The Times They Are A-Changin’

Or this could also be why LinuxForYou needs to pull up itself by the bootlaces and get its act together. Time is changing and changing far too rapidly for this magazine to lose focus.

On the fateful 26th (hereinafter known as The Flood), I met Alolita and Robert at the office. Sooner or later as it always happens the smalltalk veered towards LFY and how an uplift and a change of focus would be the order of the day. I had promised them that I will blog about it. Well, one month delay – but blog I did never the less.

LFY appeared at a curious crossroads. PCQ after doing a lot of good for the FLOSS (and especially Linux as an OS) space, suddenly took its focus away from FLOSS to various aspects of the enterprise stack. Additionally, both CHIP and Digit were doing the now-you-see-us and now-you-don’t trick. The momentum built up by the LUGs on the back of PCQ needed a magazine that they could talk about in their monthly meetings, distribute. More importantly, they needed a medium which was tangible enough to take home to. LFY was the perfect gift. It had articles that assumed that a lion’s share of its readers will be doing Linux for the first time. Instead of trying to be many things to many people, LFY decided to be a single thing to a demanding audience. And it worked.

Given that background, it is sad that the magazine has suddenly lost focus. It is difficult to understand why the frequent changes in positioning of the magazine, the staggered focus of its articles and most heartbreaking is the lack of content that is research based and draws some conclusion (instead of mere reporting). The one good thing about the recent issues has been the continued focus on the Enterprise Computing Space, Government and NGO deployments of FLOSS. The bad thing(s) is (are) that the content is too weak to stand up to scrutiny. It remains unstructured and there is no clear cohesiveness in a single issue. For any magazine it is a clear indication of things not going right. In case of LFY, it might be an indication to introspect and figure out what is wrong with the process. Perhaps the Editorial Team could write to the various LUGs on how best they can add value to the content of the magazine. My current wish-list (by no means complete) is as follows:

  1. More focus on application based deployments of FLOSS
  2. Study and reporting of the GoI initiatives on FLOSS
  3. Increase in the number of reprints from other magazines (LWN, LJ, Linux-Magazine
  4. Cutting down the number of regular columns (they are becoming too repititive)
  5. Getting technical articles from the various companies already engaged in FLOSS service space (I don’t mean HowTos but actual idea of various component roadmaps)
  6. Focus on custom deployments and customisation engineering
  7. Summary of the LKML threads on a monthly basis

Here’s hoping that the editorial team does take this as a request as soon as they can.

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