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The Media

LWN.net Closing Down 307

Anonymous Coward writes "The best Linux news site is calling it a day. Citing money problems, they are saying next weeks issue will be the last. I've been reading LWN.net since the very beginning. They have always demonstrated sanity, restraint and professionalism along with thoughtful commentary - unlike certain other well known Linux news sites. Very sad." They've had problems since last fall. It's been a good four year run for them.
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LWN.net Closing Down

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  • it makes me wonder when *ahem* certain other Linux news sites will fail as well.

    LNUX closed today at $0.66, i think...
    • good point (Score:3, Insightful)

      This is a good point. The Editors have not said boo lately about subscriptions -- I bet you a dollar that means they didn't get jack. Please read on before modding me.

      Mr Malda can take this as a lesson. Rusty from k5 [kuro5hin.org] rustled up about $35,000 by passing the hat around, and at last count Slashdot had collected about 1/10 that, for offering "premium" service. It goes to show, if you treat your users with respect to the point of fanaticism, they will hold you in high regard with similar vigor. If you irritate 50% of them at any given time, you get it right back.

      It looks like the Internet Age is heading towards dusk for VA; it's spent well over a month under $1 and will most likely be delisted when things in the stock market loosen up a bit.

      Can Slashdot go free again? Without a change in leadership, I'm not so sure.
  • by MisterBlister ( 539957 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @10:58PM (#3949079) Homepage
    This honestly isn't a troll. I'm just wondering how viable Slashdot is for the near future? Considering the well known "Slashdot" effect, they must pay a bundle on bandwidth charges each month, and 90% of the ads on the site seem to be for other OSDN sites, so I don't think they're pulling in any money there. I know they have subscriptions, but have THAT many people really signed up for them? How long until Slashdot is gone or goes a bit-more subscription based (ala Salon)? Anyone willing to make some public guesses?
    • by Surak ( 18578 ) <surak AT mailblocks DOT com> on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @11:02PM (#3949106) Homepage Journal
      Not too long before anything with decent content goes subscription based (excluding volunteer-run sites perhaps), except for the academic stuff, but then again, some universities have decided to restrict access to the 'good' content to behind the campus firewall, leaving just course descriptions and such publically accessible.

      • I'm interested to see a list of succesful "for pay" Linux websites. The fact is that professional websites are being put out of business by amature websites whether they are add based or "for pay".

        Slashdot is a special case because it only creates a tiny bit of original content.

        • Slashdot is A) not a Linux site (running Linux and being ABOUT Linux are too different things) and B) actually creates quite a bit of original content...oh wait, JonKatz doesn't count, never mind. :)

          And anyway, who said all the decent content was on Linux sites?

    • by sh0rtie ( 455432 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @11:12PM (#3949145)

      Speaking as a experienced webdeveloper they could cut the bandwidth usage here at least in half by using stylesheets,removing whitespace in the source,and adhering to w3c [w3c.org] standards in the html code , it would be quite trivial to convert and the time spent would == cash saved for the effort (and it would still work in lynx:)

      we are always bashing people about standards , so why dont we take a leaf out of our own book and make this site/code/browsers use the technology available to us ?, it is 2002 after all not 1992.

      heh or is it another case of "do as i say not as i do" ?
    • Ah, but Salon has writers. Here, we're going to ask the users to do the writing, and charge them? No go. Perhaps a P2P solution over Freenet is the answer--see Freenet Message Board toward the middle of this page [freenetproject.org]. All it would need is some tweaks to allow people to selectively view content signed with certain keys (editors?) and a mechanism for posters to have submissions signed and voila'--a /. replacement without the bandwidth costs.
      • Here, we're going to ask the users to do the writing, and charge them?

        If you have a dedicated community which has an interest in keeping their meeting grounds alive, this could work. Look at, for example, the somethingawful.com forums. When those went pay, all the people who were the regulars ponied up because they wanted to remain a part of that community. Plus, it weeds out the trolls.
    • Reading certain journals shows that VA is seriously in the shitter. Just go to any of the stock quote sites. Bill Gates has enough pocket change to buy the place and shut it down. That should show how little he cares about it.

      Witness the recent posting caps placed on people with insufficient karma. Don't be surprised to see the discussion part of this board go all pay real soon. Remember, only front page views matter to them. If that truly is the case, it would be trivial to replace all of this dynamic crap with some static pages updated a dozen times per day.

    • How would slashdot charge a Salon style subscription fee? They don't own the comments posted nor the stories posted unless they're articles written by one of the editors which rarely happens. No one is going to pay to read Jon fucking Katz.

      Salon actually produced content which they owned and could charge money for. Unless Rob and crew hire active posters to say shit about the article and get them to sign over rights to the work they couldn't sell shit. The subscription system as is is more of a tip jar than true subscription. Rob hiring members is not very likely considering his low opinion of the comments on the site.

      If VA was going to go Chapter 7 they'd unload OSDN on the first company that would have them. Even though Linux is 80% hype a big name would still loave to have OSDN in the fold. VA gets scads of free advertising and just plain mindshare by owning OSDN. Slashdot and the other "news" sites handle the Linux hype machine for the OSDN sites while the real work gets done in Development and Media sites with complimentary stuff being sold through ThinkGeek. Anyone with even a remote interest in Linux would want OSDN's portfolio. I don't see slashdot tanking any time soon.
      • Just because Slashdot might receive money for a while, doesn't mean it is safe from going to shit. Many would say it is already happening right now. Whatever one's opinion, it is true that new management and ownership by a larger company will only increase the chance that Slashdot will be ultimately controlled by people who don't give a shit. That's never good for a website. I wouldn't even rule out Rob and friends being deposed themselves.

        I guess we'll wait and see...
    • That's easy; follow the recent patterns: when the CEO sells their stock. Also, since we don't have Martha Stewart, look for when CowboyNeal dumps his.

    • Nothin' new here...

      Pud at F---edcompany.com [fuckedcompany.com] will tell ya time and time again:

      givin' stuff away for free (this means Linux, sites, etc) don't pay like it used to...

    • Your guess is as good as any, I would have guessed that VA would have done a lot of things by now to make more money form Slashdot and to reduce the expense.

      I hate this. I really like LWN, it's new, it's not rumors and geek stuff, it's news about technical things in the world of Linux. I hate to see it go down.

      I've been kicking this idea around some, a narrow pipe is cheap, why couldn't there be a syndication for web sites? If you had 100 sites hosting the same LWN content and could some how make sure that they were pretty well distributed then the cost of LWN becomes much cheaper. I'm thinking like FIDO net style in a way. Presuming that bandwidth and servers is their number one cost other than full time staff. I'm starting to think the next cool thing beyond the weblog is the syndicated web magazine, it could have editors, all that stuff and then they put it on line, rsync it to all the syndication sites. Then all you need is some way to pay the staff, the syndication sites could pay subscription fees, in exchange they get some control over an amount of content space. If you can get enough syndication sites then it's pretty cheap to become, right? Or if they don't have a staff providing content then it could be free to syndicate. It has to work because big corporations do it, we just need to scale it to hobby size.

    • While no one can predict the fate of any given company, it's certainly interesting that VA Systems (/. owner) Chairman Larry Augustin has been cashing out big time over the last year:

      He got paid $201,000 for 2001, a year in which, like all the rest, VA lost money. If that wasn't enough, he's been cashing out the stock all the way down:


      What does that tell you about /.'s future?
      • That tells me he's trying to diversify his portfolio, as well as getting paid pretty fairly for a CEO of a company that once had a market cap of well over a billion.

        Granted, back in "the day" Jim Barksdale (of former Netscape and FedEx fame) had a salary of 1$. *He* could afford it. Augustin may not be able to.

        • Oh come on, that's what they all say. Diversifying and selling before the bottom falls out look the same to you & me, so how would you know? His, "diversifying", looks an awful lot like cashing in, given that he's sold off almost all shares he had, and has filed the intent to sell most of the rest.

