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LinuxWorld Senior Editorial Staff Resigns 344

sachmet writes "In light of the interview with Fuat Kirccali, James Turner has announced on his blog the immediate resignation of the LinuxWorld senior editorial staff." From the post: "We regret that Sys-Con Media has been unable to apply a standard of journalistic ethics that we can comfortably operate under. We feel that recent articles published with the consent of Sys-Con Media fail to meet minimum generally accepted journalistic codes, and because the management of Sys-Con Media has failed to acknowledge that the articles are by all informed judgment ethically unsupportable, we have decided we must find other avenues for our work."
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LinuxWorld Senior Editorial Staff Resigns

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  • Honesty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ninthwave ( 150430 ) <> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:44AM (#12528613) Homepage
    It is nice to see some honesty and morals in the mess that journalism has become.

    It is sad that it took this mess for it to be shown.

    I wonder if slashdot might be hiring or its parent company might have a home for these people. Even if it is just for PR purposes.
    • Re:Honesty (Score:5, Insightful)

      by capt.Hij ( 318203 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:49AM (#12528634) Homepage Journal
      When Turner first acknowledged problems with the O'gara article he used some weasel words and stopped short of apologizing. I was critical of him and his staff, but now he has really stepped up to the plate and did the right thing. It will certainly be a costly action on his part, and he has shown a lot of class and integrity. I was critical of him before, but I was wrong.

      Kudos to a group of people who made a difficult decision and did the right thing.
      • Re:Honesty (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It will certainly be a costly action on his part

        It was an unpaid position, wasn't it?

        • Re:Honesty (Score:3, Funny)

          by scupper ( 687418 ) *
          It was an unpaid position, wasn't it?

          Karma, he'll lose karma:)

          • Re:Honesty (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Seems to me he'll gain karma :)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The strange thing about this is that the trademarks that they use (Linux Business News) etc. belong to Linus Torvalds. Effectively this means he is endorsing these magazines. What is he doing about this? Claiming that there is no need for morality in the world as usual???
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2005 @09:42AM (#12528824)
        Talking of who is endorsing who, here are the people to complain to and/or boycott. This is to save you from having to go to the sys-con site yourself. More will be added as I (or you) find them.

        First letter capitalised for easy sorting. Alphabetical order. Product advertised where mentioned. No links to avoid giving further adverts.

        Please be polite and clear when contacting, not angry. Please only do so where you have a real existing or potential business relationship with the company which you are able to cut off or otherwise influence. Please remember that these companies may have already cut off contacts with sys-con and simply their adverts have not yet been removed.

        Arkeia / Enterprise Backup Software
        Barracuda Networks / Spam Firewalls
        Chrystal reports (XI)
        Embedded Systems / PDA Sync Software
        Forum Systems / XML security of some kind
        Fusion Ware / Integration Server
        Google (ads by google)
        IT program management / office best practices
        Infitech / X5 NAS
        Jboss (JEEE application server)
        Netop remote control
        Networld Interop / conference
        Oracle technology network
        Parasoft automated software error prevention(tm)
        Qualcomm / Qcamera (SymbianDJ)
        Quest software / Jprobe suite
        Sleepycat software / Berkley DB Java Edition
        Sun / Java Studio Creator
        Tenable / Network Security
        TruePosition / Location based services
        Wily technology
        XSL Maker / XSL IDE
      • Linus Torvalds basically trademarked the name "Linux" as a way to keep others from doing it instead. This way Linus can control what and how the name "Linux" is used, and more importantly, make sure that some legal idiot doesn't get ahold of the trademark and hold the entire F/OSS community hostage (like SCO) because they got to the USPTO first with the trademark registration.

        Linus has publicly stated that he doesn't mind the community use of the term. Magazines and journals (both dead-tree and on-line)
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Well, slightly inaccurate in facts (he didn't trade mark it, he had an existing fraudulent registration transferred to him) and more inaccurate in tone. Linus has said that you can use it for writing about Linux. He hasn't said that hate publications are okay (and that's what publishing people's home addresses in this way amounts to). More importantly, even if he thinks he had mistakenly said they are okay, he can also withdraw that permission since he has no contractual obligation to these magazines. T
        • by gmack ( 197796 ) <> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @10:09AM (#12528980) Homepage Journal
          Actually Linus didn't actually trademark the name. It was given to him in a settlement with someone who trademarked it and tried to hold the entire community hostage back in 1997. []

          SCO wasn't the first company to make money at the expense of the Linux community.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          You are supposed to register your use of the Linux trademark here:


          Cost is between $300 and $600.

