4. Misc

As well as hardware, you need a few bits and peices

4.1 Motif - optional
4.2 Internet Service Provider (15 pcm)
4.3 Linux CDROM's 20
4.4 Books
4.5 Book - Linux Doc. Project - LDP (30)


Motif - optional

X11 is a window maker's toolkit. Different window makers experimented with different styles. EG:

TRAD. Scroll Bar Behavior: CLICK-ing on SCROLL-BAR:

	LEFT	- scroll page up so that THIS line is at top
	MID	- JUMP to this % place in DOCUMENT
   DRAG-MID	- scroll text (tiring)

OTHER Scroll Bar Behavior: CLICK-ing on SCROLL-BAR:

	LEFT	- scroll page up by one page
	LEFT	- scroll page down by one page (above bubble)
   DRAG-LEFT	- scroll text (tiring)

Each of these, and the variety of them are confusing to people who are used to MS-WIN, and everyone got excited about the Motif library (and style guide). In the need to declare a standard, they did so.

X11 is FREE, with contributions from the big names. Motif costs, so you have to buy it separately.

Then you can down-load all those Motif applications, compile them, and link them with shared-libraries. The rest of us can't compile them, and can't link them, so we down-load the bigger static-library executables.

A Motif clone is brewing (LessTif). It will take time for everyone to confirm that their code compiles and runs correctly with it. In the mean time you don't NEED it (Motif). Most of the interesting stuff compiles without it. The rest is available pre-compiled from the net. You can find LessTif at http://www.hungry.com/products/lesstif/

Motif is not fast. I only realised that the motif linked executables were sluggish when I saw faster ones. Utilities (xedit, xterm), applications (modula-2:oberon), or even scripted applications (using tcl+tk) - so comparatively fast it is astonishing (and depressing when it's back to sludge).

FYI I find ddd slow. Is this Motif, or my machine?

In balance, the Scriptum program is static Motif, and is fast, so maybe it isn't just Motif that causes the problem. However, I prefer to have everything on one CDROM (set), so I'm waiting for LessTif, and prefer not to code X11 directly (using Tk or other instead).

X11 includes a set of applications that do not use Motif, and a proportion of the software on sunsite (etc) also.


Internet Service Provider (15 pcm)

There are different types of dial-in accounts. You want your own static IP address with full TCP/IP access to the Internet.

You also want some space on the ISP's machine for your web pages, available 24 hours. You may prefer an ISP that has a fixed rate, no time charges, and ask about 0345 (local call) options (15 pcm).

An ISP has a "high speed" 24 hour link to a gateway near a backbone. The ISP also has 1-500 modems, each with it's own phone line. The 500 connections fan-out with 4-16 modems per terminal server.

Your ISP provides you with a gateway for routing packets to/from the Internet.

The ISP has one machine that checks your password when you dial-in, and permits access to the services that you pay for - ie routing packets from your host to and from the Internet.

The ISP has other machines to provides you with services that ISP's are supposed to provide, ie:

Remember that most people are still MS-DOS based, and your ISP's support desk might not have a lot of Linux experience, but when you are connected, and after you have read the FAQ's, there are a lot of people who may recognise your problem.


Linux CDROM's 20

There are several different Linux distributions, and a few platforms drived from them. You might also find Linux on a magazine cover CDROM.

If you have a prefered distribution, get it direct from the supplier. If you don't know what to get, get the InfoMagic LDR.

Infomagic dont produce Linux distributions, however they do produce internet archive CDROMS. The Linux Developers Resource is 6 CDROMS of Linux related material, including mirrors of Slackware, RedHat, Debian, and mirrors of sunsite, tsx-11, Xfree86. All for 20).

There are drawbacks with the LDR, the versions are the ones that were current when the CDROM was cut, the layout varies with each release (the archives don't come in convenient 645 MB chunks), and there are a few packages that are not on sunsite. However, you get everything you need, and an enormous amount to mess with, without needing Internet access.

Raven is on LDR, but there is no connection. Raven should be on every mirror of sunsite/docs.



Running Linux - Matt Walsh

It's in the shops, go take a look.

Essential System Administration - Aileen Frisch

I don't have this, but I've heard it is very good.

Linux Man Pages

Reading bits of this from time to time will help a lot. You can get it for $14 from http://www.justcomp.com, http://www.cheapbytes.com or others of course the postage will add 50%


Book - Linux Doc. Project - LDP (30)

This book is indispensable. You should really buy it first, as it contains information about hardware, and other early information. It is a collection of LDP 'books' and 'HOWTO's, assembled from several sources. Most of the individual authors and editors are now collectively producing the Linux Documentation Project.

Did you know that in the UK, books without CDROM's are VAT exempt (17.5%). This book may appear under different names, eg: Linux HOWTO Bible.

The Networking Guide will tell you EXACTLY how TCP/IP and all it's various features (NIS, boot servers) are configured. The Ethernet HOWTO hints at what is involved in writing a driver for an ISA card.

The NET-2/NET-3 HOWTO, is the Networking Guide for developers, and provides a well valued second opinion (from the original authors), and different descriptions of the networking software and it's configuration.

The Ethernet HOWTO is written by (any maybe for) the writer of many drivers for Ethernet cards. It 'compare-and-contrasts' different card designs, costs and performance. The Hardware HOWTO lists a range of hardware that Linux supports (at time of writing!)

All the information in the LDP book is available on your CDROM or over the NET, eg http://lsl.com/ If you want to print it and sell it ... please add a better tabbed index, and don't just sort the HOWTO's in alphabetical order.


The HOWTO's that go into the LDP compendiums, are available online, see http://sunsite.unc.edu/mdw or see http://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/docs, to find their source SGML, or pre-formatted versions. They can even be converted to Windows help format (via RTF).

When reading Raven, you should always locate the proper HOWTO. It isn't my objective to duplicate these texts, and I hope to add more cross-references (preferably to specific pages without having to be on-line).

TCL-TK John Ousterhout (29)

TCL is a threaded interpreted language that is a sort of a mix between BASIC, LISP and SHELL. Its very flexible, but has a limited number of data-types (as does shell).

You can add C++ code into Tcl, or add some sort of run_tcl_script() ability to you programs. ELF will hopefully add dynamic linkage.

Tk is a library that bolts onto Tcl and X11, giving object types such as frame, label, button, radio-button(s), data-field entry, canvas, text_panel_widget (with multiple fonts, etc, etc).

Tcl/Tk also runs on WIN-311, but obviously there are limits to how exactly you can make DOS look like a unix system. You will probably need a windows C compiler for serious projects, but you can use the pre-compiled dos-wish.exe, and carefully written scripts as a reasonable cross-platform tool.

This book is the authors guided tour of features. It is a reference for commonly used command options, with an accurate and concise index. There are many features that could do with a few more pages, but the on-line man pages are amazing. Now how can I build an index of them ...


If you have a book you'd like reviewed, email me and I'll have a look. There is a readinglist HOWTO:

Linux Journal ($22 US, $32 world)

A monthly magazine, with lots of articles. Its has technical articles, background info on famous names, development progress stories (Is BLADE running) and a very high quality finish. It includes a section about Web'ing, and a few articles from Linux Gazette. See: http://www.ssc.com

Linux Gazette

This is a FREE online e-zine, available as html and available for download. It also appears on some CDROM's.