Linux@UK - the newsletter of the Linux SIG of the UKUUG Vol 1/1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Welcome (at last)!
  2. What is Linux?
  3. The UKUUG - An Introduction
  4. The Linux SIG of the UKUUG
  5. Alec's Linux Slackware Notes
  6. YOU want to write for Linux@UK!
  7. Linux Leasure Zone
  8. Linux: What For? A Personal Adventure
  9. We need a Logo!
  10. A Linux driver for the Specialix intelligent multiport serial card
  11. Linux SIG online resources
  12. Linux Local Groups Guide
  13. Linux Archive CDs
  14. Linux Groups Around the World
  15. Linux kernelitus?
  16. Your Editor: Who am I and why am I here?
  17. UKUUG Linux SIG Membership Application

Welcome (at last)!

Martin Houston, Linux@UK editor.

It is with excitement and some trepidation that I am setting out this first newsletter of the Linux Special Interest Group of the UK Unix User Group.

What is Linux?

Linux is a UNIX-like operating system that is able to run on the average personal computer (minimum specification is 386sx processor with 2MB memory and 40MB hard disk). It is a free, independent implementation of a superset of the POSIX specification to which all true versions of UNIX comply. It is capable of running software written for many different flavours of UNIX. Linux is available free of charge on the Internet or in a variety of easy to use distributions from Linux vendors on floppy disk or CD-ROM.

The term "Linux" has two usages, first it is the name of the operating system kernel started in 1992 by Linus Torvalds and contributed to by UNIX enthusiasts all over the world. It has also come into usage as a term for the whole software system based on a Linux kernel at its core. There are many people and organisations that have put together a Linux kernel with other programs to make a complete working set of software. Each person hold the copyright to the code that he or she has written. Linux is not public domain software. It is protected by the GNU Public Licence which (amongst other things) stipulates that the source code to Linux and all its related programs must always remain freely available but allows people to charge money for Linux, if they wish, as long as they do not attempt to limit to the redistribution of Linux. In a nut-shell this means that even if you have paid to have some Linux software shipped to you, you are free to share the software to a friend. Sharing and mutual co-operation on the development and improvement of Linux has been the driving force in producing a world class operating system that is truly open in that everything is under your control.

Linux is being used today by tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of people all over the world. The global Internet makes it possible for people of all nationalities to freely co-operate on Linux software projects of mutual interest. It is being used for just about everything conceivable under the sun! Software development, Internet navigation, games playing, document preparation, leading edge computer research. The low cost, and enthusiastic user community of Linux makes it an ideal way to get into a real 32 bit power operating system!


The UKUUG - An Introduction

from the UKUUG Secretariat.

The UK UNIX User Group was formed to represent users of UNIX and open systems in the United Kingdom. It uniquely caters for the needs of people within this area and, being totally funded by membership subscriptions, is completely independent of specific hardware and software vendors. All profits are used to further the activities of the organisation.

Membership is drawn from the information technology, commercial and research / academic sectors in fairly even proportions. It is representative of workers in a variety of fields including Software Engineering; Computer Manufacture; End Users; Software Houses; Universities and Research Centres.

All are UNIX users - whether they develop kernel modifications, develop applications, are involved in teaching and research, use their system in a turnkey environment or simply want to keep abreast of everything that is happening in the world of UNIX.

The importance of the UKUUG is underlined by the fact that every major UK supplier of UNIX, UNIX related and open systems is now a member of the Group. UKUUG members actively participate in the work of UK, European and American Standards Authorities including BSI, ISO and IEEE. In addition, they provide significant inputs to Standards Committees including those involved with ANSI, POSIX, SVID and X/Open.

The Linux SIG of the UKUUG

Why do it this way? Why not a fully independent Linux User Group?

The simple answer is that the UK Unix community recognises that Linux has the right to be considered as a Unix system. The UKUUG accepts that people who choose to run a Linux based computer system share common interest and goals with other Unix users so belong within the UK Unix users group.

