Future staff fed up with 'top-down meddling' in crowdfunded bid to launch rival Linux magazine - Press Gazette

Future staff fed up with 'top-down meddling' in crowdfunded bid to launch rival Linux magazine

Most of the editorial team of Future’s monthly computing title Linux Format have quit the publisher and are seeking crowdfunding to set up a rival title called Linux Voice.

The editor, deputy editor and technical editor of Linux Format all left the title leaving only the art editor and production editor in place. The magazine for devotees of the free computer operating system has a circulation of just under 22,000 copies a month.

Deputy editor Andrew Gregory is editorial director of the new venture and it is expected that his other two former colleagues will also work on the new title.

Asked why the trio decided to leave secure staff jobs for the uncertainty of a start-up he said: “Top-down meddling”.

He added: “The thing that really annoyed me happened in the middle of the year. Future’s US branch is losing lots of money and they insisted that all magazines had to cut 16 pages regardless of how well they were doing. Linux Format grew its circulation last year.

"At the same time the Future board insisted on restoring the dividend to shareholders. We saw that as taking value from our readers and giving it to hedge funds in the City.”

Gregory is seeking donations of £90,000 to get the new title off the ground, and so far the venture has attracted nearly £40,000 (with £10,000 in the first 24 hours) via the IndieGogo site.

He is hoping to get the first edition of Linux Voice out in February.

The new magazine promises to give 50 per cent of its profits to free software good causes and to release all content under a “creative commons” licence after nine months.

Gregory said: “We won't be part of a large publishing company any more, so we'll be agile enough to respond to trends as they happen. We'll have no shareholders or board of directors to answer to, the most important people to us will be the readers.”

He added: “If this project succeeds it could be the start of a new business model for the magazine publishing business. Technology is getting cheaper all the time, reducing barriers to entry into the market.

“And with crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and IndieGogo, anyone with a good idea can raise the money they need to get started. We're seeing big publishing houses really struggle with the self-fulfilling prophecy that is the 'death of print', but the core strengths that made their brands successful in the first place are all still relevant. With Linux Voice, we want to prove that any editorial team with a strong connection to its readership can go it alone.”

A Future spokesperson said: "As with all technology enthusiast titles, the consumer audience evolves over time, and online content streams increasingly play a part in the equation. Linux Format is no exception and continues to evolve both editorially and in other ways. We are investing in developing the best content, and Linux Format continues to be the world’s best-selling open source magazine."

Earlier this month blogger Peter Jukes raised £6,000 through crowdfunding to enable him to cover the hacking trial.



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette