Resigning from LinuxWorld Magazine

If you have completely and utterly missed all the fuss over the last week, then you won’t know about the problems at LinuxWorld and more specifically Sys-Con regarding the publishing (and endorsing) of an a particular article. I wont link to it, f…

If you have completely and utterly missed all the fuss over the last week, then you won’t know about the problems at LinuxWorld and more specifically Sys-Con regarding the publishing (and endorsing) of an a particular article. I wont link to it, for obvious reasons, nor will I link to all the other articles and inforation that has been generated in response.I do this with a significant amount of sadness – I’ve enjoyed working on the magazine immensely. I was there at the start, when LinuxWorld Magazine was going to be called Linux Business and Technology magazine, and I’ve had the honour to work with some wonderful people and with some wonderful companies for things like the Sun hardware review, and the numerous publishers and other organizations. However, I don’t feel that I can work within an organization that operates in the way Sys-Con does anymore. We, as editors, have been unhappy for some time, and some of you will remember the problems over the new year from a familiar source, and my ‘letter from the editors’ explaining the situation. We have no control over the website; even the new one, which went live recently, is completely out of our control. Many people don’t understand how this can be the case – even with the recent issues, many assume we have full and absolute control over content on the website. This simply wasn’t the case. Instead the LinuxWorld.com website is an automatic amalgam of articles and posts from across Sys-Con that may, or may not, be Linux related. Our only direct way into providing content for our site was through our also recently enabled blogs (http://mc.linuxworld.com). We have no control over the articles automatically added and syndicated on the site. The first time we see them is the first time you see them. Yes, it’s odd. No, we didn’t like it. Yes, I’ve said that before. We have, fortunately, always had control over the print magazine; at least in terms of the articles and editorial content. But advertising on both mediums has always been a Sys-Con controlled element. I don’t have a problem with that, but it did create issues when our site – heavily Linux focused – started to include Microsoft ads which were actually part of the ad revenue for another magazine in the Sys-Con stable. There were also other, minor, niggles. For example, the internal editors mailing list, used by us editors to discuss content and distribute press releases and contact information, died in November last year. After two months of inactivity I eventually started hosting the mailing list because it become intolerable to work in any other way. Then, late last month, we lost all our LinuxWorld domain email addresses. Even now, they are not working. I have and always will have difficulty understanding how IT companies can often have such bad IT departments that it takes weeks and months to resolve trivial items. Finally – and this was a bigger issue for some editors – nobody at the editorial level, or anybody who wrote articles for the print magazine – got paid. We all knew that when we started, but when you devote time and energy to a project, even for free, you expect things to run slightly smoother. Of course, what particularly sticks in the throat is that some contributors to the Sys-Con content system were getting paid. And that just makes the whole situation even more maddening; the people who write bad articles get paid for it, the people who slug their guts out following ethics and common sense do it for free. Guess who get’s the brown stuff when it all goes wrong. Anyway, after much deliberation I decided to leave. I have better things to do with my time than devote it to free, unpaid projects run by companies whose only interest is in the money they make from ad impressions from inflammatory articles. My main LinuxWorld blog, over at mc.linuxwold.com, will die. The content on there (such that it is) will be removed and migrated here. The books blog (books.linuxworld.com) will be migrated to a new site. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement about that shortly.