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 gm@linuxjournal.com. 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 Senior Editor of Linux Journal

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Kobo newsstand

Tuxly_Tuxford_McTuxtington's picture

I emailed LJ the other day to ask if they can somehow get the .epub onto the Kobo newsstand (ie. subscribe and it automatically gets pushed via wifi to your Kobo ereader). Carlie replied that they're looking into making that a possibility.

I'm willing to pay Kobo's markup (whatever that is) to not be bothered with syncing the ereader and just having it magically appear. :)

Not all linux users have the wallet to stomach print subs

Jesper M's picture

Going to sub as a result of this. I think most of the paper proponents are Americans and so oblivious to the significant cost increase of being an overseas subscriber.
Also, perhaps some long time subscribers forget where they came from. As a student in these times I can tell that money is hard to come by so cost reduction is key - I quite simply wouldn't be able to afford the print edition.
We pride ourselves on proponing a system affordable to all and so it should follow that everyone should be able to afford the associated content, right?

A real harakiri!

Arturo's picture

The LJ team continues to work forgetting how heavy it was going digital in terms of preferences by subscribers. In Italy we would say: "Buon viso a cattiva gioco". In fact, comments on various threads, suggest that the most unhappy about this sudden decision, they have not received satisfaction to their request. I am increasingly convinced that the way in which the passage was conducted, was a real harakiri!

I take it that missing a few hours at the exit of the next issue and I remain curious to see if you, Doc Searls, or someone else back on the subject; I wonder if they will be provided with an appropriate set of instructions to read ePub in the best way on the individual devices may not only focus on Android; on the other hand, we had all just a lazy habit of opening the letter-box and nothing else, and now we have to install, download, etc.

Among 23 days will end, however, the survey launched on LI, http://t.co/ZUv5PRe and there there was a clear preference votes: 91% like hard-copy journal. I do not see the enthusiasm and excitement shown by you.

73,
Arturo.

Last day to express a vote, tomorrow the final result...

Arturo's picture

Last day to express a vote http://linkd.in/r1IOeB

Tomorrow the final results that regardless of the number of participants highlighted dissatisfaction produced by such a choice (of survival!).

For everything else, so again within a year! Thanks to those who wished to participate in this poll! Cold comfort is that they can not change the status quo :-( We need to think "digital" by necessity!!!

NB: I have not yet found the time to read the October issue :-(

73, Arturo.

Sad and makes no sence

Anonymous's picture

When I found out about this I was extremely surprised and thought, "No! I just renewed my subscription!" It's really too bad and removes the reader's choice. There already was a digital version, if there is a monetary problem raise the price $5-10. I going to try my hardest to cancel my subscription and I am now moving to Linux Magazine.

Offering an exchange rate for print to digital?

Anonymous's picture

Is LJ offering an 'exchange rate' for those poor souls forced from print to digital?

I mean print cost more so more issues should be given to all those that no longer need mail boxes... right?

I propose a 2 for 1 exchange. For every print edition left in the subscription you get two digital issues. That is all depending (of course) on whether or not LJ stays open for business.

Not impressed with your change but....

Kirby T's picture

...I believe the information you provide is a benefit that I will continue to need and use. I too prefer reading on paper as others have noted. As for the 'green crap'...trees are an ACTUAL renewable resource...we grow them and they can be recycled. You don't renew sunlight or wind. You capture it or it's gone. Please be honest, this is a money saving move. Regards.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

notyoursubscriber's picture

I've been a subscriber for years, but I will not continue without the hard copy version. As a paranoid user about my privacy I don't like the electronic data is being handled these days, and therefore don't care to have other know that I read your magazine. your only conciliation is that I won't ask for me money back, as a thank you for your years of service.

