...making Linux just a little more fun!


This month's answers created by:

[ Ben Okopnik, Kapil Hari Paranjape, Neil Youngman, Rick Moen, Suramya Tomar, Thomas Adam ]
...and you, our readers!

Gazette Matters

list bug???

Rick Moen [rick at linuxmafia.com]

Tue, 25 Nov 2008 08:41:08 -0800

Quoting Michael Makuch (linuxgazette at makuch dot org):

[You wrote to tag-owner@lists.linuxgazette.net. I've decided to CC this response to TAG.]

> Curious. I am subscribed to TAG with the address
> linuxgazette at makuch dot org.
> However, I accidentally sent a message to TAG just now from
> mike8 at makuch dot org, yet the message went through to the list.
> There seems to be a problem with the list if email from any ole
> unregistered email address can send to it...

{sigh} No, it's a deliberate list configuration. You're absolutely right that that particular list configuration is archaic and essentially never seen (otherwise) on a usable mailing list in this decade, because of the continually rising spam problem. TAG has always been set up to permit non-subscriber posting because of its unique intended role: It's supposed to permit any reader of _Linux Gazette_ to address the mailing list to converse with The Answer Gang. Doing so of course makes it very vulnerable to spam.

You will probably have noticed that some spam does get through my MTA and mailing list software defences. I (as listadmin and MTA owner) then manually analyse ASAP any spam that does so, and take immediate action to ensure that no further mail from that (pick one; whatever seems most effective and least disruptive of legitimate mail) SMTP HELO string, or sending address, or sending domain, or IP will be accepted in the future. That is of course a no-win strategy with unavoidable collateral damage, but it's the best I can contrive under the circumstances.

TAG is the only mailing list with that configuration I know that's not utterly overwhelmed with spam and thereby made useless, so I must be doing something right. But the possibility of it, too, getting overwhelmed is always present.

[ Thread continues here (2 messages/2.91kB) ]

Our Mailbag


Jimmy O'Regan [joregan at gmail.com]

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 15:37:14 +0000

Tessboxes is a viewer/editor for tesseract boxfiles (used when creating training data for tesseract). http://www.lbreyer.com/tessboxes.html

On the topic of tesseract; there's also http://code.google.com/p/tesseractindic/ which is a version of tesseract adapted to Indian languages.

cuneiform-linux 0.5 was released recently, too; I'll see if I can find the announcement. It now supports hocr.

Mandrake v9.1 on a Dell CPi D300XT

EJB [ejb at intergate.com]

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 13:02:14 -0500


Several years ago, on a whim while at an OfficMax store I came across a sale going on regarding Mandrake v7.0 Linux and dis-satisfaction with MS (and the lower sales price) gave me reason enough to purchase the Linux package ... from the view of an owner/operator of several units - best thing I think I ever did. Couldn't believe that Linux software went on as smoothly as it did - and it worked - well mostly it worked but it did it well enough for me to keep an eye on the Linux OS which were available.

Recently I pulled an old Dell Latitude CPi D330XT out of "storage", deciding to keep it as a back up and fully operational unit and once again I've come across an old problem, one I never did solve in the past.

What I have is the following:

. A Dell D300XT laptop with a 10GB HD and 256kRam

. Mandrake v9.1 Linux and MS 98SE for Operating Systems

With disk partitioning, I've set or better, limited the HD space to just 2GB, with Mandrake v9.1 getting the rest of the available HD space. Yes, it does work/fit and very nicely at that but ...

PROBLEM I: SOUND - how do you get Linux to recognize the built-in sound card/chip which is available with these old Dell machines? At present,there is no sound at all and there is little doubt here but that and for want of a better term, "it's there" and it's just a case of finding out how to activate it.

PROBLEM II: PPP - It's timing out. I can get the dialer to dial in to the ISP but there's no data flow going on and the PPP times out. How do I get this software to "click" and connect?

PROBLEM III: SCANNER - I have an old (but very reliable V300 Microtech scanner but I can't get the Linux software system to recognize that the scanner is there. Win98SE will recognize it and operate it and there's no doubt here but that Linux will do it to - if I find and "set all the switches" in the proper manner.

I'm open to any and all ideas and suggestions.

Thanks for your time an interset.


[ Thread continues here (3 messages/13.27kB) ]


Chris Bannister [mockingbird at earthlight.co.nz]

Sun, 9 Nov 2008 02:32:23 +1300




I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god
than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other
possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
                                           -- Stephen F Roberts

[ Thread continues here (2 messages/1.66kB) ]

How to get a random file name from a directory

Suramya Tomar [security at suramya.com]

Tue, 25 Nov 2008 00:40:30 +0530

Hi Everyone,

I am working on a collage creation script in bash and am using find to get a list of all jpg files in a given directory. However find always returns the image names in the same order so the collage tends to have images from the same photo set i.e. at a given time it will have the most of the images from a particular subfolder.

What I want to do is get a list of random image file names from the system and then use it to create the collage, so that the collage looks more varied.

Here's what I have done so far to get a random file name:

   awk "NR==$(($RANDOM % $(wc -l fi.txt| awk '{print $1}')))" fi.txt

where fi.txt was created using

   find . -iname "*.jpg" -true | sed 's/ /\\ /g' >fi.txt

Now, this way works but I have to create a temp file which I want to avoid. Is there some way of getting find to return results in a random order? I tried searching the web but didn't find any useful results.

I am attaching the current version of the Collage creation script with this email to give you an idea of how it works. This version is without randomization of the filenames.