          I don't know how many people bother with this however because the Linux trademark has never been actively enforced.
    • Re:Honesty (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I agree.

      It's worth pointing out that even though you know it's wrong, it's fundamentally against human nature to stand up to authority figures like your boss.

      Milgram's experiment [] showed that 65% of people were willing to inflict considerable amounts of harm on somebody, even though they didn't want to, simply because an authority figure told them to.

      I suspect a lot of people complaining about O'Gara's piece would not have resigned if they were in that position themselves.

      • Re:Honesty (Score:3, Informative)

        by ebuck ( 585470 )
        Please don't call that an experimenet.

        Milgram's test stands as a low point in the application of Psychology, but a high point in the sensationalisim of its findings.

        There is not control, so there is no provability. The population was self selecting. There were problems in reproducibility, lending only labs that were able to reproduce to be published. And today, the experiment is now considered unethical preventing the acceptance of any further research on the findings.

        It's about as close to an experim
    • Re:Honesty (Score:2, Insightful)

      by muszek ( 882567 )

      Looking at it from a strictly business-wise point of view it's surprising for me to see how Fuat Kirccali acts.

      It's quite clear (although it's only a hypothesis) for me that being a linux user must be somehow co-related with moral sensitivity. Ideas surrounding Open Source are filled with ethical meanings and most of linux users swim in open source world on a daily basis.

      Why would a businessman who relies heavily on morally sensitive customers (yes, visitors, not advertisers, are his customers ("bring

    • Re:Honesty (Score:2, Insightful)

      by B'Trey ( 111263 )
      Unless you're browsing at -1, you probably won't see this post for very long because someone will mark it as a troll or flamebait. It's neither. It's an honest, straitforward opinion.

      I've been using Linux since '93. I'm writting this post on Firefox running on Gentoo, with a NAT'd internet connection supplied by a Debian server. I think SCO is a sleazy company looking to steal money and momentum from the success of Linux. I am extremely grateful for what PJ has done. Her contributions to the Linux co
      • Re:Honesty (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tyllwin ( 513130 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @11:12AM (#12529296)
        If PJ really is a little old lady who lives modestly, and who's a member of the Jehovah's Witness sect, there's nothing wrong with publishing that. THAT gives insight into a public figure. If the phone number listed in the article was truly obtained from an old news release, then that too would be ethical, if tasteless.

        But, public figure or not, publishing people's home addresses is outside the generally accepted practices of professional journalists. Sarcastic commentary and personally identifying information about about elderly relatives is outside the generally accepted practices of professional journalists. Mocking their religious choices and age is outside the generally accepted practices of professional journalists.

        Doing so with obvious spite is calculated to increase people's disgust.

        I doubt you'll find many highly visible examples of the home addresses, phone numbers, elderly relatives, and religious affliations of the SCOX attorneys being publicized and mocked. People are justified in being angry that PJ has been subjected to that -- just as SCO's attorneys would be justified in thgeir anger if it were done to them.
      • Re:Honesty (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Trailer Park Boy ( 825146 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @11:38AM (#12529449)
        "If Daryl McBride's personal information had been published (and it seems like at some point it was, although I can't find the story now), everyone would be cheering the public's "right to know."

        M'oG went to PJ's mother's home, harrassed her, and then published her address and photos of her home on the Internet. No one did anything like that to any SCOX board member, and if they had, the linux community's name would have been dragged through the mud in the media. There's only one possible reason for publishing PJ's mom's personal info, and that's "We know where you live" style intimidation, pure and simple.
      • Unfair comparison (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @11:39AM (#12529456)
        I'm no fan of O'Gara. But she's no worse than scores of other reporters out there, and to claim her story was a gross violation of journalistic ethics is a biased response.

        Well, you seem to be mixing tabloid and news journalism in your examples. Maureen claims to be an actual journalist, not a Papparazza. If she were to get a job with the National Enquirer and publish pictures of PJ next to Bigfoot, OK, fine. But the key is that most certainly isn't journalism.

        But this was getting passed as real journalism along with material that actually is real journalism on LW. What Marueen did is NOT journalism. It was a personal attack. It wasn't professional. For instance, you won't see anything like that in the NYT or WSJ. For someone who claims to be a journalist, that was reprehensible.

        The response to this piece by many zealots has been much more unethical than the publishing of the article. I realize that the response, in particular the DOS and threatening email, is attributal to only a small minority of OSS and Linux supporters, and that many of the leaders in the field have spoken out against them. But the denial of those actions has been almost perfunctory. We should be screaming about those who smear the Linux and OSS name with illegal and unethical attacks at least at the same volume we're screaming about O'Gara and Sys-Con.

        That's not unethical, it's flat illegal. Not to split hairs, but I don't see it as unethical because the people doing it don't claim to have a code of ethics. To me, revenge in kind isn't necessarily unfair. I agree it's a bad idea because the OSS community is fighting an uphill PR battle anyway, and fighting it against someone with a media outlet isn't smart. But to continue my prior point, that ain't journalism either.

        If you choose to put yourself in the spotlight, you can expect to have the press breathing down your neck. You don't have to like it but you might as well get used to it. It's a part of American life. It's the obverse side of the "freedom of the press" coin. Would you really prefer to live in a place where the press is constrained? There are those reading Slashdot who do, in fact, live in such a place. Ask them which is preferable.

        Again, ethics vs. law. I don't think anyone's calling for overturning of the 1st Amendment. People are criticizing Maureen, not the law. What Maureen did wasn't illegal. It was certainly unethical as a journalist, though not as the hack Paparazza that she is.

        I basically get what you're trying to say, but I think you can be objective and still be nauseated by what she did as someone who claims to be a journalist. Thankfully, she finally made it much easier to discredit her, which to me made that article a bonehead move on her part.

        • If she were to get a job with the National Enquirer and publish pictures of PJ next to Bigfoot, OK, fine.

          You have your tabloids mixed up. The Enquirer no longer does Bigfoot photos. If we PJ put next to J Lo or even Wil Wheaton, they might publish the picture - but not Bigfoot. What you were searching for was the Weekly World News, still the home of the politician-endorsing space alien, Bat Boy, and other denizens of the amazing world in which we live.

          I've seen others make this mistake, too. I hope it

          • buying the Enquirer by mistake and only finding John Travolta and Tom Cruise.

            Wow. I hadn't even realized they were dating!

            Maybe they'll make a movie together, and I can miss both at once!



      • Re:Honesty (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gclef ( 96311 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @11:50AM (#12529523)
        And her mother and son? Are they public figures? How many steps away does one have to be to be considered a "private" figure? A friend? Cousin? Is it okay for my personal details to be plastered across the net because I used to be a tech for a news organization (some of my friends are reporters, after all)?

        You argument is nonsense. The O'Gara story *was* a huge violation of Journalistic Ethics. Not just because of the publishing of PJ's info, but the stalking and publishing of her family's info. *That* was one of the major problems.
      • Re:Honesty (Score:5, Informative)

        by LarsWestergren ( 9033 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @01:24PM (#12530079) Homepage Journal
        [...] the simple fact is that PJ stepped up and made herself a public figure in an extremely controversial case. And there is no constitutional or guaranteed right to remain anonymous.

        Public figures deal with this kind of poking and prying all the time. Celebrities deal with paparazi. Politicians deal with people digging into every nook and cranny of their life. Innocent, ordinary people who are thrust into the spotlight have all sorts of private details published and pored over.

        As others before me have pointed out, there is a big difference between tabloids and reputable newspapers and magazines. I never read tabloids, I find them disgusting stupid garbage. Now, I believed Sys-con to be a company that dealt with serious journalism, but it seems I have been proven wrong. Therefore I have cancelled my subscription to Java Developer Journal.

        and to claim her story was a gross violation of journalistic ethics is a biased response. (The Google cache of her story is still available. If you haven't read it, read it yourself.)

        I HAVE read it, and it was a breach of journalistic ethics. If you think my opinion is biased, ask Fred Brown, co-chair of the Society of Professional Journalists Ethics Commitee:


        I agree with you. That piece by O'Gara definitely is outside the norms of good journalism. It's bullying, insulting and harassing, and I, for
        one, really don't get the point of it. That's not to say that other journalists are sometimes guilty of those sins, but that still doesn't make it
        good journalism.

        So I don't think you did the wrong thing in using you First Amendment rights to call for O'Gara's ouster or reprimand or whatever. The SPJ Code of
        Ethics says ethical journalists should "expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media" and "abide by the same high standards to which they hold others."

        Fred Brown

        Co-chair, SPJ Ethics Committee []

        If Daryl McBride's personal information had been published (and it seems like at some point it was, although I can't find the story now), everyone would be cheering the public's "right to know."

        Yes it was, I have seen it posted on Slashdot by ACs on serveral occasions. Guess what, it wasn't cheered as the public's right to know, it was modded down to -1 on all occasions I saw, and people who replied and said that this was wrong tended to be modded up.

