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Table of Contents
March 1998 Issue #26

The Answer Guy

The Weekend Mechanic will return.

TWDT 1 (text)
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 The Mailbag!

Write the Gazette at


Help Wanted -- Article Ideas

 Date: Sun, 01 Feb 1998 21:43:23 -0800
From: Bradley Akey,
Subject: Creative Labs SB-16 & Sony CDU76E-S

I am attempting to install RedHAt Linux ver 4.2 from a Sony CDU-76E-S CD-ROm connected to a Sound Blaster 16 via an IDE interface at base io 0x1E8, IRQ 15. Waht is the correct boot parameter to get this CD-ROM to function properley

 Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 08:25:32 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Stutz,
Subject: Help Wanted: recording audio data

Is there any way to read and save the data that is currently being played by the soundcard, regardless of the sound source?

(There is a program in alpha which does this called paudio, at It creates a readable /proc/audio -- but I haven't yet gotten it to work with the OSS-compatible driver produced by the Linux Ultrasound Project which I use.)

Michael Stutz

 Date: Mon, 09 Feb 1998 14:18:49 -0500
From: Todd Blake,
Subject: Help Wanted

I like most people am the only person to use my linux system at home. What I'd like to do is when my system is done booting to have me automatically login as my main user account(not as root though) on one virtual console(the first) and leave all other consoles and virtual consoles alone, so that someone telnetting in will get a login prompt like normal, just that I won't. I'd still like the other vc's have login's for others to login and other reasons. I've tried just putting /bin/sh in /etc/inittab and that didn't work, and I'm stumped. Does anyone have any ideas on this?

Todd Blake

 Date: Mon, 09 Feb 1998 17:47:08 -0600
From: peter smith,
Subject: Problems with Linux through Wingate Socks

I'm having a few problems accessing the internet through Wingate v2.0 on my Windows95 machine using my Linux Redhat 4.2 installation. I've had this SOCKS server set-up for quite some time on my internet dial-out machine and have previously had no problems accessing the internet through this server via my second machine's installation of Windows95 or even WindowsNT. The problem is directly related to DNS lookups. If I access a domain-name from my Linux machine that seems to get redirected, I will receive an error that the DNS address does not exist. For instance, if I attempt to open the web page (which gets redirected to my browser (Netscape v4.04 for Linux 2.0* i386 rpm) reports a DNS error. However if I instead attempt to open the redirected web page my browser will open it ok, without error. I'm baffled by this behavior and have tried a number of different things! I can provide more detailed information if needed. Thanks in advance to any who try to help! ;)

I love Linux Gazette and have a great time browsing all the cool suggestions and tips! Keep up the ideas and info!


 Date: Mon, 09 Feb 1998 19:04:42 -0500
From: Melmac88,
Subject: Shadow passwords

Can someone do a clear explanation on how to set up a shadow password file, and exactly how it works? I've seen this recommended for security purposes in many books and articles, but there never seems to be an explanation on how to do this.

 Date: Wed, 09 Dec 1998 04:38:06 -0900
From: David Lev,
Subject: my dual pentium

My name is David Lev, I have a problem with my second CPU.

I am currently using a Caldera OpenLinux Standard with Kernel (2.0.29-2). After I install the system I try to enable the 2 CPU and my computer FREEZE or I loss my DeskTop and it takes for ever to do one process. but with one CPU the computer work fine no problems at all. I ask for your help. If you can help me also on how to enable 2 modems and run them as one.

My computer content:

ATX Dual Motherboard - GA-586DX with SCSI on board
Adaptec 7880
CPU - 2x 233MMX Pentium
2x 3.1G HDD - W.D - IDE
2x 8X CD-ROM - IDE
2x 56K Modem
ESS Sound card

 Date: Sat, 14 Feb 1998 15:00:34 EST
From: Andreas M. Weiner,
Subject: Linux and AMD K6 Processor - any Problems?

This is my hardware configuration. Support answered that there would be problems with using the K6 with Linux; for instance a crash.

What dou you know about this problem ?
Could you send me a some informations to solve this problem ?
Are there Kernel patches available ?

I'm looking forward of getting the answers from you

Andreas M. Weiner

 Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 10:26:36 -0800
From: David,
Subject: X without a Mouse?

