[lug] LWN acquisition announcement

Jonathan Corbet corbet at eklektix.com
Tue Apr 4 15:11:45 MDT 2000

We're spreading the word...your home town Linux news source has finally
closed its acquisition deal.


		   The LWN Acquisition

Numerous people have asked us over the last six months when LWN would
be announcing its acquisition.  Well, the time has finally come.
Since the fall, we have put in a great deal of time - and airline
frequent flier miles - in the search for the best match for LWN.  It
has been an educational experience, shall we say.  We are very happy
with the result: LWN is pleased to announce that it has become part of 
the Tucows network.

Why Tucows?  Tucows may not be (yet!) the first name that people think
of in the area of Linux and open source content.  Nor did we choose
them because they offered the most money or had the largest reputation.
After a great deal of thought, we made this choice for several
reasons, including:

- Tucows has an interesting vision of how the next wave of adoption of
  free software will occur - there will be increasing numbers of people who
  are simply fed up with the problems of proprietary technology and who are
  looking for a better path.  Tucows intends to make it as easy as possible
  for these people to migrate - and thinks it has many such people in its
  audience now.

- Tucows is a solid business that is likely to be around years from now.

- They are arguably the biggest distributor of Linux software on the
  planet, providing comprehensive download capabilities from hundreds of
  sites worldwide.

- The above notwithstanding, Tucows is not a company that we report on
  often.  Avoidance of apparent conflicts of interest was one of our top
  goals in making this decision.

- One question we asked of interested companies was whether they would be
  willing to sponsor the development of a new, open source publishing
  platform for LWN, possibly based on Zope.  Some of the responses we got
  were, well, discouraging.  The answer from Tucows was "when do we begin?" 

- The worldwide structure of Tucows is very interesting to us.  LWN's
  readership is global, as is Linux itself.  We hope to be able to increase
  our global coverage and to provide local mirror sites as well.

- They have a good sense of humor.

Our contract with Tucows, of course, includes absolute editorial freedom.
You, our readers, deserve nothing less.

This deal is good for LWN.  With the ability to expand our staff, and
to stop worrying about paying the bills, we hope to provide you with
greatly expanded and improved content, upgraded site technology, and
more.  We're looking forward to it.

Work on LWN was started late in 1997 by Elizabeth Coolbaugh and Jonathan
Corbet, with the first issue hitting the web in January of 1998.  It has
been our pleasure to watch and report on the explosion of Linux over the
last two years and some.  It has been, to say the least, a wild ride.  But
we think that the real fun has hardly begun, and we're looking forward to
keeping you informed for many years to come.  You, the readers of LWN, are
really the greatest; it's you who have kept us going this far.  Stick with
us, it's going to be a good time.

Not Yet Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

1.  Why didn't LWN stay independent?  Everyone else has sold, but
    why did you?

    We looked very carefully at options that would allow us to
    stay independent, including venture capital investments, minority
    investments and angel investors.  We came to the conclusion that
    we could not truly retain control in such a situation and still
    bring in sufficient capital to expand our staff the way we need
    to, in order to keep up with the current growth of Linux and our

    In addition, we wanted to strengthen LWN by incorporating it in
    a larger entity with a variety of revenue sources, not just
    on-line advertising.  This will allow us, we believe, to make
    choices based on what is best for our readers rather than based
    on a constant need to court advertisers.

2.  Will Liz and Jon continue working with LWN?

    Yes, along with Rebecca Sobol and Dennis Tenney.  This is not
    a sale to allow us to retire early and go off into the sunset.
    We plan on working with LWN for many years to come.

3.  You mentioned hiring people to help you.  I've been reading
    LWN for years and I think I could help you make it better,
    given the opportunity.  What jobs do you expect to be opening?

    These positions are not yet fully open, nor have job descriptions
    for them been written, but we plan to hire at least one new senior
    editor, to join Liz and Jon in developing, improving and managing
    the LWN as a whole.  In addition, some assistant editors will
    likely be hired to help take on the daily tasks of LWN that now
    occupy so much of our time.  And, of course, very near to our
    hearts, we plan on hiring developers to help us implement the new
    LWN site that we've been designing for so long, as well as other
    fun projects.

4.  What impact will I see, as a reader, on LWN?

    None, in the short term.  In the longer term, you are going to see
    an improved site, many of the new features and capabilities that
    you've been asking for and more content.  This site will be part
    of the larger Tucows network. However, we'll always continue to
    organize information in a way to make it manageable for the busy
    person.  More is not always better and we understand that.

    Most importantly, though, we promise to continue listening to our
    readers.  If we make changes that you find detrimental to your
    needs, we know you'll tell us about it.  And, as we've proven in
    the past, we'll listen and respond.  We wouldn't be here without
    you and we don't plan on forgetting that.

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