LJ Archive


Linux Journal Audience

First, this is not a hate note, nor any kind of boycott. It's just about something that does not feel right.

Today, I received an e-mail from you guys with a renewal offer. And, I was shocked to see that the promotion appeals to practically all platforms' users, except...well...Linux users!

We complain all the time about how vendors lock out Linux users. For example, there's a lot of hardware out there that is Linux compatible, but you won't see it mentioned on the box. And, then a Linux magazine promo reads like this:

Receive your subscription as an enhanced digital edition or PDF for your PC or Mac, on your Nook, Kindle or other eReader (.epub and .mobi formats), or via native Android or iPhone/iPad apps.

Just sayin'.

PS. Please, don't say that PCs include Linux. In computer slang, PC refers to Windows, and Mac refers to OS X.


You make a fair point, but the funny part is that if the blurb had specified, “Windows PC, Mac OS X, and Linux”, we'd have gotten messages pointing out that Windows doesn't have claim to the word “PC”.

I think “PCs running Windows or Linux” would be most correct, but then we'd get letters from FreeBSD readers. Thank you for the good nature of your letter though, it's greatly appreciated.—Shawn Powers

Electronic LJ Is Very Hard for Me

I subscribed to Linux Journal sometime in the first half of the 1990s, so that makes my subscription about 20 years or longer. I read almost all issues, almost entirely, scanning the difficult articles, zapping through “news items” and learning from comments in letters from other readers. Yes, I wanted to go on following Linux. As a side note (I married since), I changed my subscription to a cheaper delivery: through ACM membership. Apparently they had better EU postage conditions? But, the magazine disappeared from the real, tangible world. There was nothing left to hold while traveling, although I could have risked being “the guy who opens a laptop in the Brussels metro”. How long before it falls? I don't see laptops getting stolen, but I don't see laptops on public transport, except on long-distance travel.

I wouldn't mind paying extra to have a paper version again. It can be done: localized digitalized printing, with local postage. Isn't there something like “lulu” and other, often small print-and-ship companies?

A second, but important reason not to read a 100+ page magazine on anything backlit is eye strain. I am surely not the only Linux Journal reader with aging eyes. Teenagers have no problem staring into lamps for hours, but I do. E-paper isn't really a simple alternative. And printing the whole issue on normal printing paper, even with a modern “colour laser” but on A4 paper, is heavy.

ACM offers a print subscription, and I read it—not everything (some articles in ACM are too difficult), but I read big parts of it. Linux Journal, which is +/- the same size but on “printer paper” is a heavy book.

Is there really no way to find a local printer (in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Denmark and so on) who can ship the magazine at reasonable over-land rates?


I wish I had a better answer for you, but we don't have any near-future plans for offering paper issues. Honestly, I miss the paper version as well. I'm not sure of the legality of having a personal copy professionally printed, but using something like Lulu or HP MagCloud probably would work, and can be done for single print runs. It's not perfect, but hopefully, it will suffice until full-size, color e-ink becomes a reality.—Shawn Powers

Women in the Workplace

With respect to Doc's article in Linux Journal, “Mars Needs Women” in the December 2013 issue, I have a few related (at least to me) comments.

A few years ago, I worked for a woman who used to work for me, and she was an excellent manager for both men and women. She is an anomaly in that she is very much like the mythical super-female manager.

From what I have seen elsewhere and heard from most of my smart female friends, women are not the “be all and end all” in the workplace. One major problem women have in the workplace is that they commonly do not work well together.

A good and bad characteristic of women is that they tend to be more relationship-oriented. Typically, pretty women who are not so smart are particularly threatened by smarter women and then display all the characteristics that are the antithesis of those excellent female managerial tributes not attributed to men. From many men's point of view, women in the workplace is a good thing except when there are women competing with each other. Then you have all sorts of sniping, back-stabbing, mental-health days off, a very unhappy workplace and the resulting significant reduction in production. This is not to say that men aren't the root cause of similar problems, but that is certainly not as common as for women.

An example: one female bar owner I talked to a few years ago said she would much rather hire male waiters because when she “told them off” or otherwise constructively criticized them, they much less frequently took the criticism personally and got on with the job. The male waiters quickly would forget the incident but still take the criticism to heart.

Don't get me wrong. I like having women in the workplace. I liked working for some women, and I very much disliked working for some very incompetent male managers, and I enjoyed supervising a group of women in a pool. It is interesting that I don't remember experiencing the problems I have noted above, but I did hear, indirectly, that the women very much preferred working for me rather than a female manager. But then I didn't really care about relationships other than I made extra effort to be transparent, and I made sure that I was, as well as was perceived to be, fair and just.

We need more articles, not in Linux Journal, that are more honest about women in the workplace and how to get women working better with each other. It must be possible, as there are many examples where there are very successful female businesses and organizations. Note, nursing is not one of them.


Considering Women in Linux

Regarding Doc Searls' article “Mars Needs Women” in the December 2013 issue: I enjoy reading articles about women and Linux. I would like to share with you my observations of a local Linux club meeting. Although there are three or four female members (out of 300), I am often the only woman. There are 20 or so men, of varying ages, everyone with some sort of laptop. I am introverted and find it difficult to talk to people in general. Most of the men also seem rather shy, but I never sense that I do not belong. I have talked with two members actively, and they were friendly and supportive. My feelings of awkwardness are caused by my inability to interact with them. I go to the meetings in order to have some sort of contact with others who use Linux.

I have been using Linux since a friend installed it on my first computer in 1993 using something like 20 floppy disks. I never have mastered it, and I usually fix problems by re-installing. I've gone to a few Linux conferences here in Europe (I am American living in the Netherlands). I can code in C but have hesitated to get more involved. I tend to work on one project at a time, and if I start a Linux project, all my other projects get ignored.

I am writing this because I feel that framing the discussion in terms of men and women is not helpful, especially when using Western stereotypes. I rarely read that some women also are introverted and shy. Therefore, I do not fit in either group Doc discussed in his article. It looks like some progress is being made for younger women (I am 53). But one should not forget that not all women match the “Venus” stereotype.

Rose Dlhopolsky

Doc Searls replies: Thanks to Rose and others who have reached out in response to my “Mars Needs Women” EOF column in December 2013. I wrote it to stimulate thought and conversation, and I think succeeded at that.

One more thought: it is an error in statistics to impute cause to correlation. So, is the high ratio of men to women in Linux one that correlates to factors other than gender? If so, should we be talking about those other factors instead? And what are they?

I don't yet know, but I do invite readers to check out our guest EOF this month by Susan Sons, who does a great job of moving this conversation forward.

LJ Archive