Friday, December 29, 2017

So long, Linux Journal

If you don't know, Linux Journal has ceased publication. Unless an investor drops in at the last minute, the LJ website will soon shut down. Thus ends over twenty-three years in Linux and open source publication. That's quite a legacy!

Linux Journal first hit shelves in April 1994. To remind you about those times: that's when Linux reached the 1.0 version milestone. That's also the same year that I started the FreeDOS Project. Elsewhere in technology, Yahoo!, Amazon, and Netscape got their start in 1994. That's also the same year the shows E.R. and Friends first hit TV. Also that year, the movies Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, Speed, and Stargate.

In 1994, you most likely connected to the Internet using a dial-up modem. KDE and GNOME were several years away, so the most popular Linux graphical interface in 1994 was FVWM, or the more lightweight TWM. In 1994, you probably ran an 80486 Intel CPU, unless you had upgraded to the recently-released Pentium CPU. In mainstream computing, Microsoft's Windows 3.1 ruled; Windows95 wouldn't come out for another year. In the Apple world, Macs ran MacOS 7.1 and PowerPC CPUs. Apple was strictly a hardware company; no one had heard of iTunes or an iPod.

With that context, we should recognize Linux Journal as having made an indelible mark in computing history. LJ chronicled the new features of Linux, and Linux applications. I would argue that Linux Journal helped raise the visibility of Linux and fostered a kind of Linux ecosystem.

Linux Journal operated in the same way that Linux developers did: LJ encouraged its community to write articles, essays, and reviews for the magazine and website. You didn't do it for the money; I think I received tiny payments for the articles I submitted. Rather, you wrote for LJ for the love of the community. That's certainly why I contributed to Linux Journal. I wanted to share what I had learned about Linux, and hoped others would enjoy my contributions.

So before the Linux Journal website goes dark, I wanted to share a few articles I wrote for them. Here you are:

Update: Looks like Linux Journal was saved at the last minute by investors! From the article:
In fact, we're more alive than ever, thanks to a rescue by readers—specifically, by the hackers who run Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN, a London Trust Media company. … In addition, they aren't merely rescuing this ship we were ready to scuttle; they're making it seaworthy again and are committed to making it bigger and better than we were ever in a position to think about during our entirely self-funded past.

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