...making Linux just a little more fun!


This month's answers created by:

[ Amit Saha, Ben Okopnik, Faber Fedor, Kapil Hari Paranjape, René Pfeiffer, Neil Youngman, Thomas Adam ]
...and you, our readers!

Gazette Matters

A couple of small suggestions

Ben Okopnik [ben at linuxgazette.net]

Sun, 1 Apr 2007 08:50:13 -0600

On Mon, Feb 19, 2007 at 05:01:52PM +0000, Neil Youngman wrote:

> First off, TWDT is no longer TWDT. If you click on TWDT you find that the 
> mailbag has "Thread continues here" links. Could we make TWDT be TWDT?

Well, I've fixed up the mailbag-processing script to produce a TWDT "insert" that is a flat representation of the mailbag (and we actually have code in the scripts that will use this file if it's in '$LG_ROOT/data/twdt/'.) However, in order to use it, we need some Pythoneer to fix the build scripts so that they'll ignore the lg_{talkback*,tips,launderette}.html while building the TWDT.

Volunteers, please do step forward and be counted.

* Ben Okopnik * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette * http://LinuxGazette.NET *

Our Mailbag

Indic and CJKV in DocBook

Amit Kumar Saha [amitsaha.in at gmail.com]

Mon, 2 Apr 2007 10:21:00 +0530

Hi list Any pointers to what Indic & CJKV has to do in case of the DocBook format?

[ Thread continues here (3 messages/1.88kB) ]

Diagnosing SATA problems

Neil Youngman [ny at youngman.org.uk]

Sun, 1 Apr 2007 19:10:45 +0100

On or around Tuesday 23 January 2007 16:46, Benjamin A. Okopnik reorganised a bunch of electrons to form the message:

> On Mon, Jan 22, 2007 at 09:23:58PM +0000, Neil Youngman wrote:
> >
> > The lack of any errors suggests to me that the problem is not with the
> > disk; hence the thought that I should replace the controller. Is this a
> > reasonable conclusion from the data available?
> >
> > I have tried reseating the controller card and cables, and moved the SATA
> > cable to the secondary port on the SATA controller.
> >
> > Is there anything else I should be trying?
> Coming at it from the hardware end, I'd say that you have the right
> idea: throwing in a different controller would be a pretty good test.
> Shotgunning does make sense as a troubleshooting technique, when the
> possible number of affected parts is low.

I've finally got round to putting in a new SATA controller, and it seems to have helped; it may even have solved the problem. Previously, trying to copy large amounts of data to the SATA disk would bring the system to a complete halt. The last time I tried to copy a 1.5GB file to the SATA disk, it died after 60MB. Now, I can copy the same file without any obvious problems.

There are still SATA errors on boot, which are a cause for concern, so I'll want to run for a while with that disk as my main disk, before I'm totally confident.

The errors on boot look like

ata2.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x2 frozen
ata2.00: tag 0 cmd 0xb0 Emask 0x2 stat 0x50 err 0x0 (HSM violation)
ata2: soft resetting port
ata2: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl 310)
ata2.00: configured for UDMA/133
ata2: EH complete
and that repeats a dozen times. It doesn't mean much to me, so I guess I'll need to spend some time with Google.


[ Thread continues here (6 messages/8.01kB) ]

tool to generate predefined amount of CPU load?

Mulyadi Santosa [mulyadi.santosa at gmail.com]

Tue, 17 Apr 2007 01:10:04 +0700

Dear Gang..

Any of you know what tools (preferrably open source) I can use to generate a predefined amount of CPU load in Linux? For example, the tool can receive an argument to generate 40% CPU load:

./loader -l 40
I plan to use such tool to generate background load, and do certain tests with another application to test scheduling latency. Thanks in advance for your advice.



