Response to Shawn Powers

This is a response I left for Shawn Powers on his blog post (…):


I've been a Linux Journal reader for many years, it's the only magazine I've subscribed to for years and I read it cover-to-cover every month. I took it to LUG meetings and convinced others it was a worthwhile investment of their time and money. I got in the habit of folding down the corners of pages that mentioned interesting software or other references so that the next time I was at my computer I could look up those references.

You seem surprised by the amount of negative feedback or perhaps by the vehemence of that negative feedback. Though I can only speak for myself I feel fairly confident the reason for my strong negative reaction is shared by many, many other readers: we too love Linux Journal – we're angry that we're losing something we enjoy and looked forward to every month.

I think the way this switch to a digital only format was handled is also a significant cause of anger among subscribers. We had no inkling that something like this was about to happen. It was as if we went to a nice restaurant, ordered sirloin steaks and baked potatoes and then the waiter brought us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead with the explanation that the restaurant made the decision to only serve PB&J's shortly after we placed our order for steaks.

For many of us an electronic version is simply not a viable option. Like the majority of tech folks I spend entirely too much time behind a monitor. I have a wife, two daughters and an infant son whom I prefer to spend time with. Having a physical magazine allowed me to leave this computer to spend time with my family and also enjoy the fruits of your (and everyone else at LJ) labor. I don't have any kind of portable reader and based on my research the digital publishing world still hasn't figured out a viable business model (some publishers simply don't offer their wares in digital format while others price e-books at the same or even higher price than their hardback versions – and don't get me started on all that DRM stuff...).

I appreciate the time and effort everyone at Linux Journal has put into the magazine, there are only a handful of magazines I've ever considered to have consistently high enough quality to be worthy of subscribing. I hope that LJ survives this transition. Perhaps some day in the future when I feel like e-readers and the digital publishing industry have matured I'll subscribe to Linux Journal once again, until then though – here is where we part ways.