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Aug. 1997 Digests

     Happy System Administrator Digest: 8-1

                          Welcome to
                             T H E
                          D I G E S T

       moderated forum discussing all things legal related to:
              installing, configuring, and maintaining,
                         a Linux system.



1. A note from the moderator
2.  Some answers, plus a rant
3. Resizing rxvt's
4. Mounting floopies in Linux (monkey)
5. Misc Answers
6. Re: July 20th HSAD!
7. Sorry to be lame
8. Linux Red Hat 4.2
9. HSAD - hd problems
10. Submission for HSAD  HELP!!
11. Re: mtools
12. setting up x-windows
13. Re: July 20th HSAD!
14. Minicom installation troubles
15. help


1. A note from the moderator
From: Moderator <jammer@ecst.csuchico.edu>

Hello again,

Here's another HSAD. It looks to be a good one, so I hope you like it.

You may have noticed that the period between issues has been growing. It's
because, for the summer, I have a full-time job, which coupled with new toys
and a healthy social life, mean I have less free time. But, not to worry.
In two weeks, my internship's over, and I get to go back to my normal pattern
of using the HSAD as a procrastination device.

The creation of this HSAD was stretched over 3 days due to a a very slow
ISP whose modems kept dropping carier.

Happy Administration,



2.  Some answers, plus a rant
From: James Mastros <abszero@epix.net>

>And regarding mtools.. I was playing around with it yesterday and I'm
>[ Jon: Hmm. What are the mtools? ]
mtools are a collection of utilities for using MS-DOS filesystems.  Word to
the wise: just mount the partition, and use normal unix commands.  That
way, you get to try to forget that you are dealing with crappy dos shit,
instead of trying to fake the fucked-up dos way of doing things.
(Note to Jon:  If you don't like the swearing, just don't publish any of
this e-mail.  I don't like censorship.)

[ Jon: Swearing's fine, but my policy is to not publish flames/sensless
       rants/etc ]

         -=- James Mastros

>12.. Winmodems and Linux NOT
>From: Bill Eldridge <bill@rfa.org>
>[ Jon: You're right. Winmodems suck becuase they aren't real modems. They
>       rely on software to do most of the modeming. That's why they aren't
>       supported/liked in Linux. Check out US Robotics' homepage for more
>       information. ]
Linux would support winmodems on a fairly short basis, most likely, except
that modem manufacturers won't let developers get technical information on
their winmodems (I refuse the honor of capitalization to them).

 -=- James Mastros


Please remove me from this malling-list.  I am simply fed up with the
stupid questions that seem to pre-dominate this list.

OK, it's officially rant time.
When I first heard of this malling-list, I immediately rushed to send a
mail to Jon to add me (OK, I used his handy web form, and I waited a couple
days).  I just loved the idea;  I though that I could finally get some good
middle-level information:  I'm beyond the crap in stuff like the Linux
Gazette (some of it isn't to simple, but lots of it is X stuff, and I don't
use X), but reading linux-kernel gives me headaches (along with post-doc
physics, but that's not bad from a 17yo <G>).  But of course not.  Instead,
this digest has become a haven for "how do I configure my GUI" and people
replying to others concerns by saying umm... I don't know.  I simply see no
value in this digest any-more.

If a simple set of rules were adopted, I think that the quality of this
forum would improve drastically.  So, without further ado:

[ Jon: I'm going to respond to each of the items. I think they are all valid
       points, and I appreciate the clarity with which you voice your rant. ]

1)  Look for the answer yourself first.

[ Often people don't know where to look. One of my guides (probably the next
  one) will be a bibliography of Linux references. But for now, the first
  place you should look for anything is "www.linux.org". ]

2)  If the problems come before you see "Uncompressing linux....." for the
first time (FYI:  This is the first message that you see upon boot of the
linux kernel), then this is not the proper forum for your question; look at
the documentation for your distribution, then their web page; then e-mail

[ Unless they're running LILO, which can encounter problems. ]

3)  If it's distribution specific, don't ask us; we won't know.  This
includes: "how do I do this in the GUI", "how do I un-install" (unless you
got it in source, or not as part of a distribution), and anything having to
do with RPM.

