Our sponsors make financial contributions toward the costs of publishing Linux Gazette. If you would like to become a sponsor of LG, e-mail us at email@example.com.
Linux Gazette is a non-commercial, freely available publication and will remain that way. Show your support by using the products of our sponsors and publisher.
The Answer Guy
The Muse will return next month.
TWDT 1 (text)
TWDT 2 (HTML)
are files containing the entire issue: one in text format, one in HTML. They are provided strictly as a way to save the contents as one file for later printing in the format of your choice; there is no guarantee of working links in the HTML version.
Got any great ideas for improvements? Send your comments, criticisms, suggestions and ideas.
This page written and maintained by the Editor of Linux Gazette, firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 21:08:28 -0800
From: Ted, email@example.com
Subject: printing issues as users
I have the following problem that nobody seems to give me a good answer to. If I print as root, everything is good. If I try to print as a user I get "lpr: connect error, permission denied" "jobs queued, but daemon could not be started'
This is under Red hat 5.1. Any tips ?
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 19:34:49 GMT
SUBJECT: Help Wanted!
I have a PII (350MHz) running with an AGP ATI 3DRage graphics card (which works fine) and a Sound Blaster 16 PnP (which also works fine). But, I'd be buggered if I can get my internal SupraExpress 56k modem to work.
I have set the port (cua2 - COM3 in Windows) to IRQ11 (as it is under Mr. Gates' OS) and the memory but it won't work. I tried changing the modem initialization strings and still nothing. Minicom says that there is no connection (!?).
If someone can help me, I would be most grateful as I want to use Netscape under X because I want to use less of Windows because it's no good and expensive and hey, who likes expensive stuff eh?
Thanks for your time
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 11:47:43 +0100
From: Carlo Vinante,
Subject: K6-2 Troubles on Linux
First I would thanks all the people and Linux Gazette who answered me in a my previous mail.
I've another request to do now ..... that is :
I've upgraded my system from a K5 @ 133 MHz to a K6-2 3D @ 266 MHz processor ... and, as wrote on the Linux HOWTOs "... with the older version of K6 we have to disabled the cache memory ... ".
So, my fault was that I didn't read the HOWTO prior to buy the new processor, but I'm asking to myself if "... is really a K6-2 an "older" version of K6 family ... " ?
The system runs anyway, but is a 'little slow' :-( Is the cache disabling the only way to fix this problem ? If not, which kind of K6, I can 'safely' use ?
Thanks in advance to all the Linux people. Have Fun :)
Date: Tue, 03 Nov 1998 12:51:31 +0530
From: Prakash Advani, firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm interested in setting up Sendmail so that it routes mail over the Internet for users who are not on the system.
What I have done is setup a Web site and a Linux server on my Intranet. Both have the same domain name. I can download mail and distribute it internally using fetchmail and procmail. I can also send mails to users on the Internet as well as users within the network.
What I would like Sendmail to do is check if the user is a valid user on the system. If so it should deliver the mail internally, otherwise it should route the mail over the Internet.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Date: Wed, 04 Nov 1998 19:01:02 +0000
From: Roberto Urban, email@example.com
Subject: Help Wanted - Installation On Single Floppy
My problem seems to be very simple yet I am struggling to solve it. I am trying to have a very basic installation of Linux on a single 1.44MB floppy disk and I cannot find any documents on how to do that.
My goal is to have just one floppy with the kernel, TCP/IP, network driver for 3COM PCMCIA card, Telnet daemon, so I could demonstrate our RF products (which have a wireless Ethernet interface - 802.11 in case you are interested) with just a laptop PC and this floppy. I have found several suggestions on how to create a compressed image on a diskette but the problem is how to create and install a _working_ system on the same diskette, either through a RAM disk or an unused partition. The distribution I am currently using is Slackware 3.5.
I would appreciate every help in this matter.
