Home opinion-and-analysis The Linux Distillery New crowd-funded Linux magazine, half of profits to FOSS

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Over half the Linux Format editorial team has resigned from that long-standing organ with the vision of creating a new crowd-founded publication titled Linux Voice with half the profits going back to open source projects.

While it may seem incongrous for me to point readers to print-based publications given the timeliness of news on a site like iTWire.com, there always remains something enjoyable about leafing through a magazine, particularly with quality technical articles that go into greater depth than news headlines.

In this case, the majority of the editorial team behind long-standing Linux Format magazine - Mike Saunders, Andrew Gregory, Ben Everard - made the decision to up and leave, resigning Linux Format with the vision of creating a new publication titled Linux Voice.

The team announced their goal stating, "Over many years, we helped make our title the market leader. We interviewed everyone we could think of, crammed each issue full of tutorials, reviews and thought-provoking features, and spread the good word about Linux, open source and Free Software."

We were the first to cover the Raspberry Pi from the newsstand. We beat the C.I.A. before it was cool. We sent a comfort package to Edward Snowden, and taught the world how easy servers were to hack (er, sorry, crack). Our fortnightly TuxRadar podcast entertained thousands of insightful and generous listeners, and we loved every minute of it."

"Last month we quit," the team stated, "because we wanted to do something different. We want to create an even better magazine; a bigger, more entertaining and more accountable magazine for the community we love to serve."

"And thus is born - the creators hope - Linux Voice magazine. Ben Everard stated in a Reddit discussion on the magazine, "We left because we weren't given the freedom to make the magazine as good as we knew we could. We were also really keen to make a magazine that supported the community rather than just reported on it."

Andrew Gregory is more open, stating "The straw that broke the camel's back for me was that Future PLC cut the page count of every magazine, regardless of how well they were doing, in an effort to cut costs ... Linux format was doing well; we'd increased our circulation and our profits... So I found it pretty galling that, to pay for other magazines' falling circulations, the quality of our product had to suffer by having pages taken away from it. What made this workse is that at the same time, the PLC announced that it would be reinstating the divident [sic] payment for shareholders. I saw this as taking value away from the readers, the subscribers, and putting directly into the hands of the shareholders. This is unfair."

The gang of three state Linux Format will be different and it will be better than any other print-based Linux publication (though, ironically, designed and laid out using Adobe InDesign.)

First, 50% of profits will go back to Free Software and Linux communities with the readership choosing where the funding goes.

Secondly, the team boasts their first issue will be "better than any other Linux and Free Software magazine". This is a lofty claim but the trio assert they have the background and experience to launch a magazine which has a superior first issue to any other magazine. On the one hand I suppose this is reasonable; it could be considered "Linux Format issue 179".

Third, all content will be published for free after nine months. While news items are no longer timely 3/4 of a year later, this will provide a handy library of tutorials, interviews and other features.

The group intend to have the first issue of Linux Voice out in February 2014 but needs your help. To crowd-fund the first issue an IndieGoGo project has been set up. Pricing is 90 GBP for a one year international subscription outside the UK and US, with other tiers including support only, six month and life time subscriptions, advertising and dinner with the team.

At the time of writing Linux Voice has reached 20,244 pounds out of a 90,000 goal. The project is set up as fixed-funding which means it will only receive funds committed if the total is reached by December 23rd.

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David M Williams

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David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. Within two years, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Newcastle, as a UNIX systems manager. This was a crucial time for UNIX at the University with the advent of the World-Wide-Web and the decline of VMS. David moved on to a brief stint in consulting, before returning to the University as IT Manager in 1998. In 2001, he joined an international software company as Asia-Pacific troubleshooter, specialising in AIX, HP/UX, Solaris and database systems. Settling down in Newcastle, David then found niche roles delivering hard-core tech to the recruitment industry and presently is the Chief Information Officer for a national resources company where he particularly specialises in mergers and acquisitions and enterprise applications.

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