EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Health Report of GNU and Linux News Sites in 2020 (a Pandemic Year)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 4:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Have so-called 'hipsters' and corporate types ‘stolen’ the movement from “UNIX beards” and “true” geeks looking for computing autonomy?


Summary: The deterioration of sites that focus on GNU/Linux (news, instructional material, analysis etc.) is a growing problem; it’s as if a lot of it became “private property” of monopolies, with many projects now indirectly controlled by Microsoft (through GitHub) while a cohesive community voice is systematically muzzled and citizen journalism seems to have lost momentum

HAVING written a great deal about the demise of patent blogs (it’s getting yet worse, apparently there’s even a new vacuum at Watchtroll, based on a new ad), let’s examine what happens in high-traffic GNU/Linux sites. A couple of hours ago my wife noted that LXer had only added two links in half a day. I then asked how much they posted in 24 hours and she said 4. They used to post about one every hour. Linux Today isn’t much better off and hours ago it even posted a link to something from 2017 (not so “Today”). It’s part of an ongoing trend. I’ve watched Linux Today and LXer on a daily basis since I was a postgraduate student at the university around 2004. The amount of traffic and comments they received back then was vastly higher; the same is true for Slashdot, which now owns and controls Linux Journal, one of the oldest sites in that ‘sector’. See what we wrote about the ownership change [1, 2]. Linux Journal has some very old and historic interviews, which go back to the days Linux (the kernel) was a few years old/young. Back when the ego of Linus Torvalds wasn’t too big to acknowledge he was dependent on GNU (to which he ought to be grateful). Linux Journal is a very important site, especially its archives, hence the importance of uptime, availability, preservation etc. So many people wrote for Linux Journal over the years (2.5 decades). Linux.com is practically dead; the Linux Foundation killed it last year, but it’s younger than Linux Journal and we’ve pretty much given up on Linux.com, as did past contributors to Linux.com, who think it’s a disgrace what happened to that site (with a very important domain name). LWN is still struggling a bit, having confessed cancellations by subscribers due to COVID-19 (job losses and budget readjustment). The candid confession came months ago. LWN has been very active and highly professional for decades. LWN still does some fine technical journalism and the paywalls lapse after a fortnight or so, which make it all like ‘referred’ open access (OA).

Linux Journal has some very old and historic interviews, which go back to the days Linux (the kernel) was a few years old/young.”Seeing the demise of journalism in general (at large, across all domains/topics/sectors), it would be wrong to claim that this is a “Linux” thing or to insinuate it says something about GNU/Linux “losing appeal” (the contrary has been true in recent months, which is why more OEMs now offer it preloaded on laptops and desktops).

Yesterday somebody reached us out regarding Linux Journal; in the not-so-distant past both subscribers and fans of Linux Journal — sometimes even writers and editors (past and present) — wrote to explain to us what had been going on at Linux Journal. It’s not a happy story; far from it. One person associated with the past owner of Linux Journal ‘lost his mind’ and had a nervous breakdown. We won’t name him, but some people might be able to guess… he wrote back to me weeks later through an assistant (who helped him cope with the breakdown).

Me by MeYesterday someone who had been writing about GNU/Linux since the 1990s (also as a journalist) asked us: “Linux Journal on and off again? So, now that Linux Journal is “on” again through ./ media, I have some questions… Like – what is going on over there? Really. What’s the story behind the closing and opening and closing and opening… I have observed the lack of community minded articles – for the most part – for years…”

“This morning I saw a podcast which suggested that insistence on “FOSS” (as in software freedom) was harming “Linux” (as in GNU/Linux) adoption; as if our goal should be to just make a cost-free kernel to run DRM with Skype and Netflix and other proprietary crap on top of it.”This happens to be a gap that we at Techrights hope to fill somewhat. Linux.com is the anathema or opposite of that. It’s almost 100% corporate spam, much like the Linux Foundation, which earlier today revealed that it sold another keynote to Microsoft. Typical…

Linux Journal had been publishing articles with this tone and message,” told us the above contact. “To be clear here: there is nothing wrong with using a proprietary license for the software that keeps the lights on at your company (figuratively speaking).”

This morning I saw a podcast which suggested that insistence on “FOSS” (as in software freedom) was harming “Linux” (as in GNU/Linux) adoption; as if our goal should be to just make a cost-free kernel to run DRM with Skype and Netflix and other proprietary crap on top of it. What would be achieved? Another “brand”? Certainly no freedom for anybody…

“Now, it’s expected,” our contact continued. “The newer articles of recent are written by people I have never heard of. Just wondering if you have the dish on what was going on over at Linux Journal…”

“So far Linux Journal (reborn under Slashdot’s wing) is mostly howtos, which is probably OK.”I noticed the same thing. I said this several times. Even publicly. But it’s wrong to talk down the authors just because they’re perceived to be “new” and “not widely recognised” (it’s a shallow criterion and a form of discrimination; better to judge by the work/words, not the messenger).

So far Linux Journal (reborn under Slashdot’s wing) is mostly howtos, which is probably OK. I’ve been actually pleased to see that unlike Slashdot’s “Linux” section, Linux Journal is actually about GNU/Linux and not about Microsoft and Windows (promoting Microsoft and Windows agenda). Let’s hope that Linux Journal can add a bit to the news cycle; otherwise, sites like Lxer and Linux Today won’t have much left to link to. Linux.com is barely being updated anymore (except for the occasional promotional spam). It’s a dead site. Unlike Linux itself. As for ZDNet’s “Linux” section, most of it is anti-Linux.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

What Else is New

  1. Juve Patent's Love of Patent Trolls and Their Misinformation

    The press 'gutter' known as Juve (basically propaganda disguised as 'news' since years ago) has gotten to the point where the publisher is just an extension of lawyers and liars

  2. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, October 23, 2020

  3. Look How Many Tux I Give!

    "Long live rms, long live (Hyperbola) GNU/BSD, and happy hacking."

  4. Embrace, Extend, and Extensions: Two New Reasons to Delete GitHub, Which Microsoft Ruined for Everyone (Except the Copyright Cartel and Other Censors)

    GitHub is being turned into a garbage dump with malicious masters (or monsters, or mobsters); many people are denied access for using the 'wrong' browser and developers/projects are being censored (not for doing anything wrong or illegal, either)

  5. [Meme] When EPO Staff Claims to be 'Ill' or 'Sick'... During a Pandemic's European Peak

    Gotta check and verify that those 'lazy' EPO examiners aren't just faking being ill (in order to not meet "production" targets)

  6. The EPO Has Relegated or Lowered Itself to Extremely Poor Standards

    Today's EPO continues to reaffirm the image of global weakness; having failed to improve the working conditions and quality of the work (its actions did the exact opposite), it's nowadays begging China to send over lots of workload irrespective of quality or merit and it is outsourcing the functions of the Office to the United States

  7. Links 23/10/2020: Turing Pi 2, GNU Parallel 20201022

    Links for the day

  8. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 22, 2020

  9. Links 23/10/2020: 'Groovy Gorilla' Everywhere in the News

    Links for the day

  10. For Better 'Tech Rights' in the United States (and the World at Large) the 'Orange Man' Needs to Go

    With less than a fortnight before election day we explain our stance from a purely tech-related rationale

  11. [Meme] Microsoft Never 'Brought' Skype to GNU/Linux (It Just Bought Skype) and It Never 'Brought' Edge to GNU/Linux Either (Google Did)

    Foolish media or gullible 'journalists' are giving Microsoft credit for other people's work; this isn't the first time either, but it helps perpetuate lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" (so who cares about facts anyway?)

  12. It's Going to be a Long, Long Winter

    Today we revert back to lock-down mode; we're reflecting and pondering what comes next

  13. TechRadar is an Irresponsible Clickbait and Misinformation Site Disguised as 'News'

    TechRadar is no tech and no radar, either. It's just an opportunistic click-harvesting machine, disguised as a source of "news"; today we deal with the latest example (among many).

  14. Links 22/10/2020: LibreOffice 6.4.7, Septor 2020.5, Ubuntu 20.10 Released, FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report

    Links for the day

  15. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 21, 2020

  16. Living Humbly (With Older Technology or None) is More Compatible With Privacy- and Freedom-Respecting Technological Lifestyle

    Simplicity sometimes trumps so-called 'novelty', especially when it comes to human rights and users' freedom

  17. Reasons Why You (and Everybody Else) Should Join the Fight for Software Freedom

    Society is being closely watched and controlled (more so during/after the latest pandemic) and people must carefully consider the true importance of resisting proprietary technology (controlled remotely by state actors)

  18. Ways and Means to Reduce One's Dependency on Google's Various Monopolies and Near-Monopolies

    Getting rid of Google means a lot more than embracing DumbDumbGo (DDG) or some other sites that spy just like Google; we're taking stock of some options

  19. The European Commission is Still M.I.A. Regarding EPO Corruption (and the EPO's Management Plays Dirty, as Always)

    There's no change in the EU; the EUIPO and EPO enjoy complete and total immunity/impunity, with the Commission being manned by those who are deeply complicit

  20. 10 Reasons Why All This 'Edge for Linux' Coverage is a Total Farce

    The fake hype surrounding "Edge" is an inauthentic hype/buzz campaign made to coincide with anti-Google sentiments spread by Microsoft front/pressure groups

  21. Microsoft's IIS Has Collapsed Again This Past Month (and IIS Will Not and Cannot Survive This Way)

    Netcraft shows that Microsoft's decline further accelerates in the Web servers space; IIS is becoming financially unviable

  22. Links 21/10/2020: Alpine 3.12.1, Tor Browser 10.0.2

    Links for the day

  23. [Meme] US Department of Justice Should Have Taken on Microsoft Again, Not Google

    When lobbying, connections and political sway determine the actions of the American government it's hardly surprising that Bill Gates gets the Trump administration to fight for him (to make him even richer)

  24. [Meme] Banning Words, Gaslighting Volunteers

    What happens when institutions are themselves in violation of a CoC (institutional violation) and massive corporations that fund such institutional violations are defending demonisation of the individual (squashing ‘uncomfortable’ voices, even volunteers’)

  25. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 20, 2020

  26. Links 21/10/2020: $8000 GNU/Linux Desktop, Tails 4.12, Open Infrastructure Foundation and Firefox Release

    Links for the day

  27. Never Feed the Internet Trolls, No Matter How Tempting It Becomes

    The tactics for removing critics of abuse (by framing them as "abusive") have evolved a lot in recent years; the best course of action is to never entertain provocateurs in any way whatsoever (just ignore them, give them no attention which they crave and feed on)

  28. Bill Gates: “I'm Not a Lawyer” (He Dropped Out of College, Where He Studied Law Before and After Breaking the Law Chronically)

    How Microsoft blackmailed other companies into supporting nothing but Microsoft and Windows; Bill Gates repeatedly lied to the interrogators about it, then said "I'm not a lawyer" (IANAL) even though he went to college to become one, just like his father who died last month

  29. Microsoft Has Not Changed Since Being Investigated (and Prosecuted) for Crimes at a Federal Level

    The media keeps telling us a bunch of worthless junk about Gates "saving the world" and Microsoft becoming a "nice" and "gentle" (or "soft") company, but nothing could be further from the truth

  30. Stick a Fork in the Open Source Initiative (OSI). OSI is Dead. Microsoft Bought OSI.

    OSI leadership proudly showing early signs of 'prognosis negative'; the OSI can never and will never recover from this; Microsoft killed it

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts