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The Mailbag
From The Readers of Linux Gazette

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.

Linux Voice Mail

Thu, 26 Sep 2002 19:27:13 -0700
Christine Jamison (technobabe from mail.nwmagic.net)

Dear Answerguy:

I am looking to make a Linux Voice-mail system, and using Google, I found the following:


From THerbic on Sat, 06 Feb 1999

integrated e-mail, messaging, voice mail, faxing capabilities

Yep. Linux has integrated mail, messaging, voice mail and faxing capabilities. They all work and you integrate them with shell, Perl, TCL/Tk and/or CGI scripts.


Claiming to be a response from:

By James T. Dennis, tag@lists.linuxgazette.net Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org

So, can you tell me what hardware and software I need to make a Linux-based voice mail system (preferrably with 2 or 3 ports)? Thanks in advance for any help.

Christine Jamison

I think you want to start by looking at GNU Bayonne... Cheers -- jra

I think that someone describing how they are really using such a setup would be a lot of fun. Prospective authors, please see our Author Guidelines.
Although "Linux has integrated..." is expressing at too broad a scale. If someone knows of a specific distro which has set these up together as an integrated answer, please tell us so we can mention it for News Bytes. -- Heather

mgp (magicpoint) and mplayer

Tue, 8 Oct 2002 16:20:28 +0200
Robos (robos from muon.de)

Hi Folks

Ben recently said (in the powerpoint thread) that he uses mgp and since I wanted to fiddle with it a little too I thought I ask here: Is it possible to embed the mplayer window in mgp? Has anyone done this? I managed to get mplayer to play with the %system call but I had to disable mgp to take over the screen (thus become windowed) and mplayer will run in its own window too.

Not that I'm an expert on "mgp", but I believe that's the only way you can have it: "mplayer" does not take a "-geometry" option, and that's what the "%xsystem" tag (which embeds an X app) requires. For an example of this, take a look at "sample.mgp" in your "docs/mgp/examples" directory. -- Ben

If no one has, mplayer might get embedded when I know the win id of mgp via -wid id. xwininfo spits it out but I wanted to do something like this.

in bla.mgp:

> %system "mplayer vid.mpg -vo x11 -wid `some bash script or command to get the win id`

But for xwininfo I have to click into the window or provide it with the win id :(

Does anybody have a idea?

TIA Robos

Hi, Robos :-)

Which Window Manager are you using? If you are using FVWM2, then it is possible to give the window a default ID anyway.

-- Thomas Adam

I still don't think you'll be able to do it (please let me know if you do manage it, though!), but we've talked about how to do this already (I think it was Thomas who asked about it): you can specify a name for your "mgp" window when you launch it, then feed that name to "xwininfo" with a "-name" parameter. -- Ben
There you have it, folks. Looks like Robos stumped the Answer Gang. Fellow readers, if you are Making Magicpoint A Little More Fun :) we'd like to hear from you and publish some really cool tricks. -- Heather

Net2Phone and Linux

Wed, 16 Oct 2002 19:49:52 +0000
root (root from ns1.cbm-arow.org)


We just had a "Linux" technician come out to our office and install RedHat as our Internet Proxy and Mail Server and he has now left...however, I am left holding the bag to figure it all out and how to fix various things.

One item is the figure out how to make the Net2phone program work.. Except for the Linux Server, everyone uses Windows. Since we are in Africa, this program is very important for the staff to call home. I have no idea what to put in the TCP or UDP port sections. Is there a standard port or do I have to configure something on the Linux server (a machine totally dedicated to Linux) or what?

Also, with our previous Mdaemon email service where we used Windows 2000, we were able to keep a copy of all emails going in/out in an archive area so that we could refer back to them should someone lose their mail or couldn't find an email sent to them/from them. I don't know how to configure the RedHat to place outgoing/incoming mails onto another computer as an archive. Can you help with this as well?

