A farewell to blogs

Off the Beat: Bruce Byfield's Blog

Apr 17, 2017 GMT
Bruce Byfield

This is my last blog for Linux Pro Magazine. It is also the 387th blog of what has been a long and varied tenure. I leave pleased that I have covered some interesting topics that other sites have never mentioned, but also looking forward to what comes next.

I first began this blog in March 2009. I called it "Off the Mark," partly to parallel my private blog, which I call "Off the Wall," and partly to suggest my intention to write about unusual topics and opinions -- before, with any luck, anyone else did.

In pitching the blog, I described it as "a selection of news, reviews, and commentary about what's happening in the free and open source software community," and, looking back, I think I fulfilled that self-selected mandate reasonably well. I started with a review of Eagle Mode, a desktop environment that with a zoom view that changes the information presented, and my last blog before this one described the sometimes troubled history of Ubuntu's Unity desktop. In between, my topics included the history of free software, security, fonts, Sydney Padua's "Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage," crowdfunding, LibreOffice, and breaking news and current issues of every description. I am especially proud of writing about women in computers, supporting the basic cause, but criticizing efforts as I thought necessary. This range of topics kept me entertained, and, I would hope, readers as well.

During all this time, my editor Joe Casad gave me almost an entirely free hand, allowing me to write short essays rather than standard blog entries, and to raise even controversial subjects as the mood struck me. Only once was I advised -- not ordered -- to steer away from a topic, and, although I was frustrated at the time, I soon came to agree with that advice.

A long goodbye
Writing this blog has been a glorious romp, take it for all. However, all romps must come to an end. When I started the blog in 2009, blogging seemed a worthwhile way for Linux Pro Magazine to spend its money. However, now, in 2017, that is no longer true. Those of you who read the Linux Pro Magazine blogs may have noticed that I am the last blogger to sign off on the site, Jon "maddog" Hall and Dmitri Popov having fallen silent before me in the last eight months. To be honest, I was thinking of talking with Joe about my own blog when he phoned me last week with the decision.

However, don't cry (or cheer) the change yet. Instead of blogging, next month I will start writing a regular column about open hardware and its connection to crowdfunding for the print edition of Linux Pro Magazine, and regular interviews for Admin Magazine. I like the thought of getting out of my rut and trying something new, and I am already planning these new ventures in my head.

Strangely, since I also fell victim to budget cuts at Datamation this month (a venue I am replacing with pieces for The New Stack), these changes mean that, for the first time in my writing career, I will have more articles being published in print magazines than online. At the same time, I will also be writing more technical and business related articles than opinion pieces, a change I am anticipating eagerly -- as much as I appreciate the freedom to write when and how I will, having to have an opinion every week can get wearisome.

I could write more here about some of the people I have met as a result of this blog, and about some of the discussions I have had as a result of them. But I suspect that these topics would be more interesting for me than for anyone else. So, all that is really left for me to do is to thank those who agreed to let me interview them over the last eight years, and to thank those who have read what I had to say, whether you agreed with me or not. One way or the other, I hope you enjoyed the experience as much as I did.

So, see you all around, eh?

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