This is an interview with Ronnie Tucker, the creator and founder of „Full Circle Magazine“. You can find the translated German article in this Ikhaya Article.
Hey Ronnie, thanks for joining this interview. First of all, the most of our readers might not know you, so can you say a few words about yourself, who you are?
Ronnie: Thanks for having me. I’m the editor, and founder, of Full Circle magazine which I started (on a whim) about eight years ago.
I suppose, that’s not your day job, what do you do in “real life” except on working on FCM?
Real life consists of stock control and stock management in the licensed trade. In other words: I try to make sure people don’t steal booze.
You’ve have released the 100th issue of FCM a few days ago, what is your main motivation to keep working on this magazine?
It’s my way of giving something back to the community. And since so many people seem to like Full Circle, I never get tired of doing it.
So, what was the starting point of FCM? I mean how did this project start?
I saw a post on Ubuntu Forums where someone was looking for help in making an Ubuntu magazine. I replied, but got nothing. The post was old. At that point I thought ‘why not’ and decided to start an Ubuntu magazine of my own with help (initially) from the Ubuntu Forum members.
That’s actually a cool way to start a exciting project. Which topics do you actually cover, is it only Ubuntu?
The forum was a good starting point as it was through there that the name originated, and the first regular writers (and helpers) emerged.
The major cover is Ubuntu, but I’d publish anything that’s related to *buntu or any derivative of Ubuntu (eg: Mint, etc.)
Can anyone (like me) submit their own articles for FCM or how do you handle them?
Absolutely anyone can submit an article. I end up sounding like a broken record at times when I keep saying ‘no articles = no magazine’. And that would be sad!
Do you have (or had) any problems with a low number of submitted articles?
All the time! Hence, my constant harrassing of readers trying to get submissions. We get thousands of downloads each month yet very few submissions. Most people think they don’t know anything, but they do! Everyone has something they can write about. Even if it’s just some simple advice, or reviewing software/hardware they have/use.
That actually remembers me to our German (kind of) equaivalent magazin (called freiesMagazin.de) which also - sadly - have the same problem. Except the authors - how many people are working on an issue each month?
I gather up the articles and put them in a Google Docs folder. There are about 10 proof-readers who go through them correcting any mistakes, and after that there’ll be several (independent) teams translating.
And after that, which programs do you use to produce the magazine?
Articles are stored on Google Docs, so any text alterations are done there. Any image resizing is done in GIMP, and all the layout work (and creation of the PDF) is done in Scribus.
Hm, wasn’t that LibreOffice in the past?
There are some edits done in LibreOffice prior to uploading to Google Docs, but not so much these days as Google Docs is pretty good at converting ODT to Docs format.
You mentioned earlier, that the magazin has “thousands of downloads”. Do you have an actual number?
There’s no definitive number of downloads as there are multiple places to get each issue (the main site, Google Play, Issuu, Magzter, etc.) but for the main site for FCM#100 there were almost 2,500 downloads on launch day followed by another 1,500 downloads, then about 1,000 per day thereafter. After about a week it’ll sit at about 500 downloads per day. Roughly.
Are you satisfied with number of downloads and the feedback of the readers?
Never! I always want MORE! :)
Haha, then you can explain me, why a reader should download the FCM? I mean, you could also publish single articles in a blog, isn’t FCM a bit old-fashioned?
True, but the PDF only weighs in at 10-15MB and a LOT of our readers don’t have fast broadband (me!) or fiber optic, so a lot of readers like downloading the PDF for offline reading. Same idea with the EPUB for mobile devices.
Anyway, over those 100 issues, what was the most interesting or funny moment, which happened? Or which you can’t forget?
Oh definitely the first December issue way back. I decided to go silly with it and put a Santa Tux on the cover and use tinsel and baubles in the issue. A good dozen or so readers complained it was too Christian. I’m not religious. I just did it for a laugh. Sometimes I just can’t win…
Oh wow. So, I’m nearly done. Any question or topic which I forgot or might be important for you?
Just to encourage readers to send in articles. Even if your not a native English writer, the proof-readers will tweak your article, so don’t worry about any language barrier. And I do try to publish everything I get. Unless you write negatively about ‘Windoze’ for several pages. At that point I’ll bin it as I’m not about to get into throwing mud at Windows, or Microsoft.
Alright, thanks for the interview!