Linux Journal Ceases Publication: An Awkward Goodbye


IMPORTANT NOTICE FROM LINUX JOURNAL, LLC:

On August 7, 2019, Linux Journal shut its doors for good. All staff were laid off and the company is left with no operating funds to continue in any capacity. The website will continue to stay up for the next few weeks, hopefully longer for archival purposes if we can make it happen.

–Linux Journal, LLC


Final Letter from the Editor: The Awkward Goodbye

by Kyle Rankin

Have you ever met up with a friend at a restaurant for dinner, then after dinner you both step out to the street and say a proper goodbye, only when you leave, you find out that you both are walking in the same direction? So now, you get to walk together awkwardly until the true point where you part, and then you have another, second goodbye, that’s much more awkward.

That’s basically this post. 

So, it was almost two years ago that I first said goodbye to Linux Journal and the Linux Journal community in my post “So Long and Thanks for All the Bash”. That post was a proper goodbye. For starters, it had a catchy title with a pun. The post itself had all the elements of a proper goodbye: part retrospective, part “Thank You” to the Linux Journal team and the community, and OK, yes, it was also part rant. I recommend you read (or re-read) that post, because it captures my feelings about losing Linux Journal way better than I can muster here on our awkward second goodbye. 

Of course, not long after I wrote that post, we found out that Linux Journal wasn’t dead after all! We all actually had more time together and got to work fixing everything that had caused us to die in the first place. A lot of our analysis of what went wrong and what we intended to change was captured in my article “What Linux Journal‘s Resurrection Taught Me about the FOSS Community” that we posted in our 25th anniversary issue.

So we set to work and things were starting to look very promising. One of the changes I was particularly excited about was our expanded Deep Dive section in each issue. This “long-form journalism” approach to technical writing was something pretty special in the technical world and coming from someone who wrote a few Deep Dives of his own, there was something very freeing in knowing you could truly give a topic justice without artificial constraints on page length. You, the readers, and also new writers responded, and you could feel the new life and new energy in each issue. After dying and being revived, it was finally starting to look like some day soon we would be able to walk on our own.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get healthy enough fast enough, and when we found out we needed to walk on our own strength, we simply couldn’t. So here we are giving our second, much more awkward, goodbye. What happens now? We gave each other a proper hug during the first goodbye, do we hug again this time? Do we do the hand-shake-that-turns-into-a-single-arm-hug thing? Do we just sort of wave and smile?

It wouldn’t be right to say goodbye without acknowledging the wonderful Linux Journal community we have been blessed with who have stuck with us throughout the years and encouraged so much during our first goodbye. To quote from my own recounting of that time: 

Ultimately, we couldn’t keep the lights on. Linux Journal announced that it was shutting down on December 1, 2017. I followed up that announcement with an emotional farewell of my own. If you read that farewell, you’ll see that somewhere in the middle it changed from a memoir into a manifesto. My sadness at seeing something I had worked on for ten years going away was replaced by anger that the Linux community had seemed to lose its way. I lost my way. I took Linux and FOSS for granted. It became clearer than ever to me that while Linux and FOSS had won the battle over the tech giants a decade before, new ones had taken their place in the meantime, and we were letting them win. Although I had written and spoken about Linux and FOSS for years, and used it personally and professionally, I felt like I hadn’t done enough to support this thing I cared about so much. The death of Linux Journal was a major factor in my decision to put my money where my mouth was, quit my job, and join Purism so I could work full-time helping to forward this cause.

So yeah, I took the news pretty hard. We all took the news pretty hard, but where I had just lost a freelance writing gig, all of the core Linux Journal team had just lost their full-time jobs. It was a difficult time, yet we also were flooded with so much support from you, our readers. Some people contacted us just to tell us how much they loved the magazine and how sorry they were to see it go. Others offered to pay more for their subscriptions if that would somehow help. Others still contacted us to see if they could develop a fundraising program to keep the magazine alive. I can’t stress how much this incredible outpouring of support helped all of us during this difficult time. Thank you.

So yes, thank you for sticking by us. We truly did everything we could to make this a success, and I’m so sorry it didn’t work out. On a personal note, thank you to the rest of the Linux Journal team. Not being able to work with all of you and chat with you is going to be the hardest part of all of this by far.

If you want to keep in touch, you can find me at https://social.librem.one/@kyle on Mastodon and https://twitter.com/@kylerankin on Twitter.

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