LJ Archive


Digital Switch

I feel like I'm preaching to the choir on this one, but I personally find the switch to all-digital to be more than annoying. I typically take a copy of LJ on a flight (try using a reader below the imaginary 10k feet), read it at a hotel (or at home in bed, after the boss falls asleep), or read it in some other “personal” area where a laptop or e-reader just isn't practical.

While I'm sure you feel you're offering choices, to me, I view it as an all-or-nothing proposition. I like both electronic and print, and I would pay additionally for the electronic content, but the push to all-electronic has me really aggravated. I bought a long-term subscription and simply will have to wait and see. There are other print publications that I've resisted, but I will subscribe to them in the future as I may just be too “old-school” to go electronic only.

I've seem murmurs from others, and I feel that this is a decision you should strongly reconsider—maybe offer a higher price for print and another for electronic? I personally don't care if it's on glossy paper and would settle for something just above newsprint. At least it's an option without burning through expensive ink cartridges.

Matt Avila

Unfortunately, as much as we dislike it ourselves, the switch to digital was an absolute necessity. The cost of maintaining a print edition was just too great, even with drastic increases to newsstand prices. It really wasn't a decision whether to keep the print edition; it was a decision whether to keep producing Linux Journal at all. A digital Linux Journal seemed better than no Linux Journal, so that's the route we took. Hopefully, based on those options, you'll agree we chose the better of two evils.—Ed.

Get Rid of Two Columns

Since you are going all-digital, can you please get rid of the two-column format? It's great when you can display a whole page (like with a print version or a big enough screen), but on anything else (which is about everything), it sucks. It is painful to have to scroll back up and down the same page to read the text. Please, please, please either bring back the print version or scrap the two-column layout.


Hopefully, the .epub and .mobi formats we offer will fill this need. Although they are designed for electronic reading devices, it's possible to view the single-column “flowing text” version on a computer using something like Calibre. You can check it out at www.calibre-ebook.com.—Ed.

A Former Subscriber

I'm sorry to say that since Linux Journal went from print to being an all-digital magazine, I'm canceling my subscription. The Linux Journal app for Android is buggy and not readable. I can suggest that you look at the Danish firm Visiolink Aps (www.visiolink.com), which makes Android/iOS and Web applications for magazines and newspapers. See, for example, eAdressa (a Norwegian newspaper) on both iOS and Android.

Henrik Kirk

We're certainly sad to lose you as a subscriber. The Android app has been a bit frustrating early into our foray into digital publishing. That's actually one of the reasons we offer multiple formats for monthly consumption. If the Android app is buggy for you, perhaps the .epub edition will work? Regardless, I'm sorry you're canceling. If you haven't tried the alternate versions, please see if they work for you.—Ed.


I would like to see a writeup on Slitaz. This version loads on a Netbook from an SD Memory (4GB) card in approximately 15 seconds. The last version I downloaded didn't like the 1024 x 600 display resolution on my machine but loaded okay using slitaz text to start it. It looked like one of the drivers was missing, but I do have it running on an older version of Slitaz. The title page shows the motto “Boot, baby, boot!”

Frank Anderson

Thanks, we'll have to check it out!—Ed.

Response to the “Why, Why All-Digital” Letter in the November 2011 Issue

As a longtime subscriber to Linux Journal, when I heard of the all-digital format, I too had misgivings like the author of the “Why, Why All-Digital” letter. I also dislike reading long articles on a laptop. Because I intend to keep my subscription to LJ, I started looking at tablet computers. Laying out $500+ for an oversized tablet was not going to happen, so I started researching the NOOK Color. When I discovered you could install Android on it, I purchased a refurbished NOOK Color for less than $200 and, using a 4GB MicroSD memory card, dual-booted it with Android CyanogenMod. It's the best investment I ever made. Not only do I have the PDF version of LJ at my fingertips, but I use it for tracking a number of my e-mail accounts and browsing the Web with its built-in wireless. In addition, I can boot in to the NOOK's native Android and use the Barnes and Noble e-reader.

You may want to do a short article on how to adapt the NOOK Color into a dual-boot Android tablet for those of us out there who hate reading magazines on a laptop but don't want to lug around an overpriced tablet.


I think perhaps some tablet-hacking articles are in order. It seems that we've finally arrived at the point in history when electronic reading devices are affordable. With the Kindle Fire and the various NOOK options, tablet computers are almost cheaper than cell phones!—Ed.

Digital Subscription? Sweet!

At first I thought that Linux Journal's conversion to an all-digital publication format couldn't be worse, but then I was deployed to Afghanistan. Now I couldn't be more pleased with it. It takes forever to get mail out here, and that's assuming it doesn't get lost on the way. With the new digital format, I now get my Linux Journal quickly, and I can read it on my Kindle! Excellent! You've made the life of one data Marine easier. Thanks, Linux Journal!

Jaymason Gallien

Jaymason, that's great to hear! I'm glad the timing worked out well. Thank you for all you do, and stay safe.—Ed.

New Digital-Only Version

I just signed up for another year on my subscription. For those of us who have collected every print copy since the beginning of time, will we need to download and save each new issue, or will the links be good for the foreseeable future, so we can simply retrieve an older copy from the LJ Web site when needed?

Bill K.

As long as you are an active subscriber, you will have access to the archive (from 2005 to the current issue). The easiest way to get into the archives is via the link in the issue notification e-mail you receive each month. In the past, the link said “issue archive”, but it's been modified to say “Missing a back issue?”. Otherwise, you can log in using your subscription ID and postal code at www.linuxjournal.com/digital.

Digital LJ Rocks

I've been a subscriber for a couple years, and I always have received the digital version and not the hard copy. I was surprised by the outcry in the November issue's Letters. I get too many magazines these days that I hate to recycle, but I just don't have the storage. With digital LJ, I can store as many as I want to on my computer. Now that .mobi versions are available, I can steal my wife's Kindle and enjoy it there too. I just wish the other magazines I read would do something similar.


Thanks Eric! It's great to hear a digital subscriber is taking advantage of the new formats as well. I'm not brave enough to steal my wife's Kindle, however, so good luck with that.—Ed.

Many, Many Thanks for the epub/Kindle Format!

Like many others, I would like to thank you very much for the electronic transition of LJ. With this move, you not only saved many trees, but also improved greatly my reading experience with my Kindle on which LJ renders perfectly (and it runs Linux too)! I also agree with other LJ readers: I think that Zack Brown's diff -u is one of the most interesting parts of LJ and the main cause of my LJ addiction. And I want more! A more expanded kernel section with a new non-kernel FLOSS news diff -u section should be enough of a dose to calm me for a month. Ciao dall'Italia!

Marco Ciampa

Thanks Marco. The epub/mobi edition was the most exciting part of the transition for me too.—Ed.

Another Response to the “Why, Why All-Digital” Letter

As a person who worked at an academic library re-shelving books and journals, I know firsthand about the huge amount of energy that is consumed moving paper from point A to point B. From September to April, I would lose ten pounds of weight. This time frame included the usual weight-gaining events called Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.

Consider the journey a piece of paper takes from the forest to your desktop and the fossil fuel burned moving it. This includes all of the machinery at the paper mill to the printing press to the trucks on the road transporting paper between the various stages of the process.

How long can we keep this up? Obviously, energy costs are forcing the price of printed media up and shrinking profit margins in the process. It is now beyond an environmental issue and an economic issue as well.

We can't avoid burning energy, be it electronic readers or my computer. At least for Linux Journal, going digital may have been the only way to keep going.

So far, for me, the transition has been painless. Yes, I will miss the paper edition, just as I miss the Saturday newspaper. I have a very comfortable reading chair in front of my computer screen, and by increasing the font size a bit, I am enjoying reading off the screen.

John Kerr

John, another advantage you point out very well is how much closer the content provider is to the consumer. With the digital edition, there are fewer steps (and less time) between when articles are written and when they are delivered. We must apologize for any weight gain our digital edition might cause though.—Ed.

Date Calculations

Dave Taylor says he did not know where to find a particular date formula. Well, all he needs to know about dates (and more) is in “Calendrical Calculations” by Dershowitz and Reingold.

David Anderson

rsync Backups

I enjoyed Daniel Bartholomew's low-power file-server article, although the thought of running a file server on external USB 2 drives doesn't really appeal to me—perhaps when USB 3 is more pervasive or something similar with eSata.

I also wanted to point out that rsync itself can be used to perform backups using hard links to link to a previous backup. This is more efficient than the cp -al approach. I wrote a Ruby program called rubac to learn Ruby, but I've never really made this program public, perhaps after the next rewrite, but the basic idea is to point back to the previous backup using the rsync --link-dest=DIR option.

Also, I'm warming to your digital-only format, if only I can get my subscription status sorted out. Keep up the good work.



