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Linux Journal Goes — Surprise! — Digital

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-can-print-it-out-like-my-dad-would dept.

The Media 184

Mr_Perl writes "Linux Journal sent out an email to subscribers today announcing that they are going 100% digital. Subscribers signed on for a paper version of the journal, and now have been switched to an electronic version, apparently at the exact same subscription rate. No news yet on why they did it, and no sign of any offers to reimburse unused subscriptions for subscribers who are disappointed."

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184 comments

Fuck you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149466)

Fuck you.

-Linus Torvalds

No thanks. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149484)

I like having hard copies of journals, books, and magazines. I don't want to read stuff on a fucking tablet of some sort.

People go on and on about how paper is fragile, but it's a lot more durable than the shitty Chinese-made devices that you have to use to read this "e-content". It gets worse when the publishers and vendors can arbitrarily delete material from your device, even after you've paid for it. Fuck that.

Why the fuck would I pay the same amount of money and not get something physical in return? No thanks.

Re:No thanks.: Ditto (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149610)

When I sit down with a dead tree version of anything, I read it with as much full attention as I can muster. I don't know why, but I really have to make a conscious effort not to get distracted when reading online and I want to skim. And then there's the read an article, see what's on /., read part of an article, go to Fark, read some more ....etc ....

It's annoying but I find that my bad habits from online reading are moving over to the "real" world - I'm skimming more. I'm getting lazy with my reading habits. If the point isn't made in the first paragraph, I loose interest.

The whole World is becoming tl;dr

Re:No thanks.: Ditto (-1, Offtopic)

Opportunlst (2442008) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149794)

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Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149620)

I agree, because if you're reading Linux Journal, it's a safe bet you don't have a PC running Linux to read it on; your only option is probably a shitty Chinese-made device. And talking about publishers being able to arbitrarily delete stuff from your shitty device is not at all a red herring when we're talking about downloading a PDF file which you can then do what you want with.

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149624)

Cant you, i dont know, print it?

Re:No thanks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149662)

And get the same finish as you had before.. I mean, glossy paper? for free? Because otherwise, that's a serious regression on the value of your subscription.

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149742)

Why is glossy paper better? /Curious

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149752)

Because you were getting the glossy print for free before? Oh wait, you weren't.

Re:No thanks. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149994)

Because you were getting the glossy print for free before? Oh wait, you weren't.

No, you were getting it for the same price as you're paying now to not get it. So "print it yourself" only gives you the same thing you had before if printing is free. Get it? I know it was pretty subtle and complicated. I can maybe draw a diagram for you.

Re:No thanks. (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150120)

I can maybe draw a diagram for you.

Sorry, this is slashdot. Can you maybe do a car analogy?

Re:Car Analogy (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150320)

Hello.

Your Car of the Decade Club used to entitle you to a Camry. However, management has decided it only entitles you to Corolla now.

Best Wishes,

--Toyota

Re:No thanks. (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149668)

I don't print crap.

We're paying for a paper copy, dumbass. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149682)

Yeah, we could print it ourselves. But that's not what we want. Doing so would be a costly pain the arse. That's why we're buying paper copies in the first place!

When we buy paper newspapers and magazines, part of the cost covers the creation of the content, and the rest covers the creation and delivery of the physical product.

Like the GP says, why would we want to pay the same price, but only get a fraction of what we want? We aren't Apple users here. We won't waste perfectly good money on some inferior electronic product. We want the real deal, and we'd rather go without than pay for something that isn't exactly what we want.

Re:We're paying for a paper copy, dumbass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149846)

Well, you paint it as a reduction. And sure, getting to a superset of the original paper subscription costs more.

But that doesn't get you the same thing as the original paper subscription, it gets you more -- you still also have the PDFs, which you can search, store on a network-connected computer instead of your attic, (allowing you to look something up from your phone on a whim instead of waiting till you get home), etc.

Now it depends what value you place on the benefits of each format whether getting a PDF for the same price is better or worse, and if you had a paper subscription (vs. the electronic-only subscription LJ already offered), it stands to reason you think the paper's better and PDF's worse, so there's no denying you're getting a bit of a raw deal here. But that doesn't justify the hyperbolic claims that what you're getting is "only a fraction" of the paper copy. It's an overlapping set of capabilities.