I assume the tech installed sendmail as your mail server. While it is a very good mail server, it doesn't do copies as you'd like. (Things might have changed in the years since I tried it, but I'm too tired to investigate it right now.) If you uninstall sendmail and install postfix, it can easily be done. Postfix has a configuration option called "always_bcc" which will copy all incoming and outgoing email to another account. However, without knowing the setup you have (did the tech set up aliases? Any special options like masquerading?), it might not be as simple as un/installing some RPMs. -- Faber

I'm here in West Africa where I have little or no help and no reference books.

Since you say "the Internet works", you've got a plethora of reference materials! All you need actually. Check out The Linux Documentation Project at http://www.tldp.org. There are HOWTOs on setting up mailservers and much more.

Another great resource is Google (www.google.com). Searching for "Net2phone linux" at google brought up several links that might help you. -- Faber

Only a little common sense and alot of prayer. I would appreciate ANY help anyone could give me concerning these two items. I may have been vague with my requests but since I'm new at this, I'm not very clear about anything other than the Internet works and the mail does go out and come in.


Hmm, I know we have LG mirror sites in South Africa; it's only on the same continent, but it should hopefully be close enough to speed up searching our back issues. Still, I don't think I've seen Net2Phone go by. The LinuxDoc mirror to remember is Zambia's? http://www.linux.org.za/LDP
I think this is only the voice/video conferencing portion of a bigger question above, but it sounds like that'd be a popular topic for an article here. -- Heather

X Display's own mind after installing Japanese language support and programmes

Wed, 16 Oct 2002 22:20:34 +0200
Wilf (wbr from free.fr)
Summary: after some struggles and some success with setting up Japanese on his European setup of Linux, Wilf also hopes to set up some other languages too. Most of our Gang hang out in one language only, so I'm invited any reader with a more worldly penguin on their desk to help out.
If you want to submit in article style, please see our Author Guidelines. Otherwise, please make sure to copy The Answer Gang (tag@lists.linuxgazette.net) as well as Wilf when you reply. -- Heather

Hya folks!

I am struggling to install Japanese support on my Linux box based on Mandrake 8.1 (western Europe edition). Despite following instructions on how to do this I am quite at a loss what's going on. (Is that another point I have in common with 90% of all Linuxians using/understanding 10% of Linux' capacity?)

Reminder: I'd like to have the facility to enter and read Japanese text in a wordprocessor and email programme and to look up a dictionary, but run a Linux box based on a western European interface and latin1/latin15 input. JWPce (a Freeware for Windows and, DO believe it, stable) would be an excellent comparsion.

So far, I have used two different methods:

  1. I added Japanese language support and programmes to my -then- quite well running linux box, undertook necessary changes in following instructions found at quite a few places too many to remember, and experimenting myself with different configurations and setups. Now, using a user account to work with the linux box I start up the x-display (KDE) : in a quite random fashion the icons and panel show up and I can get on working, or it may show only the icons on the desktop and no panel at all, or, at the worst, just show a blank screen. Only several "logouts" or even "reboots" may grant me with an eventual display of a correctly fonctionning environment. This problem does not all turn up when I log in as root. I de-installed all programmes and replaced changed config files with the original ones I saved as backups. However, even having carefully "cleaned" up the problem persisted. Having been (and I still am) at a loss I decided to
  2. I reinstalled the whole system with Japanese language support and programmes which -at the beginning- worked out fine ... just fine for two sessions when the X-Display seemed to have changed its mind. Now, despite much praying on my knees, it may start up correctly and show the working environment, or it may show icons on the desktop only but no panel at all, or it may just show a blank screen. Here, too, root encounters no problem whatsoever.

The actual problem is not the permission to use this or that programme, but that the x-Display only displays when it is (and I take it for being just that) in the mood to do so.

Strangley, the Japanese fonts I installed show up in a browser, Emacs or wih a fontviewer, but so far I have not yet had the opportunity on how to using them in applications like Kmail or a wordprocessor.

For now, I re-installed the whole system without Japanese support and programmes, and all runs as smoothly as before.

