Linux Gazette

Table of Contents Issue #10

Copyright (c) 1996 Specialized Systems Consultants, Inc.
For information regarding copying and distribution of this material see the *COPYING document.

SSC - Publishers of Linux Journal

Welcome to Linux Gazette!

Linux Gazette is an on-line WWW publication, and a member of the Linux Documentation Project, that is dedicated to two simple ideas:

The basic idea behind these two concepts is that Linux is one cool OS, whose price for admission is a willingness to read, learn, tinker (aka, hack!), and then share your experiences. The Gazette is a compilation of basic tips, tricks, suggestions, ideas and short articles about Linux designed to make using Linux fun and easy. It started out as a personal project of John M. Fisk, but has grown to include contributions freely provided by a growing number of authors. Linux Journal is now publishing the Gazette using material sent to us by outside authors *(note to potential authors). Without these authors there would not be a Gazette, and I thank them all. Drop a note to the author of anything that you find helpful or instructive--the author's e-mail address is included for this very purpose.

Linux Gazette is a non-commercial publication and will remain that way. A tar, gzip file containing all issues of Linux Gazette and one containing the current issue can be found at *

Thanks also go to Matt Welsh, coordinator of the Linux Documentation Project, for graciously bringing the Linux Gazette under the auspices of the LDP. The material included in these documents is covered by a designedly liberal copyright: as long as you are using the material for non-commercial purposes, you can do with them as you please.

A new table of contents will appear with each issue that will allow you to easily find something of interest. The current month's LG is at the top.

Have fun!

Click here for Linux Journal's latest Hot Linux News!

Linux Gazette WWW & FTP Mirror Page

For those of you who are accessing the Linux Gazette from outside the U.S. or if you are having problems with slow connections at a particular site, you might want to access these pages via one of our mirror sites. Thanks all of those who have kindly offered the use of their WWW and FTP sites in order to make this possible!

*Linux Gazette Mirrors


The Mailbag!

Write the Gazette at

Date: Thu, 5 Sep 1996 08:34:05 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Linux Gazette Suggestion
From: (Mark Kaehny)


Like the Linux Gazette but would you please (for us linear thinkers) put some navigation aid so we can go to next and previous pages? I don't like clicking back to the menu, I like flipping through things...

Thanks for the work, appreciated.
Mark Kaehny

(Done -- good suggestion. --Editor)

Date: Thu, 05 Sep 1996 13:22:23 -0700
Subject: Linux trademark issues.
From: Earl Stutes

Yet again, it appears someone is attempting to make a buck on something that most of the rest of us feel should be a free or at least public domain thing. In this case the word Linux. I don't have any suggestions as to how "we" deal directly with this issue, but I certainly hope that all of you folks that are a part of the growing Linux commercial community will take the lead in fighting this yo-yo. Of course part of my contribution to support you is the fact that I buy the magazine from the newstand(Computer Literacy, actually) every month.

I have enjoyed your magazine right from the beginning, and will continue to be a supporter over the long term.

Thanks for listening


(Since the Gazette is strictly on-line, I'm assuming you are talking about the Linux Journal when you refer to buying the magazine. Latest news about the trademark can be found by clicking the Hot Linux News button on the Front Page. There are also couple of items in the current News Bytes section. --Editor)

Date: Fri, 6 Sep 1996 08:58:23 +0100 (BST)
Subject: LG Issue #9
From: Dave Pearson


First, I'd like to say congrats on taking over support of the LG, it's a very handy resource and it's nice to see it getting continued support.

However, I've got a question about how you are going to handle it. In the past I've always downloaded a copy of the latest issue of LG and installed it on my own machine so that I could read it at my leisure. IIRC, each issue included a new top level index file that would list the TOCs of all issues, this ment it was simple and easy to install and to quickly search for a specific article.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but issue 9 does not appear to follow this install style. Was there a reason for this?

Thanks for your time.

Take a look in Hagbard's World: |     w3ng - The WWW Norton Guide reader.  |  ng2html - The NG to HTML converter. 
Resist UK Internet Censorship:  |       eg - Norton Guide reader for OS/2.    |   dgscan - DGROUP scanner for Clipper.  

(You are not wrong. I did change it, not realizing what a hassle it was going to cause some people. The reason for part of the change that will most likely remain, is that I wanted to be able to keep issues 1-8 exactly as they were when John put them out -- i.e. not changing the front page, etc. The way it works now should not be that different.

The front page offers a spot to click for the TOC of issues 1-8 and a spot for TOC 9. When 10 comes out next month, it will be on top of TOC 9. I personally thought that having each TOC in a separate file would make it easier -- perhaps I was wrong, it's been known to happen. I'm considering a search program, when I have time to set it up, and in the meantime, I will add an index containing all TOCs. --Editor)

Date: Fri, 6 Sep 1996 06:30:39 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: new LG issue
From: Larry Ayers

Last night I saw the new LG issue on the SSC website. So evidently in the last week of August writers came through for you. There are some great articles in issue 9; an auspicious beginning for SSC's sponsorship (and your editing duties).

By the way, I got an email the other day from another LG reader, complaining that the graphics from the TkDesk article I wrote in LG #8 were not accessible to a web-browser. I loaded the article into Netscape (from the SSC website) and found this to be true. Perhaps the directory structure was changed somehow when LG #8 was put on the site, rendering a link inactive? I just checked issue 8 again, and found that most of the inline images in my pieces won't display. I think the problem is that the directory which John Fisk used was ./gx/ayers, whereas it looks like SSC's gazette graphics all go in ./gx.

Regards, Larry Ayers

(Thanks. Yes, authors did come through for me, including you, and I thank you all.

Sorry, I know about the problem with the links, and it is now fixed. The directories were set up correctly; there were just a lot of missing files. --Editor)

Date: Fri, 6 Sep 1996 10:25:43 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Linux Gazette Issue #9
From: (David W. Schuler)

I just tried to take a look at the Linux Gazette Issue #9. Unfortunately, I did not find the "I'll read it myself" button at the top of the index that would allow me to see the whole thing at one time and print it out for later reading at home. I would appreciate if you could add this option back, rather than causing me to have to go into each section to print it out so that I can read it later at home.


David W. Schuler - Advisory Engineer
Semiconductor Contract Manufacturing
IBM Microelectronics Internet:
B/863-2 Z/863D AOL:
(Personal Mail)
1000 River Street Phone: (802) 769-7636
Essex Junction, VT 05452-4299 FAX: (802) 769-6800
For IBM Microelectronics information:

(Yes, I took that out -- didn't realize how popular it was. I've gotten lots of mail about this change, so am planning to put it out there both ways beginning this month. --Editor)

Date: Sun, 8 Sep 1996 14:02:08 +-200
Subject: LOCAL:(Belgium,Antwerp) Linux day on 2 november 1996
From: POE


we are the recently started Antwerp Linux Users Club. We invite you all to come to our Linux day meeting on 2 November 1996 in the CC'De Schorren' at Hoboken-Polder Graspolderlaan from 10h till 18h. We are demonstrating the Linuxkernel 2.0 with a lot of working applications including a Webserver and if you become a member You can join our Intranet.

You can reach us at our homepage Be carefull : it can get you a while before you get in but once you are in it's pretty fast!

Patrick & Armand

(All right, Antwerp! Get out there and support Linux. --Editor)

Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 08:57:17 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Linux Gazette
From: (Sunit Das)

Hello! I was wondering if you have an archive with the past issues of the Linux Gazette(tar-ed and gzip-ed) so that us (the readers) can download and browse at our leisure? If not, would it be too much trouble to do so? I hope I'm not imposing too much, but I am on a shared phone line, and much as I would like to stay on the net all day (it's tempting), I can't. Thanks for *any* help!

--Sunit Das

(No problem. tar files are available, I've just been having technical difficulties -- they were unreadable. At any rate John Fisk sent us new files that are now up at Also, our issue 10 file, lg_issue10.tar.gzp and all issues (1-10) file, LinuxGazette_oct96.tar.gzp are located at that site. --Editor)

Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 23:05:36 +0200
Subject: Suggestion: Search Engine
From: "Johannes Norinder"

My suggestion is that you ought to have some kind of simple search engine so that you easily can search for phrases within one or all of the issues of LG. As is it's hard to know if you've covered Iomegas Zipdrive, for example.

Otherwise thanks for a great service.

Johannes Norinder

(I agree. In fact it's something that I have already thought about. There is a search engine for Linux Journal, and I will probably use the same one for the Gazette. However, it means doing a lot of front end work to get it set up. When I'll have time to do this is not certain, but it is definitely on the list. --Editor)

Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 00:32:27 -0400
Subject: my 2 cents
From: "Aaron L. Hastings"

hey there
im just gettin into linux
i got it to help me learn unix
which it has helped a lot on
but i have found it to be totally awesome in its own right

it is almost cliche but nothing in any commercial sense has
managed to pull together in a near utopian ( except for bugs )
environment a cooperative effort of people worldwide

it just shows what people can do when they work together
( like i said cliche but rarely achieved )

well this site is just another example of this cooperation


(shades of e e cummings --editor)

Date: Wed, 11 Sep 96 12:36:54 -0400
Subject: Linux Gazette
From: Bill Cronk

I am very glad to see a new issue put out. I was sad thinking that it had gone by the wayside.

I would like to see a section of tips and tricks devoted towards the novice user who needs to learn the tricks to setting up hardware, software and all the other things that come along. I remember when the first Byte magazine came out and for the longest time there were articles on hardware and software for the novices. After a while that ended as people grew up and demanded more in depth articles. I would think that most people would have a hard time finding those back issues. In the case of the Gazette all the back issues will most likely be archived and if a basic index was published once or twice a year many new people to the world of Linux would have all kinds of useful tips and tricks to read through.

Either way I enjoy reading the Gazette and will look forward to new issues. I wish you success in publishing the Gazette.

In the future, maybe the far future, I will be able to provide an article now and then on some hardware and software items related to laboratory instrumentation interfacing and controlling of automated test equipment.

Best wishes,

Bill Cronk                                   Phone:         (703) 704-3692 
E-OIR Measurements, Inc                      Fax:           (703) 704-1821  
P.O. Box 1240                                E-mail: 
Spotsylvania, VA 22553                       Amateur Radio: WB2LUU 

(I agree that this is a good idea and will put it out there in the next issue and see if anyone responds. I'll look forward to the time when you send me an article. New contributors are always welcome. --Editor)

Date: Fri, 13 Sep 1996 08:51:41 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Gazette on a DOS machine
From: (G.V.Livingston II)

Wondering if there are any copies of the Gazette in HTML format with DOS filenames? I would like to set up a personal mirror of all issues on a DOS machine that I use regularly but unTARring the files from the FTP site is fruitless because the filenames are made DOS compliant and the links no longer match what is in the directory.

I basically want my "site" to exactly mirror the SSC pages.

Thanks for any help you can provide.


(Sorry, but no. Frankly, this is quite an unusual request, since most of our readers do use Linux boxes. Love to have you mirror us, but this is more work than I have time for. Tried to e-mail you, but it kept coming back to me. --Editor)

Date: Tue, 17 Sep 1996 08:36:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: COOL it works with LINUX
From: Paul Bingman <>

I suspect many/most of you have seen the new logo promoted by Linux Journal, that can be licensed for $1 a year, to show that your software or hardware product works with Linux. See:

What is a very pleasant surprise is to see that logo starting to appear in the mainstream trade press. On page 41 of the September 16, 1996, InfoWorld, is a half-page Equinox ad for their multiport serial cards. The COOL logo is the first one displayed, before Windoze, Novell, or SCO.

Paul Bingman            Voice +1 503 222 3846  
Edgewood Engineering     FAX +1 503 223 3071  
WWW/CGI, Internet, Linux, application software, firmware, device drivers 

(Cool. --Editor)

Date: Fri, 13 Sep 1996 16:00:12 +0000
Subject: LG : french translation + mirroring ?
From: Patrick Mevzek <>
To: fiskjm@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu


I discovered your Linux Gazette some months ago, and it's great and very interesting. I've discovered Linux a little before, because I will need to install here at my school (you know I'm only a student like you ;-) !!) a small LAN of computers for students, with PC (Win 95) and one LINUX-PC (which will be a firewall-mailhost-webserver, etc...). So I'm quite interested with everything in relation with Linux.

In fact, I can propose you to translate the LG in French. I would be very pleased to do that. But I can promise you I will always have enough time to do it quickly, because first I'm a student, and therefore I've exams, (you know that...), and second, like I said before, I have to work a lot to install students'LAN.

So, let me know if I can help you that way !!

BTW, because I will be the maintainer of the web server of the students too, it could be possible, somewhat in January or February 97 to start mirroring the LG, here at the ESPCI. I can't promise you big things, because mainly in 3 years I won't be in that school anymore, and I can't say that the next webserver maintainer will keep mirroring LG !! I hope to hear from you soon


~ Patrick Mevzek          ~  
~ HomePage (co-developer):  ~  
~     'I like these calm little moments before the storm...'    ~  

(Glad you like the magazine. John Fisk forwarded your letter to me as SSC is now handling the Linux Gazette. I think it would be wonderful if you were to translate the LG into French, whenever you have time. It would certainly give the Gazette a wider French audience. We have very liberal copying requirements, especially if you are a mirror site (virtually none). We always welcome another mirror. Thanks for your interest. -- Editor)


More 2¢ Tips!


Tcl/Tk Tips

Date: Tue, 03 Sep 1996 13:29:37 +0100
From: Liang Shing Ng <>
To: fiskjm@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu
Subject: Tcl/Tk tips NOT IN Welch's Book

I see that you just got hooked with Tcl/Tk.

I found an *OLD* way of interfacing C program with Tk scripts, which is not documented in Welch's Book.

What is it? Pipe!

My C prog (parent) create two pipes to communicate with the Tk prog (child). The Tk prog only need to use stdin and stdout without knowing that this is controlled by the C prog. This provides a much easier way than the interface procedures described in Welch.

Attached here are my C prog and my Tk prog. If you think this is worth writing a full article, please let me know. I will do that for the Gazette. :)

Liang-Shing Ng

Description: simple C and Tk prog pair showing how to read/write with each other. example of use: C may use this Tk for graphical interface. C does some image processing, then ask Tk to display it.

C Prog:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <unistd.h>

int create_pipe(char *child, int opipe[2], int ipipe[2])
    pid_t pid;
    /* Create output pipe and input pipe  */
    if (pipe (opipe)) {
        fprintf (stderr, "Pipe failed.\n");
        return EXIT_FAILURE;
    if (pipe (ipipe)) {
        fprintf (stderr, "Pipe failed.\n");
        return EXIT_FAILURE;

     /* Create the child process.  */
    pid = fork ();
    if (pid == (pid_t) 0) {
        /* This is the child process.  */
        /* Child stdin is opipe[0] */
        /* Child stdout is ipipe[1] */
        /* Closed unused FD */
        execlp(child, child, NULL);
    else if (pid < (pid_t) 0) {
        /* The fork failed.  */
        fprintf (stderr, "Fork failed.\n");
        return EXIT_FAILURE;
    return pid;

main(int argc, char *argv[])
    FILE *po, *pi;
    char s[128];
    pid_t pid;
    int opipe[2], ipipe[2];
    char buff[256];
    if (argc<2) {
        fprintf(stderr, "Tk display subprogram required.\n");
        fprintf(stderr, "Usage: %s\n", argv[0]);

    /* Change low level pipe FD to streams */
    pid=create_pipe(argv[1], opipe, ipipe);
    po=fdopen(opipe[1], "w");
    pi=fdopen(ipipe[0], "r");

    while (gets(s)!=NULL) {
        fprintf(po, "%.5s\n", s);
        fgets(buff, 256, pi);
        fprintf(stderr, "%s: %s", argv[0], buff);

    /* Close output pipe and wait input pipe flush */
    fgets(buff, 256, pi);
    fprintf(stderr, "%s: %s", argv[0], buff);

    return 0;

Tk prog

# the next line restarts using wish \
exec wish4.0 "$0" "$@"

proc Reader { pipe } {
    gets $pipe line
    puts stderr "tk: $line"
    puts stdout "from tk: $line"
    flush stdout

image create photo imb -file a.ppm
label .c -image imb
pack .c
wm geometry . +100+100

while { 1 } {

if {[eof stdin]} {
} else {
    fileevent stdin readable [ Reader stdin ] 


Perl Control M Trick

Date: Wed, 4 Sep 1996 17:02:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jonathan Gross <>
Subject: Perl Tip

I read the most recent issue of the gazette, and the control M issue caught my eye. Using vi or emacs is great, but if you have more than one file, you can do this:

perl -pi.bak -e 's/\r//g;' filelist


Jonathan ( finger me for my public key. 
Specialized Systems Consultants, 206-782-7733 
"A jewel mine of courtesies and a living casket of diplomacy" 

Another Emacs Control M Trick

Date: Thu, 05 Sep 1996 13:34:09 -0700
From: Earl Stutes <>
Subject: $.02 emacs tip

Here is the way I handle the ^M in files. Put this in your .emacs:

(defun dos-unix ()
  (goto-char (point-min))
  (while (search-forward "\r" nil t) (replace-match "")))
(defun unix-dos ()
  (goto-char (point-min))
  (while (search-forward "\n" nil t) (replace-match "\r\n")))

IP don't usually bind these to keys, but you certainly could. When you call the function M-xdos-unix, it will delete all of the delete all of the <CR> characters in the file. And of course the other function will put them back.


X Term Titlebar Function

Date: Fri, 06 Sep 1996 17:53:00 -0600
From: "Michael J. Hammel" <>
Subject: Gazette #9 comments -- xterm title bar function

Nice job on the new Linux Gazette! I'm just scanning it and had a few notes I thought I'd pass to you.

In the mail, there are a couple of things. Jim Murphy says that the "-print" option to find is necessary to get output from the find command and follows that up with "get used to it, its *nix". Well, he's part right. Linux does require this. However, any users who work on other Unix boxes will find slight differences in some of the common CLI commands (CLI is "command line interface"). For example, "find" on Solaris does not require the -print option to get output. Just food for thought.

Second, I have an xterm title bar function that people might find useful. I'll give the code first, then explain what it does:

In your .bashrc (or .kshrc - note this only works on ksh style shells) add the following:

HOSTNAME=`uname -n`
if [ "$TERM" = "xterm" ] && [ "$0" = "-bash" ]
   ilabel () { echo -n "^[]1;$*^G"; }
   label () { echo -n "^[]2;$*^G"; }
   alias stripe='label $HOSTNAME - ${PWD#$HOME/}'
   alias stripe2='label $HOSTNAME - vi $*'
   cds () { "cd" $*; eval stripe; }
   vis () { eval stripe2; "vi" $*; eval stripe;}
   alias cd=cds
   alias vi=vis
   eval stripe
   eval ilabel "$HOSTNAME"

This does three things (as long as you're in an xterm and running bash):

  1. when the xterm is first opened, the name of the current host is displayed in the title bar.
  2. when you cd to a directory, the current path is displayed in the xterm title bar with the users $HOME directory stripped off the front end of the path (to save some space when you're somewhere in your own directory tree). The path is preceded by the current hosts network name.
  3. when you use vi to edit a file the name of the file is displayed in the title bar along with the current hosts name. When you exit your vi session, the title bar reverts to the "hostname - path" format described in #2 above.

I found this very useful for all my ksh based systems because it removed the path from my shell prompt, thus saving me space for prompt commands. Since bash is a ksh compatible shell, this works quite well on standard Linux systems.

Hope everyone finds this useful.

Michael J. Hammel           |          | Consciousness: that annoying time between naps.            || 

More on Commenting Code in vi

Date: Mon, 09 Sep 1996 22:23:25 -0400
From: Jeff Blaine <>
Subject: $0.02 tip - More on commenting code in vi

I'm generally ON the code I want to comment, so instead of having to find out line numbers and then perform a substitution on those lines to insert # characters, I just map my # key to "go to the beginning of the current line, go into insert mode, insert a # and a space, exit insert mode, go down one line"

You can map your # key this way (or whatever key you want to assign it to, but be careful) by putting the following in your .exrc file:

map # I# ^[j

That "^[" is created by typing Ctrl-v and then hitting ESC, so you literally type:


Then all you have to do to go comment-crazy is find where you want to start and hold down your # key.

Jeff Blaine

More X Term Title Trick 2

Date: Sun, 08 Sep 1996 23:38:31 -0500
From: the Edward Blevins <>
Subject: Re:XTerm Title Trick 2

In issue #9 of LG, one of the two cent tips is about how to put the hostname in the title of your xterm. It mentions precmd for csh, but not the bash equivalent. The way I do this in bash is as follows:

  if [ $TERM = 'xterm' ]
  then export PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne

this can just go in your .bashrc, lots of fun. I add the whoami, because I am a sysadmin, and its a convienient way to tell if I am root, in addition to the '#' on the prompt. Another variation I use sometimes is : "`whoami`@`hostname`:`pwd`" then I can remove the path from my prompt.

ps the LG is GREAT! Keep up the good work. Thank you very much!

the Edward Blevins  

Bash Quick Tip

Date: Thu, 12 Sep 1996 14:59:41 +1000
From: Jeremy Laidman <>
Subject: Bash Quick tip

Issue 8 had a 2c tip "There and Back!" describing a neat way to change between two directories quickly. The method was to use "cd ~-" which will set the working directory to the previous one you were in.

Bash (and several other shells I've tested) will do this without the tilde, ie "cd -". This saves me two keystrokes (including the shift key).


Jeremy Laidman                  
Networking Consultant                            +61 0416 290866  
Canberra Institute of Technology                  +61 6 207 4272  

Neat Red Hat Management Trick

Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1996 01:33:51 -0400 (EDT)
From: Mike Acar <>
Subject: Neat Red Hat management trick

Well, it's not really a trick per se. If you're like me, you make an attempt to keep your Red Hat system current- at least, in some respects. Tonight, looking at a man page which mentioned Linux 0.99.11 brought to mind the thought that I should upgrade my aging Red Hat 2.0 installation to something more current; fast on its heels was a curiousity about just what I have taken from where. So with a little bit of shell-play and some suggestions from my friend, the following was produced:

rpm -qai | grep Dist | awk -F': ' '{print $3}' | sort | uniq -c

This will tell you all the distributions you have installed RPMs from, and the number of RPMs from each.

Mike Acar,
Bret Martin,

DZ-015 (Mike Acar)         Information Retrieval        Ministry of Information 

More on Find and Alternatives

Date: Sat, 14 Sep 1996 19:50:55 -0400 (EDT)
From: Bill Duncan <>
Subject: find tip...

Hi Jim Murphy.
Saw your "find" tip in issue #9, and thought you might like a quicker method. I don't know about other distributions, but Slackware and Redhat come with the GNU versions of locate(1) and updatedb(1) which use an index to find the files you want. The updatedb(1) program should be run once a night from the crontab facility. To ignore certain sub-directories (like your /cdrom) use the following syntax for the crontab file:

41 5 * * *  updatedb --prunepaths="/tmp /var /proc /cdrom" > /dev/null 2>&1

This would run every morning at 5:41am, and update the database with filenames from everywhere but the subdirectories (and those below) the ones listed.

To locate a file, just type "locate filename". The filename can also do partial matching. The search only takes a few seconds typically, and I have tens of thousands of files.

The locate(1) command also has regular expression matching, but I often just pipe it through agrep(1) (a faster grep) to narrow the search if I want. Thus:

  locate locate | agrep -v man

..would exclude the manpage for example, and only show me the binary and perhaps the sources if I had them online. (The -v flag excludes the pattern used as an argument.) Or the binary alone along with a complete directory listing of it with the following command:

  ls -l `locate locate | agrep bin`

The find(1) command is a great "swiss-army knife" (and actually not that bad once you get used to it), but for the 90% of the cases where you just want to search by filename, the locate(1) command is *far* faster, and much easier to use.

Bill Duncan, VE3IED  | BeachNet  --> |   - Network/System Administration 
bduncan@ve3ied.uucp  |   - Web Design, Hosting Services  
+1 416 693-5960      |   - System Analysis/Design/Programming 

Pico Control M Trick

Date: Sat, 14 Sep 96 09:28 PDT
From: Peter <>
Subject: Easier ^M removal with Pico

I've been using this trick for a long time .. its a lot easier then defining macros in Emacs, too. All it requires is a recent copy of the Pico editor.

Load the file you wish to strip ^Ms from, make a small change in the file (like hitting the space bar, then delete), and save it. No more ^Ms!


Yet Another Emacs Control M Trick

Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 19:26:10 -0700
From: Dan Gunter <>
Subject: re: emacs ^M trick

I'm new to emacs, so I use a very simple trick to search & replace on special characters: I cut or copy them into the paste buffer, then Meta-% and hit Control-Y to yank them back into the minibuffer. This isn't elegant, but it's very easy to remember, and seems to work for everything.


News Bytes


News in General

Linux Trademark: Let's fix it.

From: Paul Bingman

As you are no doubt aware, some (insert your favorite deragatory epithet) has trademarked the name "Linux" is now out trying to collect from everyone they can.

An intellectual property attorney friend of mine, G. Gervaise Davis III, is offering to get this trademark killed pro bono, if we can cover the expenses. His opinion, not having seen the original papers filed for the trademark, is that the original has absolutely no legal standing, and will probably be killed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as soon as we make the proper legal moves.

Please forward this email to anyone/everyone. I'm especially interested in hearing from anyone who has received a collection letter, and also from Linus or someone else who can direct us to where the trademark should rightfully go. Also, this effort should be coordinated nationally or globally.

Message from WorkGroup Solutions

September 19, 1996
Mark Bolzern, President WGS
Member Board of Directors, Linux International

With regard to the attack made on WGS, as well as the Greater Linux Community by William R. Della Croche claiming that he owns the Linux Trademark... There is no way this is true. We have retained an attorney and will be making a public announcement soon that benefits the entire Linux community. Thousands are aware of this situation, and have offered to help. The best help you could give us, is to see if there is something we offer in our Linux Shopping mall that you would like to own, and if so buy it. We add new products almost daily. If you don't see what you want, ask, or refer a friend to us. Thank you!

News & Information Account: WorkGroup Solutions, Inc.,,
Telephone: 303-699-7470 Fax: 303-699-2793

Linux HOWTO Project: Consultants HOWTO

The first public release of the Linux Consultants HOWTO has been published. The Linux Consultants HOWTO is a listing of companies providing commercial Linux related support.

Version 2.12, dated September 18, 1996, can be obtained from the following places:

The following files are available:

Additional Information: Martin Michlmayr,

Linux Articles

Here's some articles of Linux interest that can be found on the web:

Linux User Support Team (L.U.S.T.)

Purpose: To fill in an existing gap in the Linux world and provide users with various services/data that are not otherwise available online. To provide a clearing house for these same services.

Discussion: The L.U.S.T. (surprised nobody thought of the name earlier!) is not intended to be involved with programming, patching, updating, or such. It's to support the everyday, run-of-the-mill user with various support not offered elsewhere in the Linux world with data or services such as the Workman Database Project described below.

To join/get involved in/comment on L.U.S.T., send email to:

WWW: Enterprise Computing Linux

I have started collecting information on Linux as an Enterprise Computing Platform. By "Enterprise Computing" I mean what the big companies mean: large systems, high availability, high performance and "industrial strength" in general. Currently, topics include:

The pages can be viewed from


Additional information: Linas Vepstas, Lamebrain Enterprises

Linus News

Pablo Kiryluk of GM Communications, InterSoft's RRPP, writes:

Linus Torvalds, the Finish guru creator of the operating system "Linux" landed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to the expectation of many. Invited by InterSoft, the multinational software producer, Mr. Torvalds lectured to a wide range of public about the "Software Free" concept, its relation with Internet and Linux' characteristics.

The range of ideas spread by Linus Torvalds in Argentina where laid out in terms of "knowledge sharing" and "composing from different creators". "Company's tendencies will integrate parts of free software forming a system to curb the commercial industry of software" --substantiated Mr. Torvalds. Also, the concept of "the idea that technology were humanity' patrimony, based on the free distribution of software and its source codes" was expressed in several occasions.

Also, Torvalds decided also to introduce "Scriptum", the first adaptable editor to different Linux' environments, created by InterSoft. Scriptum was created in Argentina and developed as a powerful tool capable to run of different platforms and offer several features. With Scriptum, almost the entire working environment can be configured, totally integrated to RCS/SCCS tools and UNIX (grepp, diff, etc.) and powerful navigation commands to find sources, data and documents.

More Linus News

The San Jose Mercury News published an interview with Linus Torvalds on September 8, 1996 in which Linus is quoted as saying

Microsoft operating systems are bad, and their morals are even worse. But they make some good applications.

Check it out in Section E of that newspaper, or web site: *

Software Announcements

Soft Braille for Linux: BRLTTY 1.0.1

The official release of BRLTTY, a software system to allow access to the console of a Unix system for users of soft Braille displays, has been announced.

BRLTTY currently runs under Linux (kernel version 1.1.92 or later) on a PC or DEC Alpha.

The package has been uploaded to in the directory /pub/Linux/Incoming. It is expected to move to /pub/Linux/system/Access at some later date (please note the move from /pub/Linux/utils/console).


Additional information: Nikhil Nair: founder of the BRLTTY project and author of the Tieman B.V. CombiBraille driver.

Nicolas Pitre: Author of the driver for the Alva series.

Stephane Doyon: Author of the driver for the TSI displays (Navigator and PowerBraille 40),


Nickolay Grygoryev of SPb State University announced another FIDONET-related package called FidoTools. In general, it's file-echo tosser. Now it may be used on any node as file-echo manager (but version 0.9 does not have a mail interface for subscribing and unsubscribing - this will be done in version 1.0). All documentation is included into archive.

Primary-site: /vol1/nick/Linux/system/Fido
Alternate-site: /pub/Linux/system/Fido 
Platforms:      C compiler, FidoNet mailer (Bink-style)
Copying-policy: GPL

Additional information:
Nickolay G. Grygoryev
St.Petersburg, Russia

GNU Hurd release 1.0

Version 0.1 of the GNU Hurd, is now available via anonymous FTP from [] in the file */pub/gnu/hurd-0.1.tar.gz (about 1.2 MB compressed). There is also a patch file of diffs from the 0.0 release in */pub/gnu/hurd-0.0-0.1-diff.gz (about 75 KB compressed).

The GNU Hurd, plus Mach, is a kernel, not an operating system. The GNU operating system, like the Unix operating system, consists of many components, including kernel, libraries, compilers, assembler, shell, parser generators, utilities, window system, editors, text formatters, and so on.

Most GNU software is packed using the GNU `gzip' compression program. Source code is available on most sites distributing GNU software.

For information on how to order GNU software on tape or cd-rom, and printed GNU manuals, check the file etc/ORDERS in the GNU Emacs distribution, ftp the file /pub/gnu/GNUinfo/ORDERS on prep, or e-mail a request to:

ImageMagick Release 3.7.6

ImageMagick (TM), version 3.7.6, is a package for display and interactive manipulation of images for the X Window System. Although the software is copyrighted, it is available for free and can be redistributed without fee.

In addition to the image display program, ImageMagick also has command line programs that perform these functions:

ImageMagick supports many of the more popular image formats including JPEG, PNG, TIFF, Photo CD, etc.

Primary-site: /pub/ImageMagick/binaries
                841k ImageMagick-i486-linux-ELF.tar.gz

Alternate-site: /pub/Linux/X11/xapps/graphics
                841k ImageMagick-3.7.6-elf.tgz
                  1k ImageMagick-3.7.6-elf.lsm

Platforms:      Linux 1.2/2.0, XFree 3.1.2

Additional Information:

masqd/masq for Linux Firewall

A new release of masqd/masq software is available free at:


This is a software to manage remotely a Linux firewall with masquerade support. There are three main programs: A daemon (masqd), a network client to connect to the daemon (masq) and a local configuration utility (lmasq) which integer this masq kit.

Some characteristics of the kit are:

Additional Information:
Jaume Miralles,
Barcelona, SPAIN *

SpriteField - a sprite library for Qt/X11

The SpriteField Class Set is a collection of classes supporting multiple simultaneous flicker-free displays of efficiently redrawn continuous and non-continuous animated areas with the Qt GUI Toolkit. Animated areas are two-dimensional rectangular areas upon which two-dimensional masked raster images are in motion. Applications vary from computer games to simulations. Qt 0.99 is required. Full sources and an precompiled example program are included and can be found at:

Additional Information:
Warwick Allison
Computer Science Department
University of Queensland
Brisbane, Australia

TeamRooms - Internet groupware environment for Linux

Mark Roseman, University of Calgary CPSC, announced the first public beta release of TeamRooms, an Internet groupware environment that lets you work together with colleagues in real-time or asynchronously, using Unix, Mac and Windows.

TeamRooms provides "shared spaces" on the Internet allowing groups to share information. These electronic team rooms provide places to meet in real-time, or a common locale to leave information for other collaborators. TeamRooms combines real-time groupware technologies such as shared whiteboards, chat rooms, and customizable groupware applets with a persistent work environment.

Information on downloading is available on our Web site:

Additional Information:
Mark Roseman, Research Associate, *
University of Calgary, *
Calgary, Alta CANADA T2N 1N4

Turbo Linux 96

Pacific HiTech is proud to announce Turbo Linux 96 : Slackware Edition.

This product is based on the latest Slackware 3.1 Linux release. It incorporates the 2.0 kernel, the floppy-less install, the live filesystem, and everything else that you would expect. Best of all, we have it for sale for only $12.95 (plus $5 shipping inside the USA, $10 international).

Additional Information:
Scott M. Stone,
Pacific HiTech, Inc., *

V Multi-Platform GUI

Version 1.13 of V for X, Windows 1.3, and WIN32 (NT, Windows95) was released on September 9, 1996. It is available on the World Wide Web at * or via anonymous FTP at *

V is an easy to program, cross-platform C++ GUI Framework. V was designed to make it the easiest way to write C++ graphical user interface applications available -- commercial, shareware, or freeware.

Most standard GUI objects are supported by V, including windows with menus, status bars, tool bars, and a drawing canvas; modal and modeless dialogs with the most common controls (buttons, lists, labels, text entry, check and radio buttons, etc.); and portable printing support.

Additional Information:
Bruce E. Wampler, Ph.D.,


Hams, Packet Radio and Linux

by Phil Hughes, WA6SWR,

Copyright (c) 1996
Published in Issue 10 of the Linux Gazette

This year's ARRL/TAPR sponsored conference on Digital Communications was in Seattle on September 20-22. Being a ham, a packet fan and 18 miles away from the conference, I decided to attend. I also offered to bring some Linux Journal magazines to give away. By the end of the conference "some" had become about 100.

The papers presented varied from very introductory material to a serious look at how to equalize group delay of IF filters. Many of the papers and one of the three workshops dealt with a system called Automatic Position Report System. For those not familiar with this, a GPS receiver is combined with a packet station to send out position reports.

But, the purpose of this article is not to talk about the "ham content" of the conference (if you want more info on that, check out *, but to talk about the L-word.

In the first workshop (on APRS), Keith Sproul demonstrated both a Windows and a Mac version of the system, but regularly referenced the fact that a Linux version also existed. I was surprised (as there was no mention of a Sun version or any other Unix-like version), but I was now sure that Linux had infiltrated the ham packet radio community pretty seriously.

The L-word then continued to come up in discussions with people. It varied from comments about installing Linux to how Linux became a significant part of a ham network. For example, in Barry McLarnon and Dennis Rosenauer's presentation on Wireless Networking Using the WA4DSY 56K RF Modem Technology, Barry said "Linux is the platform of choice". Later, when describing the Ottawa MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) he pointed out that their Internet server ( is a Linux box, and they, when talking about the packet gateway machine, said "It hasn't been converted to Linux yet."

At the end of their presentation we had a chance to play with a wireless network set up in the room. The machine on one end of the 56K link was running Linux as was one downstream machine off the other end.

All in all, the conference was good for Linux.

Phil Hughes


In Memory of Mark A. Horton

Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 16:46:31 GMT
From: Victoria Welch
Organization: Welch Research laboratories

Mark A. Horton ( passed away Friday September 7, 1996. Cause currently unknown, but poor health is suspected. he did have a lot of health problems, although he never let them keep him down long, in so many ways he was such an inspiration!

Having been through the rest of the *nixes, and knowing the subject well, he was one of the greatest proponents of Linux. His enthusiasm and willingness to help anyone at any time were his greatest gifts to the Linux community.

His kindness, willingness to help others in many ways including Linux and his generosity will be missed by those of us that knew him and an example for all of us to strive for. For me personally, he was my best friend and mentor. He taught myself and *MANY* others much about the nuts and bolts of Linux in a joyous way that was informative and instructive and often most pleasantly humorous. Most any interaction with Mark was a good time.

Having spent a great many hours with him personally as well as on the phone, he made is very clear that he didn't want any morose happenings should anything ever happen to him, There will be a party by his friends to honor that request sometime in the near future. Will plan on celebrating his contributions and the many wonderful things that there are to be remembered about him. He was one of the true good guys and his joyous, creative, tenacious, encouraging spirit will be missed by those that knew him. To the many that knew Mark and to the many who didn't, hoist one to one of the greats! He will be missed.

Thanks & Take care, Vikki.
- --, Sys/Net/WebAdmin, WV9K, DoD#-13
Victoria Welch, Senior Microcontroller Applications Design Engineer.
Welch Research Laboratories; 316 West Benson Street, Suite 2100
Decatur, GA 30030-4312; 404-371-1614
Work: - Personal:


Mconv2 Utility

by Nic Tjirkalli, *

Copyright (c) 1996
Published in Issue 10 of the Linux Gazette

Normally, users of PS/2 type mice have a problem in that a PS/2 type mouse cannot simultaneously be shared among different applications such as gpm (selection) and XFree86. That was until the discovery of a tiny utility called, mconv2. Mconv2 allows several programs to use a PS/2 type mouse at the same time.

The mconv2 utility also supports the use of a PS/2 type mouse with applications that do not understand the PS/2 mouse protocol, but understand the microsoft serial mouse protocol (such as svgalib). This document only descrdibes the sharing of the PS/2 type mouse - not its use as a microsoft type mouse - for information on this, read the README file included with the mconv2 distribution.

Installing and using mconv2 is VERY simple :-

  1. Getting mconv2
    Mconv2 can be downloaded from a variety of Linux archive sites. I got my copy from
  2. *

  3. Extracting Distribution
    Mconv2 is distributed as a compressed (gz) tar archive. Hence, it needs to be extraceted in a suitable directory before it can be installed. I used the /usr/src directory, but any directory will do. Copy the mconv2 distribution file (mconv2.tar.gz) to the selected working directory, eg. /usr/src (or the directory you care to extract it in) as follows :-
  4.     cp mconv2.tar.gz /usr/src

    Go to the working directory and extract the mconv2 archive, as follows :-

        cd /usr/src
        tar -zxvf mconv2.tar.gz 

    This will create a subdirectory called mconv2 containing,

  5. To compilie mconv2, or not
    Together with the source and supporting documentation, the mconv2 distribution also comes with a pre-built binary of the program. This can be used as-is or the program can be recompiled very easily, as follows :-
  6.     gcc -O2 -o mconv2 mconv2.c

  7. Installing the mconv2 binary Copy the pre-built, or newly made, mconv2 binary file (mconv2) to an appropriate directory for executing binarys from - I use /usr/local/bin.
  8.     cp mconv2 /usr/local/bin 
  9. Builiding a fifo for the PS/2 mouse
    Create a fifo device (pseudo mouse driver) for the PS/2 mouse, as follows :-
  10.     mkfifo -m 666 /dev/ps2mouse

  11. Using mconv2
    Before running any programs using the PS/2 mouse, mconv2 should be run first and other programs needing the mouse, should be configured to use the PS/2 pseudo device, /dev/ps2mouse. It is probably best, to start mconv2 from the /etc/rc.d.rc.local file with the following command :-
  12.     echo -n "Runnig mconv2 .... "
        /usr/local/bin/mconv2 /dev/psaux -ps2 /dev/ps2mouse &
        echo "Done"

    NOTE :- this assumes your original mouse device was /dev/psaux

  13. Configuring other programms to use mconv2
    As mentioned in the point above, other programs requiring the PS/2 mouse must be configured to use the mconv2 pseudo mouse device - /dev/ps2mouse.
  14. Examples :-

Enjoy the PS/2 mouse sharing. My thanx to Frode Fjeld for developing the mconv2 distribution.