          And what does it matter that inflated market cap VA once had? Profits are what matter, and VA's never had any of them, so what on earth are management getting paid for? /.?

    • Things don't look good for entities like Slashdot and / or LWN (and others).

      So, to help out, we must make tons of moolah.

      Way to do it ?

      Imitate what Global Crossing did ... squandered tons and tons of $$$ and then go to WhiteHouse and tell Bush and Co. to bailout the company for the sake of "National Security".

      Or we can learn a chapter or two from the Enron / WorldCom / ImClone / Xerox folks - COOK THE DAMN BOOKS !

      Slashdot and LWN sure can use some of the "excess" from the "book-cooking extravaganzas" and all the other slashdotters / lwnners will definitely looouuurrrrvvvveees you to death.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @10:59PM (#3949089)
    They have always demonstrated sanity, restraint and professionalism along with thoughtful commentary - unlike certain other well known Linux news sites. Very sad.

    I'm surprised this not-so-veiled insult made it onto the front page...

    • probably because....
      It's more true than you realize....

      When VA Linux does close, please pass on SlashDot to me.
      Seriously: Talk to me first, I'll buy it, whatever.

      Make some changes:
      Add many admins to help add news, write news, etc. Not the same three people.
      Take away admin moderator points. You're biased therefore you shouldn't mod. Same reason I can't mod a thread I posted in.....

      I'd even drop the adds, or add affordable text ads, so people can plug their own sites.. not something that costs 400 bucks or more but 5 bucks... or less.

      Remember, consider me!!!

      • And get rid of the damn Karma Krap and rating system. It's like a KKK ralley in here. If someone says something, ANYTHING, that ruffles feathers, mass suppression takes place. There should be a way of removeing truly offtopic posts. But just because someone points out something that is in any way anti-whateverthecrowdlovesandcandonowrong there is no reason to mod the person out of existance because you don't want to hear it. It's like 10,000 people with their hands over their ears yelling "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALA".

        Thus my sig. You have to wade through a lot of pure crap it's true, but the amount of real, unbiased information (Such as Reiser not really being a journalling file system) that gets moded to -1 is shameful. A tragedy really. /.'s one true failing.
    • > > They have always demonstrated sanity, restraint and professionalism along with thoughtful commentary - unlike certain other well known Linux news sites. Very sad.

      > I'm surprised this not-so-veiled insult made it onto the front page...

      Proving that the editors not only don't read the stories, they don't even read the screedle that introduces the stories.

  • Ouch! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @11:00PM (#3949091)
    "They have always demonstrated sanity, restraint and professionalism along with thoughtful commentary - unlike certain other well known Linux news sites. Very sad."

    Shots taken AT Slashdot ON Slashdot. Usually I have to atleast read the comments for that.
  • Hmm... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by User 956 ( 568564 )
    They have always demonstrated sanity, restraint and professionalism along with thoughtful commentary - unlike certain other well known Linux news sites.

    Oh, you shouldn't say that about Slashdot...
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SlugLord ( 130081 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @11:11PM (#3949141)
      It's always good to see the real human beings who understand that all news reporting comes with a slant, and that some (though surely not Slashdot) is more biased than others.

      I read everything here with a suspicious eye, though I think that some of the most suspicious (of government and big companies anyway) persons are probably trusting of Slashdot in its ability to provide knowledgeable, minimally-biased news.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @11:02PM (#3949102)
    They have always demonstrated sanity, restraint and professionalism along with thoughtful commentary - unlike certain other well known Linux news sites.

    News sites like Slashdot?
  • You never hear of a BSD site going out of business despite all the claims of its death on Linux sites...

    (linux * 3) < darwin
  • Alternatives please? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kir ( 583 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @11:05PM (#3949117) Homepage

    This question obviously would not get posted to "Ask Slashdot", but I'm still curious.

    What sites do you, the full-on geek slashdot community, think deserve my readership after next week's closing of lwn?

    Loads of linux news sites are out there, from home-grown to corporate backed, but I've yet to find one that comes close to the professional and relevant lwn (not that I was looking hard - after all, I love lwn). Lay it on me!

