Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Time-wasting OSes

I read your editorial 'Linux for the masses?' [GCN' Jan. 24, Page 22] and I agree that Red Hat Linux from Red Hat Inc. of Durham, N.C., can be difficult to install. But the Linux operating system from Caldera Systems Inc. of Orem, Utah, is quicker to install than any Microsoft Corp. OS and has a nice graphical user interface installation script.

I am a computer scientist who designs real-time reflective memory interfaces for the Air Force. I run only MS-DOS 7.0'Microsoft Windows 95'and find it stable.

In an average month I observe at least one, normally two, Windows NT 4.0 systems being rebuilt because of self-induced crashes or system upgrades such as a new hard drive. These rebuilds never work the first time, and I have never seen one completed in less than four hours. This is the single largest time-waster in our office.

D.V. Fagan

Las Vegas

Editor's note: The writer is a senior systems engineer at a defense contractor.

You get a lot to like with Linux

I wanted to point out what I believe are some wrong and misleading statements in the article 'Compare the strengths of Linux, Unix, Solaris, NT' [GCN, Jan. 10, Page 39].

The author stated that Red Hat Inc. and Caldera Systems Inc. add value to Linux in the form of extra software. Extra software is in no way limited to those vendors. Many of the Linux distributions'such as Slackware from Walnut Creek CDROM of Concord, Calif., Linux-Mandrake from MandrakeSoft Inc. of Altadena, Calif., and others'come with a large number of extra software packages such as compilers, debuggers, image viewers, image manipulation programs, typesetters, scripting languages and the X Window System.

The review also said that Linux is about as robust as Microsoft NT. My personal experience has shown Linux to be far more stable than NT. As an example, a simple OpenGL demo crashed an NT machine repeatedly while identical hardware running Linux gave a rock-solid performance.

The author's statement that Linux 'lacks the breadth of application tools, such as word processor and spreadsheet programs, that are common to the leading office suites' is false. For 2 1/2 years I have been using StarOffice, which is now available free from Sun Microsystems Inc. It is a full-featured office suite that runs under Linux. It comes with a word processor and a spreadsheet. It can even read and write Microsoft Word and Excel spreadsheet file formats. Office suites for Linux are also available from Corel Corp. and Applix Inc. of Westborough, Mass.

Pranab Banerjee


Pasadena, Calif.

Leaders must set security example

I would like to support your editorial on security [GCN, Feb. 21, Page 24]. Unfortunately, when leaders get hit on security they often come down on their lower-level staff.

Security starts and sometimes ends at the top. I do not know if Wen Ho Lee is guilty of espionage, but since authorities haven't sought to indict him on espionage charges, one must presume him innocent, at least until he is charged and proven guilty. The acts he has been charged with'breaching security at Los Alamos National Laboratory by downloading classified information from secure to unsecure computers and computer tapes'seem no more severe than the behavior of former CIA director John Deutch.

Yet Deutch is justifying himself before Congress and suffering no penalty other than embarrassment and loss of his security clearance, while Lee sits in jail, denied even bail to help defend himself before his Nov. 6 trial.

Kathy Bishop


GCN welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should be typed double-spaced and must include name, address, telephone number and signature of the author. Send to: Letters to the Editor, Government Computer News, Suite 300, 8601 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, Md. 20910.


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