In all seriousness

notyoursubscriber's picture

The most disappointing part about all this is not that it went digital only, but that I never received a survey asking if I was willing to pay more to keep the print version going. I would, and will, be willing to pay more for the print version. A quarterly version is acceptable, especially if the articles are far more in depth than the standard formula i.e. two paragraphs of installing, a couple more for basic config, and cursory synopsis of what the software does.

You read your paper copy in a locked room?

Anonymous's picture

So, you never read your LJ paper copy in public - on the bus or in the metro system? People would know that you read the magazine - how awful!

Surely it's easier to hide your illicit pleasure by keeping LJ hidden digitally on the hard drive of your computer. No paper to burn before disposal. Quick, shut the lid - someone's coming!

So you think that's a delete you are using? hmm....

notyoursubscriber's picture

Nope, I don't read it in public, or didn't.

Simple choice

lee's picture

I have been an international print subscriber for years and I, like many others, would have preferred to remain so. Having said that, it is clear from Doc's comments that LJ survival depends upon being a digital-only entity. So, my comments are:

a) I much prefer LJ to ploughing through all the blogs out there.
b) I will try and work with the digital format and reach a view after six months or so
c) I would appreciate the existence of a kindle-format version. PDF does NOT work on a kindle. I have tried it many times.
d) I wish you all well and hope to remain a subscriber after 2012 (My last renewal was up in September so I just renewed for one year)
e) I like the much-reduced digital price.

All the best

Lee

Bye-bye, LJ

John Willis's picture

I do not enjoy reading magazines digitally, and will be demanding a refund for my un-delivered issues.

Bye LJ

Anonymous's picture

I do not want any digital issues! I do not enjoy reading a computer screen. I go with print copy in case of a sun or nuke EMP, hello third world U.S.A. I will be able to read a print copy, will you be able to read all of your digital copy?

I also expect a full refund for all remaining print copies I have paid for.

The 1950s called, they want their duck and cover back

corfy's picture

No offense, but I would think if there were a nuclear attack, you'd probably have more important things to worry about than reading your back issues of Linux Journal. And if there were an EMP, you likely wouldn't have anything to install or run Linux on, anyway.

----
Laugh at life or life will laugh at you.

I do not like and look changes

Arturo's picture

Hi,
I see that here is someone who likes this abrupt choice, but those who voted in the poll released on linkedin were very disappointed. In fact, compared to the rest of us, it was appropriate to wait until the regular expiration of subscriptions to decide whether to continue with the digital version or discontinue their subscription. Evidently trying to stall until the last forced the publisher to make this mess as a matter of cash flows, thus betraying the trust of readers.

If things remain the same, and will not be corrective, not renew my membership because, despite what some think, the hard copy is a basic point, everything else where being an extra, chosen freely.

I will vote I do not like http://t.co/ZUv5PRe and wait for better times :-(

NB: Maybe someone did not expect such a reluctance on the 'digital men'!?

Good luck LJ team,
Arturo.

digital edition only

jeff wheeler's picture

I just tried to find a renewal for my physical subscription, sadly and quite shockingly I realized you are only publishing the digital format.
I like trees but I also like carrying around the physical edition, reading on airplanes and at night w/o having to consume electricity.
I understand the financial aspects.
An increase in costs would have been just fine.
Perhaps the 'lion in the street' (high costs for physical..) was not as threatening as you think. We are a loyal bunch and would pay more for intelligence and guidance.
I've been a fan since the 90s and thank you for all of the great articles, advice and guidance.
Like all friendships I suspect this one must end.

Blessings on your future direction.

Now where did I put that URL for Linux Magazine?.....

regards
jeff

Fait accompli

Anonymous's picture

From reading the replies of the editor and publisher, it seems to me that you decided that digital was the way to go and you really had no interest what your subscribers would have said.

Happy with the PDF

LolZim's picture

I changed for a digital-only subscription 3 years ago and I am still happy with it. For me, this will just change nothing at all. I hope.

