The LWN.net FAQ
Here is our attempt to answer the questions that come in to LWN; please let
us know of questions we should add here.
What is this LWN thing?
LWN.net aims to be the premier news and information source for the free
software community. We provide comprehensive coverage of development,
legal, commercial, and security issues. The LWN.net Weekly Edition is our
weekly summary of what has happened in the free software world; our front
page offers up-to-the-minute coverage.
How did LWN get started?
When LWN was initially designed, at the end of 1997, it was intended to
be an attention-getting side project of a new consulting company called
Eklektix, Inc. The initial editors (Elizabeth Coolbaugh and Jonathan
Corbet) wanted to share the results of their efforts to keep up with
developments from all over the Linux community. Over the years LWN has
grown with Linux and become one of the definitive Linux news sites.
Where does LWN get its information?
We spend an unbelievable amount of time wandering the net in search of
interesting developments to cover for our users. We also depend heavily
on tips from our users; see the next section on how to send in something
you have seen.
How do we contact LWN?
The most effective means of contacting LWN is via email. The following
addresses should be used:
- For story submissions, questions, typo reports, and general issues,
send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. In most
cases, we request that you use this address rather than contacting
individual LWN authors directly - somebody is always watching the
- Subscription questions should be sent to email@example.com.
- Advertising inquiries are welcome; please send them to
- Press releases should go to firstname.lastname@example.org; see the next item for
- Prospective LWN authors should send queries to email@example.com. We have more
information for authors on the writing for LWN
When in doubt, the firstname.lastname@example.org address should be used.
The LWN telephone number is +1 720 310 0640. Please do not be surprised if
you encounter the voice mail system, but rest assured that we will get back
to you quickly.
How can we get our press release into LWN?
Note that, for the time being, LWN has discontinued its press release
section to free time for more interesting news. We are still interested
in press releases, and will cover interesting commercial events. To have
your press release considered, please send it to email@example.com
. A couple of things should be
kept in mind when submitting press releases:
- If your press release is embargoed until a particular date, please
state that prominently at the top of the message.
- We are unable to handle press releases in closed, proprietary
formats. The preferred format is plain text.
How does LWN make its living?
LWN is primarily supported by its readers, through subscription fees. We
also bring in a small amount of money through advertising, but that is
typically less than 10% of our revenue stream.
What does LWN stand for, anyway?
LWN, initially, was "Linux Weekly News." That name has been deemphasized
over time as we have moved beyond just the weekly coverage, and as we have
looked at the free software community as a whole. We have yet to come up
with a better meaning for LWN, however.
How do I find the current Weekly Edition?
The current Weekly Edition is always available via the top navigation bar.
You may also use the link lwn.net/current
for the "one big page"
Who writes this stuff?
LWN.net is currently made up of:
- Jonathan Corbet: Front and Kernel pages, and overall
"executive editor" functions.
- Jake Edge: Security page and "jake of all trades".
- Rebecca Sobol: Distributions page and daily updates.
- Nathan Willis: Development page and beyond.
We also purchase a number of articles from freelance authors; our Guest Articles Index lists all of our
guest authors and the articles they have contributed. We are always
looking for good writers; please see this page if you are
interested in writing for us.
Do you have an RSS/RDF headline feed?
Yes, we have a few of them; our headlines page
describes the available feeds.
Do you have a Twitter feed?
Yes, you can follow our article posts via http://twitter.com/lwnnet or http://identi.ca/lwnnet.
What if I don't like the comment presentation?
Note that the My Account
page gives you four
options for the presentation of comments on articles. If you do not like
comments at all, you can even make them disappear altogether.
Can I get email when somebody replies to my comments?
If you are subscribed at the "professional hacker" level or above, you may
elect to receive email notifications when replies to your comments are
posted. Simply select the options presented next to the "publish" button
when you have completed writing your comment.
The account customization section of the My Account
page allows you to set the default settings of the comment notification
I'd like to see just the new comments!
We're working on making this aspect of the site better. Meanwhile, there
are three options:
- There is an RSS feed for newly-posted comments; see the headlines page for more information.
