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The LWN.net FAQ

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.  
General topics

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 lwn@lwn.net. In most cases, we request that you use this address rather than contacting individual LWN authors directly - somebody is always watching the lwn@lwn.net address.

  • Subscription questions should be sent to subs@lwn.net.

  • Advertising inquiries are welcome; please send them to sales@lwn.net.

  • Press releases should go to pr@lwn.net; see the next item for details.

  • Prospective LWN authors should send queries to authors@lwn.net. We have more information for authors on the writing for LWN page.

When in doubt, the lwn@lwn.net 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 pr@lwn.net. 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.

Where is LWN's privacy policy?

Over here.

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.

 

Content questions

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 (or lwn.net/current/bigpage for the "one big page" format).

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.

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.

I prefer the view I get when I'm not logged in. How do I get that view when I am logged in?

That view is available at lwn.net/Articles/FrontPage.

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 parameters.

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.

 

Subscription topics

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 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 for 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 article.

  • 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 subs@lwn.net) if you would like to discuss other options.

How are group subscriptions managed?

There are two basic mechanisms for controlling access to group subscriptions:
  • 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 them separately.

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.

Gift certificates

Can I give LWN as a gift?

Indeed you can. We have gift certificates available. Each "certificate" is really a code that can be redeemed by the recipient for a subscription to the site.

I have a gift certificate code, how do I redeem it?

You must be logged into the site, then you will find a button on the Subscribe page to redeem your certificate. Or you can go directly to the redemption page.

 

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 web 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.

 

Advertising questions

What happened to text ads?

The text ad facility allowed readers to place simple, text-oriented ads on the site. Use of this facility had been dropping over time; when we realized that nobody had bought an ad in over six months, we decided to remove the feature.

What about banner ads?

LWN would be happy to run your banner advertisements. Please contact us at sales@lwn.net for more information.

I hate ads, can I disable them?

LWN subscribers at the "professional hacker" level and above can disable ads by going into the account management area and selecting "Customization."

 

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.

 

Subscriber links

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 reasons:

  • 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.


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