View Full Version : Linux magazines fail to review common products

5th March 2010, 08:38 AM
Linux magazines (in particular, Linux Journal) fail miserably in the area of reviewing common products such as scanners, printers and digital cameras. These products are increasingly dependent on software. Linux users must resort to reading reviews about the features of these products when used with Windows or MAC software. The information for using them with Linux usually consists of some vague rating as "supported" vs "non-supported" or supported "partially" or "completely".

For example, some scanners are capable (under Windows) of "dust removal". Some have a "dual scan" function that scans the image twice using two different settings in order to produce a better image. Are these features supported in Linux? Most scanners can scan slides and photographic negatives under Windows. How well can these features work in Linux?

It's interesting to have information like "This scanner was recognized with no problem in Fedora Core 12", but it hardly plumbs the depths of scanner capabilities.

As other example, my HP OfficeJet 7000 printer prints pictures OK under Windows. In Linux, it leaves a series of distinct evenly spaced lines across a picture. The HP website has information about troubleshooting this problem with Inkjet printers. These directions require using Windows. It would be nice to have reviews that revealed such details about products.

I'm not making a rant about the how well or poorly products are supported under Linux. And I'm not ranting about how well or poorly manufacturers or Open Source programmers support product features in Linux. I'm merely saying that whatever the condition of support of a product is, Linux users ought to be informed about the details of that support.

5th March 2010, 10:28 PM
A couple of ideas come to mind...

Start your own "Linux magazine" which deals specifically with these issues.

Or you could donate "one of each" product you want to see reviewed to your favorite magazine, if they still fail to do a proper review of those products then you are at least justified in complaining about it. ;)

6th March 2010, 12:33 AM
Some of them allow you to write reviews and / or columns yourself. I submitted one for the magazine Linux+ April 2007 edition and they actually published it.

6th March 2010, 01:59 AM
Many of the hardware "reviews" are indeed paid advertisements. Perhaps advertising on a magazine of "marginal" topic (i.e. Linux) just doesn't justify the cost.

And as much as I hate to say that, but some manufacturers^Wmarketers may even see the word "Linux" as a devaluing factor. They see the link to Linux as a quick way to "irrelevantize" their products.

6th March 2010, 07:26 PM
There are three ways for something to get a review in a magazine:
1. The manufacturer sends one for review
2. The magazine buys one
3. Someone who owns the thing writes a review

Manufacturers naturally limit their expenditure by only issuing review items to the magazines with the largest circulation, and magazines with small circulations can't afford to go buying armfuls of expensive kit. As Glenn says, submit your own reviews whenever you can. But do study the magazine's requirements for size and style, and make sure you can actually write decent English, or it won't get published.

7th March 2010, 01:13 AM
I interpret your remarks to mean that it is the fault of manufacturers and Linux users that Linux magazines do not review common consumer products like scanners, printers and cameras. However, I'm not going the let the magazines off the hook. I don't see any that aggressively solicit reviews of these consumer items. I don't see any that hire columnists who are experts in these items to write columns about them.

You can find a regular column about bash scripting, a new language reviewed every few weeks and things like that. Perhaps the truth about scanners, printers and cameras is that people who are knowledgeable about the sophisticated features of these things use them in Windows or on a Mac. If the market really says this, I suppose the policies of Linux magazines make sense.