Accepting that many amateurs have an interest in Linux that its free and low cost nature have fostered the UKUUUG offers two a two tier system of subscriptions. Normal UKUUG corporate and individual members can choose to take this newsletter and the other services of the Linux SIG for NO EXTRA CHARGE. People who find the 65 pounds normal UKUUG membership fee beyond their budgets can now join the Linux SIG part of the UKUUG only for a reduced cost of 20 GBP per anum. Some UKUUG membership benefits including the book and CD services and attendance at events are also available to Linux SIG members. Existing members of the ACCU (The Association of C and C++ Users) can join the Linux SIG for only 15 GBP per anum.

Going back to the original question. Why not a fully independent Linux User Group? There are considerable advantages in Linux receiving the organisational support of the UKUUG. For a start at Owles Hall there is a full time administration staff to look after the administration details such as processing memberships and properly accounting for money received and spent. It is these 'dull' admin areas that volunteer and enthusiast run groups usually fall down. By going under the wing of the UKUUG so to speak the Linux SIG can start from a sound financial and administrative basis rather than having to learn how to run itself from scratch. This means that I as SIG organiser can concentrate on the business of getting a group that is truly useful to the UK Linux community and is able to make a significant contribution to Linux as a whole.


Alec's Linux Slackware Notes

Alec Clews (alec@earth.demon.co.uk)

Things I wish I had known before installation

  1. Be prepared to install more than once.
  2. Don't install the term source package, the object package is later
  3. Do install the info package
  4. When you are recompiling the kernel do the things in the following order This is all explained in the readme but it is a long read :-(. The build directory on my system is /root/linux.

    Some newer version have make files with lilo targets that do more of this for you. Look in the top level Makefile.

    You should be sure that you have some method of rebooting the machine with an old kernel before rebooting the new kernel ( you never know!). The Slackware setup allows you to generate a boot floppy during the configuration procedure. You can also use the installation boot disk that you did the install with.

    You can run the recompile under the UNIX batch subsystem and it reduces the system impact. Follow these steps (# is the root prompt)

    #make config
    	(answer the questions)
    
    #batch
    make dep
    make zImage
    ctrl-D
    #
    

    Now you can do something else, like play sasteriods

    This all assumes that batch and at work on your system. They did on mine right out of the box

  5. You need to configure ethernet, when running 'make config', for PPP and slip support.

Handy tips after installation

  1. read the HOWTO's (/usr/doc/howto/*)
  2. If your printer gives
                            a nice staircase effect
                                                   like this then run
    your text through the following
    
    text source | sed -e 's/$/^M/'|lpr
    
    where ^M is control-M. This adds the carriage return that some printers require. Read the Printing-HOWTO for more info.
  3. When printing text from the info documentation system you can get info to do the above for you by adding the following to your .profile
    INFO_PRINT_COMMAND='sed -e /$/^M/|lpr'
    export INFO_PRINT_COMMAND
    
    NB. to enter a control-M in vi use control-v control-M
    
    
  4. If you are a Demon internet customer then there a couple of tar files in /pub/linux/Demon worth getting with hints and tips.
  5. To print manual pages on a printer try
    	man topic|lpr
    or
    	zless $(man -w topic)|groff -T ascii -mandoc|lpr
    
  6. To read stuff that has been compressed with GNU zip (i.e. ends with .z) use the zless utility (same as zcat file|less)

General UNIX tips.

  1. To find a file somewhere on the system
    find / -name 'file_name' -print
    
    In this form file_name can contain "wild cards", patterns in UNIX terms.

    Find is very useful so learn how to use it as soon as possible.

Alec Clews (alec@earth.demon.co.uk)


YOU want to write for Linux@UK!

Reading through this first issue you might come to the conclusion that it is a bit on the thin side!

The way round this is for you, YES YOU, to put your hand to writing about some Linux related subject that you would like to share with your fellow Linuxers.

