in the Seventh Edition of Unix in 1979, which also introduced a new option:

rm -i   ask whether each file or directory should be removed

This made it possible to type rm -i * to interactively remove selected files from a directory, including ones whose names had somehow been mangled to the point that they had become untypable. This feature had actually been needed much earlier, but prior to the Seventh Edition it had been done by a separate, now long abandoned program called dsw.

The name of dsw was more mysterious than any other command, even in this operating system known for its obscure names. The Sixth Edition manual taunted the curious with the note that ``the name dsw is a carryover from the ancient past. Its etymology is amusing.'' The First Edition had added ``... but the name is nonetheless ill-advised,'' but this disappeared from later manuals.

The speculation about what the name of dsw might really mean (delete s--t work? do svidaniya?) was put to an end when Dennis Ritchie revealed in a 1981 Usenet posting that the name had originally meant ``delete from switches.'' This was a reference to the toggle switches on the front panel of the PDP-7 computer that the earliest version of Unix ran on. (Some later hardware also had console switches, and the Third through Sixth Editions had a getcsw() system call that programs could use to find out what they were set to.)

To use the original dsw, you would set the front panel switches to a number and run dsw, which would then read that number of entries from the current directory, print on the terminal the name of the last one it had read, and crash itself, leaving a core dump. You could then, if you wanted, remove the file it had named by reexecuting the core file. When this awful user interface was replaced by a more reasonable one, the name remained until the entire program was replaced by rm -i.

At that point, the evolution of the rm command came, for the most part, to an end. A slightly altered version, dated April 1, 1981 and distributed with 4.2BSD, introduced an option terminator ``-'' to make it easier to remove files whose names started with a dash. For consistency with other commands, the POSIX standard changed this to ``--'' and made the capitalized option ``-R'' also remove directories recursively.

Copyright © 2000, Eric Fischer
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Use the Source, Luke: Compiling and installing from source code



One of the greatest strengths of the Open Source movement is the availability of source code for almost every program. This article will discuss in general terms, with some examples, how to install a program from source code rather than a precompiled binary package. The primary audience for this article is the user who has some familiarity with installing programs from binaries, but isn't familiar with installing from source code. Some knowledge of compiling software is helpful, but not required.

Go to the Source

Although it may not be entirely obvious, the first thing that you will need to do to install a program from source code is to get the source code. While there are several excellent ftp archives, often I've had better luck downloading and installing code from individual project homepages. For the example in this article, I will describe how to install two programs: KDevelop (an integrated development environment) and klavg (displays the system load average in the KPanel), both of which are available from the KDE applications page.

On my own system, I use a single directory to store downloads. Every download I do goes into ~/download (while I'm logged in as a user, not as root [1]). Putting all the downloads in one directory serves two purposes: I can always remember where I downloaded a certain file to, and if I've already downloaded a particular file, the downloading software (usually Netscape in my case) can notify me that the filename (and therefore the download) already exists on my hard drive.

Tarballs and Other Seashore Ephemera

Most of the source code packages available for download are distributed as "tarballs". That is, all of the files required to compile and install the application are included in one archive file created with the archiving program tar. Since tar does not perform any compression on the files, merely joins them together under a single file name, the tarball is usually run through a compression program like gzip or bzip before it is distributed. Uaually, such an archive will have a tgz file extension. For the benefit of readers who have just switched from a Windows platform, the combination of these two actions (archive and compression) is very similar to PKZip or WinZip. [2]

The next step, assuming that the download worked without any major problems, is to unpack the archive. Since most current Linux distributions ship with either KDE or GNOME setup as the default desktop manager, most new Linux users will have an archive viewer/extractor already installed. To extract the archive from the command line, use a command like the following:

tar zxvf kdevelop-1.0beta2.tar.gz

This command will extract all files to the current location, expanding the files and creating directories as appropriate (when they are included in the tarball). For more information about tar and its multitude of options, see the man page or any of the many dead tree editions of references for Linux.

I use KDE as my desktop (in case you hadn't guessed that from the two example programs for this article), so this article will mainly focus on using KDE utilities from this point forward. Similar utilities are available for GNOME, and command line utilities are available in most cases. [3]

To extract the files from the archive, right-click on the file name in KFM and click on Archiver. You will get a window very similar to the one above for KDevelop. From the Archiver's Edit menu, select Extract; click on All Files and select a directory to extract the files to. In most cases, the tarballs will extract by default to a new subdirectory of the directory name you specify. For KDevelop, we can see that the first entry in the tarball is:

drwxrwxrwx  504/100    0    1998-08-22 kdevelop-1.0beta2/

So this archive will extract to the kdevelop-1.0beta2 directory below whatever directory name you specify to Archiver. Similarly, klavg gets extracted to the klavg subdirectory. If the tarball that you obtain to install from source does not include a directory name as the first entry, extract it to an empty directory that you create specifically for it.

R is for Readme

The next step, after the archive is extracted to an appropriate directory, is to view the Readme file that is included with the distribution. Almost always there will be a file in the root of the extracted directory called Readme. This file contains important information about the application that is normally needed before the application is installed. Usually the Readme file includes the steps for installing the application. If the tarball does not include a Readme file, look for another file in the same directory called Install. [4] For KDevelop, the README refers users to the INSTALL file, which spells out the exact commands needed to install the program:

make install

The README that was included with klavg does not describe the steps to install the application, nor was there an Install file included in the tarball. In this case, I found from the application's home page that there are only two commands to install klavg:

make install

Most application installation procedures will be exceptionally similar. These three commands ('./configure', 'make' and 'make install') are the real meat of compiling and installing the application. The first command, ./configure, will run a series of shell scripts to determine the correct locations of necessary library files and the command names for the currently installed compilers and linkers. This command will also create the Makefile that the application will use to run the compiler and linker and to copy the compiled binaries into their proper locations.

