Linux Journal

Author's Guide

January 3, 1995

Linux Journal publishes articles about the evolution and use of the Linux operating system. It is our hope that we can further the dissemination of Linux by making pertinent information available to a wide audience.

Although some of our readers will be highly technical and involved in the development of Linux, many will be newcomers looking for tutorial information that will help them get up to speed with the Linux movement. Additionally, we expect that a substantial number of readers will be watching Linux development to see if it has commercial potential--whether it is for use as an operating system to port their applications to or a development platform to use in their work.

In order to address this dual audience we plan to offer the following types of articles:

What Makes a Good Article?

Good articles usually stem from the experience of the author. If you solved a problem, developed a new program or found a new application for Linux you probably have the basis for a good article.

In order to determine if your article would be of interest, ask yourself the following questions:

If the answers are "yes", you have a story worth telling. Send a short abstract to to let us know what your idea is about. In many cases you may also want to include an outline or abstract which will help you collect your thoughts and give us a general idea of your topic. We will get back to you promptly with any suggested changes or revisions. Once agreement on the general nature of the article is reached, you can proceed with confidence that the article will be accepted and published after passing through editing.

With exceptions for articles of a very topical nature, we cannot say when you give us the idea which issue the article will be published in. Our production time is about two months, so there will be a minimum of two months from the time the article has passed through editing to the time it is printed. Due to various considerations, it is more likely to take two and a half to three months, or even more, in some cases. As much as we would like to reduce this time, to do so would be to put the quality of the article and the quality of Linux Journal in jeopardy.

What Form Should The Article Be Submitted In?

The article will be professionally edited. We may modify headlines and subheads, tighten and polish the writing, or rearrange sections to improve the organization and clarity. Revised manuscripts will be sent to the author for approval.

In order to facilitate editing, it is best if the article is submitted in an unformatted form. We currently prefer plain ASCII text, either e-mailed to the editor or mailed on a floppy disk in tar or MSDOS file format. Special information can be included within [square brackets] as needed. Put only one space after sentences, put a blank line between paragraphs, and don't indent paragraphs. This is the format that we edit our articles in, and if you submit it in a different format, be prepared to get revisions back in this format.

The following conventions should be used where necessary:

toggle bold: the word <B>bold<B> is in bold type.
toggle italic: the word <I>italic<I> is in italic type.
turn off all bold, italic, underline, or strikeout. (plain)
These can be combined, so <BI>bold-italics<BI> is in bold italics. <BI>bold-<B>italics<P> has the word "bold-" in bold italics and "italics" in italics only.
toggle superscript
toggle subscript
The rest of the "tags" are dealt with by hand, not automatically, which is why they are enclosed in [square brackets] instead of <angle brackets>.
following text is unfilled in a constant width font
end of constant width, unfilled text
indicates beginning of a (numbered) list
bulleted item in a list
end of list
beginning of a table
end of table
The < character needs to be "escaped" so that the filter used by our desktop publishing software doesn't eat it up: To get "<"; use "<\<>". We will do this for you if you prefer.

In general, you can just submit standard ASCII text to us, and we will put it in this format for you; this reference is for the times when you don't want to leave things up to us. This information is also provided as a partial reference, since revisions we send back to you are likely to contain these "tags". If you like, we can also send you additional information on the tags we use.

Feel free to include any other instructions for the editors within [square brackets]. If the material you are writing is highly technical or requires special formatting, contact the editor to determine a format that will meet your needs.

We can also accept articles formatted with troff or LaTeX. This may be necessary for highly technical articles, but as we will be reformatting, the less formatting you do, the easier it is for us.

The Andrew editor, EZ, can create files that we are able to use, and is available for use with Linux. Look at in the directory /pub/Linux/X11/andrew/ for the file auis62L0-wp.tgz. EZ is not quite a WYSIWYG editor, but will let you choose all your fonts and such and display them without showing control codes on the screen.

No matter what format you submit, please submit tables, figures, and pictures in seperate files from your text and from each other. One file for the text, and one file for each seperate figure.

We would like a good photograph of our authors. We prefer a good head-and-shoulders shot, kind of like a passport photo, but preferably a better likeness...

Each article should end with a two or three sentence (we aren't too picky about that; keep it down to one reasonable paragraph, anyway) biographical statement. "Joe Author has been a Unix systems confrobulator for 10 years, and has written free software in ML for the last 3 years. He keeps ducks and freshwater shrimp for a hobby, and welcomes your comments sent to, or by snail mail C/O Linux Journal." The bio can be serious or humorous, although it is usually best to write it in a style similar to that of the rest of the article.

How Long Should My Article Be?

The best answer is "as long as is needed". If the ideas can be expressed in a short article, fine. If an extremely long article is required to cover the subject and we feel the article is of sufficient interest to our readers, we will run it. In some cases we may find it necessary to serialize the article.

Writing Style

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