Who reads LXer? Why do I care?

Posted by grouch on Jul 14, 2006 6:59 AM EDT
LXer; By Terry Vessels, aka grouch
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grouch 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.]



Let Dave 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 participating readers?



When LT was microslimed back in 2001, the community lost a significant news portal and discussion site as people turned away in droves. The astroturfing 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, geeks.



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.

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» Read more about: Story Type: Editorial, LXer Features; Groups: Community, GNU, Linux, LXer

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