Linux Format employees jump ship to form new magazine

While I love Linux, quality magazines about the kernel are few and far between. Over the years, my favorite has been Linux Format. I was attracted to the magazine by the quality articles and interesting content. However, the price of the magazine was particularly high in the USA, which often deterred my purchase (it is printed in the UK). After all, Linux is free but the magazine cost about $13/month at Barnes and Noble -- a tough sell. Not to mention, with the explosion of tablets, reading paper magazines feels a bit outdated (I still enjoy a hard-copy of Reader's Digest on my toilet tank though).

Apparently, it is not all roses at Linux Format as many of the employees have jumped ship due to creative differences and are trying to form a new magazine called Linux Voice. Of course, to get the project off the ground, the former-employees have turned to crowd-funding to turn their dream into a reality. The question becomes, is there a need for another magazine?

"We were the majority of the editorial team behind Linux Format magazine. Over many years, we helped make our title the market leader. We interviewed everyone we could think of, crammed each issue full of tutorials, reviews and thought-provoking features, and spread the good word about Linux, open source and Free Software", says the Linux Voice team.

"Last month we quit, and we quit because we wanted to do something different," the team further explains. "We want to create an even better magazine; a bigger, more entertaining and more accountable magazine for the community we love to serve. The magazine we want to make is called Linux Voice".

I reached out to Ben Everard, one of the Linux Voice team members to learn more. Below is our exchange:

BN: Did the former Linux Format employees leave on bad terms?

BE: I won't say bad terms exactly -- we didn't storm out in a hail of swear words or anything like that. However, there are obviously some senior people at Future Publishing who aren't happy about what we've done. I'll put it this way, I doubt we'll get our jobs back if it doesn't work.

BN: How will Linux Voice differ from Linux Format?

BE: It will target the same blend of content and level of difficulty, and it'll be written mostly by the same team of writers. However, we won't be hamstrung by a corporate system that puts squeezing out every drop of profit ahead of creating an awesome magazine and supporting the community. In short, Linux Voice will be like Linux Format done properly.

BN: Will print copies come with software DVDs?

BE: The current subscription price on Indiegogo doesn't include a DVD. However, it is something we're looking into as an optional extra if there's enough interest.

BN: Many people are slightly dubious because, hey, are magazines still necessary in the internet age? In other words, why not just create a blog or website?

BE: Magazines fill a different role than blogs and websites. We feel there's room for both in the modern world. Magazines bring a collection of highly curated, quality content at a particular point. Personally, I like to enjoy my magazines during a quiet few hours away from my computer. Because of their format, I find them more engaging. Websites, on the other hand, are great for up-to-the-minute news and other time-sensitive things.

BN: How will Linux Voice give back to the Linux community?

BE: In terms of the monetary contribution (50 percent of our profits), we'll let our readers decide which projects to support. We expect it to be split between advocacy organizations such as the FSF, free software projects (GNOME, KDE, and the like) and things like bug bounties. In other areas, we'll make all of our content available for free after nine months, so the community can build on it. We're also open to ideas about any other ways we can help the community. This really is central to our vision for the mag.

BN:  Why a PDF as opposed to distributing on Google Play Magazines and Amazon Kindle?

BE: We intend to do both, but we need to get this supported before Google and Amazon will talk to us! Also, the PDFs are DRM-free and we feel it's important to have this option for our readers.

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