Date: Sat, 07 Nov 1998 13:01:39 +0100
From: Bob Cloninger, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Dual HP Ethernet 10/100VG
These are PCI controllers that seem to have some ISA characteristics. Everything I found said multiple PCI controllers could share a single driver, but that apparently isn't the case for this controller. I was never able to force the probe for the second card.
The first two (alias) lines were added by the X-Windows configuration, and I added the two (options) lines to /etc/conf.modules.
alias eth0 hp100 alias eth1 hp100 options eth0 -o hp100-0 options eth1 -o hp100-1"eth1" popped right up on the next reboot. This is well documented for ISA controllers, but I couldn't find it associated with PCI anywhere. Desperation + trial and error...
I'm an experienced system administrator, but new to Linux. Is this something I overlooked in the documentation or web sites?
Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 13:45:44 +0100
From: Tony Grant, email@example.com
Subject: ISDN on Linux
I am looking for help from a person who has an ISDN connection running on Red Hat 5.1, 2.0.35, Intel (K6 -2) with USR sportster internal card. I have managed to run ISDN on both S.u.S.E. and Red Hat but since I have upgraded my machines from P166 to AMD K6-2 300 MHz it doesn't work anymore...
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 15:33:18 -0500
From: terrence.yurejchu, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: So How do I get the most from Linux
I have made an extensive, and personal (money-wise) commitment to Microsoft and Windows and ... (from MS). I can say I am not entirely pleased, but then I began in the days of CP/M and never enjoyed the MS flavor to it. I like the idea of Unix/Linux but I do have all this software that is for the MSWin platform.
(There is a project called WINE that allows you to run some Windows software on Linux. Unfortunately, it's way behind. However, Corel seems to be backing getting it more up to date so this may change soon. Also, you can set up your computer to run both Windows and Linux using LILO to pick which operating system to run when you log on, or you can network the two systems using Samba. So no need to give up anything. --Editor)
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 15:56:27 -0700 (MST)
From: Michael J. Hammel, email@example.com
Subject: Re: graphics for disabled
In a previous message, Pierre LAURIER says:
I'm just a new user of Linux, without too much time to consider learning it. I'm just having a quick question : Do you know of specific developments that have been made on X environments (KDE, GNOME or others) that are giving specific features for visually impaired people.
No, I don't know of anything like this thats specifically planned for the desktop designs.
- control of the pointer device with the keyboard
You can do that now if you use the IBM "mouse" - the little post thats placed right in the keyboard. But that depends on your definition of "control". If what you're really looking for is to use the tab key, for example, to move from application to application then you can already do that with some window managers. Then the applications need to have proper traversal configuration (done in the source code, not from the user's perspective) to allow movement of keyboard focus within the application.
- customizing the pointer with any kind of shape, color...etc
Doable, but I don't know to what level KDE or GNOME supports this. It would have to be done in the Window Manager in order for it to be applicable to all applications.
- features that help retrieve the cursor on the screen (key stroke, blinking etc...)
I take it you mean "find it" - make it stand out visually so you can tell where its at. Again, this would be a function of the window manager. None of them currently do anything like this. At least not that I know of.
- instant zooming of the screen (by function key for example)
This would be a function of the X server, not the window manager or GNOME or KDE. None of the X servers have a "zoom" per se, but they all support on the fly resolution switching via the keyboard.
- changing screen color/ resolution etc on the fly
Resolution switching can be done with CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE with the Xi Graphics server. I think XFree86 does the same. But with either you have to configure the server properly for this to work properly. I don't use this feature so couldn't explain how its done.
By "changing color" I take it to mean the color of the background and/or borders/frames around windows. This would be a function of the window manager. CDE (a commercial environment that uses the Motif Window Manager, aka mwm) supports this. I don't think any other window managers support it just yet but they might.
and I'm just here mentioning feature for disabled people, not for blind ones. But one way or the other the IT community needs to remember that computer can be a fantastic tool also for these peoples.
True. The problem is finding someone who both understands what the issues are and has an interest in doing the work (or organizing the work to be done, either by the OSS community or by commercial vendors).
I'm sorry I was taking this time, if you're not a person that can help here, just pass along this message to anyone that could help.
I'll forward this reply to the Linux Gazette. They'll probably post it and maybe someone with better information than I will contact you.
Michael J. Hammel
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 07:33:32 -0800
From: Sergio E. Martinez, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: article idea
I'm just writing in with an idea for a quick article. I've been using the GNOME desktop. I'm a relative Linux newbie though, and I think that many of your less experienced readers could probably benefit from a short article about window managers. These are some things I currently don't quite understand:
Sergio E. Martinez
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 08:52:09 +0200
From: Volkan Kenaroglu, email@example.com
Subject: I couldn't install my sound card :)
I am new on using Linux. Recently installed Debian 1.3 on my system both at work and home. But I couldn't install my sound-card (Opti-931) even though it says Debian 1.3 support the card. Actually during the installation it did not ask me if I've sound card on my computer. Nor dit it detect. :( Please help me.
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 14:27:43 +0800
Subject: whether Xircom is supported?
I install Red Hat5.1 in notebook computer which has Xircom card,but in Red Had5.1,no Xircom driver, I want to known whether Red Hat5.2 supports this card.
Date: Mon, 09 Nov 1998 17:06:47 +1300
From: Maximum Internet, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: PPP Linux list
We unsubscribed to the PPP Linux list but are still receiving the mail even though we received a reply saying that our unsubscribing was successful. What do we do? Thank you
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 09:56:16 +0100 (MET)
From: Gregor Gerstmann (s590039), email@example.com
I would appreciate, if somebody would write something about linking separately translated Fortran and C programs (don't ask me why), with
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 14:52:05 +0000
From: "Dicer", Dicer@crosswinds.net
Subject: Help wanted: ATX Powerdown
How is it possible to shutdown my atx-motherboard under linux instead of doing a reboot or halt? Any sources or programs known?
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 20:05:53 -0500
From: Ed Roper, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Securing your system?
Regarding the article in the Nov 1998 issue of Linux Gazette, entitled "Securing Your System": What are you guys doing in the editing dept.? Since when did "TELNET" read the .rhosts file? One can accept this typo if it appeared maybe once, but it occurred several times. This is perhaps one of the worst cases of misinformation I have ever seen in a computer-related article.
(Sorry about that. Perhaps you don't realize but there are no "guys in the editing" department. Articles are posted as they come without fee or warranty. If there is a mistake, someone usually lets us know, as you have, and we print the correcting letter. You are the only one who wrote about this particular article. Thanks. --Editor)
Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 12:07:52 -0800
From: Dave Stevens, email@example.com
Subject: Dan Helfman
I am a computer dealer with a strong interest in Unix as an operating system, in Linux as a very good Unix implementation, and a regular reader of the Linux Gazette web site. In the November issue at www.linuxgazette.com is a reference to a series of postings at http://www.nerdherd.net/oppression/9810/ucla.shtml.
These postings detail an issue that has arisen with Mr. Dan Helfman's use of your residence network facilities. Not having any other information, I am proceeding on the assumption that the statements made there are accurate.
If, indeed, they are accurate, I am afraid they portray UCLA's administration in a damn poor light. Arbitrariness, secretiveness, powermongering and really outstanding stupidity seem to characterize the administration's motives and actions, while Mr. Helfman appears to have conducted himself with both taste and restraint. I am a university person myself and I must say I had rather hoped the kind of bullshit I had to deal with in my own student days had been improved on in the intervening decades.
How unfortunate that UCLA has learned nothing.
You ought to restore a network connection to Mr. Helfman immediately and tender him a public apology now.
If my information is wrong or some reasonable solution has developed, no-one would be happier than I.
Date: Wed, 04 Nov 1998 13:28:59 +0100
From: Francois Heizmann, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Comments for improvements?
