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HELP WANTED -- Article Ideas

Send tech-support questions, answers and article ideas to The Answer Gang <tag@lists.linuxgazette.net>. Other mail (including questions or comments about the Gazette itself) should go to <gazette@linuxgazette.net>. All material sent to either of these addresses will be considered for publication in the next issue. Please send answers to the original querent too, so that s/he can get the answer without waiting for the next issue.

Unanswered questions might appear here. Questions with answers--or answers only--appear in The Answer Gang, 2-Cent Tips, or here, depending on their content. There is no guarantee that questions will ever be answered, especially if not related to Linux.

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

Firewall access...

Thu, 11 Jan 2001 11:35:01 +1300
Gavin Lowe (glowe from csi.co.nz)

Hi all,

I have a webserver on our internal LAN that I would like to make accessible to the Internet. I have setup a firewall (RH6.2) using ipchains to allow Internet access from my LAN through an ADSL connection.

The firewall has two NIC's, one for the external (Internet) connection and one for the internal (LAN) connection. The adsl modem/router is setup to NAT the static IP of the router to the IP of the internal server.


-->static IP  [ADSL modem/router] ----> [ Firewall ] ---> LAN ( webserver=
         NAT static IP:443 ->

I know attempts to access the internal server via the static IP are getting to my firewall and being accepted by the input rule, but I don't know what I need to do from there on in to get the request to the LAN ?

On the firewall if I issue the following:

ipchains -C input -p tcp -i eth1 -s <internet address> 443 -d 443

it is accepted.

If I issue the following:

ipchains -C forward -p tcp -i eth1 -s <internet address> 443 -d 443

it is accepted.

If I issue the following:

ipchains -C output -p tcp -i eth1 -s <internet address> 443 -d 443

it is accepted.

Do I need to bridge the two NIC's on the firewall ? Do I just put in some routing entries ? DO I have to do anything more to the forward and/or output rule to get the packets through ?

As you've probably concluded by now I new to ipchains, although I have read many of firewall/ipchains/bridge HOWTOs, so any help would be gratefully accepted



This is a tiny sample - a number of other home/SOHO packet filtering and defensive firewall questions are in the queue to be answered. But it would be really nice to see an article for ipchains... or especially, the new netfilters, since they are a bit different... which is aimed for readers who are not already network administrators. -- Heather.

Mandrake Linux and Cable modems

Sun, 31 Dec 2000 19:49:03 -0000
Ian Garvie (ig011a0002 from blueyonder.co.uk)

I am running a home peer to peer net work of 3 PS's running Win98 and internet sharing to access the internet through my cable modem (Telewest Blueyonder). On the PC that acts as the gateway to the internet, I have two removable drives, one runs win98 (obviously...lol) and the other is running Mandrake 7.1. What I would like to do is to Dump Win98 from the gateway PC and go over to Linux completely, while the other two PC's will continue to run win98. Now what I want to be able to do is have a similar set-up to my win98 network, where the three PC's all have access the internet.

Have you a complete numpties' guide to doing this, bearing in mind that I have little or no Linux experience. i.e. the definitive guide to getting cable modems to run under Mandrake 7.1.

Many thanks

Ian Garvie

There is a quiet little utility called Masqdialer which is supposed to be for exactly this purpose. However, I've never used it, though I've been tempted to give masqmailer a try ... that's a mailer that might be good for people on dialups, because it's smart about whether you're online, and via what ISP.

An article on either of these, or the general case of a sometimes-disconnected setup, would be a good read for newbies and old hands alike.

Trying to build a crash course for myself...

Sat, 27 Jan 2001 20:06:50 -0600
Matt Cherwin (cherwinmr16 from uwwvax.uww.edu)

Hi there. As you probably gathered from the subject header, I'm a fairly new Linux user--I used it for a few months a while back with a RH 6.0 install, but ended up back in MSFT land when I had trouble replacing my NIC. In any event, I just installed Mandrake 7.2, and I've been doing pretty well getting the system to do everything I need/want it to do over the last several days.

HOWEVER: I'm using it almost exclusively inside X/KDE, and I'm well aware that I'm really not learning anything about how to properly setup/use/maintain a Linux system. So I've been browsing about the web, IRC channels, newsgroups, etc., and reading pretty much any documentation that's aimed at new users. The problem is that just reading everything doesn't teach one all that much when it comes to actually trying to use the system.

