Linux Journal Goes 100% Digital

Introducing Linux Journal 2.0

We're going all-digital. That's the news. Starting with our next issue, #209, we're going off-rack and off-mailbox, but staying on-email and on-Web, where we can grow and improve. It's the only path open to us, but it's also a good one. Hang with me as I explain why. (See also Experience the New Linux Journal for details about the new format.)

Linux Journal was the brainchild of Phil Hughes in 1993. That's when he got it in his head that a free software magazine would be a good idea, and pulled together an email list of friends—including me—to talk about it. Then one day, out of the blue, Phil halted the proceedings and announced that he now saw The Future, and it was Linux.

At the time, Linux was invisible in the trade press. None of the magazines put out by the big three computer-industry publishers--Ziff-Davis, IDG and CMP--paid any attention to it. All their eyes were on name-brand computer and network companies, plus startups in spaces those companies (all of which were advertisers) defined. UNIX was still a war between variants sold by Novell, Silicon Graphics, IBM, Sun and others, plus the BSDs. Linux was at version 0.x, and of relatively little interest outside the kernel mailing list.

Phil saw UNIX for the mess it was, and he knew how Linux was going to solve it. So, when Linux 1.0 was released in March 1994, Linux Journal promptly followed. During the 17+ years since, Linux has proven Phil right, and it is now the standard operating system for everything from picture frames to set-top boxes, plus most of the Web. (Fun fact: even Microsoft's Bing search engine is mostly hosted on Linux, through Akamai.)

But while Linux continues to win at operating systems, print magazines are losing to other media—especially digital—and have been for a long time. In fact, lately it's been getting worse.

Just this month, ABC reported that newsstand magazine sales fell 9% in the first six months of this year. The Wall Street Journal reported a drop of 9.2% for consumer magazines, with double-digit drops for celebrity weeklies like People and Star. Women's Wear Daily reported similar drops for all but one fashion magazine: Vogue, thanks to one Lady Gaga cover.

The big computer-industry trade magazines from the '90s have either disappeared or gone digital. Of the big three publishers, only IDG is still intact, and still putting out most of its original magazines in print.

We survived while others failed by getting lean and staying focused. But the costs of printing and distributing continue to go up. We could keep publishing in print if we could raise the number of advertiser pages, but we don't see that happening.

What we do see is a core readership that has stuck with us, along with Linux, for a generation. You, our readers, are at the heart of Linux, and always have been. We want to keep that heart beating.

That heart will beat with much more strength if the blood flows entirely through bits and pixels. It also will be better aligned with the world we helped create. (We were online and helping ISPs grow even before the first graphical browsers showed up.) The opportunities online are as wide as the digital horizons. And we won't be confined by the physical and cost limits of paper and ink.

Those limits include space. We can name many examples of articles, columns and regular features that have been cut to fit the limited spaces of our print pages. We also can name many examples of digital pieces that have been very successful, outside the confines of print. Working in two media has always pulled us in different directions. Now we can move forward in the winning direction, without the drag.

But we can't do it if you're not with us. For that we need two things.

The first is for you to keep subscribing. Our first all-digital edition of Linux Journal--#209--will go out on schedule, directly to all print subscribers. It will be the same magazine it always has been. It also will be searchable, interactive, printable and, therefore, also green (a small bonus, but one we do care about).

The second is to get your input and participation in making Linux Journal the magazine you want it to be. We are setting a forum for conversation with subscribers, plus a forum for  conversation with non-paying readers. I also invite you to write us directly at For more help, visit our FAQ.

Linux Journal is your magazine. You're the ones who pay for it, and you're the ones whose help we need and appreciate the most. Linux always has been a construction project, and the same is true for this magazine. Please help us keep building it in ways that work best for you—and for everybody out in user space too.

See also:



Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal


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Not a happy camper here!

Anonymous's picture

I really prefer a printed magazine. I do not have a smart phone, electronic book reader, or touchpad-type device and do not plan to purchase any such thing, so now I'll have to make do with sitting at my desk and reading LJ on a computer screen. Just what I want to do to relax after working with computers all day long.

I am particularly annoyed about the way this was done, having just renewed my subscription and soon afterwards receiving an email saying "this is the way it's going to be starting right now" with no warning. Had I known this was coming I may well have not have renewed my subscription.

In general this brave new digital world of publishing is probably going to mean more is going to be lost, due to continuing obsolescence, maybe even an EMP at some point. I have a collection of books and magazines going back over 50 years. What are the chances that any digital media or format in use now is going to be usable 50 years hence? Though at my age that'll be for someone else to worry about.

Are any of Linux Journal's subscribers in prison? (Possibly so, it's a U.S. based publication and the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world.) If so, those subscribers are simply being cut off as prisoners have no access to the internet or electronic readers.

All in all this just seems like a bad thing, though it may well have been pushed by economic necessity. Since I've already renewed my subscription I'll give the new format a chance as the content is useful, but I am definitely not happy about this.

I see on this page the cover pic of the September 2011 edition, the first all-digital one. I'm imagining it pointing a different finger to all those who subscribed to the paper edition.

What makes it special any more?

mhess's picture

Why do I need LJ any more if it is digitial? The majority of what is published in the magazine is already available elsewhere electronically on the web. In fact just about every article has a multitude of URLs and links to some of the same information. All of that information is free and I don't have to pay for it. What made LJ what it was is that it made that same information available in a printed form that I could take with me where ever I was and read a little or a lot at my leasure. I wasn't paying for the content, hell I can get that anywhere online. I was paying for the magazine and the physical.

My wife can attest that I would giggle with glee when I saw that this months LJ had arrived. It was a prize, a treasure that arrived each month in the mail box. I'm sorry but I can not get the same joy out of a notice in my email box.

Oh well. One more joy in life has been taken away from me. sigh.

My Thoughts

nawglan's picture

I have been a subscriber for many, many moons and this is the only magazine that I have faithfully continued the subscription. I will miss the paper version very much, but I will continue to stick with you mainly for the content. I really enjoy all of the articles and would hope that by going digital Linux Journal would be able to revive some of the older columns.

I would also like to second the idea of a print on demand service. If I am ever published in the magazine again, I would greatly prefer a paper copy of that. 8)

Keep up the good work, and let the content rule!


Anonymous's picture

I just paid for 2 years. :/

im sure

drmclaser's picture

Im sure you will be able to get your money back if you send them a friendly email :)

international subscribers

Aleksandar  Milovac's picture

Hi LJ,

I was also wondering - what about us the international subscribers? We paid a lot more than US subscibers for the print issue. How this fact will affect our digital edition subscription?

Aleksandar from Serbia

The LJ mail stated that the

Anonymous's picture

The LJ mail stated that the remainder of the subscription would be "converted" into digital issues. If you want to cut that short or get an info, be sure to send them an email, in my own experience LJ's CS staff has always been effective.

I feel I just wasted 60

Anonymous's picture

I feel I just wasted 60 bucks.



Nathaniel's picture

I'm probably going to cancel the subscription.
I just subscribed last month, funny.

Goodbye LJ.

novice mistake

FredsDevelop's picture

I have written an article for Linux Journal and have been a subscriber for 8-9 years. I really like the magazine and at this time I would rather have the printed copy because I can take it anywhere. I just don't think that the current eReader technology is where it should be. I was initially upset over the decision to go digital because I paid for a hard copy which can be easily read anywhere but I understand the fact that advertising dollars are down and costs must be cut. I plan to give the digital subscription a try. I agree with others that most of the information in LJ is available online, but the fact is that one must search for and find that information. I would rather leave this to LJ, because in some cases I would not find some of the information presented due to lack of time and would miss some really interesting topics. I would rather spend my time reading rather than searching for information.

What really ticked me off about this whole mess is the fact that the powers to be at LJ decided to just ignore the inevitable until the last minute. The inevitable is the obvious fact that they don't have enough cash to print an October issue. What makes this more of a hot button topic is the fact that they failed to notify the readers about it until their finances reached a critical meltdown condition. Seriously people, I find it hard to believe that you couldn't have written an article on this issue before now asking for reader input.

I give them a 10 on the idiot scale for this mess up, because anyone with a couple of years of software development experience should know that it always pays off to inform and involve users (readers in this case) in any changes to existing applications (LJ hard copy) so that they don't show up for work one day and find that nothing is the same. I'm definitely not shocked that many subscribers feel that they were screwed over since this was my first reaction. I finally concluded that it was just denial of the inevitable by LJ along with poor judgement and lack of management. Everyone makes mistakes so I will give the digital sub a chance.

Count me out

Anonymous's picture

I hate reading digital. I'm out as well. And yes I have a nook 1, kindle, and iPad2 and hate reading on all of them.

me too !

Anonymous's picture

me too !

Confused about 'Count me out'

jeffq's picture

I'm a bit confused here. You hate reading digital media, and yet you purchased three separate (and expensive) devices, two of which are dedicated to e-reading? Personally, I've always tested e-readers (going as far back as PalmOS PDAs) to see how comfortable I was reading them before I invested any money.

If you're already used to spending money for stuff you don't like, I don't quite understand your problem with a digital-only Linux Journal. It's a lot cheaper than a Kindle or a Nook. (At least the iPad 2 has other major uses.)

be confused all you like

John_Buehrer's picture

While this wasn't my own post, let me point out a common problem here. You, Jeffq, maybe confused about something, and then you imply some action based upon you're own non-understanding.

Eg, YOU don't understand it, therefore it isn't real, and it shouldn't be acted upon. "It" in this case is the dislike of reading on digital devices.

Mr/Ms Anonymous clearly stated that s/he hates reading on digital devices (me too) and let's take these opinions at face value. Perhaps you don't understand the situation - that's OK, you're free to not understand anything you like - but in no way does your uncertainty invalidate the original claim.

And similarly bogus assumptions based on "philosophical proofs" by the LJ board may be at work here too, to the detriment of the rest of us.

Thanks for the polite rebuke

jeffq's picture

Thanks for the polite rebuke, John. I was being a bit snarky, and you called me on it. I still think that someone who spends a chunk of change on two e-readers without first deciding if they even like e-reading seems to have more dollars than sense, but I admit there could be extenuating circumstances I'm not aware of. (Perhaps one is required to use an e-reader for their job?)

None of this, of course, affects the disappointment that you and others feel for the loss of a print version of an excellent magazine. I had no interest in LJ's justifications, myself. I'm just tired of having 18 bookshelves of print media, 99% of which is usually not where I need it when I need it, and I've found at least some e-reading systems to be more than adequate. But I really don't mean to condemn those who don't like this change, and I can't blame you for being angry about the sudden and undiscussed decision.

It's quite possible that he

Tuxly_Tuxford_McTuxtington's picture

It's quite possible that he bought an ereader, hated it, but his wife loved it. He may have purchased another for a second family member who was jealous of Mom's. Bingo: justification for a person buying two ereaders but not enjoying reading on either of them. Depending on the size of one's family, a person could buy a heck of a lot of junk that he or she doesn't like. :)

FAQ not clear

Mark B's picture

To the guy that claims here that print and postage costs are insignificant, then why have international subscribers been paying hugely more per edition than US subscribers?

Also, the FAQ is not clear. Will LJ be automatically extending international subscriptions based on the standard new US per digital edition rate, or are we being extended based on our previous higher rate per edition? It would seem ridiculous that you are charging more for our email! I note that the "last issue" date stated on my account has not changed so atm that seems to be the case. You said also that we should have been emailed the Sep edition but I never received it even though my email address is correct on my account.

This should be at least be a relative win for international subscribers as our copy won't take an extra month or two to get to us and we should be paying the same as US subscribers now.

Keep up the good work LJ, and

Anonymous's picture

Keep up the good work LJ, and I love PDF. Save the trees, save the planet!!

