Monday, August 09, 2004

LinuxFormat: Required Reading Material

There is only one Linux Magazine I buy religiously : Linux Format.

Linux Format should be required reading for people who are interested with Linux on the desktop. For once, a magazine addresses the issues of an average user (and not the user with an aveage IQ of 250). If you wanted to see how magazine looked like in the early PC days, this magazine has a few similarities. But more importantly, this magazine embodies the same attitudes the PC magazines had in those days. The days when PC User groups were places to get the latest info and swap war stories (read: trial and error OR My PC blew up and I survived to tell the tale). The magazine even has listed (primarly UK) Linux user groups at the back of the magazine. That brought flashbacks.

This magazine is also easy on the eyes. Not like other similar mags of it's ilk where every possible space is crammed with words, Linux Format uses space and graphics well. And I don't mean diagrams or pictures of product boxes or pictures of other users and people of note caught in most unflattering flashed photos. There are actual graphics that have no relation to the article other than to make it look nice. Imagine that!

(Note to other Linux magazines: it's ok to look nice. Just because your readers spend all day looking at code, doesn't mean they'll appreciate a magazine formatted to look like more code)

I don't care that much about the CDs or DVDs that come with it because I'm on broadband and I can get at the programs or links that are mentioned in the magazine much faster. But if you don't, they are a great resource, especially when it comes with distros.

There is also the companion TuxRadar website and the wonderful Tuxradar podcast. Here, you get to hear the writers from Linux format talk about Linux issues of the day sprinkled with a very UK-centric view. Which is refreshing to hear from the US-centric view I usually get from other sources.

I read other Linux magazines like Linux Journal and Linux Magazine (the US version, not the UK version that seems to be machine translated from German). But I tend to pick them off the discount rack (it is that expensive). And they tend to be there when I pick them up. But with Linux Format, I have to be on my toes when the month rolls over to grab my copy or I'll miss out. I have staked out the quality bookshops that carry it and even have the phone number of the local distributor so that I can bug them as to when the next issue is going to be out.

Why don't I subscribe? Where's the fun in that? :)

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