What all this buildup is leading to is: what would you recommend as practical projects to undertake as learning exercises for a fairly new user? At the risk of sounding immodest, I'm quite comfortable and conversant with computers and computing in general, hardware setup, programming, etc.--but only in a MSFT world. I'm not terrifically afraid of breaking my system--everything is well backed-up, and I've been working with Windows products for long enough that the prospect of reformat/reinstall isn't even vaguely daunting. I just don't know what it is I should be -trying- to do such that succeeding in the endeavor would involve gaining understanding of the system.

Sincerely, Matt "sorry for the SPAM" Cherwin

Better answers than "read back issues of the Gazette" will be published, if you copy them to tag@lists.linuxgazette.net.

reading tapes from another operating system

1 Jan 01 22:36:56 CST
Layton Davis (laytond from usa.net)

Thanks for taking time to answer questions.

I have some tapes (1/4" cartrage - 120MB format) that I would like to make copies of. Now, I know that they were made on an AS/400, But as I see it; data is data - if I can figure out what format it is in.

The hardware is an AMD-K6/II 500 with an Adaptec AIC-7850 narrow SCSI controler connected to the PCI bus. There are 3 devices connected to this SCSI controler. 1 TANDBERG SLR1 150MB tape drive (device ID 6 /dev/st1). 1 TANDBERG SLR2 525MB tape drive (device ID 0 /dev/st0) and 1 philips CDD 2600 (device ID 4 /dev/scd0) which is at the end of the cable with the termination jumper installed.

The software is a heavily modified RedHat 5.0. The kernel version is 2.2.15 (with the needed network utility updates) gcc(egcs)2.95. With all the updates I figured that the old mt command probably didn't support the current IOCTLS on the st driver - so I deleted it and got the source code for mt-st v. 0.6 (the old one was 0.4)

At this point I can create tapes under linux and read them back reliably. however, This is all working with default settings.

Now for the interesting part. when I try to read a tape created on my as/400 (the same drive that is now in my linux machine as st0) I get the complaint st0: Incorrect block size. the mt status command shows Tape Block Size = 512, Density code 0x11(525 tape) Begining of tape and Write Protect.

If I try to change the block size - I first do a rewind(as per the tandberg manual) then I do a setblk 32768 (does the same thing with setblk 512) and the response is: st0: Error with sense data: [valid=0] Info fld=0x0, Current st09:00 sense key Illegal request aditional sense indicates End-of-partition/medium detected. When I follow the procedure on the tape I made under linux and use a block size of 512 everything works fine. What am I missing? PS although IBM provides no documentation their tape file listing program seems to indicate that the block size might be 32768 bytes.


We have a lot of good people, but not so many with AIX experience. If any of you with experience in an IBM/Linux heterogenous environment ... or who know about what tapes are really saying when they do this... have some good hints for Layton, send them to tag@lists.linuxgazette.net.

PS. A big thank-you to the answer guy for some of his answers a year or two ago that have gotten me this far. Especially on the SCSI termination which I should have remembered from my macintosh days (only 10 years ago).

You're welcome, of course!

PPS. I hope USA.net sends a plain text version of this since I am not at work where I have an e-mail account that will let me specify what I want to send.

It came through fine.

Memory mystery

Fri, 05 Jan 2001 13:05:24 -0600
Jan Jakubik (jakub008 from umn.edu)

setup: mainboard PC Chips M807, kernel 2.2.15 (Mandrake 7.1), memory 2 stick of 128MB PC100

If I put insert only one memory stick BIOS finds correctly 128MB but Linux only 64MB. After addition append = "mem=128M" to lilo.conf Linux finds 64MB again. If I insert 2 memory sticks BIOS finds correctly 128MB but Linux only 15MB! After addition of append= "mem=256M" to lilo.conf Linux finds 64MB. Any suggetion? BTW Win98 see always correct RAM size.

Thanks Jan Jakubik

Someone with a good memory :) can slip us a tip in the right direction by mailing tag@lists.linuxgazette.net.


The cardboard box.

Sat, 27 Jan 2001 08:40:58 -0600
Nathan & Dolyn Walther (jwalther from prairie.lakes.com)

on 29 mar 2000 the question was asked who invented the cardboard box. The answer is Robert Gair. I found this information at http://www.europen.be/basics/understand/und6_types.html

I am doing research for a School speech on the inventer of the cardboard box. (this is no joke) Your website is great and I will visit often. I am glad I found you.