Rather than saying rather bleatingly "please write for us or the SIG will just disappear down the plug-hole of apathy :(" I would rather say that the self discipline of having the aim of an article to write will mean that you will get to grips better with that subject yourself. I am assuming here that you are only going to write about what is of interest and possibly use to yourself!

Linux contains areas of great power that need explanation and understanding to make use of them. If you write then you are a trail-blazer for others into regions of truly useful and stimulating software.

Judging by the size and age of some of the major packages available for Linux such as Tex and Ghostscript with their myriad utilities in the field of text processing. X Windows for graphics, the excellent GNU C compiler suite, Perl and Tcl languages and many, many others there are already thousands of people who already know, benefit form and even work on the evolution of powerful items of computer software. The marriage of the great software packages developed to the Free Software Foundation 'copyleft' principals with the Internet for free sharing and exchange of ideas and now an operating system platform in the shape of Linux that anyone can afford has opened up the future of computing. It is now a frontier territory, a free for all where anyone can play a part and make their mark for the benefit of others.

Why should I give my good ideas away? Simply because good ideas get even better by being allowed to feed on each other in a free exchange. That is the big difference between the world of Linux and the world of commercial software. In Linux people freely and openly borrow and adapt ideas used elsewhere - with due credit. This is at stark contrast with the lawyers banquet that has been going on between major hardware and software computer companies in recent years.

Gaining expertise in Linux and the sort of software that it runs will enable you to make more effective use of your computer. This is not just cost effectiveness in that there are no licence fees to pay; but being in control of your computer means that you will be able to respond better to change and solve problems with less waste.

If you have a subject that you would like to write about, if it is common, or if it is very specialised, let me know. Linux@UK aims to carry articles for all areas of Linux use from raw beginners to those who are using Linux for a single very specific task and getting the last ounce out of it to perform that task as well as possible.


Linux Leasure Zone

Linux is a serious business. Many people using Linux are doing so for practical and serious reasons. In some ways the comparative lack of games, compared to DOS & Windows, is conducive to actually getting something done with Linux instead of just using a computer as an aid to leisure. DOOM for linux was posted with the warning that you should not download it if you have any important Linux development work to do!

However if you do want to use you Linux machine for games playing then as well as the normal 'Vs the computer' variety the natural ability to connect to the Internet and to other Linux machines make multi-player games possible and fun.

Tell us of your personal favorite games, where to get them, how to play them, what version of Linux do they need to run and to what extent to they stretch the ability of your machine and the Linux system itself.

Writing, testing and perfecting some really stonkingly good multi user games could be a great way to get into some teqniques that have very serious and practical applications too.

A multi user game could be a good proving ground for concepts such as client-server and distributed processing. What I want is some articles about what games are out there to be downloaded and played, and ones that need willing recruits to develop and play test. There is nothing wrong with using computer technology to play games. Games are part of the learning experience for children. They should also be part of our learning experience as to what a network of Linux computers and Linux enthusiasts are capable of!

Play a multi-user game over the net

Just as Linux@UK was going to press I received news of an interesting multi-player game that is hosted on a Linux machine at Lasermoon. Called "The Chatting Zone" it is accessable by telnet reliant.lasermoon.co.uk 8342 The number at the end of the telnet is the port number so that you get the game rather than the default user login service that telnet usualy connects to.

When you are connected to the game you then have to choose a character that you want to be. If you choose a name that is already in use the game asks you for a password. You just have to keep trying until you find a name that has not already been used. When you manage to find one you will be asked to supply a password and then choose attributes for your character such as race (Human or Alien) and sex.

Your hard working editor has not had any time to actualy play the game :( - could somebody supply me with a fuller discription of what to do for the next linux@UK?.


Linux: What For? A Personal Adventure

Zbigniew CHAMSKI
<chamskiz@cs.man.ac.uk>

I'd like to share with you some of my experiences with Linux. Hopefully, everyone will find here something of interest, be it memories of his/her own Linux life, the relative performance of ``serious'' workstations when compared to no-name PCs, some ideas for the next extension to buy, the desire to try this Linux that everyone talks about, or simply a good laugh. Of course, all comments and pints of good ale are highly welcome.