I didn't like GNOME 3.0, especially in F15. It was terrible at best in Ubuntu 11.10, but better than it was in F15. I don't like Unity either. I use Mint 11.

When I say I don't like them, I mean, I don't think they were usable from my standpoint or maybe enjoyable to use.

I loaded F16 yesterday. I really like GNOME 3.2 in F16. All the little annoyances that were there in 3.0 are gone. It still has some problems, changing themes, screensaver and background are way harder than they should be. So is moving the dock around and adding menus in the activities menu—definitely a lot of polish is needed. But, I really, really, really like GNOME 3.2. This is a Windows killer.

Shane Skoglund

I've been a public Unity-hater for quite some time, and my experience with GNOME 3 wasn't much better. I haven't looked at Fedora 16 yet, so I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for the info!—Ed.

I Paid for a Print Subscription

I can understand that print and mailing are large costs in publishing, so I understand your desire to go digital. My beef with your decision is that I can get a lot of the information that you are creating free from a variety of on-line sources. I paid for a year subscription to get it in print form. Had I known that you would be going digital, I would not have renewed my subscription. Since digital delivery is significantly less expensive than print, I can only see greed in charging the same amount for a subscription that used to be in print form. I am truly disappointed.

Richard Franczak

I've responded to similar concerns many times during the past few months, so I'll just reiterate. It wasn't a decision based on which method made more money; it was a decision based on whether to continue publishing at all. It's not ideal, but we're trying to offer multiple formats in an attempt to make Linux Journal useful for everyone.—Ed.

Electronic Publication Cover

When I opened my first electronic-only issue, I naturally clicked on the textual teasers on the cover. Nothing happened. Now that you are publishing only in electronic format, you could make the areas of the cover proclaiming content inside direct links to the associated content. The table of contents would still serve its usual purpose, but the cover links would go directly to sometimes not-so-obvious places. It would reduce the frustration of trying to figure out what is referenced by the the cover.

Keep adapting and innovating. I enjoy the format of a magazine to discover things I would not otherwise have sought or discovered.


That's brilliant. And, now we've implemented your idea in our PDF and enhanced PDF versions. Thanks for the great idea!—Ed.

PDF Format Adapted to Kindle

I've been a subscriber to LJ pretty much from the beginning. May I propose that you adapt the PDF layout of LJ in such a way to be well suited to the Kindle e-book reader? Specifically, it would be convenient if you could adapt the column width so that with 200% zoom on a Kindle, one could read first the left column and then the right column. Today, the right column is too far to the right and is cut off. I guess such a change would benefit also all other readers with a 200%-zoom factor.


Robert, if you haven't tried the .mobi version of the magazine, please do. It's designed specifically for e-readers, so the text flows to fit your screen size and font preference. The PDF version still is designed with the print-size layout, but the .mobi and .epub versions should look much nicer on your Kindle.—Ed.

Why I Came Back (after So Many Years)

For many years, I subscribed to Linux Journal. Then I canceled my subscription. The reason was not because of the quality of your magazine. On the contrary, I have always considered Linux Journal to be a quality magazine with well-written and interesting articles. The reason was paper, quite simply. I got tired of storing paper magazines or throwing them into a waste bin, and I canceled all my subscriptions to any printed magazines. So I congratulate you on your choice to drop the printed version altogether and continue as a purely digital magazine. That is why I came back and decided to start subscribing again, because I want to support your efforts on distributing quality Linux content in the future.

However, I have read that many people have been irritated by this change. People are entitled to think whatever they want, but I think this is the best choice for the future. It is ecologically a better choice. The digital magazine is delivered instantly. I do not have to wait several weeks for the printed magazine to drop in my mailbox. Digital magazines do not take any physical storage space. You can carry dozens of magazines in your tablet or smartphone and read them wherever you want.

Some people might say that the digital format makes Linux Journal obsolete, because you supposedly can find the same information on the Internet. I do not think that is true. I think the key word in this matter is trust. Can you really trust that the information on some obscure Web page or forum is accurate, up to date and unbiased? Usually, I find them to be hugely inaccurate, erroneous, out of date or heavily biased. However, in the case of Linux Journal, I can assume that articles have gone through a normal editorial process, which makes them more reliable as an information source—something that I can trust. Whether Linux Journal is printed or purely digital does not change that.

Mika Laaksonen

Welcome back, Mika! We do try to offer the same quality content we've always offered, just in a digital format. We try to provide value for our customers, and although the switch to digital is frustrating in some ways, it allows us some freedom we never had before. We're excited about the future!—Ed.

LJ Archive