December 7, 2000

Web review: LinuxMonth.com - all the ingredients are there

Author: JT Smith

- by Tina Gasperson -

Finding the LinuxMonth Web site was akin to stubbing my toe on what looked like a simple stone. Easily passed over. But once I took a few moments to examine it, I found I was dealing with a gem that only needed more attention to make it sparkle.LinuxMonth is an online magazine that has the potential to become a standout in the morass of Linux sites that already exist. All the ingredients are there:

Good, simple site design

I can't stress it enough -- the flea-like attention span of the average time deficient 'Net surfer demands a clean, graphics-reduced, easy-to-navigate site like this one. No garish colors, no gaudy bells and whistles. Just information. LinuxMonth does not fail here.

Original content on interesting topics

This is a biggie. The number of authors who can string together readable sentences and have even the smallest clue about Open Source is countable on a few hands and feet. Any site that can deliver on this has the potential to be a success. The list of authors at LinuxMonth is impressive. The articles are well written, for the most part, and the topics will catch your eye: "How will you spend your lunch hour," "Top ten reasons why you shouldn't log in as root," and "Recovering deleted files with mc," are just a few.

Interactivity

OK, there's a little bit of this, in the form of polls, and easy access to contact emails. They could add discussion pages or a question and answer forum to round this out. But it's a start.

Weekly tips

Here's a potential gold mine of information for visitors, but it needs to be updated regularly. Still, what's there is useful: "How to trace what a program is doing," "Creating shortcuts under GNOME," "More ways to add shortcuts to your desktop," "RPM - Installing, querying, deleting your packages," "Moving around the console," and "Netstat -- what it is good for?"

A HOWTO repository

OK, they didn't write them, but it is nice to have these standards close at hand when you're fiddling (and face it, you're always fiddling, aren't you?).

Links to some of the important Linux/Open Source sites

With a few, um, notable exceptions, most of the high points get hit here. But this section could be way better with the addition of a lot more links to resources -- maybe some that don't come immediately to mind when you're wondering, "where should I surf today?" That'd be cool. But again, this is a start.

Yep, all the framework is there. But it seems a bit dead. Why is that? There's a sense of timeliness missing. There are no dates on the site. The site owner tells me that there is a new issue coming out in the next few weeks, which is good, but more is needed. Even though this online magazine is a monthly one, Web sites need to have something new once a week or so at the very least, and should display dates prominently. If LinuxMonth updated frequently, I'd be willing to bet that a lot more people would call this site one of their favorites. The Open Source community is hungry for fresh content. If your stomach is rumbling, go visit LinuxMonth and register your encouragement. If you know of any other Open Source sites that are providing original content and deserve to be showcased here, let me know.

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