Originally Published: Saturday, 11 September 1999 Author: Maurice Entwistle
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

The Netscape Lock - The File That Won't Go Away!

The piece Winmodems Part 4 - Linmodems: A Bad Idea carried my byline. However, the piece was essentially not mine, but an email response to an earlier piece in which I claimed that in the near future, Linmodems (software modems) for GNU/Linux would be the norm. This statement and response in an open community is true dialog. No one has the final answer....

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The piece Winmodems Part 4 - Linmodems: A Bad Idea carried my byline. However, the piece was essentially not mine, but an email response to an earlier piece in which I claimed that in the near future, Linmodems (software modems) for GNU/Linux would be the norm. This statement and response in an open community is true dialog. No one has the final answer.

The GNU/Linux community's software development model could be described as a highly technical dialog among programmers. Open-ended dialog is essential both in the online discussion community, as it has been in the code development of GNU/Linux.

The point I am trying to make is that open-ended discussions on GNU/Linux are highly educational. The various online communities thrashing out GNU/Linux issues are probably the best promoters of GNU/Linux, bar none. I for one, first heard of Linux, online, and I suspect the majority of Linux newbies did as well. And this brings me to what irritation prompted this piece -- the "locks" in Netscape on GNU/Linux. If my complaints bring about a change, good. If not, I will certainly be educated via email.

As a struggling GNU/Linux user and not a programmer, getting Linux up and running was a struggle. Having to buy a new modem was a hassle. Getting the modem configured was one as well. Now I am confronted with a final hurdle to getting on the Net and surfing - it's the Netscape "lock" file. I don't understand the reasons for it, though I'm certain there is a good one, but it's driving me crazy and has kept me using MS Windows to surf.

I may very well be accused of being stupid, or not having read enough "man" pages or not looked up enough online How-to's. But the fact is, for GNU/Linux to really gain desktop of users, not just those who love to program, these glitches need to be worked out. The "lock" on Netscape is the last straw for me! When do I get to surf?

After the wonderful people at the KC LUG meeting configured my modem, I thought I would go home, bring up Netscape and be home free to wander the Net. Not so! There is a lock file that won't go away. Usually I get this, "$SOCKS_NS" lock. After numerous emails and instructions as to how to delete the lock, and doing so both as user and root, and trying a dozen other tricks, I still can't get Netscape to work.

I went to Mandrake's site and they have a whole list of Netscape troubleshooting tips. See the Mandrake 6.0 Netscape Troubleshooting Page. These tips, though informative, haven't helped. I am certain from my experience so far that this problem will be solved. But when? Will I get an email that puts its finger on the problem perfectly - just a few lines of code and done! Or will I spend another two months reading, looking, learning? I don't know. Hopefully, it won't be long.

I use my computer to surf and to write. These are the primary things I want to do. Because I fell in love with the GNU/Linux community, I want to do these things on Linux. The Linux community is great and conquering the desktop is in sight, but there are still too many little glitches to make it easily accessible to the newbie, and especially those like me who are not programmers.

In my mind there is a distribution that falls somewhere between Mandrake 6.0 and Caldera 2.2. It has a choice to check mark, "Stand Alone Home Desktop with dial up Internet Access" Next, right on the Install screen, you enter your ISP's numbers, perhaps answer a few more questions and you're not only up an running, but also surfing.

Maurice L. Entwistle, maurice@linux.com





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