As of Wednesday Morning (October 2), there are almost 1200 individual
subscribers to LWN. We also have all of three confirmed (small) corporate
subscriptions, with discussions happening with others. With luck, we will
be able to announce our first large corporate subscription in the near
future. Many thanks to all of you who have shown your support for LWN.
So where does that leave us? It takes on the order of 1000 subscribers to
support one full-time LWN editor with a minimal salary (i.e. less than they
can make elsewhere) once taxes, health insurance, connectivity, and,
perhaps, an occasional trade show are thrown in. So, in other words, we
have made some real progress, but we are still some distance from being
able to operate LWN at its current level of staffing (and, thus, content).
It is, of course, early to say what the steady state subscription level
will be. Corporate subscribers, in particular, move slowly. But, it seems
reasonably clear that, unless we get a new surge in interest, LWN will
likely go forward as a smaller operation than it is now. The good news is
that (1) it looks like LWN will continue, in some form, and
(2) we have been surprised before; the situation may yet improve.
The best way to make things improve remains corporate subscriptions. We'll ask
our readers one more time to encourage their employers and universities to
look into our group subscription offerings. These subscriptions make LWN
available to large groups of people while doing a lot to help keep LWN on
The subscription system itself seems to be working reasonably well - not
bad for a big body of completely new code that had its first real stress
test when deployed on the site. A few glitches remain, and we are working
on it. In particular, there seems to be a cookie problem with Internet
Explorer that is proving hard to track down - especially since we have very
few Windows systems around here. It is not our desire to exclude IE users
- they are responsible for about 20% of our traffic. We will work this one
Thanks yet again for your support of LWN. We will continue to do our best
to produce a site that is worthy of that support.
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