During the latter part of last year, the magazine Linux Format suffered a staff clear-out and I was left wondering why. It was as if a load of folk left at once and, even if I have seen that sort of thing happening at my current place of work, I was asking if something went wrong at Future Publishing.
What had passed me by was that the then staff of Linux Format were working on starting up their own magazine. They then went about crowdfunding the thing on Indiegogo and it only was the appearance of Linux Voice on a shelf in the Macclesfield branch of WHSmith’s that alerted me to what was happening in previous months.
It does sound risky to have an entire bunch of folk from one publisher’s magazine go off on their own and do their own variant of it, especially in these digital days when magazine publishing is not as secure as it once was. The mention of someone being held by no-compete covenant that reminded me of the mindset of where I work for a living. Quite what their old employers must make of it would make interesting reading because mine might be tempted to see me in court if I did something similar, assuming that was a possibility; I too would be bound by a covenant for six months after leaving.
As for the magazine itself, the content is good like it needs to be. There may be the occasional misspelling but articles on OwnCloud and Arch Linux installation would draw my attention along with reviews of Mageia 4 and FreeBSD 10. A lot of the old names from Linux Format appear too so there’s an air of continuity there. The design of the new upstart is less flashy than its longer standing predecessor and it will be interesting to see how they coexist.
It will take time for any new ideas to come to fruition and I wish the new magazine well. Its intentions are good in that half if profits are to go to open source software projects and articles are to be made available to all under a Creative Commons licence. First though, it needs to stay financially viable and the coming months could be interesting. The collective experience of who is behind the magazine should help though and that might stop it becoming like Walking World Ireland and Cycling World, other magazines whose appearance in newsagents is occasional. Having support from an enthusiastic community is a bonus too and there may come a time when I have to decide between Linux Voice and Linux Format as is the case with Linux Magazine and Linux User & Developer. For what is supposed to be a niche operating system, users of Linux are not badly served when it comes to magazines.