Originally Published: Monday, 26 June 2000 Author: Jeff Alami
Published to: columnists/Jeff Alami Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Meet the Press

You need only peruse the grab bag of Linux-related Web sites owned by internet.com and VA/Andover.Net to realize how big Linux media has become. But while Linux media has been popular and ever-present, it has never been truly objective.

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With the rise of Linux came the inevitable rise of media specifically covering Linux. Print magazines, online journals, and more recently online broadcasts have littered the landscape, attempting to provide coverage of the phenomenon. You need only peruse the grab bag of Linux-related Web sites owned by internet.com and VA/Andover.Net to realize how big Linux media has become. But while Linux media has been popular and ever-present, it has never been truly objective.

Since the beginning of Linux there was Linux advocacy. Linus Torvalds himself could be considered the first true Linux advocate, as he explained the reasons for the kernel's monolithic design to Andrew Tanenbaum in 1992. (Read the debate as compiled in the book Open Sources.) This kind of advocacy finds itself at the root of all Linux media, especially of the online variety.

You don't have to look very far to see the evidence of this subjectivity. Read through some of the reader-contributed editorials on Linux.com, or some of the articles written on Slashdot. It's hard not to instantly pick up the bias, and frankly, that's just bad journalism. The truth is, we're not trained professional journalists; we're primarily Linux advocates, and that affects our point of view.

Add to the mix the fact that Linux media has a stake in the future of the platform. Why, if Linux were to lose its popularity, what would become of sites such as Linux.com or Linux Today? This very personal stake ends up playing a vital role in what we produce and publish.

However, for the operating system to mature, its media must mature also. Having objective discussions on Linux's strengths and weaknesses, and keeping the "big picture" of the IT community in mind, will only benefit the platform and its community as a whole. Level-headed coverage makes for better discussion, and more rational solutions, than what amounts to a one-sided Linux PR machine.

Because of that, the Linux media needs to work toward being as objective as possible. But we would definitely appreciate your thoughts on how this can be done. Is Linux.com too biased in favour of Linux? What could be changed about Linux.com's content to make it more objective toward Linux? This is first and foremost a community site, and as such, suggestions by the community are taken quite seriously. Hopefully, as we learn to provide more objective coverage, we can help the Linux platform in ways that were not possible before.

Jeff Alami (jeff@linux.com) is the Editor-in-Chief of Linux.com. He really likes getting mail, so if you have something itching to be said, send it over to letters@linux.com and you might see it on this site!





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