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The Media Linux

Linux Format Magazine Team Quits, Launches New Profit-Donating Mag 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the stick-a-fork-in-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "What happens when the editorial team of the biggest-selling English Linux magazine gets frustrated? They leave their company and start a new one. Most of the writers behind Linux Format have jumped ship and started Linux Voice, a social enterprise magazine which will donate 50% of its profits back to the community, and freely license its content under Creative Commons after 9 months. They're running a fundraiser on Indiegogo with already a quarter of their funding goal reached. Will this shake up the whole publishing industry?"
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Linux Format Magazine Team Quits, Launches New Profit-Donating Mag

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  • Note To Management (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2013 @02:31PM (#45435543)

    Dear Management,
    Feedback isn't just the noise Jimmy Hendricks made with his guitar. It's a vital part of maintaining a quality workforce. If you fail at employee morale you will fail at keeping your staff.

    Sincerely,
    Your Non-Mechanized Employees

    • by Immerman (2627577) on Friday November 15, 2013 @04:04PM (#45436825)

      Dear Cog in the Machine,

          By encouraging regular overtime, and by extension maintaining high unemployment rates, we ensure that there is a steady glut of hungry people willing to take your place. If you wish to continue this conversation you may report to HR for your generous severance package of three moldy crackers and a half-empty bottle of flat soda.

      Indifferently,
      The Mercantile Management

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You mean Jimi Hendrix?

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      Feedback isn't just the noise Jimmy Hendricks made with his guitar. It's a vital part of maintaining a quality workforce. If you fail at employee morale you will fail at keeping your staff.

      Keep in mind the "editorial team of the biggest-selling English Linux magazine" appears to be three people from the Indiegogo page (oooooo! big walkout!), and they themselves say they were the "majority" of the editorial team (so there's still people back at Linux Voice). So what do we really have here?

      • Three guys decided to quit their job at once.
      • Remaining employees at Linux Voice pick up the slack while new people are hired to replace to them (or not). The industry as a whole in in a downward slope, and m
      • by SeaFox (739806)

        Edit: meant "Linux Format" for the former magazine. Linux Voice is the new publication.

      • by bmcage (785177) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @04:49AM (#45441719)
        Actually, if you read LF, you would see that indeed, those 3 write most of the articles. A 4th one also quit, but can't join Voice till January due to some contract clause.

        Other good articles typically are from independents. If you look on the idiegogo page, you will see they also need a budget for such articles, based on a fixed fee per page.

  • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Friday November 15, 2013 @02:32PM (#45435555)

    No.

  • Will this shake up the whole publishing industry?

    NO

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_law_of_headlines [wikipedia.org]

    • by c0d3g33k (102699)

      This wasn't the headline. Duh.

      • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Friday November 15, 2013 @02:38PM (#45435635)

        This calls for the Slashdot Summary Corollary to Betteridge's Law of Headlines. Then mythosaz is entirely correct.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Not to mention it's the biggest selling English Linux magazine, and I've never heard of it nor seen it mentioned on slashdot in this century. And they're starting a "social enterprise magazine," whatever the hell that means. And furthermore [youtube.com]

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          well if you wanted to see raspberry articles about wicked stuff like how to use your raspberry as a .. dunno, wifi server or some shit like that and wanted to pay 20 bucks for that, then you might have known what it is. ..annoying thing about it was that the cove usually looks interesting and it's the nerdiest looking magazine at airport magazine stands but fuck, the content.. I'd rather pay for printouts of slashdot comments in retrospect.

          the content never had any depth to it and stuff like readers letters

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Never been into a bookstore or news stand?

          Your remarks could easily translate to "I am not aware of any Linux magazines at all". You probably never ever bothered to look.

          That's more a reflection of publishing in general, rather than Linux in particular.

  • Fork!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by TWiTfan (2887093) on Friday November 15, 2013 @02:38PM (#45435621)

    Even a Linux *magazine* ends up a hopeless mire of competing distros.

    • by robmv (855035)

      They only forgot to name the new magazine "Libre Linux Format", wait until "Linux Format" corpse is donated to Apache

    • Nothing a pair of programmers [youtube.com] can fix.
  • Afraid not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mackil (668039) <movie&moviesoundclips,net> on Friday November 15, 2013 @02:38PM (#45435625) Homepage Journal
    These days, all it takes to shake up the whole publishing industry is to be successful. The whole industry is in sharp decline and everyone knows it, especially those within.

    I'd like to think they have a chance. Their goals are certainly noble. But I wouldn't be too optimistic.
    • Re:Afraid not (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jonnyj (1011131) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:18PM (#45436107)

      The whole industry is in sharp decline and everyone knows it, especially those within.

      True. But Linux Format has been bucking the trend in recent years. Its circulation has been rising steadily and, at 21,784 print copies per issue in 2012, it has a similar circulation to the venerable New Statesman (24,910). It trounces many other very familiar specialist mags such as Mac Format (6,842), PC format (6,249) and What Mountain Bike (13,870). It's not even too far behind the 100-year old Autocar (40,168).

      All figures from ABC.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        TIL: A good number of college newspapers have higher circulation than Linux Format.

      • by petes_PoV (912422)

        it [Linux Format] has a similar circulation to the venerable New Statesman (24,910)

        But the New Statesman doesn't fill its nagazine with month-old stories, interchangable reviews of gadgets that give the impression all the reviewer has ever done is read the publicity material (and hardly ever give a negative reiew, for fear the advertisers will pull the plug, or they won't be given any more free goodies). The NS doesn't continually recycle "How To" articles intended for newbies to the political process.

        In short LF is just an advertising tool, coupled with an attempt to fill the gap left

    • by tlambert (566799)

      These days, all it takes to shake up the whole publishing industry is to be successful. The whole industry is in sharp decline and everyone knows it, especially those within.

      I'd like to think they have a chance. Their goals are certainly noble. But I wouldn't be too optimistic.

      That's a $3.3M / year gross income, assuming all subscribers are paying for a full year, and that they are paying the full subscription price.

      It's really doubtful that an indiegogo crowdfunding is going to raise a lot of money, even with an advertisement on slashdot, given that they do not follow the kickstarter model, and whatever you donate, regardless of whether or not they hit their goals, they get to keep.

      What it would take to be successful, at least if you want my $, is actual editing. If you include

      • It's really doubtful that an indiegogo crowdfunding is going to raise a lot of money, even with an advertisement on slashdot, given that they do not follow the kickstarter model, and whatever you donate, regardless of whether or not they hit their goals, they get to keep.

        Except that they're using the all-or-nothing funding method, so if they don't get the full amount, the pledges get their money back. Win-win, yes?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Will this shake up the whole publishing industry?" Yes.. In the same way that the extinction of the Dodo stopped all other species from going extinct.

  • The consensus seems to be that Linux Voice won't shake up the publishing industry. But if it ticks along nicely, ploughint profits back into FOSS organisations, and gives stuff away under a free licence, that'll still be pretty good. Maybe not a revolution on the 1917 or 1789 scale, but maybe revolutionary in a more modest, 1830 Paris uprising kind of way.
  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex AT ... trograde DOT com> on Friday November 15, 2013 @02:55PM (#45435817)

    We're still operating largely under the false premise that information is scarce. Bits are in near infinite supply, digital data thus should tend towards zero price regardless of cost to create (if we're to believe Economics:101). Only via artificial scarcity of information are any able to monetize the bits themselves. Piracy can only exist because artificial scarcity is being leveraged.

    The bits are not scarce. The work to create or discover new information in new combinations of bits is what is scarce. Market your ability to do work. Get paid for that work once. Ask for enough up front to cover your expenses for the work just like in ANY other market: See also, Mechanics. Bid, do the work, get paid; No fee each time you start the car and benefit from the work. You want more money? Do more work.

    Copyright and Patents are a horrible futures market for your work. You under pay yourself for the chance to make more money from your work. However, this means secrecy and thus lack of market research in most cases, leading to high churn rates and lack of job stability and thus lower pay. Working for the community directly is the same as working for a pubilsher: You get paid the same for the same work done once. The difference is there's no middle men trying to inflate the price via artificial scarcity while adding zero benefit to the product itself.

    This is the first generation of the Age of Information wherein every single person is a publisher. Of course there will be huge changes and growing pains. This very comment is published. Copies are cheap! This data was duplicated many times in many routers before you saw it, and multiple times in your computer's storage, RAM, and video memory. No one should be paying for individual copies; We'll pay for the work to create the first copy, and that's it (it's the only one that was scarce). Publishing as we know it will either become extinct or adapt. Publishers will become publicists or agents instead who advertize your ability to perform work.

    I've said this time and again. We now live in a post-information-scarcity world. Times are changing fast. Interestingly enough markets are aligning with the FOSS model of development: Paid to do work, release the output for "free" (since it's already been paid for), do more work to get more money. This is the same model that all other labor markets use, it only seems alien if you conflate infinitely reproducible information with the concept of finite resources like property. Artificial scarcity is untennable. Deal with it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Paid to do work, release the output for "free" (since it's already been paid for), do more work to get more money.

      How will those who pay you to do the work get money?

    • by EvilSS (557649) on Friday November 15, 2013 @03:35PM (#45436339)

      Get paid for that work once. Ask for enough up front to cover your expenses for the work just like in ANY other market: See also, Mechanics. Bid, do the work, get paid; No fee each time you start the car and benefit from the work. You want more money? Do more work.

      OK, I'm an author who self publishes. How, exactly, in your utopia do I get paid for my work? Who pays me? People off the street walk up and ask me to write a book they never thought of? Or in your world, and I beholden to big publishing to pay me to do "work". In that case, WHY ARE THEY PAYING ME? For a book that they will then give away? Not a very sound business practice that. The usual answer to this question from your type is "They sell the hard copy of course!" except that makes no sense either. For one, hard copy book sales are not exactly trending up. For another, their competition can go, buy one copy, wholesale copy it, and print their own version, for less since they didn't pay me to write it, so their costs are lower. That is a quick and terminal race to the bottom.

      Or do you propose that I just write for free and get a job at McDonald's to keep a roof over my head?

      • Bits may be infinite, and information is held as bits, but useful, timely and correct information is still a rare commodity and merits payment. Witness Wikipedia which has not put the written word out of business when it is useful, timely and correct. Being first and inaccurate is worth nothing at all.

      • by DrEasy (559739)
        If I understand his point correctly, I guess in the post-information scarcity world you set up a kickstarter project and ask people to pay up *up front* to get to read your work. You then, hopefully, deliver (people won't pay up next time if you don't!). Once your work is delivered, it can be replicated ad nauseam and it won't have any resale value because information is cheap or free.
      • by jmv (93421)

        How, exactly, in your utopia do I get paid for my work? Who pays me?

        People were saying the same thing about free software ~15 years ago. If software is free, how will developers ever get paid? Turns out there's now a lot of people that get paid for writing free software. I don't know what the model will be, but I'm pretty sure the same will happen for book/documentation authors at some point.

        • by EvilSS (557649)
          Yes, but with software you can provide not only the code, but services to install and support it. There are no add-on services in the case of writers. The other option is you have community and commercial versions of software. That model for anything is out the window with in this school of thought, no need to even try to apply it to a different field like writing.
        • Hooray! A return to Patronage for the gilded classes! Also, would you like to take a stab at the number of Paid/Free Software vs. Paid/Non Free Software numbers of developers?
      • Get paid for that work once. Ask for enough up front to cover your expenses for the work just like in ANY other market: See also, Mechanics. Bid, do the work, get paid; No fee each time you start the car and benefit from the work. You want more money? Do more work.

        OK, I'm an author who self publishes.....Or do you propose that I just write for free and get a job at McDonald's to keep a roof over my head?

        You've figured it out. If you aren't popular enough for your readers to pay you in advance to write a book for them, then writing is a hobby for you, and you also need to have a job. I used to be paid to write computer programs. Today it is a hobby, and I have a job so I can eat.

        • by EvilSS (557649)
          That's grand, but it creates a chicken and egg problem. If I can't get be post-paid for my work, hoping to build an audience and further fund my career, why would anyone know who I (or any other author) was in order to know if they wanted to pay them in advance? I couldn't wast time trying to become an author. Or a musician. Or painter.

          Of course I have other options in this world. Since I have no legal protections for my work, I'm sure outfits will pop up offering to distribute it wrapped up so tight in
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            If I can't get be post-paid for my work, hoping to build an audience and further fund my career, why would anyone know who I (or any other author) was in order to know if they wanted to pay them in advance? I couldn't wast time trying to become an author. Or a musician. Or painter.

            You don't have to jump straight into writing books, or painting murals. You could begin with lesser works, and build a reputation.

            Of course I have other options in this world. Since I have no legal protections for my work, I'm sure outfits will pop up offering to distribute it wrapped up so tight in DRM that piracy wouldn't be much of an issue.

            They have to offer the work at a price which the customer is willing to pay, and the conditions are part of the payment. People are not going to dance the hokey pokey to see a movie. They'll see a different movie, or read a book, or fuck.

            • by EvilSS (557649)

              If I can't get be post-paid for my work, hoping to build an audience and further fund my career, why would anyone know who I (or any other author) was in order to know if they wanted to pay them in advance? I couldn't wast time trying to become an author. Or a musician. Or painter.

              You don't have to jump straight into writing books, or painting murals. You could begin with lesser works, and build a reputation.

              Of course I have other options in this world. Since I have no legal protections for my work, I'm sure outfits will pop up offering to distribute it wrapped up so tight in DRM that piracy wouldn't be much of an issue.

              They have to offer the work at a price which the customer is willing to pay, and the conditions are part of the payment. People are not going to dance the hokey pokey to see a movie. They'll see a different movie, or read a book, or fuck.

              What books? No one is going to publish physical books in this world, there is no money in it. As soon as you try, your competition will take the content and make a cheaper version. Run to the bottom. No advantage, no industry. You can read an ebook with heavy DRM, maybe, or go to a private library and pay to rent one (that you will need to read there, of course). Movies? Sure. You'll just need an always on internet connection so we can validate your equipment so we know you are not copying our content, bec

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                You can read an ebook with heavy DRM, maybe,

                people are writing books and selling them with no DRM right now. You're just piling on the FUD.

              • People still publish Shakespeare and Mark Twain, even though they are in the public domain. You can even find the King James Bible if you look for it. If a book is popular enough there will be a demand for it, and someone to fill that demand.

          • The chicken and egg problem has a well-known solution, the one used by musicians. You start by writing for free, to gain an audience. If and when you achieve popularity, you can quit your job and write professionally. Don't think that is realistic? Imagine how many people would pay Stephen King or Tom Clancy to write another best-seller. If you aren't in their league, you remain a hobbyist

            .

      • by Anonymous Coward
        It's a good question. The writer Greg Stolze (mostly writes roleplaying games, but has some fantasy fiction too) writes his works with a "ransom" model, which is basically the way Kickstarter works. But Stolze has been doing this since before Kickstarter was created. Everyone who wants to pledge can pledge, and if he reaches his fundraising target then he collects all of the pledge money and releases the content as a freely downloadable pdf.

        A lot of musicians make most of their money on ticket sales
      • You err in assuming that VortexCortex needs to know how you would get paid for your writing in order for his argument to be valid.

        If copyright law were repealed, some people would still want to read books, and some people would still want to write books. Money would still exist. Society would find some way to move money from the consumers to the suppliers. It wouldn't be patronage, or crowdfunding, or charity, or government arts grants: it would be all of these, and other funding schemes I can't think of.

    • Publishing as we know it will either become extinct or adapt. Publishers will become publicists or agents instead who advertize your ability to perform work.

      Ony if your life's desire is to read vampire fanfic or yet another star {wars/trek/blazers/fighter/etc} book. Whether you like it or not, there are publishers out there that do a good job of filtering the crap from ever hitting your eyes. How many authors would have never seen the light of day without a good publisher? And no, they aren't keeping good

    • information is scarce

      It's a common misconception that information is not scarce. In fact information is so rare that people hardly ever recognise it.

      What we do have is a surfeit of data, or more correctly: noise.

      People or systems that can separate the data from the noise are definitely worth paying for. People who can derive information from that data are to be valued. The problem is that apart form information being scarce, individulas and organisations that can recognise information are even scarcer.

      Bits, by themselves are

  • Which, if they buy enough hookers and blow, will be zero. Nonprofits make me sick. They're inevitably smug and holier than thou, while they're just working the system.

    • Hello! This isn't a non-profit; it's a for-profit company. Look up the UK tax codes for yourself, and compare income tax with the tax on income from dividends. If they have, say, £300,000 at the end of the year, they'd actually be better off paying themselves £30,000 each, declaring the rest as profits and splitting those profits 50-50 with whatever organisations they end up supporting.

      [profits] Which, if they buy enough hookers and blow, will be zero. Nonprofits make me sick. They're inevitably smug and holier than thou, while they're just working the system.

      In principle you're right -- the directors of non-profits can milk as much money as they want from the organis

  • by tokiko (560961)

    They should just contribute their articles to Linux Weekly News [lwn.net] so we don't need to setup another subscription.

  • I love when something thinks that they "own" their human capital and then that capital gets up and leaves. This is a story that I wish would happen on a daily basis.
  • I bought last months LinuxFormat and it had really lost it's soul. The magazine seemed to have already died a few months before.

    The main thing about LF 2-5 years ago was the humour. I think there was some kind of handover from AmigaFormat where you had guys like JonoBacon taking over. The big thing though was that it had a sense of humour. It was very funny, and in a British way too. That made it stand out from everything else, only Micromart sometimes had something a bit like this but that's been inconsist

    • Yep - I remember!

      I wish in the last few issues of AF they pointed out where they were heading, because I thought I had nowhere to go apart from Windows XP for 6 sorry years before I found Ubuntu 9.04 and LF again.

      D

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