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Linux Format Magazine Team Quits, Launches New Profit-Donating Mag

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the stick-a-fork-in-it dept.

The Media 90

An anonymous reader writes "What happens when the editorial team of the biggest-selling English Linux magazine gets frustrated? They leave their company and start a new one. Most of the writers behind Linux Format have jumped ship and started Linux Voice, a social enterprise magazine which will donate 50% of its profits back to the community, and freely license its content under Creative Commons after 9 months. They're running a fundraiser on Indiegogo with already a quarter of their funding goal reached. Will this shake up the whole publishing industry?"

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The entire publishing industry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435525)

All of it, including e-books, textbooks, gideon's bibles, governing documents, and assorted collections of essays, poems, children's bedtime stories, and death notices?

I mean, I don't /think/ so...

Re:The entire publishing industry? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45437043)

You can get Gideon's bible for free just by asking. You should keep a copy - the paper is a great emergency rolling paper substitute.

Note To Management (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435543)

Dear Management,
Feedback isn't just the noise Jimmy Hendricks made with his guitar. It's a vital part of maintaining a quality workforce. If you fail at employee morale you will fail at keeping your staff.

Sincerely,
Your Non-Mechanized Employees

Re:Note To Management (5, Funny)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#45436825)

Dear Cog in the Machine,

    By encouraging regular overtime, and by extension maintaining high unemployment rates, we ensure that there is a steady glut of hungry people willing to take your place. If you wish to continue this conversation you may report to HR for your generous severance package of three moldy crackers and a half-empty bottle of flat soda.

Indifferently,
The Mercantile Management

Re:Note To Management (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45437351)

You mean Jimi Hendrix?

Re:Note To Management (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#45439119)

Feedback isn't just the noise Jimmy Hendricks made with his guitar. It's a vital part of maintaining a quality workforce. If you fail at employee morale you will fail at keeping your staff.

Keep in mind the "editorial team of the biggest-selling English Linux magazine" appears to be three people from the Indiegogo page (oooooo! big walkout!), and they themselves say they were the "majority" of the editorial team (so there's still people back at Linux Voice). So what do we really have here?

  • Three guys decided to quit their job at once.
  • Remaining employees at Linux Voice pick up the slack while new people are hired to replace to them (or not). The industry as a whole in in a downward slope, and management loves attrition.

Re:Note To Management (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#45439147)

Edit: meant "Linux Format" for the former magazine. Linux Voice is the new publication.

Re:Note To Management (4, Insightful)

bmcage (785177) | about a year ago | (#45441719)

Actually, if you read LF, you would see that indeed, those 3 write most of the articles. A 4th one also quit, but can't join Voice till January due to some contract clause.

Other good articles typically are from independents. If you look on the idiegogo page, you will see they also need a budget for such articles, based on a fixed fee per page.

Will this shake up the whole publishing industry? (4, Informative)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about a year ago | (#45435555)

No.

Re:Will this shake up the whole publishing industr (4, Funny)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a year ago | (#45435639)

It won't even shake up the english linux publishing industry....if there is such a thing.

Re:Will this shake up the whole publishing industr (5, Funny)

Philip Mather (2889417) | about a year ago | (#45436657)

Oh I don't know, it's just doubled in size for a start.

Re:Will this shake up the whole publishing industr (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45440519)

It won't even shake up the english linux publishing industry....if there is such a thing.

There certainly is such a thing, but they generally prefer to be known as the British or UK Linux publishing industry. England is only part of the UK.

I think my three favorite articles were on the "tea," "curry," and "bitters" commands.

Re:Will this shake up the whole publishing industr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435663)

Not just "no" but "HELL NO."

Re:Will this shake up the whole publishing industr (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#45435691)

Chances are probably even more minor. After they go in operation for a while and experience a lot of the decisions they need to do to stay operational, they will probably start making the same "Stupid" decisions their bosses made, that caused them to quite in disgust.

Re:Will this shake up the whole publishing industr (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#45435879)

Questions like this pop up every time something gets funded by crowdsourcing, without fail. It's kind of funny to people in their most blindly optimistic states, but it's also getting a little old.

Betteridge's Law of Headlines (0)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#45435559)

Will this shake up the whole publishing industry?