I'm guessing you have no idea

Anonymous's picture

I'm guessing you have no idea how much pollution is caused in the manufacture, use (ie electricity to power and serve content to), and disposal of electronic devices. I'm not about to say one or the other is better, or that paper/print is eco-friendly, but to the best of my knowledge, the trees used for paper are specially grown for this purpose and the jobs in processing the trees into paper form are typically done locally for fair wages (I think), rather than by some 10 year old in China, as is the case with electronics.

Just something to think about.


Anonymous's picture

I discovered LJ while traveling another continent, and enjoyed it so much I started to buy each months issue.

At my librarian, I find about 5 *nix magazines, most in French, and having LJ in English is a benediction, that's why I pay 8€ (about 11$) per issue with a smile.
Why don't I subscribe? cause I travel a lot, sometimes for months, and it's just more convenient to go on a mission to find LJ.

I spend like 10-14 hours a day on a computer and reading a dead tree is a blessing for my eyes.

On the other hand, the 130+ $ I actually yearly spend on LJ could now be reduced to 30, maybe less if I'm patient.

I also read Doc's comment saying "when the journal was big enough for 1000 words articles" ; I felt intense happiness because 100% digital means LJ has no more size limit.

If I can have a 120 pages quality LJ for 20$ a year instead of 70 pages for 130$ a year... It might be a good deal to get rid of the paper.

The only problem is that I travel a lot, and paper stays necessary when in the tropical jungle, when doing 2300km on a bycicle, or when just bathing in the sun on a tropical beach.

So I'll definitely miss the paper version, but I don't resign yet!

I'm of the lucky ones that didn't subscribe earlier, let the "blood flow entirely through bits and pixels", and prove me I should subscribe!

I still have one important question though. Do I have to subscribe in order to test the new "improved" version? Will there be a few free issues in order to convince us we'd be missing something? Do you plan to go free like in beer or bsdmag ?

I hope I'll read you all soon.


Rebecca Cassity's picture

We do indeed have samples available, and in fact we have chosen to make the September issue free in both formats so you can see the entire issue.

The enhanced digital edition of the September issue is here:

And the PDF of the September issue is available at no charge from the Linux Journal Store:

Apps (Android and iOS) and ePub versions are in the works and we hope to release them next month. We'll be sure to let you know when they're available.

Rebecca Cassity is the Director of Sales for Linux Journal

Hi Rebecca, thanks for your

Anonymous's picture

Hi Rebecca,
thanks for your answer.

I gave the sample issue a look, but I must admit I'm missing the printed version a lot. I don't really like the online version and will try to explain why. I'll start with the cons, follow with the pros, and finish with a wishlist.

Weither I take the pdf or the "enhanced digital" version, I open a non selectionnable text document. I am used to reading on internet and use text selection to keep track of where I am. Not possible.

I printed a few pages to read in my bath: not only did I have to print per batches to avoid printing the ads, but normal paper really isn't the same when water spats on it... Can't read you in my bath anymore (sounds stupid, but that's a few hours a week where I read something else).
I could read on my phone, but my evo3D is brand new and I don't want to take any chances to see it swimming, I don't own a tablet.

On other occasions I tried the mobile phone to read the journal, the page was so small I could barely read the articles.

The pros is the number of pages, the lower price and faster delivery, wherever I might be traveling - If only I have a computer to read it.

On this last week I spent a total of 15 minutes reading LJ, where last month I still was spending more than 4 hours a week: I don't know if that's really a brilliant success.

On the other hand, I want to give you a chance of delivering me your content in a form that I would appreciate more. I don't know if e-book is the solution for me (these are not very present in Belgium yet).

I think a web based journal would suit me better - Of course, e-book and pdf are handy for reading on tablets, but in my opinion they don't take advantage of the possibilities given by digital media.

