Cover V05, I01


Editor's Forum

This issue we devote special attention to Linux. (Just in case you've had your head in the sand for the last year or so, Linux is the fast-growing copyleft version of UNIX by Linus Torvalds and others.) I have run Linux on a home server for about a year now and find it rock solid in that application. We have also experimented with Linux in a couple of dedicated internal applications.

Perhaps the best testimonial to Linux's reliability and value is the increasing acceptance it is finding in certain commercial applications. This issue's two Linux feature articles, for example, describe installations where Linux was used as an internet gateway and as a dedicated router. With the tips in these two articles and the IPFIREWALL package, you could easily configure Linux as a firewall. As you can see from one of the letters to the editor, some of our readers are committed to using Linux in much more general commercial applications.

And why not? I find Linux very pleasant to administer; I am most familiar and cordial with BSD style systems. Both hardware and software support is relatively good. Not only can you get all the drivers you might want for standard commodity hardware -- common disk and tape controllers, video boards, multi-port serial I/O -- you can also get a surprising array of very polished multimedia software -- like a CD-ROM player for Xview, an A/D converter and software oscilloscope, speech synthesizers, Midi software, and more. (For a 17-page list of compatible software get the Linux Software Map from A good entry point for additional Linux information is the UCF Linux user group home page

While all this is available free, off the net, the more convenient starting point for most users is one of the CD-ROM Linux distributions. Most of these are incredibly easy to install, and for $30 to $50, they represent an unmatchable bargain.

I hope you find this issue interesting and useful, and, as always, I look forward to hearing about your own experiences.

Sincerely yours,
Robert Ward