The original Slashdot crew was declared redundant in early 2016 by the site’s latest owner, Slashdot Media. Timothy Lord was the last of the early Slashdot editors to be let go, and has posted more stories on Slashdot than anyone else, ever, so we turned to him to learn how and why Slashdot helped the FOSS movement grow and eventually infiltrate mainstream IT.
The FOSS Force Video Interview
Starting in the last years of the last century, when Linux and free software were first making their mark on the world, a website called Slashdot was the king-hell news and discussion site for such things, along with a variety of other topics that interested the kind of people you might meet at a LUG meeting or in the CS department of your local university. The original Slashdot tagline (no longer visible on the site) was “News for nerds, stuff that matters.” And one of the people who worked on Slashdot during those heady days was Timothy Lord, who is such a devout Linux person that he has a Tux tattoo (which we forgot to have him show in the video, darn it).
FOSS was not the only news that interested nerds, and other stuff mattered, too, as the extensive Wikipedia Slashdot page explains. So let us go then, you and I, while FOSS Force is spread out, Prufrock-like, upon the monitor, to a distant land and time, with Timothy — and learn how things were in the days of yore, when Linux was still unknown to the masses and the people who cared about it, and about FOSS in general, were an interesting bunch we shall politely not call weirdos since many of them became our good friends over the years. But normal they were not, which was a large part of their charm — and what gave Slashdot its unique flavor.
Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.