So, if you haven't already, open a terminal window and change to the directory where you unpacked the tarball. In my case for KDevelop, this is /home/slambo/download/kdevelop-1.0beta2/ (/home/slambo/download/klavg/ is the location where I extracted klavg to). Next, run the first of the three commands shown above. Almost always, this process will run without errors. A sample (very abbreviated) output from configure is shown below:

[slambo@jenlamb kdevelop-1.0beta2]$ ./configure 
creating cache ./config.cache 
checking for extra includes... no 
checking for extra libs... no 
checking for a BSD compatible install... /usr/bin/install -c 
checking whether build environment is sane... yes 
checking whether make sets ${MAKE}... yes 
checking for working aclocal... found 
checking for working autoconf... found 
checking for working automake... found 
checking for working autoheader... found 
checking for working makeinfo... found 
checking for a C-Compiler...  
checking for gcc... gcc 
updating cache ./config.cache 
creating ./config.status 
creating Makefile 
creating kdevelop/Makefile 
creating po/Makefile 
creating kdlgloader/Makefile 
creating config.h 
[slambo@jenlamb kdevelop-1.0beta2]$

The sample configure output here shows only a small amount of the lines that are printed to the terminal. The first line, "creating cache ./config.cache" creates a temporary file where the results of the system probing will be stored. Once that file is created, configure performs its system probing. Typically, as long as the needed libraries and compiler applications are installed, you will see messages very similar to these. Once the probing is finished, configure creates the files that will be used by the next two commands. They are all named Makefile (in different directories) except for the last, config.h, which is used to pass the results of the system probing to the application that you are compiling.

The make command actually performs the compilation and linking. The compilation phase of this process is typically the longest and most likely phase for errors to appear. Usually, when errors do occur on stable applications (check the application's home page to find out which releases are stable releases), they will be due to missing libraries. If you haven't installed all the development libraries from your Linux distribution, do that first and try make again. If you have installed all the libraries from your distribution, take a look at your Linux distribution's homepage and ftp sites for updates or contributed files. [5]

Read The Fantastic [sic] Manual (RTFM)

So you've gotten through ./configure, but the compilation presented an error that is not indicative of a missing library, and it won't compile? First, RTFM. Check the documentation that was packaged with the source code. Usually there will be some sort of installation hints in either Readme or Install, or there will often be a complete application manual (or even a man page) in the package. If your compilation issue isn't addressed there, check the application's site for any errata that may have been posted. Perhaps there's a more current release than the one you downloaded from another site.

If you can't find the answer in either the packaged documentation or the application's site, try a newsgroup search at Deja (formerly DejaNews, at Use the error message you received as your search text and see what you can find.

If all else fails, there is almost always an email address for the application developer (or a Credits file containing many developer contacts). While this is a valuable resource, save it as your "ace in the hole" resource. Usually a careful search of other internet resources will produce an answer before this is necessary, but this resource is there if you need it.

"God, Root, what is difference?" [6]

The commands listed above are actually missing a step. Before you run the third command, you need the appropriate privileges for the installation commands and the destination directories. It is for this step and this step alone that you should consider logging into your root account before proceeding.

I must take a moment here to give you a few words about security. Logging in as root by anyone other than the system administrator is an extreme security risk. Your root password should be known only to the sysadmin and trusted allies. If you don't remember everyone who has access to the root account, change the password and let your allies come to you to ask for the new password (in other words, don't publish this information).

Assuming all proper security precautions have been taken, login as root by using the su command and proceed to the next step, make install. This step will usually proceed fairly quickly as most of what this command does will be to copy the files from the compilation directory to either /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin (or some variant, thereof).

There will rarely be an error during this phase of installation. If there is an error, it will normally be due to the process trying to copy into a non-existent directory. Check the resources listed above if there are any errors.

Once make install is complete, logout of your root account and try the application. At this point, installation is complete and any errors you may receive are strictly program issues that should be answered in the application documentation. A couple of quick screenshots of KDevelop and klavg (which runs as an applet in the system tray on the KDE toolbar) are shown above after I compiled and installed them on my own system.

But wait, there's more

Let's assume for a moment that the Readme and Install files don't give you much to go on for installation. What now? Well, almost always, the commands to compile and install an application will be exceptionally similar to those listed above. If there's a Makefile in the tarball, then you're going to use the make command to compile, and possibly install the application. If there's a configure shell script included, run it first before make.

While I haven't yet found an application that I've tried to install that didn't have either Readme, Install or both, it is quite possible that such beasts do exist. Use a little common sense and the resources listed above to figure it out. If you can't find the answer, to your question, find the most appropriate forum and ask your question.


I've found that if I have trouble installing an application from an RPM file, installing it from the source code will usually work for me. On my system, I have yet to have a perfect record of compiling and installing from source code, however. The programs that I haven't been able to compile and install have mostly been unstable releases that aren't really intended for other than developers and beta testers. With installing from source, like many facets of Linux, your mileage may vary. But, if you can't install an RPM for some reason, try compiling and installing from the source. It's normally easier than you might think.

Also, if you would like to see the entire typescript files from the compilation and installation of the two sample applications on my machine, they are here: klavg and KDevelop.


[1] In general, logging in as a user rather than root is a Good Thing. Doing so will prevent you from undue harm when you issue 'rm -rf *' and forget which directory you are currently in. Additionally, when you're logged in as a regular user, you can test that the program is available to all of your users as well as the root user.

[2] Newer versions of WinZip know how to read and extract from tgz archives just as well as from PKZip archives.

[3] Every Linux distribution that I've played with has included the command line versions of tar and gzip (since the command line versions were written first, it only makes sense that they would still be available). Other than testing the two example programs for this article, command line utilities can be used for every step of this installation process as well.

[4] Usually both Readme and Install files are saved with all capital letters (like README and INSTALL) so they sort to the top of the directory listing, and to set them apart from source code or installation macro files.