[ That is true. There are many good forums for discussing Slack/RH/whatever
  installations. But there are also many people on this list who know/use
  many distributions. Feel free to ask your questions. If I feel it is not
  appropriate, I'll let you know off list, send you to the appropriate list. ]

4)  If you don't want to run linux, don't do so.  This includes not wanting
to exit from X and do some command-line stuff, IMHO.

[ X is a part of Linux. You aren't going to be able to run X without doing
  command-line stuff.And yes, this is not the appropriate forum to ask about
  getting rid of Linux. See comp.os.windows95.advocacy for that ;) ]

5)  Be certain to include any information that you think might help people
to diagnose your problem.  This always includes your distribution.  More
information is almost always better than not enough.

[ Very true. I get far too many questions asking "How do I get my XYZ to work",
  with no other information. If you have a question, please take the time to
  pose it clearly, explain the problem, and describe the situation. ]

6)  Try to speak proper English.  I have noticed that those people from
primary US domains (.com, .edu, and .net) seem to be unable to speak proper
English.  Perhaps you should learn the language before you worry about
Linux.  I would certainly be ashamed to send out a mail with as bad English
as I see all the time in this digest to a friend.  Certainly, I would not
send such a mail out to hundreds (just how big is this list, Jon?) of
people whom I do not know, and have it visibly archived for all time.  But
people do that very same thing.  (Yes, I do realize that I have terrible
run-on sentences; deal.)
Resizing rxvt's

3. Resizing rxvt's
From: root@solfire.ludwigsburg.netsurf.de

 new subscriptions
  every day. ]

7)  Have fun, and learn.  That's what Linux has been all about since it was
a few kilobytes that couldn't boot without Minix backing it up that existed
only in a dorm room in Helsinki, Finland occupied by an unknown student
named Linux Torvalids.  (I butchered all of those proper nouns, I know...)

[ Indeed. Linux started out as a small project (read: learning experience),
  the blossomed into a quite popular/usable tool/environment. My goal is to
  give you (the reader) the ability to recreate that learning environment. ]

OK, end rant.

 -=- James Mastros

Hi folks'n'hackers! ;-)

I Have a question concerning some strange
behaviour of rxvt/bash:

The default size of my rxvt under X
(using Linux) is 80x64 at a screen
resolution of 1280x1024.

All works fine until I resize a
just openend rxvt-window by clicking
in the opper right button of rxvt.

The window grows to the full size
of the screen and I can still enter

But using CTRL-a or CTRL-e or
other line editing keys the
whole commandline, which I have
edited before becomes confuse --
a lot of garbage.

Can one give a hint how to prevent
that nasty behaviour?

rxvt: version 2.19-3
bash: version 2.01


[ Jon: It could be related to the fonts. Which font packages do you have? ]


4. Mounting floopies in Linux (monkey)
From: Duncan Mak <vulcan@asiaonline.net>

 I install Monkey Linux on my 486 and it works really well. But I
have problems mounting floopies (and CD) in linux? what is the exact
command for mounting DOS FAT floppies? is it mount ext2 \mnt? (/mnt
exists, btw) of is it mount dos /mnt?



[ Jon: The correct format is 'mount /dev/fd0 /mnt -tmsdos'. The first arg.
  is the floppy device (usually /dev/fd0 for drive A:, and /dev/fd1 for B:).
  The second arg. is the mount directory. The third argument is the filesystem
  type ('msdos' in this case).  Of course, you could have found this out for
  yourself by looking at the mount man page ('man mount'), or the Linux FAQ. ]


5. Misc Answers
From: "Krzysztof G. Baranowski" <kgb@rubikon.net.pl>

On Sun, 20 Jul 1997, Jon McClintock wrote:

:> #Is there any way to start an xterm window as 'foo' and let 'bar'
:> #inherit the window with all permissions to it so that messages
:> #generated there are said to originate with 'bar'?

For example, you want to run xterm as root, but it should look like
that jack is working there (after "w" or "who" or "finger").
I think that is rather not possible (of course you can always hack
xterm sources :).
It is possible to run xterm with "-ut" and you won't be
logged to utmp. But I can always run eg. "ps -aux | grep bash/root"
and find out what user is running a shell.
 The other thing that is on my mind. What if you eg. your
uid=500, and you euid=0. What will be shown then ?

