This article is the first in an ongoing series of site reviews for the Linux community. Each month, I will highlight a Linux-related site and tell you all about it. The intent of these articles is to let you know about sites that you might not have been to before, but they will all have to do with some aspect of Linux. Now, on with the story…
Let’s face it, learning a new technology (be it 3 or 30 years old) can be intimidating to a newbie. The average Joe who is new to Linux may not know anything beyond where the on/off switch is. Luckily, for those just starting down the One Linux Way, there are places to learn. From LNO’s about page:
« Linuxnewbie.org is a place where anyone can write their tips and tricks and submit them for publication. They are subject to review or possibly testing, frankly we don’t know how this is going to work out, but we think if it does work out, the site will do everyone a great service. »
This site has a lot to offer for the newbie (well, from the page name, you might have guessed this), including « Newbieized Help Files », Forums, Articles, Book Reviews and Book Recommendations, along with news about Linux and the Open Source community.
This site’s specialty is the NHFs. Basically, they are HOWTO files for newbies. Before you get all up in arms about it, they didn’t « dumb down » the HOWTO files. Rather, they wrote new articles that describe how to do specific functions like setup an ISA PnP modem or truetype font support in X Windows. Most NHFs include a brief introduction and a list of commands that will be needed to perform a certain action (much like the list of tools needed for a woodworking project at the beginning of its instructions) followed by specific steps, and almost always walking through the steps with an example.
The NHFs are split, first into Intel vs. Mac architecture (there aren’t any entries for Alpha or other processors yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them someday), then into more specific categories like: Network, Modems, X Windows, Security and Sound. Like the bit from the about page says, the NHFs do get reviewed, but not by some elite cadre of gurus tucked away in a basement with only an open account at the local pizza parlor. The NHFs are reviewed by everyone. Anyone is welcome to send a comment on any NHF, and, if the comment contains additional technical information, it will get added to the NHF page. Furthermore, everyone is encouraged to write NHFs for inclusion in the site content.
Since the site is still young, there aren’t as diverse a range of NHFs as one might wish for (whatever project I’m working on is the one that doesn’t have any information anywhere). However, the site’s forums, using the popular Ultimate Bulletin Board software, fill the gap covering topics like: scripts, games, programming and technical support.
On the Bookshelf are recommended volumes for any Linux hacker. Naturally, there are some works from O’Reilly, but others, where appropriate, are also included. Additional information on these works is linked from the Bookshelf, and some are covered in more detail in the book reviews of the Articles section.
The only thing that is really missing from this site is a search engine. There is a large amount of information on this site, but most of it ends up in the forums, due to the nature of contributions. However, this is the kind of site that you will want to explore on your own, just reading and following along the links.
So take the time to visit and explore this site. The wealth of information available will make it worthwhile to read.
Copyright © 1999, Slambo
Published in Issue 47 of Linux Gazette, November 1999