To begin the new year, I'm starting a new series "LG's Funniest Moments". It's a look back at the most hilarious quotes and images from the back issues, as well as a kind of rough timeline of LG milestones. (Maybe next year we'll make a real timeline....) This month, we'll look at issues #1 - 11, July 1995 - September 1996.
John Fisk -- LG's illustrious founder, editor of issues #1 - 8, originator of the Weekend Mechanic column, and all-around swell guy -- introduced the two LG slogans/goals/mission statements all the way back in issue #8 or earlier: Making Linux just a little bit more fun, and Sharing ideas and discoveries.
In issue #1, John explained, "So what is the Linux Gazette?". He answered, 'Primarily writings, ramblings, and other stuff... and then playing around with things until they either worked or broke (fortunately, mostly the former :-), Linux finally began to make sense to me. If you're in the same boat... keep paddling!"
Issue #2 showed the first hint of the LG FTP files, although it took several issues to find a host for the archive. Also, commenting on the formats LG would be available in, John remarks, "And if ANYONE broaches the subject of a PostScript file... No."
Typical of John's writing style is this quote:
Whereas UN*X barely belches when you innocently type insu cd / ; rm -rf *just because your smart aleck roommate told you it'd help clean out some unnecessary files.
Issue #3 saw the inauguration of the first LG FAQ, the first Mailbag and the first 2-Cent Tips. A few quotes:
Issue #5 says LG is now freely available for mirroring. It also gives an indication of how much reader participation was already going into building the Gazette: "Well, I've had so much mail recently, and so many great suggestions and such that this month's LG is "dedicated" to those of you that have written."
Issue #9 was the issue that John Fisk turned LG over to SSC, and Marjorie Richardson became the editor, a position she would hold for almost three years. (I'm LG's third editor.) During that time, she gave herself successive promotions, from mere Editor to Overseer, and finally to Ruler of the Gazette. (By the way, now is the time to give SSC a bit of recognition. People wondered whether LG would remain free. Five years later, it still is.)
Issue #9 also shows the inauguration of the TWDT files. John Fisk published LG with the entire issue in one HTML file. Margie found it more convenient to put each article in a separate file. However, LG's most-requested feature immediately became a return to the one-file format. Margie finally threw up her hands and said, "OK, here's The Whole Damn Thing", and TWDT became a parallel file in each issue. Nowadays, we don't say "damn" because of a controversy that erupted a couple years later, but you'll have to wait till a future "LG's Funniest Moments" to read about that. So we euphemize it to "TWDT" and "the all-in-one file".
Margie's first issue also introduced much of the artwork and formatting styles that LG is still using. However, the logo was different. It looked like this:
Issue #11, October 1996, has nice binder rings on the left side of the title page, some of the common artwork icons we occasionally recycle (the penguin reading the newspaper, the Weekend Mechanic looking under the hood of his car), John Fisk's first Weekend Mechanic column and Michael Hammel's first Graphics Muse column. #11 also started what has become a Halloween tradition: changing the slogan from "Making Linux just a little more fun!" to "Making Linux just a little less scary!", with a jack-o'lantern image.
Not to be missed are Rick Bronson's thumbs-up signature, and John R Potter's 2-Cent Tip that begins, " I thought you might be interested in my favorite vi trick, which is not a vi trick at all."
Next month, I'll look at the next ten issues or so. See you then.
Mike ("Iron") is the Editor of Linux Gazette. You can read what he
has to say in the Back Page column in this issue. He has been a Linux
enthusiast since 1991 and a Debian user since 1995. He is SSC's web technical
coordinator, which means he gets to write a lot of Python scripts.
Non-computer interests include Ska/Oi! music and the international language
Esperanto. The nickname Iron was given to him in college--short for Iron Orr,
Copyright © 2002, Mike "Iron" Orr.
Copying license http://www.linuxgazette.net/copying.html
Published in Issue 74 of Linux Gazette, January 2002