    • by diaphanous ( 1806 ) <pgarland@gmSLACKWAREail.com minus distro> on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @11:14PM (#3949158)
      For news on linux kernel development:

      Kernel Traffic [zork.net]
      KernelTrap [kerneltrap.org]

    • http://www.LinuxToday.com
      But unfortunately, nothing compares to the marvelous all-in-one that LWN had. Once I discovered it, it was my apointment on Friday afternoon.
    • My favorite is still Linux Today [linuxtoday.com]. But perhaps something different might be in order for the future.

      All of the Linux news sites, big and small, seem to be loaded with content pulled from other sites. Indeed, many of the sites make their headlines available in an easily parseable, machine-readable format. Wouldn't it be great, if instead of putting all of the bandwidth etc. expense burden on a few supersites, to have a network of smaller sites all sharing the news articles, and each doing a little reporting and scavenging to contribute.

      I know, this sounds vaguely like UseNet, but I'm talking about something with a better signal-to-noise ratio. Something where you have to work a little bit to get things set up and on the sharing network, but once you're online you can provide news for a small group of users without getting killed on the bandwidth costs.

      Alternatively, the megasites could eliminate interactive portions like talkbacks/comments entirely, and the community could create a volunteer-run caching network similar to Akamai. Naturally, the megasites themselves would have to return to being noncommercial; nobody wants to spend their own money to voluntarily help some other for-profit organization stay afloat (as Mandrakesoft found out when they tried it).

      Ok, these ideas aren't fully thought through, but the point is that there are ways of keeping Linux news sites running out there without having to resort to subscription-based content.

      And for ordinary discussions and conversations, I suggest that everyone do what they did in the 1990's: find a nice BBS that you're comfortable on and make it your home. A good one is listed below in my sig, but there are hundreds, possibly thousands more. The community BBS is alive and well, despite CmdrTaco et al's best efforts to try and convince the world that it's a thing of the past.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    lwn.net is my favourite site. I have been reading there for a long time now. well at least I still have linux.com and kerneltrap.com
  • by zapp ( 201236 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @11:09PM (#3949132)
    The sad thing about the Internet, is not necessarily that when a site shuts down it stops putting up new content, but in many cases the archived information on the site disappears.

    Yes I know about the Internet archiving effort (www.archive.org), but in many cases the sites going under had streaming video or audio, which is lost forever.
    • I agree. Many is the day that I go back to a bookmarked reference, just to find a 404 page instead. I kinda wonder how many times we end up re-inventing the wheel because of it. Or, in most cases I come across, waste hours troubleshooting a problem that has already been solved.

      I ended up making local (digital or paper) copies of most important stuff I come across. You would be suprised how many Win 3.x questions we stil get and hard it is to find good answers.
      • Try this. Carelessly install and upgrade Mozilla a few times. Even better, try installing it and uninstalling Netscape 4.x simultaneously.

        Poof. Your 404 bookmarks are gone. Not restored though. :)

        Give the wayback time machine a shot...

    • in many cases the archived information on the site disappears.
      Like Al Gore.
    • That's true, but sometimes opportunities grow that way.

      There once was a very popular site for creating 3D Art called 'scifi-art.com'. It was hobbyist, not a professional deal. It had some 3000 members at it's peak. (Possibly more, this is all from memory here.) One day, though, the owner of the site realized that he was unable to maintain his hobby anymore, and he took the site down.

      It was a sad day for a lot of us because we lost a great place to proudly display our work. However, within a couple of weeks a new site was formed. You see, the owner of SFA struck a deal with the owner of another site and migrated the forums and users databases over. Result? Scifi-meshes.com emerged. All the threads were back and all the users were migrated over. SFA was gone, but SFM picked up where they left off!

      The owner of SFM has a renwed energy that the previous didn't, and now he's turned it into a place where people can not only learn how to improve their skills, but compete with other people as well. He's running contests now and giving prizes away.

      I'm seriously impressed with how this came out! I don't think it would have happened if SFA hadn't gone down. So who knows? LWN may be down for now, but perhaps somebody will be able to pick up the database and move on?
    • Fortunately, we're not going to loose the content of LWN.

      We'll have more information next week on things like content tarballs and releasing the site source.
      -- http://lwn.net/Articles/5052 [lwn.net]

      Very cool. Bookmarks won't work, of course, but the content can be found somewhere as probably dozens of LWN replicas will offer it.

  • how ironic (Score:1, Interesting)

    by rigelstar ( 243170 )
    I have never heard of this Linux news site before for some reason. Now, seeing the site, it looks like a useful site that I would have visited daily. I wonder how many sites like this crumble do to lack of knowledge of their existence. Advertise!
    • Advertise?
      Did you miss the part about money problems?

      Or have you been visiting moneytree.com again?

      • Well I was simply saying that maybe if that had advertised maybe more people like me would have visited the site and found it useful, hence the irony.
        • I know.. I was just joking...
          What we really need is a free exchange of ad (possibly text ads) between sites again.

          Remember the link exchanging of a few years back??? How about something similar but with simple rotating text ads. I'll show you yours, if you show me mine!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Bring forth the "Linux is dying" posts!

    Go!!! Go!!!

  • LWN is one of my favorite and daily sites.

    I've been wondering if a new solution for the "money problems" involved in running a big site could be solved in part with freenet or some other distributed peer to peer network system. People would, it some sense, be donating their bandwidth. I don't know how you would insure that you were getting the actual site and not a rip-off, though.
    • The problem, if you read the article, isn't lack of money to buy bandwidth, but rather lack of money to pay writers. Just like salon.com, lwn.net has writers that want money. They haven't been paid for awhile, and so isntead of going WAY in debt, they're folding before the ship completely sinks.
    • In addition to the other (correct) reply, I recall reading that their bandwidth has been donated for quite a while, by Rackspace. So it's not a b/w issue at all.
  • When one has an email address listed, how are you any more anonymous than anyone else on slashdot? FWIW, at 11:11 EDT, it's listed as:


    (? to replace name in case one of the editors... edits)

    But, yes, it is very sad. Sad that professionalism and rationality lose out to childish posing and ranting.
  • by ninjaz ( 1202 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @11:13PM (#3949154)
    This is a sad day for me. I've been reading LWN since it started, and they have always had excellent reporting and editorial content.

    Their long memories, digging deep enough to get at the meat of the stories and excellent security coverage for Linux & *BSD will be sorely missed.
  • No free publishing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YahoKa ( 577942 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @11:39PM (#3949255)
    The simple fact of e-publishing is that it costs money. You can't publish a book wihout people buying them, and likewise you cant publish a web page without getting money from somewhere. We now know that most web advertising is a flop, so subscriptions seem unavoidable. But if i read 10 news sites a day, i dont want to pay even $4 for each one because that sure adds up. If you can think of a solution please let me know, cus there is money to be made there.
    • Unless you donate each article to charity. Then the artwork is tax-deductable and you could in fact get paid for it.

      All you need is a decent day job to provide a utilty for deductions, and you're off and running.

      work for uncle sam all day - get it back by writing an article a week for LWN.

    • We now know that most web advertising is a flop, so subscriptions seem unavoidable. But if i read 10 news sites a day, i dont want to pay even $4 for each one because that sure adds up. If you can think of a solution please let me know, cus there is money to be made there.
      You've already admitted the only answer that can possibly work long-term. You just don't like it. TANSTAAFL. For your subscriptions to 10 web sites, you're getting something that, somehow, people used to live without.

      BTW, if it really seems like a lot of money, take a look at a monthly cable TV bill.

    • The simple fact of e-publishing is that it costs money. You can't publish a book wihout people buying them, and likewise you cant publish a web page without getting money from somewhere. We now know that most web advertising is a flop, so subscriptions seem unavoidable. But if i read 10 news sites a day, i dont want to pay even $4 for each one because that sure adds up. If you can think of a solution please let me know, cus there is money to be made there.

