May 27, 2004

Wide Open Magazine

I was just handed a copy of Wide Open Magazine. Still wrapped in clear plastic wrap, it proclaims to be "The Red Hat Magazine for Open Source Professionals and Advocates." A rather bold statement when you consider it's their premiere issue.

My coworker received three copies of this magazine, and he figured I might be interested. I decided to give it a quick perusal. After all, it was free. The magazine is packaged with a copy of Fedora Core 1 (on three discs) that appear to be branded by bmind, LLC, as well as a 2-1/2 inch disc labelled "Rescue CD." bmind is listed in the magazine credits as the publisher, and also as "A Red Hat Company."

The first seven pages outline -- with screenshots -- the packages that have been updated since Core 1 was released a few months ago. I understand that print deadlines are typically weeks (if not months) ahead of the release, but this is not exactly the most timely information, seeing how Core 2 is available for download now. This information is plainly available in the release notes.

The next five pages take the reader through a Fedora Core 1 GUI-based install, using the supplied CDs. Screenshots from the install confirm that the media is indeed branded by Wide Open Magazine. Only users who have never installed any sort of Red Hat product will appreciate the hand-holding offered by this article.

I'd continue, but it's more of the same. Very basic articles concerning RPM package maintenance, setting up Samba, using YUM, and a few other who's-who articles (answer: Red Hat). Exceptions to this trend include articles on the 2.6 Linux kernel, Tuning Programs with OProfile, Glade for Python, and some handy tips and tricks. A virgin SA would have no problems comprehending the text, except for some of the more advanced articles. Experienced staff will likely feel a bit dumber after reading through some of the articles. In hindsight, I'd say that it's a somewhat decent mix of articles for people of various skill levels and experience.

Aside from the absurdly large print, it's rather obvious that the copy was written by Red Hat. The layout and design doesn't seem very mature, although there are only five or six ads throughout the 96 pages (two are from Red Hat). The writing style reminds me a lot of Packet (the quarterly users magazine from Cisco Systems), in that it's rather Company-centric sounding. Perhaps that is the point, although I interpreted "The Red Hat Magazine" as relating TO Red Hat, not FROM Red Hat. It appears I was mistaken, there.

According to their web page, "Wide Open Magazine will now be free to all individuals who qualify." Which means you, most likely. The ironic part is that qualifying professionals will probably be the least likely to read the magazine. With that in mind, you can subscribe by visiting their site.

Posted by alexm at May 27, 2004 03:07 PM.
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