I read it on a tablet and archive them on my computer, where I can easily find an article. That was my primary reason to switch to digital: archiving and searching.

yes! it's about time!!

klaatu's picture

I'm actually not a huge fan of the printed page. It feels fleeting and unnecessary. So, yeah, give me an epub! As long as the quality and content remain the same (and I'm sure it will) then I say go for it! Definitely renewing my subscription, and yes - let's move into the next, digital century already!

Re: Printing Costs

tom45555's picture

After doing some analysis, I have found the following per copy ... your mileage may vary.

Magcloud.com .20 per page x 150 = $30.00
Subscription = $2.45
Shipping (approx) = $5.00
Total per copy = $37.45

Inkjet printing .10 per page x 150 = $15.00
Subscription = $2.45
Total per copy = $17.45

Black & White Laser printing .4 per page x 150 = $6.00
Subscription = $2.45
Total per copy = $8.45

No printing = $0.00
Subscription = $2.45
Total per copy = $2.45

Value of all the above = Priceless!! ;D

Tom Nielsen

You forgot an important computation

Anonymous's picture

No printing = $0.00
No Subscription = $0.00
Total per copy = $0.00

As many others have pointed out, reading a print magazine is a wonderful respite from a day of looking at screens.
You can toss the paper magazine on the floor and pick up your kid but you can't do that with a Kindle. You can roll up the paper magazine and shove it in your pocket to read when you hop on the train but you can't do that with an iPad. You can leave marginalia and underline parts of Dave Taylor's scripts in the print version but you can't do that on a .PDF. Shall I continue?

I consider the $30 per year to be really cheap. If it costs more to print, I'm willing to pay for that. But I'm not willing to pay for LJ to not print a magazine.

Had to unsubscribe

Gumnos's picture

Though disappointed in both the abrupt nature of the announcement and the content itself, I figured I'd give the benefit of the doubt and try the free digital edition.

While the content is still better than the average blog post, the format would be better served by a continuous-scrolling format (i.e. HTML) that flows into whatever screen-size I'm using (typing this at a 9" netbook screen) at whatever font-size I find legible. To get a legible font-size on the digital version, I had to painfully pan up and down every column, losing the continuity of the text's flow.

As such, I sadly canceled my subscription and wish you the best.

How do I download it?

uteck's picture

I was a bit shocked when I got the email. I usually ignored the PDF version and waited for the dead tree to arrive. Now you just need to make it esier to find the downloads for members.
I was poking around on the site trying to find the download section, but couldn't. Eventually I went back to my email and followed the link it had to the download page. I did boomark it, but if I use a differnt computer I will be searching for it again.
Here is the link for others:
https://secure2.linuxjournal.com/pdf/dljdownload.php

I used the enhanced version and it read well, but sitting at my desk and reading is not what I am used to. I might grab a HP Touchpad if I can find one, then I can read in a more relaxed position.

wow

mugs's picture

I just happened to stumble upon this news right now, as for some reason my mail delivery of Linux Journal varies month by month (I have subscribed for about 8 years). I always wait very anxiously every month for my copy, so I wasn't too concerned that it is already the 25th of August and hadn't gotten it yet. I will greatly miss the hard copy of the magazine (it is the only magazine I subscribe to and read regularly). That being said, I wonder why I didnt get any email notification of this change or the email with the link to the September issue? I am also an observant Jew and will miss the ability to read the magazine on the Sabbath and holidays. Please let me know how and where I can get my digital edition. Thanks.

glad to see a pure digital version of the complete mag

Anonymous's picture

When going digital and displaying on computers PDF is always superior. ePub ad mobi are great for mobile devices, but they suck on desktop. I also think more users will be able to subscribe to Linux Journal now that it's digital and perhaps cheaper. No more empty newsstands, or lost in the mail excuses.

Granted nothing beats the durability of a paper magazine, but with digital editions you can collect your issues a lot easier than carting stacks of paper mags every time you move.

I still think $20-30 is too expensive for a digital edition.