Nic Tjirkalli


NetDay96 and Linux

Date: Sat, 14 Sep 1996 08:33:11 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Paul L. Rogers"

Good Morning,

Late last week I became aware of the national NetDay96 project and volunteered at my daughter's school. During the weekend, I realized that this was an opportunity to involve the Linux community in a project that could not only benefit our local schools, but expose new classes of people to Linux.

If this topic is suitable for SSC's ventures to publicize, please help spread the word. For NetDay96, maybe something in the _Linux Gazette_ could reach a few people in time to for them to make a contribution. If there is a NetDay97, perhaps an article in the _Linux Journal_ reporting on NetDay96 with suggestions on how to promote Linux during such an event would be appropriate.

Attached is a posting that recently (1996/09/13) appeared on comp.os.linux.announce.

A data point: The October 1996 LJ arrived in Ocean Springs, Mississippi on Friday.

I strongly agree with "Linux people, now is the time to strike." and have recently become much more aggressive in sharing my experiences with Linux. Would you be interested in an article providing guidelines and suggestions on how to promote Linux?

Thank you for your time and if this project is not suitable for SSC, perhaps other opportunities will allow us to work together in the future.

Paul L. Rogers Are you prepared for NetDay96?
(601) 875-3779 Linux: It works for me.


In the United States of America, preparations are under way for NetDay96. NetDay96 is a grass-roots effort to install the basic wiring required to make classrooms network ready.

If Linux enthusiasts across the United States would participate in their local NetDay96 and be prepared to follow up with assistance in creating highly functional and reliable networks for our school systems, much favorable publicity could be generated for the Linux movement.

This is an unique opportunity to expand the name recognition of Linux.

The following steps describe how you can help:

For more information on NetDay96 or to volunteer, feel free to visit their web site at *

Some guidelines can be found at *

If you volunteer, please consider sharing your experiences and success stories with the community by sending them to We will post a report summarizing the success of this event.

If you do not live in the United States, you may want to consider organizing a similar project for your community.

Linux International

Linux International was established to promote the development and use of Linux. The people at Linux International know how good Linux is and want it to become an accepted competitor to products from even the largest computer companies. Among other things, it serves as a bridge between the dedicated and skilled community of developers, and the general world of commerce and industry.

Linux International is a non-profit organization run by volunteers, many of whom are high-profile Linux developers or activists.

For more information, please visit Linux International's World Wide Web site at or contact *

Martin Michlmayr

Paul L. Rogers
(601) 875-3779


Subject: Re: Gimp Tips & Tricks
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 1996 22:39:21 -0600 (MDT)

I have written a template for use by GIMP plug-in authors to write documentation that will look good and be fairly uniform for our users. There is also a detailed explanation that goes with it. The explanation is, in a sense, a general explanation on how to use the LinuxDoc package, since that's what we've decided to use for the GIMP Documentation Project.

You can take a look at both the template and the explanation at: * (look under the plug-ins documentation section). The explanation text follows below.

-- Michael J. Hammel | Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math., *

An Explanation of the Sample Plug-In SGML source template

Copyright 1996
Michael J. Hammel
Last Updated: 09/04/96

This is a long page, but don't let that scare you. Creating your documents in SGML and using LinuxDoc tools to create your HTML, GNU Info, Man Page, or other formats is really pretty simple. This page just happens to be fairly thorough in explaining how to get it all done.

There are 6 sections in the SGML template:

Each section is described below. Along with these, there are a number of things you should be aware of when writing your document:

As far as LinuxDoc itself is concerned, here are some things you might want to be aware of:

If you're interested in testing your SGML source, you should grab a copy of the LinuxDoc package at (put ftp site here).

The Title Information Section

This section has 6 tags in it:

All of these tags are mandatory and must be placed in this order.

The article tag has no other text associated with it. It is put on a line by itself and is a marker to the SGML parser telling the parser what kind of document is to be created.


The title tag is the name of the Plug-In. This must be one line long and on the same line as the title tag.

        <title>The Sparkle Plug-In

The author tag identifies the author of the Plug-In. This should simply be the name of the developer. Along with this is a tag which identifies the email address of the author. The code for the email address looks similar to the following.

        <author>Michael J. Hammel
        <htmlurl url="" name="&lt;;">

Just substitute the appropriate email address. Note that the use of &amplt; and &ampgt; are required. These get translated into the less-than and greater-than signs, respectively, in the output.

The inst tag is just the current version number of the Plug-In source code.

        <inst>Version 1.0

The date tag is the date that the source code was last updated. The format of the text that goes with this tag should look like the following:

        <date>Last Updated: 09/01/96

The abstract tag marks the beginning of a paragraph of text that describes, in general, what the Plug-In does. This is free formatted text and must be followed by the <abstract> tag.

                Some text goes here.

The Introduction Section

This section contains two subsections:

Both of these are mandatory subsections.

Example section header:


The Where to get the software subsetion is a URL (ftp or http address) for the source code. If a binary version is available, the binaries location should be listed with the this subsection.

        <sect1>Where to get the software
        The software can be retrieved from
        <htmlurl url="" 

The How to build the software subsetion is simple an explanation on how to build the software. Example:

        <sect1>How to build the software
        Building the source should be fairly straight forward.
        Just make sure the LIBS= line points to the location of
        libgimp.a.  Also, a copy of gimp.h is included in the
        source.  You should really delete this and make gimp.h a
        symbollic link to your copy of gimp.h (wherever you're
        keeping that) so that the latest version of gimp.h is used.

The Features Section

The Features Section is an itemized list of the features that the plug-in provides. This should include, at a minimum, a listing of all the buttons, sliders, or input fields in the dialog box. A very brief description of the features can be included. This is desirable if the feature listed is not one that is readily apparent from the dialog box.


                <item>Feature one
                <item>Feature two
                <item>Feature three

See the section titled *Lists for a description on how to create lists using the template.

The Dialog Box Section

The Dialog Box Section describes the features found in the Plug-In's pop-up dialog box and explains how they effect images. This section is made up of an screen capture image (for the HTML formatted output files) of the dialog box, an numbered list of features, and a feature-by-feature breakdown. To start this section, use the followgin:

        <sect>The ... Dialog Box <label id="dialog">

Replace the three dots with the name of the Plug-In.

After the section header, a list of features should be provided. The list will look something like this following:

                <item><em><ref id="feature1" name="Feature One"></em>
                <item><em><ref id="feature2" name="Feature Two"></em>
                <item><em><ref id="feature3" name="Feature Three"></em>

The name tag is what will show up in the list. The id tag is a cross reference that you will use later. The <em> tags just cause the stuff inbetween to be put in italics.

After you create the list, you should force a break after the image. This will only affect HTML output for now. This is the line you should add to force the break:

        <![%fmthtml; [ <? <BR clear="both"> > ]]>

Now you should add the subsections that fully explain each feature. For the first item in the list above, you would add the following:

        <sect1>Feature One <label id="feature1">
        This is the text explaining the first feature.

The sect1 tag signifies you are starting a subsection. The label with its id gives this section a name that can be used as a cross-reference. We used this in the list of features earlier.

You would have a subsection just like this for each feature in your dialog box.

The Examples Section (and how to use format-specific tags)

This section is more complex than the others. Examples of how the GIMP Plug-Ins work aren't of much use without some images to go with them. Unfortunately, not all output formats support images (remember: we're using SGML so we can create HTML, info, man pages, and whatever other formats are supported by the LinuxDoc package). We need to force this section to be processed differently depending on which formatter we're running the SGML source through. The way we do this is to use format-specific tags and the SGML equivalent of an escape sequence. You're already seen one of these in the section where we forced an HTML break tag. The generic format of this SGML tag is:

        <![%fmttag; [ <? ... > ]]>

Where fmttag is one of

and the 3 dots are the format-specific text you want to be passed directly to the output file. If the sgml parser sees the fmttag tag and it matches the output format you've requested then the format-specific text is written to the output file. If it doesn't match the format requested, the text is ignored.

