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The End of Linux Journal

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One of the oldest and most loved Linux publication is shutting down, again. The Linux Journal announced that they will cease to operate.

It’s not surprising. The publishing landscape is changing. Google and Facebook dominate the online advertising business. Unlike Facebook, Google Adsense created a very good stream of revenue for publications. But the arrival of ad-block wrote a death sentence for those publications who wanted to remain independent, backed by online ads.

Due to this change in the market, most major publications have either shut down or been acquired and have lost their primary focus. The list includes IDG (acquired by a Chinese company and laid of writers), Recode (sold to Vox), Anandtech, TechCrunch (sold to Verizon), eWeek and more. The list is long.

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A very minuscule chunk of these publications is made up of publications focused on consumer Linux. As someone who once ran a ‘consumer desktop Linux’ publication, I am aware of the fact that there is only so much one can do in that space. There is nothing new to write about it from a consumer’s perspective. Linux Desktop space has stagnated and not much innovation is happening in that area. There isn’t much scope of valuable content in that space. What could have been written has already been written?

The real work is happening at a low level. LWN is doing an incredible job of covering low-level kernel stuff. It’s sustainable and healthy.

The real ‘innovation’, the excitement that calls for exciting stories, is happening on the enterprise side. It’s bringing new and amazing technologies and services, including AR/VR and Machine Learning. Almost all of this work is done on Linux. Almost all of it is using open source. That’s where the future is. That’s where the excitement is. When Linux Journal announced that it was shutting down, I was not surprised. It was inevitable.

But, I do know there is massive scope for ‘Linux’ journalism, but it’s not in the consumer space. That market is dead. The scope for ‘Linux’ journalism is in the enterprise space and the target audience is IT professionals who are creating amazing things using Linux – whether it be at Tesla or CERN. It’s about the cloud (which is powered by Linux), it’s about AI/ML, it’s about VR and AR. It’s about emerging technologies. It’s about the fourth industrial revolution.

We, as publishers, need to evolve with changing market dynamics. Change is the only constant. Those who refuse to change will perish. That’s what any sensible publisher will do. That’s what TFIR is doing.

If you have been writing for Linux Journal and need a new home for your Linux work, TFIR invites you. There is no free lunch, we don’t expect you to write for us for free. We will pay. We have not taken any VC money. We have created a business model that supports the platform. We are moving slowly, but steadily. So, while we can’t pay top dollar, we do pay. So if you have cool stories about Linux & Open Source, please get in touch with us.

We are specifically looking for highly technical articles targeted at developers, IT pros and DevOps engineers. We will consider two kinds of articles:

  • Tutorials
  • Explanatory articles (to explain tech like Ceph, Kubernests, Tensorflow and so on)

If you have a cool idea, send us a pitch – just the pitch and we will discuss. Just bear in mind, our audience is professionals and not consumer desktop users. Don’t send pitches related to consumer desktop.

See you in my inbox. Just drop me a line at [email protected] with the story idea.

Swapnil

Swapnil Bhartiya
I have more than 12 years of experience covering Enterprise Open Source, Cloud, Containers, IoT, Machine Learning and general tech. My stories cover a very broad spectrum - traditional Linux, data center and Free Software to contemporary emerging technologies like 'serverless'. Widely Read: My stories have appeared in a multitude of leading publications including CIO, InfoWorld, Network World, The New Stack, Linux Pro Magazine, ADMIN Magazine, HPE Insights, Raspberry Pi Geek Magazine, SweetCode, Linux For You, Electronics For You and more.
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