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Thanks to everyone who read about our informal reader survey in LXF 104 - vote are still coming in, and we won't really be taking any action for a few months yet just so that everyone worldwide has the chance to vote too.

So far, 53% of people think that LXF is just right as it is, 15% think it's too easy and 32% think it's too hard. Which means that - so far, at least - it seems that LXF is just a little bit too hard. We're looking at ways to get more value from our First Steps tutorials in the future, which might be what's needed. Obviously I don't want to ruin the formula that so many people love, but I want to make sure that each reader puts down the magazine feeling satisfied that they've had their Linux hit for the month - at the level they are at, rather than the level we want them to be.

Your comments

How about, the easy bits are

How about, the easy bits are too easy and the difficult bits too difficult? Can you get Goldilocks to work for the magazine?

What about an equal 3 way

What about an equal 3 way split within the mag of beginner, intermediate and advanced articles? You can't sacrifice some of the great articles for the sake of more beginner space, I mean you already knocked the programming languages articles on the head after only about 4 or so issues, that was a very promising prospect too :(
I understand the need to help beginners, we were all there once, but I think if you are going to go down the road of more space devoted to such, would you not be better introducing a mini-mag as a pull-out or something within the main mag specifically for beginners, or put all the beginner articles ever on the dvd every issue.
Obviously if you've read this far you will realize I don't have the answer, but I feel LXF is as near perfect as you're going to get for a technical magazine and I would think it sad if it became worthy of a yellow and black cover every month.

Don't worry; unless the

Don't worry; unless the final results have a big swing in the "too hard" direction, this won't happen. Instead, I think it's more about using the space we have dedicated to newbies a bit smarter.

To give you a look behind the curtain, we plan our things in advance. I asked Mike whether he'd be interested in doing a four-part series on programming projects; we didn't cancel it prematurely, it's just that it had reached the end of its planned lifetime. A similar example was Mike's previous programming series on various languages - that started out because Mike really wanted to write something about Assembly programming, and we all agreed that it would be better if it could be broadened a little into a short series covering a variety of languages.

Really, I have to fight my own instincts on this front, because as anyone who knows me will tell you I spend an extraordinary amount of my time programming. In fact, if you add up all the hours, I probably spend more time programming than writing articles! So when it comes to commissioning LXF, I naturally want to include lots of programming, hacky stuff, but we've had a lot of backlash from readers in the past who just haven't been interested in programming and therefore find the pages useless.

So: programming will continue, and perhaps expand a little. And we're working on ways to make the page space dedicated to beginner stuff be more valuable to them. But I hope that nothing will be sacrificed, and nothing will be cut to make room for beginner stuff.

That's a very encouraging

That's a very encouraging reply, thank you.

As for newbie-friendly stuff

As for newbie-friendly stuff and the DVD, we've done similar things in the past. The big problem here is the pace of change in Linux -- a tutorial on, say, package management on SUSE from three years ago may not be so relevant today. Bits and bobs are changing all the time.

However, you may have seen that I've added a bunch of brand new mini-tutorials to the DVD, under the Help section as 'New to Linux'. These cover Linux jargon, the filesystem layout, using the command-line, installing software etc. By reading these, hopefully anyone who picks up the magazine for the first time will be able to understand more of our mag content.


I've always thought your

I've always thought your fine publication would benefit from a crosswor, 2 Down: Pint sized Disc Editor, not very good at darts, M-I-K-E, Brilliant!

Well, you certainly won't be

Well, you certainly won't be making it, if you call it a "crosswor"...


Damn you Saunders! You know

Damn you Saunders! You know my fingers are to big to hit all the keys correctly, its amazing I did as well as I did. Be a dear and correct that for me.



Count me in the "just right"

Count me in the "just right" camp. A lot of the articles aren't that challenging from my perspective, but therein lies the advantage: it's a good way to wind down.

Any chance of doing

Any chance of doing something on OpenInventor?

I think just right would be

I think just right would be where I stand, although I think some of the tutorials could be a bit more relevant to the 'average' desktop user (stuff like remote backups this month, as well as making your own mail many people actually do that?) with some more programming tutorials along the lines of the mono projects you did a few months back for the lulz would be good, although this might make it a bit too easy for some of those long in the linux tooth...

How about doing a survey of

How about doing a survey of newbies to find their typical problems, hit the top 10 items with an in-depth article each? Now comes the clever bit - repackage the 10 articles as a special issue like the OO one and the other recent one that I missed(curses).

Don't forget to separate newbies into two types (1) don't know much computing (2) know lots of computing but not much Linux.

My vote for most annoying issue - how do I install packages to fix my wifi without an internet connection? (Neither my wifi nor my Ethernet card is supported out-of-the-box).

As Rhakios says in his first

As Rhakios says in his first comment 'How about, the easy bits are too easy and the difficult bits too difficult?' - that's a truism.

Hard to strike a balance in a jargonistic and technical subject like Linux computing. However server tutorials I think are sufficiently deep but you could do with a few boxes around to explain the gist of it and possible uses for the tutorial.

In your programming tutorials I always like that you give suggestions for things to add, similarly you should do this with networking and server tutorials.

How about some 64bit

How about some 64bit distro's, does anyone still use 32 bit processors :)

I saw that you did an

I saw that you did an article on building a mailserver... Just what I've been looking for. Unfortunately I didn't receive that issue (subscription - I'll have to e-mail in to see about getting it).

Overall, I like where the magazine is at. I'm with those not into programming. I started as a programmer and moved to hardware/networking. Not interested in going back to programming.

My vote is for things useful to the average user... mailserver, geneology, accounting packages (business and/or personal), etc.

Keep up the good work!!!

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