[Heather] You're doubly lucky as well; one of the Gang decided to answer it, and it was sufficiently amusing that we published it even though it's off topic. If you end up with any questions about a free computer operating system whose mascot is a cute penguin, don't hesitate to ask.

Happy New Year !!! - huh ?

Fri, 26 Jan 2001 12:32:06 +0100
Wilf (wbr from free.fr)

Heya Heather,

better late than ...

Happy New Year and all best wishes to you and all of Linux Gazette !

Yours linuxely,

Wilf (French/English => German translations)


Wed, 24 Jan 2001 14:20:45 -0800

On Wed, Jan 24, 2001 at 10:47:23AM -0700, Spicer wrote:

I just ran across a link to one of your messages and was wondering... do I just ask you a question?

If it's related to Linux technical support, yes. There are about ten people in The Answer Gang, and if any of us feel qualified to respond, we'll e-mail you back. Then, the question and answers will be considered for publication in the next issue of Linux Gazette. The submission address is tag@lists.linuxgazette.net.

We'd appreciate it if you'd peruse a few back issues of Linux Gazette first to see if your question has already been answered. (The LG search engine is useful for this.)

Also, if you have any Linux tips that might be helpful for other readers, please send them in too. Both beginner and advanced tips are appreciated, because we have a wide variety of readers.

RE: "What's a smoothwall?" from issue 61 TAG

Tue, 02 Jan 2001 22:33:09 -0500
Brian Coyle (brianc from magicnet.net)

RE: http://linuxgazette.net/issue61/lg_answer61.html#tag/36

Mike Orr asked "What's a smoothwall?"

Smoothwall is a browser administered, Linux-based, open-source, ppp firewall and router appliance. It's targeted at older 386 and 486 systems gathering dust in a closet.

See http://sourceforge.net/projects/smoothwall -or- http://www.smoothwall.org

The sourceforge page has links to the mailing lists and forums where Jim Watkins' original question about diald on the smoothwall has been discussed and answered many times...

BTW- Smoothwall would make a great subject for an upcoming Linux Journal article! :)

"Take a look at one's desktop config. That'll give you an idea where they are with Linux." - an unidentified O'Reilly author @ ALS 2000.

e-mail thread on 'su not working' in gazette

Mon, 15 Jan 2001 22:53:57 +0100 (CET)
Etienne Posthumus (ep from epoz.org)

Way back in time the editor wrote: "Regarding the e-mails: they're still worth printing because they may help somebody else." from: http://linuxgazette.net/issue47/lg_mail47.html

And by jove, they did. Thanks a bunch, it has lifted a weight from my shoulders, I had the same problem.

Glad the archives ares still up.


Etienne Posthumus

Monitor goes blank

Wed, 03 Jan 2001 15:56:04 +0200
Marius Andreiana (mandreiana from rdsnet.ro)

Thanks for your help!

-- Marius Andreiana

Will Windows or Linux be "The Road Not Taken"?

Sun, 28 Jan 2001 00:33:33 -0500
Terrell Phillips (terphs from bellsouth.net)

The Answer Gang,

Hello! My name is Terrell Phillips and as a "newbie", I've been learning Linux via KeyStone Learning Systems video training series.

I sincerely hope that my ongoing Linux training will not have been in vain as I can find no postings for any entry-level workstation jobs here in Atlanta for newbies. Even if I were to have attained my RHCE, the only Linux jobs I've seen posted on the Internet require a working UNIX background foremost.

Attending my local Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts user group meetings, it seems that advanced users attending the meetings are not thrilled at the prospect of helping newbies acquire initial work experience, but rather give every impression that somehow Linux will blossom someday into the corporate world. Apple Computer made the same mistakes early on by marketing their OS to new users and user groups as the best choice for getting work done efficiently. Later, Apple began boasting that their platform was the best and most rapid developer for cross-platform apps. But there was just one little problem. Apple didn't want anyone especially new users to know upfront. No instructor-led training programs for software development were/are in place, nor did Apple partners care to offer the same. And you could count the non-graphics jobs using Apple Computers on one finger.

The point is, that unless the entire Linux community decides to truly help their own, "newbies" will retreat back to using Microsoft for careers. A mature forest of Linux trees lacking little new tree saplings growing all around them won't be a forest for long.

It is a very smart move on the part of the various Windows user groups to see to it that their "newbies" find entry work quickly.

Tonight, I have set my Linux notes printed off various websites along with my training videos aside in favor of learning Visual Basic, MS Access 2000 and SQL. With some training and initiative on my part, I can find entry-level work in a Windows world.

I wish I had better news.


Terrell Phillips

1000 thanks!

Sun, 21 Jan 2001 07:04:41 -0800 (PST)
Uwe Dippel (udippel from yahoo.com)

Dear answerguy,

I am incredibly happy that I could save one of my Linux-installs with the help of an answer you gave to one of those people before (retrieved with a search-engine) on lost root-passwords!! All the other stuff that I had found before didn't make it ('linux single' always ended at the login-prompt!) and the rest said 'new install'. Now I have the task to find out, who had tempered with the machine across the network (Internet), because I have been using this password for ages, I'm a sysadministrator and have clearly never had too many drinks since I had logged on successfully the last time! - The machine is a server behind closed doors ...!!

Have a drink on me!



The Gazette

Fri, 01 Dec 2000 09:37:19 -0800
John Labovitz (johnl from meer.net)

the gazette looks very nice -- sort of a moderated discussion, i guess. like a civilized slashdot, or an old letters to the editor section of a magazine.


[hamren@sdu.se: "ls -lRat" does not work on FTP server]

Mon, 4 Dec 2000 08:56:08 -0800
gazette (gazette from ssc.com)

We seem to have received notes from more than one site about ftp being strange...

Ferg (gferg from sgi.com)

Hi -

I maintain the LDP mirror(s) of the LG, and the last couple of times I've run our 'mirror'based update script, I received a number of errors, such as:

  Too many files to delete, not actually deleting (3626 > 3278)
  Too many directories to delete, not actually deleting (398 > 358)

I'm pretty sure I know how to correct that in the mirror config file. More troublesome are these (from my last run):

  Failure on 'RETR pub/lg/www_root/.glimpse-eye.jpg' command
  Failed to get pub/lg/www_root/.glimpse-eye.jpg: 550
       'pub/lg/www_root/.glimpse-eye.jpg': No such file or directory
  Failed to get file 550 'pub/lg/www_root/.glimpse-eye.jpg': No such
       file or directory
  Failure on 'RETR pub/lg/www_root/404.html' command
  Failed to get pub/lg/www_root/404.html: 550
       No such file or directory

There are an enormous number of those errors.

Did anything change on the host site? Was there some massive restructuring done to have caused this?

Here are my configuration parms:

        comment=Linux Gazette

I hope you can help. Thanks in advance.

best regardsm -- Greg Ferguson

Spammers harvesting Email addresses.

Tue, 5 Dec 2000 14:45:53 -0800
Ira Abramov (nospam-lgmirror-20000426 from ira.scso.com)

[Ira Abramov is one of LG's mirrors.] I have been getting spam to an address I gave you as a contact for an LG mirror I was running, yet it was posted to a webpage without my approval, and I have been getting a lot of Spam through it lately.

please remove nospam-lgmirror-20000426 at.the.site ira.scso.com from the mirrors page at http://www.linuxgazette.com/mirrors.html, as well as from your lists. the correct contact from now on is webmaster-nospam-lgmirror-20001205 at.the.site linux.org.il and they won't appreciate spam either. I sugest you somehow cloak the mail addresses on that page, remove the mailto: links or use some other mechanisms, but do not leave the current situation broken like this.

[Heather] I actually tweaked the above so neither would turn into a hotlink. Normally they would.

I have removed the link as you requested. Change visible at 5pm (UTC-0800).

In general, it's our policy to publish the contact addresses of the mirrors because (1) we need the information and this is where we store it, and (2) readers need to be able to contact a mirror if there's a problem using it--that's why it's called a contact address. As for spam, I get it too--30% of the messages to gazette@linuxgazette.net are spam.

[Ira] ok, possible ideas. instead of a mailto: link, put the address plain, maybe even add a space before and after the @ sign. that way one can still cut and paste it for an individual contact but not harvest it automaticly with a robot... there are ways.

for the more advanced ways there are simply CGIs. see the following address (which spammers aren't smart enough to handle)


the CGI that does this little magic looks like this:

> cat /home/httpd/cgi-bin/m
$address=~ s/nospam\@dht/\@/g;
print "Location: mailto:$address\n\n";

4 lines of perl, and spammers never harvest those addresses (tested!)

where there's a will, there's a way... I love ssc for it's great donation to the community, I just ask that you don't repay the kind people mirroring you by exposing them to spam...