Been searching around the net and ldp, and can't seem to find anything on this one. Trying to be able to use X WITHOUT a mouse. Yes, I know, it works bets with a mouse, but I'd like to be able to get at least limited x funcationality without it. Any help is greatly appreciated, and being waited. Also, is there any was to do mouse emulation without a mouse? I found a program that translated ps/2 to a standard serial mouse, for before x supported ps/2, i assume... anyone know if a program has been written to allow the keypad to do mouse, ie, translate keypad input to /dev/mouse? Thanks for your time, hoping some kind linux guru's out there can help. :)


 Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 21:59:04 -0700
From: Todd Jamison,
Subject: Help with Sound Card

I currently am running RedHat 5.0 on a Pentium 150 W/48 MB Ram. I = cannot get my ESS ES1868 plug and play sound card to work. I am very = new to linux and am still learning. If anyone can help me i would = really appreciate it.


 Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 16:41:49 -0600
From: John Gorman, John.H.Gorman@MCI.Com
Subject: HP4 & font

I just installed a HP LaserJet 4L on RedHat 4.2 Intel and when I print postscript (from emacs, etc), it prints at about a size 24 font. How to I set my font where I want it.


John Gorman

 Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 08:46:12 +0100
From: Jeroen Bulters,
Subject: Changing XDM windows

Can I change the XDM login window/screen? I have a cool house logo so i want to use it in my own Home Network. And at my school they want to know to so. Is it possible. If yes, how? If no, WHY NOT.

Jeroen Bulters, The netherlands

 Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 01:36:30 +0000
From: Mackenzie St. Louis,
Subject: New Motherboards

A lot of motherboards have been coming out lately with built in graphics and sound. Any plans to cover them. I just bought a TX-Pro-II board with graphics and sound. However I think I will be returning it since I can't get the sound to work. It has a SoundPro chip. Can not also get XFree 3.3.1 to run properly. It will only come in 8 bit 320x200, even though the graphic chip is supposed to be AGP. If you could point out where I can get some info. I would gladly write an article for the Gazette in case any else comes across this same problem. Please email me with any info or questions.

 Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 16:28:09 -0800
From: chewey nougat,
Subject: HELP-Installing Linux on a FAT32 Drive

I'm interested in installing linux on a machine I built recently, but = when I installed Win95(b), I idiotically opted to format the drive using = FAT32, which in a 95-only environment is great, but linux can't read it = for greek.

I've looked around for utilities to effectively un-FAT32 the drive, = which I will then partition with Partition Magic to use the freespace as = a native ext2 partition, etc., but am having little luck. Reformating is = a disheartening prospect I would rather not face, but am fully prepared = to do so if I don't find any help here.

much thanks,
nate daiger

 Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 13:47:06 -0500
From: Brian O. Bush,
Subject: question on motor control

Does anyone know how to interface and control two motors from a Linux box? I am looking for a simple solution (in circuit at least).


 Date: Fri, 27 Feb 98 14:16:13 -0500
From: Bill R. Williams, brw@ETSU.Edu
Subject: Wanting HELP!

First off: I can *not* believe I am the only one bitten by this.

In the process of getting a System installed I upgraded from the original CD-ROM install of (Intel) RedHat 4.2 to the new RedHat 5.0 CD-ROM. One of the significant items on this system is the mars-nwe Netware emulator.

Under the RedHat 4.2 with mars-nwe 0.98pl8-1 the mars package ran fine, but logged copious errors about there being "too many connections -- increase the number in config.h". But it ran, and I *liked* the way it happily did Netware duties! (Especially the printer part.)

The *new* RedHat 5.0 with mars-nwe 0.99pl2-1 offered some very desirable abilities, not the least of which is the move of some items (such as number of connections) to the run-time config file (/etc/nwserv.conf under RedHat, probably nw.ini on other distributions.) Now the bad news...

Of lesser, but still irritating, importance is the fact that the mars package won't shutdown without some hard kills. This may be related to the really important problem which is:

This new package spawns out nwconn processes with an empty parenthesis as the last token instead of the USERID ('nwconn ... ()') until all connection slots are eaten, and then, of course, will not recognize any new attempts. Any users already logged into the nwserv(ice) are Ok.

Since I am neither a Netware guru nor a mars guru I can only hazard a guess, but since the nwconn(s) are children of the ncpserv daemon I suspect that ncpserv is the source of the troubles.

I have tried every combination of parameter twiddling in the run-time config file that can think of, but to no avail.

One thing I have noticed, the 2.0.32 linux kernel /usr/src/linux/.config no longer has the 'CONFIG_IPX_INTERN' setting (should be unset according to mars-nwe docs) which existed in 2.0.27. This may or may not have anything to do with the problem. Checking the kernel sources, it appears that the RedHat rpm of the 2.0.32 kernel has the mars patches incorporated into the source.

