Hi! I’m Michael McCallister, but you can call me Mike. I write about technology, software, and the open Internet from the viewpoint of the user.
Do you (or your readers) want
to get more out of WordPress and the open Web? I co-authored WordPress in Depth and currently write for WPMUDev. I built this site myself, with the incredible assistance of the global WordPress and IndieWeb communities. I can help you too.
better access to the power of Linux and free, open source software? I’ve been running Linux since 2000 and wrote openSUSE Linux Unleashed. I can help.
I believe that personal computing and the internet are the most powerful tools ever developed to empower people and advance democracy. Click the Metaverse tab above to see Notes from the Metaverse, where I offer news and analysis of these topics. I’ve spent the last few decades learning to master these tools, and helping others to do the same. If you find it interesting, please Follow!
Click the links to learn more about me and my life, buy my books, and read some thoughts on the writing life. You may see some additional tweaks of the site in the coming days. If you’re missing something you think should be here, do say hello!
IndieWebCamp Online 2019 is a gathering for independent web creators of all kinds, from graphic artists, to designers, UX engineers, coders, hackers, to share ideas, actively work on creating for their own personal websites, and build upon each others creations.
Looking forward to this event next week. I wonder if it will be online? 😎
On the morning of 12 March, the Web@30 event at CERN will kick off celebrations around the world. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Cailliau and other Web pioneers and experts will share their views on the challenges and opportunities brought by the Web.
Since most of what I know about Beaker is in the story, I want to tell you more about Linux Journal, and why I’m so proud to write for it.
How I learned Linux
I got my first copy of Linux from a PR person from SuSE Linux in 1999. I’d read a press release about a commercial “Linux Office Suite” (not OpenOffice, which didn’t exist yet), and I asked for a review copy. The PR person asked if I needed the operating system too. A week or so later, I got a big box of software and documentation (those were the days!). Only problem was, my computer didn’t have enough power to install the OS. So the CDs sat gathering dust.
A few months later, Corel released its own Linux distribution, which was really just Debian with a decent graphical installer. Since I’d written reviews of WordPerfect in the past, they sent me a copy of Corel Linux, and WordPerfect for Linux. I don’t know whether I’d gotten a better computer, or that the installer was better at handling the hardware I had. Either way, it ran — and I was hooked.
Books and Magazines
A few blocks away from my apartment was a technical bookstore, Softpro Books. This was obviously in the days when you could fill a modestly sized retail space with all kinds of books about computers and the variety of software needed to run them. Not all of them were in the for Dummies line; some of them were Complete Idiot’s Guides. Still others were doorstop-sized technical guides for more advanced users and programmers.
Softpro also carried a ton of print magazines covering the same territory. Not long after I had gotten Corel Linux installed on my machine, I found Linux Journal on a Softpro rack. I brought it home, and almost instantly realized that I barely understood any of it. The stories were about a variety of projects that other Linux users engaged in, and often had a lot to do with the command-line interface. The letters column would debate fine points of syntax and regular expressions. Not to mention sample code that didn’t always work.
It wasn’t long before I also realized that if I was ever going to get off the Microsoft merry-go-round, I’d have to learn a lot more about this OS. After picking up a few more issues, and getting a little more up-to-speed, I subscribed. I never quit, either.
Between the usual trial-and-error way of learning new software, the books I picked up, Linux User Groups, and Linux Journal, I got good enough at Linux that I eventually wrote one of those doorstop guides I mentioned earlier, openSUSE Linux Unleashed.
LJ’s recent history
Linux Journal was the first magazine to focus on Linux and the applications that ran on it. It’s only a year younger than Linux itself and the ecosystem it covers. It has always been an important voice in the Linux community.
Since then, subscribers get to see all LJ content first, in a format consistent with a print magazine. Some months later, those stories are published on LinuxJournal.com for everyone’s benefit.
(Not) The End of Linux Journal
We all got a scare at the end of 2017, when the publishers announced that they couldn’t support electronic releases, and that LJ would end. A month later, Private Internet Access opted to fund the electronic version of LJ for another year (at least). LJ, now with Doc Searls as editor-in-chief, would publish without advertising, and continue as a voice for the community.
I wanted to get on board, and sent a bunch of story ideas. To date, the LJ editorial team has accepted every idea I’ve sent (I’m honored, by the way). The Beaker story ran in the December 2018 issue. In January 2019, I wrote some security tips based on the Linux Foundation IT guidelines. I’m working on two other stories now; I’ll tell you about those as they get closer to completion.
The Linux community needs Linux Journal. If you have any interest in the Linux ecosystem, open source software, the Open Web, and similar topics, you really should subscribe, or become a Patron.
Did Linux Journal, or some other magazine, help you learn the technologies you most treasure? What do you think of electronic delivery of “traditional” magazines? Do you subscribe to any magazines or newspapers in whatever form today, or do you just use the Web and/or social networks?
Drop any of your memories and opinions in the Comments section!