I would love to see LJ as a full website without the use of magazine "files" (of course I still would like to be able to download a pdf, but a greater use would join the magazine as one big structure).
You could join metadata and tags to the articles like "author, title, topic, year, month,". If correctly structured, that would be an invaluable resource: Instead of searching 5 consecutive magazines to find back a series of articles, I would love to be able to search for "openvpn" and be presented with a list of articles - or even better - an all in one article resuming the whole series.
I could also want to search for all articles talking about "php" or all of "kyles hacks" in a single click.

I know ads are an important source of revenue, but they stroke me more than ads usually do. I use a 64 bit linux, no flash, adblocker and nosript, and I'm so not used to ads on my computer that I felt spammed. Somehow I am used to them in a magazine, but don't like them on my screen. Even worse, when I wanted to print an article, I had to do it in 2 times in order to avoid printing full page ads! I didn't really enjoy this.

Combining both methods, you could find an alternative solution: a free (ad-supported) magazine in pdf format freely available 2 weeks after the premium release.
One subscription giving access to the online, parseable, searchable, ad-free version of the journal

In that case the digital version would acquire advantages that the paper cannot copy. Another BIG advantage is that this second solution protects you against piracy. I am not without saying that the pdf's will probably be accessible somewhere on the internet. - A pdf is just a file while the searchable version is more like a service!!! By acting like a service you add a value which is much harder to copy and secure your position as a premium, quality editor about Linux.

I understand that this would be major change in LJ, but isn't it a shame that a geek journal wouldn't optimize the possibilities of a digital format.

I subscribed for one year hoping to see these changes come trough, for a native digital LJ, instead of a digitalized copy of LJ!

I'm psyched for an

jeffq's picture

I'm psyched for an all-digital LJ -- but only if it's done well. I'd much rather carry every single issue in my pocket or my backpack than lug around increasingly worn & torn paper issues.

The biggest problem is to provide a similar reading experience in mobile form. Besides including digital versions of the print ads (but without the nails-on-chalkboard audiovisual hassle of web ads, please!), material needs to reflow based on size and orientation of the reader (phone, tablet, window in a widescreen LCD). Neither PDF (current digital format) nor HTML (archive CDs) is adequate for this. PDF so roundly sucks that I've only read a single LJ article on my phone, despite having at least 20 issues' worth on it.

I'm against using an LJ app, because that limits the audience to particular platforms and requires ongoing program maintenance in addition to the publishing work. If done right with EPUB (my current favorite), MOBI, or other widely-used format, it should be much easier (read: cheaper) to accomplish and maintain. (In fact, using a non-platform-specific e-publishing format would make it inexpensive for readers to pick up a great 10" tablet -- like, say, a certain major PC manufacturer's product that just got disowned -- for a song, and still get a near-full-size reading experience.)

I've been reading the PDFs

Jeremy's picture

I've been reading the PDFs since I got the Xoom in Feb. Not a bad platform for reading at all. Keep up the good work.

I'll be happy to give it a fair shake

Pete Bremer's picture

I have been a subscriber since the December 2003 issue (I did just run over to my book case and pull the first of my chronologically ordered back issues to check that). I'd guess that probably makes me a longish term subscriber.

In that time I have seen some good times and a few dry spells, but over all I would say that the quality of the publication has increased. I will firmly stick by LJ in whatever format you choose to publish because the value for me is in the content no matter how it hits my eyeballs. That said, I hope you take the opportunity to enhance the LJ site, work out issues with file formats & apps on platforms etc , and most of all take the savings on printing and distribution and plow that back into expanded coverage. With an all digital distribution there will be less need to serialize so much of the content, within reason of course ( I don't want to see Dave Taylor's next column re-titled "Working the Shell to Death").

I'll be thrilled to keep paying the old paper copy rate if there is enough investment in the site and the formal publication content. LJ could become the go-to Linux community site as it was the go-to Linux magazine in the past.

Fine with me..

Erin's picture

I've been a PDF-only reader for a good half-year or so anyways, so this doesn't impact me.. I can read this on my Xoom or laptop anywhere... why would I want to kill another tree again?

Though - More information about the enhanced version, please!