Anyone who has solved this problem, please share the secret.

BTW: I attempted resolution through the RedHat Support system as a registered RedHat customer, and if anybody wants a good laugh I'll be happy to share the "circle of correspondence" from RedHat support. I did learn from the attempt that no *human* at RedHat actually ever sees the E-Mail to the support team or 'Bugs' team. (The "auto answer" mechanism will get right back to you, though, and tell you not to expect an answer.)

As I said, I can *not* believe I am the only one bitten by this, because I've looked on the news groups and seen several posts with "Mars and RedHat 5.0" in the Subject fields. These were all on the French os.linux.... lists, and unfortunately I do not read French!

Sorry for the rambling on...
Bill R. Williams

 Date: Sat, 7 Feb 1998 13:03:24 +0100 (CET)
From: Manfred Lemke, lema0019@FH-Karlsruhe.DE
Subject: Support for IBM Ethernet card?

I'm frantically searching for some kind of support for IBM's LAN Adapter/A for Ethernet. Does any of you know of a driver in the Linux Kernel that works?

Best regards and thanks in advance,

Manfred Lemke

General Mail

 Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 00:09:33 +0100 (MET)
From: Radoslav Dejanovic, rdejanov@public.srce.
Subject: Linux Journalists International

Linux Journalists International is an effort to make a meeting point for journalists who use Linux or simply write about it. It is also a place where other journalists and other people can take a look what is going on with Linux and media that supports it. There will be info pages about magazines/media and journalists who use Linux and/or write about Linux & related software.

I am editor in one croatian computer magazine ( and this is my effort to give the Linux community something that lacks: popularity in media and a chance to boost media coverage of Linux. The homepage is at - please take a look at it. LJ and LG are the strongest "Linux inside" media :), so your support in this project is essential.


 Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 10:02:08 -0500 (EST)
From: Paul Lussier, plussier@LanCity.COM
Subject: Retraction Re: Linux and routing

It was just called to my attention that this came across a little to strongly and I'd like to clarify what I had previously written.

On Tue, 6 Jan 1998, I wrote:

Some words of caution. DO NOT HAVE YOUR LAN CONNECTED AT THE TIME OF THE CABLE MODEM INSTALLATION!!!! [Comapany names removed], and most of the other cable companies (we deal with them all here) will refuse to connect a LAN to their broadband network. Simply remove your hub or coax cable from view, and let them do what they need to do, then connect everything else up after they leave.

This was probably a little of an overstatement. I know only of 1 company that has this as a policy, but have heard of people having problems with some of the others. I have even recently been informed of one company that is *quite* Linux friendly and will "encourage the use of Linux as firewall/routers" as well as "allow and assist individuals & companies to setup there own Web servers, either at their permises or ours. We offer web hosting and will assist in registering a domain name". So, I obviously made an improper, blanket statement which does not represent the attitudes or policies of all companies.

Some other interesting tidbits of information about cable modems and cable companies:
1. Do not expect support for running a LAN over the cable modem from the cable company. They don't want you to do it, they won't help you do it.
2. Do not expect to put up a web server to be accessed by from the internet. You are a client, not a server. This technology,though fully capable of performing in this manner, is not being deployed for use this way.

Again, this is a blanket statement that *does not* apply to all cable companies. There is a good reason for those companies who do hold this policy, and perhaps I should have gone into more detail. When you get a cable modem from a cable company, *typically* you are agreeing to lease the equipment from them under similar agreement as you rent the TV set top box for cable television reception. The agreement typically states that you are not allowed to run the cable to any other TV for which you do not rent a box. The same goes for the cable modems. They are agreeing to lease you 1 modem for 1 computer. Setting up a firewall/proxy server to enable other systems access is exactly like placing a diplexor on you TV set, and running the cable to another television. That is a violation of the agreement, and is illegal, immoral, and unethical; it's stealing. And again, I re-iterate, this is not true for *all* companies. Check with your cable company, they should be happy to explain their policies to you.

I don't really think you *should* expect to be able to do either of these though, unless the cable company has provisions in place. You are agreeing to connect one computer to their network as a client. Anything more, you should expect to pay more, as they are providing you with increased capabilities. Just like the phone company charges more per added service (*69, caller ID, etc) so should the cable companies. Personally, I think that average rate of US$40-$50 a month for the equivalent of a T1 to my house is an awesome deal. If I want more capability, I should expect and be willing to pay more.

