The Linux Gazette FAQ

Updated 29-Nov-2001
Questions about Linux Gazette  |  Information for Authors
For Linux tech-support questions, see The Answer Gang FAQ


Questions about Linux Gazette

  1. Why this FAQ?
  2. Where can I find the HTML version of the Gazette?
  3. Which other formats is the Gazette available in?
  4. Which formats is the Gazette not available in?
  5. How can I subscribe to the Gazette?
  6. Is Linux Gazette available in Spanish? French? Chinese? Italian? Russian? German? Japanese?
  7. Why is the most recent issue several months old?
  8. How can I find all the articles about a certain subject?
  9. May I copy and distribute the Gazette or portions thereof?
  10. You have my competitor's logo on the Front Page; will you put mine up too?
  11. Is there a generic URL to the current issue?
  12. Do you publish announcements about Java products?
  13. How does the rsync server work?

Information for authors

  1. How can I become an author? How can I submit my article for publication?
  2. Upcoming author deadlines
  3. The LG authors' crash course in HTML
  4. The LG authors' style guide


Questions about Linux Gazette

1. Why this FAQ?

These are the most Frequently Asked Questions in the LG Mailbag. With this FAQ, I hope to save all our fingers from a little bit of typing, or at least allow all that effort to go into something No (Wo)man Has Ever Typed Before.


2. Where can I find the HTML version of the Gazette?


3. Which other formats is the Gazette available in?

To unpack *.tar.gz files, Unix users just need the standard commands:

tar xzvf FILENAME.tar.gz
or:
zcat FILENAME.tar.gz | tar xvf -
Windows users need a program like Winzip. Macintosh users need Stuffit Expander. These programs do recognize *.tar.gz files even though their native formats are *.zip and *.sit respectively. Winzip and Stuffit Expander are no-cost but closed-source, and Stuffit requires registration. If anybody knows of open-source GUI alternatives, let us know.


4. Which formats is the Gazette not available in?

Other archive formats. We need to keep disk space on the FTP site at a minimum for the sake of the mirrors. Also, the Editor rebels at the thought of the additional labor involved in maintaining more formats. We have chosen the formats required by the majority of Gazette readers. Anybody is free to maintain the Gazette in another format if they wish, and if it is available publicly, I'll consider listing it on the mirrors page.

Other printable formats. (These are listed only for people who specifically want these formats. The easiest way to read the Gazette is through a web browser, and the easiest way to print it is through the browser's Print... option.)

PostScript
Netscape's "print to file" routine will create a PostScript file complete with images.

PDF
I know Adobe and others consider PDF a "universal" format, but to me it's still a one-company format that requires a custom viewer--not something I'm eager to maintain. If you can view PDF, can't you view HTML?

If you really want PDF, you can convert Postscript files to PDF using ps2pdf in the Ghostscript package. Thanks to Mark Kuchel for pointing this out in his 2-Cent Tip.

Word
I'll be nice and not say anything about Word....

E-mail. The Gazette is too big to send via e-mail. Issue #44 is 754 KB; the largest issue (#34) was 2.7 MB. Even the text-only version of #44 is 146 K compressed, 413 K uncompressed. If anybody wishes to distribute the text version via e-mail, be my guest. There is an announcement mailing list where I announce each issue: go to http://www.ssc.com/mailman/listinfo/lg-announce to subscribe. Or read the announcement on comp.os.linux.announce.

Subscribing with "nospam" in your From: address or "dot" instead of "." is not going to get you subscribed. It just makes more work for the list administrator, who must deal with the resulting bounce messages and then unsubscribe the address.

If e-mail really is your only option, some organizations operate FTP-via-mail servers you can use.

On paper. I know of no companies offering printed copies of the Gazette.


5. How can I subscribe to the Gazette?

You can't. It's not a subscription magazine. What you see on the web is what you get. See above for the other formats Linux Gazette is and is not available in. There is an e-mail announcement service if you wish to receive an announcement when each issue is posted.


6. Is Linux Gazette available in Spanish? French? Chinese? Italian? Russian? German? Japanese?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. See the mirrors page.


7. Why is the most recent issue several months old?

You're probably looking at an unmaintained mirror. Check the home site to see what the current issue is, then go to the mirrors page on the home site to find a more up-to-date mirror.

If a mirror is seriously out of date, please let us know.


8. How can I find all the articles about a certain subject?

Use the Linux Gazette search engine.

Use the Index of Articles. A link to it is on the Front Page, at the bottom of the issues links, called "Index of All Issues". All the Tables of Contents are concatenated here onto one page. Use your browser's "Find in Page" dialog to find keywords in the title or author's names.

There is a separate Answer Gang Index, listing all the questions that have been answered by the Answer Gang. However, they are not sorted by subject at this time, so you will also want to use the "Find in Page" dialog to search this listing for keywords. (It's not up to date either: it's still called The Answer Guy even though it's now The Answer Gang.)


9. May I copy and distribute the Gazette or portions thereof?

Certainly. Linux Gazette is freely redistributable under the Open Publication License (OPL) (http://www.opencontent.org/openpub/), version 1.0 or later. You may copy it, give it away, sell it, translate it into another language, whatever you wish. Just keep the copyright notices attached to the articles, since each article is copyright by its author. We request that you provide a link back to www.linuxgazette.com.

If your copy is publicly available, we would like to list it on our mirrors page, especially if it's a foreign language translation. Use the submission form at the bottom of the page to tell us about your site. This is also the most effective way to help Gazette readers find you.

LG's official copyright statement is at http://www.linuxgazette.com/ssc.copying.html.


10. You have my competitor's logo on the Front Page; will you put mine up too?

All logos on the Front Page and on each issue's Table of Contents are from our sponsors. Sponsors make a financial contribution to help defray the cost of producing the Gazette. This is what keeps the Gazette free (both in the senses of "freely redistributable" and "free of ads" :)) To recognize and give thanks to our sponsors, we display their logo.

If you would like more information about sponsoring the Linux Gazette, e-mail sponsor@ssc.com.


11. Is there a generic URL to the current issue?

http://www.linuxgazette.com/current/ is now a symbolic link to the current issue. Please do not bookmark any article through it. The bookmark will obviously go dead when the next issue is published, or could end up pointing at the wrong article. Instead, change the "current" to the real issue number (e.g., "issue49") in your bookmark.

This link was added for the convenience of those wishing to download the current issue to their PalmPilot every month.

The table of contents for each issue is lg_toc##.html (where ## is the issue number). For your convenience, index.html is a symbolic link to this file. However, these links were added February 15, 2000, and may not be present on all the mirrors or FTP files.


12. Do you publish announcements about Java products?

Occasionally we publish these in News Bytes: Software News, if there is a specific Linux connection besides simply the fact that it runs on a Linux server. (Because all Java programs can supposedly run on a Linux server.) A zine that specializes in Java would be a better resource for this.


13. How does the rsync server work?

Rsync was installed May 2000 as a convenient way for LG mirrors and others to keep their copies of the web directory and the FTP files up-to-date.

Our system administrator writes:

  1. You need rsync. See http://rsync.samba.org/

  2. Some useful applications of rsync:

    rsync -az rsync.ssc.com::lg/ /tmp/lg
    synchronizes everything (tarballs and the web directory www_root to /tmp/lg (your local directory)

    rsync -ptz 'rsync.ssc.com::lg/*' /tmp/lg
    gets just the tarballs

    rsync -az rsync.ssc.com::lg/www_root/ /tmp/www
    gets lg/www_root/ to /tmp/www/ but skips the tarballs

  3. The trailing slash in the "from" field is important!! Otherwise you will get a subdirectory named lg or www_root inside your destination directory, and everything underneath that.

  4. Add 'v' to the option string to see more of what's going on. There are many, many other options. For more info, 'man rsync'.

Ewen McNeill <ewen@catalyst.net.nz> uses:

rsync -rlHtSz -v --stats anonymous@rsync.ssc.com::lg/ /dest/dir/

This is build up using environmental variables and a script.


Information for Authors


1. How can I become an author? How can I submit my article for publication?

Note: upcoming deadlines are in the next section.

Linux Gazette is dependent on Readers Like You for its articles. Although we cannot offer financial compensation (this is a volunteer effort, after all), you will earn the gratitude of Linuxers all over the world, and possibly an enhanced reputation for yourself and your company as well.

New authors are always welcome. E-mail a short description of your proposed article to gazette@ssc.com, and the Editor will confirm whether it's compatible with the Gazette, and whether we need articles on that topic. Or, if you've already finished the article, just e-mail the article or its URL.