- If you go to this page, you'll get a simple
list of comments in reverse order of posting.
- The recently-posted comments page
provides an organized view of comments posted since the last time you
viewed the page; this is a subscriber-only feature.
For subscribers at or above the Project Leader level, we are also able to highlight
new comments in the normal article view.
Why should I subscribe to LWN?
Producing LWN takes a substantial amount of staff time, and that costs
money. As a way of bringing in that money, the advertising model has been
shown definitively not to work (and not just for LWN). Subscriptions,
are the lifeblood of LWN, and the only way that LWN will continue to
publish. The main reason to subscribe, thus, is to support LWN and keep it
on the net.
What does an LWN subscription get me?
Beyond the knowledge that you are helping keep LWN around, subscribers
currently have access to the following:
- LWN's premium content from the moment it is published; non-subscribers
must wait a week to access this content.
- The ability to receive LWN content via electronic mail.
- The ability to turn off advertisements.
- Optional receipt of comments and/or comment replies via email.
Not all features are available at all subscription levels.
What does a subscription cost?
See the LWN subscription information page
current information on subscription pricing and features.
What are the differences between the four subscription levels?
LWN offers four levels of subscription:
- The starving hacker level is aimed at readers who are
between jobs or who live in those parts of the world where the regular
subscription rate is a lot of money. Readers at this level have
access to all LWN content, but not to all site features. Due to
excessive processing costs, automatic monthly subscriptions are not
available at this level.
- The professional hacker level is for most readers; in addition
to access to LWN content, this level provides the ability to
turn off all advertising on the site,
filter comments based on author, and
receive notifications via email when replies are posted to comments.
- The project leader level is for those who wish to support LWN
more strongly; in addition to all professional hacker benefits, a
project leader subscription allows readers to receive email
notifications for comments posted to any article, and it enables the
highlighted view for new comments posted when viewing the parent
- The maniacal supporter level for those whose support for LWN knows
few bounds. Subscribers at this level have all the access given to
"project leader" subscribers; they are also credited as supporters in
their comment postings. LWN staff will happily buy supporters a beer
(or other beverage of their choice) at any conference where they may meet.
Subscribing at the highest level possible provides access to the most
features and does the most to help keep LWN going.
How can I pay for an LWN subscription?
We can currently accept payments via credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and
American Express), PayPal, and checks drawn on a U.S. bank.
Why can't I subscribe for more than one year?
Our credit card processor, concerned about their liability should we take
the money and flee the planet, has limited us to selling subscriptions no
more than one year into the future. They have made it clear that this is
not a negotiable point, so LWN subscriptions currently cannot be sold more
than one year ahead.
What is your refund policy?
Our official policy is that subscription purchases are final and
nonrefundable. We reserve the right to waive that policy on a case-by-case
basis, but we are not obligated to do so.
What is a group subscription?
A group subscription is a set of LWN.net subscriptions purchased in bulk by
a company, university, or other interested group. Group subscriptions
offer a way to provide subscription access to LWN to a number of employees,
students, or members at a significant savings in cost. Our basic group
subscription offerings are described on this page
, but feel free to
contact us (at firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to discuss other options.
How are group subscriptions managed?
There are two basic mechanisms for controlling access to group
- One or more master accounts can be set up; these accounts have
the ability to "bless" other LWN accounts with access to a group
subscription. The master account can also track usage of the
subscription, and make and track subscription payments.
- For larger subscriptions, we can enable subscription access for
anybody who logs into LWN.net from one or more IP subnetworks. This
method allows for larger numbers of readers without the need to manage
Note that, in both cases, it is necessary to have an LWN account and log
into it to enjoy subscription access. For subnet-based subscriptions,
access will be allowed from anywhere if the account has been used from the
covered subnet(s) over the last month; thus the "working at home" and "at a
trade show" cases are handled properly.
Must I subscribe to read the Weekly Edition?
No, the Weekly Edition becomes freely available to all readers one week
after its publication. If you would like to be notified when subscription
content becomes free, there is a mailing list to which you can subscribe;
you'll find it in the "mailing lists" section of the "My Account" page.
