2001 08 09

                    LINUX NEWS
             Thursday, August 9, 2001
       Read By 7,000 Linux Enthusiasts Weekly!


1) Sean’s Notes

2) Linux News

Dell takes Linux off the Desktop Menu
Observations on Mandrake and XP
Linux Financial Software
Open-source Brouhaha: Missing the point

3) Linux Resources

Crash Recovery
Webifying Snort
Auto Console Login
Build Your Own Firewall Online
Do You Dream in Code?

4) App o’ the week

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1) Sean's Notes
If there is one place where Windows absolutely kills Linux,
it is the handling of fonts.  Traditionally, X11 uses a
different type of font than Windows, known as a bitmap font.
Bitmap fonts don't scale well because they're essentially
pictures.  They'll end up jagged and hard to read, because
the system is essentially taking out or making up information
when it scales the font.  Contrast this to a vector style
font like True Type, where fonts are represented as a series
of curves which can be scaled at will.

X, by default, will support similar fonts called Type 1 fonts,
but when is the last time you saw that cool font you wanted
in Type 1 format?  No, it's True Type or bust.

Luckily, X can be coerced into supporting TT fonts.  Most
distributions even support it out of the box, if you know
what to do.  The solution is through the use of the the font
server (XFree86 4 supports TT fonts in the XServer itself,
but your distribution is probably going to give you the font
server anyway, so may as well use it.)

The font server, xfs, allows you to consolidate fonts on one
server and have many clients access it at the same time.
You can see the advantages to this in a large environment!

The first thing to do is to make a directory for all your

# mkdir /usr/share/fonts/TrueType

If you're on a single user system, it'll be easier down the
road if you change the ownership to yourself:

# chown sean /usr/share/fonts/TrueType

Now, tell xfs where to look.  On Redhat systems, /etc/X11/fs/
config is the file, Debian uses /etc/X11/xfs/config.  There's
not too much to this file, look for the line starting with
"catalogue=".  Add in the directory above, making sure that
you add a comma in the appropriate part.  This list of
directories tells xfs where to find all the fonts.

Restart xfs to make it pick up that change.  That's it for
the one time configurations.

Whenever you want to add fonts:

1) Copy them to the True Type directory
2) Rebuild the font maps.  From the directory,
   # ttmkftdir -o fonts.scale
   # mkfontdir
3) Reload the xfs font database by restarting the daemon

There, that wasn't so bad, was it?  Step 2 can be done as the
logged in user, assuming that you gave appropriate permissions
above.  Otherwise, do it as root.  To restart xfs, though,
you'll need root access.

Now that you've got True Type fonts installed, you can use
them in most X applications.  StarOffice and Applixware are
special cases, unfortunately, but the Font-HOWTO explains
the next steps:


Most importantly, Netscape will pick up on your fonts. Some
websites still won't look right--the best way to fix that is
to go into Edit -> Preferences, select Appearance->Fonts,
and play with the "Sometimes a document will provide its own
fonts" options.  While you're there, you can specify
something nicer for the default fonts.

Enjoy the fonts.  Not only does it let you do some cooler
graphics work, but they tend to be a lot easier on the eyes.

Long live the Penguin,


Visit the Linux News Board at

2) Linux News

Dell takes Linux off the Desktop Menu
Dell, once a champion of Linux, has decided that the demand
isn't there yet to keep them shipping Linux on PCs. You can
still get it on servers, but the drop of the desktop line is
quite a blow.


Observations on Mandrake and XP
While a lot of people like to point out the differences
between Microsoft operating systems and Linux, there are
still a lot of similarities. This review of XP and Mandrake
draws some parallels between the two, showing that the GUIs
in Linux are really starting to take shape.


Linux Financial Software
One of the uses of my computer is keeping track of my
expenses, paying bills, and watching my portfolio nosedive.
There is a lot of software out there written to do this,
even for Linux. Both commercial and free software are
included in this article, and it's broken down by
functionality to help you find what you want.


Open-source Brouhaha: Missing the point
This is a well written (and interesting) opinion piece that
takes the middle ground of the whole "Open vs Closed source".
Some real world examples, such as HP, are even cited as
people who have already seen the benefits.


3) Linux Resources

Crash Recovery
A hard disk failure doesn't always have to mean the whole
unit dies at once. Instead, you'll probably start to see
errors in places that were working fine before, and maybe
hear some funny noises. The author of this article noticed
these, and decided it was time to get the data off before it
was lost for good. Depending on what's broken, it may not be
as easy as you'd think. This article outlines some innovative
data restoration ideas.


Webifying Snort
Snort is an open source Intrusion Detection System (IDS) that
offers a load of features. Unfortunately, you're on your own
to choose a package to do the reporting. Though quite Solaris-
specific, this article details the procedure to get Snort
logging to a database, and use some of the web-based
utilities to do monitoring.


Auto Console Login
If you're the only user on your Linux box, it might be handy
to be logged in automatically on some of the virtual consoles.
Through the use of "qlogin", you can do this. Even if this
idea doesn't appeal, read the article anyway, it's got a great
explanation of terminals, gettys, and the init process, not to
mention some great uses of this technique.


Build Your Own Firewall Online
If you're looking for an easy way to write firewall rules,
this page may be for you. By following the prompts in the web
pages, you'll get a complete list of rules. Unfortunately, it
hasn't been updated for iptables, but ipchains, ipfwadm, and
ipfw (BSD) rules are supported.


Do You Dream in Code?
While not strictly a Linux thing, I thought this web
development site would be appreciated by the readers of this
newsletter. Dream In Code has some great news and tutorials
for web developers and programmers.


4) App o' the week
I'm sure you've heard about the Code Red viruses that are
running around the net, infecting Microsoft IIS servers. If
you've looked in your Apache log files (and are connected to
the Internet of course), you might see some attempts on your
machine. This script analyzes your Apache logs, and gives a
very detailed report on who has attacked, and what version
of CodeRed they are infected with.


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