[ Thread continues here (2 messages/1.50kB) ]

ESR's goodbye note to RedHat

Ben Okopnik [ben at linuxgazette.net]

Wed, 4 Apr 2007 23:17:36 -0600

Eric S. Raymond bids a less-than-fond farewell to RedHat:


Off to Ubuntu-land for him. Following in my footsteps, no doubt. :)

* Ben Okopnik * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette * http://LinuxGazette.NET *

Features in Nmap XML Command Line Utility - Suggestions

Amit Kumar Saha [amitsaha.in at gmail.com]

Sat, 21 Apr 2007 22:21:12 +0530

Hi all I am working on a command-line utility to put nmap's XML output to some great and frutiful use. Please suggest some features that could be incorporated to make it Uber Cool.


Amit Kumar Saha

[ Thread continues here (3 messages/1.67kB) ]

A window manager for Inkscape

Kat Tanaka Okopnik [kat at linuxgazette.net]

Mon, 2 Apr 2007 09:40:10 -0700

Hi gang -

After all this time editing the mailbag, I finally have an actual question for The Answer Gang. (I've searched the Net, and also asked at mailing lists for icewm and Inkscape.)

I've been using icewm as my window manager, but, at this point, I either need to find a way to configure it differently, or switch window managers altogether.

The basic problem is that icewm takes the input and processes it before Inkscape. (Input in this case is alt-click; there may be other input that is also an issue, but this is the one I'm aware of.) If I can, I'd like to bypass it, or alter the keypress combination that icewm is looking for.

The other possibility is finding a better window manager. As an interim measure, Ben found that ratpoison will at least ignore the alt-click issue. Unfortunately, ratpoison makes it harder to work in gimp. I know there are dozens if not hundreds of other window managers, but I'd really rather not test every single one of them.

When I was using ThatOther "OS", one of the things I used quite often was the IME (Input Method Editor), which allowed me to use a sequence of keystrokes to alter the way that my keyboard and mouse input was interpreted. Is there some equivalent that might be my answer here?


Kat Tanaka Okopnik
Linux Gazette Mailbag Editor

[ Thread continues here (10 messages/27.83kB) ]

multiple simultaneous X users

qqq1one @yahoo.com [qqq1one at yahoo.com]

Thu, 29 Mar 2007 22:38:37 -0700 (PDT)

Hi All,

I'd like to have 2 users using separate X-sessions on the same CPU - simultaneously. That is, two different monitors plugged into two different graphic-cards (or a single dual-headed card), each matching two different keyboards and mice, but all using one CPU.

I know this can be done with Linux, but the information I found on how to do this is over a year old, is for a 2.4 series kernel, and instructs the user to patch the kernel and/or X in order to get the keyboards to be treated as separate from each other.

I'd like to avoid any patching, if possible, because I like to keep my kernel and X server up to date and don't want to have to re-patch them every time I get another update. I'm currently running an up-to-date Fedora Core 5 system (2.6.20-1.2300.fc5smp and xorg-x11-server-Xorg-1.0.1-9.fc5.6), and will be moving to a FC6 kernel and xorg-x11 server soon. I found the "startx -- -layout Multihead" command, and intend to buy a second video card (PCI-based), monitor, USB keyboard and mouse. Assuming I do a fresh install of FC6 with both sets of equipment installed, will patching still be required, and what else might I have to do? Thanks in advance.

[ Thread continues here (4 messages/5.00kB) ]

Multipage tif file

Kat Tanaka Okopnik [kat at linuxgazette.net]

Tue, 10 Apr 2007 16:19:59 -0700

Hi gang -

I'm trying to figure out how to view a multipage tif. It's something that Wind0ws handles just fine, but I don't have the right tools to do it here on my Debian system.

When I try to view it in Gimp, it comes out very distorted, and pretty much illegible. (It's Japanese, so every pixel counts.)


Kat Tanaka Okopnik
Linux Gazette Mailbag Editor

[ Thread continues here (6 messages/8.26kB) ]

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Published in Issue 138 of Linux Gazette, May 2007