Thanks in advance for the help.

- Suramya

PS: Please do give your feedback/suggestions on how the script can be improved in addition to a solution :)

[ ... ]

[ Thread continues here (28 messages/36.11kB) ]

adding key combination in inittab file

J.Bakshi [j.bakshi at icmail.net]

Sat, 1 Nov 2008 11:10:12 +0530

Hi list,

Hope you all are well.

I am trying to modify the /etc/inittab file to add more key combination. One of the reasons is to shut down the system. I have added this line in the inittab

#shut down wit ctrl+alt+end

but "init q" reports

	:ctrlaltend:   unknown action field

Could any one kindly point out my mistake ? I like to define some more key combination like ctrl+alt+< ; ctrl+alt+s etc to call commands. How can I define these key combination ?


[ Thread continues here (5 messages/4.31kB) ]

seeking suggestion about lftp

J.Bakshi [j.bakshi at icmail.net]

Sat, 22 Nov 2008 22:42:10 +0530


Hope you all are well.

I have designed a script which compress some files and store those files in a folder named by date like 10-11-2008 ( for 10th Nov 2008 ) and uploads it in a remote ftp server through lftp. the script runs every day. As the FTP space is little after every 15 or so days the FTP space qouata is full. I like to include a section in the script which will check the folders in the ftp server through lftp and deletes the folders which already 10 days matured.

Can any one suggest me how to do this throug lftp ?

thanks a lot

[ Thread continues here (10 messages/13.97kB) ]

LWN article: Wikipedia transition from GFDL to CC BY-SA

Rick Moen [rick at linuxmafia.com]

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 12:18:55 -0800

Of possible interest to LG in that it's another notable episode in the perennial "What's a good free licence for non-software content?" debate.

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com> -----

Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2008 22:28:28 -0800
From: Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com>
To: discuss@en.tldp.org
Subject: LWN article: Wikipedia transition from GFDL to CC BY-SA
Those of you who are Linux Weekly News subscribers, please see: http://lwn.net/Articles/305892/

GFDL 1.3: Wikipedia's exit permit by Jonathan Corbet November 5, 2008

[...] Members of the Wikipedia project have wanted to move away from the GFDL for some time. [...] The presence of the "or any later version" language allows Wikipedia content to be distributed under the terms of later versions of the GFDL with no need to seek permission from individual contributors. Surprisingly, the Wikimedia Foundation has managed to get the Free Software Foundation to cooperate in the use of the "or any later version" permission to carry out an interesting legal hack. [...]

In other words, GFDL-licensed sites like Wikipedia have a special, nine-month window in which they can relicense their content to the Creative Commons attribution-sharealike license. This works because (1) moving to version 1.3 of the license is allowed under the "or any later version" terms, and (2) relicensing to CC-BY-SA is allowed by GFDL 1.3.

LWN articles become available to the general public after eight days, so non-subscribers will be able to read the story starting Nov. 13.

----- End forwarded message -----

[ Thread continues here (4 messages/9.76kB) ]

Apertium en-gl (English-Galician) and eu-es (Basque-Spanish) released

Jimmy O'Regan [joregan at gmail.com]

Thu, 20 Nov 2008 16:51:42 +0000

"The first version (0.5.1) of apertium-en-gl, the Apertium-based English-Galician translator, has just been released. It has been developed by the Galician company imaxin|software, one of the companies in the OpenTrad consortium, with collaboration from the universities of Vigo and Santiago de Compostela, using preexisting data developed by groups from many different institutions. Apertium-en-gl has been developed with the support of the Consellaría de Innovación e Industria of the Galician Government (Xunta) and the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce of the Spanish Government"


The Apertium project has released linguistic data for translating from Basque to Spanish on this free/open-source machine translation platform. The translator is tuned to help Spanish speakers read Basque newspaper articles but does not aim at generating post-editable output. There are a number of identified problems which may be easily addressed to make it more usable. Developers welcome! Try it online at http://www.erdaratu.eu


Patent lreversal on "business practice" patents

Ben Okopnik [ben at linuxgazette.net]

Sun, 9 Nov 2008 09:23:47 -0500

[Forwarded from the RISKS digest]

John Oram, Microsoft has a problem, *IT Examiner*, 31 Oct 2008

Much of the patent portfolio of some of the world's biggest software companies has become worthless overnight, thanks to a ruling yesterday by the US patent court.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in Washington DC has decided that in the future, instead of automatically granting a patent for a business practice, there will be a specific testing procedure to determine how patentable is that process.

The decision is a nearly complete reversal of the court's controversial State Street Bank judgment of 1998, which started the stampede for patenting business practices.

http://www.itexaminer.com/us-court-throws-out-most-software-patents.aspx http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/07-1130.pdf

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

[OT] OpenLibrary 'scan-on-demand'

Jimmy O'Regan [joregan at gmail.com]

Tue, 4 Nov 2008 01:25:25 +0000

[Totally off-topic, but we all like to read, right?]

The OpenLibrary is a project from the Internet Archive; in short, they're building a Google Books-type catalogue of titles, integrated with the ability to search the text of those titles that have been made available through the Internet Archive. The coolest thing they have, though, is a 'scan on demand' feature for any book available at Boston Public Library -- if the book hasn't already been scanned, a librarian will put it in the scanner for you: http://openlibrary.org/bpl

Talkback: Discuss this article with The Answer Gang

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Published in Issue 157 of Linux Gazette, December 2008