Originally written on 21 January, 2009 01:33 AM for the MOSS Magazine Issue #2 (08 February, 2010), for the “/dev/null” column. I’m republishing it here so that it will be on the public domain as well.
This is an idea sprung out from one of our casual coffee meetings. Before I delve into the details of how we came about conceiving this idea, I would like to clearly mention the purpose and goals of the Magazine.
First, the main objective is advocacy and getting the community involved, at least in sharing articles and bits and pieces of information related to free and open source software as well as getting technical articles targeted towards potential developers in the open platforms arena. In this way, the community will slowly begin to grow from self-help to a more community oriented knowledge sharing model. That is when we’ll be able to see actual local expertise kick in and which will eventually pave a way for commercial support bases.
The second objective of the Magazine is as a window for MOSS to generate a revenue as a funding source for it’s various operations. Although we have not held a major public event, I can proudly say that as much as MOSS have thrived, it has without any financial support. Through selective advertising on the Magazine, we intend to open a window for entities which support FOSS in some way to expose themselves. Not just any entity, as of currently, we’re looking for commercial support companies who will or who’re looking into embracing open source products and services as a business.
Coming back to the original idea, we were brainstorming about a possible way for MOSS to derive as little as much a revenue for it’s operations. One of our regular members proposed the idea about the Magazine and was pouring his ideas in about how we’ll go about doing it, the kind of advertisements we’ll support, etc. After a short while, when the rest of the members started to get the picture, the conversation was bloated off the scale. We then went on to discuss about it for a couple days more, and the topic was finally brought up in one of our weekly meetings which made it initially into the minutes, on 13 December, 2009.
Starting onwards from that specific moment, key members were able to stir up some articles and work on the layout and design of the magazine which came out on 8 January, 2010. It was a huge excitement for us when we first received the draft compilation to glance over the arrangements of what will come out on the final date.
As we speak, some of the dedicated members of the community are still working on writing articles, how-tos, interviews and experiences to bring together more about FOSS here in the Maldives. The Magazine has become sort of a catalyst for us in our main mission as advocating FOSS.
The Magazine has a guideline on submission of articles from the community. We’re yet to work on detailing the policies and processes involved with compiling the Magazine for the community as well as the Magazine committee. We’re also looking for editors who might be willing to professionally work with us in doing an editorial for the Magazine as well as who understands or is interested in understanding the FOSS concepts. We’re having wild ideas running here and there and would very much like the support from the community to take those ideas to the test.
We’re also doubtful about whether we can sustain the Magazine release cycle monthly. It is quite a bit of work, and if we do not receive adequate number of articles by the deadline (end of the month), we just might have to wait another month before releasing one. But we really want to stick to a solid periodical release cycle; monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly; monthly at best.
So in this rant, I wanted to mention about the Magazine and say that this has been one of our very successful projects so far, and it is yet to be seen how far this goes. We’re very positive about it and we’re giving it our all.