Here comes one of those good news/bad news stories. To get the bad news over with, this is Michael K. Johnson's last issue as editor. To quote Michael, “I want to be a geek.” To explain, for the past two years Michael has been working at home as Editor of LJ and he wants to work with other “geeks” (I used to call them computer professionals, but I don't want to detract from what he said). He was offered an opportunity at Red Hat Software that features the environment he wants without having to relocate.
He will be missed. When Michael climbed on board, LJ was in transition from being run out of my basement to becoming a product of SSC. In the past two years Linux Journal has become the single largest product within SSC. We now have two full-time staff members in publishing, one and one-half advertising representatives, and over a dozen other employees who are shared with WEBsmith, our sister publication, and the other SSC publishing work.
Michael gets much of the credit for acquiring quality technical material for LJ and turning us into a respected publication in the Linux community as a whole. And Michael has always been willing to write something to “fill in the gaps” when an author hasn't come through. We wish him well in his work with the other geeks and encourage him to send an article our way whenever he has a chance.
Now, the good news. In these two and one-half years Linux Journal has existed, Linux itself has grown up. There are vendors around the world offering products for Linux. There are Unix software vendors porting their applications to Linux. There are hardware vendors seriously addressing the Linux market.
You don't have to take my word for it—just look at our advertisers. And watch for the “Cool, it works with Linux” logo in ads in other publications. Linux is being taken seriously in lots of places. Two years ago, would you have expected:
Apple to offer a version of Linux
Digital to support Linux on the Alpha
WordPerfect to be available for Linux
This means Linux has a life of its own. While I feel Linux Journal gets some credit for spreading the word, Linux has taken off because it is a viable alternative to other operating systems.
When Michael made his decision to leave LJ in April, we started looking for a replacement. In the interim, we pooled our internal expertise. Unlike most magazines, we actually use what we publish a magazine about. On our staff we have well over 50 years of combined time working with Unix or Linux.
There are two recent changes that bolster the LJ staff. First, Gena Shurtleff moved into the position of Assistant to the Publisher. Gena was previously in charge of Accounts Payable for SSC. The transition brings an experienced SSC employee onto the LJ staff.
SSC also recently hired Marjorie Richardson. She is in the position of Technical Editor and will be shared between LJ and other SSC projects. Margie's 6 years of experience with Unix, both as a programmer and technical writer, gives our internal experience a huge boost.
As well as our staff, much of our copy editing is done by consultants. Gary Moore and Roger Scrafford have been working with us for some time and bring their experience, as well as their Linux expertise, to the table.
In our shopping for someone to fill the Managing Editor position we looked at all the people who had been working with us. Of those people, Roger Scrafford looked like he had the necessary skills and, as it turned out, the interest in this position. I have been talking to Roger about the position for the last month and, as this issue goes to press, he has accepted the job. You will see a quick introduction written by Roger in these pages and you will be hearing a lot more from him starting with the next issue.
Linux Journal has always tried to address the needs of the newcomer as well as the experienced user. We recently added our Linux Means Business column to show where Linux is being used to offer real commercial solutions.
But we need to do more. We need to do a better job of helping the newcomer get seriously involved, we need to show more of the business solutions that are springing up, and we need to help Linux move into new areas (like embedded applications).
To do this, we need a combination of a good staff, interested readers, committed advertisers and authors excited by the topics about which they write. It is my job to come up with the good staff and, if I do say so myself, I think I have. We see more and more committed advertisers every day, many of whom have the same sort of enthusiasm the developers have. New advertisers mean we can expand the size of Linux Journal, and thus, offer more editorial information. Support those guys—they are who make all this possible.
To have interested readers we need to have interesting things to say. That is where you come in. If you are just a reader, tell us what you want to see in LJ. We listen. Tell us about your interests.
If you have an interesting story to tell, want to describe a program you wrote or just think you might want to write something at some time in the future, let us know you are around and what you are thinking about. You can request an Author's Guide and “hot list” or send in a query by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .