A magazine about free software, made with free software

Linux community members use Inkscape, OpenOffice, and other free tools to create a PDF magazine for readers in the former Yugoslav countries.

The impact that the media has in societies today is crucial in creating public awareness of issues. Free Software is no exception, so independent and relevant media outlets in this area are more than necessary.

The English speaking population gets plenty of Linux information from quality magazines and sites, and other widely used languages are quite close. Unfortunately, some geographic areas, where English is still not acceptable for common use, have a problem with lack of Free Software media in an understandable language.

The Ex-Yugoslav countries have one big benefit of their similarity, since most of the Balkan population can understand each other and communicate with almost no problems. To be more precise, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia have almost the same language. It's obvious that this similarity has great potential for good communication in the first place, and solid basis for media development.

The idea behind GNUzilla magazine

Plans for a Free Software magazine in Serbian go back to 2003, when the GNU/Linux community on the most popular web portal in the area started brainstorming about plans for the future of "Linux Magazine", the first printed magazine in the region about GNU/Linux and Free Software. Unfortunately, Linux Magazine continued to exist only as an idea, since the group of people joined around it wasn't strong enough to make it real.

Years later, part of the Linux Magazine crew gathered around an NGO called Free Software Network Serbia, and actualized the old idea in a new, more realizable form. Printing was abanded because of too big financial requirements for such project, and it was decided to distribute issues as PDF files. The name "Linux Magazine", which several other publications already use, was also thrown away, and replaced with a more general term, related to the basics that the magazine was planned to deal with - Free Software. GNUzilla magazine is not related to the GNUzilla web browser, except being free in the sense of freedom. GNUzilla is published under the GNU Free Documentation License.

How it's made

Most of the questions that the GNUzilla magazine crew received in the past three years of its existence are related to the technical issues of making the PDF file. To make it clear right away, it's made entirely by Free Software. Decisions about programs that will be used for prepress and graphics were based on magazine team members skills at that moment. It happened that no one involved in the project had necessary knowledge about free desktop publishing (DTP) tools like Scribus, so the only program that might fit the requirements was OpenOffice.org Writer. Although a few tests showed that Writer really might do the job, and the first issue published in January 2005 proved that result, no one thought that it will remain in use until today, almost three years later.

During the first year of GNUzilla's existence, several observations were made in sense of using some more professional tools like Scribus, or maybe Tex/LateX, but Writer followed the requirements very well. In the past three years OpenOffice.org became faster, Writer started to produce more and more optimized PDF's, and remained everything GNUzilla needs right now.

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