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The Media Open Source News Linux

The H Shuts Down 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-folks-did-good-work dept.
TexasDex writes "After years of providing great news reporting to the open source community, including interviews, great Linux kernel update summaries, and even breaking the Skype spying story well before it was leaked, The H Online is closing down due to lack of profitability. I've checked them daily for years, so it's sad to see them go."
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The H Shuts Down

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  • by sproketboy (608031) on Friday July 19, 2013 @09:36AM (#44327427)

    I guess that was part of their problem. Too bad - it's a great resource.

    • by cptnapalm (120276)

      I was about to say exactly the same thing. Perhaps it is an effect of not advertising their own existence. Perhaps it is because there's too much competition already for a niche market.

    • Yup, me too. I hope this article brings them some slashvertisement!
    • by pavon (30274) on Friday July 19, 2013 @09:43AM (#44327527)

      Their stories were posted on slashdot pretty regularly, at least weekly if I had to guess. I don't know how to search slashdot just for links in articles, but a general search [google.com] brings up quite a few of them.

      • by cjjjer (530715)
        That may be true but I must have never found a summary with a link in it interesting enough to click through.
      • by jafac (1449)

        Slashdot is where I heard of them - and why I put them on my weekly reading-list.

        It sucks that they're going to most likely be replaced by outfits such as OMGUbuntu. :(

    • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Friday July 19, 2013 @09:52AM (#44327667)

      I'm pretty tech savy, and follow a ton of tech news sites, and I never heard of them either.

      I guess you can't open source marketing.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm a bit surprised so few people here know about them.
      I'm not even into open source that much, but they've been one of the very few decent tech news sites in the last years. I think I even found out about them through a link on Slashdot (or some other popular site).

      I have to wonder.. which tech news sites do you guys follow then? Most of the popular ones are just horrible, IMO. (Save some exceptions like Arstechnica or Anandtech which have some good content occasionally.)

      • Yes, they are,... were, one of the best sites for news. i can't believe people haven't heard of them
    • by Macrat (638047)

      First I've ever heard of them also.

      When I saw the reference in tweets, I thought it was about some hotel in competition with W.

    • That and the people who visited the site are so Anti-Capitalistic, they never clicked on an add.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You don't have to be anti-capitalist to not click ads. I hate to say this, but there's a chance that web ads simply don't really work, regardless of the viewer's economic-political preferences. Noise is noise, and if your brain filters it out then it doesn't matter a damn bit what your conscious opinion is. On top of that, even rapid capitalists are probably going to assume that most web ads are scams, shit from the companies who are giving capitalism an unfairly-earned bad name. Capitalism can include

      • ... they never clicked on an add.

        "ad". For some reason I'm annoyed by the uneducated today.

      • by jafac (1449)

        I unblocked ads for them. There are few sites for whom I do that.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Even if I'd seen "The H" I would not have known what it was, so a more descriptive name would have helped.

      • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Friday July 19, 2013 @10:45AM (#44328335)

        I think maybe I could make a larger point here about how many open source projects are prone to picking fucking awful names (GIMP, I'm looking in you're direction). But it would only lead to a bunch of people listing bad names of proprietary products too, I suppose.

        • by greg1104 (461138)

          Publisher Heise [heise.de] is a popular and well regarded brand name for tech news in German. The English "The H" was trying to leverage their existing brand reputation. It didn't work out, but I can understand why they tried using that name to try. It's not as bad as the dubious reasoning behind some of the poorly chosen open source project names. (LibreOffice, I'm looking at you too)

      • by jafac (1449)

        Best Hentai site evAr!

    • by 0racle (667029)
      How can you say it was a great resource if you've never heard of them?
    • If you've never heard of them, how can you state unequivocally that they were "a great resource"?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I got one of their stories featured on Slashdot and it ended up in their list of most read stories, so I understand what you mean. They never found a way to transfer the success with their huge German following to their English offspring. The H wasn't as full-featured and didn't have the backing of the print publications that the German site has. It's a shame that most of you don't understand German well enough to just go to Heise Newsticker [heise.de] and get the combination of high quality journalism, commentary and

    • Says more about you than them

      Besdies, how do you know it's such a great resource if this is the first you've heard of it?

  • by DigitalReverend (901909) on Friday July 19, 2013 @09:37AM (#44327441)

    No wonder profitability is down, you kind of have to get the word out that you exist.

  • Such a shame (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 19, 2013 @09:40AM (#44327489)

    The H was probably one of the best tech/security sites around.

    The writers and editors were well educated, rational and not prone to sensationalism like many others.
    There was no fanboism; just impartial, well written journalism. A real "News for Nerds" site.

    You'll be sorely missed, lads. Thanks for all the hard work.

  • Not sure if... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by David Betz (2845597) on Friday July 19, 2013 @09:41AM (#44327499)
    ...truly shutting down or announcing a shutdown so the news will give free advertising.
  • I'm really sad to see them go.

    I usually visit "The H" daily (along with sites like lwn.net, Slashdot, and Groklaw), because they had lots of interesting stuff.

    Sounds like a lot of people who would have liked them didn't know about them. I don't know if that would have helped with monetization, but it might have.

    • by NotBorg (829820)
      I almost stopped reading at "Slashdot" but my peripheral vision glimpsed Groklaw so I continued reading. For a split millisecond, however...
  • ...but its definitely be sad to see them go.
  • So learn German (Score:5, Informative)

    by kju (327) on Friday July 19, 2013 @10:18AM (#44327999)

    I believe that most of the stuff on H Online is also available through the newsticker of Heise (http://www.heise.de/newsticker) in German. Which should not be such a surprise considering that H Online is/was operated by Heise (their UK part in this case) as well.

    Heise is the publisher who publishes for example the well respected computer magazine c't in Germany.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, it's simply the English-speaking edition of of Heise Online, which is the online edition of c't and other magazines.

      They are pretty much THE standard news source for IT news in Germany. I don't think we geeks here in Germany would ever let them go down.
      In fact I had them subscribed, 10 years ago, when I still had money. And so did half of my colleagues.

      Being old-world "media", their business model / view is of course and unfortunately massively fucked-up. They think they can still make money from ads i

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      If that is true, it seems amazing that they couldn't manage to translate existing articles profitably. You'd expect that to require perhaps one technically adept bilingual person. Their readership must have been very, very low.

      • Re:So learn German (Score:5, Informative)

        by Lproven (6030) on Friday July 19, 2013 @11:53AM (#44329167) Homepage Journal

        It is harder than you think.

        I am a former editor of heise-online.co.uk, the site that became the H.

        I *do* speak a little German - enough to read the headlines on the internal CMS and request translations of stuff that I thought would be interesting for English-speaking readers. Then the professionally-translated copy needed to be edited by a native English speaker - such as me or one of my colleagues - and the edited version checked over by another editor (because you cannot spot your own mistakes).

        It's more labour-intensive (and thus, expensive) than you might think.

        As for the site design, it's based off the German one - it's hosted on the same servers and managed through the same CMS. German people like a rather more conservative style of Web design than we are used to on the English-language Web. :-)

    • Sort of. I've been researching stuff recently in the tech press, and was surprised how different the "same" story could be in Heise and The H.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday July 19, 2013 @10:34AM (#44328201)

    The what shut down, exactly?

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Friday July 19, 2013 @11:15AM (#44328725)
    In vaguely related new, unfortunately, the rapper D'ache (pronounced D H but not spelled as such) is still around
    http://www.reverbnation.com/dache [reverbnation.com]
  • I read h-online on a regular basis and will miss it. Always read the What's new in Kernel *.* features for example.

    A give-away that the site didn't have high readership was the very low number of comments added to the articles - often none and sometimes might get as high 3 or 4.

  • by water-and-sewer (612923) on Friday July 19, 2013 @12:06PM (#44329377) Homepage

    I'm seeing a lot of snarky "well, I never heard of them so ..." posts here. The fact is, the H was a source of some pretty great journalism. They're German and they had a lot of German content too. I discovered them through some insightful articles about SUSE Linux, which was (obviously) closely linked to Germany at one point.

    This week I've seen several niche news providers I like shut down, always because they find it's too hard to make money off it. I can relate - I've got a site that struggles too.

    I wonder if we're not headed to a generation of uninformed people and shitty, community-run group-think blogs straddled by a couple of old-school, pandering-to-the-masses traditional media.

    What happened to the Internet? Oh yeah, everyone decided they should be able to have things - especially information - for free.

    • Re:The H was awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mysticalreaper (93971) on Friday July 19, 2013 @01:22PM (#44330405)

      We need to get more creative about funding methods. What ever happened to micropayments? If you pitched in 5 cents for every article with merit that you read, would that make a difference? We must have a better idea than advertising.

      • by Qzukk (229616)

        What ever happened to micropayments?

        It's been almost 20 years now and the banks STILL refuse to get out of the way.

        If you pitched in 5 cents for every article with merit that you read, would that make a difference?

        Sure, after the bank takes their 25 cent transaction fee. Plus 5%.

        • by Tordanik (1771960)

          What ever happened to micropayments?

          It's been almost 20 years now and the banks STILL refuse to get out of the way.

          With Flattr [flattr.com], that problem has mostly been solved. You transfer a relatively large sum to them (compared to the value of each donation), use it to reward a bunch of recipients over time, and the recipients pull money out of the system once enough has accumulated.

          By doing it like this, the bank transaction fees do not apply to the individual microdonations, only to getting money into and out of the system. Of course they charge their own 10% fee, but imo that's tolerable and no longer the prohibitive overhea

  • why didn't they post stories on slashdot?? then they would have got some attention. in fact... hang on: why have i *never* seen an article on h-online cross-referenced anywhere, and why have i *never* seen them in a google search??

    • by dltaylor (7510)

      Because you weren't reading any of the articles of substance about the subjects they cover(ed)? /. IS how I found out about h-online.

  • If asked, I would have said that they were in my top 5 IT sites, but the fact is that I rarely actually went to them. I don't know why exactly I didn't go more. What makes a site be at the forefront of somebody's mind when they sit down with coffee in pursuit of their daily news? The best reason I can come up with is that the name wasn't quite as punchy as "slashdot.org" or "ars technica"...

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.

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