LWN prefers to report news from the Linux development community over news
about itself. But there have been some requests recently for a status
update. Beyond that, we have some important news to pass on to our
readers. So please bear with us for a brief exercise in journalistic
Toward the beginning of this year, we announced our desire to bring in
another author/editor with the goals of making the operation more
robust and, eventually, expanding our content mix. That process seemingly
came to an end with our announcement that Nathan Willis was joining the
staff at the end of April. That whole process has gone better than
expected, and LWN is better for it. But there is a part of that story that
we have not been able to tell until now.
We had a surprising number of strong candidates for the position at LWN.
In the end, it came down to two people, either of whom would have been an
outstanding addition to LWN's staff. After agonizing over the decision for
a while, we realized that the skills of the two candidates complemented
each other nicely and that what we really needed to do was to hire
both of them. Causing that to happen took a while — our second
candidate is a busy person who needed some time to make a change — but
things are finally falling into place.
Thus, we are pleased to announce that our other new editor will be
Michael Kerrisk. Michael describes himself this way:
Michael is a software engineer, writer, and trainer who started
using UNIX in 1987, and Linux in the late 1990s. Since 2004,
Michael has maintained the Linux man-pages
and has been one of its most prolific contributors. He
is also the author of "The Linux Programming Interface" (see Jake's review
is a New Zealander, based in Munich, Germany.
We have big plans for Michael; he'll be supplementing our kernel-oriented
coverage and helping us to expand it in a number of related areas
including, possibly, embedded systems and software development. Expect to
see his work showing up on LWN's pages later this month.
This move is a bit of a risk on everybody's part for the simple reason that
LWN's current cash flow
is not sufficient to carry two new editors. The good news is that we have
been able to set aside some reserves over the last couple of years, so we
have plenty of time in which to ramp things up and get back to a
sustainable operating condition. Getting there will definitely require
that we find ways to increase our subscriber base, though.
We have a number of ideas for how that might be achieved. An expanded and
broader content mix, we hope, will appeal to a wider range of readers.
LWN's "new site code" just celebrated its tenth anniversary; it's no secret
that it could use updating in any number of ways. We need to find
ways to provide additional value to the subscribers who keep us going.
There are some interesting related ideas that we wish to pursue, once time
allows. And we could maybe even try actively promoting the site rather
than just sort of hoping that readers will find and appreciate us.
Certainly something needs to be done. In the last two years, the number of
individual subscribers has leveled out and even declined slightly—not the
sort of trend we were hoping to see. Group subscriptions have been a
little more robust, fortunately. Special thanks are due to our "Supporter"
subscribers who exist in sufficient numbers to make a real difference.
Supporters: none of you have yet exercised your unique privilege to have
the beverage of your choice at LWN's expense at any conference where we are
present; we may yet find ourselves having to resort to sending you yet
another laptop bag instead.
If we have learned anything over the years, it's the nature of businesses
that something always needs to be done. It's a rare business that just
generates the money needed to sustain it without constant adjustments. It
has been almost exactly ten years since we posted The end of the road, wherein we explained our
conclusion that the time had come to shut LWN down. Things have improved a
lot since then. We are confident that, if we think and work hard toward
the creation of a site that brings more value to our readers, things will
continue to improve.
LWN's greatest strength is one of the best reader communities out there.
We do not thank you all anywhere near often enough. But we'll say it now:
thanks for your solid support for this site since its beginning in 1998; we
wouldn't be here without you. And we are very much looking forward to
making LWN better in the coming months—stay tuned!
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