      Solution number one is to read fewer than 10 news sites in a day. You'd end up with a multi-tiered system with news sources feeding various news web sites (for a fee), and you subscribing to the news web site (or two) that best matched your interests.

      IMO, this is what web news is most likely to converge on. We have the "multi-tiered split production and distribution" thing going already between Slashdot and similar news distributors, and the original articles they reference. All that needs to change is the billing structure.

      The other option is to have a massively distributed web-news system, such that everyone was hosting from their own cached copies (with outgoing traffic self-throttling to prevent hot spots). This would effectively double everyone's news bandwidth costs, by bundling the outgoing distribution costs with incoming distribution costs. Unfortunately, there are problems:
      • Everyone (or nearly everyone) has to be altruistic enough to host, and host fairly.
        If the ratio of downloaders to cachers/distributors gets too steep, costs for the distributors become prohibitive. Similar things happen if you have people spoofing the system to get around throttling, cheating somehow on throttling, etc.
      • Sharing comments in this distributed newslog would be a royal pain.
        The only practical way to do it would be to cache comments between trusted hosts. It would only take one idiot to poison an area's comment list. This is likely not a viable solution for a grass-roots system.
      • I'm blithely assuming there will be enough altruistic reporters (amateur or professional) supplying real news footage out of pocket to make this work.
        The official sources will likely end up mostly subscription-only for the good stuff. There will always be enough free material as a teaser to make an adequate free system, but it won't be great.
      • I'm blithely assuming that setting up a server for this cache isn't a problem.
        Even if you make a drool-proof server install package, you have the problem of most ISPs taking down anyone who hosts a server with significant outgoing traffic.
      IMO if a distributed system happens at all, it won't be a massive grassroots effort - it'll be a franchise scheme of some sort. Or a corporation's distributed set of news nodes, but a) that happens already and b) that doesn't save money (money is only saved when you have small enough bandwidth load per node to piggyback on residential connections with flat rates).

      We'll see what actually emerges in about a decade or so.
  • by robdeadtech ( 232013 ) on Wednesday July 24, 2002 @11:49PM (#3949291)
    some decent sites that are almost always updated at least once a day...

    linuxinsider [linuxinsider.com]

    linuxtoday [linuxtoday.com]

    firstlinux [firstlinux.net]

    linuxsecurity [linuxsecurity.com]

    and somewhat linux related but definitely awesome...

    oreilly's meerkat [oreillynet.com]

    oreillynet [oreillynet.com] and not so much news but definitely up to date...

    ONLAMP [onlamp.com]

    • Most (if not all) of those sites are just spitting up links to Linux news and articles elsewhere on the web. LWN has actual solid quality journalism, and they'll be hard to replace -- I don't think any of the sites you've listed fit the bill, even though they might be good in and of themselves.
  • Oh my, all I could think of at that was the image of 21 cute little penguins being shot out of cannons. The poor things can't even fly...
  • Sad but... (Score:3, Funny)

    by ellem ( 147712 ) <.ellem52. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday July 25, 2002 @12:19AM (#3949401) Homepage Journal
    we'll be seeing a lot more of this.

    Suse ROX
    Red Hat RUL3Z
    Mandrake BAY-BEE
    MySQL is PHAT
    PHP is 37337

    You download the shit. Try paying for it once in a while.
  • A moment... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lac ( 135355 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @12:41AM (#3949463)

    I am deeply saddened by this loss. I will truly miss them. LWN did something no other Linux site was doing. LWN will not be replaced any time soon. LWN... was important, perhaps the most important Linux news site.

    I have been known to post over-the-top comments [slashdot.org] here because I believe that Slashdot shouldn't [slashdot.org] take itself too seriously. But I will not rant in this thread or make funny remarks. Now is not the time for wit. Now is not the time for "Funny, +5" comments. Now is not even the time for moderation.

    I would like to propose a moment of silence. I know, Slashdot is just a weblog. I know, I am almost taking this forum seriously. But face it, the LWN editors have earned it and this is as good as it's gonna get. Take a minute. You can always read the funny comments tomorrow.

