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Linux Today Editorial Policy

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Here come the "This story doesn't belong on Linux Today!" whinges again, so this seems a good time to discuss how I select stories. In any week approximately 170 stories get posted on Linux Today. Some of them are contributed by readers, some are selected by me.

Types of Stories

I look for stories that are primarily about Linux and Free and Open Source software. I accept the occasional story about Apple, the BSDs, and Unix because they are cousins to Linux. There is often an interesting contrast to how things are done in the Linux world, and there is a lot of cross-pollination.

I look for stories that are not be strictly about Linux, but are about the tech industry or political shenanigans and other things that might affect Linux users and admins.

I'm not all that interested in Microsoft stories. But Microsoft has an impact on Linux users, so I aim to post only the ones that are truly relevant or newsworthy. (And sometimes I just can't resist mocking something they've done, like Humor: A Better View of Microsoft Security). I don't want LT to turn into 'OMG Look What Evil Microshaft Committed Today'.

In general I look for quality news, good howtos, and interesting opinions and analysis. It doesn't have to be something I agree with or like. An opinion piece has to have some substance- I don't care for baseless opinions; they have to have a foundation, and should be reasonably coherent and well-argued. Poor writing skills won't disqualify a piece if it is understandable and has something useful and interesting. Just like perfect spelling and grammar won't make an article acceptable if the content is lacking.

I have an informal FUD quota- I could easily fill Linux Today with FUD pieces, so I select only a few of the very best. Not only to give readers a chance to rebut it, but also to stay informed on what is being disseminated in different publications.

Sources

I cruise a wide range of online publications, and I make a point of finding new ones. So we have the usual suspects- ZDNet, CNet, PC World, CMP.net, Internet.com, Linux Journal, Linux Magazine, IBM Developerworks, Computerworld, The Register, Groklaw, the Standards Blog, Free Software Magazine, and so forth- I also look at forums, newspapers, personal blogs, industry publications such as APC, Linux distribution newsletters... you get the idea.

Not Dr. Feelgood

It is not part of my job description to be a Dr. Feelgood, to post only happy complimentary stories about Linux. That's impossible anyway- someone will always be unhappy about something. Not all Linux news is good news, and not all truths are pleasant ones.

I pay attention to the numbers. It's obvious which stories get the most traffic- it's almost always a Microsoft story. You can see the numbers yourself. Stories that I think are cool and that show the reach and power of Linux and FOSS, like the one about Michelle Murrain, or the one about prisoners using FOSS to learn some real skills, or the one about rehabbing PCs for underprivileged schoolkids didn't score much traffic. If all I wanted to do was generate as many clicks as possible it would be easy- make people mad by posting inflammatory crud.

Suggestions Welcome

I will gladly accept suggestions for the kinds of topics and stories you want to see here, and remember the "Contribute" button, top left. Post suggestions here, in Talkbacks, or email cschroder at jupitermedia dot com.


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