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The Mailbag

HELP WANTED : Article Ideas
Submit comments about articles, or articles themselves (after reading our guidelines) to The Editors of Linux Gazette, and technical answers and tips about Linux to The Answer Gang.

encryption kills my connection in linux but works in win98

Wed, 28 Jul 2004 15:13:27 -0700
David Rich (dsrich from ieee.org)
Question by Denis Miller (denis.miller from sympatico.ca)

I have a wireless connection to my landlords internet connection. Under win98 it works fine but using xandros the encryption does not work. Using no encryption it works fine.

128 byte, infrastructure mode, netgear am111 usb, signal strength over 68%. Is there some trick to using encryption I am missing.

  1. Are you actually using encryption under Win98?
  2. Is your landlord's Access Point set up to allow encryption? From the fact that it works without encryption, it cannot be set up to require it, so it may not be set up to allow it at all.
  3. Where did you find a landlord so kind as to allow you to use his bandwidth?

Okay, okay, kudos to any landlord who's a kind enough soul to offer #3. Wireless is becoming a popular topic - people are welcome to give a good solid shot at this question, but we'd also enjoy seeing an article about something wireless. Tripping over cords all the time makes Linux or in fact any networking OS just a little less fun... -- Heather

Probing from ISP?

Mon, 5 Jul 2004 11:16:05 -0500 (COT)
John Karns (jkarns from etb.net.co)

Hi gang,

I noticed some weirdness in my logs yesterday. They're filling up with events which appear to be probes to various ports on my machine, averaging one every 2 - 3 secs. The source ports (SPT in log) are above 1024, to lower numbered destination ports (in most cases) I'm using a Linksys WRT54G wlan router (runs Linux!!), flashed to a 3rd party mod of the OS called samadhi2. I have the router firewall enabled. I'm not sure what to make of the situation, but I'm guessing that the ISP (an MS W2k shop) has been cracked with a virus that is probing all IP's in their pool.

I'd be most interested in any comments.

That was pretty close to the beginning of the month, things have been dealt with since then. We'll just give a taste of this - it's a sad fact of modern network life that the destructive forces of virus and worm blitzes affect every OS, just by chewing our bandwidth up like a big dog chews up the master's old shoes.
We'll protect the privacy of his shop here, suffice it to say that his system logs showed a lot of traffic to destination ports 135 (hmm, something in the mswin/Smb packet family?) and 445, though other ports are sometimes seen... with a few to higher numbered ports (9898, 443, 1433...
Other nodes seem to be getting traffic either to or from 34240 or other ports around that range. (viewed with iptraf -- Heather)

It's interesting (and confusing) that the iptraf output on the 2nd node doesn't show traffic with the same ports as the ipfilter log from the other node. Nor does the system log on the 2nd node show any probes to ports 135 & 445.

-- John Karns

If system forensics or network security is your bag, perhaps you could write us a nice juicy article about how to effectively determine what systems in a network are infested with a virus or worm that's going wild? Seeing your network clobbered is no fun - solving an annoying puzzle can be, especially if it gives our gentle readers any leads on preventing or solving the same kinds of problems themselves. We'd just love to have something on this topic, some meat to sink our teeth into. No red herrings please! (Tux likes herring. Ok, fine, you can bribe him with herring, but only if the rest of the article is delicious to our editors, at .) -- Heather


Article Feedback [104]: rsync and anacron

Sat, 3 Jul 2004 15:51:01 +0100
Thomas Adam (The LG Weekend Mechanic)

Barry O'Donovan mentioned in his article that:

00 02 * * * rsync -r -e ssh --delete /home/username/mail

...is best run from cron -- yet this could cause a few issues if one is already running some kind of "ntp" check, since the task running at precisely 02:00 could clock skew. This would cause the scheduled rsync process above to get reloaded by cron multiple times or even not at all. Therefore, it is best to offset the time to either a few minutes before the hour, or a few minutes afterwards.

-- Thomas Adam

Linux Journal Reader's Choice

Wed, 7 Jul 2004 12:58:53 -0400
Rick Moen (LG Contributing Editor)
Question by Brendon Oliver (brendon.oliver from redsheriff.com)

Hi there,

I just noticed today that voting for this year's Reader's Choice Awards on linuxjournal.com has now opened. Thought it rather interesting (not!) that they only list the "hijacked" Linux Gazette (linuxgazette.com) under their "Favourite Linux Web Site" category.

