Linux Magazine's print subscriber base was acquired by Linux Pro Magazine aka Linux New Media on or about June 11, 2008. As the "On the Desktop" columnist for Linux Magazine, I was both shocked and excited by the announcement to cease the print version in favor of a web-only zine. June 2008 is the last print version of Linux Magazine and it's on newsstands now.

Linux Magazine, the U.S. version, has been a tireless print and web-based proponent of all things Linux-related for almost a decade now (1999 - 2008). When I first heard the news, it left me a bit cold I admit. After some consideration, I feel that the right decision was made for Linux Magazine. A web-only version will be far more profitable and more accessible to the many Linux-hungry readers than the print version ever was.

With national newspapers and other print media outlets downsizing, converting to web-only versions of their magazines, and massive layoffs--it's obvious that the publishing world is changing. Web-based news and information is more timely than print considering that print may have a lead time of 3 to 9 months. Some magazines prefer to receive queries and manuscripts a whole year in advance of publication. A lot can change in a year. Many things can change in the course of a month or two.

I love the timeliness of the web but I also enjoy being able to take a magazine anywhere with me to read at will. Even I don't spend all of my time online. I'll miss collecting the Linux Magazine print issues--having something physical and concrete to show for my efforts--but we all have to change with the changing times. All my venues are now online. I have written for Linux Pro Magazine in the past and assume that I will again in the future. I'll collect those issues with even more nostalgia and excitement than ever before.

Print is dead. And like it or not, we all have to embrace the change that consumes our beloved printed word. Smoke signals, hand gestures, stone tablets, papyrus, scrolls, books, and hypertext--all valuable and necessary for communication--and most have fallen in favor of newer and more modern technologies. This is merely a transition. Someday we'll lament the change from web-based communications to the next mode of the day. Godspeed.

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Critically ill perhaps, but not dead. Yet.

Whatever the solution... as long as it works. Both in terms of 'spreading the word' and being commercially viable. Wishing them all the best, FN/India