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08.09.19

We Need to Prevent Linux Journal From Going Dark (Offline) or Encourage Archiving It as a Contingency

Posted in GNU/Linux at 12:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Journal CoverSummary: There is a real (and ever-growing) danger that a massive trove of GNU/Linux and Free software history will vanish unless urgent action is taken right now

AS we noted yesterday, Linux Journal won’t be publishing anymore. But that’s perhaps not the worst part. It cannot be stressed strongly enough just how important Linux Journal archives are. Linux Journal is not only about Linux but the Web and lots more. It’s composed mostly by geeks who believe in Software Freedom. It was, for two and a half decades, their platform, either as writers or readers (whether subscribers or not).

We encourage the site’s authors to reach out; please get in touch with us. We can work together to ensure that the site doesn’t go offline and, if it does, we’ll have a mirror elsewhere. It’s a copyright assignment issue, probably to be arranged with PIA. We've done that before (successfully). We’re still archiving Patent Troll Tracker’s blog posts (the blog was taken down after the father of patent trolling had filed SLAPPy lawsuits) and we worked hard — behind the scenes at times — to ensure other Linux sites don’t end up dead/offline.

We’ve already seen anything from eulogies to trolling from Fagioli (we don’t want to feed his latest trolling; as we noted a short while ago, the media crisis is not limited to GNU/Linux and GNU/Linux users generally earn and spend more money, contradicting his insulting clickbait).

“We encourage the site’s authors to reach out; please get in touch with us.”We’re not being alarmist about this; the “devil is in the details” and the announcement of end of publication was accompanied with subtle allusion to total shutdown (of the site). We saw this before. Lack of commitment (verbal or written) to keeping the site online often leads to shutdown, inevitably. It’s a matter of time.

Linux Journal is invaluable, it’s irreplaceable. We’ve cited it thousands of times over the years, so it provides evidentiary basis for some of our posts. That site is very important. Important enough that even the NSA took special note of it (and its readers). It might not be so-called ‘mainstream media’, but the scale of the site is astounding. Linux Journal is huge. At the moment I have a list of 12,500 URLs (Linux Journal articles) on a file. Back in the days we managed to save Linux Devices (after the new owner decided to take the site offline, shortly after it had bought it). We didn’t think Linux Journal would approach a similar fate. Should PIA take it offline, we may find a way to archive the whole of the site, but copyright is the barrier. Surely, as one can imagine, all Linux Journal writers (past and present) dread the idea of all articles they ever published there vanishing overnight. We need to fight to prevent this. This can only work if original authors help and insist on copyright reassignment (or change of clauses). In the sick world of greed and “everything is a business” the concepts of curation, preservation, history etc. are worthless. If there’s no profit in it, let it rot… (that’s why many libraries are shut down and books are pulped).

“Linux Journal is dead, but we need to pressure PIA to keep the Web site that it bought accessible indefinitely (online and in the hands of dedicated people, maybe the authors; hand it over to someone who can host it).”Remember that Linux Journal goes a long, loooong way back… almost the dawn of “Linux” itself (not GNU). It would be a total and absolute travesty if Linux Journal went offline; history would be deleted and then the thugs from Microsoft can rewrite it their own way… as Microsoft did to Netscape and many other victims of its abuses, crimes, corruption, and infiltration.

Linux Journal is dead, but we need to pressure PIA to keep the Web site that it bought accessible indefinitely (online and in the hands of dedicated people, maybe the authors; hand it over to someone who can host it). Microsoft would love for Linux Journal to just go away and offline, preferably for good. It can then monopolise the narratives, with lies…

People may struggle to find articles about what Microsoft did to Linux, instead stumbling upon nonsense like Jim Zemlin's "Open Source loves Microsoft."

Maybe the Linux Foundation (revenue of about $100,000,000 a year) can offer some funds to salvage Linux Journal? Don’t bet on it. They already killed their own site, Linux.com. Yes, Mr. Zemlin gives himself almost a million bucks a year (in salary that’s likely tax-exempt), but he won’t give a dime to writers and editors at Linux.com, so he certainly won’t help Linux Journal. He will, however, help Microsoft instead; because “Open Source loves Microsoft”…

“People may struggle to find articles about what Microsoft did to Linux, instead stumbling upon nonsense like Jim Zemlin’s “Open Source loves Microsoft.””We’ve been discussing this over in our IRC channels. In the past 24 hours we tried to figure out what to do next because we need to pressure PIA to keep the site online, albeit it needs to be done politely and diplomatically. If they hand it over to someone who can host it reliably, who would that be? We need to campaign for this. A new owner that is not benevolent can exploit copyrights to forcibly keep the site offline for good. Takedown notices can be issued against copies and mirrors.

One Techrights reader already wrote a script to download the whole site, complete with all the URLs. But he has not run the script. It’s just a ‘doomsday’ contingency. “I hope it can be done before the site goes offline forever,” one person wrote in IRC, but it hasn’t been done. Time is limited, hence the urgency. “I can imagine their writers already scrape their older articles there, for personal copies,” I said, and “there may not be much time left [as] it’s incurring extra bandwidth cost [at] host level so they might pull the plug…”

“One Techrights reader already wrote a script to download the whole site, complete with all the URLs.”In other words, “getting many people to download would accelerate the demise,” I said, “as it would be bots/scripts staging a DDOS and they’d want nothing to do with such a nuisance…”

I want to stress that we didn’t run any spiders or bots. We just prepared the process, shall it become necessary (e.g. if PIA authorises this). It’s crystal clear that for copyright reasons we cannot put it online anyway; what we did 6 years ago with QuinStreet was, we encouraged it to allow authors to make copies; they signed a sort waiver later on, whereupon the founder of Linux Devices (now in http://linuxdevices.org/, adjunct to LinuxGizmos) was able to mirror all the articles from the old site (weeks after it had been shut down by QuinStreet).

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2 Comments

  1. luvr said,

    August 9, 2019 at 11:16 am

    Gravatar

    Red Hat Forum Belgium: Interesting sponsors. (Are we even surprised?)
    https://events.redhat.com/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x61713abcd#how-ya-get-here-

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Truly disturbing.

    Greenpeace annual summit, sponsored by BP as biggest sponsor.

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