The Past

It was in May 1992, in the final year of my PhD thesis at the university of Rennes, France, that I first heard about Linux. At that time, I was looking for a multitasking system I could install on my PC, and was already aware of several projects of free Unix clones, either immediately available ( Minix, FreeBSD) or "coming soon" (GNU HURD). As with the approaching PhD thesis deadlines the choice of the system became an urgent matter, I spent a week or two on discussions with friends who already had installed various systems on their machines, and reading all relevant newsgroups (it's good to work at a major Internet site!).

My requirements were clear: I wanted an environment I could install at home, as close as possible to the one I used at the university: a Sun-4 under SunOS 4.1.1, with X Windows, Emacs, LaTeX, XFig and plenty of GNU software (ever tried ftp-ing to ftp.irisa.fr or ftp.inria.fr?), and most important, easy transportability of source files between the Sun and the box at home. I couldn't reasonably get a Sun-4, so my 386 PC (a branded one, an HP Vectra 386 DX/25!) had to do the job, and the sizes of applications I wanted to run required a good virtual memory system. I was lucky enough to get 12 MBytes of RAM, but having heard the Sun swapping like mad with 16 MBytes of RAM on-line, I was prepared for some hard times when writing the thesis, and especially when running Emacs, XFig and LaTeX at once, all this on top of X Windows.

In two weeks the choice was made: Linux 0.95 seemed reasonably stable, although evolving at a fair rate, allowed to run most applications I wanted to run (Emacs, LaTeX, XFig, GCC) and was able to fit on my "big" 105 MBytes hard disk. I spent a few hours downloading the files, then spent several evenings and nights trying to figure out why X wouldn't run. Eventually, after reading through the embryonary HOWTO's and taking a tranquiliser (Westmalle Triple, a Belgian triple ale) I realised that /dev/console had wrong permissions...

This was in June. In October I had a fair set of applications running on my system, gained some skills in Unix system administration and still had not experienced a single system hang-up. However, 12 MBytes of swap space were a serious constraint, with some big compilations such as the JPEG library in XV taking several hours to complete with the ``hard disk busy'' LED nearly continuously on.

By that time Linux has also evolved a lot, with version 0.99 (patch level 11, known to aficionados as 0.99pl11) considered stable enough for "official" distributions to be build on top of it. Slackware 1.02 was just coming out, and I decided to use it to update my system.

With the additional software I had installed on my own I couldn't just reinstall everything from scratch, and finally decided to install packages one by one, discovering by the way what's inside Slackware. The extra space provided by an additional 80 MBytes hard disk allowed to keep the old versions of libraries and applications, and avoided spending a week on recompiling life, the entire Linux universe, and generally, everything. And indeed, the software I ported under Linux 0.95, linked statically, ran without any problems under 0.99pl11.

The amount of disk space used by the system grew a lot, but was still acceptable, and a major hardware upgrade (a borrowed 387 coprocessor) improved significantly the overall performance of my critical applications (X, LaTeX, XFig and, eeerh, XV).

The entire upgrade to 0.99pl11 took a week, including most subtle interactions between versions of applications and libraries. Immediately after the new configuration became stable, I started writing my PhD thesis. Eventually, a month later, I faced a major problem: I needed some performance numbers for a linear programming algorithm named PIP, originally implemented using 32-bit arithmetic and breaking on all realistic data samples.

The need for performance numbers was bigger than my feeling of extenuation, so I decided to rewrite the implementation of the algorithm in a bullet-proof, if not efficient way. The task was well defined: replace the original operations on 32-bit integers by arbitrary-precision integer arithmetic, debug and collect performance numbers. However, I faced two problems: I was not the author of the original implementation, and I had to choose between several arbitrary-precision arithmetic libraries. It was time to check how good Linux' debugging tools are, and how portable are the ``portable'' arbitrary-precision arithmetic libraries.

