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About LWN.net

LWN acquired by Tucows.com

April 4, 2000
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 competition.

    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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