[Jon: What's to stop you from doing it? Alas, on the machine I was going to
      try it on, I don't have rxvt installed. ]

ps. One thing amazes me. Who is the real author of this post.
    He answered before the digest was released :-)
[ Uh, that would be me, screwing with time ]
:Another linux question,
:Often i have a program to compile and gcc spits the dummy when it cant
:find a library its lookign for.

Check if you have a library, it should be in one of directories
listed in /etc/ld.so.conf. You can also tell programs to look for
libraries located in any directory by:
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/path/to/the/library; export LD_LIBRARY_PATH
You can do a lot of interesting things with libraries.

:10. chmod +x  and mtools
:From: noname <noname@blah.com>
:How do i make a shell script executable? I wrote one called
:lsa which executes the ff command:
:ls -a
:I chmod +x 'ed it then entered lsa at the prompt and what I get is this:
:bash: lsa: command not found
:[ Jon: I can't see your problem, but why do it that way. You can do it much
:       easier using "alias". Do a man alias to find out more. ]

Jon is right, the best way to do such kind of things is to setup an
alias. Sample entry in bash looks following:

alias ll='ls -l'
alias pgrep='ps -auxw | grep $1'   /* $1 is a variable */

But you can't run lsa because it's not in your PATH.
On Linux a local directory (a dot) is not searched
by default. You have to add it to your PATH or tell linux
that lsa is in you current directory. Type: ./lsa
To check the path type: echo $PATH

[ Ah yes, I forgot about that. I have it set by default on all of my machines,
  which makes it easier. ]

Krzysztof G. Baranowski - The President of the Harmless Manjacs' Club
"Smith & Wesson - The original point and click interface..."


6. Re: July 20th HSAD!
From: Christopher Hicks <chicks@chicks.net>

On Sun, 20 Jul 1997, BJ Johnson <bjjohnson@usinternet.com> asked:
> 1.  I've gotten my PPP connect going fine.  Now I'm trying to setup pine
> to get my e-mail.  I'm using a dialup account on my ISP with dynamic IP
> addressing.  I configured the news-group part of it, and that works
> great.  I can even send mail out.  But it will not pick it up form my
> ISP.  My mail-check-interval is set right and I have the SMTP server set
> properly.  What am I forgetting?

Incoming SMTP doesn't work very well with dynamic addresses.  To make it
work, your ISP would have to do something with dynamic DNS.  I have made
this work and it is ugly.  But there are workable options.

You have three choices for getting your mail: POP, IMAP, and UUCP.  POP
makes sense if you just want to batch download your mail in a batch.
popclient works well.  IMAP makes sense if you want to leave the mail on
the ISP's server.  Pine works very nicely.  (I'm a pine fanatic.)

If you want to have more than one mail box, life gets more interesting.
Using POP or IMAP, you'll need to have an ISP account for each mail box.
Now, that may be fine for some.  But I find its a headache to administer.
Its not that bad with IMAP, but if you've automated popclient to check for
mail every once in a while, then you have to keep track of usernames, mail
servers, and passwords for every user.  That's a pain.

Which brings us to the third solution: UUCP.  This requires the
cooperation of some ISP out there.  (You can get UUCP service from one ISP
and your PPP connection from another.)  You decide on some domain name
(@blazyblah.somedomain.com) and all the mail for that domain gets sent to
your machine via uucp.  You can add and delete users on your machine
without worrying the ISP about it.  UUCP works fine over PPP connections
with dynamically assigned addresses.  And UUCP over tcp/ip is a lot easier
to administer than the old uucp on a raw modem was.

<COMMERCIAL pardon="please">
 I sell mail over UUCP service if your ISP does not.

[ Jon: But, if not setup properly, UUCP has some serious holes that can be
       exploited. ]


"There are about four comments in all of NCSA httpd 1.3, and they mostly
have to do with people owing me beer or about how much some version of
UNIX sucks."  -- Rob McCool


7. Sorry to be lame
From: PlahZma Franco <plahzma@juno.com>

I have been reading about Linux for a while now and decided to ask for
specific advice.  I have a compaq presario 425 DX4 100Mghz,  I purchased
a 2.1 Gig drive a while back and parted it to 2 partitions.  Due to win95
problems I lost some space in the process.
When I use DOS fdisk heres what i get:
Part.      status        type            volume label          MBytes
      system              usage
c: 1            A           PRI DOS
1801                FAT 16               54%
2                              EXT DOS
  929                                              46%

Then it asks me to display logical DOS drives on part. 2:
DRV.     ........             MBytes          System    Usage
D:                                  929                FAT16   100%

I want to part the d: in order to put linux on it.  But Fips says I can
not split extended dos partitions.  So now what?  I want about 200 megs
for linux.  What do I do from here?  How do I create the partition I
want.  BTW if you havent figured it out yet Im running win95, I boot from
the c: and I really want Linux.

[ Jon: Try out Partition Magic. Yes, $59 does seem like a lot of money, but
       it works, and does its job pretty well. ]

Also, I want to buy Redhat...and Im wondering if I will be able to
install it with my cd-rom.
I have two cd-roms actualy one very old and one old.  I have a 1 speed
BSR cd-rom , can I use this to install linux?  I also have an 8 speed.  I
would prefer to use this but dont think I can since it hooks up to the
printer port and the printer is routed to it.  I use win95 SCSI
controllers in order to use it, and cannot use it straight under MS-DOS
since it is initialized in win95.

[ Your best bet is with the older CD-ROM drive. Especially if it uses an
  IDA/ATAPI interface. Otherwise, you probably have enough space to copy
  the distribution to your HD. ]

Thank you everybody for helping me and Im very Sorry to sound so

[ You can compensate for ignorance by taking the time to clearly state your
  question, and think about the problem. If we all speak clearly, we can better
  communicate problems and solutions. ]


8. Linux Red Hat 4.2
From: Michael Todd <trelane@infocom.com>

I recently installed Red Hat 4.2 and with it, installed the newest version
of XFree86 version 3.2. I'm having problems with starting X. It acts like
it's going to start, then it brings up a terminal window, starts to bring
up control panel and just hangs there. It's almost like the mouse is locked
or something. I can see the mouse pointer but cannot move it. My system
info is as following:
P166 MMX, Asus VX97 motherboard, Matrox Mystique 4 MB video card, Sound
Blaster 16 sound card, USR 33.6 Sportster Modem (not Winmodem) set to com2
IRQ3 (dos), 3Com Etherlink III Network card (3C509 TPO), 32 MB RAM, 1.6 WD
Hard Drive, Microsoft Serial Mouse, Compaq Presario 1400 Monitor. I checked
all the settings I could find and couldn't find any problems. If anyone has
had the same problems and knows the fix, help me please. I also have
MetroLink X server 3.1.5 and it doesn't work either. I have deleted,
formatted and re-installed numerous times with the same and different
options. The version I have does work, I have it installed on my work
computer (basically same computer except Processor(P100), Video
Card(Diamond Stealth 3D) and monitor(IBM 15P). I even tried the Diamond
Stealth 3D card in my machine at home, no luck. Tried different monitor
settings....is there away to set my monitor for the exact specs? I picked
the closest and most conservative to mine, but there were no exact
settings. Would that cause it to lock up like that?

[ My guess is that it is the video card. Check to see that the chipset is
  supported by the version of X you're using. www.xfree86.org should
  contain the most recent list, plus information for your card.
  I assume you're using XF86Setup to do the configuration. If so, you might
  want to go and edit the X configuration file, /etc/XF86Config. Do a man
  of XF86Config for its syntax. ]

Also, question 2..after
my Windows 95 partition got screwed, I reinstalled Windows 95 and now LILO
is gone on my computer at work. How can I get it back? The Linux partitions
are still there. Just no way to get to them. The only bootdisk I have is
the installation bootdisk.

[ Take your installation bootdisk and boot with it. When it asks you for boot
  parameters, type "mount root=/dev/hda2 ro", using your Linux partition in
  place of /dev/hda2. This will make it boot using your Linux partition as
  the root partition, from which you can simply run lilo to reinstall. ]

And finally number 3. I have an earlier version
of slackware and XFree86 version 3.12. It came with a screensaver called
Rock which I really liked. Unfortunately, 3.2 doesn't include it. Does
anyone know where I can get it? Keep in mind, I'm not real familiar with
Linux and am just learning. I haven't gotten much farther than installation
and a little bit of configuring. I don't know how to install programs in
Linux or how to do upgrades or patches. I've been reading HSAD newsletters
as they come out. I've got a couple of decent books but the most prevalent
thing right now is to get X working. The other stuff will come later. I'd
appreciate any help anyone can give me with this. Thanks.