Re:We're paying for a paper copy, dumbass. (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150464)

My largest issues are as follows, LJ subscriber for 5+ years now... I don't own a tablet, and don't like reading on a desktop/laptop... I've been waiting for a good enough tablet that doesn't seem like gouging. I might do a rooted nook color though. For the most part I'm disappointed, but not surprised. I may not renew, will need to see an issue or two, see how they work (bu commentary) for various devices... if they're formatted well for on-screen, will see.

Re:No thanks. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149702)

He could, but then he'd have to pay for paper and ink.

And if he did that, he might tally up the actual printing costs (for a home inkjet -- much higher than the offset lithography magazines use), to bitch about it online.

And when he tallied up the tiny printing costs, it just might make him realize that most of what you're paying for with a magazine subscription is for someone to generate or collect a magazine's worth of new interesting and/or useful content every month, and not the physical artifact.

And having to experience a moment of world-view shattering clarity like that? Way too much to risk.

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150268)

Agreed. You have the source!

Re:No thanks. (5, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149818)

And just on principal. The same price?
It is free to make and distribute, how can the digital version be the same price?

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150016)

The price hasn't come down since they released their original mag. It used to be worth picking up. It hasn't been worth the cash for almost a decade now. Going digital to save money won't help the demise of the mag. They need useful, interesting articles. They haven't had those in years.

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150106)

And just on principal. The same price?
It is free to make and distribute, how can the digital version be the same price?

It isn't free to "make". Dead Tree or electronic, each issue prototype has to be created by someone. Specifically, articles have to be written, editing has to be done, decisions have to be made, advertising has to be integrated (assuming you published with ads). Accountants and sales people do their thing. And they all would like very much to continue eating, thank you.

Distribution is "almost" free, but someone has to provide the servers, uplinks, and so forth and they're not free, either.

Yes, it's a lot cheaper to go electronic, but it still isn't free.

Re:No thanks. (2)

uniquegeek (981813) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150160)

They spend hours compiling the thing every month, and now their server's going to have a higher load (presuming people stay on). I'm not sure what they're using for desktop publishing, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were occasional costs involved (stock images, etc.). How do you figure it's free to make and distribute?

I'm not saying charging the EXACT same price is reasonable, but asking for 0.49 or 0.99 per issue for digital might not be a reasonable thing for consumers to ask, either.

What would be free distribution is a free torrent - but then you'd either have to have it all free software, free images, free time, no expenses for the magazine, and people donating their time. As soon as you try to restrict who has it, you'll need to cover charges - the mere act of covering charges incurs a charge.

Curious what people would think a reasonable price would be. I don't know, myself.

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150400)

I think the parent means the copies that'll be distributed digitally are basically free when compared to the comparatively massive operation paper requires so it's galling that they'd expect the same price (especially when the reader sees less value, if I drop a paper edition in my bath that's no big deal, my dropping my kindle would be a slightly larger one).

Having read some linux magazines I find they are generally a month or two out of date and when OSS moves so fast (Ubuntu probably had LibreOffice before Linux Journal could even report Sun had been bought) online distribution would seem like a much more sensible idea.

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150258)

It is not free to distribute. Jobs needs 30% cut for his 80b stash @ Apple.

Why do these companies so severely overcharge on distribution? Because they can. So no thanks, Apple, Amazon, I'm not going to contribute to your price gauging.

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150292)

To be fair, websites are not free to make and distribute. Cheaper, but not free.

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150302)

Because 'price' is determined by supply and demand (or at least: by what the company expects demand to be). Cost does not have to play a role. But you knew that, of course.

Re:No thanks. (0)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150336)

It is free to make and distribute, how can the digital version be the same price?

You must be one of those people who doesn't value the time they spend making something. That's fine for you, give your own work away.

Regardless, this sounds more like a step taken to avoid raising the price.

Marginal cost of production (1)

mckwant (65143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150338)

Sorry, I'm tired of this. Marginal cost of production, that is, the cost incurred to make one copy of the magazine is NOT equivalent to the actual cost of creating that copy. There is a fixed cost involved with making the master copy. Granted, that cost is fixed, and because it is fixed, as the number of issues produced increases, the contribution of the fixed cost goes to zero.