[Mike] The trouble is, that requires a CGI script, so it won't run on the mirrors, and it certainly won't work on the CD-ROM version.

Is it time to make all e-mail addresses non-clickable? Your Editor is undecided.

[Heather] You don't want to make it easier for spammers (who use scripts and have delusions of time on their hands) to get ahold of you than the people who would have a legitimate reason to reach you. I suppose we could have various mirrorNN.LocnCode kinds of addresses at SSC, where we could attempt to pre-filter a bit. (are you getting worse than 30 % spam?)

That way you as mirror admin get some possible defense, at least your actual address isn't exposed until you reply, there is the backup that SSC learns about mirror problems sometimes, and some people might actually feel we made it easier to reach somebody in case of errors.

[Don Marti] Hiding email addresses from spammers is letting spammers define the terms of our conversation. I'm against it and don't participate in any list that does this form of "cowardice by proxy" for me.

[Dan Wilder] Though in less absolute terms than Don, I'll add my voice to those not favoring cowardice by proxy.

Let 'em try and spam me. I'll either /dev/null their mail, or hunt 'em down with a rusty bottle opener!

article - game presentation

Wed, 06 Dec 2000 21:27:02 -0500
marius (marius from webdevgroup.com)

It was all D&D back then, and Traveller.

Never heard of these... I've started on ZX spectrum, with Dizzy being my favourite(s)

NEVER HEARD OF?? I gotta publish this. The generational difference between games. Do you mind if I publish this letter?

If you publish that I never heard of D&D and Traveller ? no, I don't mind. Maybe you write about these too. (are they still available ?)

I don't do gaming, so I don't know. Cc'ing a gaming friend.

Ogre, this guy is one of my correspondents for the Linux Gazette ezine. He's too young to have heard of Dungeons & Dragons and Traveller, the only role-playing games I ever had the least bit involvement with. Do they still exist or are they long gone?

[Heather] There are an avid batch of Traveller players in my area although I don't game with them, and D&D recently released a new edition. Not only are they available, but you can find traveller players on IRC, a lot of support software for D&D gamemasters... uh, well for some other platform anyway. My traveller playing friend is famous for Penguin Artillery.


Tue, 19 Dec 2000 11:22:22 +1100
BanDiDo (bandido from drinkordie.com)

After dropping you a mail about issue 60, I thought I was pen a few lines on my venture in Linux and just why LG has made the transition so painless.

It is redundant of me to mention just how fantastic LG is? I can hear you all muttering now about stating the bleeding obvious. For me, the most curious thing is to note the range of interest, from the rank Linux newbie to input from individuals who are quite clearly among some of the knowledgeable to be found, and all receive the same warm response (unless they happen to be some poor Windoze momo with a Winmodem :)

Anyway, I thought I would share my recent real plunge into Linux and perhaps lend some cheer to all the neophytes out their coming to terms with Windoze withdrawal and faced with the murky morass of Linux. I should mention I am not new to computers, I have used a plethora of Uncle Bill's offerings, and in all fairness, I am possibly the only person in the world to never had had any problems at all, I can count my 'Blue Screens of Death' on one hand. Suffice to say, I have no problems with MS, as a bit of a closet gamer, it serves it purpose.

Linux on the other hand, was always something that I presumed was not for me, I had once upon a time installed some ancient Red Hat, and a mouldy Slackware, both of which suffered a format quite promptly. It just all seemed too complicated and of limited appeal to where I was at the time. I tend to spend a lot of time on the Net now, so about 2 weeks ago I decided to have another look. I need to make it very clear, the sum total of my Linux knowledge prior to biting the bullet and trying it again, was the ability to type 'ls - -la, uptime, rm and a few other sundry commands that everyone anywhere normally picks up over the years, in other words it was all virgin territory. With that in mind, thus begins my journey.