    • I am deeply saddened by this loss.

      I don't even know where to begin. You're deeply saddened? Are you serious, man? Yeah, it sure is a bitch that LWN is closing, but don't you think you're being a bit melodramatic?

      Jesus christ. You need to get out more often if a website shutting down is a life-shattering event.
  • Sad.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Goonie ( 8651 ) <robert...merkel@@@benambra...org> on Thursday July 25, 2002 @01:05AM (#3949522) Homepage
    Although occasionally LWN made wrong calls on things (name a news outlet that doesn't), their quality writing and analysis will be missed.

    I suppose I should have supported their site with some cash, but there's only so many sites one can subscribe to with limited resources (I'm a subscriber at Salon and Crikey.com.au, amongst others).

    Hopefully one day the web ad market will come back just a teency bit to help support good sites like LWN.

  • Somebody should archive LWN's Penguin Gallery [lwn.net]. These Tux pictures may be old hat to some of you, but I had never seen most of them. Note that there are 16 pages. Some of the pics are stupid, but others are really interesting or funny. It's neat to see how Tux himself can assume a new cultural identity as various people groups embrace him as an icon.

    Some of my favorites: Indian chief Tux (page 4 [lwn.net]), Tux playing on a Lexmark "sliding board" (page 5 [lwn.net]), Beowulf cluster Tux (page 6 [lwn.net]), Argentine Cowboy Tux (page 9 [lwn.net]).

  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @01:37AM (#3949597) Homepage
    They are out of money for professional writers. However, why not continue in another form?

    LWN was run voluntarily at first. Can it continue in this fashion? I mean, I like reading the excellent editorials, but I can also live with fewer of them. Say, the amount one person would willingly write in their spare time and contribute to the community.

    Paying jobs are nice to have, I know. But LWN could continue as a hobby, like Kernel Traffic [zork.net] exists today. As long as you have hosting which provides bandwidth and the archives, everything can continue.

    If all else fails, at least let other people mirror your archives. This way the great work LWN has contributed to the community will not go away. I only wish my financial situation were better, so I could give back some money to make up for all the times I've read LWN since 1998 (I've been reading every weeklf edition since 1999) until present and found the content to be useful.
    • LWN was run voluntarily at first. Can it continue in this fashion?

      Totally agree. During time they added lots of coverage that are kind out of scope for me: too much recommended reading, to much items in the News section, too much proprietary software coverage, many security items that arent really essential to LWN, but are better found elsewhere. The hard thing is that perhaps other people have different itchings, so the right balance between what to include or not is very hard to achieve.

      Also disclosing their plans and budget perhaps would give the community a better idea of how much to contribute.

      Other ideas tossed around are doing CSS to reduce bandwidth and storage needs, doing away with the new, storage-consuming comments letters to the editors were just fine. What would really entice me is more focus on free software. While I like to read about free software deployments in businesses, I dont care about proprietary software for GNU/Linux. Others may feel similarly.

      The FSF regularly toys around with the idea of a free software-only news service. I would love such a service in the LWN format.

      One thing that really bothers me is that almost every voluntary effort that tries to turn commercial does so after it has grown too much to be sort-to-medium-term viable. Perhaps reverting back to the original, smaller format, going commercial, and then growing back to current format as revenues allow would do the trick. Just my 2.

    • They did mention talking about releasing content tarballs, so I imagine LWN mirrors will start popping up soon afterward.

      I agree that they should remain active in some scaled-back form. Perhaps no more (or not as many) paid authors or less original content. There are many sites out there that exist primarily in "hobby" form (mine included), and I think the community in general would be happier to see them linger than disappear altogether.

  • Get together (Score:2, Insightful)

    by raarts ( 5057 )
    I would be happy to pay for a LWN subscription, but I don't. Why? Because I'm afraid I'll eventually pay a similar amount for every online publication I want to read and that would stack up too much for me.
    But basically I wouldn't mind paying for the fact I'm an Open Source fan.

    My solution: Get together with similar publications (Linuxtoday? Slashdot? Freshmeat? rpmfind? MozillaZine? Apache Week?) Charge a fee as a group. Create a free, outdated (four weeks) version of the sites to show what you're offering. Don't get overboard on the rates. Create student rates. Make it very easy to sign up, and easy for us non-US citizens to transfer the money.

    I would personally pay $15 a month for a combined subscription. My company would pay more.
    • I agree. I am not against suprisptions per say. But if I had to do for every worthwhile site on the internet (which in most cases are just links to other sites) -- the amount I would have to pay is unthinkable. Kind of like if you take a penny and double it every day for 30 days -- you will be in the millions. Online subscriptions would be like a bad chain letter. Pay $5 to siteA. SiteA-Story1 links me to SiteB who requires I pay another $5 bucks --- on and on and on. As much as I like /. it is no secret that most of the "content" they provide is harvested via links to the actual content site.
  • "It's been a good four year run for them."

    Duuuuuh....obviously not too good. A good run would have enabled them to pay their bills and be in a position to keep going.

  • by zopepaul ( 595824 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @07:22AM (#3950292)

    I'm pleased to see all the positive comments about LWN. It's also been my favorite Linux site, going back to 1998. In fact, LWN broke the news about Zope going open source, one hour after I announced it at a Python conference. We weren't ready for the exposure they provided, so we had to haul *ss to catch up. :^)

    What isn't discussed here is the personal side. I think Liz, Jon, and Dennis are some of the most honorable, decent people in the world of Linux. They've all given a lot to the community, even beyond LWN.

    Lots of others shoved wads of cash in their pockets when the bubble inflated. LWN held out until an offer with integrity showed up. Alas, it turned out to be a moral but non-lucrative choice.

    To Liz and Jon and Dennis: kudos for being Good People. You've already created a warm legacy, something not enough people in the community can claim.

  • It's my fault, yesterday wasn't going well.

    Broke my working code, couldn't fix it again

    Had a crash in my car on the way home

    My expensive DVD player (out of warranty of course) let out the magic smoke

    LWN announced it was shutting down

    Seriously though, they will definitely be badly missed. They were part of my daily net routine. Interestingly a number of users on the LWN comments page have made substantial donations just after the news broke (several US$200 donations were mentioned). Perhaps its time we stopped griping and just put our money where our collective mouthes are. I'm going to donate tonight after I get home, and I challenge every other reader who can afford it to do likewise.

  • Why LWN was unique (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vondo ( 303621 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @09:05AM (#3950642)
    The best thing about LWN from my perspective was that they would actually take some time to analyze the news themselves. It's easy to put together a site that is just a collection of news stories. It takes a lot more effort to try to explain to your readers what the news means. For instance, their kernel coverage was fantastic for someone like me who doesn't really understand the kernel at more than a superficial level.

    Second, LWN was unabashedly pro-Linux, not anti-commercial-software. They really took more of an OSI like attitude: Open-source is great, here's why, but we realize and accept that some companies won't do it, and they make useful software too.

    Finally, LWN rarely required you to visit another page on their site to get to the article they were linking too. Linuxtoday does this and it annoys me to no end. On the front page LT quotes the first paragraph of the story, on the next page the first 3 paragraphs. Only from there can you go to the actual article.
  • I donated $50, link (Score:3, Informative)

    by Odinson ( 4523 ) on Thursday July 25, 2002 @02:01PM (#3952531) Homepage Journal
    You should too if you enjoy LWN clarity, speed and accuracy.

    LWN Contribution page [lwn.net]

    Matthew Newhall
    President of LILUG.
    Long Island Linux Users Group.

  • This is not fair.

    Hell, close down slashdot before LWN. This site is pitiful in comparison.

    Even during the most furious times, LWN has always been mature.

    What the hell. What the hell.

    Yet, on the LWN comments page, it looks the money is rolling in.

    Maybe they will get their miracle. Wish I could help too--no money.

    Thank you LWN. May the source be with you.


Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser