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From The Readers of Linux Gazette

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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 aol dial-up

Thu, 17 Apr 2003 10:45:48 -0400
Narendra Shah (nss99 from

I have Peng client connect to AOL on RedHat 9.0. It connects to AOL alright but my system doesn't recognise the active connection. For my browser or gFTP clients do not connect to any http or ftp sites.

What do I have to do so that the system/n/w config understands the active connection


Well folks, it's not a late edition of a Fool's Day joke .. Peng really is intended for letting people use their AOL dialup to get what we'd consider more ordinary connectivity. Anyone out there hitting the net this way? Let us know how you do it! -- Heather

Linux Infrared

Sun, 6 Apr 2003 18:25:21 +0530
Joydeep Bakshi (joy12 from

Hi all, I am interested to make an infrared remote for linux. I have also visited the LIRC webpage. if there is any body who has already build this remote please tell me how it is working and a little bit about the circuit & driver ,library etc u have used. please share ur experience with me.

If some one is using creative infrasuite remote (credit card size) , please let me know. does it need the separate IR receiver or the inbuilt IR in the CD Rom is enough ? I have the Panasonic Tv remote at home. so please let me know too if there is any body using this remote with LIRC.

thanks in advanced.

On a slower computer...

Tue, 8 Apr 2003 01:17:51 -0500
Thomas (tea from


About 8.0 LInux installation either "stand alone"? or install with windows on a pc. can you offer tips on installing it to a 75 mhz computer. what of fdisk or other info format?

You may refer my request on to someone else in club as you desire. Thank you,for you time.

Now, small distros and distros-on-floppy we have by the dozens. But RH 8 compatible? Or kickstart floppies that chop out a bunch of that memory hogging, CPU slogging stuff? An article on keeping your Linux installers on a diet would be keen. Just in time for Summer, too. -- Heather


A Walk through Frink's Confusion

Wed, 2 Apr 2003 17:38:01 -0800 (PST)
Ben Okopnik (the LG Answer Gang)
Question by Brad Chapman (jabiru_croc from

I don't understand why this:

x=`echo -e "\240"`;mkdir $x;echo "hostname -f">$x/perl;chmod +x $x/perl;export PATH=$x:$PATH;clear

combined with this:

perl -we'fqdn'

is considered an Easter Egg. How do you enter it into a bash prompt to make it an Easter Egg?


*looks for riffles, JIC*

[Ben] I don't understand your question. What Easter Egg? What the heck does "enter it into a bash prompt" mean ("enter at the command line", maybe?)

That's what I meant. Woomert's command line looked as if it was meant to be entered directly into a shell prompt. Is it meant to be entered some other way?

[Ben] Ah, OK. Yes, it's meant to be entered at the shell prompt.
What did you try? What results did you get? What did you expect to see instead? Give me some info to go on, and I might be able to help you - if I can get an idea of what you're asking for.

I tried entering the x=" line, then calling perl -we'fqdn' to see the output. That worked.

[Ben] <grin> Except... it didn't. There's no such function as "fqdn" in Perl; it's just a random string that I munged up, an abbrvtn for "fully qualified domain name."

What I was expecting was something which made perl stop working or something which would munge my command line.

[Ben] That's exactly what you've got: Perl is now "broken". No matter how you invoke it, it will now type the FQDN.

I have an idea on what this is meant to do, though:

x=`echo -e "\240"`;mkdir $x;echo "hostname -f">$x/perl;chmod +x $x/perl;export PATH=$x:$PATH;clear
echo -e "\240" : ASCII code 240
mkdir $x : create a directory with name $x
[Ben] Well, with the content of $x - which is an "invisible" ASCII character (at least with the default LOCALE), easy to miss when you do an "ls". :)
[Jason] 'ls' shows the escape character. ("\240") That's becasue the '-b' (show escape characters) is in $LS_OPTIONS, which is used in my 'ls' alias. That's pretty neat, but I find a backspace character has more intersting effects:
~/tmp$ x=$(echo -e '\b')
~/tmp$ mkdir $x
~/tmp$ touch $x/lala
~/tmp$ ls
~/tmp$ cd ^H/
~/tmp$ ls
~/tmp$ cd ..
It makes it look like you don't even change directory! And the output of the 'ls' command is, of course, given the -b options via my alias. Normally, (my version of) ls outputs a '?' when there's an unprintable character.
echo "hostname -f">$x/perl : echo the hostname into a file named perl in $x
[Ben] Nope. Echo the string "hostname -f" into that file.
chmod +x $x/perl : make the perl file executable
[Ben] Thus making it an executable shell script which runs "hostname -f".
export PATH=$x:PATH;clear : adds $x to the $PATH
[Ben] Much more importantly, putting $x at the front of the PATH - meaning that the executables in there will get run instead of the others. When you type "perl", the actual Perl binary never gets executed: the shell script is now the first "perl" in the path!

Is this Easter Egg supposed to make perl act strange?

[Ben] It's not an "Easter Egg"; that term has a specific meaning (hidden feature that does something cute when you run it, like the maze in MS Excel, a mini-version of a Doom-like game in Word some years ago, etc.) That's what had me confused. It's a hack (not a software hack, either; Woomert just hacked Frink's naivete, too easy of a target by half. :)
As to what it does - it makes Perl go away. :) Until Frink finds the problem and fixes it (possibly by logging out, closing that xterm, or rebooting), invoking "perl" will do nothing more than print the FQDN.
[Jason] Only in UNIX can you do so much interesting stuff with a few commands. A while back I was playing with a script that would, when run, print
rm -rf /home/username.....12345K deleted
where username is your username and 12345K is however much stuff you have in your home directory. The disk churning sounds would be 'du' running to figure out how much stuff in your home directory there was. Then the tricky bit was that the script would add some commands to your .bashrc, which changes $HOME to /tmp/$RANDOM and cds to that directory, so when the user logs in again he thinks all his files are gone. I thought about uuencoding it and posting it to the TAG on April 1st, but decided not to.
[Ben] Oh, massively cute! You should, of course, set the command prompt to show that the user is still in his home directory... :)))
[Jason] That's what setting $HOME does.
[Ben] Oh, I meant an explicit "/home/joe" rather than "~", but you're right - that's even better.

Cloning workstations article

Wed, 30 Apr 2003 17:06:28 +0200
Dirk Schouten (schoutdi from

Esteemed editor,

In your April issue of Linxu Gazette there is an an article on Cloning Workstations with Linux by Mr. Alan Ward. An article that starts with:

"Anybody who has had to install a park of 10 - 100 workstations with exactly the same operating system and programs will have wondered if ...etc" is able to raise my curiousity.

To my surprise 'Ghost for Unix' was not mentioned by the author.

IMHO the best solution for a hundred or so workstations.

Kind regards,

Please note that g4u is based on BSD, not Linux. The techniques used are, however, very similar.

Best regards,
Alan Ward

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Published in Issue 90 of Linux Gazette, May 2003

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