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"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Linux Site O' The Month: Portico.org

By Sean Lamb

What's This?

This article is the the current installment 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...


Before I start into the LSOTM for this month, a reader of the premiere LSOTM wrote in a correction for last month's article. Linuxnewbie.org (LNO) does have a search engine, just one that isn't the most obvious to spot. When you are in the Discussion area, there is a Search link at the top of each of the pages that make up the bulletin board. This search is limited to the Discussion area, and is included as part of the Ultimate Bulletin Board software that powers the Discussion area. Thanks to Keith Johnson for the tip.

Portico.org - "The source for Linux tips"

So you've got Linux installed and playing nice with all your hardware. The problem is that there are all these little things that are getting in the way of truly using Linux the way that you want to; little things like not being able to use the tab key to autocomplete the subject of a man query, or that you want to rename your current workspace in WindowMaker.

You could spend hours scouring countless HOWTOs, man pages, newsgroups and mailing lists, but try Portico first. While the number of tips and tricks here isn't overwhelming (yet!), there are enough there for it to be a useful resource. Each of the tips presented here is reduced to only as much information as is necessary to convey the tip, making reading and using the tips very easy.

The tips available on this site run the gamut of useful information and applications. The default page view shows the 15 most recently added tips on the start page. Each tip is categorized with a link to the tip's category, which will display the 15 most recently added tips for that category. You can also get a list of all the categories through the Categories link at the bottom of the page.

A nice feature of this page (albeit one that still needs a little refining) is the Random Tip link. At the bottom of each page is a Random link that will present one of the tips out of the database at random. This random tip feature is also available as a link that can be incorporated into other web pages at portico.org/random/ and portico.org/random/ascii.php3. The first link will present the tip alone on a page that looks like Portico's main page, the second will present the tip as a plain text file. The only problem that I've found with this feature is that the randomizer isn't very random. When I tried these links, each of the three links presented exactly one tip regardless of how many times I clicked on them.

This site does have a search engine on each page. Searching on "vi", for example, produced 129 results, and searching on "kde" produced 1 result. At the time of this writing, there are 306 tips in Portico's database. But, the Add Tip link at the bottom of each page makes increasing this number relatively painless.

Portico may be a small site compared to other Linux sites, but the information is valuable. With more users adding tips and tricks, the site can only become more valuable.

Copyright © 2000, Sean Lamb
Published in Issue 49 of Linux Gazette, January 2000

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