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HELP WANTED : Article Ideas

Send tech-support questions, Tips, 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 (for questions about the Gazette) or The Answer Gang Knowledge Base (for questions about Linux) to see if it has been answered there.

Is it possible to create customized Linux install cd?

Fri, 24 May 2002 03:33:29 +0000
Simkin Ramses (simkin1 from hotmail.com)

I've seen the Red Hat site dealing with genhdlist/genhddir,(http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/RedHat-CD-HOWTO-5.html) but is there a way to change the Red Hat installation gui to include a customized set of RPM's? (something other than custom/workstation/server)? I'd like to try and bundle my own Linux installation CD, but using programs that aren't included on the standard install cd's, and still utilizing the Red Hat base installation software. Any suggestions?

I confess that when I customize I go a bit more whole hog than this and tend to skip native distros' installer routines. Still, having the partition phase can be nice, and having your local staff able to tag Our_Local_Stuff might be nice too.
So, folks - send us articles on tweaking installers to do your bidding :) -- Heather

Playing CD Music Digital Output

Wed, 22 May 2002 12:29:09 -0500
Bill Parks (wparks from us.ibm.com)

I purchased an eMachine to run Linux on. It came with (sorry) XP which I used to check out the hardware. It plays music CD's fine but uses digital data over the IDE buss rather than a cable from the CD drive to the sound input.

Loaded Red Hat 7.3 and it plays sounds fine but it won't play music CD's...the player just runs and the CD spins along.

How do I configure the CD/sound system to pick up the digital sound data on the IDE buss to play the music?

Thank You,
Bill Parks

ps -ef problem

6 May 2002 11:56:35 -0000
prosenjit bhattacharyya (prosenjit_bhattacharyya from rediffmail.com)


I am running Red Hat Linux 6.2 on an Intel server. The problem is I cannot access Linuxconf over the web and my SWAt configuration tool also does not run. The apache server is working fine. I have a proxy connection configured on my PC for Internet access.

How can I implement Acess Control Lists in Linux on the lines of Solaris? If possible where can i get more info and necessary s/w support?


It's good when strangers cannot change the controls on your box - it's not so good when you can't. Articles on defending your web-driven admin tools from joyriding visitors would be appreciated by many readers.
Note that there are many flavors of Access Control Lists these days, but few easy-to-read articles about setting them up. That'd be cool too. -- Heather

What documentation is available for ramdisk and initrd fundamentals?

Mon, 29 Apr 2002 19:10:28 -0700
HATHAWAY Steven J * LEDS (Steven.J.Hathaway from state.or.us)

What are Linux ramdisk fundamentals? This spawns various related questions below. I could use some information to fill the gaps in my understanding of the ramdisk processes related to Linux startup. I have successfully created several RAM based Linux systems built from scratch and using for reference the Slackware boot/root floppy disk layouts - that do not specify "initrd" to Lilo.

A mini-howto or full how-to may be useful as a guide for developers of embedded linux and small custom systems.

Lilo can pass parameters to the kernel and the init process. Does Lilo do the passing of parameters to "init" or does the kernel pass the parameters from Lilo onto the "init" process? When does Lilo (boot.b) get out of the way and allow things to happen?

I can find only scatterd documentation that explains how to use ramdisk and initrd, but nothing on how to control the side-effects of ramdisk usage between the kernel, lilo, and init.

  init level changes (/etc/inittab)

What gets executed first (/linuxrc or the "init" process)? Or do they try to operate in parallel? ugh! (MS/Windows try to invoke many of the startup processes in parallel.)

When "initrd" is specified in "lilo.conf" and the Linux kernel is configured for ramdisk support, and the system is booted, what ramdisk image is loaded first or at all?

The "initrd" image or the kernel ramdisk image?

What programs are responsible for the loading the "initrd" and "ramdisk" root images (kernel or LILO boot.d).

Note that the Linux kernel does not need LILO in order to load a ramdisk from a second floppy using the same drive.

When is "pivot_root" an implicit process, and when must it be explicitly invoked?

What is the difference between a LILO specified "initrd" and the kernel specified ramdisk loaded as root?

Lilo can change and override some kernel default parameters.

Much of my experimenting is with "Linux From Scratch" (http://www.linuxfromscratch.org) as a basis to start from.

I have a fundamental problem understanding the relationships between an "initrd" image, ramdisk root image, and the use of /initrd, /linuxrc, and swap-root. I am essentially trying to create a memory-based portable Linux solution (without X) that is loadable on multiple i86 (PC) architectures from floppy. Each section, except for UTILDISK, I am wishing to have a minimal set of products to implement the desired functionality. This is for computers with many megabytes of memory, using no hard disk.

  BOOTDISK    a floppy containing kernel and LILO boot products
  INITDISK    a floppy containing loadable modules
  ROOTDISK    a floppy containing a compressed root filesystem
              and a small set of utilities (i.e. busybox)
  UTILDISK    floppy disks containing useful utilities.

BootDisk Floppy: format "minix" mounted as "/fd" Created as a LILO boot disk

/fd/kernel.gz                    my kernel.gz (2.2.x, 2.4.x)
/fd/boot/message                 general message
/fd/boot/boot-text.b             boot with "message" file
/fd/boot/boot.b -> boot-text.b   make default boot loader
/fd/boot/chain.b                 chain boot loader
/fd/boot/map                     lilo boot map
/fd/etc/lilo.cmd                 backup of lilo command file
/fd/dev/fd0                      device for loading ramdisk
/fd/dev/fd0u1440                 device for loading ramdisk
/fd/dev/null                     bitbucket device
/fd/proc                         is/not required for Lilo boot?

I can successfully load a ramdisk as root using for sample the Slackware bootdisk and rootdisk floppies, and then try to create my own RAM resident Linux using Floppy Disks. But the Slackware distributions do not mention "initrc" in the "lilo.conf" files.

Kernel Flags (rdev)
  root = /dev/fd0    = root device (or secondary ramdisk)
  use ramdisk        = true (load image into ramdisk)
  prompt for ramdisk = true (for ramdisk on second floppy)
  ramdisk offset     = zero (not on disk shared by kernel)

See attached hathaway.lilo.conf.txt

Partial Ramdisk Directory for intermediate root system

/linuxrc          Started by kernel after ramdisk loaded
/dev/ ...         All devices and/or MAKEDEV scripts
/proc             Kernel information structure
/bin/ ...         Support programs (i.e. busybox)
/sbin/ ...        System programs
/lib/ ...         Libraries for dynamic linked programs
/lib/modules/ ... Kernel modules
/etc/ ...         Configuration files
/etc/rc.d/...     Files supporting /etc/inittab
/etc/inittab      Config file for sysvinit

This document is prepared for public consumption with no copyright.

Steven J. Hathaway

Note: now that it is published here, it falls under the collective copyright of the Linux Gazette. You do not need to give up your copyrights to publish an article or thread here... you just need to allow us the ability to give it away worldwide or for corporate entities (such as RedHat, SuSE, etc) to sell it on their CD collections, and not provide any odd restrictions that conflict with that. -- Heather

Actually, "no copyright" means it's public domain. Putting a license on public domain material is like putting a license on air. You can do it but everybody's free to ignore it. It's kind of misleading though, because people might think they have only the license's rights and not the public domain rights too. -- Iron

fvwm95 FvwmButtons

Sun, 28 Apr 2002 22:29:48 +0200
Hans Borg (Hans.Borg from Physics.umu.se)

Hej Answer Gang,

This is my third question in a short time. I hope you don,t get fed up. All previous "problems" asked for has been nicely solved.

Q: This question is about the fvwm95 WM handling. It is more of "cosmetic" than functional nature. Using Slakware 7.1 distribution with Linux kernel 2.2.16 for this set up. Introduced a button in the "Button bar" that fires up an executable. That works fine, but the "Button" in the bar then always shows "pressed in". Clicking, for example, Xterm defined in the same "Button bar" always returns the "button" as "not in". What controls this? Is it the return status from the fired up executable, or is it defined somewhere in the fvwm95rc script or something else ? Hoping for some nice advice, or any tip is welcome.

Best regard

fvwm95 is a fvwm-family window manager which has been tweaked to give the maximum similarity to a stock Windows(tm) 95 interface. It's ancient, but many people like it because it's much more lightweight than the Desktops.
Notes about giving fvwm95 a tune-up, or tweaking the current revisions of Fvwm 2 to act more like fvwm95 (with a few less bugs), would be appreciated.
Some people may also experiment with qvwm (Japanese sound "kew" = 9, Roman numeral "V" = 5 --> 95 window manager). (http://www.qvwm.org) -- Heather

lpd/lpr problems with serial printer

Fri, 26 Apr 2002 22:53:25 -0500
Mark Gorat (markgorat from cox.net)

I am using Mandrake 8.2. I have recently installed a serial printer using a Digi Classic-8 ISA card. I have several terminals that use this card without any problems. I can print to this printer by using 'cat {filename} > /dev/ttyS11' and this works just fine, however I cannot get lpr to print to this printer. I think that my /etc/printcap file is ok(I hope). If anyone could point me in the right direction on this problem I would greatly appreciate it!

Mark Gorat

This message was run through the laundry to wash out stray = signs and the HTML attachment was hung out to dry. -- Heather

[LG 77] wanted #1 private email

Mon, 29 Apr 2002 06:52:55 +0200
Christoff van Zyl (Christoffv from marinedata.co.za)

Hallo Cheryl

I just want to know from you if you have solved your problem.

If you did will you point me in a direction on how to setup a Linux server, with internet access and e-mail serve, that are connected to two win98 machines. The Linux machine must dial on demand when one of the win98 machines want access to the internet.



Overall, this kind of question is rather a common one to The Answer Gang. It would be great for one of our readers who lives in both worlds to contribute an article about their dial-outbound-on-demand setup. My guess is that it could use masqdial.
Thanks Christoff, for expressing the question clearly! -- Heather

[LG 78] wanted #3 Lexmark Z22

Wed, 01 May 2002 18:33:53 -0400
neil (ntan from crosslink.net)

I would like to find out how he got the Lexmark Z22 to do even that...I have not been able to get mine to print more then 1 line before it locks up. I am using RH 7.2.

Neil T.

Articles on using GDI printers or other winprinters would be appreciated. For that matter, any articles on really setting up your printing environment would be good. There's always the Linux Printing HOWTO (http://www.linuxprinting.org/howto) but personal experience and your tale of success might help a lot of people. -- Heather


[lug] MPAA and Senate...again (fwd)

Fri, 24 May 2002 11:22:04 -0500 (COT)
John Karns (jkarns from csd.net)
via the Boulder, Colorado LUG list (lug@lug.boulder.co.us)

They just don't seem to be willing to take "no" for an answer from the public!

John Karns

Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 08:49:28 -0600

From Slashdot.org, "MPAA to Senate: Plug the Analog Hole!"

As quoted in the article, Cory Doctorow writes: "this is a much more sweeping (and less visible) power-grab than the Hollings Bill, and it's going forward virtually unopposed. ...the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group is bare weeks away from turning over a veto on new technologies to Hollywood."

There is a comments form available as well as Doctorow's article on "the analog hole" for EFF links in there.


Mon, 6 May 2002 09:49:53 -0700
Gary Lawrence Murphy (garym from canada.com)

Isn't the RedFlag caricature just a little racist? Isn't it just a bit condescending to have the Chinese Linux user portrayed as a myopic pre-revolutionary peasant farmer with a cronic overbite? Maybe it's just me, but it doesn't seem like a great way to win new friends.

To offer a constructive alternative, in Chinese mythology, isn't there some triad of great heros where one is a king, one is a soldier and the other is a sombre scholar; I think these are the figures you see in the shines at most Chinese restaurants -- the Scholar for the RedFlag user seems a far more apropos choice than a rice-farmer ;)

PS. I don't think the other caricatures are necessarily flattering either. I don't identify with the Debian geek, and Mandrake geeks aren't all babies. But the point is, it's one person's vision. That doesn't mean it's the only vision.
Perhaps Franck might be willing to spin his imagination and draw a few alternative designs of the different distro users. But that's his decision. -- Mike

I've been in contact with Franck, and I think you're right about the possibilities of future alternates...

... the artist replies ...

And of course as Mike pointed out, it is a "one mans vision". If I was to draw something else for someone else, isn't that the same thing once again? Am I not just drawing for someone else's own opinion? ;)
I definitely don't identify myself as the RedHat geek, yet thats all I use at home. Look outside the square and think of the reasons why I chose the characters I did. Here are reasons for a couple:
New Distro, easy to install and almost "childs" play to use which is why I chose the baby character.
Hard core hacker, serious individual who tends to spend a lot of time in front of his pc tweaking his distro. The majority of Debian users I have spoken to tend to have pony tails and a goaty. Of course not all look like this :)
Asian chap, and what do we associate asians with? Of course the Chinese Coolie hat and dark robe. Yes I could have used an Emperor or some famous fighting character, but Linux is the poor mans OS which is why I chose the rice paddy farmer character I did.
I can guarantee no matter what I draw I will never please everyone. What a boring life it would be if we all agreed :)
I'm sure this will start a great debate in the Mailbag column :)
Franck Alcidi

And RedHat is the ComputerAssociates type. I wondered about SuSE though.

At least we'll find out how many people are listening!

[Ben] For myself, I find it hard to disagree with your arguments above, although I have little doubt that somebody somewhere will be offended by at least one (and possibly all) of them. There is a line at which humor becomes defamation, but it's a very difficult one to draw;

Good thing we have all these talented artists to try it. -- Heather.

[Ben] ... this is one of the reasons that the press in the US has as its limiting factor "absence of malice" rather than the laws of slander, etc. that apply to everyone else. <shrug> I also believe that Political Correctness has been carried way, way, WAY too far, and doesn't deserve much more than to be ignored on most occasions. A prickly type might have taken offense at much of the "Russian spy" banter that gets aimed at me, for example; for myself, I take it in the vein in which I believe it was intended,

Of course, I wouldn't have said it during the 1950s or 60s when there were actual concerns (or hysteria) about Russian spies. It's only because times have changed that it makes a good joke. -- Iron

[Ben] ...trust my friends here in the Gang to respond well to "did you mean what I thought you meant?" questions, and think myself more than fully capable of dealing with any actual offense that may come up.

Ditto. -- Iron

[Ben] Yes, that trust could be abused, but -
If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid.
   -- Alister, in alt.sysadmin.recovery
I also note the Usenet truism that flame wars most often get started not by a person who is offended by something but by a third party taking the position that the material may offend someone else. To me, that's a sign of arrogance and a note of incipient trouble; a person who has actually been offended may accept an apology and make peace, but someone who only imagines an offense is not so easily mollified. It's the reason that that kind of "complaints" are considered to be "trolls" in a number of newsgroups.

Is this a trolling of recursive flame bait? Just asking. -- Gary Lawrence Murphy

Re: The Answer Gang has moved

Tue, 7 May 2002 09:01:16 -0400 (EDT)
Christopher Murtagh (christopher.murtagh from mcgill.ca)

This message (below) was sent to the YellowDog linux general list. I cannot find your subscription to unsubscribe you. Please do so or turn off your bot. Thanks.

Christopher Murtagh (YDL-general list admin)

The message below was an auto-response from mail address <tag@lists.linuxgazette.net>, not a mailing list.
Somebody sent a message to <tag@lists.linuxgazette.net> also containing a "From:" mentioning the Yellowdog Linux general list, and the autoresponder replied with its information that <tag@lists.linuxgazette.net> has moved.
Possibly this email was an instance of the Klez.E worm, which produces forged "From:" taken from the infected system's address book. We've received several hundred such, ourselves. If this is the case, credit the security model of a certain large corporation.
In other words, there's no list membership to turn off. Credit whoever emailed <tag> mentioning you in the headers.
On the plus side, if they do it again in the near future, you won't see an autoresponse, as the "vacation" program which produces this response attempts not to respond to the same sender too frequently.
If the Yellow Dog Linux general mailing list happens to have <tag@lists.linuxgazette.net> subscribed, please remove that email address.
-- Dan WIlder, SSC sysadmin
Other list admins out there who have open posting are probably seeing a lot of the same worms. We hope that they get eaten by a fish fairly soon. Meanwhile, for our readers' amusement, the actual message from the bot -- Heather


We have received a message which appears to originate from you containing a question for either <tag> or <answerguy> at ssc.com.

These email addresses are no longer in service. However, read on. Unless you're a 'bot, that is. If you're a 'bot, please stop here, read no farther, and go stand in the rain until you rust.

Jim Dennis is the "Answer Guy" of the Linux Gazette. Questions or Linux tips that you send to the Linux Gazette WILL BE PUBLISHED in our monthly webzine aimed at "Making Linux A Little More Fun!" There's so much Linux in the world that other readers were invited to help out, so we are now "The Answer Gang".

The Linux Gazette Answer Guy has moved. He's now in The Answer Gang:


...but still at the same domain, ssc.com.

Your note has NOT been forwarded. If it's about Linux, please resend it to the new name. There is a FAQ about the Answer Gang:


The FAQ in summary:

  • This is a PUBLIC service mirrored in 47 countries and a whole bunch of languages.
  • The only confidentiality we can offer is to make you anonymous (if you request).
  • We're all volunteers and can't swear to quality of answers, or that you'll even be answered.
  • We have a sense of humor and we aren't afraid to use it.
  • Spammers will be slapped with a dead trout and marinated before being flame broiled with a side of spinach.
  • It'd be nice if you told us what you've tried already.
  • "7" isn't a linux version, be more specific than that, e.g SuSE 7.0, Redhat 7.2.
  • Use real subject lines, don't waste your 40 characters.
  • Please send boring old plain text, not HTML, word-processing documents, PDF, graphics files, troff source, TeX, old shoes, or miscellaneous vegetables.

Help us help you, to Make Linux A Little More Fun!

If you don't know what Linux is, you almost certainly came to the wrong place... we don't answer questions about any of the following:

...you get the idea :)

-- The Linux Gazette Answer Gang.


Quoted Printable email

Tue, 7 May 2002 17:15:30 +0100 (BST)
Mike Martin (redtuxxx from yahoo.co.uk)

As regards the FAQ in respect of mail format - there is a definite case where quoted printable mail is actually better than ascii text.

This is for non-american english speakers - several characters appear as ascii 127 - 256 (extended ascii) which do not appear in pure ascii.

For example

(english pound)(156)

Could we add/amend the faq to take this into account (flame-retardent suit on)

It's a good thing we have that TAG discount for flame retardant suits, we certainly get plenty of 'em around here :)
If it isn't already in there it's supposed to be -- I have very clearly, multiple times, stated that if you need to defend the odd characters of your native language from being mangled during 7-bit mailing, I will support rather than oppose you using Quoted Printable.
The annoyance factor of using it when you shouldn't, is that mailers use QP equal signs everywhere instead of properly wrapping their lines. And they will wrap the words right in the middle sometimes, which is even worse as it means I have to decode the sucker.
The reason it needs to be in the FAQ is twofold:
  1. using QP when you don't need to, reduces your chance of winning the TAG lotto
  2. not using it when you do need it, makes life harder on our translators translating you, and ends up with me getting your name's diacriticals wrong during publication time, and stuff like that.
Yes, proper pound signs might count for that, too. If it's the only odd character though, I think I might figure out from context that it's not ... uh... whatever my current screen charset thinks that is, and might be a british moneysign.

For example, this was a british-pound in email, but came out a capital U-with-two-dots symbol in my normal console charset. After it passed through Ben's mailer, it was a Yen, which is still wrong, but at least is some sort of money.

And for one character whose context is obvious, I'd rather not deal with wordwrap hell. Even though I have Mike's little script to de-QP the silly thing. -- Heather
<sigh> A case of the nerves and assuming before reading, eh? From the FAQ (http://www.linuxgazette.net/tag/ask-the-gang.html) :
Yes, we are aware that MIME Quoted-Printable can be useful in preserving non-English character sets, but mail to TAG in a language other than English is very rare. Use it only if it's necessary.
Comments and corrections after reading and understanding, please. A single character not being correctly translated does not make QP "better" in any sense of the word; I'd far rather see one byte of "cyrillic" than three dozen "=20"s. -- Ben Okopnik

...Some arguments back and forth, ellided...

"The prefered type of mail is plain-text, however some characters will not appear in this format, for example the UK pound sign.

I believe that is a very poor example because it suggests that for the sake of only one character, QP is not only okay but desired. For a moneysign I think it's counter productive.
For example
2 (squiggle) tip: bla bla tweak annoy? tweak the bonk bonk and there you go!

To ensure that code snippets etc appear QP can be used."

Frankly I have not seen code snippets containing the foreign text that needed QP ... and I've been doing this a long while. -- Heather
But in fact, we don't get scripts [destroyed by QP] sent to TAG. Nor do we get more than a handful of non-English messages. It really only comes up in people's names, and they really should be ASCII-fying the name anyway becase that's the only way to guarantee it won't be mangled (at least until all mailers, editors and web browsers handle Unicode). German, fortunately, has well-established ae/oe/ue/ss to replace the non-ASCII characters. With other languages you have to wing it, but (1) ASCII-fication at the source saves the editors time because they don't have to manually convert each high-byte character to the appropriate HTML entity, and (2) those HTML entities don't show up right anyway on screens using a different charset than the author did. Some Latin-1 characters leak through into LG, especially in From: headers, because we don't have time to correct them all, but they will show up as who knows what on a Latin-2 or other system. -- Iron
Perhaps unclear is under which contexts we'd like to encourage rather than discourage QP usage. MikeM may think a pound-lucre is enough; I don't. ... He's at an unfair advantage 'cuz I'm the one with the email snippers, so I'll give him a fair shake by offering a replacement paragraph - though I do not think it expresses at all what he would have expressed.
Then Ben gets handed the scissors since he maintains the FAQ :)


Send text-only content

To maximize your chance that the Gang will read your message, you should send it in a form that doesn't force us to make any special efforts to read your letter. For example, word processing attachments are right out (Word docs and PDFs, among others). While a few mailers may read HTML or automatically decode MIME text many people consider this "feature" a problem instead and hit [delete] without a second glance - here are instructions for turning them off. (Note that we do our own HTML processing so it does not help us to use your HTML version.) If you need to send us a program or an image - rare, we can usually figure things out by description - make an arrangement to upload it to us; the list tosses out binary attachments and we would never see your mail! Text attachments are okay but inlines are better. Quoted Printable is a special case - if you are writing us in a foreign character set, we want to see your words as you meant them. (It helps translation immensely.) But if you have no special letters to defend, we really appreciate not having to run your letter through the laundry to wash out stray = signs. :)


In this suggestion, I no longer mention vcards, and I no longer assume what foreign language might be used - it's just about characters - in fact, if someone from the norselands isn't using thorns and umlauts, I don't mind seeing their message stay 7 bit too. I demand plaintext but I also tell people why - which I hope will encourage them to meet the request. Finally, for QP the point is so we can understand them, and maybe this has a touch of humor, which is good too.

As for moneysigns I'm not afraid to go look up whether that squiggle was a euro or a pound. Although a two pence tip would still use a cent sign, no?

Fianlly - not about QP but for the FAQ - the ask-the-gang guidelines don't warn people to expect a sense of humor. Given the scorch marks from last month, it probably ought to get mentioned.

Re: Question

Sun, 19 May 2002 13:47:57 -0700
Linux Gazette (gazette from ssc.com)
Derk Drukker (d.drukker@planet.nl)

I am completely new to Linux. Just bought SuSe 8.0 and I need lots of info!

Congratulations. I'll be installing SuSE 8 this afternoon too. -- Mike

It installed without any problem.

I still feel lost in Linux. Are there any books for people who are used to Windows/newbies to Linux that you can especially recommend ?

There are a few included in your SuSE pkg. If you installed the susehelp pkg, then you should have the Network Admin Guide (NAG), the LPG (Linux Programmer's Guide), and a few others from the Linux Documentation Project (LDP) (Linux Documentation Project). To view them, you will need a dvi viewer installed, such as kdvi or xdvi. Then run the viewer and point it to /usr/share/dic/Books/LDP and start reading. There may be others at the LDP web site, have a look there. Of course, the SuSE manuals are also quite good, if they came with your purchase.

Others I can think of at the moment are "Running Linux" by Matt Welsh, and "Linux A to Z", sorry can't remember the author's name.

-- John Karns

PS to Answer Gang: Where did that "How can I get help on Linux?" question from the old FAQ go where we listed all those books? Or has it all been incorporated into that message?
See the Answer Gang Knowledge Base for answers to other questions about Linux. http://www.linuxgazette.net/tag/kb.html -- Mike

If I understand it right, it's OK for me to dowmload back issues of the Linux Gazette for my own personal use?

Oh yes. Not only OK but encouraged. You may find that many back issues are already on your distro, if you installed the big documentation packages, since the _Gazette_ is part of the Linux Documentation Project. -- Heather
Yep, that's what it's there for. You can download it, read it, give it to your friends, print it out and sell it, whatever. The back issues are in the Debian distribution; I'm not sure about SuSE.
The fine print is at http://www.linuxgazette.net/copying.html
For downloading convenience, all the issues are packed up in FTP files. See http://www.linuxgazette.net/faq/#formats_yes -- Mike

LG78 some email related problems

Wed, 8 May 2002 06:50:15 +0100
Neil Youngman (n.youngman from ntlworld.com)

As a general point, anything which has two whole three letter extensions (.jpg.pdf, .mp3.scr, and so on) especially when the second is one that may be reasonable to auto-view, you should be immediately suspicious that it's probably a virus.

s/second/first/ ?


Nope, I meant it as I said it. If the one on the end (the second extension) is auto-viewable ... e.g. PIF, GIF, DOC ... then the other one may be what it really is, or made up, or just trying to see if it can be auto viewed as either one.

I'm afraid I still think that's the wrong way round. In the example to which I was responding humor.mp3.scr is not an mp3. The first type is MP3, which it would be reasonable to auto-view. I always thought the last (second in this case) extension was what it really was (or at least, on a win box determines how 'doze tries to launch it). This has the advantage for the virus writer that the last extension may also be hidden, so the real type isn't always seen by the viewer, e.g they may see "humor.mp3", which appears harmless.

Windows will launch the bits as they really are - thus the decision is not about "is it really an MP3" ... which would give the media player a chance to blow it off as a mangled sound ... but "shall I auto launch it"; if yes go see the registry about it; the trojan gets to play puppydog in your rose garden.
Note that if you told explorer to hide mp3 because you know what it is, and you see mp3 anyway, then there was a doubled extension and you're not seeing the one on the tail end. We'll have to beware of this ourselves as Konqueror, Evolution and other file-managers-on-steroids come to popularity in Linux.
Doubled extensions often hide the autolaunch decision and may give it two chances to autolaunch. I don't think anybody questions why I'm fond of Linux for email instead. While it's possible to configure Linux mailers to do all sorts of crazy things, we don't currently have the registry mucking with our concepts of what are and what aren't programs, or launchable. -- Heather

But with the kind exception of .tar.gz and .tar.bz2 nearly all other double-tail filenames have been junk that ever came to my box. And if the last is not a compression sort (zip, gz, bz2, Z, sit, arj one time) usually a trojan as well.

I agree totally with this bit.


What does mail relay mean?

Fri, 3 May 2002 11:22:18 -0700
Peter Hutnick (peter from hutnick.com)


I take it you are responsible for http://linuxgazette.net/issue78/lg_backpage.html.

A link to that page was sent to a mailing list that I am on because of all of the good Klez.E info. I applicate that info, but the rest of the page seemed to be more or less random gibberish.

But that isn't why I am writing.

I am writing because it seems that you said:


I assume by "mail relay" you just mean you want Sendmail to work, so you can send mail from and to your computer. That's not a mail relay. A "mail relay" means that your Sendmail program accepts mail *from non-local senders to non-local recipients*. Normally, Sendmail accepts mail only if it's from a local user or to a local user. Otherwise, you open up your mail server for exploitation by spammers.


Mail relay means no such thing. You have described an /open/ mail relay. A relaying MTA is /any/ that accepts mail from non-local users and/or delivers to non-local users. Since we presently live in an age of smart clients connected by the internet this describes almost all mail servers.

For oodles of examples of "relay" being used correctly in context see http://www.sendmail.org/tips/relaying.html.

It is also not true that most mail servers only accept mail that is from or to a local user. My ISP relayed this message to you from my notebook over SMTP. It allows the relay because I am on the ISPs subnet, not because I have a local account on the mail server. This is typically what happens on a corporate mail server as well.

That page at www.sendmail.org gives several examples of how your final statement is untrue. That list is not exhaustive, for instance SMTP AUTH and POP-before-SMTP are both effective at stopping SPAMmers.

- -Peter Hutnick

/"\ ASCII Ribbon campaign against HTML e-mail
\ /
 X   Get my PGP key at http://hutnick.com/pgp
/ \  6128 5651 6F23 EC17 6EBD  737D 960A 20E6 76CA 8A59
Normally I snip out the sigs but I have to say, I approve of this sentiment. HTML e-mails drive me nuts every month...
Also I'd like to note for the record that the correct spelling for those annoying unsolicited advertisers is spammer - SPAM is a registered trademark of Hormel Foods, and the only relation between them is the reference repeated-to-death in a Monty Python skit. In the skit, at least, it still meant some sort of canned meat. -- Heather


it would be nice to see you

Sun, 28 Apr 2002 05:00:52 +0200
Constantin A. Dumitrescu (cadumitrescu from email.com)

Hello to everybody!

I was thinking that it would be nice if we - the readers of Linux Gazette - could see you. I have read the section "Meet the gang", and I'd like to see some pictures with you there.

Heather is preparing some cartoon caricatures. They won't be ready for this issue, but maybe the following month.
There are pics of me on my web site, http://iron.cx . -- Mike
Many, but not most, of the Gang have sent in some pictures of themselves for us to use. I'll be turning them into cute toons for next month.
With over 50 people in the Gang, we don't have nearly that many bios posted, either. Clearly, some of us are shy :) -- Heather

Let me say that you do a great job, I really have a lot to learn from you, and I appreciate your work. I don't have a permanent connection to the Internet, so I prefer to download your gazette and read it off-line. I have all issues from no. 1 to 77 on my hard drive an on some CD's.

I always enjoy hearing from a fan. -- Heather

I am a (young) romanian programmer who wants to live in the wonderful un*x universe, but I have still in front of me a long way on which I have to learn walking and on this road you assisted me at my first steps (well, second steps; the first steps was assisted by Linux Documentation Project (LDP) books; well, in fact it is about the third steps, because the second steps was assisted by manual pages and howto's, but the number is not so important for me). Maybe with this phrase I should start my message :-). Sorry. My name is Constantin A. Dumitrescu.

In the hope I will see the gang,

Best regards,

Perhaps someday when you are more confident in your Linux knowledge we will see you among their number, too! -- Heather

P.S.: Please, it it is the case - probably it is, excuse my (sort of) clumsy english - it is not my first language, and I am especialy not well prepared in the english grammar.

As the Australians might say, no worries. Thanks for writing in. -- Heather

layout tip

Fri, 24 May 2002 00:23:18 +1200
Thomi Richards (thomi from thomi.imail.net.nz)

just my two cents worth on the matter of a new layout...

i suggest that you DONT use flashy plugins like java or flash. too often i have seen online mags think they can look better by using these tools. i have yet to see it work. for people still stuck on the slow dialup connection, the plugins can be hell to download aswell...

stylesheets and plain old html work fine, in my opinion.

Thomi Richards
want to get involved?? we're looking for artists!

Thanks for your input. We won't be using Java or Flash because that would cut off a significant part of our readership.
The new look will be... someday. Not this month it looks like. I always come across other things to do instead (you know how that goes...) My latest project has been the Cheetah template developers' guide (http://www.cheetahtemplate.org/learn.html). -- Mike
I can assure you that my sections of the Gazette will be lynx clean. I use lynx in preference to the handful of GUI browsers I also use, and could hardly stand to have my biggest project look its worst in my favorite browser, or be unreadable there. -- Heather

This page edited and maintained by the Editors of Linux Gazette Copyright © 2002
Published in issue 79 of Linux Gazette June 2002
HTML script maintained by Heather Stern of Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

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