When the "independent test lab" Mindcraft announced in mid-April the results of a comparison between Windows NT and Linux, the Linux community didn't restrain itself from simply demolishing the credibility of the biased, Microsoft-commissioned study. The open-source crowd also 'fessed up to a key weakness that had contributed to Linux's poor showing: the absence of centralized locations on the Net for "tuning information" -- tips and hints on how to improve Linux's performance.
In the ensuing weeks, however, a bevy of wannabe "ultimate" central locations for tuning information have sprung up. Slashdot, the "news for nerds" Web site that tracks every open-source info-nugget with the passion and intensity of a pack of bloodhounds, featured an announcement Tuesday of the latest site to join the tuning hunt -- www.tunelinux.com.
But Slashdot readers greeted the announcement with a marked lack of enthusiasm. Like its recently created compatriots linuxperf and Linuxtweaks, tunelinux is barely
more than a shell so far. Plus, with so many different tuning impresarios jumping into the mix, the potential for the sites to duplicate each other's efforts -- or even worse, end up with a passel of badly tuned Linux-tuning Web sites -- seems high.
Still, grass-roots fervor is one of the things that makes Linux work. And at this point, as the uncoordinated tuning fever sweeps the Net, a less anarchic approach to solving the problem is under way, spearheaded by a leading Linux vendor. Brian Biles, vice president of marketing for VA Linux Systems (formerly VA Research), told Salon on Monday that within "a few weeks" VA-owned Linux.com would start incorporating useful, Linux-related information. One of the key goals for the site, said Biles, is for it to be a central repository of Linux-related tuning information.
Tuning info alone won't solve all of Linux's problems. But it's certainly a good place to start.