Editor's Note: A Herd of Print Linux Magazines
May 21, 2010, 23:02 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carla Schroder)
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by Carla Schroder
Print isn't dead, it's just changing despite the
best efforts of the titans of industry to resist and foil all
change. Here is a roundup of excellent Linux print publications,
and for no extra charge a bold prediction of the future of
The glossy print magazine is alive and well, and this is good
because a lot of us old fossils still hang out in bookstores and
newsstands, and like reading the printed page. It's nice not having
to plug something in to read it, and it's a good outreach to people
who are not familiar with Linux. Most magazines now have online
editions with extra content, so we can have it all.
There is one more benefit of a print publication that you have
to actually pay some money for, and that is that advertisers do not
completely rule the roost. Remember the Golden Rule? The one with
the gold makes the rules. Many Web publications have capitulated to
advertisers and publish "web content" rather than genuine
journalism, because their only revenues are from advertising.
Independent voices are dwindling. Paying subscribers help keep the
independent voices alive.
Linux Journal is the
grandaddy of them all, founded in 1994 by Phil Hughes. Now it is
published by Belltown Media, owner Carlie Fairchild, who
acquired Linux Journal in 2006. Over the years Linux Journal
has been home to regular writers like Marcel Gagne and his "Cooking
With Linux" column, which was the most controversial LJ feature.
Why? Not because he used bad language, or flamed anyone, but
because of his Chez Marcel and French-waiter-serving-wine schtick.
It was both a regular Reader's Choice winner, and the recipient of
the most hate mail.
LJ has always covered a wide range of topics, such kernel
programming, system and network administration, security, desktop,
multimedia, games, and industry news.
Linux Pro Magazine
Linux Pro Magazine
is called Linux Magazine outside of the US and Canada; in the US
there is another Linux
Magazine. There is no relation between the two except a
confusing similarity of names. Linux Pro Magazine covers all the
usual topics, plus extensive Linux conference coverage. Their Event
Calendar is comprehensive, and they provide live and archived
videos of many conferences. Linux Pro Magazine is distributed in
several countries and languages, such as Poland, Spain, Germany,
There is a new sister publication to Linux Pro, Ubuntu User. Ubuntu User features
good tech articles, and informative pieces from Ubuntu insiders
such as Jono Bacon and Amber Graner.
This is the Not-Linux Pro Magazine, just plain old Linux Magazine. They no longer have
a print edition, which ceased publication in 2008. I'm mentioning
them here to (hopefully) clear up the confusion between the two
Linux Magazines. It's an excellent publication even if they don't
sell nice glossy printed pages anymore.
Linux Format is based
in the UK. Every issue includes a DVD full of distros, software,
and tutorials. Linux Format has PDF archives, podcasts, and
boatloads of great content.
Is Print Doomed?
Science fiction stories from decades ago predicted a future where
print publications were all print-on-demand. You could download and
print your own favorite publications, or buy them at newsstands
that were also print-on-demand. If you didn't want to pile up hard
copies, recycling was free and accessible. This put the whole world
at any individual's fingertips.
Sadly, we are rather far from that pretty scenario. Digital
Rights Management insanity and personal color printers that are
also DRM-infested and crazily expensive to use are just two of the
hurdles. Recyling is pretty commonplace, so we have one out of
three. It's pretty amazing to me that the content industry's frenzy
and fear over digital distribution is so extreme. Don't ever assume
that big business people are smart or farsighted. Mainly they're
ruthless and connected.
I don't believe print is doomed, it's just going to be done
differently, and by individuals rather than conglomerates. Someday.
Meanwhile, please enjoy your pretty print Linux magazines!
Regarding personal printers, this comic really could be a
news story: Printers
Were Sent From Hell To Make Us Miserable .