Very Disappointed

Steven Ellis's picture

As a long term subscriber of over 10 years I'm very disappointed with the switch to all digital. I tend to carry my copy of Linux Journal in my work bag for a week or two until I've read all of the articles as its very handy to pull out while on the road or waiting between meetings.

I'm and international subscriber and I've chosen to pay the extra to get my copy delivered as quickly as possible and I'm not sure if I want the digital edition.

You should have done better PR then this.

Anonymous's picture

I can understand your decision. But what I don't understand is your way of telling your subscriber this news. I don't think you could have done it worse.
I think it is critical that you provide LJ in a free format (.elib).
I wish you luck, maybe I buy a magazine sometime (in that case it will be in .elib format).


davidrsmithson's picture

Does anybody remember docbook? I don't know what goes on behind the scenes at LJ, but maybe LJ could write the magazine in an intermediate format, such as docbook ( -- or whatever else is out there -- and then compile the mag to every conceivable format as part of the publication process. Writing the code for the production line would be a great way to showcase Linux. It would also make a great article and give LJ an opportunity to be transparent to its audience. It would be a win win kind of situation, I think.


Going ditigal and the implementation are two different things

Alex S's picture

There are two issues being conflated in this thread.

One is the fact that you're going all digital. I know a lot of people don't like that, but it appears to be unavoidable and if done right, it won't be such a bad thing. I read other magazines on my Kindle, and prefer digital content.

The second issue, though, is the format. They're not all the same, and if you don't get this right, you might die. You have to make a world class digital reading experience. PDFs were designed for portable printing, and they are terrible for on screen reading.

The Pragmatic Programmers have a really great system. If you buy an e-book from them you can download it in various formats -- PDF, mobi, epub, etc. They have scripts that render the book into each of their formats on the fly, so you get all of the corrections. In addition, they stamp your book with your name, to discourage you from pirating it.

A lot of what's been posted here makes me think you're taking the production side of this too lightly. It's important, and you have to get it right if you want to survive.

For me, PDFs are a deal breaker. Emailing someone a magazine and saying, "Put this on your reader" is a substantially bigger hassle than what usually happens with magazines on the Kindle.

There are communities of readers and publishers out there who do things in certain ways, and it seems like you guys are not as well plugged into this world as you ought to be given the leap you're taking.

I don't mean to be too negative, or overly harsh. You guys put out a great magazine, and you're incredibly valuable members of the Linux community. I just want to see you guys prosper.

Production -- E-Readers

tuxi's picture

I have been reading Issue 209 on my desktop. It's an OK experience, but I would like to be able to read Linux Journal without a full-fledged computer. I could put the pdf on my kindle, but the multi-column format makes it hard to read. I've tried a conversion with Calibre, but I had difficulties reading that version on the desktop.


Doc Searls's picture

Thanks for the correct take on the importance of production (it's critical), and for pointing us to Pragmatic. I'm not on the production side of this thing, but I know those folks are reading your post, and listening to all the other good help we're getting. Keep it coming.

Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal

One very simple solution

schmolze's picture

One very simple solution would be to give subscribers full rss. Then one could very easily convert content to Kindle or other readers.

Good-bye good friend

Hans Kramer's picture

I am really disappointed. I love the linux journal and I love to read it in my couzy chair. Nonetheless, I have total understanding that it's not affordable anymore to sustain the print version. I think it is sad and a black day for the Linux community in general.

However, what I have no understandig for is the fact that people subscribed for one or two years of a print version do not get what they have ordered. For instance, last May I happily renewed for another two years, which btw is significant more expansive in Europe than in the US (60 USD vs 35 USD a year if I remember it correctly), probably because of the shipping and handling. Well be happy with my money; I will be fine; I just feel cheated in a M$ fashion. Ah, heck, I don't really care about that either.

Setting aside this financial issue and that perhaps in the future my subscrition will be cheaper... which is again no object to me.... would I keep on reading the Linux Journal... not very likely. Of course I can buy a Kindle or other e-reader. I could even print it at work. However, I still think I won't renew my subscription and hardly will open any of the remaining soft copies. Why not? Perhaps I am old fashion, however, I like to receive my hardcopy in the mail and make time available to browse it, put it on my nightstand, show articles to my colleagues and boss. In addition, my wife definitely want to see me less behind a screen of any form... sure she is one of them funny artistic types. Then, the idea that plenty of people are going to freeload on my subscription. Any electronic media is easily copied and distributed.. yuck. And I just loved to see the stack of issues in my home office grow and go through them once in a while.

As I said, a sad day... Nonetheless, I wish you all the best.

Hans Kramer, Ph.D.

I hate the digital format

esanchezvela's picture

Folks, when it comes to technology, I embrace change and challenge, when I leave for the gym in the mornings and see all these newspapers laying on the sidewalks and lawns, I can't help but wonder why all these folks haven't gone digital yet.

Unfortunately on this one I have to agree with all the folks who posted before me on the awful format, I totally hate it and it is just plain unbearable, also agree on the comments regarding "The Economist" I just downloaded the app to my phone and can't wait to get more out of that.

Over the years I've enjoyed the magazine's content, I'm pretty sure I've used a trick or two from the pages of the magazine into my line of job, so I gave the online format of magazine the benefit of the doubt, the verdict: It plain stinks.

I am half blind (well, my kids would say I'm totally blind), so I tried to zoom in as much as possible, just there, the resolution is not enough for me, can't copy/paste on the shell scripts (yep, I know, I can't do that in the magazine as well), the ads you have in the magazine, don't seem to have a link to anywhere (I just tried that in the sept issue), I wonder if that has anything to do with the difficult to sell more advertising or , I see the page navigator on top of the page, why not somewhere along the page or the whole page itself, maybe it is not your fault but the tool you are using, anyhow, it sks, or allow a hot key map to change the page, i hate moving my hand out of the keyboard to grab the mouse....

and so many more things... I wish you luck and too bad that you took this decision just now.

PDF vs Online version

esanchezvela's picture

I downloaded the PDF version and sure it beats the heck out of the online format.

I can live with that.

Enrique.... still hate it. :)

The Reading Device Can Make A Difference

Roy's picture

A few weeks ago I would have been upset about this. But having purchased a Nook Color and setting up Cyanogenmod on microSD card made all the difference.

I've been getting LJ in print for several years and digital copies for the past couple years. Even with a large monitor, I just didn't like reading it electronically. I tried it on my Sony 505 ereader, but it wouldn't display properly (more a problem with the device's weak implementation of PDF reading than the magazine). But the tablet gives me a way to read it very nicely in the same places that I would read the paper copy (recliner, table, etc.).

After having read the September edition earlier this week, before the announcement, I had already decided to renew only the digital subscription anyhow. I'll probably do like another magazine I subscribe to that has a digital offering, print the table of contents and file in a 3-ring binder so I have a tactile method to search back issues.

LJ, just please don't ever go to a proprietary online-only format that we can't download and peruse decades from now. The PDFs are great as is, a person has a lot of flexibility in how they can read/print/search the mag. It would be great if you could also offer epub and Kindle formats for dedicated ereaders (look at how O'Reilly offers electronic books).

I hope this helps keep LJ running well and perhaps even grow it back out in size!

Good luck,

epub format on the way

Carlie Fairchild's picture

We're working on an epub format right now. Give us just a couple weeks...

Thanks for your feedback!

Carlie Fairchild is the publisher of Linux Journal.

How about mobi?

tuxi's picture

A mobi format for the kindle would be great. I know I can convert (generally pretty well) in Calibre if necessary.

Give it one chance! (and some suggestions for LJ's staff)

pdestefanis's picture


You feel cheated, I feel the same, but hold for a second before taking your support away from LJ. I can think of many other things that are much worse that the cost of the subscriptions (ie. look at the stock market!).

LJ did bad in not having an e-reader version, and I hope that they will reformat the PDF edition (the tabloid format does not bode well with our screens - DOUG: I HOPE YOU READ THIS!), but I hope they know this, or they are seeing it now, and they will change it.

Let's give LJ a chance to do so! What about three months? That's about $7 in the cost of your subscription. And it's worth it. We need to support the magazines we love, and asking for refunds en-masse, will not "make a point". It will kill the magazine.

Please guys, let's have a plan. Let's give them a few months before killing the subscription, and if nothing improved, well, you lost $7. If it does -even if the print edition is not back-, we will save the magazine, which is not only articles, but also people.

LJ Team: What about a quarterly or bi-annual print edition? How much that will cost?
What about an e-reader for Android (and other platforms)?
Can you revise the format for the PDF? Something that's screen friendly. Long columns do not help.

Thank you for reading,


Your suggestions are great

Carlie Fairchild's picture

Pablo, thanks for the great suggestions. Re: a bi-annual print edition, in the recent past when we have surveyed readers, we were left with the impression not enough folks would be interested in paying for said subscription type. But you know what, we'll survey folks again and see if it's something folks would be up for. We're absolutely willing and wanting to explore all options here.

Re: ereader for Android, we have an Android app coming out in a few weeks and in the meanwhile I like to use Aldiko (a free PDF reader) to view the PDF of LJ. It looks great. Also as a side note here but we have an .epub version in the works too so folks can read it on their Nooks, Kindles, etc. Should be out in a couple weeks also.

Revise the format of the PDF, this is something we've explored and are exploring. I don't have any promises on this one yet, but do know we're looking in to it.

Keep sending suggestions... these are great!!!

Carlie Fairchild is the publisher of Linux Journal.

Survey says

Anonymous's picture


I'm guessing you forgot to take into account that the surveys might not be 100% representative of your subscribers? Myself I don't usually do polls and stuff, but I pipe-up when a product gets discontinued.

I mentioned in another comment about "Print on Demand". Why not just go that route and see what happens. Just change your announcement to "90% digital". The cost is minimal to you and "dinosaurs" who like dead trees could still get their print-fix at a premium.


Print on Demand?

Ninjak's picture

I think that the "Print on Demand" solution would cost a lot of money to publisher and readers...

Print on Demand

carlfink's picture

How could POD cost the publisher anything? All they have to do, at the most basic level, is upload a PDF to one of the many services that exist. The only expense after that is to the buyers.

Yeah, so what?

John_Buehrer's picture

And what if some of us are willing to pay the price? I for one am tired of hearing "it's too expensive for you" without ever seeing some quantified amounts. Just because you're broke doesn't mean the rest of us are.

"If you thing awareness is expensive, try ignorance. That can really cost you."

A 60 page pdf will cost about

Joseph Vaughan's picture

A 60 page pdf will cost about $12.00 to print from, with $2.56 being the cheapest delivery (USPS). That's for quantity 1. Might not LJ try to negotiate something with a POD service so that those who do like the paper version could still get it? I will miss reading the paper version, not least because I like to read paper after spending the whole day in front of a computer. Have not decided yet whether to discontinue my subscription -- it would be a sad day, but if I find that I don't read the digital version, it would make no sense to continue.

Well, so you can order your

Ninjak's picture

Well, so you can order your printed copy to the publisher :-)
Good luck

P.D. "You're broke"? You are not nice, really. Stay calm. You don't know what you say... are you working for a publisher? Do you know costs of printing?

Ebook readers

Anonymous's picture

So can I subscribe or get the magazine formatted as epub or mobi? Otherwise no interest here.

epub format on the way

Carlie Fairchild's picture

We are working on an epub format as I write this. Should be done in a couple weeks. We'll notify subscribers when it's ready.

Carlie Fairchild is the publisher of Linux Journal.

I will subscribe to epub

Elder-Geek's picture

I have read fiction and manuals a pdf and htlm for the past 14 years without problem. For the past 6 or 7 years I convert everything to .mobi format and read on a palm-pilot. I have not picked up a print book for years. Now that I have a Kindle I would be willing to subscribe for 1 year on general principle if I can get the publication in .mobi or .epub format. I look forward to seeing the epub edition and subscribing.