Robin 'Roblimo' Miller for Slashdot: We are going to kick off this year, 2016, I believe it is, with Christine Hall who is the publisher the head, everything at a site called FOSS Force as in free and open source software which is about—what is it about, Christine?
Christine Hall : What is FOSS Force about or what is FOSS about?
Slashdot: Well, FOSS Force. We know what FOSS is.
Christine: Okay, well, FOSS Force is basically, we are a news and commentary site. We like to get scrappy and roll in the mud a little bit, but we also like to keep people informed as to what’s going on, and we will bite the hand that feeds us. That’s one thing that we do, we figure we are preaching to the choir, we don’t need to convince them to use Linux.
Slashdot: There used to be a site called Newsforge. I ran that site. And actually I like FOSS Force, it seems to be very similar to Newsforge.
Christine: Ah see, there you go.
Slashdot: Yeah, so where did you get the idea of doing this?
Christine: Well, I was a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines and so forth, and some radio, and then in early, oh I guess it was 2005, I was writing a column for a newspaper that just folded up, just you wonder... about the daily paper that went to weekly, and then suddenly everybody was being shown the door. And I was talking to a friend of mine, he is not a FOSS guy, he is an Apple fan, he is an advertising guy, but he said, you know, I have seen you three or four times, you follow this FOSS news and I have watched it three or four times, and when the community was all upset about something you were going, “no there is nothing to worry about, that is going to work its way out, and it did,” and he says, you might as well, I have been doing news analysis all my life, so we just got started that way, and the rest is history. I had been publishing websites before that, but I’d never, I wasn’t a, I never saw myself as a tech writer, so.
Slashdot: So how did you drift into tech stuff? Did you become a Linux junkie or something?
Christine: Well, you know, like I grew up in a tech household, in what would be considered a techie household in the 1950s and in the 1960s. My father was a broadcast engineer, HAM radio operator, broadcast engineer. He had a TV repair shop and of course, I was the oldest child, so he tried to make me like him as much as he could.
Slashdot: So here you are with FOSS Force. Is it easy for you to get interviews?
Christine: Interviews? Well, it depends on who with. Now you know, we pick on a lot of people so sometimes I will get a, “Oh yeah, we’d love to do an interview with you,” until they go look at who it is they are talking to, and then I get a “You know, I am really busy right now. Can you get back with me later?”
Christine: Yeah. You get a little bit of that, you know. I think I am going to have to stop prefacing it with, “You know, I am not here to crucify you. The more you talk to me, the more I might be able to find out the good things you are doing and not just the bad.”
Slashdot: Good line, good line. You know, I think we need, I am glad you are there, because I was looking for another unbiased outside FOSS website, I mean, I like most of the Linux ones, I like you know, Linux Weekly News and all that, but I think you are doing a broader reach, getting beyond Linux. But how are you making money at this, or getting money, or trying to?
Christine: Well, you can sign up for our Indiegogo campaign that we are starting, we are not quite sure of the date yet.
Slashdot: Do you think that will bring in some money? Google, are you doing AdWords?
Christine: Yes, we are doing AdWords.
Slashdot: Is it worth doing?
Christine: Yes it is. I think you have to stick with it a while. I think that we are seeing our cost per click go up suddenly in the last six months, we think people are bidding on us now, those are the ones you see on the site.
Slashdot: How long have you been up?
Christine: Five years.
Slashdot: Five years? How come I didn’t find out about you till this year?
Christine: Well, I think you need to share, and to like us more often, you know.
Slashdot: Actually I shouldn’t say this -- it was last year. See, this is the thing: we are actually doing this interview on the last day of 2015, but you know, you aren’t seeing it until 2016, into the future. Because you know, that’s how it is, in the world of publishing, we need to have time to make a transcript for those of you who would rather read than watch and listen.
Christine: Well, when you put it that way...
Slashdot: Christine, I am glad to see you. I hope you and a lot of people submit FOSS Force articles to Slashdot and that a lot of them get linked because Slashdot orignially was, and the people that work on it, are still oriented toward open source. And that’s why we love you. Thank you for being.
Christine: Thank you so much and thank you for having me. You have a great day.