First of all, thank you for a very good magazine. I have been a happy subscriber for a very long time, and I look forward to receiving your magazine every month.
One thing keeps annoying me though: the regular programming column is always in Perl. In all my issues except the first two or three, Perl has been the language in the programming column.
Other than arguing that Perl might not be a programming language per se, having only one language in the column could be perceived as kind of narrow sighted.
I would love to see examples using Python (seen by many as the heir to Perl's throne), C, or C++ – languages used in many Linux projects.
Paul M. Bendixen
Thank you for your thoughts. Mike Schilli's monthly column is actually intended as a program about Perl – it isn't really a general programming column – so that is why you always see Perl in it. We do occasionally cover programming topics in other feature articles. For instance, our May issue included articles on Java and .NET, the June issue had a piece on the Python-like Boo language, and this month we offer an article on Bash 4.
You are right that we tend to emphasize scripting and don't typically cover industrial-strength development languages like C and C++. Part of the problem is just in finding a topic that is advanced enough to excite professional programmers and still accessible enough to interest non-programmers.
Our August 2007 issue did include an excellent article on "Practical Python" by Æleen Frisch. The article is currently available in PDF form at our website:
In the June 2009 (Issue 103) Write Access section, Jeff Gillivan wrote about problems that he has with his Broadcom wireless in Linux. This is a common and (usually) easily fixed problem, yet you offered him no help.
I help out at the Open Source and Linux Forums (linuxforums.org), concentrating on wireless problems. The majority of new Linux users are using Linux on a laptop. Since wireless is almost taken for granted in other operating systems, if it won't work in Linux, they usually have no reason to stick around. I try to get first time users to stay by getting their wireless cards working.
The problem with the Broadcom wireless device is that the driver is open source, but it requires that firmware be installed before it will work. The firmware is considered proprietary and is not included in most Linux distributions.
The method for obtaining the firmware can vary from distro to distro, but once you have the firmware, you can save it to a USB drive. Then you can install it on every Linux distro you try.
The absolutely hardest method is to extract the firmware yourself with the b43-fwcutter application. Several methods are listed at: