A crowdfunding campaign was launched this week with the aim of raising £90,000 to bring to market a new monthly magazine called Linux Voice, by a team of former Future employees.
The team includes Andrew Gregory, now editorial director of Linux Voice, and previously deputy editor and operations editor at Future's Linux Format magazine.
One day in and the Linux Voice project has already been pledged more than 10 per cent of its goal on Indiegogo. If the funding target is reached then the plan is to launch the magazine in print and in a digital format in February next year. Inspired by the success of crowdfunding campaigns by "other free software projects", the hope is that the £90,000 "will keep us going for six or seven months", Gregory said, adding that will be "without paying ourselves".
"After the magazine has been out there for six months then we're hoping that other revenue generators will appear," he said. "We're hoping it will become self-funded."
They also plan to only keep hold of half of their profits, with the rest to be re-invested into "free software for the Linux community".
"Free software is a very community orientated thing," Gregory said. "A lot of people work on it and develop this stuff in their spare time."
But he added that "hardly anyone gets paid for it", and so they hope that by dedicating 50 per cent of their profits to such projects "it will make an enormous difference".
"We can make a real contribution and make society better, at the same time as providing a magazine that people want to read."
The idea is to give readers a say about where the magazine spends its profits, as well as the team using their own judgment.
"We'd also like to give some money to bug-fixing projects," Gregory added. "There are various problems in some software that have been annoying people for years. We will be able to pay a computer science student or a programmer, just a small bounty to get that problem fixed."
Discussing the reason for launching a new print title, as well as – in the initial stages at least – a PDF page-turner digital edition, Gregory argued that "there's still plenty of money to be made in print", and demand continues to be high when looking at the circulation of Linux Format.
"Even though it's a computer title and our readers are very digital-savvy, they still want a print product," he said.
As for the digital edition – access to which is included in the print subscription, or can be made separately – the long-term plan is to offer "a more interactive html5 and CSS adaptive interface".
"At first, we're going to do a PDF page-turner, because I think that's the minimum we can offer at the moment. I know that's not the best way to read stuff on a screen, because you've got to pinch and zoom in and zoom out again and move the thing around."
And while the content will initially be published in the magazine, more long-tail material, in particular tutorials and feature-style content, will be made publicly available online further down the line, under a creative commons licence.
"It will have very limited commercial value at that stage," Gregory said. "We'd rather put it out there so that schools and teachers can use it to teach kids programming. Or just some better use."
Free daily newsletter
- What does it take to do service journalism during the war in Ukraine?
- Ukraine special: how Kyiv Independent keeps on covering the war
- Tip: Why publishers should take blockchain seriously
- Five lessons every media innovator needs to learn
- Innovative US local newsroom strategies: Kati Erwert and Kristin Dizon of The Seattle Times