A friend of mine mailed me Mandrake 7.2 (along with Storm, Corel, Slackware 7.0, Redhat 6.0 and a bunch of other distros. I had once installed a prehistoric Mandrake, so my victim was preordained. My system is fairly standard, a PIII 850, 192mb ram, Voodoo 3 3000, SB Live, Adaptec 2940 + 2944, network card etc. I chose custom install, and prepared myself for what I was sure would be many hours of getting things to actually work post-install. To say I was impressed was an understatement, Mandrake install was easier and clearer than anything Bill Gates ever threw at me, and HW detection? every thing was 100% up and running without any intervention on my part. I am a console sort of person, and X is just something I will use when I am forced to, but once I booted up, a quick startx a boy was I shocked, X 4.0 and KDE2 all running with full 3d acceleration. I fired up Tux Racer as I was checking things out, and it bodes well, Linux has come a long way since I toyed with it. I have a feeling either MS will be forced to meet Linux head on one of these days, MS Linux maybe? Since from what I see, once the Linux community manages to implement anything akin to DirectX and thus gain wide support from the gaming industry, the Redmond Wunderkind will be on a fast track to oblivion if they don't have some contingency plans.

Ooops back to nub of it all. Ok so X was working, so I quickly exited the session, to get as far away from Netscape as I could. Like most people 'new' to Linux, I was a little overwhelmed at the sheer vastness of it all, and headed as fast as I could for the most speedy route to begin the learning process. Thank god for man pages, info pages, HOWTOs and the like, I was soon starting to feel like this was one mountain I could conquer.

Next up PPP, or was it? No, silly me used fdisk to partition initially and I made Linux one single partition didn't I. tsk tsk, well I wanted to learn more, so.... REINSTALL, this time with Mandrake's own tool, which in a word is awesome for the newer users, result:

Filesystem           1k-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda5               489992     55987    408705  12% /
/dev/hda8               241116      1481    227187   1% /boot
/dev/hda10             2514172    150644   2235816   6% /home
/dev/hda1              7158976   5588472   1570504  78% /mnt/win_c
/dev/hdb1              6285144   1685608   4599536  27% /mnt/win_c2
/dev/hde1              8233232        12   8233220   0% /mnt/win_c3
/dev/hdg1              2498940        12   2498928   0% /mnt/win_c4
/dev/hdh1              2498936    418500   2080436  17% /mnt/win_c5
/dev/hda7               241116       170    228498   0% /tmp
/dev/hda11             7937796   3655320   3879248  49% /usr
/dev/hda9               489992     65081    399611  14% /var
/proc/bus/usb           489992    489992         0 100% /proc/bus/usb

I am happy with that (the Win drives are games + multiple backups), so then on to PPP, unlike many who have sad tales to tell, my small local ISP has a handy dandy tar.gz file to set things up, unpack, run, few quetions like pass, modem and such, type ./ppp-on and viola! Nice some ISP's give a damn about their users... fantastic.

After a day or two, I had devoured every HOTWO, I made life easier for myself too with:

alias ht='cd /usr/share/doc/HOWTO/HTML/en;lynx index.html'

My little superhighway to fast help and my 1st ever alias, oh did I mention Netscape sucks and Lynx is sublime :)

Now I was wanting some access to Linux information, time to search the Web. I suppose I was lucky within a minute of two, I came across the Linux documentation Project and thus Linux Gazette. After perusing the online issue, I knew where it need to be, so FTP Mirror here we come and some time later all 60 issues on my HDD.

Ever since for the last week or so, I have been wading through the plethora of tips (Isn't Heather just the living end eh? :) I have managed to come to terms with Linux file structure, I have personalised bash and my environment to my liking, I have edited most of my .rc files, for example custom hdparm parameters, along with removing things like telnet and ensuring ssh is up and running. Almost everything I have learnt, is due to Linux Gazette, it never ceases to amaze me how much their is to learn. Only a few days ago, a friend of mine who has been using Linux for four years came over, to help me with a wine.conf issue, and I ended up teaching him a few things and minor commands he had never used nor knew existed. It just goes to show how extensive Linux is.

I suppose the point of my taking the time to pen a few words, is to reassure those new to Linux that much of the rubbish that gets bandied about that Linux is "hard" is in practice misguided. Certainly some distros are not as user friendly as say Mandrake or Red Hat to install, and presume a certain working knowledge, but any Linux once up and running, provided you are have a passion for computers and an enquiring mind is most certainly not rocket science, in other words, if you are content to click a mouse, and care nothing for what might live beneath the hood, then perhaps you deserve nothing more than Windoze.

