Friday, April 06, 2007

Linux Gazette - Wikipedia

"The volunteer run magazine continues to thrive while the magazine run by SSC has been closed down. In early 2006, SSC closed the web site at and made it an HTTP redirect to the Linux Journal site."
Time flies, and I never noticed this minor victory for ethical behavior, until just now, when I tried out both and and found only one still in existence.

My reason for curiosity was the more recent demise of of which I was a fairly regular reader.

I just got an e-mail offering me("as a former TUX subscriber"),a discounted subscription to the paper edition of Linux Journal and some other goodies.

I didn't do much to earn this offer. Tux magazine, available only online as a download was free, so my "support" of it consisted of downloading just about every issue, which was in plain ole PDF which I thought was a great idea for other print publications to learn from (and now I guess maybe they have learned that it doesn't always work). By the way, before the discontinuance of Tux they announced they were going to a paid format, but I guess they didn't get enough positive feedback to justify even that. I would have probably been willing to pay for it, but it never came down to that choice.

I guess I'm not alone in having a growing lack of interest in print publications. I rarely actually pay for a technical publication since I mostly got them free. A long time ago people who did what I did for a living would willingly pay for Computer World and not need to read much else to know all you needed to know.

Then came the PC. Then Byte, PC World, Infoworld and then after only a short pause every combination of the strings: "PC", "World", "Info", "Week", "e-", "Net", "Network", and, um "mation". The content of these publications was every bit as unique and creative as their selection of names, and they all mostly found out that the only way to get a lot of subscribers was to give the things away to just about anyone in the industry.

The great scam of convincing advertisers that people actually paid attention to these publications (speaking strictly of the print version here) started screeching to a halt in 2000 (along with a lot of other things) and is in full screech now. Print media in general is suffering from this, but you could question whether this is dissatisfaction with print, versus the general illiteracy of the American public (I vote for the latter, people who don't read newspapers mostly aren't reading anything else ether, like Chancey Gardiner in "Being There" they say "I watch TV").

But for the still literate technophile, the issue isn't the ability to read, it is the preference to get our reading material in a form most convenient for us, where we can cut, paste, comment, e-mail, blog, and so on. No more black ink on your fingers, no more letters to the editor, stamps, piles of kindling, bursting trash bags, etc.

I canceled (let expire really) my subscription to Linux Journal about the time of the dust-up with the original staff of Linux Gazette. I also posted comment to the SSC web site where they asked for reaction to this issue. My comments, along with those of others I suspect were negative toward SSC and were soon deleted. Well known columnists for Linux Journal avoided comment on the issue one way or the other, reinforcing my opinion that the whole thing stunk to high heaven.

I've since picked up a copy or two of Linux Journal, and as I said, "supported" Tux Magazine, both of which were first class publications in the area they covered. But I had no use for the SSC version of the Gazettte, particularly after they went to the CMS (does anyone even remember what that stands for?) format which was cumbersome at best. though lives on, and (I think) managed to get a complete archive of all earlier editions. You can still get downloaded content via a Debian package as far as I know, but I have been delinquent in following them. I'm going to re-visit all that content and try and start reading the old Gazette like I did Tux Magazine.

Maybe I'll even give Linux Journal another try as a subscriber. I live much further from magazine stores that carry them any more, so ad-hoc purchases are pretty rare these days. I hope, in their apparently much humbled state SSC doesn't try and play fast and loose with the Open Source community any longer, I haven't heard any indication that they have. Besides, with the continuing decline in print media, they might not be around much longer.

Now it seems only one thing remains for SSC to do to set matters straight, and that is to give back the ".com" version of the domain name to the still active Gazette team. Unless there is a version of the story not yet public, it would seem to be the only right thing to do.

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