        If you choose to put yourself in the spotlight, you can expect to have the press breathing down your neck. You don't have to like it but you might as well get used to it. It's a part of American life. It's the obverse side of the "freedom of the press" coin. Would you really prefer to live in a place where the press is constrained?

        I believe you are presenting a false dichotomy here. You essentially say: Either we are against freedom of the press and pro-censorship, or we should shut up about this case. I haven't seen one post here advocating censorship. We are expressing our own DISLIKE of these tactings, and say that we choose to not buy Sys-con products in the future. Big difference.

        Apart from these things I agree with your article. Foul tactics should always be fought against. You must be careful that you don't become the thing what you hate.

    Senior Editorial Staff of LinuxWorld Magazine Announce

    MONTVALE, New Jersey, May 14th, 2005 --- The entire senior editorial staff of
    LinuxWorld Magazine has today announced that they will be leaving the magazine,
    effective immediately.

    The following statement was released by the group. "We regret that Sys-Con Media has
    been unable to apply a standard of journalistic ethics that we can comfortably operate
    under. We feel that recent articles published with the consent of Sys-Con
    • You left out some important stuff with your cut-n-paste, so here it is:
      Why is Fuat the Only Person Who Doesn't Get It

      I just got home from my 25th High School reunion, so sorry if I'm coming to the game a little late on Fuat's interview in Free Software Magazine this afternoon.

      A few things right off the bat. I've been supporting Sys-Con this week because I believed that this was based on, at worse, a misjudgement on the part of Fuat Kircaali in approving the publication of Maureen O'Gara's original article. It is becoming clear that Mr. Kircaali does not understand or value the basic ethical standards respected by the mainstream publishing industry. I wrote earlier today to the Ethics Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists, who's code of ethics I've quoted before in this space. I included a copy of the original O'Gara article. Here is the response:


      I agree with you. That piece by O'Gara definitely is outside the norms of
      good journalism. It's bullying, insulting and harassing, and I, for
      one, really don't get the point of it. That's not to say that other
      journalists are sometimes guilty of those sins, but that still doesn't make it
      good journalism.

      So I don't think you did the wrong thing in using you First Amendment
      rights to call for O'Gara's ouster or reprimand or whatever. The SPJ Code of
      Ethics says ethical journalists should "expose unethical practices of
      journalists and the news media" and "abide by the same high standards to which
      they hold others."

      Fred Brown

      Co-chair, SPJ Ethics Committee

      In spite of this, I have received abuse from Sys-Con staffers accusing me of treason against the company. I've also been implied to be responsible for the DDoS attacks against Sys-Con. In light of this, you can expect further developments later in the weekend.


      Addendum: Comments from Steve and Dee-Ann
      Of course now they're going to claim again that they're being DoS'd, when its only people going for a look-see ... has encountered an error!
      Oops an error has occurred. We apologise for any
      inconvenience this may have caused.

      A report of the fault has been sent to the administrators.

      Check the URL in which you used to access this page;
      there may be invalid characters

      Return to
      Thank you
      Yes indeedy, Linuxword has encountered an error - Maureen O'Gara aka the MoGTroll [], along with Fucaali, killed them - oh the irony (and they say web servers have no sense of humour).
    • And more... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Arker ( 91948 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @09:24AM (#12528748) Homepage

      Dee-Ann Blanc [] has posted.

      This letter has already been emailed to the people involved:

      Dear Fuat and SYS-CON,

      I am writing this letter to tender my resignation. I have worked hard on LinuxWorld Magazine since its inception, and really don't want to walk away from it as it continues to build up a good head of steam, but given recent events I just cannot continue to be associated with SYS-CON. The complete (and public) lack of understanding of why O'Gara's maelstrom article was wrong, among other things, suggests to me that my sense of ethics is simply too divergent from SYS-CONs and there will be further heated clashes in the future.

      It goes on a bit, and of course the entry before it was interesting too. One thing - despite Turners announcement that the entire senior staff was going, it appears that he may have stepped out on a limb, as several of the other editors have not, at this time, announced their resignation. Just Turner and Blanc, so far. I'm hoping to see Walker, Winslow, and Taylor follow suit soon.

      • Re:And more... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ptbarnett ( 159784 ) * on Saturday May 14, 2005 @11:24AM (#12529363)
        One thing - despite Turners announcement that the entire senior staff was going, it appears that he may have stepped out on a limb, as several of the other editors have not, at this time, announced their resignation. Just Turner and Blanc, so far. I'm hoping to see Walker, Winslow, and Taylor follow suit soon.

        I'm not sure where he stands in the pecking order, but Steve Suehring [] has also announced his resignation [], for the same reason.