NO

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_law_of_headlines [wikipedia.org]

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about a year ago | (#45435571)

This wasn't the headline. Duh.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (3, Informative)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about a year ago | (#45435635)

This calls for the Slashdot Summary Corollary to Betteridge's Law of Headlines. Then mythosaz is entirely correct.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435707)

Not to mention it's the biggest selling English Linux magazine, and I've never heard of it nor seen it mentioned on slashdot in this century. And they're starting a "social enterprise magazine," whatever the hell that means. And furthermore [youtube.com]

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45436333)

well if you wanted to see raspberry articles about wicked stuff like how to use your raspberry as a .. dunno, wifi server or some shit like that and wanted to pay 20 bucks for that, then you might have known what it is. ..annoying thing about it was that the cove usually looks interesting and it's the nerdiest looking magazine at airport magazine stands but fuck, the content.. I'd rather pay for printouts of slashdot comments in retrospect.

the content never had any depth to it and stuff like readers letters didn't make any fucking sense. most of them are questions that you wouldn't wait for fucking 1-2 months to get an answer for, questions that make no sense to ask if you don't have internet and make no sense to ask if you have internet because you could just as well look it up on the internet, so they feel like filler.

and I really can't think that the editorial staff wasn't to blame. the owners could be blamed on the cost, of course.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45437651)

Never been into a bookstore or news stand?

Your remarks could easily translate to "I am not aware of any Linux magazines at all". You probably never ever bothered to look.

That's more a reflection of publishing in general, rather than Linux in particular.

Donated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435587)

Wonder why the quit though! Anyhow, donated for a real subscription.

Fork!! (5, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45435621)

Even a Linux *magazine* ends up a hopeless mire of competing distros.

Re:Fork!! (1)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#45436551)

They only forgot to name the new magazine "Libre Linux Format", wait until "Linux Format" corpse is donated to Apache

Re:Fork!! (1)

rivercityrandom (626724) | about a year ago | (#45436945)

Only a matter of time before RMS browbeats them into calling it "GNU/Linux Format"...

Spoon!! (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about a year ago | (#45436615)

Nothing a pair of programmers [youtube.com] can fix.

Re:Fork!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45437509)

Ahhh, more babble from the gormless trollboys. As a subscriber for many years, actually it's editorial bend was pretty Ubuntu-centric, the common retort from the staffers when confronted with this fact being along the lines of, "...it's the most common distro in use..." That mythical 'mire' you're parroting applies only to your limited viewpoint of something you obviously don't understand. Not unlike how most English-only people think about any other language than English, imprisoned inside a bubble of non-diversity.

Re:Fork!! (0)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45437945)

That mythical 'mire' you're parroting applies only to your limited viewpoint

Well, I guess in your universe there aren't a shitload of competing distros. Tell me, what color is the sky there?

imprisoned inside a bubble of non-diversity

I guess a fuck-ton of squabbling programmers, arguing like schoolchildren over every detail in their pet Linux distro and splitting off their own forks at even the first hint of a perceived personal slight, does indeed count as a kind of "diversity." I would personally use the term "self-defeating clusterfuck of petty infighting bullshit."

Afraid not (4, Insightful)

mackil (668039) | about a year ago | (#45435625)

These days, all it takes to shake up the whole publishing industry is to be successful. The whole industry is in sharp decline and everyone knows it, especially those within.

I'd like to think they have a chance. Their goals are certainly noble. But I wouldn't be too optimistic.

Re:Afraid not (5, Interesting)

jonnyj (1011131) | about a year ago | (#45436107)

The whole industry is in sharp decline and everyone knows it, especially those within.

True. But Linux Format has been bucking the trend in recent years. Its circulation has been rising steadily and, at 21,784 print copies per issue in 2012, it has a similar circulation to the venerable New Statesman (24,910). It trounces many other very familiar specialist mags such as Mac Format (6,842), PC format (6,249) and What Mountain Bike (13,870). It's not even too far behind the 100-year old Autocar (40,168).

All figures from ABC.

Re:Afraid not (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45440307)

TIL: A good number of college newspapers have higher circulation than Linux Format.

Re:Afraid not (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | about a year ago | (#45441679)

it [Linux Format] has a similar circulation to the venerable New Statesman (24,910)

But the New Statesman doesn't fill its nagazine with month-old stories, interchangable reviews of gadgets that give the impression all the reviewer has ever done is read the publicity material (and hardly ever give a negative reiew, for fear the advertisers will pull the plug, or they won't be given any more free goodies). The NS doesn't continually recycle "How To" articles intended for newbies to the political process.

In short LF is just an advertising tool, coupled with an attempt to fill the gap left by the lack of Linux documentation and instruction. The New Statesman (leaving aside its political slant, which I don't hold but can still respect) on the other hand provides insightful comment, analysis and in-depth pieces written by experts. As I say, I don't hold with its left-wing views (no matter whi its guest editor is), but it seems to offer its readers more than the trivial and shallow content that LF perpetually pushes out,

Re:Afraid not (1)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#45436505)

These days, all it takes to shake up the whole publishing industry is to be successful. The whole industry is in sharp decline and everyone knows it, especially those within.

