Normally when I discuss Linux on my Geek blog, I’ll link the first instance of the word to either www.linux.com or www.linux.org, most often the latter because it’s a good place for a quick intro to Linux. Today, however, I remembered that there are many more domains than .org and .com, so I tapped out www.linux.co.uk to see what comes up.
The “Linux Home Page in the UK” does exist, and it’s fairly slick. It’s got a sleeker look than Linux.org, and while the new Linux.com is sharp, it’s not exactly geared toward new users or people checking out Linux for the first time. Linux.co.uk resolves both issues by serving as a portal for Linux knowledge and a community site for Linux users. They have introductions, links to documentation, articles, and even a nice “Why Use Linux?” page.
Visiting the British site reminded me of something: the Linux magazines geared toward home users in US bookstores are actually from the UK. Sure, there’s Linux Journal and Linux Magazine, but they have a definite slant towards admins and developers. Were I to leave my IT career behind for some reason, I doubt I’d keep my LJ subscription for much longer. There used to be Maximum Linux, but it’s long since disappeared. Red Hat launched Wide Open Magazine, but it suddenly turned into a free subscription for “qualified individuals” (and I have yet to see the second issue anyway).
UK imports, meanwhile, include Linux Magazine (same title, different publisher) and Linux Format, both of which feature content comfortably accessible by novices and addicts alike. Linux Format even comes with a DVD jam packed with software, often including a full distro. I’ve also spotted Linux User & Developer at one Barnes & Noble store, but haven’t picked it up.
How did the US publishers miss the newbie boat? Are there mags out there I may not be aware of? Sure, there’s more than enough information for newbies online, and there are several books available in the same stores, but it would be nice to have something tangible to look forward to in the mailbox every month. If hobbyist magazines on everything from arts & crafts to stamp collecting can stay afloat, I would expect there’s enough of us out there who would subscribe and keep a general-purpose Linux magazine in the chips.
If you know of a magazine I may be missing, let me know.