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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.

devfs problem

30 Jan 2003 08:22:53 +0200
Stelian Iancu (stelian.iancu from gmx.net)


I just switched from Gnome 2.0 to KDE 3.1 and I notice that the settings for the devices created by devfsd aren't save between reboots. So I read through the docs and I saw that I have to create some dev-state dir. Well, I already have that dir in /lib and devfsd is set to save the settings (in /etc/devfsd.conf). And if I change the permissions on some devices (/dev/dsp for example), the change is also visible in /lib/dev-state directory. However, after I reboot, the same problem. I don't have permissions. And this is really annoying me.

So any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

P.S. I am using Mandrake 9.0 with the default kernel.


Stelian I.

traffic shaping for the internal network; tc filter for source addresses?

Sun, 2 Feb 2003 07:55:01 -0800 (PST)
Radu Negut (rnegut from yahoo.com)


I've got my home LAN behind a cable modem, masqueraded to the outside world. The masquerading machine runs RedHat 7.3. What I'm trying to achieve is equally share the bandwidth between the machines (about 7) following this algorithm: if only one host is making a connection at a given time, it gets the whole bandwidth; when a second connection from a second masqueraded machine arrives at the gateway, the bandwidth is equally divided between the two machines; if a third machine makes a connection, the bandwidth is split in three equal shares and so on. Now if one of the machines that has already opened a connection, makes a second one, I would want this connection to be allocated inside the machine's share, not as a separate member participating in the bandwidth division. Following this idea, if someone has 4 open downloads, someone else 7 and a third machine only 1, then bandwidth should be divided only by three and not 12.

I've already read about SFQ, qdiscs and tc filter from the 'Advanced routing HOW-TO' but I couldn't find any info on how to shape/police traffic dynamically and based on ip source addresses. I do not want to split the bandwidth into seven slices from the beginning since not everybody is online all the time and this would waste available bandwidth for the others. I'd rather have the traffic shaped depending on how many internal hosts wish to access the internet at a given time.

I'm not really interested in providing differentiated traffic based on content (interactive, bulk, etc.) just a fair sharing of bandwidth, ignorant of how many download managers/ftp's each and everyone is running, and not allowing anyone to suffocate the shared internet connection with his/her requests.

Thank you very much in advance for the time taken to
answer this,

Radu Negut

PS/2 port still live after shutdown

Wed, 26 Feb 2003 21:43:00 +1300
D & E Radel (radel from inet.net.nz)

Hi everyone.

When Linux shutsdown with halt -p, my pc will turn off, but Linux won't switch off the power to my PS/2 port. It is turned on when X starts, but when X shuts down, or the PC is shut down, the port remains on - and my Optical Mouse stays on. Light remains glowing, etc.

.... However, Windows 98SE will shut this down properly every time. I have kernel 2.4.20 and have tried enabling ACPI and APM. And of course I have an ATX PSU, and nothing weird enabled either in cmos or jumpered.

I know that some boards just have power going through PS/2 ports after soft shutdown as a feature/bug, but Win98SE manages to shut down this one ok.

If someone knows how to fix this, I would really appreciate your help.

Thanks in advance.

PS. Sorry for mentioning that other OS in this email.

Only USB mouse/keyboard recognized by KDE.

Thu, 30 Jan 2003 04:14:27 -0800 (PST)
Stephen (anonymous)

Greetings.I installed Red Hat Linux 8.0 on my desktop computer. I used my PS/2 keboard and mouse to install the software from CD images downloaded from Red Hat. After software installation completed my computer rebooted to the KDE login screen. My PS/2 keyboard and mouse does not work. Only a USB keyboard and mouse work. When I boot my system into run level 3 my PS/2 keyboard works. How do I configure my system so that I can use my PS/2 mouse and keyboard with KDE?

Any information is appreciated. Thanks.

linux statistics

Tue, 25 Feb 2003 13:48:32 +0600
Sanjaya Singharage (SanjayaS from jkcs.slt.lk)

Hi all,
are there any reputable statistics available on the web comparing linux, *nixes and windows on the enterprise server market? Can somebody give some pointers or links? Any reputable articles would also be welcome. I've been rummaging the web the whole day but couldn't find anything useful.


What a great service you have done me

Tue, 04 Feb 2003 13:05:37 +0100
Joe Programmer (ctio from lycos.co.uk)

Dear Mike,

After my first article was published, about thirty people downloaded my console interface library. In the few days since you published my second, over ninety people have come for it. If only ten percent of those try to write an editor like I described, you will have turned my dream into a reality.

When I cycled into the city to log on at the daycentre this morning, I had been in the countryside for a week. I had no idea I had been published because I expected it would be in the March edition. I agreed with your comments about C++ not being the universal language I made it out to be and was going to rewrite it with your suggestions in mind.

Unless the author says he plans to do a revision, I assume the article is finished when I receive it. -- Mike

Now I realise it's gone out and I've seen the response, I don't care how bigotted people think I am :)

I cannot thank you enough.

Your faithfully, Stephen Bint

We have encouraged Stephen to write or be involved in more articles; you'll see some of the results when they're ready for publication. -- Heather

Thanks for the encouragement. It was good to hear what the article is doing for you. -- Mike


Thank you for pointing out that I gave the misleading impression, that C++ is the first language of all Linux users in my article, The Ultimate Editor (LG#87). Obviously Linux users vary widely in their choice of first language.

It would be a boon to the users of any language, especially beginners, to have an editor which is extensible in their own language. C++ users seem to be the only group who do not have one yet.

Stephen Bint

The Ultimate Editor

Sun, 23 Feb 2003 18:25:46 +0800
Jim Dennis (Linux Gazette Sr. Contributing Editor)
Question by Peter (pfheiss from philonline.com)

Dear Editor,

I can not fully understand the article "The Ultimate Editor" in Feb. LG. Having migrated from DOS to Linux without passing MSWindooze I have to ask what is wrong with the Linux text editors such as joe, xedit, gedit, gxedit, xeditplus, kedit, kwrite, kate, vim, gvim, cooledit, any more?, yes I am sure.

I have seen the text editor in Windooze and thought it a joke compared with some of the Linux text editors mentioned.

May be Stephen Bint should try them all first before picking up more cigarette butts in the gutter thus damaging his lungs and consequently his brain.

Peter Heiss

Well, I can understand the article. I can also disagree with it, but first I have to understand it. The title seems destined to invite flames (perhaps he's asking for a light for those soggy gutter butts).

He doesn't like the Linux text/console editors he's tried. He doesn't bother to lay out the criteria against which he's rating them. Other than that it's simply an announcement of a library which is built over the top of SLang which, of course is built over the top of ncurses.

It would be easy to cast aspersions, even to question my fellow editors on the merits of including this article. However, I'll just let the article speak for itself. I'll ask, why doesn't xemacs support mouse on the console or within some form of xterm (xemacs does support ncurses color, and menus)? How about vim?

Personally I mostly use vim or xemacs in viper (vi emulation) mode. There are about 100 other text editors for Linux and UNIX text mode (and more for X --- nedit being the one I suggest for new users who don't want to learn vi --- or who decide they hate it even after they learn it).

-- Jim Dennis

I hope that Stephen's comment in the previous portion clarifies what he was really thinking. On the cigarette analogy, he has roll-your-own papers in his pocket, of a C++ variety, but needs someone to share loose tobacco. Then everyone sharing this particular vice can enjoy having a smoke together... downwind of folk who already like their text-editors :D Yes, folk who are used to seeing their brand down at the liquor store are likely to think making your own cigarettes is either quaint or nutty. But it's a big world out here, and the open source world is built by folk who like to roll their own... -- Heather
Let's remember that when Stephen complains, he doesn't just whine and expect others to do things his way. Rather, he takes it upon himself to contribute code that does whatever it is he's complaining about. See I Broke the Console Barrier in issue 86. That was the main reason I published The Ultimate Editor, even though I strongly objected to his assumptions that (1) C/C++ are the only worthwhile languages and (2) emacs should be flogged over the head for not using menus and keystrokes à la DOS edit. The first bothered me enough to insert an Editor's note saying there are other issues involved. The second didn't bother me quite as much, so I sent the author a private e-mail listing the C/C++ objections and asked him to consider a follow-up article or Mailbag letter that took them into account. And it worked: we had a great discussion between Stephen and the Editors' list about C/C++ vs scripting languages, and that led to some excellent article ideas.

Also remember that Stephen is homeless, and his Internet access is limited to an hour here, an hour there on public-access terminals. A far cry from simply sitting in front of your computer that happens to be already on. So he is putting a high level of commitment into writing these articles and programs, higher than many people would be willing to do. It's unfortunate that his limited Internet access prevented me from knowing at press time that he had decided on a last-minute revision to tone down the article and make it more balanced, but c'est la vie. -- Iron

editor's comment...

Tue, 4 Feb 2003 11:16:59 +0100
james (jamiergroberts from mailsnare.net)

In Linux Gazette ( a most excellent ongoing effort, btw):

On behalf of the staff and the Gang, thanks! -- Heather


there's an editorial aside:

The Ultimate Editor would be what emacs should have been: an extensible editor with an intuitive mouse-and-menu interface. [Editor's note: emacs was born before mice and pulldown menus were invented.]

AFAIK, nope :-) Or at least, not exactly! This would be better:


[Editor's note: emacs was born before mice and pulldown menus were *widely known outside research institutes*.]


Though of course, RMS was at a research institute, so may have known of mice by then :-)

For mouse references, see (amongst many other possibilities):


or any of the Engelbart stuff. Mice were pretty well known by '72, Emacs dates from '76: TECO (Emacs' predecessor) does however date back almost to the invention of the mouse - I haven't found out exactly when TECO was initiated, around '64 I guess (but see


if the question is really of interest).

I think, strictly speaking, that the editor macros were by their nature trapped in the environment of the editor they were macros for : TECO. So it isn't precisely right to say that TECO was emacs' predecessor; "parent" or "original environment" maybe, but I don't believe TECO was intended to be a general purpose editor ... much less the incredible power beyond that, that the emacs environment grew into after taking off on its own.
Not all menus are pull-down, nor should a mouse be required to reach pull-down menus... a matter of style and usability. For my own opinion, I feel that emacs does have menus; they just don't always look the part. -- Heather

This is all, I agree, excessively pedantic - I've also offered my services as occasional proofreader :-)


Thanks to everybody who offered to proofread. We now have some twenty voluteers. -- Iron

wordsmithing in Gibberish

Mon, 24 Feb 2003 08:10:15 -0800 (PST)
Raj Shekhar (lunatech3007 from yahoo.com)

Dear Ben,

This is with reference to "Perl One-Liner of the Month: The Case of the Evil Spambots" which was published in th LG#86. I especially enjoyed you defination of Gibberish.

Here is something I found in my fortune files. I am pretty sure wordsmithing in the Marketroid language is done using this procedure. Please keep up the good work of giving underhand blows to the Marketroid.


Column 1		Column 2		Column 3

0. integrated		0. management		0. options
1. total		1. organizational	1. flexibility
2. systematized		2. monitored		2. capability
3. parallel		3. reciprocal		3. mobility
4. functional		4. digital		4. programming
5. responsive		5. logistical		5. concept
6. optional		6. transitional		6. time-phase
7. synchronized		7. incremental		7. projection
8. compatible		8. third-generation	8. hardware
9. balanced		9. policy		9. contingency

The procedure is simple. Think of any three-digit number, then select the corresponding buzzword from each column. For instance, number 257 produces "systematized logistical projection," a phrase that can be dropped into virtually any report with that ring of decisive, knowledgeable authority. "No one will have the remotest idea of what you're talking about," says Broughton, "but the important thing is that they're not about to admit it."

- Philip Broughton, "How to Win at Wordsmanship"


Cheers Raj Shekhar

Point of Sale

Tue, 11 Feb 2003 14:44:29 -0800
Gene Mosher (gene from viewtouch.com)
Gene's HTML-only email barely escaped the spam trap, when Mike recognized that it was a followup to Issue 87, Mailbag #2
Folks, while our main publication form is HTML, we have our own style guidelines and pre-processing to do; if you're not submitting a full article, we greatly prefer plain text. -- Heather

There's always the real thing.

ViewTouch is genuine killer app. My life's work resulted in the sales of millions of computers in the 26 years since I first started writing and using POS software. I invented many of the concepts in use today worldwide in retail software, including virtual touchscreen graphics to represent the universe of retail business operations. Much of what we are doing today will become standard in the future. ViewTouch is the original and longest-lived. Thanks for your comments.

Gene Mosher

Hello, Gene - I remember talking to you when I wanted to install VT for a client in Florida a few years back (they backed out of the deal by trying to rip me off, but, erm, I had the root password. We parted ways, and they're still without a POS last I heard. :) As I'd mentioned, I really like the look and feel of your app; however, good as it is, not being Open Source limits its applicability in the Linux world. If I remember correctly, that was the upshot of our discussion here.

Just for the record, folks - Gene was very friendly and very helpful despite the fact that the client had not yet bought a license from him; given his help, the setup (at least the part that I got done before the blow-up) was nicely painless.

Ben Okopnik

We also got a request for aid finding a POS from a fellow with a pizza parlor; luckily, Linux folk have already dealt with Pizza, although it's worth following the old articles over at LJ and seeing how that project moved along. We're still looking for news or articles from people using or developing open source Point of Sale, and I re-emphasize, we mean physical cash registers, not just e-commerce. E-commerce apps we've got by the boatload, on sale and in "AS IS" condition. -- Heather


April/May/June schedule

Thu, 27 Feb 2003 13:08:57 -0800
Mike ("Iron") Orr (Linux Gazette Editor)

I will be out of town March 18 - April 3 at the Python conference and Webware sprint (and visiting New York, Chicago, and Columbus [Ohio]), Heather will be busy the week before Memorial Day (May 26), and I'll be gone Memorial Day weekend.

This means I'll need to finalize the April issue by March 14, so the article deadline is March 10. I've let the recent authors know.

May's issue will be normal.

For June, the article deadline will be May 19 (a week early).

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Published in Issue 88 of Linux Gazette, March 2003

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