Announcing Linux Voice
We were the majority of the editorial team behind Linux Format magazine.
Over many years, we helped make our title the market leader. We interviewed everyone we could think of, crammed each issue full of tutorials, reviews and thought-provoking features, and spread the good word about Linux, open source and Free Software.
We were the first to cover the Raspberry Pi from the newsstand. We beat the C.I.A. before it was cool. We sent a comfort package to Edward Snowden, and taught the world how easy servers were to hack (er, sorry, crack). Our fortnightly TuxRadar podcast entertained thousands of insightful and generous listeners, and we loved every minute of it.
Last month we quit, and we quit because we wanted to do something different. We want to create an even better magazine; a bigger, more entertaining and more accountable magazine for the community we love to serve. The magazine we want to make is called Linux Voice.
Who we are
Graham Morrison is the former Editor of Linux Format. He worked on the magazine for nine years after starting out as its staff writer in 2004. He also has a slight obsession with analogue synthesizers.
Graham's articles on TechRadar | Linux Format
Andrew Gregory is the former Deputy Editor and Operations Editor of Linux Format. He dreamt up many of the ideas that went into the magazine, and also wrote tutorials, features and the news section.
Andrew's articles on TechRadar | Linux Format
Mike Saunders has written for Linux Format since the very first issue, and also worked as the New Media and Communities Editor. He's a passionate Free Software developer and still plays Frontier.
Mike's articles on TechRadar | Linux Format
Ben Everard worked on Linux Format for two years, writing features, reviews and tutorials, and creating the software-packed DVD that came with the mag. He has helped to spread Free Software in the developing world.
Ben's articles on TechRadar | Linux Format
What makes Linux Voice different?
- We want to give something back. 50% of our profits will go back to Free Software and Linux communities, and our readership will choose where the money goes. We want to sponsor projects, events, developers, and evangelise the cause. We want to build long-term relationships with the people we sponsor, so there's less uncertainty for projects year-on-year.
- Our first issue will be better than any other Linux and Free Software magazine. We've got the brain share, the provenance and an unrivalled motivation to succeed. We know our readership, which is why our focus will always be on the quality of content. We've been bucking the trend of declining print sales for years, and we're not going to stop now by messing around with the magic formula. We want to make a larger magazine with a broader scope and more representative content. We want to be fair and accurate. We want to be the voice of the Linux and open source community, but above all, we want to help that community to grow.
- Our pricing will always be fair. Magazines are expensive to create (see FAQ for more details), but we want to remove much of the mystery. We're going to charge a flat rate for a baseline print or digital subscription and only charge cost for distribution. This won’t make our magazine dramatically cheaper in the UK, where we're based, but it will make the magazine much cheaper elsewhere. We won't have community sapping fire sales or unpredictable marketing strategies. The price we charge is the cost of making the best magazine we can, and nothing else.
- Our content will be published for free after 9 months, and we aim to use an open source/Creative Commons licence. We want to create a library of our tutorials, interviews, features and code that is accessible to everyone, whether that's a Python tutorial for a 10 hour flight, or a Raspberry Pi class guide for a school club. We don't believe in charging several times for the same 'evergreen' content. UPDATE: We've committed to making all the content available under CC-BY-SA after nine months. For more details see our blog here.
(Sample tutorial - click for bigger)
What you'll get
You can buy a print or digital subscription to Linux Voice now (see the list of perks on the right) and help to fund the launch of the magazine in February. You'll get:
- 12 issues a year
- 116 pages in each issue
- 100,000 words of incredible content each month
We will offer significant discounts to organisations, user groups, universities and non-profits.
We will make the podcast a central part of Linux Voice. We’d like to expand the format to include many of the ideas our listeners have contributed over the 6 years we’ve been recording; interviews, location recording and guest contributors. We also promise to be more punctual, but we can’t promise to always complete our challenges.
The podcast will always be free and released under the terms of a Creative Commons licence.
Nick Veitch, creator of Linux Format: "A group of my ex-colleagues have decided to create their own magazine. They're going to dedicate a huge slice of their profits back into the community. I think that's a great idea, and that's why I'm signing up to a lifetime subscription..." (See more)
Jono Bacon, Ubuntu Community Manager: "I know the guys looking to crowd-fund Linux Voice magazine - they are good guys, great writers, and have a wonderful idea - go and support them. This could revolutionize how magazines are created and shared with others." (Jono on Google+)
Simon Phipps, President of the Open Source Initiative: "I'm looking forward to getting my first copy of Linux Voice. The team behind it has been a key part of the open source publishing world for years, and this project hits all the right notes for relevant high quality content, digital rights of readers and fair compensation to contributors."
Philip Newborough, CrunchBang Linux creator: "The idea of Linux Voice, a truly independent Linux magazine, is an exciting prospect for the Linux ecosystem. Profit sharing aside, the wide exposure that print magazines can provide is invaluable. The CrunchBang community recognises this fact (having had the distro reviewed and featured on cover disks in the past) and we're happy to support the campaign by advertising it on the CrunchBang website."
Les Pounder, OggCamp: "It's good to see the team back together and eager to start on their ambitious project. The OggCamp team fully supports Linux Voice and their endeavour to produce a magazine for the FOSS community. Good luck to them all."
Eben Upton (sporting a lustrous moustache in aid of Movember), Founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation: "The Linux Voice team has a fantastic background in the world of free and open source software, and shares the same ethos as Raspberry Pi - that computing should be open, and that cost shouldn't be a barrier to access. I'm very much looking forward to my first copy."
Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the Gnome Foundation: "The guys at Linux Voice are dangerously fun to talk to - you can easily forget you're being interviewed! Congrats on your new gig, I look forward to following it!"
And our appearances around the web...
Q. Isn't the print and magazine business dead?
A. No. Our previous magazine grew its print circulation last year, making it one of only a handful of publications to do so in the UK. If you’ve got a strong community and low overheads, there’s no reason why a magazine like Linux Voice can’t flourish.
Q. When will you get the first issue out?
A. We're already working on it, and depending on print schedules, we'd like to get our first issue in the post in February 2014.
Q. Will Linux Voice be available in shops and newsagents?
A. Yes. We want it to be. But the big shops won't listen to us until we’ve got plenty of readers. This campaign will solve that problem and we’ll be able to negotiate with them after a successful campaign. And if you want to sell our magazine in your own store, get in touch!
Q. Will Linux Voice include a DVD?
A. We'd love to have a DVD packed with distros, software, video tutorials, magazine articles and more. But DVDs take extra time and money to make, so we need to gauge interest first: if you're interested, please let us know in the comments tab above and we'll add a perk later in the campaign.
Q. Will you create an interactive HTML 5/Ubuntu/Android/iOS/Windows 8 app for digital magazine delivery?
A. We will get our magazine onto digital storefronts straight away. And we have ambitious plans for our own app - one where our community becomes part of the editorial. But to start with, we need to focus on getting our new magazine out of our heads and into your hands. We’ll then be able to invest in our other ideas.
Q. Why can't you commit to releasing your content under an open source/Creative Commons licence now?
A. We want to talk to our contributors first. Our competitors take copyright ownership over the content they commission, and we'd like to do the right thing and give this back to our authors. That means we'll then need their permission if we release their work under a Creative Commons licence.
Q: When distribution is effectively free, why are the digital subscription prices so expensive?
A. Print and distribution is only a relatively small part of the overall expense. To show our commitment to transparency, and also address what seems a popular misconception, here’s our estimated costs for a single issue:
- Contributors: We pay a typical rate of £100 per page to our contributors, and we’ll need around 44 pages of content not written by ourselves each issue. That’s £4,400.
- Design/Art: It’s a skilled full time job designing and laying out a magazine and we need to work with someone awesome who understands our style and content. We estimate that person will cost £2,500 per month. Plus, we’ll need additional artwork for the cover and features. A typical issue would require around £400 of art, bringing the Design/Art total to £2,900.
- Hardware/software: We’re going to need a bare minimum of equipment, plus the software. Our estimates for a year put this at £8,000, which divides down to £666 per issue.
That’s a grand total of £7,966 per issue. Divide this by the 2,000 subscribers we need for a successful campaign and we have a per issue cost of £3.98.
This price doesn’t include printing, distribution, VAT or the percentage taken by app stores, PayPal and Indiegogo. Nor does it include our salaries, but we’re obviously hoping to attract more subscribers over the twelve months following a successful campaign.
Q: Will the magazine be produced using open source software?
A. Initially, for speed and efficiency, we need to use what we used before, and that's Adobe InDesign. But we want to make a commitment to work with free software projects such as Inkscape and Scribus with the intention of migrating from proprietary software when it’s feasible to do so.
Q: I've never heard of the previous magazine you allude to. How can I trust you?
A. Read the stuff we've written over the last thirteen years. Read the Google Play reviews written prior to our departure (September/October 2013). Listen to the things we've said, listen to our previous podcasts and read the comments. Linux Voice is going to be even better.
Q: I already have a subscription to another magazine. What can I do?
A. Contact their customer support lines. In many cases you can cancel an existing subscription. For Future magazines, for example, phone 0844 848 2852 (UK) or +44 1604 251 045 (international). If your subscription is with Imagine Publishing, call +44 (0)1202 586200.
Q: Why can I only pay with PayPal?
A. That's just a limitation of Indiegogo with fixed funding.
Q. Is Graham Morrison involved in this campaign?
A. Graham Morrison, the editor of our previous magazine, quit at the same time but a restrictive covenant in his employment contract means he can't be involved in any similar activity until 20th December 2013. Update (20/12/2013): Graham has joined the team! Yippeee!