September 5, 2002

Wanted: Your Linux software and hardware reviews

- By Robin "Roblimo" Miller - is eager to publish reader-written reviews of Linux software, new or updated Linux distributions, and hardware you have used with Linux. We will pay a small honorarium for each original review, so when you write a review for you will not only be helping fellow Linux users but putting a little money in your pocket.
We have no specific review format, since we believe each person has a unique writing "voice" and we do not want to take that individuality away. However, the following information should be included in almost every review:

  • Installation -- easy, hard, or somewhere in between?

  • Functionality -- did the product live up to claims made for it? Did all the features work "as advertised?"

  • Documentation -- was it clear and adequate? If not, how could it be improved?

  • Value -- was the product worth the money and/or time you spent on it? (Even Free Software has its cost, and that cost is your time.)

  • Comparison -- how does the product you are reviewing stack up against other, similar products you have tried?

Objectivity is a worthy goal, but if you really love a particular piece of hardware or software there is nothing wrong with saying so, as long as you tell readers why you love it. There is also nothing wrong with saying you don't like something, as long as you have valid reasons for your dislike. In other words, coming to a conclusion is fine, even encouraged -- as long as you come to it honestly.

This is almost too obvious to point out, but it needs to be said: You should not review hardware or software in which you have a vested interest. For example, Intel employees and business partners should not review microprocessors; Debian developers should not review distributions or package management systems; and Hewlett-Packard distributors should not review printers.

Payment and terms

We will pay $25 for "mini reviews" of 400 to 800 words, and $50 for "full reviews" between 800 and 2000 words, with the word count taken after the review is edited for publication.

In return for this payment, we want first publication and non-exclusive archive and republication rights to anything you write for us. 30 days after we publish your review on and/or, you are free to republish it elsewhere under any license you want -- we strongly encourage use of the GNU Free Documentation License -- but we will still have the right to keep it in the archives and to use it in any other manner our publisher, OSDN, feels is appropriate in the future.

Your work does not need to be perfect grammatically. If you get all the information correct, we can easily "clean it up" for publication. Any editorial changes we make will help get your point across more clearly, and will not alter your point of view. In other words, we edit presentation, not content.

In order to pay you, we are going to ask for some personal information, such as name, mailing address, telephone number, and SSN or other taxpayer ID, and we will ask you to sign a brief statement that reiterates the terms mentioned above and certifies that all articles you submit to us are your own, original work. We need this information purely for tax and other legal reasons, and will use it for no other purpose whatsoever.

Ready to start typing?

Great! But before you begin, we suggest sending a brief email inquiry to telling us what product you would like to review. If you have material published elsewhere on the WWW, you may want to include a link or two to that material in your email. (Your personal site is fine; we're looking for evidence that you can write coherently, not for professional credentials.)

All inquiries will be answered, usually in less than a week, often within a day or two. Please use "Review inquiry" in your subject line. This will help us reply to you quickly.

We look forward to seeing your byline on, and we hope you do too!

Robin "Roblimo" Miller
Editor/Reporter, OSDN
(, Slashdot,

freshmeat, and other
Open Source Web sites)

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