I would greatly appreciate it if you and/or a reader could help me out here. I wonder if the problem is due to programmes which supply Japanese support (FreeWnn, Kinput2 and the likes) and upset the X-display or if I am missing out something very badly but am too blind to see... Would you know if Japanese have the same problem the other way round? If they install the Japanese version of a Linux Distribution and install let's say European language support and programmes, does the x-display play up, too?

. . . a day passes . . . -- Heather

Hya folks!

Refering to my recent email concerning the installation of Japanese language support and programmes, I hasten to inform you that I solved the mistery (or missery?) after some clicks only. Why make it easy when it you can make it yourself difficult...

In fact, when installing a distribution (reminder: I use Mandrake 8.1, western Europe edition) you need to select your language, the Japanese language and some programmes needed to enter Japanese text in a wordprocessor, email programme etc. Once the distribution installed, ROOT needs to execute "/usr/sbin/localedrake" and choose Japanese instead of the original language.

A user can configure his environment in two different ways:

Grand A

Personal Country, Language and Keymap are set of the user's choice. This does not alter the the display of the interface or menus : they continue to be displayed in the corresponding language. To enter Japanese text in say Kword, hit the keys SHIFT and SPACE and then enter the text in r-o-m-a-j-i. Nevertheless, how to get out of this mode I would not know... One more thingy : having set the iso8859-15 keymap, the user will not be able to type in the EURO currency symbol - although the personal configuration panel for Country and Language show that symbol. Luck„ Japane$e, Bri£ish and American$!!! Another thingy : mc displays illegible caracters when it comes to OK, CANCEL or displaying names of directories. Other thingies remain to be discovered yet. Hint : only ROOT can help here. ROOT needs to reset the language to the original language via "/usr/sbin/localdrake" and Europeans can join the "international-currency-display-users'-club", meaning all's back to normal, meaning as normal as normal can normally be.

Grand B.

To display a Japanese interface and menus the user needs to select his country (not Japan - unless you have a Japanese keyboard or you do not mind searching for the right keys and combination, that is). As to language and keymap the user needs to select Japanese in the first case, and a keymap compatible with Japanese input (say keymap "jisx0208.1983-0" or "iso10646-1") in the latter case. Sure, the user may as well go for a real Japanese distribution, but you KNOW what they are saying: "Do it at your own risk!" Personally, I don't, and, mind you, I don't even know where to click when it reads "Quit" on a Japanese screen.

It is interesting to note the different effects this has on GNOME and KDE.

I have come across suggestions like adding someTHINGs to SOME files like "XMODIFIERS="@im=kinput2" LANGUAGE=xx_yy LC_TYPE=ja_JP" (where xx_yy stands for the abbreviation of your country) or something like "LANG=ja8JP.eucJP" or "LANG_ja.JP.UTF-8" ... but hey! Hey, wait a minute! I am just a simple minded user (Yours respectfully, of course) and not a fullblown Linux administrator with years of experience. But then again, I could become one as LinuxG@zette has helped me in the past. So, I remember a Perl script "Uncle Ben" sent me to rename quite a view files... but I'm straying and Ben might have some trouble steering off the course of an oil tanker.

Now that I have overcome this -how shall I put it- "Japanese problem", I am interested in learning how to install, configure, handle and use Indian input. Any readers up here willing to help me, please?

It is my hope that some readers could find some assistance.

Thanking you in advance (not only in case you put in a higher gear to get me some help), I remain

Your linuxely, Wilf.

. . . Robos gives his best shot, though it's not much . . . -- Heather

The only things I can contribute are: look at /etc/locale.gen, see what LC_ALL, LC_LANG and LC_LANGUAGE are set to (echo $LC_LANG) and change them so something else via (for instance in ~/.bashrc)

export LC_ALL=en_GB

and then

source ~/.bashrc

I managed to change something with this but I'm not sure if this is the right way. Maybe this helps? -- Robos

info about xkbcomp

25 Oct 2002 07:33:20 +0100
mike (mike from redtux.demon.co.uk)

Does anyone know a good source of info about xkbcomp - all I can find are very basic man pages (several saying we are depreciated)

Any pointers appreciated

The only reference I see regularly is a note when X starts up saying not to worry about XKB errors if there are any. Or something like that.
Readers? -- Heather

problem installing on linux on ultra2sparc reg

Tue, 22 Oct 2002 08:30:27 +0530
Dr. Nagesh R. Iyer (nri from sercm.csir.res.in)

i downloaded all iso files (from the suse site) and burnt the CDs at 2x speed. the Cds have been checked and tested on different machines and verifies/satisfied that there all files are generated and intact. i am trying to install suse linux sparc on an ultra 2 machine and

i seem to have problems that is least expected. following are the details.

The hardware details of the machine:

Sun Ultra II  CPU speed 296 MHz
128 MB RAM
Open Boot Ver 3.7
Two SCSI hard disks:
     Internal 17 GB
     External 4 GB
We are trying to install Suse Linux Ver 7.3
The O/S is being installed in the external 4 GB HD

Problem observed

The system hangs at stage 6 during installation with CD 1 While installing through GUI, the system hangs without any message.

While installing through command mode (after using fdisk), the error message is 'Cannot create /dev/... '

thanks once again,
Dr. Nagesh R. Iyer

Question about compiling against different C library

26 Oct 2002 02:22:25 +0100
mike (mike from redtux.demon.co.uk)

I have a RH based system with gcc3.2 glibc-2.2.92

I want to compile some programs (old gnome2 etc) against glibc-2.2.5 - is this feasible?

The basic reason is to distribute RH7.3 rpms (ATM mozilla and galeon)

More about CAD

Tue, 29 Oct 2002 01:13:54 -0800
Heather Stern (star from starshine.org )

In a previous issue someone mentioned they were running AutoCAD on Linux. That is, they were running it most happily inside VMware, if I recall correctly: http://linuxgazette.net/issue83/lg_tips.html#tips/9

One reader, Frank Smierciak wrote in:

We currently have a dozen engineers running Autocad on Windows (various levels). You mentioned you are running Autocad on Linux. I didn't know Autocad had a Linux version. I don't mean to be a total newbie here but what version of Autocad are you running and have you ever tried LinuxCAD which claims to be 100% Autocad compatible.

...and I innocently thought to myself, "Gee, okay, that sounds neat, I'll mention it." Both these authors are obviously experienced engineers. I went looking for myself, to see what else I could find, to mention next to it.

But I didn't find it in Freshmeat (though there are 53 listings in their electronic design subcategory alone). The product's commercial (http://www.linuxcad.com). As is AutoCAD, of course. There are drawing ryam3d.orgograms mentioning CAD as one among many 2-D uses they can offer. (Is it still CAD if you are only drafting in two dimensions? well, it's a computer, and you're designing, so I guess so.) I found one that designs LEGO layouts :)

The question then comes up, what do you want to use CAD for ...

I asked my friend 'Dillo, an experienced 3-D artist (among other things), what he uses. He made special note to warn me that the difference between modelling software and CAD is that CAD will enforce real-world measurements. E.g. the intaglio on this pot is exactly 0.125 cm deep. For what he usually does, he's not sending things to a lathe, and just modelling is fine; he uses Ayam, a free front end for Renderman: http://www.ayam3d.org

I have big dreams of replicating little starship cutaway views, re-plotting my garden or living room layout, abusing my SMP motherboard with lighting calculations, stuff like that. "Dreaming" is the key word here. I found myself in the deep side of the CAD swimming pool with no water wings, and drowning -- things are pretty polarized, either no documentation or it assumes that you're already experienced as an engineer. I have a great sense of geometry, and I'm a good hand with the GIMP, but this just isn't my field. So far I'd be safer staying in the GIMP.

We need someone with some real examples to measure these things up against, to bring this all to life with some fun, and give us something that engineering newbies like me can enjoy and work our way through too. Having a bit of a bake-off about the different kinds of CAD and modelling available would be a plus.

Interested? See our author submission guidelines :)


Mizpelling and Rekoining

Sat, 26 Oct 2002 12:16:19 +0200
Wilbor (wbr from free.fr)

Gooooood Morning LG!

There I have it (thanks Rick!) : what with my eternally installing Linux instead of putting poorly configurated files and setups right ...

Thank you so much for having sent some helpful mails concerning the (hum, "my" ) x-display's mood and configurating foreign languages support.

Mizspelling (yes, MiS) : all that fumbling on the keyboard trying to get foreign languages support on my linux box has given me some bad habits, I reckon.

Rekoining : as to rekoining (with a C, please) a phrase, in fact, it should not be known as "nobody's perfect" but "nothing's perfect". So, raising on one of the back benches I bow me head and admit not having payed much attention whilst setting up the email prog, particularly the e-address.

Felicitation -excuse me/veuillez m'excusez/'tschuligung- congratulation for your restyled web pages! You may now rightly raise and shine and ask around "now, who's the best?" unless, well, unless you do even better!

Yours linuxely, Wilf

sendmail and courier imap server

Thu, 26 Sep 2002 13:10:52 -0700
Heather Stern (star from starshine.org )
Question by Eddy Buhler (ebuhler@gm-squared.de)
part kudos, part juicy answers, yet a question still. -- Heather


Google had me stumble over your request in the Linux Gazette. Since I have the same problem (have to use sendmail for a specific reason, but still want to use courier imap), I'm interested in whether you found a solution yet?

Eddy Buhler

Oh, that.
I've had no problem using sendmail with courier-imap; in fact it's nearly ideal, since Courier's own MTA is too young for prime time whilst IMAP is a path to the future.
The client who enjoyed these goodies was also handling enough traffic to warrant some serious tweaking, or to switch to Postfix, which he did.
The key in honoring IMAP well was not in the MTA, but in the local delivery agent -- procmail can easily deliver to maildirs, you just have to tell it to do so, and tell the MTAs to use procmail instead of the builtin local mailers.
Hope that helps! -- Heather

This is the first time I am faced with the task to set up a mailing system...would you mind supplying a few directions as to how to tell sendmail to use procmail as delivery agent, and roughly what to do to make procmail deliver in the maildir format and, say, into "~/mail"?


I got the thing working, thanks.

Glad to hear it! -- Heather

Yes, rather annoying to find out that things worked in the first place and I spent 3 days hunting shadows. Turned out sendmail was already configured to use procmail in my distro (SuSE 7.2 on a remote server), and all that was basically missing were

a. /etc/procmailrc with the source and target directories

b. courier-imap, though that had me turning in circles again until I found the pw2userdb and makeuserdb commands in /usr/lib/courier-imap/share after building and starting the daemon.

Sheesh. Now I just need to figure out what auth module courier is using and see how to use PAM if it's not using that yet. I guess I should also try compile a Step-by-step guide for other Linux mail Newbies like me...

Excellent! We'd love to see it. It'd make a good Article for the Gazette if it's long enough, or an Answer Gang posting if enough of us are all chattering during the notes.

If you're inclined to do it article style, our article guidelines are pretty simple, see http://www.linuxgazette.net/faq/author.html.

the least I can expect is that ppl rip it apart in the air and point out the millions of errors I made and the myriads of places where I could have done something better, which means I get to learn more, and gather a few more e-mails belonging to intelligent and helpful individuals I can contact in the future when I again have mail problems (e.g. in case I really have to change my sendmail config, or go deeper into fetchmail or promail or...whatever).

Good attitude, I like that.

You can always post questions to the Gang at tag@lists.linuxgazette.net; if you're inclined to help others too, and not afraid of dealing with the extra burst of mail, you can join the mailing list. Don't worry, we're all good at something and not so great at other things ... even the really experienced souls among us.

Oh, that reminds me. I want to offer a web interface for users to access my imap server. That alone should be perfectly doable since there are a couple imap webmail interfaces out there. But I want them to be able to add pop3 servers to their fetchmail list.

Which suggests that you'll either want a privileged CGI )to let them get at their fetchmailrc) or some cronjob help (to let them work in unprivileged CGI space, then have something sanity check and apply the change to the real fetchmailrc).