[5] If you can't find a missing (needed) library at your distribution's site, and the application's site doesn't give you any leads, a good location to search for it is at RPMFind. I've also found it useful to use the library's name as a search text in my current favorite search engine, Google.

[6] This quote is from Pitr of UserFriendly fame. It is one of the few comics that I read on a daily basis.

Copyright © 2000, Sean Lamb
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Linux Site O' The Month:


What's This?

This article is the the current installment in an ongoing series of site reviews for the Linux community. Each month, I will highlight a Linux-related site and tell you all about it. The intent of these articles is to let you know about sites that you might not have been to before, but they will all have to do with some aspect of Linux. Now, on with the story...


Before I start into the LSOTM for this month, a reader of the premiere LSOTM wrote in a correction for last month's article. (LNO) does have a search engine, just one that isn't the most obvious to spot. When you are in the Discussion area, there is a Search link at the top of each of the pages that make up the bulletin board. This search is limited to the Discussion area, and is included as part of the Ultimate Bulletin Board software that powers the Discussion area. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the tip. - "The source for Linux tips"

So you've got Linux installed and playing nice with all your hardware. The problem is that there are all these little things that are getting in the way of truly using Linux the way that you want to; little things like not being able to use the tab key to autocomplete the subject of a man query, or that you want to rename your current workspace in WindowMaker.

You could spend hours scouring countless HOWTOs, man pages, newsgroups and mailing lists, but try Portico first. While the number of tips and tricks here isn't overwhelming (yet!), there are enough there for it to be a useful resource. Each of the tips presented here is reduced to only as much information as is necessary to convey the tip, making reading and using the tips very easy.

The tips available on this site run the gamut of useful information and applications. The default page view shows the 15 most recently added tips on the start page. Each tip is categorized with a link to the tip's category, which will display the 15 most recently added tips for that category. You can also get a list of all the categories through the Categories link at the bottom of the page.

A nice feature of this page (albeit one that still needs a little refining) is the Random Tip link. At the bottom of each page is a Random link that will present one of the tips out of the database at random. This random tip feature is also available as a link that can be incorporated into other web pages at and The first link will present the tip alone on a page that looks like Portico's main page, the second will present the tip as a plain text file. The only problem that I've found with this feature is that the randomizer isn't very random. When I tried these links, each of the three links presented exactly one tip regardless of how many times I clicked on them.

This site does have a search engine on each page. Searching on "vi", for example, produced 129 results, and searching on "kde" produced 1 result. At the time of this writing, there are 306 tips in Portico's database. But, the Add Tip link at the bottom of each page makes increasing this number relatively painless.

Portico may be a small site compared to other Linux sites, but the information is valuable. With more users adding tips and tricks, the site can only become more valuable.

Copyright © 2000, Sean Lamb
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Linux Humor


[The following was passed on to us by . -Ed.]

Linux Hors d'Oeuvres

Here is a recipe for the cutest hors d'oeuvres, perfect for a Linux lunch or reception.

Slice a raw carrot into 1/8" thick discs. Cut a triangular wedge pie shape out of it and save the wedge. The disc becomes the feet and the wedge is the beak. Slice a Jumbo sized black olive lengthwise on one side, open it slightly and sutff cream cheese so that it shows about 1/4" wide. Stick a toothpick through it and into the carrot disc. This makes the body of the penguin. Slice a Large sized black olive crosswise, deep enough to stick the beak into and assemble it on the tooth pick for the head.

Our penguin factory can produce one in about two minutes using mass production. Make a big plateful because they sure go fast.

[The following was contributed by . -Ed.]

Twas the Night before Y2K

Twas the night before Y2k, and all through the nation
We awaited "The Bug", the Millennium sensation.
The chips were replaced in the computers with care,
In hopes that ol'Bugsy wouldn't stop there.
While some folks could think they were snug in their beds,
Others had visions of dread in their heads.
And Ma with her PC, and I with my Mac
had just logged on the Net and kicked back with a snack.

When over the server, there arose such a clatter
I called help-support to see what was the matter.
But the support line line was busy, so I flew like a flash
Off to my bank to withdraw all my cash.
Then what do my wandering eyes chance to see ?
My good ol'Mac looked awfully sick to me.
The hack of all hackers was looking so smug,
I knew that it must be the Y2K Bug !

His image downloaded in no time at all,
He whistled and shouted "Let all systems fall!"
"Go Intel! Go Gateway! Now HP! Big Blue!
Everything Compaq! and Pentium too!
All processors big, all processors small,
Crash away! Crash away! Crash away all!
All the controls that planes need for their flights,
All microwaves, trains, and all traffic lights!"

As I drew in my breath and was turning around,
Out through the modem, he came with a bound.
He was covered with fur, and slung on his back
Was a sackful of virus, set for attack.
His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
As midnight approached, though, things soon became scary.

He had a broad little face and a round ugly belly
filled with nasty moving things, which quivered like jelly.
His little bug face was perpetually grinning,
I laughed when I saw him, though my hard drive had stopped spinning.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know a whole lot of dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work;
He changed all the clocks, the turned with a jerk.
With a twitch of his nose and a quick little wink,
All things electronic soon went on the blink.
He zoomed through my system, to the next folks on the line,
He caused such a distruption.  Could this be a sign?

Then I heard him exclaim with cheery delight
"Happy Y2K to you, on one helluva night!"

Copyright © 2000, Mike Orr
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Using SWIG to interface scripting languages with C/C++



Scripting languages like Perl, Python and Tcl are receiving a lot of attention nowadays - mainly because these languages facilitate Rapid Application Development and Prototyping. It has been shown time and again that using a language like Python cuts down development time drastically - with the added advantage that you get highly robust and flexible code. But there are situations in which a pure scripting approach does not work, typical examples being scientific applications which require high speed math and graphics routines or applications which need to control and coordinate hardware devices on a real time basis. What we need is a mixed-language paradigm in which traditional systems languages like C/C++ do the 'dirty' low-level work while the Scripting language acts as the overall supervisor. This article focuses on using an excellent program called the Simplified Wrapper and Interface Generator (SWIG) to integrate code written in C/C++ with the popular scripting language Python. The code fragments in this article have been tested on a Red Hat Linux (5.2) machine running Python ver 1.5.1.

