I’ve worked for various publishing houses in various capacities. Sure, I write a lot, but I also like to get into the back-end operations when I can. I think publishing is a lot of fun in general. It’s also very challenging.
So there’s this company (SSC) that woke up one day and said “Let’s start a magazine for new Linux users”. Great. They had a plan. They would go to print with a very popular writer who is great at dealing with new users at the healm. Then something happened.
I dunno if accountants started making all the decisions, or if evil committees were involved, or what, but the whole plan just completely got thrown out the window. The popular writer was replaced with some guy. Ok, well, not ‘some guy’, but to Linux newbies he was just ‘some guy’.
The popular writer was Marcel Gagne, who has written books for newbies, written articles for newbies, and basically devoted much of his technical writing to helping out people who are new to Linux – and indeed, inviting and luring new users to the platform. As a sysadmin, I don’t care for Marcel’s content much, but it’s *good* content for newbies, and this guy has done more to help new Linux users than anyone else I can think of in the area of writing. I was *looking forward* to writing for and with Marcel.
Marcel was replaced first with a clown who was a terrible editor, and not someone who should be in charge of communicating with large groups. I don’t recall his name. He once sent out truly inappropriate links to alleged ‘inspirational’ content to get the creative juices flowing. He was probably a cheap replacement, though. He didn’t last long. The next guy was actually a great guy to work with, and I’m sorry that he wasn’t able to keep things going, because I liked working with him. His name was Tony.
Anyway, with the cost of running the magazine and generating content down to almost $0, it’s time to tackle distribution. Of course, the magazine’s purpose is to lure in new users, and to help users who have recently switched or tried Linux. What better way to distribute the magazine than in a format that newbies are almost certain to never find! “Yes! That’s it! We’ll distribute it in PDF format only, and then do zero marketing except on sites where total geeks already go! They’ll NEVER find it!”.
It was a total disaster, and now, TUX magazine is no more. I am appalled, but not shocked. I’m sorry for the really nice people I worked with at TUX Magazine, but then I’m sure they probably saw the writing on the wall. These people were not, themselves, newbies.