December 14, 2004

Site review:

Author: Tina Gasperson

Got questions? has answers -- and a lot more. This popular and well-established site run by Jeremy Garcia has at last count 148,040 registered users. That's 4,473 more registered users than the Linux Counter itself.If success in the Linux community site arena is defined as having lots of users, a bunch of content, and constant activity, LinuxQuestions is definitely on the right side of the equation. Whatever the magic formula may be that attracts visitors and keeps them coming back, Garcia has discovered it.

Garcia lives in Buffalo, where he works as a systems and network administrator. He has been a Linux user for about 10 years. Garcia started LinuxQuestions as a way to "give back to the community."

In appearance, is plain and simple, even nondescript. The main page sports a row of tiny Tuxes, each with a different question mark over his head -- except for the last one, who has had a Linux epiphany.

A closer look reveals access to a wealth of resources, whether you're new to Linux or a veteran. The requisite forums focus heavily on Linux-only topics. There's one section for other "*nixes," but Linux really shines here with the emphasis on software, hardware, security, networking, distributions, enterprise, stuff for newbies, and an area for discussing the latest news in Linux. I've looked at many Linux forums, but this is the first one I've seen in which someone had posted a comment in every single topic within the last several hours. There are at least a million posts. When you consider that only registered users can contribute, that's impressive.

The registration process is simple, but you do have to agree not to be vulgar or engage in flame wars. And folks are registering in droves. For example, to pick a random date, on October 31 there were 120 new users. Since they registered, those 120 users have made a total of 309 posts. That's not an aberration. Every day around 100 new people register for the forums at Can you say "hot property"?

Another very popular section of the site is the Hardware Compatibility List. There are 1,861 products listed, with several added in the last 24 hours. In the Reviews sections, users have posted 980 reviews of 318 different products.

There are also tutorials, quizzes, and a calendar that lists members' birthdays. You can download a copy of your favorite Linux distribution, or contribute a page to the LinuxQuestions wiki.

Garcia is testing LinuxQuestions podcasts -- radio shows that iPod users can subscribe to in much the same fashion as text RSS feeds. He's posted preliminary broadcasts in MP3 format. Something tells me that the LinuxQuestions podcasts will be a success -- Garcia appears to have the golden touch when it comes to cultivating an audience by producing quality community resources.

Click Here!