I'd like to think they have a chance. Their goals are certainly noble. But I wouldn't be too optimistic.

That's a $3.3M / year gross income, assuming all subscribers are paying for a full year, and that they are paying the full subscription price.

It's really doubtful that an indiegogo crowdfunding is going to raise a lot of money, even with an advertisement on slashdot, given that they do not follow the kickstarter model, and whatever you donate, regardless of whether or not they hit their goals, they get to keep.

What it would take to be successful, at least if you want my $, is actual editing. If you include the whole industry, which this summary tries to do, you'd also have to charge less for the much less desirable electronic copies, and you'd still need to actually hire editors, so that I don't end up having to do spelling and grammar correction as I read along, and I don't run into things like huge continuity holes. It'd also be nice if, when a line ends with "the", the next line doesn't begin with "the" as well. Distinguishing "lose" and "loose" from each other, and "to" / "two" / "too" and "principle" / "principal" and "there" / "they're" / "their" would just be a fantastic bonus.

Most electronic copy these days is crap, and most hard copy, where they've decided that the electronic copy sold well enough that it's worth making a paper publishing run ... typically doesn't get editing, and is also crap, since it's just sending the bad electronic copy off to a printer.

Yeah, the publishing industry is tanking, but there are some really obvious reasons that's so, and if publishers would address them, then their businesses wouldn't be tanking.

Re:Afraid not (1)

Stephen Patrick (3427957) | about a year ago | (#45437087)

It's really doubtful that an indiegogo crowdfunding is going to raise a lot of money, even with an advertisement on slashdot, given that they do not follow the kickstarter model, and whatever you donate, regardless of whether or not they hit their goals, they get to keep.

Except that they're using the all-or-nothing funding method, so if they don't get the full amount, the pledges get their money back. Win-win, yes?

really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435649)

"Will this shake up the whole publishing industry?" Yes.. In the same way that the extinction of the Dodo stopped all other species from going extinct.

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435841)

Humans are still here. Seems to have worked for us

In a way (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435733)

This will shake the entire publishing industry in the same fashion in the same fashion Ubuntu's flirting with every Xorg half-cooked replacement rock the personal computing world.

Re:In a way (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45437687)

Putting the back catalog into the public domain is an interesting idea actually.

FOSS contributions (2)

Stephen Patrick (3427957) | about a year ago | (#45435783)

The consensus seems to be that Linux Voice won't shake up the publishing industry. But if it ticks along nicely, ploughint profits back into FOSS organisations, and gives stuff away under a free licence, that'll still be pretty good. Maybe not a revolution on the 1917 or 1789 scale, but maybe revolutionary in a more modest, 1830 Paris uprising kind of way.

No, but the Age of Information will. (2, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#45435817)

We're still operating largely under the false premise that information is scarce. Bits are in near infinite supply, digital data thus should tend towards zero price regardless of cost to create (if we're to believe Economics:101). Only via artificial scarcity of information are any able to monetize the bits themselves. Piracy can only exist because artificial scarcity is being leveraged.

The bits are not scarce. The work to create or discover new information in new combinations of bits is what is scarce. Market your ability to do work. Get paid for that work once. Ask for enough up front to cover your expenses for the work just like in ANY other market: See also, Mechanics. Bid, do the work, get paid; No fee each time you start the car and benefit from the work. You want more money? Do more work.

Copyright and Patents are a horrible futures market for your work. You under pay yourself for the chance to make more money from your work. However, this means secrecy and thus lack of market research in most cases, leading to high churn rates and lack of job stability and thus lower pay. Working for the community directly is the same as working for a pubilsher: You get paid the same for the same work done once. The difference is there's no middle men trying to inflate the price via artificial scarcity while adding zero benefit to the product itself.

This is the first generation of the Age of Information wherein every single person is a publisher. Of course there will be huge changes and growing pains. This very comment is published. Copies are cheap! This data was duplicated many times in many routers before you saw it, and multiple times in your computer's storage, RAM, and video memory. No one should be paying for individual copies; We'll pay for the work to create the first copy, and that's it (it's the only one that was scarce). Publishing as we know it will either become extinct or adapt. Publishers will become publicists or agents instead who advertize your ability to perform work.

