Editor's note: Thank you to returning contributor Matthew Higgins for these reflections on what the return and preservation of Linux Journal means.
As we welcome the return of Linux Journal, it’s worth recognizing the impact of the September 22nd announcement of the magazine’s return and how it sparked many feelings of nostalgia and excitement in thousands among the Linux community. That being said, it is also worth noting that the ways in which journalism has changed since Linux Journal’s first publication in 1994. The number of printed magazines have significantly decreased and exclusively digitally published content has become the norm in most cases. Linux Journal experienced this change in 2011 when the print version of the magazine was discontinued. Although many resented the change, it is far from the only magazine that embraced this trend. Despite the bitterness by some, embracing the digital version of Linux Journal allowed for its writers and publishers to direct their focus on taking full advantage of what the internet had to offer.
Despite several advantages of an online publishing format, one concern that was becoming increasingly concerning for Linux Journal until September 22nd, 2020 was the survival of the Linux Journal website. If the website were to have shut down, the community would have potentially lost access to hundreds (or thousands) of articles and documents that were only published on the Linux Journal website and were not collectively available anywhere else. Even if an individual possessed the archive of the monthly issues of the journal, an attempt to republish it would be potentially legally problematic and would certainly show a lack of consideration for the rights of the authors who originally wrote the articles.
Thanks to Slashdot Media, however, the Linux community no longer needs to express concern over the potential loss of the official Linux Journal archive of publications for the foreseeable future. Given its recent return, it seems like an appropriate time to emphasize the important role that Linux Journal played (and will continue to play) in the Linux community since 1994 and the opportunity to continue this role as the number of Linux users and enthusiasts continues to grow. The journal provides readers with access to several decades of articles and content that date back to the earliest days of Linux. Furthermore, Linux Journal preserves this content as an archive that tells a fascinating history of the kernel and the community built around it.