I noticed that /var/opinion and Petreley have been replaced by Doc Searls and EOF. Is this a permanent change?
I let my subscription lapse a while ago due to Petreley's divisive, blow-hard "opinion" pieces. After a discussion with a colleague prompted me to dig more, I found this. I'll be re-subscribing soon. I've missed LJ, but won't be missing him.
It appears that the lines have been drawn. Who gets the axe next, maybe Marcel Gagne? IMHO Petreley did his best to advocate for the budding and average user, encouraging them to develop more skills along the way. His "truth hurts" editorial style hopefully has prodded Gnome, Fedora and others into embracing usability issues. I had been a reader and subscriber for years, but let my subscription lapse as I sensed that advocacy was dying at LJ.
We're reading over the comments here and would love to get some more specific feedback about what people would like to see in place of /var/opinion if not EOF. Let us know... we'd love the feedback.
My personal two cents:
I like the back page leaving us with something thought-provoking. Stirring the pot a little isn't a bad thing - it at minimum enters us (the community) in to a deeper conversation. As readers, how do you feel about this?
Carlie Fairchild is the publisher of Linux Journal.
Agree on the thought provoking part, but Doc Searls seems to talk way above the heads of what I think the average LJ reader is interested in. Not over our heads in intelligence, but too much "Linux for Suits" and "paradigms", and buzzwords. Talk technical! Bring back Nick! Or how about Don Marti? Or a guest writer every month? And why the unceremonious dumping of Nick? Isn't he at least worthy of a little blurb in the print magazine that mentions his leaving?
We all had fun while Nicholas Petreley bashed Microsoft and held Sun/Java's feet to the fire, when it came to open source.
Guess what? Microsoft is still Microsoft, but now Sun/Java is going open source crazy. I'm sure that Petreley's commentary wasn't the deciding factor but that it helped rally people.
Did you also hear all the heaping praise for Java 6? I think that proves that he does have balance.
Everyone was glad when he supported their favorite application, distribution, etc. However, when it comes to ranting against something we might like, we get personally offended. Well, why?
Holding GNOME's feet to the fire, for example, over usability issues may have been over-the-top, but it was effective. I'm sure that if he had reviewed KDE 4.0.0's release at the Journal, he would have let us known about that, too.
Virtually every time I go to Slashdot, Digg, Reddit, whatever, I see people posting their own rants. If we really don't like Petreley's commentary, then why does the community feel free to give their own commentary, at the drop of a hat.
You know what? GNOME vs. KDE harms the community, as do Debian/Ubuntu vs. RedHat vs. Gentoo vs. SuSE vs. Slackware vs. whatever-flavor-of-the-month. I don't believe that supporting everything Linux-related is healthy for its long-term growth.
In fact, the idea, "Can't everyone just get along" is what is keeping Linux from dominating the desktop and data center, today. Why do we have at least two of everything?!?!?
It's time to pick from the cream of the crop, pair down, and standardize more, even if we are critical of volunteer effort. (Yes, I hate that part, too, since many in the open source community pour their heart and soul into applications we enjoy, for free. Being critical seems mean to a lot of good people, but if their software is deficient, perhaps a rant like his can be a catalyst for positive change).
Do I agree with everything Nicholas Petreley? Nope. I actually wish he had toned down a couple of rant articles, myself. However, I think he provided journalistic balance, compared to the "hey, if it's Linux, it's gotta be good" editors of the past.
As for KDE vs. GNOME, I'm a KDE fan. There, I said it. Petreley didn't sway me that way, however, GNOME did.
I'm one who will miss Nicholas Petreley.
Nicholas Petreley is no longer with Linux Journal. Doc Searls' EOF is currently replacing /var/opinion. Please don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com if you have any comments or questions.
Jill Franklin, Executive Editor, Linux Journal
Nicholas Petreley is no longer with Linux Journal.
I think it is bad form not to provide some explanation of the change in print.
The magazine under Petreley's direction did have a few bad ideas (I recall there being a column of tips written in some silly style), but he got rid of them quickly when they didn't work. Overall he seemed to do a fine job, and at least he was trying new stuff. I think its silly the way some got so bent out of shape that he criticized some open source projects.
Given that Doc Searls remained heavily involved with the magazine even while Petreley was the editor, it makes me wonder why the publisher bothered hiring him and what they hoped to accomplish.
There's nothing particularly wrong with Doc Searls' direction, but the magazine benefited from Petreley's fresh approach, and I looked forward to reading his opinion column.
Nicholas Petreley links:
http://petreley.com/ (nothing there yet)
Yes, Nick and LJ parted ways amicably several months ago when we reorganized our editorial department. Varlinux.org is something Nick has done for years -- do definitely check it out, it's a great site.
We've no plans to print a page in LJ about this -- LJ is and always has been bigger than just one person.
We're very happy to chat with anyone who would like to talk or learn more about LJ editorial however. Always feel free to drop me a note, my email address is below.
Now we get boring commentary from DS toting the company line. How drab is that.
At least Nicholas Petreley brought some excitement to the scene. The morons that couldn't see that Nicholas Petreley was a 'user advocate' disappoint me. His comments on MythTV were right on, the same for alot of what he said.
"Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal. He is also a Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Fellow with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University." You know what DS, no one cares where you visit or who you drink coffee with at Harvard. We need someone with 'boots on the ground' experience where us users need the most help.
I seem to be in the minority, but I enjoyed reading Nick's commentary, much more so than Doc Searls. I take it his leaving wasn't on good terms, since there's been no mention of it in the magazine. It was front of the mag news when he came on board, yet not a word when he leaves. "Anonymous" below doesn't really speak for _all_ of the "community at large"! LJ is way bigger than any one person/editor/author, so I'd never change my subscription based on one person anyway. But it would be nice to see some comment on his leaving in print. Thanks.
And a collective sigh of relief was heard from the community. I will consider re-subscribing now.
The community at large welcomes the departure of Nicholas Petreley. As a reader, this Petreley period (constant sniping and snide clueless remarks) was a time away from Linux Journal. I'm certainly willing to open my wallet and renew a subscription. This bad relationship is over!
Now the Linux Journal can start raising the bar for quality journalism and get back to a position of leadership.
Time to re-up my subscription it looks like....