[ Search for "xlock" on the web. The screensavers are actually bundled in one
  app called xlock. The mode is controlled by the '-mode' parameter. Rock
  may still be in there, but under a different name. man xlock for more info. ]



9. HSAD - hd problems
From: -1

Hi , first off - kepp up the good work jon , your doing a fine job =)

i'm having big troubles with a new quantum 6.4 eide hard drive
i have 3 main problems , which i summize

 1) I can't  seem to enable translation of my new hard drive
 2) The appreance of a new phantom hard drive /hdb
 3) A new occurance of different physical/logical endings on /hda

my system is set up as follows

pro 180 , with a AMI BIOS 1.00.04 - only got this box last november

primary bus - quantum fireball eide 3.8 - master

secondary bus - 1) quantum stratus eide 6.4 - master  - NEW
                2) cd drom - slave

all the settings in the BIOS are on auto configure
for both drives and cd-rom , they all have the same options enabled

but i have strange messages on boot , about a non existant device
( all the jumpers are set correct on all drives )

Jul 22 03:29:40 iceburg kernel: hda: QUANTUM FIREBALL_TM3840A, 3681MB
Cache, LBA, CHS=935/128/63
Jul 22 03:29:40 iceburg kernel: hdb: non-IDE drive, CHS=784/255/63
Jul 22 03:29:40 iceburg kernel: hdb: INVALID GEOMETRY: 255 PHYSICAL
Jul 22 03:29:40 iceburg kernel: hdc: QUANTUM FIREBALL ST6.4A, 6149MB
Jul 22 03:29:40 iceburg kernel: hdd: FX120T, ATAPI CDROM drive

my lilo is standard with no append lines or linear lines

also as you can see the hda has been translated from 16 heads to 128 ,
also with the cylinders approx 7400  to 935 ,

How do i translate my  hdc ???

i' ve tried the ontrack ,  boot manager
but it only had options to lay a ddo to a floppy OS disk
and i could not see any translation options either .

Any suggestion on other software  ?

On a side note , where excatley does the ddo live on the  mbr
because i have fdisked  the /hda mbr many times  and yet the translation
has not been aftected .

and if all this was not bad enough  fdisk for /dev/hda now reports

Disk /dev/hda: 128 heads, 63 sectors, 935 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 8064 * 512 bytes

   Device Boot   Begin    Start      End   Blocks   Id  System
   /dev/hda1   *        1        1      520  2096608+   6  DOS 16-bit
   /dev/hda2          521      521      749   923328    6  DOS 16-bit
   /dev/hda3          750      750      757    32256   82  Linux swap
   /dev/hda4          758      758      935   717696   83  Linux native
   Partition 4 has different physical/logical endings:
        phys=(933, 127, 63) logical=(934, 127, 63)

any ideas ?

i have searched the web extensively , real the lilo doc's , and the
large disk
how-to's , but yet i can find no real solution

Any help would be greatly appreaciated


[ Jon: One thought might be to go into your BIOS and search for a setting
       which enabled "LBA" or large-block-addressing. Another thing to try
       is to tell LILO the exact specifications of your hard drive. Do
       a man on 'lilo.conf' for details on how to do this. ]


10. Submission for HSAD  HELP!!
From: Andy <jaliviper@geocities.com>

Hi all,
I need some seroius help.
I have Linux 1.2.13 on my 386 machine. It has a FPU and 8mb of ram with a
25Mb swap partition.
Recently I've been noticing that some of the virtual terminals have been
going haywire. tty3,tty4 and tty6 wont work and neither will tty12 . They
dont show up in /dev and every 5 minutes i get a message saying the process
is respawning too fast and its disabled for 5 minutes.
X now refuses to run as it cant find tty3 , I managed to fix that by making
a link to tty5 called tty3 ;-) The /etc/inittab file seems fine, i even
replaced it from a backup. Some changes could have been made without my
knowing(root is unpassworded and a lot of people use my machine) . Any ideas?

[ I don't know. You might try recreating your /dev directory. ]

Also can I upgrade just the kernel? If so will copying the new kernel and
running Lilo do it?

[ No. But the files you will need to go along with the new kernel are listed
  in the release notes. ]

Any help would be appreciated
                  URL: http://members.tripod.com/~technoviper
           You look like a million dollars.... all green and wrinkled


11. Re: mtools
From: Josh Rogers <savinien@juno.com>

10. chmod +x  and mtools
From: noname <noname@blah.com>


[ Jon: Hmm. What are the mtools? ]

I think they are a collection of short scripts that allow a user to use
_M_S-DOS commands in Linux.  mdir a:\new  That'd get some wierd response
in linux if it were ls a:\new  And it allows newly enlightened DOS users
to get around for a bit.  Hopefully, this isn't a permenant arrangement.



12. setting up x-windows
From: Manny Roque <unix70@mosquito.frcc.cccoes.edu>

i have currently linux red hat 4.1 and i'm pissed off at packard bell
for giving a hell of a pc to configure with linux. the os is installed i
just can't get the video to display correctly with x windows. i have a
cirrus chip on the motherboard :( and it does display x windows it's
just very fuzzy when i'm in x. i have the linux bible but i don't want
to spend the day reading it, does anyone have a quick fix for this?
and yes i do have the monitors manual with all the specs.

[ Jon: Have you tried whacking the side of the monitor ;). We need to know
       more about your system (chipset, monitor, etc) before we can help. ]

cya on the mosquito,

manny <unix70@mosquito.frcc.cccoes.edu>

"watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat that yellow snow"
Frank Zappa


13. Re: July 20th HSAD!
From: Jason William RENNIE <jrennie@hardy.ocs.mq.edu.au>

Ok, so i've got the lib i want. Where do most programs expect to find
them ?? The main problems i've had are with compiling a picture viewer i
found. I found the jpeg lib it asked for, but where do i put it ??
/usr/local/lib ?? /usr/lib ?? etc. I know i could put it anywhere but
where is the usual place ?? I assume mnost makefiles expect to find them
in a certian place.

I hope that clarifies my query.


[ Jon: Usually, it is specified in the library documentation. Also, look for
       some kind of "make install" when compiling the library (you ARE
       compiling them yourself, right?) ]


14. Minicom installation troubles
From: "Kurt Pfister" <kpfister@ao.net>

I am running Monkey Linux on a 486 box with 32 MB ram and am trying to
install an ELF distribution of minicom.  The problem is that none of the
executables included in the program will work, the computer tells me that
the command is 'not found', even when I can see it in an ls.  The
permissions all have 'x' in the appropriate places.
The installation script did not work either, so I moved all of the files to
the appropriate directories by hand.  Any Ideas?  Thanks in advance.

[ Jon: As mentioned above, is your path set correctly? Is the minicom binary
       located somewhere in your path. Also, does your kernel support ELF
       binaries? If not, rebuild it so that it does. ]


15. help
From: HeX <hex@netnet.net>

I recently got red hat's linux 4.1 for intel and when I tried to install it
I found a problem. linux will install fine but lilo will not install onto my
machine. I have win95 but that can't be the problem cause the last time I
tried to install linux I formated my hd first and started with linux and it
still would not install lilo. the only thing I can think of is that I have a
bad install cd. red hat tech support gave me the run around, answers lilo
not loading, which has nothing to do with lilo not installing from the
install cd. I can't alter a program that doesn't exist on my computer yet.
and after they gave me the run around till the warrenty ran out for tech
support they cut me from their system. so my only chance is if someone out
there can help me. I'm not a linux god as a matter of fact I was just
learning linux but I can't get on with my study until I can actually use
linux and was gonna use this version to learn from. If anyone can help or
can confirm my theory that the install cd red hat sent me is faulty I would
appreciate it, thanks..

[ Jon: What does lilo (not) do? Does it give an error? Does it not boot?
       I am very hesitant to blame RedHat. Give us some more information about
       your system and we may be able to help. ]


Moderated by Jon McClintock

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