WTF!

ve4drk's picture

At least that was my first impression with my jawbone dropping when I received the email ...
Being one who enjoys reading the journal with pages in hand and passing it onto my son, I found it a sad day.
Will see how the digital version works out in the future -- time will tell. -sigh-
Dan.

Format

ppyo's picture

I've been with LJ for years, first from the newsstand and later as a subscriber. I am sorry about the hardcopy demise, but I liked LJ because of the CONTENT. I remain loyal to the magazine, but I certainly would like to see alternate formats: not everybody likes PDF, I certainly don't. EPUB would be fine by me, to be able to read LJ in my Android phone, iPad, or in my desktop with Calibre.
Keep up the good work!

Ppyo - A proud Linux user since '96.
Distros in use: Ubuntu, Jolicloud, Android, Zubuntu/Cacko (Zaurus).

I don't necessarily mind that

Anonymous's picture

I don't necessarily mind that the magazine went all digital, although I would have liked some more warning, but I am quite irked that they kept to a format that works well for magazines but not so well for things you read on a screen.


When I am talking                 I mean the one where
about a format that               things are laid out like
works well for magazines          this.

I absolutely *LOATHE* it when folk insist on using this for PDFs or web pages. If they don't change it, I am probably going to stop being a subscriber.

Embracing 100% Digital Step

hermann's picture

Today I got a special offer for the digital Linux Journal subscription.
I've been a subscriber of your print magazine for about 10 years (started with one of the first issues).
Over time shipping and handling to Germany got more expensive than the subscription itself and I decided I needed to cancel my subscription. That must have been about 7 (or so) years ago.
Today I immediately renewed my subscription. I read a lot on my iPad and I hope that your 100% Digital Stip will work out for you as you deserve it.

-Hermann-

Thank you.

venomfang's picture

I for one would like to say thank you.
I do have about a few years worth of Linux Journal mags at home that are taking up some space; now having it go to full digital will be nice; gives me the ability to look at the pdf while i'm on the road or browse to it on my laptop/workstation.

For those of you who complain about going digital; do you even understand the cost it is to publish a mag from concept to print? The printing process alone contains an insane amount of middlemen and supply fees that are not cheap. Put on top of it delivery costs and such it makes it much harder to put out a decent product.

Lets not forget that they can have more current articles.

I for one will be signing up for a subscription again here, once payday comes around.

We have to face it soon that this is the way that most tech publications are going to be forced to do.

Linux Journal please keep bringing us the interesting articles that you have provided in the past.

PS: The web based Sept 2011 edition looks good on firefox on my desktop, but on the android web browser it needs some work on the shrink-to-fit/zoom; but pdf works great.

They've had a digital edition

Anonymous's picture

They've had a digital edition for some time now, so I don't see why you couldn't have just subscribed to that long ago?

Regarding the cost to publish, for Print on Demand, it's somewhere between $2 to $10 depending which company you deal with and where the mags get shipped to; no middlemen, supply fees, etc. The same POD company ships to the customers, so no issues here either. Really, all it costs is the < 20 minutes to upload the existing PDF file to the POD website, the rest is passed on to the customers, some of which are obviously willing to pay a premium to get a nice printed copy.

I don't know exactly which version of the Sept 2011 edition I looked at, but to me it looked clunkly and had a weird skinned UI with crappy looking widgets and such. The actual PDF itself was fine I guess, for being in a format made for print, viewed on a widescreen computer monitor.

I realize that...

venomfang's picture

Yes but you have realize that all of these factors is what contributes to the cost that the publishing company charges someone like linux journal.

Let's take your numbers cost is between $2 to $10 a mag. The mag at news stands cost $6 if it costs say $7 so that`s a $1 loss to start with. Sure they make money off of advertising but they do have to make money for things like payroll, office expenses, infrastructure costs, hosting, and other expenses.

