Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Feds can't get necessary training

This letter is to address the lack of training many of us have to endure.

I work as a project manager on as many as 30 projects. For many of these, I've had to rewrite technical instructions due to the lack of experienced in-house service engineers.

Over the 30-plus years I've worked for the Navy, I have handled practically every phase of a ship's systems, from building ships to designing new solid-state equipment.

Since I started 15 years ago as a project manager, the only courses my immediate supervisor has approved are those related to interoffice and project management. Almost all of them are useless because I've taken so many repeats. They do nothing to enhance my understanding of the technical data I must review. And yet if an individual in my department were to apply for a non-job-related engineering course at some university, that would be OK.

I see repeated messages from our command to get more training, yet we are only allowed to attend wasteful training seminars. Each year there seems to be excessive unused training funding. I wonder why.

It's not like we are asking to take knitting or pottery lessons. I'm asking for on-board Navy equipment training to better understand electrical controllers, computer systems and so on, but I'm told, 'That's not your job.' Yet if a technical document I issue goes out to the fleet with technical mistakes, I take the hit in my midterm review. Figure that out.

Larry Leuder

Project manager

Naval Surface Warfare Center's Carderock Division


Here's a smart way to copy Linux files

I just read your Linux lessons blurb about trying to copy files from a Linux box to a MS-DOS-formatted floppy disk [GCN, April 24, Page 30]. There are two alternatives that I prefer over mtools because these alternatives maintain the Linux conventions.

The first is something I've been using for a little longer than two years. In the /etc/fstab file, there's a line for floppies that use the standard Linux file system:

ext2: /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy ext2 user,exec,dev,suid,rw,noauto 0 0.

I created another directory, /mnt/dosdisk, for MS-DOS-formatted floppies and added the following line to my /etc/fstab file:

/dev/fd0 /mnt/dosdisk vfat user,noexec,dev,suid,rw,noauto 1 1.

The noexec tells Linux that any files on an MS-DOS-formatted floppy should be considered nonexecutable. Otherwise, when copying files to your Linux system, Linux will assume the files are executable because permission information is not maintained on a file allocation table file system.

For people uncomfortable with editing system files, the same thing can be accomplished using Linuxconf. This is something I discovered by accident just a couple days ago while installing Red Hat Linux 6.2 from Red Hat Inc. of Durham, N.C., on a new machine. If, for /mnt/floppy, instead of specifying ext2 for the file system, you specify auto, the operating system will mount the floppy as ext2 or vfat'and presumably any of the other Linux-supported file systems.

The downside is that you cannot specify noexec for vfat and exec for ext2 when using auto.

The advantage of these two alternatives is that the same commands are now used, regardless of the file system. You don't have to change syntax or semantics.

Capt. Christopher A. Bohn

Technology team leader, Collaborative Simulation

Technology and Applications Branch

Air Force Research Laboratory

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

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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