If you wish to write an ongoing series, please e-mail a note describing the topic and scope of the series, and a list of possible topics for the first few articles.

The following types of articles are always welcome:

We have all levels of readers, from newbies to gurus, so articles aiming at any level are fine. If you see an article that is too technical or not detailed enough for your taste, feel free to submit another article that fills the gaps.

Articles not accepted include one-sided product reviews that are basically advertisements. Mentioning your company is fine, but please write your article from the viewpoint of a Linux user rather than as a company spokesperson.

If your piece is essentially a press release or an announcement of a new product or service, submit it as a News Bytes item rather than as an article. Better yet, submit a URL and a 1-2 paragraph summary (free of unnecessary marketoid verbiage, please) rather than a press release, because you can write a better summary about your product than the Editor can.

Articles not specifically about Linux are generally not accepted, although an article about free/open-source software in general may occasionally be published on a case-by-case basis.

Authors retain the copyright to their articles, but readers are free to copy and distribute the articles as much as they please. LG's official copyright statement is at http://www.linuxgazette.com/ssc.copying.html.

Articles should be written in simple HTML. Please read the LG author's crash course in HTML and the LG author's style guide.


2. Upcoming author deadlines

IssueDeadline for Articles
#69 August 2001Tuesday, July 24, 2001
#70 September 2001Friday, August 24, 2001
#71 October 2001Sunday, September 23, 2001
The deadline is always "seven days before the end of the month". Since we're not a paper magazine, we don't have a certain amount of space to fill. So if you miss a deadline, don't fret; just send it in anyway and it will go into the following issue.


3. The LG Author's Crash Course in HTML

Create the file using any text editor. Put a blank line between paragraphs and begin each paragraph with <P>.

Place <H2>...</H2> around section titles, with a blank line above and below. You may use H3 for subsections, H4 for sub-subsections, etc, on up to H6. H1 is used by LG for the article title.

Place <PRE>...</PRE> around program listings, output, configuration file text, and anything else which must line up vertically. <PRE> goes on its own line above the block, and </PRE> on its own line below. Everything inside this block will appear in a monospaced font, and indentations and line breaks will be displayed verbatim.

To display a literal "<" in your article, type &lt; instead. For ">", type &gt;. For "&", type &amp;. Otherwise, the browser will try to interpret them as parts of HTML tags rather than displaying them. Look especially in program listings since these symbols are frequently used in shell commands or mathematical expressions.

There are other HTML tags (BR, EM, STRONG, UL, OL, DL, IMG) you may optionally use to jazz up the document; see any HTML tutorial for their syntax and meaning.

A complete HTML document requires

<HTML><HEAD><TITLE>...</TITLE></HEAD><BODY>
at the top and
</BODY></HTML>
at the bottom. You don't need to do this for a Linux Gazette article because the Editor throws away your headers and footers and inserts the standard Gazette header and footer (with navigation bars).


4. The LG Author's Style Guide

Keep the HTML as simple as possible. Linux Gazette is read on a wide variety of graphical and text browsers, on new and old hardware.

Articles may be of whatever length necessary. 2-15 screenfuls is typical.

At the top of the article or in the accompanying e-mail, clearly state: title, author's name, author's email, bio. (See the Author Info section on the Back Page for sample bios. If you've already submitted a bio, you don't have to submit it again unless it changes.)

Name the article author.html (where "author" is the author's last name in lowercase ASCII letters). If you have images, program listings or companion files, place them in a subdirectory misc/author/ and have your hyperlinks point there.

If you have images, please include the ALT text, WIDTH and HEIGHT in your IMG tags. Proper form is:

<IMG ALT="Alterate text" SRC="misc/author/file1.jpg" WIDTH="140" HEIGHT="80">
The ALT text is for text browsers, blind users and those with images turned off. WIDTH and HEIGHT allow the browser to display the article around the image even before the image finishes downloading.

If you have inline program listings a user might want to run without having to type them all in by hand, please place a second copy of each listing in a text file called called misc/author/program.language.txt and put a hyperlink before the PRE block, thus:

bla bla bla this listing:  (<A HREF="misc/author/trip.sh.txt">text version of this listing>)
The ".txt" extension ensures the browser will not try to do something funny to it. Since it's a text file rather than HTML, you should not escape your "<", ">" and "&" characters.


The Answer Gang


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