If you can cut out a middle man (aka the POD), keep your articles more current, increase your profit margin, and possibly make the publication more streamlined would you not see this as a good thing from a business prospective? Not to mention the costs to international subscribers alone will be greatly reduced.

Let`s face it Linux Journal is a company, and like any company they have to make money for there share holders and staff.

As for the version yes it looks great on my 19 inch and 22 inch widescreens at work and at home, macbook 13 inch a little squished, and the pdf; yes they are not the best format, but show me a device that will not, or can not be made too, open a pdf, they are highly portable, yes I will agree they are not great for magazines that have a column layout, but that is something that could be addressed as well, if the pdf version was just 1 column of text and not 2 to 3, I believe it would make it easier to read on portable & mobile devices.

I am hoping with some tinkering the new online(http) version will be able to have a better screen size scaling, but not too bad for there first month going fully digital.

I have an idea, instead of complaining about it. How about offering some feedback that would be useful with making the digital version better, instead of complaining about it? Lets move forward and try to make the best out of this, instead of dragging it through the mud.

Also yes I know they have had digital issues for a few years, but going fully digital is a huge milestone.

That`s just my view on it

venomfang's picture

That`s just my view on it anyway.

Re: A Solution

tom45555's picture

Since there is an apparent fundamental need for a printed copy of the magazine .... I don't know if this has been already suggested .... but why don't you all print it yourself? I have an HP Photosmart C6280 and figure it to cost approx. $15.00 in supplies to do the job. For all of those who complain about "that" cost .... I say "welcome to what it really means to be in business."

If this "really" is the obstacle for maintaining a subscription, then this is a viable solution and since binding materials are relatively cheap, you can still carry that hard copy to the airport or where ever. Just my 2 cents worth. ;)

Tom Nielsen

P.S. By the way, 2 cents "used" to buy a lot of candy. :D

1) I don't have a printer 2)

Anonymous's picture

1) I don't have a printer
2) If I did, it won't be a nice durable and glossy magazine
3) It's illegal to duplicate copyrighted materials (I think ... IANAL)

Print Option Provided

RO's picture

right on the enhanced digital edition menu bar, even a cover-to-cover option, but I think I would skip the big full-page ads (after giving them a glance of course - every so often they are relevant to me ;-) ). I guess they would not provide that if they did not want you to do it, eh?

RIP Linux Journal, it was fun

Anonymous's picture

RIP Linux Journal, it was fun while it lasted.

Quarterly or Semi-Annual Print Versions?

Anonymous's picture

I have noticed lots of comments and suggestions asking about quarterly or semi-annual print versions. I would be interested in seeing such editions on the newsrack at the big bookstores and in the airport shops. That way I can buy them if I am interested.

I would not be interested in a subscription for a combined digital and sometimes print edition.

FWIW I used to be a print subscriber of many years. I just made the phone calls and sent in the emails to cancel my subscription.

A Sad Day

CanJeff's picture

I almost shed a tear when I read the email stating the sudden change. Although I understand the challenges to physical printing I do appreciate a paper copy.

I just renewed my subscription for paper and electronic versions because while I enjoy the option of reading on a device I still like the paper copy best.

I wish Linux Journal many more years of success and I will not jump ship. I made my decision to subscribe to Linux Journal over other publications because of the overall content delivered to me.

All the best... and I forgive LJ for not giving us a heads-up. ;)

Jeff

PS I also visit the website regularly for current news items.

I have been a subscriber for

Anonymous's picture

I have been a subscriber for a few years now, and as a not too long ago n00b, I consider myself fortunate to have had information available to me in as palatable a form as presented by Linux Journal. I trust that the magazine will not only survive but continue to grow. The fact is many folks are turning to digital media and paper is becoming a thing of the past. Just the facts!

Linux Journal Online - Great!

BCBilly's picture

One thing I hate about print based magazines is it is always hard to find the back copy that had a how-to guide on implementing (x).