Getting and Installing SWIG

SWIG is being developed by Dave Beazley and can be downloaded from Installation is straightforward, just run ./configure and then make. Currently, SWIG supports Perl, Python, Tcl and FSF Guile.

A simple example

Let us say we have a C function called add(a, b) which returns the sum of two numbers passed to it as arguments. We will see how the add function can be made Python-callable. We will create a file called arith.c which contains the following code:

int add(int a, int b)
                return a+b;

Let us now execute the following command:

        swig -python -module arith arith.c
We see that SWIG has created two new files, arith_wrap.c and arith_wrap.doc. We should now compile both arith.c and arith_wrap.c to produce object files, the command being:

        gcc -I/usr/include/python1.5 -c arith.c arith_wrap.c
The object files arith.o and arith_wrap.o should now be combined to produced a shared object called

        ld -shared -o arith.o arith_wrap.o
If everything goes well, we will have a file called in our current directory. Here is a sample interaction using the arith module:

import arith
>>>arith.add(10, 20)
>>>arith.add(10, -10)

Does using C improve speed?

We will find out! Let us add one more function to our arith.c file and then rebuild

int fact (int n)
                int f=1;
                while (n > 1){
                                f = f * n;
                                n = n - 1;
                return f;

Let us make a similar function in Python (store it in a file

def fact(n):
        f = 1
        while n > 1:
                f = f * n
                n = n - 1
        return f
We will now write a crude profiling program,


import fact, arith, time

pyfact = fact.fact
cfact = arith.fact

# Measuring speed of cfact
start = time.time()
for i in range(1,100000):
end = time.time()

print 'C factorial function used', end-start, 'seconds'

start = time.time()
for i in range(1,100000):
end = time.time()

print 'Python factorial function used', end-start, 'seconds'

Here is the output on our old Pentium box:

C factorial function used 1.29531896114 seconds
Python factorial function used 8.22897398472 seconds

The proper way of using SWIG

SWIG generates wrappers not by looking at how your C code works internally, but by seeing the interface specification. Here is how we should have proceeded. First, create an interface file, arith.i. The file should contain the following lines:

%module arith

extern int add(int a, int b);
extern int fact(int n);

Now generate the wrappers by running swig -python arith.i, compile into object files and use ld to create

A low-level interfacing example

The PC's parallel port can be used to perform some very amusing hardware interfacing experiments. On Linux, we have functions like inb(), outb() etc which can be used to access I/O ports. Here is a C program which writes to the printer port:

#include <asm/io.h>
int main()
                outb(1, 0x378);

The program should be compiled as cc -O2 io.c and it should be executed with superuser privilege. The iopl call is required to make the IO ports accessible to user programs. How do we write a Python version of this program? Simple. Use SWIG to make Python callable versions of outb(), inb() and iopl(). Here is an io.c module tailored for SWIG:

#include <asm/io.h> 

int py_iopl(int level)
                return iopl(level);

void py_outb(unsigned char val, int port)
                outb(val, port);

unsigned char py_inb(int port)
                return inb(port);

Run SWIG and generate the file. Here is a sample interaction (remember, you should run the Python interpreter as root):

>>>import io
>>>io.py_outb(10, 0x378)

Accessing C variables

Global variables declared in your C module can be accessed from Python. We create a module example with two variables foo and baz:

int foo = 10;
int baz = 20;
The variables foo and baz are accessible in Python through an object called cvar:

>>>import example
Global variables { foo, baz }
>>> = 100

Accessing C++ Classes

Accessing C++ classes is a bit tricky. Let us first create a header file with a simple class declaration. We call this zoo.h:

class Zoo{
                int n;
                char animals[10][50];
                void shut_up(char *animal);
                void display();

Now we create an interface file zoo.i:

%module zoo

#include "zoo.h"

class Zoo{
        char animals[10][50];
        int n;
         void shut_up(char *animal);
         void display();

We generate the Python wrappers by running the command:

        swig -python -c++ zoo.i
Here comes our source file

#include "zoo.h"
#include <stdio.h>

                n = 0;

void Zoo::shut_up(char *animal)
                if (n < 10) {
                                strcpy(animals[n], animal);

void Zoo::display()
                int i;
                for(i = 0; i < n; i++)
                                printf("%s\n", animals[i]);

We create the object files by running:

        g++ -I/usr/include/python1.5 -c zoo_wrap.c
And finally, we create the module

        ld -shared  -o zoo.o zoo_wrap.o /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/
Here is an interactive Python session with our zoo module:

Script started on Mon Dec 13 14:31:26 1999
[pce@bhim] ~/src/writings/swig/src/shadow$ python
Python 1.5.1 (#1, Sep  3 1998, 22:51:17)  [GCC] on linux-i386
Copyright 1991-1995 Stichting Mathematisch Centrum, Amsterdam
>>> import zoo
>>> dir(zoo)
['Zoo_display', 'Zoo_shut_up', '__doc__', '__file__', '__name__', 'new_Zoo']
>>> z=zoo.new_Zoo()
>>> zoo.Zoo_shut_up(z,'Tiger')
>>> zoo.Zoo_shut_up(z,'Lion')
>>> zoo.Zoo_display(z)
>>> z2=zoo.new_Zoo()
>>> zoo.Zoo_shut_up(z2,'Python')
>>> zoo.Zoo_display(z2)

The constructor in our class Zoo has been mapped to a function called new_Zoo. Similarly, the member functions shut_up and display have been mapped to Zoo_shut_up and Zoo_display.

Shadow classes

It is possible to create Python classes which act as 'wrappers' around C++ classes. Here is a Python wrapper class for the C++ Zoo class:

from zoo import *

class Zoo:
        def __init__(self):
                self.this = new_Zoo()
        def shut_up(self, animal):
                Zoo_shut_up(self.this, animal)
        def display(self):

Now, we can very easily write:

>>> z = Zoo()
>>> z.shut_up('Tiger')
>>> z.shut_up('Lion')
>>> z.display()

It is even possible to request SWIG to generate Python shadow classes automatically!


SWIG is a useful tool, easy to learn and easy to apply. Though we have only examined SWIG in the context of Python scripting, usage with other languages like Perl and Tcl is very similar. The SWIG Home Page is the definitive source for more information.

Copyright © 2000, Pramode C.E and Gopakumar C.E
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Developing Web Applications - Part II


    As I promised, I was going to give you guys another example of a php3 program. This program is a very simple program, and yet somewhat useful.
    One night, I was at the university working and I tried to call home to talk to my wife. Unfortunately, I had left my computer connected that day, and could not get through. So, since my computer was running Apache, I decided to scan through the IPs of my ISP , and find out which computer was my computer, so I could telnet to it, and remotely disconnect it.
    The fastest, and simplest way to do this was either through php3 or java, but since I am not very fond of java applets, I decided to do it in php3.
    And here is how it goes:
    //Author: Anderson Silva
    //Date: September, 1999
    //Opens socket and goes through a bunch of sequential IPs, and
    //it returns all the address that have a web server running.
    // This loop will go through all addresses in the block 10.0.0.x
    // The 10.0.0.x series is a fictional example, these IPs are normally
    // for intranet addresses, I am just trying to keep my ISP safe from
    // all of you guys :-)
    for($i=1; $i < 256; $i++)
       // $path is the variable that will hold the URL you are testing.
       $path = "http://10.0.0.".$i;
       // Opens socket on server PAI, port 80.
       $fp = fsockopen("pai", 80, &$errno, &$errstr);
       // Sends the HTTP request that returns the info we need to know.
       fputs($fp,"GET $path HTTP/1.0\n\n");
       set_socket_blocking($fp, false);
       // This is the string we wait for as a reply to the HTTP request.
       $str2 = "HTTP/1.0 200 OK";
       // Gives the program 2 seconds to try to connect to the server.
       // Captures the line from the HTTP request.
       $line = fgets($fp, 16);
       // If str2 is the same line, then we have a match, and there is a web
       // server running. Then go ahead and show me the name of the server with
       // a link to it.
       if (strcmp($line, $str2) == 0)
            echo "<A HREF=".$path.">".gethostbyaddr($pathhost)."</a><br>\n";
    One important observation, this process is very simple, but it is very inefficient, since for every IP you check you will wait a maximum of 2 seconds. So, don't abuse this script, because you will probably get a time out operation from your web server, or you will be stuck waiting for all the iterations for a long time.
    But still, it is a good example of what you as a home user can do with php3.
    Next month, I will write yet another example of php3 program, this time I will show you how to create your own guest book, using php3 and mySQL.

Copyright © 2000, Anderson Silva
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Emulators for Linux


I spent a lot of time during the last few days searching, compiling, and fixing some emulators for some old classic platforms on my computer. One thing that I thought was interesting was that I found an emulator for all the video games platform, and some old computers I looked for available under Linux.

So, I decided to share with the rest of you a small list of links with the emulators I found this week. The emulators I have found were a Sega Genesis Emulator, an Atari Emulator, a Sega Master System Emulator, a MSX Emulator, and TRS80 Emulators all for Linux.

I just want to explain one thing, many of you probably already know that these emulators exist, but a lot of you don't. So, if you do know them, I appreciate you bearing with me, and if I say anything that you don't agree, please feel free to email me.

Here are the list of sites:

Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) -

dgen is the emulator for the Sega Genesis, and I have to tell you that I was pretty impressed with its speed and sound performance (it kicked MS Windows butt). Don't think I had any problems compiling it, and running it.

Sega Master System -

mg is the emulator for the Sega Master System, and you may only download the binary for its latest version. It works like a charm though.

Stella -

xstella is the emulator for the Atari System, it is also a very nice piece of software.


fmsx is an emulator for the MSX Computer. The MSX computer was really big in Brazil in the 80's, and it was actually my first computer.... It brought back some memories. If you have never heard of it here in America (it did not do very well here, as far as I know), I am sure that there are people all over the world that had one of them. Anyway, fmsx is working fine, but I did have some problems compiling it. I had to disable sound to get a working binary.

TRS80 -

xtrs is the emulator for TRS80 Model I and III, but I have not been able to run it successfully on my computer. I have tried both the RPMs, and compiling from my computer, and all it does it freezes my Xwindow. If you do get this baby to compile, please let me know, I would like to get it running sometime.

These emulators were very fun to find, compile and play with it a little, but I would strongly suggest you would read the warnings on some of the sites, since some of their parts, and games are copyrighted. I also want to thank every single programmer that was involved in the development of each emulator for Linux.

Just for a last point of reference, I am running these emulators on a AMD K6-2 400 Mhz, with 256 MB RAM and running RH Linux 6.1.

Copyright © 2000, Anderson Silva
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

The Penguin and Me


The first time I booted into Windows 95 to find MS-DOS in My Briefcase and .mid files on the desktop I smelled a future filled with trouble. I wasn't to be disappointed. Although I knew nothing about computers, operating systems or machine language, I knew there had to be a better system. I just needed to find it.

The following years of fustration with Windows was the driving force that compelled me to learn much more about computers than I ever wanted to know. In retrospect I should have bought a word processor. However the entire DOS-Windows chapter of my life was a necessary learning experience as it prepared me for a date with the Penguin and my new operating system.

I'd like to say I'm brilliant and did it on my own. The fact is, I am an average home user with no formal computer training who entered the field later in life; I was over fifty and I needed help. Fortunately I met John during those very early days when I wrote to inquire why I couldn't play the Ragtime music on his site. The chance introduction evolved into an education in Windows plus an enduring friendship.

