: I got my first issue of Linux Journal today, issue 2. Quite nice, though
: I am looking forward to seeing how it changes in issue 3.
: One thing I wonder is whether a more broadly based journal might make
: more sense. Call it the Free Software Journal, or the Free Unix Journal
: or something. I'd be interested in reading more than just about Linux,
: though that is definitely the focus of my interest. I'd appreciate
: hearing about the latest in BSD, GNU, and so forth.
: Is there already a publication that caters to such an audience?
: How do other people feel about this?
When we (myself and a few friends in Seattle) were first talking about
starting a magazine it was to be a Free Software Journal. When we got up
to about 6 people with regular meetings on the idea we quickly realized
that "free" was somewhat arbitrary. If the magazine was to support the
needs of computer users it really needed to be "best value journal" or
something along those lines. A non-free (either in the
monetary or redistribution sense) program might be a better answer.
For example, there is a package called the $25 network from Imodes that
offers DOS PC-PC connectivity for $25. It doesn't get any press because
it doesn't cost enough.
We realized that to do a magazine that would be unbiased it would need to
be like the Consumer Reports of software. That would mean no advertising.
Also, the potential market is huge making the startup cost huge as well.
And it would be hard to finance because it could only depend on magazine
sales for income.
I proposed the Linux Journal idea to the group because it seemed to make
sense to me. I expected everyone to tell me I was crazy. Instead,
everyone saw it as a really good alternative.
While I understand the ideas behind a more general magazine from
a reader's point of view, there is one other really important reason for
magazines such as Linux Journal to exist and keep their focus. That is
for advertising. The Linux community is relatively small (compared to the
computer market). Advertising rates in focused publications can be much
lower per qualified reader than for the general magazines. For example,
you could run an ad for your Linux-based product in Byte magazine but your
ad gets lost among all the others and most Byte readers are not interested
in Linux. This is a benefit to both the advertiser and the reader of the
This concept is not unique to Linux Journal or even computer magazines.
Today you see lots of small publications with 2000-50,000 circulation
addressing a very select group of people. In Seattle we have everything
from a kayaking magazine to a coffee magazine (both of which are printed
by the same company as the new printer we have selected for Linux Journal.
As we expand (meaning getting more advertising so we can afford to print
more pages -- we are currently at 48 pages/issue) we will probably add a
column that tells of major events in free software but don't expect us to
cover non-Linux software in any depth. If the need is really there
someone (possibly us) will start another magazine.
For those interested in a status report on Linux Journal #3, it is
currently in the final stages of layout, will go to the printer in one
week. It will be mailed starting on June 14. If you get your subscriptiion
order to SSC (206-527-3385 or fax to 206-527-2806) by June 10 your
subscription will start with this issue.
This is the last of our 2-month issues that we did to get our schedule
caught up. In the future, expect each issue to be mailed around the
middle of the month prior to the cover date.
For those who need more info on Linux Journal, you can e-mail