So I made a point of nominating you guys as an "Other" site in my vote (as the REAL Linux Gazette), and added a few words in their "Extra Comments" at the bottom of the form. I hope some of the other readers can do the same (voting will most likely be closed by the time the next issue is ready).

Thank you for doing that. I assume you're aware that the form submissions (from http://www.linuxjournal.com/rc2004) aren't public, and will no doubt be filtered through company policy by an SSC employee. But the gesture is appreciated.

I wasn't too happy over the treatment you got from SSC, but unfortunately linux mags are scarce on the ground here in Australia, so didn't really want to "vote with my $$" and cancel my subscription. Besides, it's a big world & there should be pletny of publication space for all.

Anyways, I've been an avid reader of the Gazette since probably late '97 so just thought I'd add a vote of confidence from one happy reader! Keep up the great work!


- Brendon Oliver.

Indeed, I for one would never wish Linux Journal any harm. We need it!

Cheers, Rick Moen

Re: Hi Jimmy. Thanks for LG articles

Wed, 28 Jul 2004 22:20:14 +0100
Jimmy O'Regan (The LG Answer Gang)
Question by senthil (senthil from symonds.net)

[cc:ing TAG in the hope of continuing the thread about software for low-spec machines]

Hear that, readers? If you've got more low-end system ideas, send them to The Answer Gang, at . -- Heather

Hi Jimmy,

Kudos for your articles at LG.

I had read LG103, enjoyed it thoroughly and read LG104 quickly and found good number of useful articles. Especially my pick was the Linux on Low End Systems from Answer Gang. I have got a System having 128 MB RAM and unfortunately fits in the low end category as far as X,Gnome,kde are concerned. But instead of spending bucks, I have been enjoying with elinks,mpg123,vim and gcc, which are my mostly used ones. I use twm sometimes and have not tried others.

Hope to try with the suggestions given by the LG.

Thanks! Senthil

Thanks for the mail.

If you don't mind my offering a few more suggestions, I'd like to point you in the direction of MPlayer for your video needs - it truly is a wonderful piece of software, and doesn't try to use more memory than it needs: http://www.mplayerhq.hu

There are a lot of great window managers out there with low memory requirements which you might prefer: FVWM (http://www.fvwm.org) is possibly the most configurable, or you might prefer IceWM (http://www.icewm.org) or WindowMaker (http://www.windowmaker.org).

Many of which were hotlinked in the "WM Wars" blurb of The Answer Gang column in our April issue. -- Heather

The articles I'm currently trying to finish for next month's edition are about news aggregators and LiveJournal clients - if you have any interest in either of these areas, Snownews (http://home.kcore.de/~kiza/software/snownews) and Clive (http://sourceforge.net/projects/ljclive) are good CLI programs for these respective tasks.

Do you mind if I forward your mail (unencrypted, of course :) to the Answer Gang? We like to get feedback from our readers, and I think Thomas and Heather in particular will be pleased to hear that the information for low-end systems was useful to you.

Or, even better - you could write yourself, and offer your suggestions. The thread in last month's issue only focused on graphical interfaces - I'm sure that a great thread could come of it. You never know - you might like it, and become a member :)

Thanks Jimmy for your quick reply and your suggestions. I would definitely try Mplayer (I have heard that Mplayer plays movie in the text mode as well) and fvwm.

The thing which interested me in TWM is its simplicity which helped me understand some of the underlying concepts.

Thomas has written enough about FVWM to make me think that it would be better for this than TWM.

snownews and ljclive seems very interesting!! btw, as we are on the topic of blogs and RSS, have you tried Nanoblogger? http://sourceforge.net/projects/nanoblogger

Wow. Looks great.

I have used it, have involved myself with bugs and change-requests of this project.

This is a very good cli based blogging utility and would definitely complement the topics you are writing.

Jimmy, if you are covering snownews,ljclive in article,I feel a section on nanoblogger will be informative as well.

It's a bit too late in the month to start looking at something new, but I'll have a look at it for next month.

Jimmy,Feel free to forward the coversation to the Answer Gang and my wishes to Thomas and Heather for their Wonderful work.

Hope I would be getting more involved with LG :)

Cheers! Senthil

Where to send more 2c TIPS?

Wed, 14 Jul 2004 21:32:56 +0200 (CEST)
Flavio Poletti (anonymous)


it's quite some time that I don't read the Linux Gazette. Ok, this is awful from my side :)

I've had some difficulties in sorting out which is the TRUE Linux Gazette, when I finally had a flash and took the one with Jim Dennis inside :) Jokes apart, I was very disappointed reading the whole story, but that's the world and I'm happy that we all can have Ye Ol' Linux Gazette on the net.

Here comes my first question:

"Where is one decent guy supposed to send its 2c tips?!?"

Right here, to this very address. This is all mentioned in the FAQ that we've all slaved over:
http://linuxgazette.net/faq/index.html -- Thomas
Thanks Flavio. More Two Cent Tips come from two sources - directly from our readers, and from members of the Answer Gang (when the answers are short). Really, any reader can contribute to the answers found in Linux Gazette - so tips as well as questions are sent to - ideally with the word "2c" or "Two Cent" in the subject line.
We really should improve the header over in More Two Cent Tips. Thanks for bringing it up :) -- Heather

I looked for it in all the website, but had no clue! Then I peeked the "More 2c tips" section and - aaaagh! But there are questions there!!! This leads to my second question:

"Where have 2c tips gone?!?"

I remember those neat, fast 2c tips in the golden age, but now I only see some kind of TAG satellite section!

I'm not quite sure what you're looking at, or indeed whether it is a mirror site that for whatever reason has not synced yet. The number of 2c-tips from readers has been in decline, for all the reasons outlayed in issue 103-104. -- Thomas
When a Tip is inspired by a question to the Answer Gang, we feel it's fair that the question be mentioned; in most cases the Editor's Scissors have trimmed the question down a bit (you should see the clipping room floor. Question marks and bangsigns and dots all over the place. What a mess I have to clean up after!) for your reading enjoyment. -- Heather

Ok, ok, flames off now, the magazine is quite healty and I don't want to spoil my happiness in having (re-)found it. So... I drop my 2c tip to you TAG, hoping that I won't be censored for my - how to say it? - attitude to write too much!

All the best to you all,

Flavio Poletti.

If your attitude includes making Linux a little more fun, I see no reason why we'd censure it (complain), much less censor it (edit it out to attempt to ignore it). We love to see Two Cent Tips from readers - they're the juiciest! Thanks for sending yours, Flavio, and I hope it will encourage more readers to send theirs in too. Welcome back.
(Your 2c Tip's in the current issue, of course, albeit with a couple of comments from the Gang.) -- Heather


Mon, 05 Jul 2004 11:36:22 -0700
Bob van der Poel (bvdp from uniserve.com)
Question by Jimmy O'Regan (jimregan from o2.ie)

Thanks for the comments on MMA in your recent Gazette column. I've just posted 0.9 on my site:


you'll find it is even MORE MUSICAL :) Shout if problems!

-- Bob van der Poel


FAQ updates

Sun, 4 Jul 2004 15:52:34 -0400
Ben Okopnik (Linux Gazette Editor)

I've just updated the General LG FAQ, with much credit going to Jimmy for his initial proofing. Comments and suggestions welcome:


The Author FAQ has also been updated this month; if you're looking to write an article for us :) please read it and then work with our article editors:


LG in the news.

Sat, 10 Jul 2004 02:49:31 +0100
Jimmy O'Regan (The LG Answer Gang)

FYI, here's a list of other sites where I post LG announcements. Has anyone got any suggestions for sites I can add to the list for next month?

I didn't post this, thanks are due to whoever did.

We occasionally see references back to us at Linux Weekly News (http://lwn.net) too. Kind readers, let us know about other linuxgazette.net sightings. New mirrors are always welcome, too. :D -- Heather

TAG Knowledge Base updated

Sun, 11 Jul 2004 03:10:38 -0400
Ben Okopnik (Linux Gazette Editor)

Finally, after many long, weary years, much wailing, gnashing of teeth, rending of clothes, and other low-budget special effects, TAG KB has been updated, courtesy of Dave Richardson. Our newest proofreader has started off with a BANG!... all right, you FBI people can all leave now, it was all harmless, no harm no foul. Sheesh, they're all so twitchy these days!

Anyway, Dave - welcome and a job well done! As always, folks, comments and suggestions are highly welcome and encouraged.


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Copyright © 2004, . Released under the Open Publication license unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 105 of Linux Gazette, August 2004

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