Internally, I want to run a single fetchmail daemon (probably I'll just create a dedicated fetchmail user (e.g. "getmail") and let the scripts add the account/user mappings to that user's .fetchmailrc so I don't have one fetchmail demon running per mail user, which could be a bad idea if there were 50 users all polling 5 POP3 accounts every minute, I don't really know about the load though).

Hard to say ...

My main question is if I can tell fetchmail to not only run as a daemon, but to configure each and every individual POP account to be polled at their own intervals, like this:

> poll account1 for user toby every 5 minutes
> poll account2 for user sam every 60 minutes
> poll account3 for user anne every 10 minutes

I've read about the "set daemon" command in .fetchmailrc, but that only determines the interval the daemon wakes up at to do its job. A very ugly solution that I basically discarded before I tried it would be to create one fetchmail user for every account used, and set a daemon for that. But that would not only see the server run one daemon per user, but even one daemon per POP3 account. There must be a nicer way.

Do you know one? :)

I don't - maybe one of our readers can chime in.

Eddy Buhler

Our pleasure.

etymology of "daemon"

Tue, 22 Oct 2002 15:07:34 -0400
Bob Krovetz (krovetz from research.nj.nec.com)

In issue 83 of the Linux Gazette, you give some possible origins for the word "daemon": http://linuxgazette.net/issue83/tag/1.html

The term "daemon" comes from the demons in Oliver Selfridge's paper 'Pandemonium', MIT 1958, which was named after the capital of Hell in Milton's 'Paradise Lost'. Selfridge likened neural cells firing in response to input patterns to the chaos of millions of demons shrieking in Pandemonium." He proposed program elements, called "demons" that would model the activity of the neural cells and respond whenever a particular pattern appears in the input. The term later grew from its use in Artificial Intelligence to being used in the context of operating systems. The concept of "interrupts" was considered akin to a demon "shrieking" in response to the input pattern.


That "Day Monitor" was clearly a misguided guess by the querent. The rest were references from the Gang's scattered array of knowledge.
In the context of the Berkeley students who worked on BSD, Evi's comments are considered canonical. I add the link here so readers may see the more complete quote: http://www.freebsd.org/copyright/daemon.html
Many times similar ideas sprout in different places, only to discover each other later. (The Calculus, for instance, was independently developed and the main thing left mismatching were the symbols used.) In this case, it looks like me got concurrent homonymic results, from different origins. Evi clearly states that a system can easily have both... -- Heather


Ettiquette among the Answer Gang

Mon, 14 Oct 2002 17:49:32 -0700
Heather Stern (star from starshine.org )

I'd like to kindly request that if you are not going to answer someone, do not take the extra time nor waste the extra bits to blow them off.

We do not promise to give all requesters an answer, and I know that a lot more off-topic questions are arriving since we re-opened the floodgates labelled "tag" and "answerguy".

We also didn't promise that we're suits, keeping our thoughts squeaky clean and so on... but I note that there is some line between advocacy, curmudgeonly 'tude, and just plain being rude. I do not believe we're meeting the prime directive -- Making Linux A Little More Fun! -- if we make the borg kids run away in tears. Let 'em meet silence until they're ready to ask real Linux questions.

In other words if y'all sharpen the razor wit too far I'm gonna have to install a first aid kit in the TAG beer lounge.

However if you answer in the off-the-cuff spirit of the original Answer Guy, Jim Dennis (hi hon!) ... by answering a patently mswin/solaris/weird-OS question with the Linux version of the answer, then I'll cheerfully make sure that your favorite brewski is present in the TAG Fridge. In this way Jim often actually answered them, while hinting strongly that Linux makes it, whatever "it" is, a bit less painful. Pass the pretzels, please.

I'm pleased to say that in addition to some backroom silliness about coffee, ginger beer, and the exact methods we use to refill the pretzel jar, we've also been seeing a bit more helpfulness from the Gang in regards to cross-platform issues.
Issues where Linux is not involved at all are still for somebody else to deal with, though. Please mention which variety of Linux you're having trouble with when writing to us. Thanks. -- Heather

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Published in Issue 84 of Linux Gazette, November 2002

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