Subject: Re: Journal / Trade Mag?
From: Phil Hughes <>
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 12:06:23 -0600

On Tue, Mar 01, 2005 at 10:22:25AM -0700, John McDermott wrote:
> Yesterday I was reading a trade computer magazine.  One of those free ones  
> many of us get.  It had a review of SSL VPN gateways.  All were  
> commercial.  No open source products were mentioned.  The commercial  
> products had a base price way over that affordable by most SMBs.
> I have had clients use expensive commercial products because they were  
> unaware of viable FLOSS alternatives.  Many of us probably have.
> One client chose products to use based on what one executive read in trade  
> pubs.  Clearly they used little open source because there were few  
> articles about it in the trade pubs he read.
> Is anyone considering some sort of trade pub to show users how to  
> deploy/integrate FLOSS or even evaluating such software?  It would be very  
> valuable, I think, if we could help businesses see that Open Source is a  
> good business choice and why.

This isn't unique to software. People buy things because they have
heard about them. Living in Nicaragua makes me see how "things used to
be". That is, word of mouth is the most important advertising medium.

To give you a little Linux Journal history, before LJ was born I was
talking with half a dozen friends about a "Free Software" magazine. We
all saw the need but our conclusion was that it would have to be like
Consumer Reports to work--that is, free of advertising/advertiser
influence. We decided we would need $10 million to get such a magazine
going, checked our finances and came up about $9,999,990 short. I
suggested that we just do a Linux magazine as a joke. Eleven years
later I guess the joke issue is gone.

In any case, with LJ we try to balance commercial and free answers.
That way, people are offered a choice and we can pay the printing
bills. It also lets us say "this commercial product is a lot better
than the free stuff" or (more often than not) this particular free
thing is better than the other choices.

I still like the idea of "Consumer Reports of Software" where you can
really compare all the choices--commercial and non-commercial but, for
a magazine that is mostly reviews to survive, you need to find someone
to pay the bills. It is hard for an IT manager to justify a subscription 
to a $500/year (random number) magazine when there are all the "free
answers" out there. Of course, that $500 would get saved very quickly
but, again, that is hard to explain.
Phil Hughes,  Phone: 505-841-2675 
Aptdo. Postal 201, Esteli, Esteli, NICARAGUA