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Linux News Project Motivation

This was the original mail sent out to a large number of news organizations, motivating the need for a more coordinated standardization/distribution project.

  • From: Roger Dingledine <>
  • Subject: Centralized Linux announcements/news list?
  • Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 18:38:42 EDT

The Simple End-User Linux (SEUL) Project has been working recently
on trying to convince commercial educational software companies to
port their programs to Linux (for commercial sale or gpl'd). The
following post sums it up pretty well: (Doug's been doing all the
work so far)

Doug Loss ( wrote to the seul-dev-apps list:
>I've been contacting educational software manufacturers and
>entreating/urging/requesting that they make Linux versions of their
>programs.  I've presented some arguments as to why this might be an
>easy, relatively inexpensive addition to their product line and why it
>might be a good thing for them to do.
>Evidently I reached someone interested in some of the companies I
>contacted, because I got 4 responses asking for more information.  Out
>of ~40 companies cold-contacted that's a pretty good return.  One of the
>standard questions they asked was (generically), "We're a small company,
>and the educational software market isn't an extremely profitable one.
>How could we make the Linux community aware of our products if we did
>make them available on Linux?"
>This seems like a very valid question, not only for the educational
>software manufacturers but for _any_ mid-level software company that is
>interested in supporting Linux.  Off the top of my head I advised them
>to post a message about the availability of their products to slashdot,
>to freshmeat, and to Linux Weekly News, as well as posting such a
>message to comp.os.linux.announce.  I've no doubt that I've missed some
>good venues for getting the word out to the Linux community; I'd welcome
>some discussion on this topic.  I'd also like to use whatever
>information comes out of such a discussion in the HOWTO I'm going
>to be working on dealing with advocating Linux ports of commercial
>products.  I won't be able to do serious work on that till the end of
>August, so there's time for some thought and discussion that ought to
>help keep me from screwing things up too much.  Thanks for your

Currently when you want to announce some new Linux news, you go to a
half dozen or dozen sites, and you perform the "submit news" ritual at
each one of these sites. This is a daunting task for a company new to
the Linux community. 

Indeed, even for people comfortable with our way of distributing
information, we still have the problems that it takes extra time at each
site, and most people doing announces are bound to miss some or even
most of the sites they ought to have gotten to. 

I noticed that lwn and freshmeat combined part of their apps-reporting
sections recently to cut down on duplicated work. Are there more plans
of this in the future? I recognize that each site has unique features
that distinguish it from the other information sites in the Linux
community, but there are definitely still overlaps in work and function.

Have the major news sources considered creating a more centralized
location for each of the types of news? (Eg press releases, non-published
advocacy materials, security announcements, opensource application
announcements, commercial application announcements, popular interest
announcements and discussion (a la slashdot), etc.) I noticed that the
Linux News Agency ( looks
like it's a start, but I'd never heard of it before I started hunting
today, I have no idea if it's being maintained or if it works, and in
fact it looks like I need to download a helper application to read their
news, which is completely unacceptable.

Alternatively, should a list like
or be made
but that is more explicitly a list of places to go to make Linux
announcements, carefully explaining which announcements should go where,
and kept very thoroughly up to date? (And then the out-of-date ones can
stop misleading people into thinking they're the official lists.) The Linux
PR Project ( looks like a
good start at this, and might even turn into a centralized repository
if people put some effort into it.

I know that Linux United has been working on a vendor database to track
the progress of porting various applications to Linux, but it isn't
moving very quickly yet. Either SEUL or Linux United would be willing to
host a growing database of educational software companies, as well as an
educational-software-news archive and mailing lists for the Linux community,
to help make the path to the new platform easier for new companies.

Please give this some thought; Linux is rapidly gaining momentum, but one
of its major stumbling blocks is still attracting companies to port over
to Linux, and convincing them it's worthwhile.

--Roger (SEUL Sysarch,

(Please feel free to forward this to organizations or companies that I've
managed to miss. The more I started looking, the more I found...(But it
would still be nice if you cc'ed to me, so I know how widely it's getting
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