Feeling that a more robust version of PIP could be very useful to "the scientific community", i.e., most, if not all, users of the original version whom I could contact, I chose the GNU arbitrary-precision arithmetic library (GMP). I downloaded the archive from the Inria GNU repository ( ftp://ftp.inria.fr/gnu/...), untarred the whole thing and typed `` make''. No explosion, no smoke, and `` make test'' said `` All tests passed.''. No jubilation neither: at that time I already got used to the fact that GNU software was running under Linux straight out of the box.

Then I sat down in my flat, with the PC at one end of the table, the expresso machine at the other, and the Hi-Fi and two hundred CDs to feed the player just behind me. Two weeks later the arbitrary-precision implementation of the algorithm was running, and showed its first bug only half a year later, having been run out of the box on DEC Alpha, HP series 9000 and 700, and Sun SparcStations.

Two months after completing the port I successfully defended my thesis and started a software engineer job, for which the system administration and overall Unix experience gained with Linux proved more than useful. Meanwhile, I was maintaining the arbitrary-precision version of PIP, correcting several system-independent bugs and realising that the fact that the fix works on the Sun doesn't imply that it is correct ... be it because of the SunOS' allowing negative sizes for memory blocks and files.

The Present

After a one-year forced separation from my PC, I changed the hardware to a no-name 486DX2/66, got bigger disks, upgraded to Linux 1.1.59 and once again found that bug fixes tested on a Sun aren't necessarily correct. I'm still hunting a small bug in PIP, which appears only under Linux. From my former experience and the fact that the bug appears in a code running perfectly under SunOS, I'd expect the problem to be caused by a piece of code (even one line) which, although correct under SunOS, is a nonsense under POSIX. Sometimes it's good to start with more restrictive norms.

With this Linux-based experience I found rewriting someone else's software interesting and, in some sense, fun. To the point that I decided to port ``YALAA'' (``yet-another-linear-algebra-algorithm'') to arbitrary-precision arithmetic. I found once again that getting it to run correctly under SunOS is only one half of the job, the other one remaining to be done under Linux. My feeling is that the other way around it would be once again bullet-proof in the first place. But then, I was paid to do the job on the Sun...

In fact, the Linux box became the centre for most of my research work, particularly software development and publications. Given the excellent quality of the code produced when developing under Linux, and the performance of the hardware - between two and four times faster than the SparcStations at work (the University of Manchester) - I see no reason to change this situation. OK, I'm still printing articles and such at the university, but this is where I'm supposed to do it anyway!

At the time being, working under Linux 1.1.59 is a pleasure. When I decided that GNU C 2.5.8 is not enough, compiling GNU C 2.6.2, with G++ and Objective-C took maybe forty minutes, which is one third of the time it took on a Sun-4/75 under Solaris 2.3! To synchronise my ``home'' configuration with the `official'' one at work, I also recompiled GNU Emacs 19.28, only to find that the cursor is totally opaque (as in Emacs 19.22 coming with Slackware 2.1.0).

This is where I had some trouble trying to solve the problem, as the documentation of the X Windows interface in GNU Emacs 19.28 is still somewhat incomplete. I was initially planning to reward the reader who will contribute a solution to this problem with a pint of a home-brewed winter warmer, but the original offer expired: I found a LISP-based workaround. However, the new offer is ``a pint of a home-brewed winter warmer to the person who will contribute the cleanest fix to this problem.'' Send your entry to the author.

The Future

Now, what next? I'm writing this on an all- Linux PC without a single trace of DOS on its disks, listening to my CD player (not yet a CD-ROM drive under Linux - but coming soon), and dreaming of a non-Apple PowerPC system running Linux with the display subsystem matching in quality the performance of the processor... Say, a 20" monitor with a pitch of 0.25 mm able to stand the 1600x1200 resolution of the graphics card at an 80 Hz refresh rate? By the way, for some of my research applications I find 128 MBytes of swap space a bit small...