  • uhhh.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by ellem ( 147712 ) * <> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:46AM (#12528618) Homepage Journal
    what happened? I just got here and ... what happened?
    • Re:uhhh.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by cranos ( 592602 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:51AM (#12528642) Homepage Journal
      Long story short, well known anti-FOSS journalist posted article that was seriously devoid of journalistic ethics as well as attacking the maitainer of the Groklaw blog.

      Editorial staff demanded article be withdrawn by the publishers other wise they would walk. Article was pulled as well as all other articles by original author.

      Head of publishing company gives interview basically saying the only reason he pulled the articles was due to a threat of a DoS attack. Otherwise he sounds very much like he supports original author in her attack on Groklaws maintainer.

      Senior Editors get pissed at latest example of publisher not getting concepts such as ethics or integrity and decide to show him what they mean.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:47AM (#12528623)
    It is unfortunate that this had to happen but it is also unfortunate that many of the media owners seem to have lost their integrity.

    I applaud the integrity of the LinuxWorld senior editorial staff and wish them the best. Hopefully they will be picked up by a publisher that does respect journalistic integrity and just plain human decency.

    • I applaud the editors who quit, thier integrity will assist them wherever they go.

      However, they should have never needed to quit. Editorial review is something that is normally done BEFORE an article is published. If Sys-con and its sister rags hadn't established channels allowing O'Gara to publish without editorial review, Sys-con wouldn't be in this situation.

      Given that their jobs and their role in the company was made optional, I imagine that they were not having a good time whenever articles bypasse
  • by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:48AM (#12528631)
    We regret that Sys-Con Media has been unable to apply a standard of journalistic ethics that we can comfortably operate under.

    How do you expect companies to make obscene amounts of money with you holding on to your morals like this?

  • I'll (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ...con your sys!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:50AM (#12528638)
    Well duh, i remember a company i worked for around the time kernel 2.4 came out that had purchased an award from them for an 'award winning linux workstation' that didnt exist yet. my bosses came to me and said, here: design an award winning linux workstation we can sell quickly because the orders are already coming in. they even got a plaque to put on their wall and everything about their 'award winning linux workstation' which didnt exist yet. honestly i wonder how much of that crap went on.
  • by TimCrider ( 215456 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:53AM (#12528649)
  • We showed them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by datadriven ( 699893 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:54AM (#12528652) Homepage
    ... didn't we?

    Is NOT having someone with our point of view in that position going to cause more problems than those that caused their resignations?

    However, I applaud the editors for their integrity.
  • by Toon Moene ( 883988 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:56AM (#12528660) Homepage
    These people are so obnoxious (violating international law and codes of ethics among journalists), there's only one way out: They should be nixed.

    Toon Moene (physicist at large).
  • by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:59AM (#12528669)
    These people who resigned because of their willingness to stand by their morals are welcome in my home any day.

    If I owned a publishing house I would hire them immediately.
  • The total is now 3 (Score:5, Informative)

    by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @09:11AM (#12528706)
    Steve Suehring has also resigned []:

    It is with some sadness that I've had to resign from LinuxWorld Magazine. Over the past nearly two years I've worked with a group of people with whom I've developed a great rapport and friendship. We were unpaid editors but we devoted a lot of time and energy to it nonetheless. It was a great experience for me and I look forward to other opportunities as they arise.

    I may edit this post in the future and add more details.

    • unpaid editors? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Why go through the trauma of dealing with a duplicitous idiot like Fuat if you're not even getting paid? It's bad enough dealing with cretins like this when they're actually putting food on your table, but to do it for free?!?!

      Glad to see you guys will be finding a more suitable outlet for your work. For what it's worth, I'm proud of you and hope to follow in your footsteps soon.

      (posting anonymously because I DO get food on my table indirectly from SysCon)
  • by dark-br ( 473115 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @09:31AM (#12528771) Homepage
    If only more journalists follows principles like this we would have a better media:

    1. Define a set of values
    2. Tell the truth
    3. Respect human dignity
    4. Recognize the complexity of human nature
    5. Be distrustful of unchecked power.
    6. Foster a diversity of views
    7. Challenge "group think."
    8. Take time to listen and to think.
    9. Encourage criticism and self-examination
    10. Correct mistakes

    Have a look at a brief description [] of each of them.