I've said this time and again. We now live in a post-information-scarcity world. Times are changing fast. Interestingly enough markets are aligning with the FOSS model of development: Paid to do work, release the output for "free" (since it's already been paid for), do more work to get more money. This is the same model that all other labor markets use, it only seems alien if you conflate infinitely reproducible information with the concept of finite resources like property. Artificial scarcity is untennable. Deal with it.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435907)

Paid to do work, release the output for "free" (since it's already been paid for), do more work to get more money.

How will those who pay you to do the work get money?

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

randomhacks (3420197) | about a year ago | (#45436143)

As your post proves - good information is still scarce.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45443081)

This should be modded +5 funny, but this being Slashdot...

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436257)

I picture this post being spoken by Richard Stallman while Tim Landers gives him a tender loving blowjob.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (4, Insightful)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year ago | (#45436339)

Get paid for that work once. Ask for enough up front to cover your expenses for the work just like in ANY other market: See also, Mechanics. Bid, do the work, get paid; No fee each time you start the car and benefit from the work. You want more money? Do more work.

OK, I'm an author who self publishes. How, exactly, in your utopia do I get paid for my work? Who pays me? People off the street walk up and ask me to write a book they never thought of? Or in your world, and I beholden to big publishing to pay me to do "work". In that case, WHY ARE THEY PAYING ME? For a book that they will then give away? Not a very sound business practice that. The usual answer to this question from your type is "They sell the hard copy of course!" except that makes no sense either. For one, hard copy book sales are not exactly trending up. For another, their competition can go, buy one copy, wholesale copy it, and print their own version, for less since they didn't pay me to write it, so their costs are lower. That is a quick and terminal race to the bottom.

Or do you propose that I just write for free and get a job at McDonald's to keep a roof over my head?

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about a year ago | (#45436709)

Bits may be infinite, and information is held as bits, but useful, timely and correct information is still a rare commodity and merits payment. Witness Wikipedia which has not put the written word out of business when it is useful, timely and correct. Being first and inaccurate is worth nothing at all.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

DrEasy (559739) | about a year ago | (#45436845)

If I understand his point correctly, I guess in the post-information scarcity world you set up a kickstarter project and ask people to pay up *up front* to get to read your work. You then, hopefully, deliver (people won't pay up next time if you don't!). Once your work is delivered, it can be replicated ad nauseam and it won't have any resale value because information is cheap or free.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436965)

Or do you propose that I just write for free and get a job at McDonald's to keep a roof over my head?

That's a good idea. A lot better than allowing publishers make money from thin air. We can leave without books, but we can't live without functional economy because it's needed to sustain our life. It's not stone age, nobody is self sufficient anymore. Any source of free money, for example, licensing fees for 'buying' software and books subverts the fundamental function of economy: management of scarce resources. The fact that development of software or writing books costs money is immaterial because it costs nothing to you to allow others to copy them, thus you basically own a money printing machine.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45437013)

s/leave/live

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year ago | (#45438669)

Wow, I love that you seem to feel that because something has no cost to replicate, it has no value. Aside from the fact that your world would essentially be void of most creative works, let's look at another side effect: In a world where knowledge has no value protection, it becomes a VERY scarce resource. If I have a software company, I'm not going to sell you software (because, I can't), I'm going to sell you hardware that runs the software. Hardware so locked down that you will never within reason be able to get to the software. It will be a figurative and literal black box (I'll paint it black, just for show. You know, as a creative outlet since I can't sell my creative works for much). I'll pay, bribe, threaten, or kill the developers so they do not share their knowledge with others outside the company. I'll play as dirty as possible to prevent that knowledge you want to be free from ever leaving it's cage

And so will every other company that relies on any type of R&D to maintain competitive advantages over the competition. The knowledge you want to be free will be locked away, because that's the only way it now has any value. Sure, there will be leaks, but overall it would be a much more closed world.

I'm not fond of the abuses in our current system, but yours is a much bleaker world to live in.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45440767)

No. It is not question of whether my world vision is bleak or not. No vision will change the fact the fact that selling licenses allows you to print money. This is unacceptable. Period. No amount of make believe will change that. In fact I see no other reason to believe otherwise, unless you dream of being some kind of rentier aristocracy just because you're an author. But it won't actually happen. Publishers and other middlemen will always own money printing machines and authors.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

jmv (93421) | about a year ago | (#45437541)

How, exactly, in your utopia do I get paid for my work? Who pays me?

People were saying the same thing about free software ~15 years ago. If software is free, how will developers ever get paid? Turns out there's now a lot of people that get paid for writing free software. I don't know what the model will be, but I'm pretty sure the same will happen for book/documentation authors at some point.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year ago | (#45438487)

Yes, but with software you can provide not only the code, but services to install and support it. There are no add-on services in the case of writers. The other option is you have community and commercial versions of software. That model for anything is out the window with in this school of thought, no need to even try to apply it to a different field like writing.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | about a year ago | (#45439427)

Hooray! A return to Patronage for the gilded classes! Also, would you like to take a stab at the number of Paid/Free Software vs. Paid/Non Free Software numbers of developers?