But asymptotic to zero isn't the same thing as zero. There are costs to be recouped, ROI to be realized, and salaries to be paid. I'm not about to argue that Linux magazine is correct in charging the same amount for print issues as digital, but "free to make and distribute" is ridiculous.

marginal production cost (1, Redundant)

mckwant (65143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150354)

Sorry, I'm tired of this. Marginal cost of production, that is, the cost incurred to make one copy of the magazine is NOT equivalent to the actual cost of creating that copy. There is a fixed cost involved with making the master copy. Granted, that cost is fixed, and because it is fixed, as the number of issues produced increases, the contribution of the fixed cost goes to zero.

But asymptotic to zero isn't the same thing as zero. There are costs to be recouped, ROI to be realized, and salaries to be paid. I'm not about to argue that Linux magazine is correct in charging the same amount for print issues as digital, but "free to make and distribute" is ridiculous.

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150358)

Hey, wait, I'm confused. Principal of what institution? And what he even has to do with all this anyway?

Re:No thanks. (2)

drobety (2429764) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149876)

I like having hard copies of journals, books, and magazines

Me too. It makes me feel good about myself when I throw them in the recyclable bin.

Re:No thanks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150080)

>Me too. It makes me feel good about myself when I throw them in the recyclable bin.

Read it online and then recycle your computer. Then go buy a new PC and stimulate the economy. It's your patriotic duty.

Re:No thanks. (1)

uniquegeek (981813) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150122)

I'm very disappointed because it was my bathtub reading material. The bottom corners can sometimes get soggy, but it's still good. Can't say the same about a digital device. I'm not into the iPad hype anyways.

I have a couple of other small devices able to read pdfs, but frankly my day consists of get ready for work, rush to work, work, gym, drive home, collapse on couch for an hour, make something to eat, catch up on life (bills, personal email - maybe, quality time with spouse), maybe have a bath for "me" time (damn you LJ), go to bed. Repeat.

Re:No thanks. (3, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150178)

I'm very disappointed because it was my bathtub reading material. The bottom corners can sometimes get soggy, but it's still good. Can't say the same about a digital device. I'm not into the iPad hype anyways.

Get a Kindle(*), put it in a 1 Quart ziplock baggy. Problem solved.

I've done this in the bathtub, hot tub, and pool with no ill effects to my kindle. Which is more than I can say about some books and magazines I've accidentally dropped in the tub.

* I'm sure other e-book readers would also work, but my Kindle fits perfectly in a cheap baggy, and the next-page prev-page buttons are easy to press while in the baggy -- probably not the case if it were a touchscreen device (like the Nook Color)

Re:No thanks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150316)

Ditto...totally agree with you. LJ will be yet another "print magazine gone digital" that will loose me as a subscriber.

big mistake (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149542)

I just started buying this magazine at the news stand to take with me places I can't bring electronics. Now I guess I'll stop reading it.

I don't like digital-only periodical subs (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149546)

If you let a paper subscription lapse, you don't have to return the books that you paid for under the subscription. It might be hard to find articles or search them, but you can keep a copy for as long as your copy survives! With reasonable treatment and storage conditions, that's upwards of 50 years.

If you have a digital version... they have the ability to pull the old issues at any time; e.g. 10 years from now they might decide to "archive old articles", so you can no longer find them. Also if you let your subscription lapse, when your web account is disabled, you lose access to ALL issues, even ones put out last month when you had a subscription to the periodical.

Also, if they go out of business and their website goes away, you lose access to all the articles you got under the subscription, and will have to pay more if you ever want to see them again, probably exorbitant fees to a database service or other archival service.

Loss of articles may hurt you if you remember/kept a tab of it, and want to use the info. either to help you, to show someone else, or for research/paper writing purposes

You can't wipe your ass with an e-reader. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149602)

When I buy a magazine, I know that it'll be useful even if I don't like the content. At least I can wipe my ass with it after I take a big shit. I'm not even joking. Magazines and newspapers make great toilet paper substitutes. I can't wipe my ass with an e-reader.

Re:You can't wipe your ass with an e-reader. (3, Funny)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149718)

At least I can wipe my ass with it after I take a big shit. I'm not even joking. Magazines and newspapers make great toilet paper substitutes.

I disagree. Glossy paper just smears the shit around and newspaper gets ink all over your ass. You're better off with a sock.

Re:You can't wipe your ass with an e-reader. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149840)

I completely agree, a e-reader would probably make better toilet paper then the glossy stuff they use for mags.

Re:I don't like digital-only periodical subs (5, Informative)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149622)

TFA notes that you can download a PDF version of the periodical, which means that you can keep the issues indefinitely.

