Linux Journal - Offensive Adverts and the real Problem

Linux Journal is getting some coverage again, last time was an advert, this time it’s a headline about Perl that Andy Lester didn’t like and caused him to post that “The Linux Journal owes the open source community, especially the Perl community, a big apology.” You can read the full complaint yourself over at use.perl 2.0 - sorry - Perl Buzz ;)

I like his post, despite the fact he’s got a valid point the delivery irks me more than the underlying issue. It’s a great example of person being indignant on behalf of a whole lot of people who don’t care, and in many cases have no clue who he is or why he’s claiming to speak for them. For some reason I keep wanting to type ‘ESR’ now… He could have posted in his own (actually very good) use.perl journal and stated that he found it unpleasant/disgusting and people would have nodded or disagreed with him. But no. Instead it has to be a big sweeping thing. I don’t mean to pick on Andy but as a member of the Perl, Linux and open source communities I wanted to voice my counter opinion and say - LJ please publish what you want. I have a credit card and the ability to cancel my subscription if I don’t like it. Oh, hang on, I did that over two years ago - which leads me to my other point.

Right - ignoring the whole moral outrage thing can we focus on the real issue please? Why does Linux Journal seem to be such a waste of paper these days? From 2000 to 2005 I used to be a devoted reader but over the last couple of years it’s just not worth the time or money. I don’t know if it’s just the explosion of blogs and other decent technical content or just my reading habits changing but I find it hard to justify the cost (and actually finding a copy) just to get the hidden gems that are Reuven Lerner and Mick Bauer. To avoid sounding overly harsh I should probably point out that the articles haven’t taken a huge dive in quality so much as so many clued, interesting people are now posting daily in indirect competition. Oh and the new editor was annoying as hell.

Going back to the original Perl headline incident the possible highlight of this for me (which I realise I probably shouldn’t find childishly amusing) is that LJ just pulled the original story. No negotiation or endless discussion, they just pulled the whole thing.