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

John_Sauter (595980) | about a year ago | (#45439029)

Get paid for that work once. Ask for enough up front to cover your expenses for the work just like in ANY other market: See also, Mechanics. Bid, do the work, get paid; No fee each time you start the car and benefit from the work. You want more money? Do more work.

OK, I'm an author who self publishes.....Or do you propose that I just write for free and get a job at McDonald's to keep a roof over my head?

You've figured it out. If you aren't popular enough for your readers to pay you in advance to write a book for them, then writing is a hobby for you, and you also need to have a job. I used to be paid to write computer programs. Today it is a hobby, and I have a job so I can eat.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year ago | (#45439307)

That's grand, but it creates a chicken and egg problem. If I can't get be post-paid for my work, hoping to build an audience and further fund my career, why would anyone know who I (or any other author) was in order to know if they wanted to pay them in advance? I couldn't wast time trying to become an author. Or a musician. Or painter.

Of course I have other options in this world. Since I have no legal protections for my work, I'm sure outfits will pop up offering to distribute it wrapped up so tight in DRM that piracy wouldn't be much of an issue. Want to see that movie? Great, here's a ticket. Just slip on this hospital gown and enjoy the show. Don't like it, well every theater does it so... Want to read this new novel? Great, come to one of our private reading rooms and you can read it on premises. Here's your hospital gown. Library? Yea, fuck that.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45439361)

That's grand, but it creates a chicken and egg problem. If I can't get be post-paid for my work, hoping to build an audience and further fund my career, why would anyone know who I (or any other author) was in order to know if they wanted to pay them in advance?

Because of the free earlier releases you used to make your name.

A lot of comic artists and musicians already do this.

I couldn't wast time trying to become an author. Or a musician. Or painter.

And this is why you aren't one.

You have to do this anyway, even under the current system

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year ago | (#45439669)

That's grand, but it creates a chicken and egg problem. If I can't get be post-paid for my work, hoping to build an audience and further fund my career, why would anyone know who I (or any other author) was in order to know if they wanted to pay them in advance?

Because of the free earlier releases you used to make your name.

A lot of comic artists and musicians already do this.

I couldn't wast time trying to become an author. Or a musician. Or painter.

And this is why you aren't one.

You have to do this anyway, even under the current system

Except in your system, I'm still screwed because your system gives all the power to those with all the resources. If I publish my work for free today I am protected from someone (say Harper Collins, Sony music, Paramount) from slurping up my content, repackaging it, and profiting from it without my consent. This gives me leverage with them. If they want to use my book/song/screenplay/etc. to turn a profit, great: let's make a deal. Under you system they can just take it and do what they want. They have more resources than I do and it costs them nothing to acquire it. Let's say I write something people like. Paramount turns it into a hit film (here's your hospital gown, enjoy the show) and I get... nothing. They don't even have to give me credit for the source material. Sure, I could turn it into a movie too, but I don't have their resources, or any way to acquire them (thanks for that). I have zero leverage to negotiate a deal with them so that's out too.

Your world greatly favors large corporations over individuals. They have the resources to protect their content, creating scarcity, without having to rely on the force of law if they needed to. I don't. They can take my work, profit from it, and I'm not only powerless to stop them I can't even compete with them. You could not build a career out of creating content that would support yourself. So, why bother trying?

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

John_Sauter (595980) | about a year ago | (#45441013)

Realistically, Paramount (or any big entertainment company) isn't going to be able to pass off your work as their own. Even if the public neither knows or cares, the industry insiders will know it is yours. If the big production of your script is successful, everybody in the industry will know that you are the person to get on-board for the next big success. The big production gives you publicity, even if your name does not appear in the credits.

Having a history of success is what gives you leverage.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45440331)

If I can't get be post-paid for my work, hoping to build an audience and further fund my career, why would anyone know who I (or any other author) was in order to know if they wanted to pay them in advance? I couldn't wast time trying to become an author. Or a musician. Or painter.

You don't have to jump straight into writing books, or painting murals. You could begin with lesser works, and build a reputation.

Of course I have other options in this world. Since I have no legal protections for my work, I'm sure outfits will pop up offering to distribute it wrapped up so tight in DRM that piracy wouldn't be much of an issue.

They have to offer the work at a price which the customer is willing to pay, and the conditions are part of the payment. People are not going to dance the hokey pokey to see a movie. They'll see a different movie, or read a book, or fuck.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year ago | (#45440857)

If I can't get be post-paid for my work, hoping to build an audience and further fund my career, why would anyone know who I (or any other author) was in order to know if they wanted to pay them in advance? I couldn't wast time trying to become an author. Or a musician. Or painter.

You don't have to jump straight into writing books, or painting murals. You could begin with lesser works, and build a reputation.

Of course I have other options in this world. Since I have no legal protections for my work, I'm sure outfits will pop up offering to distribute it wrapped up so tight in DRM that piracy wouldn't be much of an issue.

They have to offer the work at a price which the customer is willing to pay, and the conditions are part of the payment. People are not going to dance the hokey pokey to see a movie. They'll see a different movie, or read a book, or fuck.

What books? No one is going to publish physical books in this world, there is no money in it. As soon as you try, your competition will take the content and make a cheaper version. Run to the bottom. No advantage, no industry. You can read an ebook with heavy DRM, maybe, or go to a private library and pay to rent one (that you will need to read there, of course). Movies? Sure. You'll just need an always on internet connection so we can validate your equipment so we know you are not copying our content, because if it gets out it's worthless to us. If you take away copyright, large companies will find ways to make the content scarce. Fuck? Yea, just be prepared: the product of your fucking will be worthless to you once you raise it. People are not scarce.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45440997)

You can read an ebook with heavy DRM, maybe,

people are writing books and selling them with no DRM right now. You're just piling on the FUD.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45442735)

[citation needed]

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45452145)

https://leanpub.com/codebright

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

John_Sauter (595980) | about a year ago | (#45441025)

People still publish Shakespeare and Mark Twain, even though they are in the public domain. You can even find the King James Bible if you look for it. If a book is popular enough there will be a demand for it, and someone to fill that demand.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

John_Sauter (595980) | about a year ago | (#45440959)

The chicken and egg problem has a well-known solution, the one used by musicians. You start by writing for free, to gain an audience. If and when you achieve popularity, you can quit your job and write professionally. Don't think that is realistic? Imagine how many people would pay Stephen King or Tom Clancy to write another best-seller. If you aren't in their league, you remain a hobbyist

.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45451999)

people that would pay Tom Clancy to write another best-seller, probably arent what youd call the sharpest knives in the drawer...

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45440861)

It's a good question. The writer Greg Stolze (mostly writes roleplaying games, but has some fantasy fiction too) writes his works with a "ransom" model, which is basically the way Kickstarter works. But Stolze has been doing this since before Kickstarter was created. Everyone who wants to pledge can pledge, and if he reaches his fundraising target then he collects all of the pledge money and releases the content as a freely downloadable pdf.

A lot of musicians make most of their money on ticket sales for performances and not media sales - and that was true even before the internet and mp3s came into the picture.

But even though I like the idea, I'm not comfortable joining VortexCortex to demand that all intellectual property creators switch to operating that way (get paid up front, make any subsequent income based on paid appearances). I'm not opposed to disrupting an industry, I'm just not sure this is ideal.

On the other hand, the problem we face today is that the rights of the content creators are weighed more heavily than the rights to privacy and fair use of purchased materials. The content creators have the right to demand that I pay for their product, if I want a copy. They don't have a right to monitor my internet connection, my mail, and my phone calls to make sure I don't obtain a copy illegally. They definitely don't have the right to restrict my lawful use of my computer just on the off chance I might use it to obtain a copy illegally, that's as absurd as putting a video camera in my car in case I might drive drunk.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45452149)

no, it's as absurd as putting a video camera in your car to make sure you don't loan it to your neighbour/sister/etc

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (1)

Nathan Baum (3434427) | about a year ago | (#45442841)

You err in assuming that VortexCortex needs to know how you would get paid for your writing in order for his argument to be valid.

If copyright law were repealed, some people would still want to read books, and some people would still want to write books. Money would still exist. Society would find some way to move money from the consumers to the suppliers. It wouldn't be patronage, or crowdfunding, or charity, or government arts grants: it would be all of these, and other funding schemes I can't think of. We'd try everything we could, and we'd keep what worked.

Maybe there'd be more writing than there was before, maybe there'd be less.

Maybe you'd be one of the writers who got paid enough to do it as a job, maybe you wouldn't.

Or do you propose that I just write for free and get a job at McDonald's to keep a roof over my head?

I see you've chosen McDonalds as the prototypical mindless dead-end job. Why couldn't you get a job as a technical writer for a hardware company? A chartered surveyor? A lab technician? Having a (comparatively) well-paid job with a future doesn't bar you from engaging in art.

And, if writing wasn't something you would do in your spare time for free even though you knew you weren't going to make money from it, you're probably not the kind of writer I'd want to support financially.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45452161)

not to mention that if they were trying trying to keep a roof over their head working at mcdonalds, they wouldn't have time to write...

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45438849)

>Piracy can only exist because artificial scarcity is being leveraged.

No.

It has nothing to do with scarcity. It has everything to do with energy. Money is energy. It behaves just like energy in physics.

Producing a content (movie, song, book, ...) requires energy spent by the content creators and creates an energy deficit. This deficit is resolved by attaching a price to the content. Consuming (watching, listening, reading) the content is the final act of energy transformation of the content - potential energy into kinetic.

Therefore the consumer must pay for it, just like he or she pays for food, or power. That's the law of a monetary system and therefore consuming without paying the energy deficit of content creation is theft.

Even if observed through the context of "scarcity", one could argue that eg. food is infinite because it grows in the Nature. As long as there's Nature, there will be food and yet we pay for it -- but we pay for the energy deficit created during the food harvesting, production and transportation. If stealing a bag of apples is theft, even though there will be infinite apples as long as tehre's Nature of planet Earth which grows them apples - then watching a torrented and unpaid movie is also theft.

BTW, bits are not in near infinite supply. Maybe in mathematical theory (as in there are no theoretical bounds in the possible amount), but in practice bits are dependent upon physical energy of their own storage. Thermal death and all that....

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45452181)

the energy deficit can still be replenished when they pay for the concert ticket, etc. it doesn't have to be on the cd. also, your "sack of apples and digital copy dowload" analogy is broken.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45439613)

Bits are not scarce; however, it is scarce to have a set of bits oriented in a manner that is both meaningful and useful.

Re:No, but the Age of Information will. (2)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | about a year ago | (#45439893)

Publishing as we know it will either become extinct or adapt. Publishers will become publicists or agents instead who advertize your ability to perform work.

Ony if your life's desire is to read vampire fanfic or yet another star {wars/trek/blazers/fighter/etc} book. Whether you like it or not, there are publishers out there that do a good job of filtering the crap from ever hitting your eyes. How many authors would have never seen the light of day without a good publisher? And no, they aren't keeping good authors down. When you roll the word publisher around in your mouth stop thinking of college text books and big record labels and hink of Baen, O'Rielly, and Tor instead.

Paid to do work, ... , do more work to get more money. This is the same model that all other labor markets use....

A couple of thoughts for you:

  • - That line you draw there, it is the line that seperates Art from craft. The fact that you are asked to pay a tiny proportion of the cost of a piece of Art means you already are getting it essentially for free. Perhaps you feel it is too much to ask $7.00 for a paerback, but how much more than that sum have some of the works you have read affected you, changed you, altered your perception of life and the world?
  • - You are also conflating 'work' and 'value'. You can work your entire life and never will you make another Picasso painting.
  • - Lastly, a long running experiment has been running testig this sort of thing already, it's called YouTube. Sure some people have made money from videos they have posted, but how many how often? Can you even feed the cat on it? And of the good things that are there how many drown in a sea of "Gangnam Style" and "What does the fox say"?

You see Shangri La in the mist on the horizon and want to tear down the wall that holds it in. I point out that the mist is rising from the ocean of "Ow my Balls!" that the dam you want to destroy is holding back.

Actually, INFORMATION is very scarce. (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about a year ago | (#45442149)

information is scarce

It's a common misconception that information is not scarce. In fact information is so rare that people hardly ever recognise it.

What we do have is a surfeit of data, or more correctly: noise.

People or systems that can separate the data from the noise are definitely worth paying for. People who can derive information from that data are to be valued. The problem is that apart form information being scarce, individulas and organisations that can recognise information are even scarcer.

Bits, by themselves are nothing. Most of them have negative value as they require effort to remove them from the useful stuff. Think mining: you have to churn through huge amounts of ore to get a few flecks of gold.

No NDA/NCC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435927)

They didn't sign a non-compete clause w/ Linux Format? The organizer can stil probably be sued. That's where the campaign funds are going--lawyers.

What frustration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436075)

What is the "frustration", that cause them all to quit, about?

According to the Indiegogo page

Last month we quit, and we quit because we wanted to do something different. We want to create an even better magazine; a bigger, more entertaining and more accountable magazine for the community we love to serve.

So, what this really sounds like is a crowdfunded startup; cause we want to.

Why am I even vaguely surprised to find that this story is actually just another Slashvertizement?

Give me a break!

50 percent of the PROFIT (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year ago | (#45436537)

Which, if they buy enough hookers and blow, will be zero. Nonprofits make me sick. They're inevitably smug and holier than thou, while they're just working the system.

Re:50 percent of the PROFIT (1)

Stephen Patrick (3427957) | about a year ago | (#45437163)

Hello! This isn't a non-profit; it's a for-profit company. Look up the UK tax codes for yourself, and compare income tax with the tax on income from dividends. If they have, say, £300,000 at the end of the year, they'd actually be better off paying themselves £30,000 each, declaring the rest as profits and splitting those profits 50-50 with whatever organisations they end up supporting.

[profits] Which, if they buy enough hookers and blow, will be zero. Nonprofits make me sick. They're inevitably smug and holier than thou, while they're just working the system.

In principle you're right -- the directors of non-profits can milk as much money as they want from the organisations they run, perfectly legally. I wonder how much Jim Zemlin pays himself, for example. But this isn't a non-profit. It's a for-profit Ltd company.

Re:50 percent of the PROFIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45437439)

Which, if they buy enough hookers and blow, will be zero. Nonprofits make me sick. They're inevitably smug and holier than thou, while they're just working the system.

Gothmolly, I've certainly seen my fair share of fraudulent 'non-profit' charitable organizations, and I've also seen a few amazingly sincere and effective ones.

Linux Voice however is not proposed as a non-profit charitable organization. They are merely offering to give back to the FOSS community some of their financial profit in keeping with the philosophy of sharing back to the community of the FOSS (Free/Open Source Software) movement.

I've been a long time fan of the guys starting up Linux Voice and have followed them during their writing careers at Linux Format. They are true believers in the FOSS movement, one is not likely to meet a more sincere group of FOSS proponents outside of the FSF itself. If in doubt, go read some of their past writings linked to from the Indiegogo crowdsource site for Linux Voice, or go listen to the TuxRadar podcasts, which these guys produced for the past 5 years at their own expense.

wwut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436875)

you can't fork the magazine.. did you guys get confused between the free, open source software you write about and the copyrighted, commercially produced publication those articles get published in?

this is not the same as openoffice developers bailing after oracle bought the project... nor is it the same as xfree86 migration to xorg after a major license change... this is just a bunch of whiny little babies

Wish them well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45437399)

I wish the Linux Format team well. I will be sponsoring them in this new venture. It takes a lot of guts to walk out of your job and start something new and risky like this.

I got RedHat 6.0 (I think) from a copy of LinuxFormat well over 10 years ago. It was the first taste of Linux, which has been a journey I have never regretted. That is why I am supporting them. They do an excellent work of advocacy, have produced one of the very few magazines to increase in circulation in recent years and make an excellent podcast too!

Go for it guys!

who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45437691)

who?

LWN (2)

tokiko (560961) | about a year ago | (#45437887)

They should just contribute their articles to Linux Weekly News [lwn.net] so we don't need to setup another subscription.

What profits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45439203)

The fact that they think they'll have profits to donate just shows how naive they are. Best of luck to them though.

Kick in the face of capitalists (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year ago | (#45441027)

I love when something thinks that they "own" their human capital and then that capital gets up and leaves. This is a story that I wish would happen on a daily basis.

Remember the AmigaFormat laughs? (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | about a year ago | (#45441979)

I bought last months LinuxFormat and it had really lost it's soul. The magazine seemed to have already died a few months before.

The main thing about LF 2-5 years ago was the humour. I think there was some kind of handover from AmigaFormat where you had guys like JonoBacon taking over. The big thing though was that it had a sense of humour. It was very funny, and in a British way too. That made it stand out from everything else, only Micromart sometimes had something a bit like this but that's been inconsistent.

Jono Bacon went on to Ubuntu as community manager and also wrote Art of the Community (which I'd like to point out is currently down from ~£40 to £4 on Amazon!). Kind of a shame the old crew aren't back together in entirety. I hope this new project can grab the attention.

I can see lots of people talking about the community donation aspect but for me the first thing that struck me was that this could have elements of the LinuxOutlaws style humour to it too. That would be great but it's no guarantee.
  Having a community involvement in any way makes the whole thing that more interesting.

By the spirit of RMS I bless this project

Re:Remember the AmigaFormat laughs? (1)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | about a year ago | (#45445285)

Yep - I remember!

I wish in the last few issues of AF they pointed out where they were heading, because I thought I had nowhere to go apart from Windows XP for 6 sorry years before I found Ubuntu 9.04 and LF again.

D

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