So what it really comes down to is a business decision, and they think that they'd be better off in an all digital format. And I think that the only people who have the right to complain about that are the ones who are going to end up with their remaining print subscriptions transitioned to digital (because that sure ain't what they asked for).

Re:I don't like digital-only periodical subs (-1, Troll)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149812)

... it also means you can print it if you so desire, so all the "whaaa give me paper" assholes can be happy too.

Re:I don't like digital-only periodical subs (2, Interesting)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150084)

... it also means you can print it if you so desire, so all the "whaaa give me paper" assholes can be happy too.

You have a printer that will produce a full color, bound magazine that doesn't smuge for cheap? All I have is a crappy inkjet that smudges and cost a fortune to print in full color. Or I can get a color lazer printer that doesn't smudge and cost less per page but the images are garbage. In both I still end up with a bunch of pages that I have to hold together by stapling the corners. It looks and handles nothing like a published magazine.

Re:I don't like digital-only periodical subs (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150380)

That would be the exact reason they decided to stop publishing the print version; it's damned expensive to do so, even in bulk.

Re:I don't like digital-only periodical subs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150452)

That would be the exact reason they decided to stop publishing the print version; it's damned expensive to do so, even in bulk.

Great! With all those saved expenses, subscription prices can be cut in half!

Re:I don't like digital-only periodical subs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150092)

So they get to spend extra to print to the magazine quality glossy paper that they were able to previously get it on?

What a bunch of tool-boxes they have working there.

If you're going to go bankrupt - do so.
Don't flail around for three months tarnishing your name and *then* do it.

Fuck...

here is the email text (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150074)

The August 2011 issue marks our last print run for Linux Journal, but it is not our last edition. We will continue publishing our monthly magazine in digital form, in fact greatly building upon it, while continuing to present fresh material every day on the Web.

Many of you have been with us since Linux Journal began, in 1994. Ever since our first issue, Linux Journal has been the premier Linux monthly, showing up on newsstands all over the world, as well as in your mailboxes. But, we now consume information vastly differently from the way we did 17 years ago, and it's time to embrace the fact that Linux Journal needs to adapt and conform to you, our readers, with formats and platforms that best fit into your digital, online and mobile lives.

We understand that many readers still prefer hard-copy magazines. But, we also have seen many long-standing, excellent publications either come to an end or grow very thin due to drastic increases in printing costs and decreases in print advertising budgets. We don't want either of those things to happen to Linux Journal, and we are making this change so we can continue delivering the quality content our readers enjoy. We have a core readership that has stuck with us -- and stuck with Linux -- for a generation. You, our readers, are at the very heart of Linux, and always have been. We want to keep that heart beating.

Beginning with the September 2011 edition of Linux Journal, issue number 209, all subscribers will be offered Linux Journal Digital Edition.

Our editorial coverage will not change, only the format. You'll enjoy the same, familiar experience as thumbing through a print magazine, dwelling over stories, and following the flow of the magazine's layout with these added benefits:

        * Timely delivery: each issue will arrive in your e-mail inbox automatically on the first day of every month.
        * Off-line reading: you can download one article or the entire magazine and conveniently take with you. You also can print any pages you want.
        * Easy navigation: the live table of contents, embedded page links, and phrase search and highlighting make it quick and easy to go to the articles you want to read most.
        * Save, clip, share: clip pages and save them, or even forward them to friends and colleagues to share ideas and information.
        * Interactivity: we'll be incorporating rich media in future issues so you can look forward to reading a product review and watching our editors introduce the product hands-on in a video.

As our current subscriber, we will send you the PDF edition every month. We also have a new format-- an Enhanced Digital Edition. Starting with the October issue, if you would like to receive the Enhanced Digital Edition, we need you to visit linuxjournal.com/updateaccount and select Enhanced Digital Edition as the format you wish to receive. We realize that you may have paid more than our new subscription rate ($29.50 USD), so your current subscription term will be extended based on the remaining value of your subscription. For example, if your current remaining subscription value is $20.00 USD, the term will be extended by 8 issues based on the issue value of $2.56.

Coming in September, you'll also be able to access Linux Journal through iPhone, iPad and Android mobile applications. Now anywhere you go, Linux Journal will go with you. We'll notify our paid subscribers of the application availability come September.

We welcome your input and participation in making Linux Journal the magazine you want it to be. We have set up a forum for conversation with subscribers. If you have other questions regarding your subscription, please reply to this email and include your Subscription ID XXXXXXXX within the message. To help in that direction, visit our FAQ at linuxjournal.com/digital-faq.

Linux Journal is your magazine. You're the ones who pay for it, and you're the ones whose help we need and appreciate the most during this transition. Linux has always been a construction project, and the same is true for this magazine. Please help us keep building it in ways that work best for you -- and for all those out there in user space too.

With great appreciation,

Your Linux Journal Friends and Family
Linux Journal
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
USA
XXXXXXXXX\
XXXXXXXXX

**Please do not repost the above links. These URLs are specifically designed for you and should not be shared with others. If you need to provide us with an update your e-mail address, if you do not receive your issue, or if you have other questions, please visit our customer service page linuxjournal.com/updateaccount and follow the instructions.

Re:I don't like digital-only periodical subs (4, Informative)

uniquegeek (981813) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150186)

Keep them indefinitely? You mean continually backing them up to different mediums and hoping the medium doesn't die, converting the pdf to something else if pdf comes to a point of dying, hoping for backwards compatibility of readers (and ideally testing many of the pdfs each time the version or software package changes)...

The effort involved with keeping magazines, in most instances, is carting the box around if you move. That, and keeping a pet bird away from it, if you happen to have one.

Re:I don't like digital-only periodical subs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149770)

"If you have a digital version... they have the ability to pull the old issues at any time;"

If you dont break the DRM.... yes you are right. But I break the DRM first thing on any ebook or e-zine I buy.

I have 5 years of circuit cellar magazine with the PDF DRM removed so I can protect them. It's the new plastic sleeve for books and magazines.. They dont rot if you take out the DRM right away.

Re:I don't like digital-only periodical subs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150174)

Check out the LOCKSS project at Stanford that is trying to address this for libraries at least.

What a joke this is turning out to be anymore... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149556)

More e-this and e-that... I'm so sick and tired of this shit.

Re:What a joke this is turning out to be anymore.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149844)

More e-this and e-that... I'm so sick and tired of this e-shit.

FTFY

It probably had something to do (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149584)

with Borders closing.

Re:It probably had something to do (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149648)

While that sounds like a coincidence, it's probably the truth.

Borders carried all of the computer rags that mattered. Now it's just down to Waldenbooks and Barnes&Noble and the odd "super-mega-newsstand" (that is getting rarer than hen's teeth) for retail dead tree geek mags.

--
BMO

Re:It probably had something to do (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149768)

Now it's just down to Waldenbooks

No, Waldenbooks was owned by Borders and Borders shut down all those stores.

Has to do with a disappearing magazine (1)

drnb (2434720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150146)

It probably had something to do with Borders closing.

No, it has to do with a disappearing magazine. I've been checking out Linux Journal for many years at various bookstores and magazine stands, and occasionally purchased an interesting issue. The magazine has been getting thinner and thinner in recent years. Not long ago I began to expect something like this, I've seen it before. Byte, Doctor Dobb's Journal, C Users Journal, etc.

Marginal Cost Of Production v. Reader Demographic (2)

cmholm (69081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149606)

Of any periodicals, I think Linux-oriented rags are excellent candidates to go all digital. I think I'm pretty safe in assuming that the readership is on-line enough that getting their subscription material on-line is a natural step. They are probably more likely to have a tablet of some sort, even the rumored (gasp) non-Apple tablets.

On the flip side: even if they increase their subscriber base, advertisers may lose eyeballs that would have flipped through an issue on the newsstand, or on a friend's coffee table/desk. Advertisers LOVE newsstand sales because the readers typically consume more of the content. Finally, I'm not surprised, but not pleased, that the subscription rate doesn't reflect the fact that major expenses will be eliminated: the post-layout printing and distribution costs.

Re:Marginal Cost Of Production v. Reader Demograph (1)

uniquegeek (981813) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150064)

Agree - this makes me think maybe the reason the price isn't changing is because they know ad sales are going to plummet.

The email I received started me thinking - they are implementing an additional system to one pdf. I hope it's more user-friendly than a magazine being available through EBSCO at your library, where you have to click on 70 links to get the whole magazine.

Part of the problem I have with the one-pdf is some of the ads have a crapload of image and text boxes - unvectorized, unrasterized. They take too long to load. I can't nicely split the pdf into 4-6 easy-to-load sections unless I want to run Acrobat Professional...

Re:Marginal Cost Of Production v. Reader Demograph (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150166)

Of any periodicals, I think Linux-oriented rags are excellent candidates to go all digital. I think I'm pretty safe in assuming that the readership is on-line enough that getting their subscription material on-line is a natural step.

Maybe... but the next natural step when they're on-line enough, is to get their 'article fix' from free sources such as blogs, and skip on the pay subscriptions.

What wouldn't make it not so bay (1)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149678)

A license printed in the book that allows if your the owner to have a copy printed. If most magazines did this it would be wonderful. A cottage industry would then appear for local printers for print copies. More expensive for those that want all printed copies but I think great in the long run for those that want to archive. Print and keep around six months of copies and recycle after that. Have another copy printed if you really want/need a printed copy later. Also have your copies made in the best quality your willing to pay for.

Re:What wouldn't make it not so bay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150004)

What would make it better?

So glad I got a two-year subscription in April... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149684)

I signed up for a special convention rate at Texas Linux Fest. If I'd known they were going to go digital-only in a few months, I might not have signed up. I'm not going to read it on my damn phone, thanks, and the Kindle sucks at rendering PDFs. Maybe Calibre can help...

Re:So glad I got a two-year subscription in April. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149878)

Looks like YOU need an iPad!

From the Editor (1)

David89 (2022710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149716)

Doc Searls writes: "Ever since I discovered HTML, it’s been my preferred format for writing. Every word of mine that’s gone into Linux Journal, since I started in 1996, has been written and delivered in HTML. That’s because my writing has been normalized to hypertext, and to pixels rather than print. What’s different for me this time is that I’m not paying attention to my monthly 900-word limit (or less if images are involved). While a word limit does impose the discipline of brevity, the fact remains that brevity is not the only virtue of good writing. Yes, it’s a good one to have when your column appears on the last page of a print magazine. But when that magazine is no longer confined by the dimensions of printed pages, you’re free to go longer—or shorter, as the case may be. My case this month is for the all-digital version of Linux Journal. Yes, we lose a lot, but we stand to gain much more. Let me explain. We’ve fought to stay in print ever since the dot-com crash nearly killed us, 11 years ago. Before that crash, we were fat with ads from well-funded startups. When the bust hit, many advertisers vanished without a trace, owing us literally $millions we never collected. After that crash, getting and keeping advertisers for a print trade publication was much harder. The costs of printing and mailing also went up, and continued to go up. Meanwhile, Linux succeeded in the marketplace and is now the most widely used operating system. Yet, while Linux continues to spread, the population of pure-Linux geeks—the kind who subscribe to Linux Journal—has remained a core that has grown very little. We continue to serve that core. That’s our mission, and we’re sticking to it. The question is, what’s the best way? Today, it’s hard to say print is that best way, especially with more and more people spending more and more time reading glowing rectangles rather than paper. But, we are by nature and practice a print magazine, and we have done our best to remain one, even as the world has changed around us. So I want to congratulate the publishing side of our house for keeping our print operation going, against stupendous odds, and for never selling out. (And believe me, there were many offers, mostly from entities that are now gone.) Our team did the impossible for as long as it could. Yet, consider this. We also always have been a digital publication, starting with the first CD digest of issues in 1994. And, digital publishing has done nothing but grow from the beginning. So has advertising in the digital realm, which is inherently limitless. Something else also has started to happen in digital publishing. It has become easier, and more acceptable, for people to pay for goods that also are available for free. There has been much experimentation here, and we are among the many doing the experimenting. One advantage for us is that we’ve always had paying subscribers. Maybe it’s crazy to think they’ll stick with us after we go all-digital. But, I don’t think so. I’m a big believer in the willingness of people to pay for value, provided the means are there. We have some means today, and we will have better ones tomorrow, especially if you help us think those through—while also helping us improve our editorial methods and materials. Every magazine has a periodical heartbeat. Ours always has been monthly. That won’t change. What will change is how much time passes between what we write and when it appears. A production cycle that took several months will now take just weeks. (So for this issue, I am writing this on August 1st for a September publication date.) Much more of our stuff will be current, or as close to now as we can get. We always will remain a print publica- tion at heart (and in that respect, we will be no different from the rest of journalism), but we won’t remain contained by the print medium. That medium, where nearly all of our contributors grew up, has legacy values (fairness, transparency, credit to sources and so on) that are important to bring to a vast new world that has too little of them. Again, we expect you to help us with that. Linux Journal always has been a publi- cation for the Linux Community. Linux Journal will now be a publication by the Linux Community as well. This is a very good thing. Here in the digital world, connection between people and ideas are much more direct and immediate. Understandings are also easily iterated and improved. Just like code. Maybe Linux doesn’t need Linux Journal—or anything, other than con- tinued constructive hacking in kernel space. But I do believe Linux has been better with Linux Journal around than it would have been without it. Therefore, with Linux Journal in a much more improve-able place, we can’t help but make Linux better in the process."

WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE PARAGRAPHS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149746)

WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE PARAGRAPHS? Seriously? Where are they? Is a paragraph or two really too difficult to ask for?
 

Re:From the Editor (5, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149930)

Ever since I discovered HTML, it’s been my preferred format for writing. Every word of mine that’s gone into Linux Journal, since I started in 1996, has been written and delivered in HTML.

Hahaha, totally typical. When I edited Randall Schwartz's column for Web Techniques magazine, he delivered his manuscripts in Perldoc format. (Note: This was neither cute nor geeky, it was just a pain in the ass.)

What’s different for me this time is that I’m not paying attention to my monthly 900-word limit (or less if images are involved). While a word limit does impose the discipline of brevity, the fact remains that brevity is not the only virtue of good writing. Yes, it’s a good one to have when your column appears on the last page of a print magazine. But when that magazine is no longer confined by the dimensions of printed pages, you’re free to go longer—or shorter, as the case may be.

It's my belief that this is precisely what is wrong with a lot of online-only writing. Nobody is bothering to edit it anymore. Writers are free to ramble on for as long as they choose, and most readers end up tuning out after the first page (or not reading TFA at all). When an editor pretends that an online brain-dump is actually better than a well-edited article, watch out: the publication is about to take a nosedive.

Linux Journal always has been a publi- cation for the Linux Community. Linux Journal will now be a publication by the Linux Community as well.

Oh, so no editing, and no actual writing either? Where's my checkbook?

Been done already... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149738)

...that whole "digital magazine" thing has been done already.

It's called the Linux Gazette.

While it's been nice to have PDFs of the LJ, I am not happy to see the hard copy go away.

Re:Been done already... (3, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149908)

...that whole "digital magazine" thing has been done already.

It's called the Linux Gazette.

linuxjournal is squatting linuxgazette.com. You may want to try the net [linuxgazette.net] domain for the real thing.

I stopped buying linux journal when the articles became too predictable - rehashes of the same articles from the same month the previous year. Boring!

Re:Been done already... (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150194)

linuxjournal is squatting linuxgazette.com

Sounds like a trademark lawsuit or UDRP dispute waiting to happen....

Come to think of it... didn't Linus own the trademark to Linux and assign it to the Linux Trademark Institute with a mind towards prohibiting chicanery like that?

Well they lost me then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149814)

I despise being tracked click by click. I suppose economics forced it, but it really is a short step from web-only to history.

Re:Well they lost me then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149856)

It's a PDF, it's not "web-only", it doesn't track your clicks, and you're full of horseshit.

Bad for the non-computer users (3, Funny)

blendergasket (806364) | more than 2 years ago | (#37149816)

That really sucks for the subscribers who either don't have access to or don't know how to use a computer.

Re:Bad for the non-computer users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149910)

And I doubt those people would be reading the Linux journal anyway

Re:Bad for the non-computer users (2)

healyp (1260440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150008)

No, they're probably reading PCWorld

Re:Bad for the non-computer users (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150124)

Or "Sarcasm For Dummies"

Re:Bad for the non-computer users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150498)

why the hell would they subscribe to the goddamn Linux Journal then???

Just like DDJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149952)

Except Dr. Dobbs went paperless two months after I sub'd.

It's a shame, I probably would have sub'd to LJ, I've been picking it up in airport book stands on travel.

So much for visibility (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37149960)

One of the nice things about printed magazines, is they add literal visibility of Linux being popular. One of the reasons I subscribed.

Won't be renewing (3, Interesting)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150032)

I subscribed to Linux Journal because I wanted to support a Linux publication. I can get everything I cared about from Linux Journal from a variety of blogs that I already subscribe to, for free, via RSS.

My PC doesn't fit in my bathroom (1)

oldfrog (1862318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150076)

How am i supposed to read the journal, when I can't take it with me?

Re:My PC doesn't fit in my bathroom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150168)

Haven't you heard? The PC is dead. Use your tablet.

Re:My PC doesn't fit in my bathroom (1)

drnb (2434720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150172)

How am i supposed to read the journal, when I can't take it with me?

That is what tablets are for. :-)

Doesn't matter... (1)

zenyu (248067) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150242)

How many people actually read it since Doc Searls decided to make the magazine articles more shallow and "approachable" ?

Like Dr. Dobbs Journal, it was really already gone when it went "100% Digital". Same as BYTE Magazine, by the time it was "100% Digital" all that was left was single mildly entertaining column.

I paid for a paper magazine (1)

agoliveira (188870) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150274)

and, as I live in Brazil, paid extra for international shipping.
I wouldn't mind (much) the change if they honor my current subscription and send me the magazines I already paid for! I just sent an email demanding a refund and cancelation.

not another one (2)

renegade600 (204461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150278)

the rate everything is going digital, pretty soon I won't have anything to read when on the porcelain throne.

Eventually I Will Have No Magazine Subsciptions (2)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150350)

PC Mag went digital, subscription is up, I didn't renew. That's the way I intend to treat each magazine every time that happens. I pay money for a magazine, not a download. Do not enjoy reading on a monitor.

Re:Eventually I Will Have No Magazine Subsciptions (1)

Astronomerguy (1541977) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150454)

You have the right to vote with your wallet, but I don't have to agree with your decision. Personally, I initially had a hard time getting used to e-copies of mags, but I adapted. The publishing world is in rough shape right now, and as commercial entities, they have to be profitable. With the economy in the dumps, people aren't subscribing or buying as much off of the newsstands, and advertisers are guarding their cash carefully. Your choice: read free commentary on the 'net with no guarantee of quality or accuracy, or "suck it up buttercup" and read e-version written by professionals and edited by professionals. I'd rather switch mediums than give up quality.

Luddites: PFO (1, Flamebait)

Astronomerguy (1541977) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150408)

As a member of an organization that also has a publishing arm that includes a periodical (I'm on the Publishing Committee), I can tell you that the costs of publishing and distributing dead-tree copies is astronomical (pun intended), and unless your subscription fees are stupid-high or you have enough advertisers to off-set most of the costs, you will be drowning in a sea of red ink. We had to make the tough decisions to 1.) allow limited advertising, and 2.) go to all digital, with printed copies provided for an additional nominal fee for those that desired them. For those with their fingers in their ears chanting "na-na-na-can't-hear-you", good riddance. Commercial organizations have to pay writers, freelancers, printers, the postal service, utility bills, rents, taxes etc. I'm surprised that so many have survived this long. As a non-profit, we operate on a shoe-string budget. Those of you who begrudge commercial periodicals their meagre margins and who have made the tough decision to keep publishing and keep employing writers, fuck you. Fuck you to Heck. Get with the 21st century or go away. You won't be missed.

Re:Luddites: PFO (1)

Astronomerguy (1541977) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150550)

To the person who modded me down: Are you willing to pay more to keep receiving your paper copy of your favourite magazine? If so. how much more? How much profit will you allow the publisher to make? Should the writers be allowed to make a living wage? I'm not being factitious - these are serious, germane questions. Unless we can answer these questions honestly, most periodicals cannot survive.

A Matter Of Survival (1)

Zirbert (1936162) | more than 2 years ago | (#37150576)

I assume this was a matter of near-term survival, which LJ's message to subscribers hinted at but didn't state quite so bluntly (unless my skim-read overlooked it). From a practical perspective, LJ's subscribers probably had two choices: continue to receive a paper publication whose life expectancy was measured in months (at most), or receive a digital edition for hopefully somewhat longer.

I also assume that going digital with no (or minimal, or easily removed) DRM will mean that LJ will be readily available on filesharing sites within minutes of the release of each issue. That may already be the case, though - I haven't checked.Hopefully the impact of piracy on LJ will be mitigated by the fact that most of their subscribers are probably motivated to pay them out of a wish to support their philosophy, not because they had no way of getting the same information elsewhere for free. I know virtually all of my media spending these days works that way. I'm paying for it because I want to support the creators, not because I can't get it for free.

-Zirbert, Linux user since 2009

No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37150584)

People here claim that print paper is obsolete and ugly. So come on go hi-tech until PDF is no longer supported or you lose all your files in an HDD crash. Enjoy!

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