Linux Newsletter       Issue #9       Date: August 1, 1997

  1. From the Editor: Web Development?
  2. Why Linux? Linux & Java, by Adam Moss
  3. Hot News: The latest Linux related News
    3.1 Wired Magazine Article: "Linux, the greatest OS that (n)ever was"
    3.2 PC Magazine: "Linux is a perfectly valid (and inexpensive) way to go"
    3.3 Vote in Linux Journal's 1997 Readers' Choice Awards!
    3.4 Unsolicited E-Mail? Don't do it!
    3.5 Kbackup needs a new maintainer
    3.6 Cnet Article: Microsoft bends the Truth?
  4. Useful tips
    4.1 How to find a Linux Consultant to help you?
    4.2 Linux Chat sessions on IRC
  5. Linux Event Calendar
  6. User Success Stories
  7. Reader Feedback
  8. FREE LINUX items
  9. New Products & Specials at the Linux Mall
    * Web Plus 3.0 * Java Developer's Bundle * InfoMagic WorkGroup Server 2.1 * Practical Guide to Linux * No BS Guide to Linux * Linux on a Disk
  10. Linux Newsletter Subscription & Policy statement
Submissions are accepted for any section of this newsletter, any used will win the submitter a $25 credit towards their next purchase at the Linux Mall. Please note that indented areas are quoted text, usually a submitted item, and "Ed:" means an editorial comment.

1. From the Editor: Web Development?

To hear the Microsoft advocates tell it, you'd think that the Internet had been invented by Microsoft, or if not that, at least that Microsoft has taken over. This of course is pretty far from the truth. The way I see it, Microsoft discovered the internet about 3-4 years ago, and said it was a fad. Then 2-3 years ago they got serious and started supporting it. Now they act like they invented it. And the truth is, they have made some serious inroads because of their existing dominance on the desktop. Steve Ballmer, an executive at Microsoft already said that Microsoft is "Fighting for its life". Java, Apache, and Linux are the most serious threats Microsoft faces. Why? Because they change the "playing field," the "rules of the game".

Microsoft advocates also say that there are many tools available for web development and deployment that just don't exist in the Linux world. Although this seems believable at first glance (thanks mainly to advertising dollars), the truth is that equivalents exist in the Linux area for most if not all of the tools made for Microsoft systems. Certainly it has been well demostrated that Linux is far superior to NT in its ability to handle heavy server loads... up to 10 times the hits in a given amount of time as NT on the same hardware. But client side tools? Let's prove 'em wrong.

The Linux Mall and Linux Newsletter invite vendors of web productivity tools to submit them to us to promote and carry. Non-vendors can tell us what free packages you use so that we can give people pointers to tools they can use also.

Please don't tell us about Apache (unless you have a good success story), as everyone knows (or should know) that Apache is the number one web server on the net. And Stronghold, a variant of Apache, is the #2 commerce server after Netscape. Among both types of servers, Microsoft products are still at best a distant third.

In this vein, the Linux Mall and Talentsoft are announcing a limited time special on Web Plus. If you aren't already aware of this tool, you need to be. See the "Product Specials" section further down in this newsletter or visit /announce/webplus.html . Another product that might catch your eye is our Java Developer's bundle which can also be found in the specials section below.

Hope to meet all of you somewhere down the line. Enjoy!

Mark Bolzern, Editor

2. Why Linux: A regular column about why Linux is so valuable.
Linux & Java, by Adam Moss --

Linux offers very good Java support, both as a runtime and development environment. Among other good qualities, the following stand out specifically:

These advantages make Linux the preferred choice of many serious Java developers.

3. Hot News: The latest Linux related News.
3.1 Wired Magazine Article: "Linux, the greatest OS that (n)ever was"

Wired Magazine in its August 1997 article entitled "Linux, the greatest OS that (n)ever was", voices the opinion that Linux may be the only operating system that actually stands a chance of beating Microsoft NT. But there is also a dark side that we should all be aware of.

At the time of this writing no URL could be located for this article. The Magazine's main site is available at , and they keep statistics as to what Operating system their visitors use... let's all help get the Linux statistics up!

The Linux Mall has made available a written, open, public response to this article, as well as to the Linux Community at: /announce/wired.html

3.2 PC Magazine: "Linux is a perfectly valid (and inexpensive) way to go"

In the July 1997 issue of PC Magazine, the PC Tech section has a column on page 267 entitled "Operating Systems, Leaning toward Linux"!. Here are a few quotes from it that the world needs to see.

"The more you explore the Internet, the more you hear about Unix, the powerhouse operating system on which much of the Internet was originally developed"

"What if you could try it out on your PC? In fact you can"

"Linux has become the Unix of choice not only for individual users, but for a growing number of businesses"

"Linux is a perfectly valid (and inexpensive) way to go"

"Mosaic and Netscape browsers. Yes, you can get these with [MS] Windows, but typically your entire Internet experience will be faster through Unix"

Ed: The article was written by Neil Randall, a frequent contributor to PC Magazine, and it will continue in the next issue of PC Magazine. Thank you Neil, keep up the good work! Too bad you didn't mention the Linux Mall, but then, there is always next time!

At the time of this writing no URL could be located for this particular article. However, when I went to and searched for the word Linux, it was amazing how many hits I got. Check it out!

3.3 Vote in Linux Journal's 1997 Readers' Choice Awards!

Subject: WANTED: Vote in LJ Readers' Choice Awards
From: Gena Shurtleff --
Linux Journal, the Premier Linux Magazine, is conducting its annual poll of Linux users. Vote for your favorites in twenty different categories including: Most desired upgrade, favorite shell and most indispensable Linux book.

The voting will take place on the Linux Journal web site from July 11th through August 26th. To place your vote simply go to and follow the directions there. Please do not submit more than one form because all duplicate entries will be deleted.

Results will be published in the December issue of Linux Journal (on news stands early November).

Ed: Subscriptions to the Linux Journal are available from SSC, the Linux Mall, and a number of other sources. Please vote for your favorites!

3.4 Unsolicited E-Mail? Don't do it!

The item below came to us from Erol's Internet

Most of you already know that spam is an increasing problem on the Internet. However, if you are NOT aware of why it's a Bad Thing(tm), please visit the following sites:

Ed: Linux Mall and parent company WorkGroup Solutions, Inc. take a stand on Unsolicited Email. We won't do it. We encourage others to do the same. /announce/emailpol.txt

3.5 Kbackup needs a new maintainer

Subject: Neat opportunity
From: Paul Poduska --

As far as I can tell, Linux needs a good easy-to-use GPL X and command-line backup utility that is easier to use than the ones I have seen so far. Visit the following URL for a good opportunity to make a great contribution to Linux while getting exposure for doing something essential. Kbackup needs a new maintainer.

Ed: Some interesting graphics to look at there too!

3.6 Cnet Article: Microsoft bends the Truth?

People, including the mass media, are starting to complain about Microsoft's PR machine, saying that the way it bends the facts to its own ends is unethical. This article by the editor of CNET.COM discusses the issue:

4. Useful tips: Information that all Linux fans will want to know about.
4.1 How to find a Linux Consultant to help you?

Subject: The Linux Consultants HOWTO
From: Martin Michlmayr --

The Linux Consultants HOWTO is a listing of companies providing commercial Linux related support and was initiated in September, 1996. There are now over 230 entries of Linux consultants world wide. The listing is freely available on the Internet at In addition, it can be requested by sending a blank message to

I registered the Consultants HOWTO as a new site at Starting Point. If enough people cast their votes, the listing will be listed as a "Hot Site". If you like this service, please help us spread the word by clicking on the Starting Point image found at

Ed: Martin is an officer of Linux International and works hard to support the continued growth of the Linux Community. Take a look at his handiwork! Thanks Martin!

4.2 Linux Chat sessions on IRC

Subject: Linux/FreeBSD Chat on IRC

FreeBSD and Linux are taking the world by storm! These FREE, fully 32-bit UNIX clone operating systems (that run on common PC-compatible hardware) are allowing even individuals and small businesses to run powerful Internet applications, WEB servers, corporate databases, etc. And since these operating systems come with source code to everything, you can modify them to suit your particular needs, whatever they may be.

Join me, Donald Burr, and learn about these fascinating new OS's. I also hope to dispel some of the myths and un-truths surrounding them. If you have questions, no matter how general or specific, or if you are having trouble and need help setting up or installing FreeBSD/Linux, I will also be happy to assist you.

This chat is free and open to the public. Please come on by!

Ed: Sounds like a great service, thanks for the announcement, and best of luck!

5. Linux Event Calendar
5.1 Comdex/Fall, November 17-21, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

This year's Fall Comdex is right around the corner. With 2,000 vendors and over 200,000 attendees, Fall Comdex is an industry show not to be missed. The show is held in Las Vegas, Nevada through November 17 - 21, 1997. More information at:

From: Carlie Fairchild --

Each year, Linux vendors get together and form a Linux Pavilion at Fall Comdex. This year's pavilion is lining up to be the largest Linux Pavilion at any Comdex yet. Don't miss out!

If you are a Linux vendor that would like to exhibit within this year's Linux Pavilion, please e-mail immediately so that your company can be included in pre-promotional materials.

If you are a member of the Linux community and would like to volunteer some of your time during the show, please also We appreciate any help!

If you would like to attend Fall Comdex, the admission to the entire trade show is FREE! You can register on-line at . And don't forget... come visit and show support for all of the Linux vendors at the Linux Pavilion while you visit the show. We'd love to see you there!

If you have any questions regarding this year's Fall Comdex Linux Pavilion, please feel free to contact Carlie Fairchild at or call (206) 782-7733.

Ed: Thanks for the announcement Carlie!

6. User Success Stories
6.1 Lockup Free Computing Response

Subject: Re: Linux and my business
From: Cliff Seruntine --

I read your article on Linux stability, and that you were seeking stories, and I thought I'd write and offer a story about how Linux has become such a major part of my business.

I own an electronics and computer repair business called cybertronics. Currently we are in transition, moving away from the electronics repair and changing our name to reflect our focus on high-end computing systems for the demanding needs of business, and the technical work and administration we perform with such systems.

We have been testing various OSs for about six months now, and have settled on Redhat's distribution of Linux which we now use as the primary OS on our computer system. In the six months we have been using Linux, the only times we have managed to crash or lock the OS up have been while learning how to use it (our fault), and the time we accidentally shut off the system without running halt (again our fault).

The system multitasks beautifully, runs all our software without a hitch (though there were a couple of bugs to work out of the release Redhat 4.1 which I have found come fixed in Redhat 4.2), and is performing its job nicely with our hardware. We now promote it as the OS of choice with our business systems, train with Linux for work on Unix and Linux systems, use it as our programming platform, and are expanding its use into various branches of our businesses. The only thing we ever fall back to Windows 95 for (for which we maintain a small partition of 800 megs), is using hardware for which I have not yet been able to locate drivers. It's seems Windows is our choice for games, and Linux is what we turn to to accomplish serious work.

I would love to write an article on how and why we chose to use Linux as our primary OS, and where we are going with it, which I have just described to you in brief. If you would like such an article, email me and I'll have it to you shortly.

Ed: I would love to take you up on writing that article! In the meantime the above message just won you $25 credit at the Linux Mall just like any other message that we publish! Thanks for the good work!

6.2 Lockup Free Computing Response

Subject: Linux Stability (RE: newsletter)
From: Micah Yoder --

Hi...I enjoy your newsletter, keep it up!