In the main page you're requesting "great" ideas for improvements...
Well ! I'm sad to say you did a perfect job... :-)
Please keep on going that way.
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 22:51:52 -0700
From: Evelyn Mitchell, email@example.com
Subject: Linux Demonstration at Park Meadows CompUSA
This afternoon, Kevin Cullis, Business Account Manager at the Denver Park Meadows CompUSA, graciously invited several Northern Colorado Linux advocates and consultants to help him set up a demonstration Linux system.
Attending were Lynn Danielson of CLUE, George Sowards, Brent Beerman, Fran Schneider, Alan Robertson of the High Availability Linux Project, and Sean Reifchneider and I of tummy.com, and Pete who has been advocating Linux to Kevin for several years.
Kevin started out describing some of the opportunities he sees for Linux in small and home offices, and was quite enthusiastic about using Linux as a tool to leverage information in Intranets, Internets, and Extranets (VPNs). We discussed the strengths and weaknesses of Linux as a desktop machine, particularly the different style of administration required between Windows or Macintoshes and Linux, and the ways in which the Linux community, particularly Wine, is moving closer to achieving binary compatibility with Wintel applications. We also discussed how reliability is the biggest selling factor for those power users who are sick of the Blue Screen of Death.
We installed Red Hat 5.2 using server mode as a fresh install first, and Kevin was absolutely delighted with how simple it was. Three questions and 20 minutes.
While the applications were loading for Red Hat, Sean hooked up the machine we brought loaded with Red Hat 5.2, KDE, Enlightenment and Applix. Kevin was very impressed with KDE, I suspect because he was expecting a much different interface. He could see selling a KDE system to someone who had only used Windows or Macintoshes without any problem.
We then installed Caldera 1.3 on the first machine, as a dual boot. The installation was only slightly more complicated than the Red Hat server mode.
This is only the beginning of the journey, though. Lynn Danielson will be guiding Kevin through the basics of administering and demonstrating these systems. On December 10th many of the participants today will be meeting again at the Boulder Linux Users Group Mini-Expo to get a look a much broader range of Linux applications.
As Sean said, a good Saturday of advocacy.
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 11:06:59 +0000
From: Harry Drummond, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: re: Linux easy/not easy/not ready/ready YIKES
I have a lot of sympathy with Tim Gray's remarks on the intelligence of the user, but (inevitably) I also have reservations.
I'm not a computer professional of any kind, but I bought a BBC computer way back in 1983 and taught myself to program. I then learned two other flavors of Basic, then QuickBasic, and currently Delphi for a hobby application I've been selling since 1989. I also taught myself HTML (and taught others afterwards). And while I haven't yet got to grips with Linux because the latest version of my application is due out again, I have the two versions of Linux recently distributed on UK magazines and I'm at least 90% confident of installing it. The other 10% will be the challenge.
But in common with many users, I apply the maxim "when all else fails read the manual" (ironic when I write a manual for my own application). As a result, I have spent months programming things that I then learned could have been done much more simply *if I'd only known the command.* Well, at the time I didn't! And the very wealth of material can be a hindrance if you cannot yet slot all the bits into the right place in your mind. It's also enormously frustrating to work with manuals, etc. (when you *do* read them!), that gloss over the particular point that causes trouble. In some cases, the problem is more imaginary than real - but it's real enough to the beginner until he/she cracks it.
I work in a University Library where we do our best to get students using computers. Some need only a hint, some will never understand more than a tiny fragment. But we've produced the briefest handouts we can (1 sheet of paper) and still had the student begging for help when the answer was plainly written in the handout clutched in their fingers. People commonly want people for help, not documents.
Finally, some people don't want education, they want to cut straight to the answers. If we're honest, we all do it at different times. I've got stacks of software that came on magazine discs. Unless they really fascinate me, the only ones likely to survive a five-minute exploration are those that convince me I can make them work with minimum effort. With me, as with many users, it isn't intelligence that's in question, it's commitment to the task in hand. And that determines whether the user is into exploration and education, or just picking up a work-ready tool for an hour.
I'll see you with my newbie questions shortly!
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 10:07:36 +0000
From: Harry Drummond, email@example.com
Subject: Not Linux
I read your remarks on Jonathan Creek with interest, but appreciate them while you can. They only make about 6 episodes at a time, with (I think) two series in all so far. I suspect the concept was a one-off series to test the water and was successful enough to do more.
My wife and I (as ordinary viewers) are confidently looking forward to a third series in due course, but we've seen some very promising ideas survive only one series. Britain also has a large percentage of viewers who would quickly switch to soaps, game shows, or - if they stretched themselves - Dallas et al. That does tend to kill shows that have promise but need to build.
Things like Jonathan Creek, Morse and so forth are probably no more common on our screens than they are on yours. But you *are* right about beautiful people. Using 'ordinary' people has the downside of making the programmes look more ordinary to us, but more closely linked to reality as well. For viewers abroad, of course, there is always an exotic flavour as well - something the native (in any culture) usually misses.
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 00:41:51 +0000
From: "I.P. Robson", firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Link : Cheers..
I just want to say that's a really sexy link at the top of the index page... and even I can't miss it now... Hopefully I'll never forget to download an issue now..
And even though you already know I think you guys are the best, I have to tell you again....
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 12:54:46 -0800
From: Geoffrey Dann, email@example.com
Subject: Telnet vs Rlogin
In issue 34, article "Securing Your Linux Box", the author mentions TELNET using the .rhosts file. In the few systems I've used (BSD4, SunOs, Solaris, Linux), "rlogin" uses the .rhosts file, but "telnet" does not.
Other than that, great article! thanks..
Here's a 2 cent tip for others trying to turn NumLock on at startup (I'm using Red Hat 5.1, Linux 2.0.34)
Dennis van Dok wrote in to let us know there's a program called "setleds" that will handle this kind of activity. The "Linux FAQ" http://theory.uwinnipeg.ca/faqs/section7.html#q_7_10 has this to say about how to set this up automatically.
Question 7.10. How do I get NUM LOCK to default to on ?Steve Head also wrote in saying he thought there was a setting in the X11 configuration file to change this, but I haven't had a chance to try that yet.
Use the setleds program, for example (in /etc/rc.local or one of the /etc/rc.d/* files): for t in 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
setleds +num < /dev/tty$t > /dev/null
setleds is part of the KDB package (see Q7.9 `How do I remap my keyboard to UK, French, etc. ?').
Alternatively, patch your kernel. You need to arrange for KBD_DEFLEDS to be defined to (1 << VC_NUMLOCK) when compiling drivers/char/keyboard.c.
Again -- the Linux community comes through. Thanks to all who helped.
It may happen that I want to use a software package which includes lots of binaries, sometimes even hundreds of them as is the case with BRLCAD. These packages live in their own directories, for example /usr/local/brlcad/bin, /usr/local/brlcad/lib etc. I don't want to cp, mv or ln the binaries in a common place like /usr/local/bin as they would clutter up these directories and, more important, name clashes can arise. Furthermore these packages require environment variables to be set, and it would be cumbersome to configure these in a personal .zshrc file.
The following method using zsh may help to quickly set up an environment appropriate for the specific package.
The idea is, that calling a script, e.g. brlcad_setup, living in a common place, will make a new instance of shell properly set up. Using zsh it is possible to modularize the configuration, such that it is possible build up a general configuration tool.