Honestly, the Sun workstation at work still has one major advantage over an average Linux system: it comes with a very good 19'' monitor using a Trinitron tube. But this too should be fixed in near future, with a 17'' Trinitron-based monitor. Oh yes, I know, it will be almost as expensive as the PC itself, but it will also be a real pleasure (and stress relief) for the eyes. Should we think of Linux as ``a pleasure in every sense''? When compared to a decent cognac (remember the Courvoisier ad around Christmas and New Year?) it only lacks some olfactory bouquet, but I think it is better this way: I don't really like any smells coming out of my computer!

Contact Address

Mr. Zbigniew Chamski, at any of the following:



Zbigniew Chamski
Sun Jan 22 16:19:44 GMT 1995

We need a Logo!
Announcing the Linux SIG Logo competition

PLEASE DO NOT ENTER THIS COMPETITION - IT ENDED MONTHS AGO!

Now is the chance for you artistic types to put mouse to screen and come up with a simple but eye catching logo that will effectively portray what we are about. A few points to note.

Method of entry

Please send your logo as mail to mhouston@mh01.demon.co.uk containing a uuencoded GIF or xbm/pbm file. Please use the smallest image size that does justice to your design - taking account of difference in screen resolution - double the size of how the logo should look on a letterhead would be a good top limit. We hope to publish all entries in the next Linux@UK for you to vote on the one you like the best!

The Prize

Free year subscription to the group :)

You retain copyright on your logo as long as the group is granted permission to use it on letterheads, the newsletter and other official publications both paper and electronic. Any merchandising done using the logo (it could happen) will be done with you getting royalties.

Gallery of entries

John Risby's entry (john@enville.demon.co.uk)(

John Risby's entry Here is my effort. I hope this isn't way too big a file, 620x600, if it is I'll redo it smaller. I designed it in Corel Draw and then exported it as a GIF, but to get good enough detail I had to export at 1024x768 and then shrink it. I guess I'm doing something stupid but like I say, if it is too big I'll work on getting it smaller. It's 5:30am now so I'm off to bed.
Regards
John.

Callum Potters' entries (cpotter@ipsys.co.uk)

Callum Potters' 1st entry Callum Potters' 2nd entry Attached are a couple of suggestions for a logo. These are in b/w X11 bitmap format - I don't have any fancy drawing tools that I could use to produce these in other output formats, though I could send tiff versions, though they would look the same. They are based on standard fonts, so better renditions can be had in, say, Postscript or using some other scaleable font. Black on white can be used for electronic generated documents. For letterheads I would propose dark blue on white, for merchandise (e.g. badges) I would propose silver on dark blue.

A Linux driver for the Specialix intelligent multiport serial card.

by Simon Allen

I started work on the driver in May 1994. At the time there was no support for any Intelligent multi-port serial cards in Linux.

After looking at the existing Linux serial driver I decided to base my driver very closely on it - things like opening and closing the port are very similar. The interrupt service routine had to be redone from scratch as the Linux serial driver normally allocates a separate IRQ line for each port whereas the Specialix card shares one IRQ across all ports on a card. All low level accesses to the card are completely different and these too had to be redone from scratch.

After receiving documentation from Specialix I got the initialisation code working in an evening. Specialix also provided a fully working Unix driver as a sample but I decided not to look at it if at all possible to avoid copyright problems.

The main effort of getting the driver to read and write took perhaps another two days work. Things seemed to be progressing well when a bombshell arrived in the new kernel. The internal tty interfaces in the kernel had substantially changed! I tried to work around the changes but ended up basically starting from scratch.

At around that time I noticed the odd bogus character in the output going to a terminal. It happened very rarely and I thought at first it was a problem with the terminals input buffer being overrun or just noise. When I finally realised it was the driver I spent about four hours pulling my hair out before I tracked it down to a reversed increment/mask operation in the interrupt service routine: buffer_pointer &= (BUFFER_SIZE-1);
buffer_pointer++;
which should of course have been
buffer_pointer++;
buffer_pointer &= (BUFFER_SIZE-1);
As the buffer in question was 4k in size it happened very rarely!