  • by putaro ( 235078 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @09:31AM (#12528773) Journal
    I respect the folks who resigned. I read Fuat's interview and just couldn't believe that anyone who is involved in any form of journalism just couldn't get what was wrong with O'Gara's article.
    But what the hell *is* LinuxWorld? All the folks who resigned were apparently unpaid?? Does anyone besides Fuat make any money for their work? Why would anyone give their time for free to such a tool? I've never really looked at the site prior to this flamefest so I don't have a good feeling for what the heck it is. Was it a useful interesting magazine? If so, why wouldn't they pay their people?
    • by jfruhlinger ( 470035 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @10:34AM (#12529101) Homepage
      LinuxWorld *used* to be a Web magazine put out by an arm of IDG. I worked for that group in the late 90s-early 00s as a copy editor when it put out JavaWorld (still around), SunWorld (which became UnixInsider and then went away) and WindowsTechEdge (which flopped). It was then run by Nick Petreley, if that name means anything to you.

      The San Francisco-based group was merged by our parent company into a division called "ITworld," the main site for which still exists. But then came the dot-com crash and all the west coast sites were eliminated ('cept JavaWorld). LinuxWorld was taken over briefly by, but eventually was sold to Sys-Con. Don't know much of what happened after that...
      • by mcappel ( 776700 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @12:28PM (#12529732) Journal
        Hi Josh,

        I was the editor of LinuxWorld in the era. IDG licensed the title and content of LinuxWorld to Sys-Con in the summer of 2003 for a period of five years.

        Sys-Con's business model is interesting, or at least it was in 2003 when I spoke to the company about continuing with LinuxWorld. None of the editors for any of Sys-Con's publications or Web sites are paid. Neither are authors.

        The business model of relying on volunteer editorial seems to work because a) it's cost effective if your objective is low CPM, and b) Sys-Con seems adept at finding people willing to work for exposure, c) advertisers and readers don't seem to mind that the editorial product is assembled in this manner.

        I did not choose to stay with LinuxWorld when the transfer occurred.

        Mark Cappel

        • Hey Mark-

          Good the hear from you -- I think we've met in the flesh once or twice.

          Anyway, I didn't know that about Sys-Con's model. I think this incident illustrates a big flaw in that volunteer-editorial model: you don't have that much leverage over your people if they choose to quit in a snit.

          Also, it raises an interesting question: if Maureen O'G. wasn't being paid to stalk PJ by Sys-Con, why did she do it?

  • Admiration... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SiChemist ( 575005 ) * on Saturday May 14, 2005 @09:31AM (#12528775) Homepage
    James Turner, Dee-Ann LeBlanc, Steve Suehring, I just wanted to express my sincere admiration for your fine example of journalistic integrity.

    I want you to know that whatever publication snaps you up, I'm buying a subscription (or subscriptions)!
  • by ZPO ( 465615 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @09:39AM (#12528817)
    I find it highly ironic that a company such as Sys-con denigrates blogs as "not real journalism" while posting a link to start a blog on their home page.

    The proper way to respond is to vote with your dollars.

    1 - If you currently subscribe to a Sys-Con publication, cancel the subscription. Don't do this via email or a web form. Do it via a published toll-free number (this drives their telco costs)

    2 - Check the advertisers list. If you've got a receipt for a purchase from a competitor laying around, send the advertising department of the Sys-con advertiser a POLITE and business-like letter. In that letter state that the broad facts of the case and that due to their continued support of Sys-con you've decided to make your purchases elsewhere.

    Avoid the temptation to threaten fire brimstone, retribution, or DoS attacks. Such tactics are not in the best interests of anyone concerned. The LW senior editorial staff left via the moral high-road. Please ensure that any community reaction joins them there.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't know if others already noticed this, but I only just now figured it out. The link to the blog entry came up as a blank page to me. When I tried to view the source, there actually was none: the web server had sent no data. At first I just blew it off as a network gliltch and went to reading peoples comments. But then I wondered "what if I change my user agent string?" I told Konqueror to identify itself as MSIE 6.0 and - hey presto - the page loaded!

    A website called "" is coded to

  • Instead of viewers going to see whats happening and declaring a /.ing a DOS attack, they could have held up some some integrity, and they would be saying BUY MORE SERVER'S NOW! and jumping with joy over the exposure.
  • Do we care? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bavodr ( 105334 )
    Do we really care about all this? If there is an online magazine that wastes time with these childish fights and childish actions, I am only happy they made it easy for me, easy to judge that anything these guys write or say is not worth reading or listening to.

    There is a large amount of sites on the internet that do have integrity and where the persons involved have enough maturity to write about Linux, about open source and about technology without bothering with sys-con like stupidity.
  • After those statements by Kirccali yesterday, I was seriously wondering how anyone with any credibiity whatsoever could still be associated with SYS-CON. Which was hard, because there are some good folks there; and it was really sad to see this spill over and tarnish their reputations.

