A recent discussion on LXer asked the question, " Where are the readers?" It spawned an informative discussion about analysis of web site statistics. Those statistics are fairly obviously of financial concern to the publisher, since it costs money to keep LXer online, but are they important, otherwise? Do they serve the community of GNU/Linux and FOSS?
[Disclaimer: This is entirely my own opinion. It does not necessarily
reflect the opinion of other LXer editors nor LXer's publisher. Even
this disclaimer is my own; no one at LXer requested it.]
worry about the finances; I'm just here for the party.
I am personally interested in whether people consider LXer a good
place to find out what's going on with GNU/Linux and FOSS. Is it a
preferred jumping-off point? Is this where penguins and GNUs gather to
start their day? What is needed to build a solid, core community of
When LT was microslimed back in
2001, the community lost a significant news portal and discussion
site as people turned away in droves. The
and subsequent, permanent MS "Get the Facts" advertisements turned LT
into a mockery of what it had been. No amount of sweat by well-meaning
editors can erase the taint allowed and condoned by the owners, then and
in the interim.
LXer, in my opinion, is the logical successor to old LT (pre-MS
infection). Until LXer appeared, there was no suitable replacement. We
have weekly magazines, such as LWN and
monthlies like Linux Gazette, and
newspapers, such as NewsForge,
and specialized sites, such as Groklaw and LinuxQuestions.org, but, until
LXer, no good paper boy standing on the corner yelling, "Extra! Extra!",
specifically about FOSS and GNU/Linux, with an interested and
knowledgeable group gathered, analyzing and discussing that news.
We as a community need that paper boy. We need that group of people
picking through the news for flaws and jewels. We don't have the massive
public relations teams nor lobbyist funds nor the drip-feed access to tilt
mainline "journalists" our way. What we have are people, and specifically,
That's where the stats come into play. How many people can we send to a
site that reports factually? How many can we deny a site that spreads
purchased FUD? How many can the gang of geeks educate as to which is
which? There's the power of a good GNU/Linux news portal.
Give geeks the real facts and they will push for freedom, for all of its
personal, pragmatic, selfish and selfless benefits. There is strength in
numbers, certainly, but that strength is leveraged by active,
enlightened self-interest, tempered with idealism.