Fate is indeed a strange bedfellow for a few years later I was introduced to Linux via a rather circuitous route. My local ISP, GCIS, is family owned and operated. Scott is the tech with whom I had the most contact. What began as my grousing about Windows instability and constant crashes ended with Scott introducing me to the server side of FreeBSD. It was an exciting and heady feeling that I never forgot.

We spent months talking about Linux and finally Scott said, "Go do it. Just go do it!" Oh Lord where do I begin? I'm too old to learn a new OS much less the language. Scott interupted my thoughts, " Look, I'll send you some URL's. If you're really serious find a group."

I immediately thought of the age old conundrum: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The modern-day version isn't any more clear. Which comes first, the users group or the Linux distribution?

I was mulling the question over in my mind when I began to surf Linux web sites. I didn't just find Linux, I found Linux distributions too. Good grief! I have to choose a distribution and join a support group. I could just imagine the thrill of driving 300-miles once a week to meet with a group. (The nearest Linux group is in Tulsa,Ok.) How badly do I really want this new operating system? Before I could answer my own question I lost the master drive which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I replaced both the Master and Slave drives to be on the safe side.

Now I had 12 gigabytes of empty space, and a burning desire. The more I toyed with the idea, the more determined I was to create a single drive dual boot system.

In case you are wondering why I didn't use the second hard drive for Linux the answer is somewhat complicated. First, I was asked to beta test W2000. Second, W98 was running well and I didn't want to chance a conflict. Third, I know absolutely nothing about NT aka W2000, so I opted to load it on the second drive. I knew that either Linux would boot or it wouldn't, and even if it didn't, it would not foul my machine-a guarantee I could not make about W2000. If I continued as planned, I would have three fully functional, yet independent, operating systems, residing on two drives in the same computer. The thought was delicious, but would it sorely test the resources of my machine?

I went to a national bookstore chain to search for Linux specific media. I walked through several aisles of unrelated software titles and just when I was ready to conclude Linux media didn't exist I found 8-feet of shelf space devoted to 'other' computer systems. I privately wondered how long it would take this store to eliminate the books. The selection was pathetically limited, but not without virtue. Based on information I previously read about Caldera, Red Hat and KDE I chose Linux Third Edition by Richard Petersen which covers each subject extensively and included CD's for Caldera and Red Hat. Just to be on the safe side I grabbed a copy of Linux For Dummies to get me started and crossed my fingers for luck. As it turns out I needed it.

I was headed for the check out counter when I passed the magazine rack. There I discovered the first release of the Maximum Linux magazine which promised a complete review of the top five Linux distributions plus a step-by-step installation guide to Linux-Mandrake 6.0. A CD with the full-install version of the Mandrake was included. (I learned December 13th that the CD is no longer supported by Maximum Linux.) I ended my buying spree by picking up a systems reference book. I was smug. For the grand total of $50 I had snagged three Linux distributions and enough information to build or up grade to a pure Linux box. That high lasted until the first time I tried to load Linux.

It was a full two months between the time that I purchased the books until I actully tried the installation. I was primed and ready for action, but I still hadn't made a decision about which distribution to load. (We Libra's can't make an important decision without a prolonged and weighty internal debate.)

Armed with a plethora of URL's thougthfully included in the Third Edition, I mounted an assault on the Linux web sites. Each site led to more sites. I started out thinking I knew enough to make an informed decision and finished more confused than ever, but wiser for the experience. I narrowed my choices to Caldera and Mandrake, but did not totally discount SuSE or Debian. After reading about SuSE's monster 1300 packages and being advised by Tom at Motherboard X that Debian was just a bit advanced for a newbie I opted for my original choices.

For the record, my final selections were based on: information posted on each web site; information provided by experienced Linux users and technicians; information provided on the packaged software; manufacturer support and shelf price. Downloading from the web is convenient but I learned from experience that there isn't anything that will replace the real thing in time of crisis.

As each Linux web site offers excellent information, my next search was for the illusive support group. I reasoned it would be foolish to load software that didn't have a good user support system for all levels of experience. I might add that my previous adventures with Windows compliant software taught me to be more than a little wary of promised help, especially when money is involved.

Format was also an issue. I ultimately decided on the e-mail format due to vision problems. The first group I joined was composed of newbies with hot tempers and no manners. I received 200 e-mails the first day-most of which were flames. I unsubscribed and prayed that other groups were not quite as verbose. They aren't.

Several days passed as I examined the user group lists. I was specifically interested in the type of questions posed and the quality of response. I joined a second group, but this time I opted for a level other than a beginner group. For the next few weeks I read the messages and asked questions privately while I continued to examine the individual Linux web sites.

I liked the look of Caldera Open Linux and the installer is reputed to be superb. I was suprised to learn that it supports Partition Magic and Boot Magic which I use. Unfortunately I found it is an add-on purchase for Caldera 2.2. The Caldera support page is awesome, but the bottom line for me is real people supporting real people in a timely manner and I chose Linux-Mandrake

Steve, Benjamin, and Dennis, members of the Mandrake group, were instrumental in getting me past my stage fright and into the actual install process. It was no easy task even though I am a Windows veteran with three multi-partitioned hard drives. I was just plain scared. I knew I could not hurt my machine, but in the back of my mind the idea of a total reformat was very disquieting.

Partition Magic is particularly useful for W95 users as it recognizes hard drives larger than 2GB as well as 26 partitions. (I reclaimed 1.5 GB when I first installed it.) However, Windows names partitions as A,C,D.. whereas Linux does not. Ergo, the concept of Linux partitions were particularly hard for me to understand. (Of course, now that I've seen hda9 (my Linux boot sector) it makes perfect or, uh..better sense.)

/boot Huh?? What goes in which partition? Is Linux smart enough to know where the Kernel resides? What's LILO? Will it work on a dual boot? Is 2 GB enough space? What about /user? Do I create the /? files? Steve fielded the questions and replied in a down-to-earth manner. Detailed, but easy to understand, instructions are critical for the novice as we don't know the jargon. (I still don't, but I'm learning.)

As I was familiar with the Windows version of Partition Magic I was confident I could easily create a Linux partition. The information thoughtfully provided by Power Quest reminded me that once selected, Windows would not recognize the Linux partition. I was also reminded that Linux did not recognize Windows FAT files. Great, the two systems will ignore each other!

When I attempted to install Mandrake, well.. that's when I fell flat on my face. The installation process failed. No available space was the message I read and reread. NO available space!! What went wrong?

"Ah hem..You need to create a boot partition and swap space first," Steve replied. "Make a 10M boot partition in ext2, a swap file of 128M, and leave the balance of the disk in ext2. Be sure to select custom install. Also, install LILO to /boot and NOT in the Master Boot Record."

I later learned that Linux uninstalls like windows but with one caveat. If LILO is installed to the Master Boot Record, it does not automatically uninstall with the Fdisk command. An additional step must be used to remove LILO from the MBR. With the prospect of three operating systems in my future, it was not a risk I wanted to take.

Armed with the new information, I created the three partitions with a minimum of fuss and breathed a sigh of relief. I was ready!

I dropped the CD-ROM in the drive, opened Maximum Linux to page 33, rebooted and expected to see the Linux-Mandrake welcome screen. I painfully watched Windows load. I was frustrated and disgusted.

Fifteen hours later I concluded I have a problem that probably stems from the age/type/drivers/? of the CD unit. I tried various tricks such as downloading the latest drivers, changing the drive letter position in DOS and Windows as well as the position of CD in BIOS. My efforts drew blanks. The bottom line is the auto-install mode of Linux-Mandrake 6.0 doesn't work on my machine. It was 5 a.m., and I went to bed.

Maximum Linux provided one sentence of instructions on how to create a bootable floppy using the rawrite program included on the Mandrake CD. In retrospect I should have done this immediately. The entire process, from formatting the floppy to installing the required utilities and images, took less than 5 minutes.

Everything I've ever read about installing Linux very clearly states you should know your machine intimately from drivers to printer model, RAM, modem, video card, sound card, size of drives, ISP submask, and more. It is no idle request, for Linux probes. When presented with an unrecognized entry you need to provide the correct information. Like a good scout, be prepared. If you happen to have a Linux/Windows conflict you'll need to know IRQ's too.

I shoved the boot floppy into the drive, and prayed while I watched the start-up routine. Since my 8x CD-ROM is slow to engage I used TweakUI, a Microsoft utility, to disable the splash screen and GUI which in turn causes boot to pause at the C:/> prompt in DOS and wait for a command.

Nothing happened. Did Windows crash again? I glanced at the floppy drive, saw a flash of green light and breathed a deep sigh of relief. A few minutes later I saw the promised welcome screen!

I watched as Linux probed and selected the correct options for my machine and when asked I chose the custom install. Mandrake installed 317 software packages in less than 7 minutes-just enough time to grab a cup of mud and find the loo. I was prompted to define passwords. Be careful here. One of the Linux features is it does not print passwords. When entering the password nothing happens. You won't see a thing on the screen. When asked where to install the bootloader, (Warning! If you are installing Linux on a single drive dual-boot system with Windows 9x DO NOT select Master Boot Record. It is possible that if you do, Windows will not start.) I selected /boot, the 10M partition that had been created specifically for my situation.

The rest of the install went smoothly. The defaults selected were perfect except for the monitor. Although it is listed as suported by Linux, it isn't listed on the Mandrake 6.0 CD. I took the default and prayed. At this point I didn't attempt to set up the PPP connection because I did not understand the questions. I skipped it. Windows DUN and Linux PPP Internet connection set up, are about as much alike as a cow and a boat. Don't say you weren't warned.

One of the things that I like very much about Linux is the flexibility. Windows demands that the installation be very orderly: 1,2,3.. or it aborts, whereas once Linux has the basic information it is okay to skip what you don't understand. (Detailed instructions later provided by Steve, John, Benjamin and Civileme helped me to correctly set up KPPP, the Linux version of PPP under KDE, and change the monitor setting.)

I was done. The total install time was less than an hour. I removed the CD and floppy, rebooted and waited to finally greet the Penguin! Instead I sat in stunned silence as I watched Windows boot once more. What the...??

I quickly skimmed through the media to be reminded that I could boot from the rescue floppy. I did and this time my dream came true. I was greeted with the Mandrake login. Fifteen characters later I was looking at my new KDE Desktop.

The Mandrake developers thoughtfully included everything I needed to make the new learning process as painless and as pleasant as possible starting with KDE, a Windows 'look and feel' GUI desktop with icons. The default packages included Netscape, e-mail, word processor and note pad, graphics programs, scientific calculator, wallpaper, dozens of games, and much more.

I only have one real criticism. Nothing I read prior to the installation explained how to select an option. The same infomation seemed to be missing on the CD too. Windows users are accustomed to point and click. Oops! Linux doesn't support this function during intallation.

Use the tab key and up/down keys to move through the options. Don't be in a hurry. Linux is patient. When the preferred option is highlighted hit the SPACE bar. That's right! The space bar will leave the star character inside brackets [*] indicating it is the chosen element to install. Point and click are ignored as are the Y, N, * and X key strokes.

Was it worth it? Every minute! I am now one step closer to running a pure Linux box and I am excited! The days of costly hardware and software upgrades to run bloated and buggy software are quickly and thankfully fading into an unpleasant memory. Once I load Star Office I will be doing exactly what I was doing a year ago except I'll be doing it in a stable and more secure invironment, and without help from the House of Redmond. The bonus is I won't have to worry about Microsoft engineers doctoring Windows code to cause browsing problems or security risks. Trial Finding #172 Size:404K. I can doctor my own system!

Here are a few tips to help make the transition to Linux a little less daunting:


  1. Linux-Mandrake is a true 32 bit multi-tasking operating system. A Pentium processor, or better, is required. It will not install on a 386 or 486 machine.

  2. When it comes to entering a password Linux shoots blanks. You cannot see what you type, and unlike Windows, there are no characters dislayed either.

  3. Not every motherboard supports dual boot systems.

  4. If you intend to install a dual W9x/Linux system- partition, set up your Windows system first and leave space at the end of the drive for Linux-Mandrake; 2 GB is recommended. After W9x is installed and you are satisfied with its functionality, load Linux. Unless you are an experienced Linux user, do not install LILO in the Master Boot Record. I can not stress this enough.

  5. I highly recommend Partition Magic for a dual boot system. It allows the user to merge or convert file types, as well as add, remove or change partition size on-the-fly without losing data, provided you stay within the stated limits. Supported systems include DOS, W9x, NT, W2000, Linux and OS/2.

  6. LOOK before you load! Linux-Mandrake may be the only distribution that currently supports dual systems on a single drive.



My intent is to avoid redundancy by including general information I consider helpful. Every Linux site provides a wealth of subject specific links.

Linux-Mandrake 6.0 was installed on a clone with the following components: Asus Motherboard; Intel MMX200 CPU; 64RAM; Digiview HR70 CRT; Sound Blaster 16AWE; AOPEN video card with 2MG RAM on board; USRobotics Sportster 56.k external modem; HP-600Deskjet printer; 8X Mitsumi ATAPI CD-ROM; WDCaviar 8.4GB, WDCaviar 3.2GB and Seagate .850MB Hard Drives plus Genius ColorPage-EP Scanner.

Partition Magic and Boot Magic are tradmarks of Power Quest Corporation. Windows, MS-DOS, W95, W98, NT and W2000 are trademarks of Microsoft. Metscape is a trademark of AOL. Maximum Linux is a trademark of Imagine Media,Inc. MotherboardX is a trademark of Motherboard Express,Inc. All others products are registered to their respective companies.

Copyright © 2000, P.J. Wessel
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

The Back Page

About This Month's Authors

Gerard Beekmans

Gerard is the founder of TTS Solutions. TTS' aim is to provide a wide range of services to the Linux community, for free. This free help is based on the philosophy that we know what it feels like to be in need of help and answers and not able to find them. Or one does find somebody and that person is willing to help...for a price.

Bill Bennet

Bill, the ComputerHelperGuy, lives in Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada; the "Catfish Capitol of North America" if not the world. He is on the Internet at He tells us "I have been a PC user since 1983 when I got my start as a Radio Shack manager. After five years in the trenches, I went into business for myself. Now happily divorced from reality, I live next to my Linux box and sell and support GPL distributions of all major Linux flavours. I was a beta tester for the PC version of Playmaker Football and I play `pentium-required' games on the i486. I want to help Linux become a great success in the gaming world, since that will be how Linux will take over the desktop from DOS." It is hard to believe that his five years of university was only good for fostering creative writing skills.

Eric Fischer

Eric currently lives in Chicago, Illinois and is employed by RootsWeb, Inc. He was formerly involved in the development of the Vim text editor.

Sean Lamb

I am a computer science major and LAN Admin at Lakeland College's Madison, WI, campus as well as a member of the Wisconsin DOT Help Desk and Server Backup teams. My previous Linux experience was solely with RedHat until installing Caldera 2.2. I am a member of MadLUG (the Madison Linux User Group, at and an active contributor to the user group's web presence. When I'm not playing with Linux, I'm building and running my model railroad. I can be reached at .

Mike Orr

Mike is the Editor of the Linux Gazette. You can read what he has to say in the Back Page column in this issue. He has been a Linux enthusiast since 1991 and a Debian user since 1995. He is SSC's Webmaster. He also enjoys the Python programming language. Non-computer interests include ska/oi! music and the international language Esperanto.

Pramode C.E and Gopakumar C.E

Pramode works as a teacher and programmer while Gopakumar is an engineering student who likes to play with Linux and electronic circuits.

Anderson Silva

Anderson is a Senior at Liberty University majoring in Computer Science. Originally from Brazil, now he works at the University's Information Technology Center. He is also a member of the Lynchburg Linux User Group in Lynchburg, Virginia.

PJ Wessel

PJ Wessel is a home user who writes poetry, designs web pages part time, and builds computers as a hobby.

He volunteers as staff support at NoWonder, a live 24-hour tech support site for all systems including OS/2, Linux, NT, MAC and Win3.1, W95, W98 and W2000. Wessel answers questions relating to W95, W98, and hopes to field Linux questions soon.

Wessel's comments concerning design are published at Alertbox a site devoted to web design useability by Dr. Jacob Nielson. Wessel will reply to .

Not Linux

[ Penguin reading the Linux Gazette ]

This was quite an eventful month for me. It started with the WTO week, then I got sick, then I started a big web project at work, then I had a couple personal issues, then Christmas (I made my mom curry). And now (Dec. 28) it's three days to New Year's, when the Millenium Bug will or will not cause problems, and terrorists will or will not attack, but I will definitely be out with me mates celebrating. New Year's festivities at Seattle Center were cancelled today; no doubt the mayor didn't want to think about having two disasters in one month.

Meanwhile, the Linux Gazette letter of the month arrived:

I'm very pleased to contact with Red Hat. I would like to ask you a faver. Please let me know the e-mail address of the "STOCK MANAGER". I have several questions for your stock and the business progress state with Korea. I'm looking forward to your quick response.

I wrote back saying, "Hi. The Linux Gazette is not related to Red Hat. Please contact Red Hat directly via their web site,"

-Mike Orr

Linux Gazette Issue 49, January 2000,
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