After a quick read of the comments before me, I join the group favoring the current simplistic, information-oriented approach. So far for the look and feel everything is fine to me.
As for the colours I always disable them in my browser for all pages imposing my choice over the page designer's. In Firefox this achieved through Preferences --> Colors --> use system colors and disabling "allow pages to use their own colors. Like most newspapers, blogs and other real content-aimed webs LWN does not hide anything from me (as background images for example) and therefore respects my choices.
A possible improvement: work in the search area, or rather the indexes. I find the kernel page index absolutely fantastic and I would suggest creating similar indexes for distributions, development, grumpy-editors, etc.
As for ways to increasing income I think that we, subscribers, should do more pub among our colleagues, LUG's and environments. My university library had had once a group subscription but it was cancelled since it was "no longer considered essential and our budget reduction would not admit it". I don't know what the price was (the negotiation happend levels above my local librarian could know) but maybe I can propose my lab to relaunch the process (at least in a local scene for our 15-20 people).
Congrats Michael (I also have your TLPI book on my shelf) for making it as a new editor and thanks LWN for allowing him to work together with Nathan (whose articles are also quite enjoyable as well)!!.