January 14, 2005

Site review: ITtoolbox.com

Author: Tina Gasperson

ITtoolbox.com holds information on lots of infrastructures, protocols, and operating systems. Its Linux site hosts a wide variety of white papers on Linux. But it's hard to envision making regular visits to this sparsely populated portal.Why? Let's start with the "What's New" links on linux.ittoolbox.com, which contain headlines from other parts of the site. The editors must have thought that a story about Microsoft focusing on emerging markets would be of interest to Linux people. Another story link on the front page of the Linux site this week was a press release from a storage hardware vendor.

When I visited the Linux-specific news page, there were only two current links to Linux headlines; the next most recent headline was from December. The archives show a consistent pattern of links to one or fewer Linux stories each day. Why? There are so many Linux stories out there now, you could post dozens each day.

By contrast, the site's blogs are great, but I wish there were more than two Linux blogs. For "A Day In the Life of a Senior Linux Admin," the last entry was posted in August. In only other Linux blog, "Viewpoint of a Linux Technologist," the most recent entry was nine months ago.

The white papers are a good reason to come to linux.ittoolbox.com. The site hosts about 85 Linux-related white papers, and even though some of them are old, they still make for interesting reading. It seems Caldera was a frequent contributor to the Linux white paper archives a few years ago. Ransom Love said his goal was to make Linux THE alternative business platform. Definitely recommended reading.

Say what?
An enterprise-level Linux help site that runs on IIS? I'm not a Linux zealot, but even I find it odd that a Web site publisher would recommend and provide advice about Linux when that site is running on something else. After all, the readership is IT people, who can figure out what kind of server a Web site is on.

Also linked on the front page is an article entitled "Windows 2000 and Red Hat Partitions Not Getting Along," written back in May and gleaned from discussions in the groups section of the site. There are a lot of discussion groups related to Linux, but there's no traffic there, with the exception of four very busy groups: java-l, cpp-l (discussion for C++ users), database-career, and development-career.

I could hear a cricket chirping in the silence at the press release section. I don't get it. I receive at least five Linux-related PR messages a day in my inbox. They're out there. Why are the linux.ittoolbox.com editors not getting them?

There's also a code exchange section, which in theory would be a good thing. Crickets.

The site boasts 121,661 subscribers to the Linux knowledge base. Do the subscribers know they're subscribed?

When people stay away, editors have little incentive to update content. When content isn't updated, people stay away. It's too bad. linux.ittoolbox.com has some original ideas that could be great fun and valuable to the community.

Category:

  • Linux
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