Cable companies WILL shut you down for running a server of anykind on your end of the network, and it can be *forever* :(

Again, I spoke without clarification. Obviously it depends upon the policies of your local cable company. I know of 2 or 3 instances where this has been the case. By stating the above, I was trying to warn of the possible consequences of violating the contract with the cable company. If the cable company specifies in the contract what you are allowed to do and what you are not allowed to do, you should expect to deal with the consequences of violating the agreement.

Spammers love cable/broadband networks. There have been several cases where a broadband network customer has been used by spammers and were subsequently shutdown for life by the cable company. What happens is the person decides to connect their private LAN to the cable modem but sets the firewall up incorrectly. Spammers search cable/broadband networks for proxy servers/firewalls (Usually Win95/NT) that allow incoming connections and then use that system to spam the entire cable/broadband network making the spam appear as if you sent it.

Spammers love any insecure system or network. Broadband Technology though, for the first time has allowed people more extensive and closer contact with other people on the internet. When you dial into an ISP with a normal modem, it's a little more difficult for devious minded people to take advantage of other users. But with cable modems, you now have hundreds and/or thousands of people all on the same private network, all with similars IP addresses, many of whom, now leave their systems connected for much longer periods of time. This makes it much easier for crackers, and other mischievous people, to take advantage of anyone who isn't running a properly secured system.

Usually you will be given 1 warning by the cable company, but there have been cases where none was given and the customer was completely shut down.
I have heard of this happening on several occasions, where usually the person was running an improperly configured firewall, and spammers used their system to launch e-mail to thousands of people connected to cable companies' private broadband networks. If I'm paying $40 or $50 a month for this service, I, as a paying customer do not want to receive solicitous e-mail (spam) from some one else, especially if they are on the same broadband network as I. I would complain to my cable company about it and expect them to do something. It was these exact circumstances that has led to several people having their cable modems permanently removed.
Current modems are capable of transmitting at 10Mbs in both directions, but are usually deployed throttled back to a trasmit speed of 300Kbs and a recieve speed of 1.5Mbs. You want more bandwidth, they'll be happy to charge you more money :)

Personally, I think this is very fair. The cable companies are providing us with a service. We, as consumers, have to pay for this service. Just like my electric bill, if I use a lot of electric service, I pay a lot of money; or like the telephone company, if I have more features or want a T1, I pay more money than if I only had a normal telephone line. It's the same with cable modem technology, the capability is there for 10Mbps bandwidth in both directions. The technology is also there to regulate that flow. I expect the cable companies to use that technology. If I want LAN speeds to my house, I should expect to have to pay for it.

Again, I want to apologize for not clarifying my previous statements a little more. Please check with your local cable company before you do anything like connecting your private LAN to theirs. There are as many different policies as there are cable companies, so make sure to explicitly ask if what you want to do is permitted. This is a great technology and has tremendous benefits. Playing by the rules that the cable company has put in place will only help the technology spread. By violating the rules, you run the risk of losing access to it, as well as making it more difficult for the cable comapanies to contiue selling this service. Like any other market driven product, if there's no money in it, or it costs too much to implement, it will fall by the wayside, and no one benefits. By not folling the rules, we as customers can make it cost prohibitive for implementation, and conversely, by following the rules, we create more market demand, which in turn, continues pushing the technology forward, and everyone benefits.

#include <std_disclaimer.h>
I don't pretend to know all the policies of all the cable companies. I don't assume to speak for any of the,, nor do I tell them how to operate. My opinions are my own, and no one else's. Dammit Jim, I am a Unix sysadmin, not a sales rep :)

Please feel free to send me questions, comments, criticisms, etc.


 Date: Thu, 5 Feb 1998 15:01:30 -0500
From: Jack Chaney,
Subject: New Direction

I heard on the radio last night, an announcement that IBM has just successfully masked, produced and tested their newest piece of silicon. The processor is based on the PowerPC design and is reported to run at 1000MHz. Knowing what I know about the PowerPC and its various flavours, I think it would do to examine the idea of porting Linux in a native coded version to this processor platform. The pricing of this chip with a heavy duty operating environment could give the Alpha a real run for its money.

The PowerPC (for those who don't know) is a RISC based processor with three major operation blocks, each capable of independent operation. This enables the instruction flow to become parallelized so as many as three instructions can be done simultaneously, and because it is a RISC processor the instructions have been optimised so most occur in only one or two cycles. The other element of the design is to have an extremely large cache memory on-board the processor to reduce fetch time for instructions. To give an idea of the improvement in speed realised by this method, a PowerPC emulates the Intel part by keeping an interpreter block in the cache memory of the chip and interprets the Intel object code at comparable speeds of the Intel parts. The lure of creating a native Linux for this processor has crossed my mind on a number of occasions prior to the IBM announcement, and now I hope with encouragement this can move from fantasy to fact.

Jack Chaney

 Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 08:50:00 -0500
From: Hampton, Mike, hamptom1@INDY.NAVY.MIL
Subject: Picking a nit

Maybe I should have called the subject of this "pet peeve" or something like that. What I am writing about is a simple grammatical error that I have seen many people make, but one that shouldn't appear in the Gazette or any published effort and that is the incorrect use of "it's" when the author should have used "its." An example is in the following sentence from a recent issue:

"This was necessary in order for a *nix version to behave to applications like it's counterparts so applications could run everywhere."

If you take the "it's" and expand it, the sentence would read:

"This was necessary in order for a *nix version to behave to applications like it is counterparts so applications could run everywhere."

The sentence no longer makes sense. Authors should remember that "it's" is a contraction of "it is." If they want a possessive of "it," they should use "its." I have also seen instances of authors using the apostrophe-s when they intended to form a plural but made a possesive instead (for example, using menu's, a possesive, instead of menus, the proper plural form). Like I said before, these are very simple and common errors, but ones which I feel can hurt the author's credibility.

Before anybody gets too defensive, let me say that as an employee of a major defense contractor, I have made the above error and have had it pointed out to me. Maybe that's why it stands out so much when I see it now.

Now I'll put down my pen and let others point out my errors.

Mike Hampton

 Date: Fri, 06 Feb 1998 08:12:09 -0600
From: Tyree Gwyn,
Subject: love your site!!

i very much enjoy the information found on LG!! even though i am posting from a windows machine, i use linux(redhat 5.0) the majority of the time. i just happen to be at work, at this time.

anyway, being a newbie to this whole linux scheme, i have used your site, dejanews, oreilly books, and many howto's to get my system up to my specs. linux is very exciting, and has alot of promise. please keep up the good work.


 Date: Sun, 08 Feb 98 17:34:41 -0500
From: Leon C. Isaacson,
Subject: Incomplete Book Reviews

In Linux Gazette 25, the review of "A Practical Guide to Linux" , by Mark Sobell, fails to supply the publishers name, publication date, and price. I enjoyed the review, but surely this information should be included as a matter of course. Given your reviewers laudatory comments, how or where can the rest of us hope to acquire this book?


(I agree. He should have included that information. Here's what I know:
Publisher: Addison Wesley Longman,,
Price: $38.00 US
ISBN: 0-201-89549-B
-- Editor)

 Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 18:59:53 -0500
From: Timothy D. Gray, Subject: Getting Linux to the public...

Has anyone noticed that when your friends see your neat-o Linux system with the nice 17 inch monitor, high quality video card, and fast computer that when they say, "Wow! that is nice, and you can do almost anything on that!" you cringe with the fact that they are going to want you to put it on their system? now mind you, I dont cringe on sharing the best O/S on the planet, In fact I want everyone to use Linux. It's just that almost all X windows software is written for 1024 X 768 or higher resolution video screens and that 99% of those wanting to use Linux and X windows only have a 14" monitor that can barely get past 640X480 at 256 colors. I tried several times to get friends into Linux and X but to no avail because the software developed for X is for those that have Gobs of money for good video boards and humoungous monitors. It's not a limitation of Linux or X, it that the software that is developed for these platforms are by professionals or professional users that can afford that new 21 inch monitor at the computer store. We as a group might want to see software scaled back to the 640X480 crowd.. then Linux would take the world by storm.. Until then It's going to be limited to us pioneers and Scientists...

Tim Gray

 Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 15:42:09 +0000
From: Jaime E. Villate,
Subject: uptime record

In Issue 25 (February 98) Sean Horan wrote about a Linux system that ran continously for 274 days. Here is a quote from Bruce Perens (president of Debian, works at Pixar) that I took from

"I thought three months without a reboot was a big deal. When I mentioned it to our developers, one of them showed me details about his system. It was up for 458 days, and was halted to move it to another floor. The network and disk device drivers had handled tens of millions of interrupts in that time."
It would be interesting to know what the record is for other operating systems older than Linux.

Jaime Villate, University of Porto, Portugal

Published in Linux Gazette Issue 26, March 1998

PAGE ]  Next

This page written and maintained by the Editor of Linux Gazette,
Copyright © 1998 Specialized Systems Consultants, Inc.

"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

More 2¢ Tips!

Send Linux Tips and Tricks to


Apache SSL extensions...

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 15:49:41 -0800
From: Glenn D'mello,
From Frank: My problem is this one ... I've gone bananas in trying to find a document that explains how to install, in a step by step fashion, the Apache SSL "extensions" to one of my Apache WWW Webservers (the performance increase is awesome) can you or anyone that reads this help...

This is how I did it:

  1. Get SSLeay 0.8.0 or later from
  2. Build and test and install it!
  3. Get Apache 1.2.5 source
  4. Get Apache SSLeay extensions from
  5. Unpack it in the apache-1.2.5 source directory and patch Apache as per the README.
  6. Configure and build it.
  7. Read the docs before building (set your paths, etc, etc)
Worked the first time too! Hope this helps:



From: John Corey,

One of my annoyances with the locate program have been that with it, users can see files they have no access to otherwise. So, I have deviced a little patch to the original sources to fix that, along with a few other annoyances. It inherently does a few other things as well. It will only list files that do currently exist (not just files that existed when updatedb was last run). Also, it adds the option -l to locate which simply performs a ls -l on the files returned.

To compile, get the sources from . Extract that, then apply the attached diff to it with: patch < locate.diff, and compile per the instructions within findutils.

The only file modified is locate.c, so you can skip the installation process if you already have updatedb/locate installed, and just simply replace your existing locate binary with the new one (keeping a backup of the original, should anything evil happen).


Re: Printing Problems

Date: Wed, 04 Feb 1998 22:05:40 +0100
From: M.H.M. Verhoeven,

Anyone that can help me. I'd love to hear it. I try running lpr, but everytime I get no name for local machine. How do I set this and/or what is the problem. -- Manish Oberoi

I had the same problems with printing (no name for local machine). You should put a entry for your machine in /etc/hosts, and your problem is solved. In my case, the name of my computer had changed, but /etc/hosts still contained the old name for my machine.


Re: LG25, Netscape on the Desktop

Date: Thu, 05 Feb 1998 00:26:03 +0100
From: Soenke J. Peters,

I use a similar trick to start up the browser-/mail-/news-window from three different buttons in my windowmanager's panel. For the mail-window, you have to start the script with 'mailbox:' as the url parameter, for the news-window simply use 'news:'. For urls beginning different from the above, netscape opens the normal browser window.

Soenke J. Peters, Hamburg, Germany

RE: Linux and VAX 3400 and 3300

Date: Thu, 05 Feb 1998 10:11:00 -0700
From: James Gilb, To:

I have just purchased a MicroVAX 3400 and 3300. I would like to put Linux on these two systems. Can you provide any help in this aspect.

I believe those are MIPS 3000 boxes, try the Linux VAX Port Homepage at and the Linux/MIPS project at

My guess is that you will need to get your hands dirty on this one. You could also try NetBSD, they may have a port now.

If they are not MIPS boxes, then you could have a real challenge on you hands, but then isn't that half the fun of Linux?

James Gilb

Binary File Access with dd

Date: February 9, 1998
From: Leonard R Budney

dd stands for Disk Dump. Or if it doesn't it should. The "main" use for dd is to duplicate a floppy disk, bit for bit, to a file. You probably used it to create boot disks when you installed Linux for the first time, unless you used its much less functional cousin rawrite. If you're sick of keeping boxes of floppies around, you can use dd in reverse, and throw the floppy away. Depending on permissions, you might have to do this as root.

dd if=/dev/fd0 of=quicken_install_disk_1.img bs=1440k

The if argument specifies an input file (which defaults to the standard input). Naturally, the of argument names the output file (which defaults to the standard output). Finally, the bs argument tells dd what block size to use. Here we set the block size equal to the size of a floppy disk, and let dd read one block of data.

The man page says that the purpose of dd is to "convert a file while copying it." In English, that means that dd does not assume a file is made of text! It doesn't look for carriage returns to delimit lines, it doesn't stop reading at the first binary zero, nothing! This gives us the power to read files exactly, byte for byte. It allows us to read a fixed number of bytes, or physically to overwrite a file.

As just one example, consider /dev/random. That's a nifty Linux innovation--a pseudo device that accumulates randomness. Would you like to read 10 bytes of random data from /dev/random? It's a snap.

dd if=/dev/random of=/tmp/random.bin bs=1 count=10

Note that /dev/random provides binary data, so if we omit the of argument then that data will probably trash our display. Alternately, we could have omitted the of argument, but piped the output through cat -v to escape any non-printable characters. In addition to the arguments explained above, we use the count argument to specify the number of blocks to read. In conjunction with a blocksize of 1, count=10 tells dd to read exactly 10 bytes.

Here's a final example, for the paranoid. When you delete a file using rm, you only delete the inode pointing to your data. The data is still there, on the disk, waiting for somebody with a "Disk Doctor" utility to resurrect and read. Does that bother you? Well, you should delete your data, not just your file. Again, dd comes to the rescue. Normally dd truncates its output file before writing. The argument conv=notrunc overrides that behavior, and causes dd to write over any existing data. The following shell script combines all of these ideas, and wipes out your file by overwriting it five times with pseudorandom data, and then deleting it.

SIZE=`ls -l $FILE | awk -- '{print \$5;}'`
    for iteration in 1 2 3 4 5
        dd if=/dev/urandom of=$FILE bs=${SIZE} count=1 conv=notrunc
} && rm -f $FILE


Follow-up to find 2c-tip

Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 19:20:44 +0000
From: Markus Pilzecker,

in your December issue, one of the 2-cents about find had been:

A shorter and more efficient way of doing it uses backticks:
grep "string" `find . -type f`
Note however, that if the find matches a large number of files you may exceed a command line buffer in the shell and cause it to complain.

The solution to this is using xargs:

find <find_roots> <other_options> -print0 | xargs -0 grep <options>
. xargs only puts as much onto grep's [or whatever else's] command line as fits without overflow. Only in the latter case will it start a new instance of grep. The trick of the first proposal to add ``/dev/null'' to grep's command line to make it print the name of the file in work is [mostly] superfluous then, since xargs [mostly] puts more than one filename onto grep's command line.

The find option ``-print0'' and the xargs option ``-0'' work together to assure correct handling of odd filenames.


ispell & Pine 3.96

Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 08:39:34 -0800 (PST)
From: Peter Struijk

To use ispell in Pine, go into Pine SETUP (press S, then C), search using WhereIs for "speller" (press W) and make sure the value set there is "ispell". That will do it.


XVSCAN: Combining different parts together

Date: Sat, 13 Sep 1997 01:04:29 -0500
From: Earl Fryman,

Is it possible to combine two (or more) different parts from different pages on same fig? For example, if I scan pages and want to print transparencies from small part of the text enlarged. Now, if the part 1 is at the end of a page and the part 2 is on the following page, I have not been able to combine them on one single fig (part 1 and below it part 2). How could I do that with xvscan? If the parts are on the same page I have used cut, past and crop.
Juha Perkkio,

Yes it is posible. Load the first image and select the portion of the image to cut. Press Alt-C (hold down Alt key and press C). Load the second image and press Alt-V. A frame window the size of the cut in the first image will appear. Position the frame where you want the image to be pasted, then press Alt-V (again). This even works if the two image are of different type (bmp, jpg, gif, etc.).

Earl Fryman

2c-tip: Netscape on the Desktop

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 19:43:58 -0100
From: Victor-A. Bruessow,

I'm using this little bash script to start Netscape:

if [ $1 ] ; then

netscape -remote $REMOTE_COMMAND || netscape $@
I think it has some advantages over the script from Tim Hawes: Christian

Linux and Win95

Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 14:55:22 +1300
From: Justin Lodge,

Rexson Re: Your Question e-mail to Linux Gazette

Your big problem is that Win95 has probably helped itself to the entire drive already - so there is no space left available to install extra Linux partitions.

What you really should do first is to back up all the existing partitions using a tape or a Zip or a Jaz drive. Let me guess you don't have one of these..... if you can beg/borrow/steal one temporarily and back everything up before you do anything that would be good.

Maybe your D: partition doesn't hold much and you can transfer the data to the C: drive where Win95 is installed - this will allow you to re-use the D: partition for Linux.

Next - buy/beg/borrow/steal a recent copy of Red Hat for Linux (make sure you get the book and the floppy disks that come with the CD) and the Doctor Linux book.