    All I can say now is that I salute those who have resigned. There are some things more important than money, and one of them is being able to look yourself in the mirror each morning, squarely in the eye.

    It is so refreshi

  • I don't read LinuxWorld, but was just at their site. There were no less than three frontpage ads for MS Windows, and the article "Microsoft Windows costs less and outperforms Linux." Now, unlike a lot Slashdots, I'm not an MS-basher (though it can be hard sometimes!), but I would assume if I want to a Linux news site, I would see them activity pushing Windows.
  • It's still good to see there are men of principle around. Even though it may cost them in the short-term, they did the right thing and can lie down with a clear conscience at night.
  • by Almost-Retired ( 637760 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @10:01AM (#12528935) Homepage
    Let me join the throngs congratulating you on your choice to distance yourselves from SYS-CON.

    I read that interview last night, and came away very disappointed. This guy is so in love with the word media that the meaning of the word journalism simply is not grokked in his vocabulary. I even added to the blog entries there indicating that I still felt he owed PJ a very public apology.

    But I fear 2 other things now. first, that he will find other people to fill the vacancies, and two, they will not be so dedicated to the truth.

    I was even picking it up from the newstand occasionally, when I hit one in my travels that carried it, but that will be no more.

    Cheers, Gene
  • I bet they're not really suffering a DDoS attack. With the news that the editors were removing MOG's articles from the site, I'm sure many are trying to get copies as some sort of "evidence". I know a few people on Groklaw were trying to do so. Maybe some are even just spidering the whole site(s). Add to that all the normal page views of people checking out the controversial article (regular slashdot effect), and you have some serious load on the server(s).
  • by bhima ( 46039 ) <> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @10:17AM (#12529025) Journal
    Or More specifically my take on the goings on.

    I think this whole situation has been brewing for quite some time because honestly why would MOG care at all about some blogger? I think this began when SCO sued IBM et. all in an attempt to stop the fall in their stock price and in an apparently vain attempt to get IBM to buy SCO's IP for a vastly inflated price. However the free software community in general and Groklaw specifically did something that has never been done before: They exposed the inconsistencies between SCO"s public statements, like the "I have the offending code in my Briefcase" comment the German VP came up with, They exposed the money trail (and hence motives) between Microsoft, Baystar and SCO. So the plan that the SCO upper management had (become Microsoft's Anti-Linux temporary shrill, while cashing out on an obviously failing stock) was essentially foiled. All the paid "journalists" in the world couldn't prevent the truth from keeping SCO's stock where it belonged, in the barrel. So all these folks that thought they'd cash out did not. No wonder Groklaw has garnered considerable animosity!

    I'd like to see just where Sys-con gets their advertising dollars from. Because I have to believe there is a money trail straight from those who benefit from either an artificially high SCO stock price or uncertainty in the Linux marketplace to those 'journalists' who peddle this cheap FUD.

    So in summary I think we owe all of these folks a little bit of our time and we should do what we do best. Contact advertisers and tell them what's going on, and why we tell dozens of people a day not to buy their products. To me contacting government officials has been demonstrated to be useless and unmitigated harassment of advertisers shows to yield the best results

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @10:56AM (#12529208) Journal
    If you REALLY want to make a statement fellow /.er immediately cancel your Sys-Con subscriptions. Then go a step further to discourage others from wasting their money on Sys-Con publications.

    After all these folks who resigned are geeks of high knowledge and high moral fiber who are making the ultimate sacrifice for OUR community and on behalf of one our most important members. They are standing up for what's right. They are standing up for Groklaw. We need to stand up for them.

    They gave up their jobs for reasons the right reasons. If there is a time to hit Sys-Con where it hurts it's now and financially.

    It's not just about standing up for our own, it's also about letting these folks know that the /. community is behind them 100% and will not stand for this lightly.

    There's a special place in heaven for PJ and the LinuxWorld Senior Editorial Staff.
  • I thought I recall seeing an article about Linuxworld getting rid of that bad editor/writer in question (O'Gram). Or did they get rid of her and they still want to leave?
  • by swsuehr ( 612400 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @11:05AM (#12529258) Homepage
    As an editor (now former editor) for LinuxWorld, I've been attempting to get details of the DoS against Sys-Con all week and bring them to our readers. Just yesterday I received those details and was working on a story about the DoS to appear in LinuxWorld. Since I don't think the story will be appearing there, it's now here []. From TFA: "There is still some doubt over whether the DoS attacks against Sys-Con actually existed or whether they were the result of 'The Slashdot Effect' for lack of a better term. I believe the DoS attacks did exist. I too was initially skeptical but based on e-mail correspondence I now believe them to have happened." More in my blog [].
    • by whitis ( 310873 ) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @11:51PM (#12533519) Homepage

      Given that you say you only have access to five lines of the log data, your assesment of the situation is suspect. You need a lot more data to determine if wget is being used malevalently.

