The first episode of The Linux Action show aired June 10th 2006. Since then it has become a huge part of my life. At first a weekly show, then as life caught up with Bryan and I it became a every other week show. I think most people realize the show does not start and end every other week and that there are always many things that need to be done between release days.
As the show has grown of course the community and listener base has grown along with it. I have formed habits of checking my email, twitter replies, forum posts and etc, about every 15 minutes that I am at a computer.
The main thing we always try to do with LAS (The Linux Action Show) is to push the edge, keep things fresh, and bring in new users to Linux. Bryan and I both know the only way Desktop Linux will ever be successful is bringing more users to the desktop… It’s the only way. There are many ways to accomplish this (winning over companies like Adobe, compatibility with current “standards”) but you can’t achieve any of them unless we significantly increase the Linux user base. We don’t think we can do this all on our own, but we do think we can help.
We have got to reach out to new users, hanging out at our own sites, using our own formats (Ogg/Theora) does not spread our message. At all. I content that in-order to reach new users and show them the features of the Linux platform you have to communicate and distribute media in a way they are familiar with, I’m speaking of MP3 and Flash of course. You can’t expect a life-long Windows user to go out of their way to Listen/watch a Linux show that is in a format they can’t even open or play, that is just irrational.
As we look at this situation, and we look at our lives we find our selves really stuck between that classic rock and that damn hard place.
Some week’s between Bryan and myself we are working 140 hours, on top of the man hours we sneak in-between that to focus on our community or record one of our other shows, and we love doing it. The honest fact is, it helps us scratch the creative itch that sometimes our day jobs just don’t provide. Plus we love talking and sharing about the stuff we think is awesome, Linux, Beer, Old Time Radio, Scifi movies and so on.
But there comes to a point where we hit a wall, a wall in terms of our time, a wall in terms of our audience size, and where we feel a bit stagnant. Not a bad stagnant, but just one that does not push our creative efforts forward and scratch that itch that drives us to make the shows.
So we have reached a point where we have decided to drastically change things up, for what we hope is the better. Starting with Season 10 of The Linux Action Show, there will be no more official Linux Action Show twice a month audio release. The Linux Action Show will transform into a series of mini-videos and episodes hyper focused on specific topics and released much more frequently than twice a month.
A key part of our plan is to leverage on-line streaming sites, like YouTube. We hope this approach drives a few key goals
- A potential for a huge viewer base, YouTube has millions of users, it’s the #2 search engine in the world. We can deliver our views and message to a much wider potential audience
- Dedicated episodes per-topic (or a few small specific topics) this means when YOU or anyone else wants specific information about Compiz, or the eeePC you search and find it. Getting you exactly what you wanted, not an entire 60+ minute episode where 10 minutes was spent talking about what you wanted to know more about.
- Also this method takes a large load off Bryan and I. It gives us the ability to quickly create specific shows more frequently, but in the end will take less of our overall time. With Bryan’s crazy work schedule and my wife and I expecting our first child, this should be huge.
I know for many, this will be a un-welcome change. I know that many prefer the format of an hour long episode that acts as a companion in the background, we understand that… But truthfully there are many Linux shows now, and we need to differentiate and standout. We have got to find a way to break out of the base and get the message to the masses.
Who knows, maybe down the road we will look at this and decide it was a huge success, or maybe we’ll return to our original format. But for right now I know that it’s the move we got to try.