Note that the most recent free Weekly Edition can be found at lwn.net/free/.
I'm a Debian developer, how do I access the Debian subscription?
HP has generously funded a group subscription for Debian developers; see this posting
for information on how to gain
access to this subscription.
Site code questions
What system is the LWN.net site running?
The LWN site code was developed in-house by Jonathan Corbet. It is written
in Python, and based on the Quixote
framework and the PostgreSQL
relational database management system.
Why did you write your own site code?
Essentially, the existing content management systems did not meet our
needs. In particular, none had support for the creation of the LWN Weekly
Edition. And, besides, it's fun to hack on Python code.
Is the LWN site code open source?
Not yet. We do intend to release our code once it gets a bit more "ready,"
has had one more security audit, and when we are in a position to support
it as an open source project.
Unfortunately, we spend most of our time creating the content that
makes up LWN, and trying to bring in enough money to keep food on the
table (servers running, etc.), so it has not, yet, gotten anywhere near
the top of the priority list. When LWN reaches a level that is truly
self-sustaining, we certainly will spend some time to get that done.
Thanks for your patience.
Text ad questions
What are LWN.net text ads?
LWN.net text ads are a cost-effective, unintrusive way to take your message
to the LWN.net readers. Text ads appear on almost every LWN content page;
they feature a short, textual message and a link through to your site.
Since text ads consume little bandwidth and lack obnoxious, animated
graphics, our readers do not block them. Thus, clickthrough rates can
often be higher than with traditional banner ads.
LWN.net text ads are also a great way to support this site. Consider
taking out an ad in support of your favorite free software project, for
What do LWN text ads cost?
The current rate for LWN text ads is $1 for 1000 impressions.
How do I place an LWN text ad?
Simply go to this page
and click on the "create a
text ad" link. You will be presented with a form where you fill in the body
of the ad, along with the number of desired impressions and the period over
which those impressions are to be delivered. When payment has been
received, the ad will be placed into circulation.
How to I monitor my ads?
The text ad management screen
lets you track all of
your advertisements and their performance. Performance and clickthrough
reports for individual days are available.
Can I do advanced targeting of ads?
The LWN.net text ad system has been designed to facilitate targeting of ads
by location, subscriber status, article category, and more. As of this
writing, those features are not yet active. If this sort of targeting
would be of value to you, please contact us at email@example.com and
let us know what your needs are.
What about banner ads?
LWN would be happy to run your banner advertisements. Please contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The LWN Events Calendar
What kinds of events appear in the LWN calendar?
For now, the calendar is limited to Linux-related conferences and
gatherings. We expect to expand the range of event types in the future.
How do I add my event to the calendar?
Go to the event entry screen and tell us about
it. Before doing so, however, please be sure that (1) the event is
not already present in the calendar, and (2) it is an event which will
be of interest to the wider LWN readership.
Can I obtain calendar information via iCal?
Not yet, soon.
It looks ugly in Internet Explorer
We're aware of the problem, and we intend to fix it. Most LWN readers use
free browsers, though, so it is not our top-priority task.
What are subscriber links
A subscriber link is a mechanism by which LWN subscribers may grant free
access to specific LWN articles to others. It takes the form of a special
link which bypasses the subscription gate for that article.
What good are they?
For LWN subscribers, a subscriber link is a way to share useful information
with co-workers, friends, or other project developers. For LWN, they are a
way to let outsiders sample LWN subscription content in a controlled way.
How do I create a subscriber link?
Simply bring up the article of interest in your browser, then click on the
"Send a free link" button at the bottom of the article.
I don't see that button, why?
If the "Send a free link" button is missing, it will be for one of the following
- You are not logged into a subscribed LWN account.
- The article is not restricted to subscribers only. For freely
available content, there is no point in creating subscriber links, so
the option is not available.
Where is it appropriate to post a subscriber link?
Almost anywhere. Private mail, messages to project mailing lists, and
blog entries are all appropriate. As long as people do not use
subscriber links as a way to defeat our attempts to gain subscribers, we
are happy to see them shared.