      Oh, and wget retreiving the same page can be caused by a number of things besides being used as a DOS attack. Suppose, for example, there is a persistent network error (such as ICMP filtering breaking path MTU discovery). That will cause wget to retry the transfer many times. Or perhaps (based on the Konquerer problems reported earlier) wget was getting some sort of "Temporary Error: browser not recognized" from the server. An error in a script intended to perform some other function such as mirroring can degenerate into fetching the same page. Someone might have even written a script to download your home page at regular intervals with the intent of seeing exactly what changes were made exactly when. The wgets might have had the same IP address but not even come from the same machine if the IP address turns out to be a cache on a large network. The cache could even use wget as its retreival mechanism. Or, more likely, is used by a web to email gateway (of the old fashioned sort that allows email only users to retrieve web pages) or a cell phone gateway. Sometimes wget is also used to get messages into web logs after mail to webmaster bounces. while /bin/true; do wget -O /dev/null accessable.html [] ; sleep 1; done Which has the amusing effect that when they look at the weekly/monthly web logs, the #1 ranked page on the site is a criticism. Waste of bandwidth, yes, but hardly a DoS attack - rather a retaliation to the webmaster's denial of service through incomptence. Also, sometimes manual wget users load the same page more than once when testing commands such as "wget -O - [] | fgrep -i HREF | sed ..." while writing a script to extract urls from a site. Or, it could be that there were a grand total of five uses of wget and that your ignoramous publisher didn't know what wget was, googled on it and DoS and found that some crude DoS scripts use wget and was oblivious to its legitimate uses. So, 5 lines in the log show a tool that is occasionally used for DoS attacks but usually used for other things and he concludes that is proof of an attack. Kitchen knives are occassionally used to commit murder, therefore existence of kitchen knives is proof of intent to murder.

      I also find the eudora=autourl very odd. Looks like the web link was being distributed by email and got corrupted. Some SPAM filters may filter email by checking the spammyness of any linked-to web sites. wget could be used for the retrieval portion. In that case, the wgets would just indicate that people were bitching about your site by email.

      Not to mention the fact that your publisher was a horses ass. After claiming there was a DoS attack (which he described as something like the most massive DoS attack against a publisher in history), he may have been to embarassed to admit otherwise and may have fabricated a few records as "evidence". If he had given you the complete web log five days earlier, I might be more inclined to believe it. But saying, in essence, "on the basis of five whole lines from a web log provided to me by someone who has just proved he is ethically impaired, I conclude that there is some truth to the claims" just doesn't wash. Not that it would take much to convince me that someone launched a trivial DoS attack.

      Kudo's for resigning, though. Good luck finding a new gig. Maybe even one that pays.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Mark Hinkle, who actually draws a salary as editor in chief, has not resigned.

    Turner is to be applauded, but he's being disengenuous here: the "senior" editors were unpaid writers who used LinuxWorld as a venue to promote their consulting services. The _real_ staff -- the ones who draw a paycheck -- did not leave.
  • Turn the tables (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aggrav8d ( 683620 )
    As I understand it MOG published the addresses of PJ and PJ's family in what is generally interpreted as a hostile attack.

    I suggest we turn the tables by sending PJ and PJ's relatives candies, flowers, thank you cards, and plush toys. The ones they don't want they can give to good will.

  • He spams, too (Score:3, Informative)

    by catman ( 1412 ) <(bjornst) (at) (> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @11:56AM (#12529566) Homepage Journal

    On friday, May 13, I got an unsolicited message at my work address, signed by the owner of sys-con telling me I was eligible for a free subscription to some magazine. It also told me I was currently subscribed to his mailing list as
    and "follow this link to unsubscribe". Yeah, right-
  • by mchappee ( 22897 ) * on Saturday May 14, 2005 @12:01PM (#12529610)
    If you want to help these people out, start writing to the advertisers of Sys-com urging them to take their business elsewhere. If they start pulling out it won't be long before a change in management occurs. Here are some of the advertisers:

    Revelation Software
    EV1 Servers (they don't need any more negative attention)
    Software AG
    Forum Systems
    Skyway Software

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas