Free Software Magazine

by Andy Oram

Tony Mobily describes his

Free Software Magazine

as being half about freedom and half about technology. Altogether, it
is meant to help everyone from the curious individual to the head of a
government or business department understand what they're getting into
and how to make use of free and open source software. Mobily is trying
to establish his new magazine as the authoritative source for all
kinds of information on free software.



I understand that there's a need here, which others have tried to fill
and not quite succeeded. One can get news about free software--and as
many opinions as you can stomach--hourly from a number of online
sites, but few go into depth and none could be called authoritative. A
few sites such as
First Monday
offer intriguing articles of a more formal and academic nature. And
several excellent magazines cover Linux, but they're directed at
particular subsets of Linux users and don't have the broad mandate of
Free Software Magazine. Is there a niche for Mobily's venture?



The first issue provides some nice nuggets. My favorite article is
Malcolm D. Spence's checklist for justifying free software:

Free software is not just about "no license fees"!
.



Chris J. Karr lays out the various options for

programming on Mac OS X
.



Mobily's own article

Creating Free Software Magazine

helps explain the magazine's rather generic-looking layout--the
formatting is all done through XSLT and requires no manual
intervention.



Free Software Magazine releases its articles under licenses that
permit reuse: Creative Commons licenses, the GNU Free Documentation
License, or "Verbatim Copying Only." It also puts its articles
online--particularly valuable for getting its message out to readers
in developing countries. But Mobily is looking forward to
paid subscribers
for their print version so that the magazine can continue--and
pay its writers.