Thats the technical explanation. Whats worse is it doesn't appear to work (or I'm doing it wrong - one of the two).

Until I figure this problem out you have one of two choices:

The former of these can be done with the following line:

        <htmlurl url="" 

Just substitute the appropriate URL.

The latter of the two options can be downloaded from * You may need to hold down the Shift key to force this file to be downloaded and not displayed.

The Notes Section

The Notes Section is the place to stuff everything that doesn't fit neatly into the other sections, such as known bugs, limitations, or future enhancements that are planned.



The Table of Contents

This is a single line that goes immediately after the Title Information Section and immediately before the Introduction Section. It should look exactly like this:


Section Markers

There are several layers of sections available, but we only require the top two:


The sect tag forces a new page in the output files. The sect1 just gets another type of formatting on that same page. You can add sect2 and sect3 levels if you want, but I'm not sure what they do to the output.

Note that you must put the following immediately after the section tags:


This tells the SGML parser to end the section header and begin the part of the document that belongs in that section.

Forcing new paragraphs

This is simple, just add the following:


Note that its also possible to use blank lines to force new paragraphs, but whether the SGML parser uses the blank line as a paragraph or not depends on where its used. Its easier to just use the above tag to be sure.


If you want to put comments in your SGML, you would do it like so:

        <-- This is an SGML Comment line -->

Note that this is very similar to the HTML comment.


To create a bulleted list, do the following:

                <item>Item one
                <item>Item two
                <item>Item three

To create a numbered list, do the following:

                <item>Item one
                <item>Item two
                <item>Item three

Pretty straight forward, really.

How to test your SGML

You can verify your SGML documentation will work with the various format converters by running it through each one. For example, to check if you can get the HTML output with an SGML file called plugin.sgml, try:

        sgml2html plugin

To get text output, try:

        sgml2txt plugin

To get man page output in groff format, try:

        sgml2txt -man plugin

You should read the man pages for each of the sgml2<whatever> commands to learn the command line options. They are really pretty easy to use.

Updates I've made to the LinuxDoc package

I've made two distinct changes to the LinuxDoc package. The first is to the linuxdoc.dtd file, found under the lib/dtd directory after you unpack LinuxDoc. The following was added right before the last line:

<!-- added fmt* which were somehow missing -->
<!-- default is ignore, override on commandline in sgml2* -->
<!entity % fmttex  "ignore">
<!entity % fmthtml "ignore">
<!entity % fmttxt  "ignore">
<!entity % fmtinfo "ignore">
<!entity % fmtrtf  "ignore">
<!entity % fmtlyx  "ignore">

These allow for format-specific tags in the SGML source so you can, for example, add a graphic in your HTML output but just include the description of the image in your text output.

The other change was to the html2html.l flex file under html-fix. The changes aren't complex, but theres a number of them to allow for command line options to set the background, text, and link colors. If you want this I can send it to you, but its not really necessary to test your SGML before submitting it to me.

Notes about creating documents in the various formats

First of all, there are a set of scripts in LinuxDoc for creating documents in the various formats:

Note: In order to do format specific tagging, you'll need to update your linuxdoc.dtd file. See the section on LinuxDoc Updates (found on the website listed in the introductory section of this article) for the details.

The first of these, sgml2html, was used to create the new Sparkle documentation, as well as the HTML version of the SGML template. It works quite well using "free-formatted" input files. By free-formatted I mean that the actual text (not the formatting tags) can be one word per line or any number of words per line and the output will come out nicely formatted using as many words as will fit in your web browser.

The text formatter, sgml2txt, also works quite well. The output has various formatting characters that work well with the "less" and, possibly, "more" pagers.

The GNU Info formatter, sgml2info, is not happy with such free formatting of the text, however.

I have not tried the other formatters yet. I don't know what RTF is and I've not used the Lyx or Latex tools so I'm not sure how to test the output from these formatters.

Michael J. Hammel


Setting up dynamic IP web server via PPP connection

By Henry H. Lu,, *

Copyright (c) 1996
Published in Issue 10 of the Linux Gazette

Have you been thinking of seting up a reachable web server at your home PC in addition to your permenent page at ISP? There are obvious reasons to do this: You can show off your home linux box to the world; you do not need to use other messy method (email) to know your current IP in order to login remotely; finally, it is fun!

First, You need to have ppp connection and httpd working and a PERMANENT web page before trying the following dynamic IP solution.

Description of files:

web_up: shell script I run to update webpage at permenet site with new IP whenever connection is up.

web_down: shell script I run before shutting down the link, to inform others of the shutdown

update_uppage: perl scripts to creat up.html page with updated IP address on the fly, called by web_up.

up.html_source: fixed part of up.html

down.html: web page used when link is down.

/etc/add, /etc/last_add: files where I put IP address.

ip-down, ip-up: files executed when ppp link is disconnected or connected. they are used to update the /etc/add files here.

Now lets look at scripts web_up:


    #check new IP
    if [ -f /etc/add ]; then
       if [ -f /etc/last_add ]; then
          if /usr/bin/diff /etc/add /etc/last_add >/dev/null ; then
              exit 1 
              return 0 
          return 0
       exit 1

    #check whether maroon is connected
    if ping -c4 -l3  2>&1 | grep "0 packets" > /dev/null
       return 1
       return 0
    if try_connect
         touch  /var/run/maroon_connected  
         rm -f /var/run/maroon_connected

    # ftp to update page
    if [ -f /var/run/maroon_connected ] && new_ip
       # update_uppage is perl scripts, exit status is opposite of shell
       if ( ! /home/honglu/public_html/update_uppage )
          cd /home/honglu/public_html
          if echo "put up.html /nlhome/m508/luxxx012/dynamic.html" \
              | /usr/bin/ftp maroon  
             rm -f /etc/last_add
             cp /etc/add  /etc/last_add
             exit 0
             exit 1
        exit 1


Now let's look at web_up in detail.

Function new_ip() is used to check whether we have new IP and whether the new IP is different from the last one. /etc/ppp/ip-up and /etc/ppp/ip-down update IP adress in files /etc/add and /etc/last_add so that we can compare files "add" with "last_add" to tell whether we need to update page.

Function try_connect() is used to test whether the perment web site is reachable.

Next is fun part, I used automatic feature of ftp to update webpage. In order to make it work, you have to set file ~/.netrc correctly, type "man ftp" for more information.

update_uppage is straitforward perl scripts to parse and creat up.html by using new IP from /etc/add file.

Final part is to update /etc/add /etc/last_add to reflect correct status IP address.

You can put "web_up" in your crontab entry ( or ip-up, or to let it execute automatically whenever your PC is connected.

Web_down is a similar page, main difference is in ftp part:

# ftp to send down.html page 
if [ -f /var/run/maroon_connected ] 
      cd /home/honglu/public_html
      if  echo "put down.html /nlhome/m508/luxxx012/dynamic.html" \
        | /usr/bin/ftp maroon  
          rm -f /etc/last_add
          exit 1
      exit 1


Instead of ftp up.html as web_up did, web_down put down.html to permenent web site to inform the delink of page.

web_down should be run before you shut down the machine. I created a scripts called "shut" to shutdown machine:

if web_down
   shutdown -h now
   echo "can not web_down"
   exit 1

For more detail check out my home page for source code:


Henry H Lu


XaoS: A New Fractal Program for Linux

by Larry Ayers

Copyright (c) 1996

Published in Issue 10 of the Linux Gazette

Transforming certain recursive complex-number formulae into images of unlimited depth and complexity was only made possible by the development of the modern computer. Benoit Mandelbrot, a Belgian researcher working for IBM, first discovered the Mandelbrot set in 1981. By the mid-eighties personal computers had evolved to the point that anyone could experiment with various fractals, and programmers soon discovered that the 8-bit 256-color vga palette could be mapped to various parameters, which allowed the creation of stunning animated images.

The most comprehensive and feature-filled of all fractal-generation programs is Fractint, a freeware program originally written for DOS. Fractint is maintained by a far-flung group of developers, rather like Linux. It was ported to unix by Ken Shirriff and a Linux version is commonly included in many Linux distributions. Not all features of the DOS version work in Linux, and if you just want to see what fractals are all about Fractint is probably overkill. It has such a multitude of options and features that it can be somewhat overwhelming to a new user.

