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Dear Sirs,
I was winding down another busy day by reading the newest copy of Sys Admin, when I really started to be annoyed. What, you ask, was bothering me? I pay $40 a year for a subscription, yet you still see it fit to put 30 full-page advertisements in a 90 page magazine?!? These are full-page ads only, not the half-page, two-thirds-page, or even the small block ads, which fill at least another 15-20 pages. Quite frankly, the quality of the articles has been decreasing while the amount of advertising has increased. You do still manage to put a diamond in the mudpuddle, and Satdeva and Zinkann consistantly put out quality columns, but for the most part the magazine is less and less useful. I don't know where, or how many magazines, you print, but unless your advertising department is totally incompetent you've got to be sitting on quite a pile of money. Between 40 and 50 pages of advertising revenue per issue, plus subscription money? No thanks, I expect that I'll be letting my subscription run out without renewing it. But hey, you can always add another advertiser to make up my forty bucks, right?

Brian Youse

While we continuously strive to give our readers the most value for their subscription dollar, advertising falls into the same category as death and taxes - largely unavoidable even in a magazine with paid subscriptions. Ads may seem pesky, but they do serve to make our readers aware of products and services that relate to UNIX system administration, which is, after all, what we are all about. In that sense, ads are somewhat like taxes - seemingly burdensome until you need a response from the fire or police departments, or need to find a product in this case. The actual ratio of ads to editorial copy is controlled by a complex set of publishing rules, and varies little between publications of a similar type. We could, of course, do away with advertising altogether, along the lines of the $395 per year newsletters, but that might not serve our average reader well, either.

Relative to content, we make a concerted effort toward tailoring the editorial content of the magazine to the needs of a majority of our readers. Our assessment of those needs is based on reader survey questionnaires that we mail to randomly selected subscribers and suggestions that we get directly from readers. Using that information, we try to keep the magazine timely and useful to as many readers as we can, evolving the content along with readers' changing interests. Thanks to all those readers who have sent in reader survey responses or emailed suggestions for article topics.


Subject: Sys Admin July 97 "UNIXisms in NT" errata

Dear Ms. Myerson,
I couldn't help noticing a few mistakes (perhaps they were only omissions) in your article "UNIXisms in NT" in the July 1997 Sys Admin magazine. I'm currently using HP-UX 10.01 and Solaris 2.5.1. None of these know the md or the rd commands, and I haven't worked on any UNIX variant that does. To my knowledge, UNIX accepts only mkdir and rmdir (for the obvious reason that it's not quite as easy to enter these commands by accident). The statement ". . . the UNIX sort does more: You can sort in dictionary order [/d] or in arithmetic order [/n]" is not only wrong (UNIX options always start with a '-' and never with a '/'), but also misleading, especially for people coming from the NT (and DOS and Windows) world. I miss information about what flavor of UNIX your examples apply to. HP's ping options, for example, are:

Usage: ping [-oprv] [-i address] [-t ttl] host [-n count] ping \
[-oprv] [-i address] [-t ttl] host packet-size [[-n] count]

I also don't think using color for distinguishing between NT and UNIX commands a good idea. Just think of color-blind people. An alternative would be to prefix the command with the respective system prompt, like "c:>" for NT and "$" for UNIX.

Michael Schuster
Utimaco Safe Concept GmbH.

Dear Mr. Shuster:
mkdir, rmdir and chdir are UNIX commands. md, rd, and cd are their NT counterparts. The options for the UNIX sort should have read: You can sort in dictionary order [-d] or in arithmetic order [-n]. The UNIX ping command options given were for the SCO version of UNIX. Most other UNIX commands listed in the article have either System V or Solaris 2.0 flavor. Thank you for your suggestion regarding the use of color.

Marian Myerson

Topic: Integration Articles

I was disappointed in reading your May issue on Integration reading articles about all those emulations applications out there providing Unix and NT interoperability. You need an entire IT staff to do these things and the overhead is tremendous. My disappointment came in not seeing one article about the Multi-Protocol Filer from (name of vendor deleted). If there's a reason you didn't have an article on this let me know.

Luis Murdock
ISL System Administration
Hughes Research Laboratory

SAMBA, the subject of two complementary articles in the May issue, has gained considerable attention within the freeware community as one piece of the integration puzzle. It was not presented as being the sole solution to the problem, however. Various commercial solutions exist, including the one purchased by Hughes, but it would be appropriate to discuss them only from within the context of a comprehensive product survey or specific product reviews. We are glad that you are satisfied with your commercial solution, however.