In the directory /usr/local/brlcad I put the following shell script, linked into /usr/local/bin:
#!/bin/sh export BRLCADHOME=3D/usr/local/brlcad # (*) export PATH=3D$BRLCADHOME/bin:$PATH # (*) export MANPATH=3D$BRLCADHOME/man # (*) export ZDOTDIR=3D/usr/local/lib/zsh # (**) export PSNAME=3Dbrlcad # (**) exec zsh # (1) (**)In /usr/local/lib/zsh there is a replacement .zshenv file:
. ~HOME/.zshrc export PSLOCAL=3D$PSNAME:$PSLOCAL PS1="[$PSLOCAL%n]:%~:$"This is called at (1) in place of the user's .zshenv and will set up the prompt, so that the user is able to see in what environment he works. The lines (*) are the customization for the particular package. The lines (**) can be used as a template for other configuration scripts, with PSNAME set to the name of the package. I have created scripts for gpm (Modula-2 compiler, name clash with the console mouse driver), brlcad and bmrt.
[gemi]:~:$brlcad_setup = [brlcad:gemi]:~:$bmrt_setup = [bmrt:brlcad:gemi]:~:$gpm_setup = [gpm:bmrt:brlcad:gemi]:~:$exit [bmrt:brlcad:gemi]:~:$exit [brlcad:gemi]:~:$exit [gemi]:~:$At each level, the PATH configuration and other environment variables are available for the packages displayed in the prompt, and will disappear as soon as a shell is exited.
A while ago I inquired about X Windows servers for PC's so that I could run my Linux GUI on my PC for administration etc.. I got about 32 replies. Great support! I have summarized the replies here in case anybody else is interested. I tried the MI/X and VNC. I found MI/X tricky and not very solid, and VNC to be amazingly flexible. Try viewing your own desktop from another PC while viewing that PC's desktop.
With this technique you can run several X servers simultaneously with different color depths. This comes in handy for interoperating programs that only support a few color depths or previewing images in different color depths, all without quitting the current session or so much as opening a Control Panel.
Create a startx file for every bit depth called startx8, startx16, or startx24. Give yourself execute permission on those.
In each startx file put the following, which is a slightly modified version of the default startx:
#!/bin/sh bindir=/usr/X11R6/bin userclientrc=$HOME/.xinitrc userserverrc=$HOME/.xserverrc sysclientrc=/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xinit/xinitrc sysserverrc=/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xinit/xserverrc clientargs="" serverargs="" display=:0 depth=8 if [ -f $userclientrc ]; then clientargs=$userclientrc else if [ -f $sysclientrc ]; then clientargs=$sysclientrc fi fi if [ -f $userserverrc ]; then serverargs=$userserverrc else if [ -f $sysserverrc ]; then serverargs=$sysserverrc fi fi whoseargs="client" while [ "x$1" != "x" ]; do case "$1" in /''*|\.*) if [ "$whoseargs" = "client" ]; then clientargs="$1" else serverargs="$1" fi ;; --) whoseargs="server" ;; *) if [ "$whoseargs" = "client" ]; then clientargs="$clientargs $1" else serverargs="$serverargs $1" case "$1" in :[0-9]) display="$1" ;; esac fi ;; esac shift done serverargs="$serverargs $display -auth $HOME/.Xauthority -bpp $depth" mcookie=`mcookie` xauth add $display . $mcookie xauth add `hostname -f`$display . $mcookie echo "xinit $clientargs -- $serverargs" exec xinit $clientargs -- $serverargsChange the display and depth variables to different numbers for every startx file.
For an 8 bit server set depth=8 and display=:0
For a 16 bit server set depth=16 and display=:1
For a 24 bit server set depth=24 and display=:2
You can even have several startx files for the same bit depth as long as the display variables are different.
Now you can start up an 8 bit server with startx8. Open an xterm and type startx16 to get a 16 bit server without quitting the 8 bit server. You can switch between servers using the Ctrl-Alt-F keys.
You recently published the following tip:
Nevertheless, Netscape seems to create a directory nsmail in the user's home directory every time it starts and doesn't find it, even if mail is not used. This is annoying. Here's a trick which doesn't make this directory go away, but at least makes it invisible.
I didn't find a GUI equivalent to change this setting so you have to do the following:
Edit the file ~/.netscape/preferences.js and change all occurrences of 'nsmail' to '.netscape'. The important thing here is, of course, the leading dot before 'netscape'.
My recommendation is to edit ~/.netscape/preferences.js and change the occurrences of 'nsmail' to '~/Mail' That way, netscape can display mail if I choose, or I can use another mail reader (elm, mutt, pine, etc.) configured to use the same directory.
James M. Kaufman
The Ingot program did not work well for me. Power Quest has, IMHO, a superior product for less money -- drive image. Good stuff! http://www.powerquest.com
Here's my two cent tip:
Disk space is relatively cheap, so why not buy a small drive say 500Meg which is used for holding just the root /lib /bin /sbin directories. Then setup a job to automatically back this up to another drive using "cp -ax" (and possibly pipe it through gzip and tar). This way when the unthinkable happens and you loose something vital, all you have to do is boot from floppy mount the 2 drives and do a copy. This has just saved my bacon while installing gnu-libc2
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 01:10:10 -0700
From: Warren Young, firstname.lastname@example.org
In regards to a letter you wrote to the Linux Gazette:
A. only that user could access their own cache, cookies, pointer files, etc.
I will first assume that you already have the computer basically secured: you are not logging in as "root" except to maintain the system, and the "regular user" account you are using does not have permission to write files to any other area of the hard disc than your own home directory. (I will ignore the "temporary" and other "public" directories.)
The first step is to set the security permissions on your home directory and its subdirectories. I won't go into the details here (that's best left to a good introductory Linux text), but you can have the system disallow other users from reading and/or listing the contents of your directories, as well as disallowing write access. (Under Red Hat Linux 5.0, the default is to disallow others _all_ access to your home directory, but subdirectories you later create aren't protected in this way.) Do the same for your existing files.
Next, learn to use the "umask" command. (This command is part of your shell -- find out what your "login shell" is, and then read its manual to find info about this command.) The umask command sets the "default file permissions" for new files. For example, you can make the system create new files and directories such that only you can read them or write to them.
One other thing you should look into is an encrypting file system driver. I seem to recall hearing of such a thing for Linux, but I can't recall any details.
I do not know how deleted files could be safeguarded in this wayIt's possible to patch the OS so that the "unlink()" system call always overwrites the file with zeros or something before it removes the file from the file system. That would make the system run slower at times, but that might be a worthwhile tradeoff for you. That should be a fairly easy change to make to the kernel, given that the source code is available. If you don't know how to do this and are unwilling to learn, try asking on the Net for someone to do this for you. You can probably find someone who's willing just because it's an interesting thing to do.
B. these files - the whole lot of them - could be scrubbed, wiped, obliterated (that's why it's important for them to be in a known and findable place) by their owner, without impairing the function of the applications or the system, and without disturbing similar such files for other users.You list as criteria (to paraphrase) "without disturbing the system for others", so the kernel idea above wouldn't work. Instead, you would probably want a utility to do the same thing as the kernel idea: overwrite the file (perhaps multiple times) with junk, and then remove it. This, again, shouldn't be too hard to write, and I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't already exist. Such things already exist for most other operating systems.... You could even make it a fancy drag-and-drop X Windows application so you just drag files to it like a Mac/Win95 "trash can" and it securely deletes the file.
C. it would be nice too if there were a way to prevent the copying of certain files, and that would include copying by backup programs (for example, I'm a Mac user and we use Retrospect to back up some of our Macintoshes; there's a feature to suppress the backing up of a particular directory by having a special character (a "bullet", or optn-8) at the beginning or end of the directory name.) But if this could be an OS-level feature, it would be stronger.This sort of feature does not belong in the operating system because "backup" is not part of the operating system, it's an add-on. The reason that it's an add-on is because you want to allow each individual to choose their own backup solution based on their own needs, desires and preferences. I may want to use the BRU backup program, while another might prefer "afio", and a third person may be a raving "tar" fan.