Recently Jan Hubicka (developer of the Koules X-window game) and Thomas Marsh have released a small fractal program for Linux called XaoS. This is an efficient program, with the option to compile both X-Windows and SVGA-console versions. XaoS can't render the dozens of fractal types which Fractint can, but it does the basic Mandelbrot and Julia sets quickly, with several keyboard options.

It's developers refer to XaoS as "an interactive real-time fractal zoomer," and zooming in on an area of the Mandelbrot set is where XaoS excels. Pressing a mouse button anywhere in the image will begin a zoom with the location of the cursor as target. The "autopilot" mode is quite impressive; pressing "a" will start an automatic zoom which homes in on detailed areas. In the X-windows version the default window-size is 320x200; if you don't mind the cpu-usage a small XaoS window zooming away on the desktop can be pleasant to contemplate as you pause in your work. For those working in virtual consoles an SVGAlib version can be run in a variety of resolutions.

Generating fractal images is inherently CPU-intensive. The faster your processor the better, especially when zooming in real time. XaoS does pretty well on my 80-mhz 486, but this may be near the lower limit.

Here's a screenshot of XaoS:

XaoS Window at 320x200

XaoS only works on 8-bit displays at present, as is also true of Fractint. Images can be saved to GIF files by means of a keystroke.


Xaos uses a configure script for compilation, and it should compile easily on most systems. The executable is only about fifty kilobytes and is completely self-contained, i.e. no subsidiary files are required.


The *Xaos home-page is a good source for the latest version; the source has also been uploaded to *Sunsite and its mirrors.

Larry Ayers


Xmosaic Development On A Roll

by Larry Ayers

Copyright (c) 1996

Published in Issue 10 of the Linux Gazette

Netscape binaries are more-or-less freely available for Linux, and the program works well, most of the time. As a Linux user I've become accustomed to a large potential for customization in software, right down to the source-code level. Netscape is available only as a large, opaque executable and the source is proprietary. I don't necessarily want a web-browser to fetch email and newspostings for me; I use other programs for those purposes but with Netscape those functions are unwanted baggage, loaded into memory every time the browser start up.

The recent beta versions of Xmosaic (the latest is 2.7b5) have been quicker-loading alternatives. Background colors and images are supported, but it just isn't as quick to load images and pages as Netscape.

Scott Powers, head of the Xmosaic development team at the University of Illinois, has for the past couple of months been leading a new Xmosaic project. The Xmosaic developers felt that the code upon which the version 2.7 and earlier browsers had been based needed a complete rewrite. Version 2.8 is now in public alpha testing. The project has been dubbed "Hyperion", as a sign that something totally new is in the works.

A mailing list for Hyperion has arisen lately. Perusing the messages from the developers one can feel the excitement in the air. These people are really motivated, and working extremely long hours as well. Most days a "snapshot" of that day's code level is available from their ftp site.

The first alpha releases were pretty rudimentary; there was no image support and many HTML files couldn't be loaded. I think that the source code was released at such an early level so that the developers could be sure that the core parsing routines, etc., could be successfully compiled on all targeted platforms. On September 10 the alpha version 2 was completed and released. Image support is now functional, though at this stage you must use specific versions of the JPEG and Xpm libraries. There's still a long way to go before Xmosaic 2.8 is actually very usable, but that's what the alpha tester's reports are helping to expedite.

What Can We Expect?

Scott Powers and the rest of the Hyperion team have an impressive list of planned features. One of the most exciting is a modularization of the source code. This means that if you wanted a speedy, basic browser the compile-time option would be available to not include, say, Java and sound support. A user could conceivably compile several versions, each with different capabilities.

Developers of web-browsers are faced with some difficult decisions. What standards to follow? How many of the "Netscape-isms" are now prevalent enough to be considered desirable? As an example, tables are now standard and to be expected in any new browser, as are forms. Frames are another matter; they are common on the web but many find them of limited value and they have yet to gain widespread acceptance. Xmosaic 2.8 will be HTML-3 compliant, and various sorts of multimedia support are being discussed. The alpha-testers have been making numerous suggestions, and their ideas are being taken seriously by the Xmosaic team.

Locations and Sources

If you'd like to check in from time to time and see what progress has been made, *Xmosaic 2.8 is the home-page. The current alpha (and before too long, beta) version source code can be downloaded from the page. The *ftp site might be faster, but at this early stage the source code is only about three hundred kilobytes. Information concerning the mailing list is also on the home page.

I encourage anyone who has a little time and the inclination to participate in the alpha testing. Every bug report contributes to a higher quality final release, and I'd hate to see Xmosaic 2.8 work really well only on Sparc or HPUX machines because not enough Linux users contributed reports!

Larry Ayres


The Back Page

About This Month's Authors

Larry Ayers

Larry Ayers lives on a small farm in northern Missouri, where he is currently engaged in building a timber-frame house for his family. He operates a portable band-saw mill, does general woodworking, plays the fiddle and searches for rare prairie plants, as well as growing shiitake mushrooms. He is also struggling with configuring a Usenet news server for his local ISP.

Michael J. Hammel

Michael J. Hammel, is a transient software engineer with a background in everything from data communications to GUI development to Interactive Cable systems--all based in Unix. His interests outside of computers include 5K/10K races, skiing, Thai food and gardening. He suggests if you have any serious interest in finding out more about him, you visit his home pages at You'll find out more there than you really wanted to know.

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes is the publisher of Linux Journal, and thereby Linux Gazette. He dreams of permanently tele-commuting from his home on the Pacific coast of the Olympic Peninsula, where he lives with his Samoyed Suzie. As an employer, he is "Vicious, Evil, Mean, & Nasty, but kind of mellow" as a boss should be.

Henry H. Lu

Henry H. Lu has a M.S. of Biophysics, University of Minnesota and a B.S. of Physics, Nankai University. He is currently working as contract bioinformatics analyst in HIV database of Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico USA, and has developed Java / HTML, C/C++, perl, shell applications and system tools for work (Solaris environment) at home Linux box or remote login to workstation at Lab. For fun, he likes to hack some of systems/networking programs, use Linux to learn on-line university courses (Operating systems / system programming, Network), and write Java/HTML for my own web page.

Manuel Soriano

Manual Soriano lives in El Perello, Valencia, Spain. He works for a Swiss based company called Dapsys S. A. that provides the Information Retrieval Imaging System called IRIS. He is now in Swizterland for a month--sounds like business not vacation. Think he gets hardship pay for this one? ;-) Manual has promised us an English translation of his article for the November issue.

Nic Tjirkalli

Nic Tjirkalli is currently employed as a Customer Consultant/Technical Support Person for UUNET Internet Africa, South Africa's leading Internet Service Provider, situated somewhere in Johannesburg, South Africa. One of his current focus areas is Internet security--encompassing firewalls and packet filtering on routers. He is a fan of Linux, the art of Salvador Dali, cartoons and heavy metal, in particular, a German group called Helloween. His home page, where I got this information and which you can access from his article, is very interesting.

Not Linux

I must say that after 2 months of being the Editor of the Gazette, I am still having fun, and judging from the mail I think you guys, our readers, are too. John Fisk is right--the Gazette is a lot of work, and worth every bit of it.

Thanks to all our authors, not just the ones above, but also those who wrote giving us their tips and tricks and making suggestions. Thanks also to our new mirror sites. I get more mail about mirrors than just about anything, except maybe readers wanting the Gazette to be available as one big file. We are providing that this month along with the separate page format. (See The Whole Damn Thing in the Table of Contents.) Doing the Gazette in multi-file format is just the easiest way for me to build the magazine. I've tried to be responsive to all mail and reasonable requests. If I missed you, send your mail again, and I'll get back to you.

The most important thing I'm working on outside of work these days is definitely "not Linux". I'm making a baby quilt for a friend of mine in Houston. The baby is 2 months old now, and if I don't get it finished soon, it will be too small for her to use. The geometry, as well the art, of quilting has always fascinated me--must have to do with being a math person.

If you would like some personal information about me, clicking on my name below will take you to my home page. It's not very jazzy at the moment, but I'm looking for the time to fix it up.

*Marjorie L. Richardson
Editor, Linux Gazette


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