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Tux Machines Ten Months Later

On a Monday last October, Tennessee based publisher and writer Susan Linton decided her plate was too full and put the website Tux Machines up for sale. That Friday, October 28, she announced that she’d found a buyer in Roy Schestowitz, known in FOSS circles as the publisher of TechRights, a site which focuses on the political side of free tech.

For nine years, Tux Machines had been a place to read about Linux and FOSS, mainly from links to what others were writing on other sites. But it was also just a cool place to hang out and meet up with other Linux users. Certainly there were and are other sites doing almost the same thing — but Linton’s Tux Machines was different. It was kick-your-shoes-off-and-visit-a-spell homey. It was comfortable.

Tux Machines logo
Tux Machines logo
It wasn’t a big surprise when Linton announced her intention to sell the site. For a while it had been obvious she wasn’t putting the time into it she once had. Since the site had started in 2004, it had been constantly maintained, with links to other sites being posted daily, if not more often. Recently, it had lost that dependability. Days, sometimes weeks, would go by without the site being updated.

“I’m just getting too old and tired to keep the site up the way it and its loyal visitors deserve,” she wrote. “It may get better next spring, but this fall I’ll end up losing all my visitors I’m afraid.”

So she sold the site for a thousand bucks to keep it up and running.

There was no doubt that the site would change under its new ownership. It was inevitable. Tux Machines was infused with its founders down home Tennessee personality. Schestowitz hails from Manchester, England, where he and his wife, Rianne (who also helps run Tux Machines), work in the tech business from their home.

“The company we work for is based around London and offers FOSS integration solutions,” he explained recently in an email. “We have some big government clients, so I happen to technically manage some bits of important public sites.”

From the start, Schestowitz promised to make as few changes as possible to the site and called for community input. If I do something you don’t like, let me know and we’ll fix it, he said. Almost immediately, he had to make good on that promise when the site’s regulars began to complain about what they perceived as a political slant being introduced to the site’s content.

“For a day or two I tried putting articles from TechRights on the front page of Tux Machines,” he explained. “Right now there’s little more than just an occasional ‘Today in TechRights’ with some links, which those who don’t like TechRights for its views can easily skip.”

There have been some changes since the Linton days, most notably with the site’s look and feel. All advertising has been removed and the site has been migrated to a more modern platform, Drupal, on a new server, which necessitated something of a design change. Other than that, the Schestowitz’s seem to be doing their best to carry on with the tradition that Sue Linton started all those years ago. The site may have lost a bit of its original homeyness, but it’s updated more frequently with more links to FOSS articles than ever.

The site’s fans, who were initially concerned that the change in ownership would mean an end to something that had become an important part of their daily lives, seem to be happy. They’re sticking around. Indeed, the site’s traffic seems to be growing. In other words, it seems as if Tux Machines is with us to stay — and that’s a good thing.


  1. Fitzcarraldo Fitzcarraldo September 4, 2014

    My initial worries when Susan Linton decided to sell the site were unfounded. Roy and his wife are doing a good job keeping Tuxmachines going. I’m sure their efforts are appreciated by the Linux-using community. It is still my favourite meta site on Linux. I like the links to Android and Chrome OS topics, too, as they keep me informed on that side of things.

  2. Duncan Duncan September 4, 2014

    While I agree with a lot of what Roy and techrights says and I think it does need said[1], and while I won’t run servantware[1] apps[2] or drivers on my own machines, a position that itself might be considered radical, he and it have always come off too strident for me. There are better ways to say what needs said.

    I actually find it surprising that he could/would tone it down like that for tuxmachines, but certainly it’s a pleasant surprise. =:^) I’ll have to drop by and see how it’s doing. (FWIW, the LXer feed is my “generic Linux” feed at present. That’s how I found FOSSForce, tho I recently subscribed to FOSSForce new-post notifications too, probably the reason I’ve been more active in the comments recently.)

    [1] My list sig is an RMS quote:
    Every nonfree program has a lord, a master —
    and if you use the program, he is your master.

    [2] With the exception of one early 90s vintage game I still play in dosbox; I guess it and its authors are my master.

  3. GNUguy GNUguy September 6, 2014

    Glad to see Tux Machines in good hands. Susan Linton has earned a well-deserved break. She has done the FOSS community a great service for many years.

    Personally, I’ve always enjoyed Roy’s TechRights site and consider it to be informative and thought provoking.

    I applaud Roy’s and Rianne’s effort to keep Tux Machines up and runnning.

    I’ll finish with a big “Thank You” to Susan, Rianne, and Roy.

    And “Thank You” Christine for keeping us informed.

  4. Al Al September 6, 2014

    What would be an interesting article for me would be about meta sites like Tux Machines, Lxer, Freshnews ,,,,

  5. Roy Schestowitz Roy Schestowitz September 6, 2014

    Thank you, Christine, for the kind words. Rianne and I always enjoy articles from FOSS Force; we almost always agree with them, especially articles from you and Ken.

Comments are closed.

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