Red Hat has a beginners book with it that explains a lot that you need to know to install Linux and a set of excellent scripts that lead you though the installation.

doctor linux has good beginners sections and more complex ones about dual booting Win95 and Linux

I would recommend that you DO NOT try to make the machine dual boot - it could cock-up the win95 installation but these articles will help you understand the mechanics around this area. The HOWTO articles in Doctor Linux are all available on the Internet if you don't want to buy a book but having a hard copy to reference is much easier.

once you have re-located any useful data off the D: to the C: then use the disk partitioning tool that comes with red hat to de-allocate the D: partition and then create the root, usr, swap and home (and any others) in this area. From memory I believe that the root partition has to be in a primary partition but all the rest can be logical partitions contained in a single "extended" partition.

This re-allocation of partitions is EXTREMELY dicey - make absolutely sure you understand which partition is C: and which is D: IF you de-allocate C by mistake then it is almost definitely un-recoverable unless you have Norton for Win95 or something similar that can repair the damage.

Create a boot diskette using red hat so that when you want to run Linux you just plug it in and re-boot the machine - booting off the floppy may seem awkward but it is much much faster than any version of Windoze.

Any one else using the family using the machine will not have this boot diskette and will not be able to see your partitions from Win95 and won't even know that Linux is there. This is how I keep my family off my copy of Linux.


My $0.02 tip: Graphical su

Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 22:01:25 +0100 (CET)
From: Andreas Kostyrka,

Sometimes one want to do su but be able to use X11 programs like RH control-panel. There are several ways to accomplish this: *) The hard way: su - and copy&paste the xauth:

$ xauth list $DISPLAY # mark the output
$ su -
# xauth add <paste the above line>
# export DISPLAY=<display mentioned in the pasted line.)

*) The overkill net way:

$ ssh localhost -l root

This depends upon you haveing installed ssh ( is the site where one gets the crypto stuff for RH Linux in .rpms), and is probably not that fast, as it uses a X11 proxy forwarding server.

*) The graphical (XDM) way, or the way to show off for your WinNT friends:

$ Xnest :10 -query localhost &
:10 must be perhaps customized if it is already in use. localhost is your xdm host. This should work if you use xdm for login. (==You have a graphical login screen.)

Andreas Kostyrka

Easter Eggs in Netscape

Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 13:32:57 -0800 (PST)
From: Eric Geyer,

I saw the list of Easter Eggs in Netscape, and I have two more, both much less useful than the ones you listed.

On all the Unix netscapes I've seen, it changes the Netscape logo in the upper right.
This will take you to Jamie Zawinski's homepage, and will change the Netscape logo on Unix netscape except for version 4.

Just thought you would like to know...

Eric Geyer

Core Dumps

Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 13:56:51 PST
From: Marty Leisner,

I was annoyed on Linux that file(1) couldn't tell what file dumped core if a core dump was seen.

For a while, I was doing strings | head and guess at it by inspection.

But size will do the job:

: leisner@dw;size core
text    data    bss     dec     hex     filename
45056   295036  0       340092  5307c   core (core file invoked as minicom - dpp2)


Published in Linux Gazette Issue 26, March 1998


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News in General

 April Linux Journal

The April issue of Linux Journal will be hitting the newsstands March 6. The focus of this issue is Workplace Solutions with articles on Marketing Linux, WordPerfect 7, Satellite Remote Sensing, Linux in Biomedical Labs and much more. Check out the Table of Contents.

 Washington, DC Linux Users Group InstallFest

1 Feb 1998
On March 28, 1998, the Washington DC area Linux User Group (DC LUG) will have its next Linux Installation Fest. Volunteer experts from several local Linux user groups will assist computer users interested in trying out Linux, the operating system that Byte Magazine, Wired, PC Magazine and other industry publications agree is a significant software phenomenon. Bring your PC and leave with Linux co-installed, or just visit the demo room to see what Linux is all about.

Started as an exercise in Internet-based collaboration among hundreds of software developers around the globe, Linux has acquired a reputation for superior power and robustness, along with a relentless pace of improvements, a combination rarely matched by the mainstream software Unix and Windows NT industry.

Linux has attracted an estimated 3 to 15 million users, and also garnered commercial support, evidenced by several shrinkwrap vendors with shelf space in mass-market computer stores. Even though in most cases an installation of Linux is a simple procedure, DC LUG will help those who may have unusual configurations or simply some trepidations about jumping in. Representatives from RedHat Software, one of Linux vendors, will also attend and provide advice.

The InstallFest will be held at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the medical school at the Bethesda Naval Medical complex, just inside the Beltway between Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenues.

Doors open at 10 AM through 4 PM, Saturday 28 March 1998. See for details and a requested pre-registration form.

For more information:
David Lesher,, (301) 608-9775
Przemek Klosowski,, (301) 975-624