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Letter from the Editor


The objective of this article is to make a review of what are the main purposes of a ``Computer Newsletter'' at CERN, and of how could it be improved. It is also the result of a short discussion we have had on this subject inside the CN division. I would be pleased now to have the feedback of the CNL readers: general comments or comments on what follows are welcome (to be sent directly to me:

Concerning the general ``look'' of the CNL one should be aware that we have to make a compromise between the purely esthetic side and the cost and time to produce it, but also the possibility for external sites to print it. I think that the ability to keep the whole CNL as a PostScript file is appreciated. Anyway, any idea which would make the CNL more attractive and ``user-friendly'' to you, and would not be too difficult to implement will be welcomed.

However, the most important point is certainly the contents.

For some time now, we have tried to have some chapters on a regular basis, e.g.:

We think that we probably could extend this (non-exhaustive) list to some new chapters, that have either never appeared, or only rarely, but should do so in the future. For instance: Most of these chapters could or should be always present, and, in the case that no special contribution has been provided at a given time, they might appear with the sentence ``No news items on that subject'' (especially for the more important chapters).

The past rule which consisted of publishing a CNL together with a CERN library release is not true anymore. With the increasing number of new hardware platforms to be supported, the number of CERN library releases is expected to decrease to not more than two a year, whereas we think that the CNL should be published about four times a year (before and after the summer holidays, before Christmas and around Easter). Consequently the chapter ``Program Library and Application Software'' will no longer be the reference for release information. Only the announcement of a future release will be there, with the main features for a given package. For detailed information readers will have to refer to the corresponding news items which will be put out at the time of the release on the various central computers.

I would like to know if the recent Fortran 90 and LaTeX tutorials have been appreciated, and eventually find some volunteers to contribute similar tutorials, e.g, on C, C++, Unix, X-Windows, etc. Possible subjects could also include tools recommended by the UNIX Migration Task Force. Volunteers could be people who already have the written material (on a computer), even in plain text, for a formal or informal course they may have given at CERN or elsewhere. I can do the formatting job if this is not a huge amount of work.

Another chapter could be dedicated to user input. This has been tried several times in the past in the form of a ``Vox Populi'' section. This was not always successful and this section finally disappeared. Now there is no real way for the reader to comment on ideas, news or articles that have been published in previous CNLs. I propose to try again and include in future editions a ``Letters to the Editor'' section which will provide this possibility.

Suggestions were made to simplify the scheme used to accept incoming articles and I will accept from now on all articles directly sent to me, the CNL editor (, without particular constraints on the mail subject line. The ``CNL machine'' on CERNVM (e-mail will continue to handle automatic mechanisms with specific key words given on the mail subject line (``Subject: ...'') such as:

We now have three types of ``Computer Newsletters'' at CERN:

It may happen that the same article has to be submitted to all three. In that case, the best and easiest way is for the authors to send an ASCII file, as the three Newsletters do not use the same text preparation tool.

Finally, I would like to say that I would very much appreciate earlier submission of articles. For improving that, I suggest that people issuing any kind of news or publication should think at the same time about the usefulness of publishing it subsequently in the CNL (maybe in a shorter or extended form) and immediately send it to me: (not waiting for the deadline, because there is a good chance those people will forget to do it by that time). I am sure the editorial board can count on the cooperation of our readers concerning all these matters.

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Next: User (Account) Registration Up: General Previous: General

Janne Saarela
Mon May 22 15:43:10 METDST 1995