Just in response to your question, I've been running Linux as my primary operating system at home since February (and as a secondary system before that). The *only* times it's ever locked up involved starting X with the wrong X graphics driver running. I don't expect it to succeed in that case!!!

By contrast, I use NT 4 Workstation and Server at work. I've found that when pcAnywhere is running on NT 4 server, the whole computer locks hard every time you close the control panel!!! We just have to minimize it and live with it. My NT 4 Workstation also crashes occasionally.

I've had a few core dumped apps in Linux, but I guess that's to be expected, and isn't the kernel developer's fault. That included the "bus error" in Netscape, which hasn't occurred since I applied the patch. And other core dumps are quite rare. By contrast, I'm using VB5 at work. It now GPFs regularly!!!

I'm convinced that Linux is simply the most stable OS on PCs. I used to think OS/2 was, but have been proven wrong.

For what it's worth, I don't leave my home computer on all the time. I just turn it on and off once a day. But it's still nice not having to reboot it every couple hours!!!

Currently I use Linux mainly for Web surfing, compiling, games, Commodore 64 emulation, and databases (Postgres). I intend to get into some C++ programming and ray tracing as soon as I get the time.

Ed: Thanks for the kind words, and I am glad to hear Linux serves you well. Consider yourself a $25 LinuxMall credit winner.

6.3 Lockup Free Computing Response

From: "David J. Fred" --
From a prior issue of the Linux Newsletter:
"Help us prove it by writing to Let us know what you use your Linux system for, and tell us how long it has been lockup-free! No one under 3 months need apply. We may use your stories in future"

Since starting to use Linux as my primary OS at home about 14 months ago my machine has locked-up exactly twice. Machine is a component built P166 with 96M, SCSI-only.

Neither lockup could be considered an OS problem:

1) The first week I had the system while tinkering with exotic options for my graphics adapter in XFree86 I managed to lock my system up quite well.

2) About two weeks ago on a day when my home computer room must have been 95F or more (not good, I know) my system crashed. I opened the enclosure up and discovered the CPU fan was dead. After replacing the CPU fan and installing a window (not Windows ;-) AC unit all has been fine.

My longest continuous uptime without doing maintenance, booting into W95 (to play Mech Warrior II) or experiencing a power failure was 46 days. Common up times for me are usually 10-20 days, usually because I reboot to install a newer kernel.

Incidentally, in addition to regular use of the machine for editing, programming, surfing, etc. -- for the last 10 months I've run Mersenne prime testing software niced in the background at all times, which means the loadave is always 1+ and the CPU stays nice and warm.

Ed: Good story. Consider yourself a $25 winner ($25 off your next Linux Mall purchase!). Yes, Linux can run lockup free.

Readers, We have many more stories that came in about how stable Linux is, and we will print more of them in the next issue of the Linux Newsletter. Keep them coming!

7. Reader Feedback
7.1 Bill Gates?

Subject: Did God Predict Bill Gates?
From: Paul Poduska -- has the latest information on God and Bill!

And another:

Subject: But is he happy :-)

Just got this from Webmonkey (<- Hotwired) and thought you'd like to read the first comment of Elbow Grease.

Subject: Elbow Grease - the Webmonkey newsletter
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 01:40:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: Webmonkey --

"The Sunday New York Times" estimated that by retirement age, Bill Gates will be worth an amount equal to the combined wages of every worker in the United States for one year - somewhere in the low trillions.

Which makes me wonder, if Bill develops any psychoses and thinks he's God or Hitler or Napolean, which countries couldn't he conquer? He could decide to own ALL of genetic engineering, the US military, and buy up much of the US, all of Canada, and have an impressive nuclear submarine and aircraft carrier fleet, all communicating via his soon to be realized 830 satellite Internet canopy over you and me. Hope he doesn't crack up! :-)

BTW - What amount is "low trillions"? Is it 5 trillion, 250 trillion. Since he can have up to 999 trillion, 250 trillion could be considered low!

Ed: Food for thought, eh?

7.2 Lockup Free computing response.

In response to Linux Newsletter #8, which asked for stories from people that had long run times from Linux without lockups, we received the following responses. They incorrectly interpreted our intent. First the letters, then our response.

From: "A.R.Runnalls" --

The current Linux newsletter says: "Help us prove it by writing to Let us know what you use your Linux system for, and tell us how long it has been lockup-free! No one under 3 months need apply. We may use your stories in future issues of the Linux Newsletter. For those who's stories we use, we offer a reward of $25 off your next purchase at the Linux Mall!"

It hardly helps to prove the reliability of Linux if you exclude every instance of a crash within 3 months!

And Also:

Subject: lock-ups
From: "Terry Grogan" --

You are contributing to the lock-up problems by blithely stating that 'no one under 3 months need apply". I have had many lock-ups under Linux, just after standard installs, and after weeks of usage.

I will admit that they are much less than with the other 'big' os's, but let's not fall prey to marketing hype. instead of printing the results of a biased survey, spend the time figuring a way around the lock-ups!

Ed: I cannot see how we might "Contribute to the lockup problem by stating that Linux CAN and often HAS run for way more than 3 months without lockups!

Certainly, any actual survey would be seriously skewed if we did not accept entries from those who experienced lockups in under 3 months. However, this request for submissions was never intended as a survey.

It is simply a request for stories of systems that have run reliably for a long time, and information about what these systems are doing so well. To prove that Linux CAN reliably run without lockups.

Please note that the vast majority of the lockups experienced when using recent, stable Linux kernels are the result of *HARDWARE* problems.

Many others are not actually OS lockups, but rather cases where a terminal has ceased responding. In these cases it is possible to kill the locked-up process without affecting other processes, by accessing across a network, or via a serial port, or even on another console. This type of application lockup could easily be mistaken for a system lockup by a user unaware of the difference between the two. It is an education problem.

We are not trying to say that it is impossible to have lockups with Linux... only that Linux IS a better tool in many if not most cases than many if not most of the big name Operating Systems are.

7.3 HTML formatting in the Linux Newsletter

Subject: HTML formatting in E-mail

I *absolutely* do **not** want to see HTML formatting in E-mail messages.

I think E-mail ought to stay platform-independent... consider: 1) users who receive their E-mail via FIDO-type BBS systems;
2) handicapped users who get their E-mail read by text-to-speech systems;
3) E-mail systems which run on non-Web-browser-type technologies (including Amigas and other older systems);

I think that we **have** a standard for E-mail, and it's ASCII TEXT. Let's respect that standard. There is **no** viable and convincing reason for adding a lot of stupid overhead to E-mail.

You want Web page formatting, then put it in a Web page!!! Leave E-mail alone.

Ed: You and everyone else who wrote a similar message will get your way. The emailed Linux Newsletter will stay text format. An HTML format will be made available at our Web Site. At a later time we may offer an HTML version via Email for those who wish to subscribe to it, but for now it is a complication that we are not ready to deal with.

8. FREE LINUX items

The Linux Mall is giving away FREE CDs of your favorite Linux distributions, Caldera OpenLinux, Linux Pro by WGS, and Red Hat Linux. Please see /FreeCD.html

9. New Products & Specials at the Linux Mall
In order to take advantage of the following deals you **MUST** provide the offer code WIX031 when you contact us. If you order online, and the price invoiced does not match what is mentioned here, simply state in the comments area "Adjust prices to match offer WIX031", and it will be done when we process the order. Offers Expire 08/30/97 or when supplies run out.

                            **  NEW    **

Web+ 3.0                                                 Item #: 00439 
List Price: $995.95            Linux Newsletter Special Price: $195.95

TalentSoft Web+ is a powerful tool for developing dynamic web sites and web-based client-server applications. The power of Web+ is in its integration capability: sites and applications designed with Web+ can pull and embed information from files, databases, e-mail, and other sources. You can rapidly create and deploy powerful interactive applications on your web server with Web+. Through an exclusive partnering arrangement with TalentSoft, the Linux Mall brings you this powerful product at an unheard of low introductory price. You can even try it for free!
More information:

                            **  NEW    **

Java Developer's Bundle                                  Item #: 00410 
List Price: $269.75            Linux Newsletter Special Price: $219.00

This bundle is specially designed to provide new Java programmers with the tools to learn effective Java programming. The included Red Hat Official Linux 4.2 comes with the Java Development Kit. We've supplemented that with InfoMagic's Java CD, four excellent Java reference books, and a subscription to the enjoyable Linux Journal.
More information: /products/00410.html

                            **  NEW    **

Infomagic WorkGroup Server Version 2.1                   Item #: 00441 
List Price: $75.00             Linux Newsletter Special Price: $ 70.00

InfoMagic's Workgroup Server 2.1 provides high-perfomance networking, file, printing and fax services to PC and Macintosh clients using the Linux operating system. It provides simple graphical tools for system administration and setup, and includes features for enterprise-wide Internet access and security.
More information: /products/00441.html

                            **  NEW    **

Practical Guide to Linux                                 Item #: 00450 
List Price: $38.68              Linux Newsletter Special Price: $37.00

This is a very thorough and easy to read reference work about Linux by one of the best authors in the business of writing Unix related books, Mark Sobell. It is one of the most complete reference works that we have seen to date. Everyone should have a copy of this book.
More information: /products/00450.html

                            ** SPECIAL **

No BS Guide to Linux                                     Item #: 00407 
List Price: $34.95              Linux Newsletter Special Price: $30.00

This is one of the best books that we have ever seen for beginners who already know DOS. Author Bob Rankin takes the user through installation and learning concepts. Edited by Mark Bolzern, it also includes a copy of the Linux Pro 4.1a CD.
More information: /products/00407.html

                            ** SPECIAL **

Linux on a Disk (LOAD)                                   Item #: 00435 
List Price: $389.00            Linux Newsletter Special Price: $369.00

Linux on a Disk is a Fujitsu IDE hard drive pre-loaded with an enhanced Red Hat Linux 4.2 by Cosmos Engineering. This hard drive can easily be put into your computer as a first or second hard drive, and voila, Linux is running!
More information: /products/00435.html

A list of all products available at the Linux Mall can be seen at the following URL: /mallidx.html

10. Linux Newsletter Subscription & Policy statement

On all submissions sent to this newsletter, the author may choose to be named or to remain anonymous, but to be anonymous you must make the request in your message. We reserve the right to edit for clarity, space, and accuracy. The edited submission becomes property of the Linux Newsletter.

Anyone whose email address appears as part of a story in the Linux Newsletter wins $25 off their next purchase from us. Simply claim the prize within 30 days of the newsletter publication, and indicate what line of which newsletter issue you appeared in.

Despite our best efforts, we cannot respond to all of the hundreds of submissions and communications we receive daily. Please do not be offended if your submission does not appear immediately, is not chosen, or if you do not hear from us about it.

Permission is granted under the terms of the GPL to copy or distribute any portion of this newsletter for any purpose complimentary to the goals of the Linux community and the Linux Mall. We request that you credit all sources in all cases. Back issues of the Linux Newsletter can be found at /announce.html

If you received this newsletter direct from us via E-Mail you are already subscribed. If you received it by any other means and wish to subscribe to this FREE newsletter, with "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line. If you wish to unsubscribe, reply to the same address, and put "REMOVE" in the subject line *AND* INCLUDE the message that you received (with header), This will ensure that we can remove the correct address from our files.


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Copyright 1997 by WorkGroup Solutions, Inc.

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