The point is, it's not part of the OS, so several different backup programs have emerged, each with a different style and feature list. The price of this freedom and flexibility is that a feature like "don't back this file up" is something that each program will implement differently. It can't be part of the OS under this model, and I don't think we want to change this.
If I'm user X, and I want to get rid of my computer, or get rid of everything that's mine on the computer, I should just be able to delete all of my data files (and burn them or wipe them or otherwise overwrite that area of the disk), which I can surely do today. But in addition, I should know where to go to do the same thing with whatever system level files might be out there, currently unbeknownst to me, and be able to expunge them also, without affecting anything for anyone else.The safest method is to erase the hard disk with a "government level wipe" program. Many of these exist for DOS -- you can create a DOS disk for the sole purpose of booting up and wiping your system. Then, install a fresh copy of the OS. This is the only way you can be sure that everything sensitive is off of the machine.
The only other option is for you to learn where all of the "individual configuration" files are kept -- that is, those files that make your setup unique. Following the security suggestions above can help, because then applications can't store something where you can't find it -- the OS won't let it, and thus everything is either under your home directory, or somewhere you put it as "root". But, you may miss a file, so the "wipe the HD" is the only foolproof method.
Warren -- http://www.cyberport.com/~tangent/
0 init 1 1 mount your drive on /mnt **(see below) 2 cp -dpR /usr /mnt 3 umount /mnt 4 mount your drive on /usr 5 init 2 6 rejoice** recompile your kernel. make sure you have the options needed in the HOWTO: http://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO/mini/ZIP-Drive
R Garth Wood
The advantages are:
R Garth Wood
Look into the programs "redir" and "rinetd".
R Garth Wood
In issue 33 of the Linux Gazette you wrote:
I have already spent hours trying to fix my Supra336 PnP internal modem and my HP DeskJet 720C under Linux! The result is always the same, no communication with the modem and no page printed on the HP printer! Could someone help me, I am close to abandon!
I've had the same problem with the HP820 printer. It turns out that the '20 series printers use a protocol called PPA unlike the PCL protocols that HP uses for its other printers. Basically Windows uses software to print to these printers. Fortunately there's somebody out there who was able to figure out some of that protocol (since HP isn't releasing any info). This person created a PPA to PBM converter to allow printing under Linux. Right now you can only print in black and white, but that's better than nothing. If you are shopping for a printer and plan to use Linux, you should avoid the '20 series HP printers like the plague. Here's the URL where you can find more info about the converter and download it. It comes with sample scripts to setup the printing. Keep in mind that you must change the 'enscript' command in the scripts to 'nenscript' because enscript is a commercial program. Also take out the '-r' switch since 'nenscript' doesn't support it. Hope this helps.
David P. Pritzkau
Linux already does most of what you said (example, netscape cache cookie files are kept in a .netscape file in your home that cannot be accessed by other users).
As for delete, this can easily be done by a user file that opens the file for random access and writes x's everywhere before deleting. Have seen such utilities around for virtually all platforms (as it only requires ANSI C calls, you could easily write a command that compiles onto any platform. It is slow, and could be slightly improved by being done in kernel space. If you want to try, I suggest that you start by reading Alessandro Rubini's book "Writing Linux Kernel Device Drivers". This will give you an easy and gentle introduction to programming in Kernel space. Once you have got the hang of that, you should read through the documentation for the e2fs. Then implement a simple draft version. Once you have it working, post it to the Linux Kernel development mailing list, and the kernel hackers will guide you from there.
DO NOT approach the kernel list with ideas you are thinking about doing. It is not that they are unresponsive, but there are a lot of Linux users and with a lot of ideas, they could easily be submerged. In order to avoid time wasters, they are forced to adopt a 'first show me the code' attitude. This is not a bad thing as when one starts to actually implement something (rather than dream about it) you begin to realize WHY it has not yet been done.
Once you actually have something, even a first draft that only vaguely works, you will find kernel developers very responsive and helpful.