I have recently purchased a Xoom tablet and I love Press Reader, that allows me to read all my local papers for far cheaper than news stand prices. This way I stay connected to the community. I see ads for local business's, I can read letters and submitted articles. Stuff that is missing from online content.

Editors and Staff work hard to make the content pertinent and interesting, rather than have to do that leg work myself. I find it opens my eyes to other things that I may not have aggregated from online searches myself.

Linux Journal is the epitome of all of this, and I'm excited to hear that possibility of more content. I hope they hold the same high standards for their articles and don't let it get watered down.

Plus, isn't it fun to look at compiled back issues to see prices and technology that were the bleeding edge 5 - 10 years ago.

I can imagine that this would be a hard transition to do, but I am encouraged to hear that you are committed to make the magazine online a success. I will continue to subscribe.

Billy

Very Disappointed

JeffR's picture

I am very disappointed in the way this matter was handled. I learned about via a post on Slashdot about 2 days ago, and not from the LJ magazine. Why?

A note inserted into the last print edition would have been nice way to alert paid subscribers, but that takes advance planning.

I started to get concerned when my Sept. 2011 print edition did not arrive around the expected date. After a while you can mark on the calendar when a print edition should arrive in the mail. When I have a trip coming up I start to gather reading material and LJ was a favorite of mine for trips.

Now I get to call the LJ subscription desk and have a conversation about cancelling my subscription and refunding the balance due. My sub is paid up through May 2012 according to the mailing label on my Aug. 2011 print edition. I will save that edition and that label just in case I don't like what I hear on the phone; it could be evidence after all.

As for the way LJ (mis-)handled this matter, I think they could have done much better. I was once a subscriber to a well-known home-builder audio electronics magazine that has been around since the 1970's, but with a smaller subscriber base that is just as loyal as the LJ base.

That publisher (they only ever had one) started to advise the readers almost 2 years in advance of his considerations for an all-digital magazine due to similar economic issues that LJ has mentioned. 2 years! He even sent out a card to mail back requesting subscriber viewpoints on the matter. I did not renew, mainly due to cost, since his all-digital edition cost more than his disappearing print edition.

Here's a few things that I don't like about all-digital versions:

(1) They may contain (now or in the future) some sort of DRM that prevents my reading on the device of my choosing. PDF eBooks can be like this. Call that a typical Linux user attitude, or just plain "free choice".

(2) The electronic distribution format might not be something that my devices can support. Sometimes that means buying a certain type of device or installing a certain type of software. Definitely not what I would want as it doesn't support my "free choice" attitude.

(3) I can't read an electronic edition while an airplane is taking off or landing. Having any electronic devices powered on at certain times during a commercial flight is a violation of US Federal law. In some countries having a device that supports certain types of encryption is illegal, according to my employer. Thus, an electronic edition, especially if it might require a specialized reader with decryption abilities (either hardware or software) has "limited utility".

(4) Another poster mentioned that paper survives better in certain climates compared to electronics. I totally agree, and paper stuffs better into backpacks compared to electronics.

(5) Sometimes I can't take an electronic edition, or any electronics, into certain places whereas I can take a printed volume of anything I like. Security types know what I am talking about here.

(6) I liked a comment made by another poster about subscribers in prison. In a few states in the US the prisons allow the inmates to use electronic devices like computers. An electronic edition disenfranchises a reading population that already, by definition, has very limited choices.

(7) Like many posters I like the print version because I can take it with me to a fast food place or whatever without worrying about the theft of an expensive electronic reader or damaging the reader by dropping it or getting it wet.

Last comment. Like many posters here, I have been a loyal subscriber to LJ for almost a decade, may be longer. At least SysAdmin magazine sent out a letter before they disappeared, and they offered to move my subscription to another publication. I accepted and enjoy that fine (european) Linux publication to this day.

Not a good move

memyselfandI's picture

Sorry but this is just not a good move.
In fact, reading the comments, it's a disaster in the making.
I hope you'll survive but just like "Byte Magazine" that went online, you won't

Best regards
Paul

Re: Encouragement

tom45555's picture

Doc & Carlie
Just wanted to say thanks for "The Linux Journal." Weather in hard copy or digital form, I find the work to be outstanding! :D Especially as far as articles and journalism goes. With regard to support for Linux, your publication has always been intriguing.

I too have enjoyed the printed copy and have looked forward to my trips to Barnes and Noble to find the latest edition on the shelf. However, I do understand the cost issue and have made the personal adjustment to digital forms of various publications ... including the beautifully laid out PCLinuxOS Magazine. Which, started out and has remained a digital version only.

The truth is that, in terms of survival, it is "far" better to have the digital form, then not at all. I, myself am not so concerned with "tactile" feel more then I am with survival and "content." To the ones who "say" they can find this information, elsewhere "for free", I say "no one is denying you that freedom." However, there is nothing wrong with having a "paid" subscription to that information and the value that the Linux Journal publication provides. Even if that information wasn't "free" it would still be of great value. So it is with this that I offer a word of encouragement to you and the staff, as well as to the readers to hang in there and make the transition.

I just downloaded and went through the "free" September issue and find it to contain as much professionalism as the hard copy. Right down to the advertisements. Which, by the way, I enjoy as well!! I'm actually thankful that "they" offset the cost of the publication.

I wish "you" (both the Journal "and" readers) success in the transition and look forward to survival of the publication.

Tom Nielsen

Which Digital

schmolze's picture

For me its not a question of digital or not, but which digital. I selected digital but was reluctant because it was pdf. I still at best browse in contrast to reading Linux Journal in pdf format. If I want to read I will grab my Kindle.

The model should not be digital but digitals, Linux Journal available in multiple digital modes. I should be able to subscribe and download it on pdf, on a Kindle, Nook, html all from 1 subscription. Even if someone wants a print format they should be able to print on demand.

If Linux Journal really wants to adapt they need to expand from pdf. I can't imagine resubscribing if there are not more digital options.

Thanks!

Doc Searls's picture

Much appreciated, Tom. Means a lot to is.

Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal

Why the short notice?

Anonymous's picture

This feels like an act of desperation! Why not give folks a little notice so they could get used to the idea? I've been a subscriber since 1998 and don't read digital publications the way I do physical media. I'll still subscribe, but it would have been nice to have a little time to transition and maybe provide some feedback along the way.

Sure

Doc Searls's picture

We'd have to be desperate to give up something we've been doing since the beginning, that defines us as a magazine, and that would keep everybody happy. And it would have been great if we had the luxury of time, and could have vetted different choices with readers. If we could do the whole thing over again, we would have done many things differently. Frankly, if we could have seen the future, in, say, 2008, we might have stopped printing the magazine sooner. But we held on for as long as we did because somehow we always found a way to keep it going, month after month. Luck was always on our side. Finally, it wasn't, and we had to make a tough choice quickly.

Consider this: would you *start* a magazine like Linux Journal now — one you could make good enough to earn paying subscribers? Do you see anybody else doing that?

My point: we're keeping a good thing going the best we can. We've made mistakes, and we'll make more. We'll do our best to learn from them, and move on.

Meanwhile, existence beats the alternatives, and while we exist I think we're still putting out a pretty good magazine, the only way we can.

I'm not crazy about reading pixels instead of paper, but the devices are getting better, and we're all learning along the way.

Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal

Advertising?

K Scharf's picture

With the money you will save on printing and postage if you keep the advertising in the magazine maybe the digital subscriptions could be free and the advertising would provide enough revenue for the magazine?
Certainly the cost of the magazine might go down for subscribers and the overseas readers should no longer be charged extra for postage no longer being required!

Finally, I haven't (yet) been emailed my copy of the Sept issue. (then again my DSL was down for two days, thank you NOT AT&T!).

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