I fit the profile of a normal advanced Windoze user, I can edit registry crap, trouble shoot .dll problems and all that jazz, but I certainly cannot write one line of code, thus I am sure that many newer LG readers wil relate to my experiences as a new Linux user. Sure I have had to stop and run for a man page at times, and been totally stumped at times, for example getting Wine to work (which I use for one prog only) made me tear my hair out, on the other hand VMware was painless. At the end of the day, it is only by overcoming problems that you learn, and the sudden "ZAP" of revelation once you master some problem makes it all worthwhile, Linux certainly lights my fire, a tinkerers delight, and I am sure that in the future, when I look back on my 7 years of Windoze, and compare it to the years of Linux to come (or whatever LInux becomes) I will wonder why I never made the change sooner. One thing I know for certain, I will never be tempted to buy a Winmodem :)

Security articles

Thu, 28 Dec 2000 09:54:31 -0800

[A guest commentary from our News Bytes editor. I asked him to summarize the controversy on Slashdot regarding SSH/SSL vulnerabilities, and to assess whether we need an article on it. -Mike]

Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 16:55:56 +0000 Subject: Re: Late News Bytes additions From: Michael Conry michael.conry@softhome.net

Hi Mike, please find attached the ( ../issue61/lg_bytes61.html ) news bytes 61 file. I did go through the SSH issues, and summarised them briefly. I kind of skirted around the SSL because it seemed less clear cut, and very much an issue of implementation and protecting users from themselves. Most discussion in the links focussed on SSH in any case.

I would recommend, not an article on Holes in SSH, but rather an article on security in general. Lots of contradictory messages on Slashdot indicate that people still don't really understand what is going on or how exactly to administer a public key system.

The issues are not new, but are inherent in public key systems. pgp,gnupg is the same (how can i be sure the key i think is yours is really yours?). The biggest issue is probably users (lusers) ignoring warning messages.

The new dsniff software is probably worth commenting on also. I included a link in my short discussion, but have not studied it. What could be very interesting would be for an article to highlight how to use tools like this to strengthen your system/network by scrutinising it and probing it. Focus tends to be on how these tools allow malicious people to break other people's systems.

Linux On Your Desktop @ Linux Gazette

Sat, 6 Jan 2001 20:17:58 +0200 (IST)
Yotam Medini (ymedini from actcom.co.il)

"Linux On Your Desktop" is an important article. But Linux-Gazette should `edit out' several English mistakes. Syntax and Spelling. This does not help Linux get a professional image.

[Mike] Linux Gazette is not a professional publication--it's a volunteer publication. We do not have the resources to proofread and reword every article. That would take 10-20 hours per issue. Would you like to volunteer to proofread a few articles each issue? If you're willing, it would certainly be welcome.

Linux Gazette Logo

Sat, 20 Jan 2001 01:40:44 -0500
Richard Storey (richards from primerafinancialgroup.com)

It would be so nice if I could come to your index.html page and not have to load a 40k logo. Wouldn't an 8k do nicely? :-)

[Mike] We'll consider this for the next version of the Gazette, but most requests have been asking for more graphics, not less. 8 K would get us a logo that's just a bit bigger than the sponsorship logos are now. Since our graphic designer put a lot of time into getting the shape and color of the logo just right, I don't want to ask him to somehow manage to keep the same look while squeezing the file down to a fifth of its size. It is a jpg, which is the most efficient graphics format there is.

In any case, doesn't it just load once in your browser and then the cached version is used thereafter?

Thanks for your feedback.

[Richard Storey] Not knocking the great design of the logo, but aside from slow loading it creates its motif doesn't match that of the rest of the site. As far as graphics go, look at Yahoo. They've managed to keep their site just ahead of text level, which I use most of the time anyway. There's a lot to be said for a site which is designed cleanly, neatly, for fast load times, but is rich because of its content rather than *eye-candy*.

[Heather] You're quite welcome to visit us in lynx, the world's fastest browser, since it wastes no time whatsoever on eyecandy ... unless you absolutely insist on working at it. My normal surfing mode is lynx-ssl with zgv wired into my MIME support, so I can see an occasional photo if I feel like it.

We make a serious effort to be lynx clean around here anyway, since that's how we produce the text version of the download.

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Published in issue 62 of Linux Gazette February 2001
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