After this I spent a lot of time experimenting with the best way to send characters to the transmit buffers on the card. The best results were obtained by sending as many characters as possible to one port and then moving on to the next. I was mainly concerned with performance. If people spend upwards of 400 pounds on high performance serial hardware they deserve the best from the device driver too.

Most applications where high data rates are used (SLIP/PPP etc) will put the driver into raw mode. But the card also supports output character cooking (OPOST) for interactive use, which I was keen to implement.

The problem with the Linux tty system is that the line discipline routine calls the device driver rather than using the usual Unix method of having the device driver call the line discipline. The end result is that cooking has already been done by the time the device driver module sees the data.

I have been considering four options to circumvent this problem.

The thing to remember in all of these methods is that you don't try to do some processing in the hardware and some in the line discipline. It should be an all or nothing approach because if you do any processing at all in the line discipline you've lost all the performance advantages you gained from having the line discipline in raw mode.

I have distributed the alpha version of the driver with a modified n_tty.c (line discipline module) which implements the first scheme above and was simple to implement as an initial attempt.

The latest news is that Ted Tso is hoping to add support for another intelligent serial device himself, so the kernel will probably see intelligent serial hardware properly supported in future (whatever scheme is decided on!).

I started a new job at the begining of last September and apart from adding support for the EISA version of the card I've not had time to do any more work on the driver since then. I hope to move the driver to Beta status, if all goes well, in the next two months. I've just bought another 32 port SIO system so testing with a large number of ports will also happen soon!

Background Information

The Specialix SIO/XIO serial cards are based on a Z280 processor that uses a modular approach. It consists of a half length ISA, EISA or PS/2 card and several external boxes containing the UARTS and 25 pin RS-232 connectors.

Each external module contains either four or eight ports for a maximum of four modules per card or 32 ports. Each port is typically RS-232, configured (unusually) as DCE rather than DTE but modules containing a Centronics type parallel port are also available. It is possible to have a maximum of four cards per system (total 128 ports!) but my Linux driver only supports a single card at present.

I have uploaded the alpha version of the driver to sunsite.unc.edu but it should be available by now at any mirror site as well.

I am quite willing to speak to anyone about the Specialix driver or other intelligent serial card related issues and can be contacted at simonallen@cix.compulink.co.uk

I work as a software development engineer and my current project is the upgrade of the firmware on a multiport X.25 card(!) so perhaps you can understand why I don't really have the time or inclination to work on the Linux driver at the moment!


Linux SIG online resources

Thanks to Nigel Metheringham of the University of York us UK Linux enthusiasts now have our own mailing lists.

There are now 4 linux-uk lists, they are

If you wish to be a member of any of the first three lists then please join those in the normal MAILBASE fashion. You cannot join linux-uk-all - thats a fake list made up of everyone on all the other linux-uk lists. It will also be made a moderated list - announcement will have to go via one of the moderators (send your message to the list and it will be passed to the moderators).

I am NOT saying that you have to be a paid up member of the UKUUG Linux SIG to use these list. We welcome anyone who has an interest in Linux, although I suggest that you will get most out of the list if you actually live in the UK as we hope to be using the list to arrange local events.

HOW TO JOIN

To subscribe send a message to
        <mailbase@mailbase.ac.uk>
with the command
        join linux-uk-usergroup Firstname Lastname
        join linux-uk-discuss Firstname Lastname
        join linux-uk-help Firstname Lastname

If you want to unsubscribe to any of the lists then send the command

        leave <listname>
to mailbase@mailbase.ac.uk . If you are going on holiday and wish to suspend your messages for that period then the command
        suspend mail <listname>
will do the trick followed by
        resume mail <listname>
when you return (individual listnames can be replaced by all to affect all the lists you subscribe to).

You can leave the subject of the message blank. Be sure to send the mail from the account that you want to receive mail from the mailing list in (more of this later). You will be emailed confirmation that you have joined the list and also a handy mailbase 'reference card' for you to print out and keep.

THE LISTS