Happy second birthday to The MagPi!
We were amazed to learn that this month’s edition represents The MagPi’s second anniversary. The MagPi is the Raspberry Pi magazine, produced by the community for the community; it has no association with us at the Foundation (besides the fact that we love it and think it’s the best thing since sliced maltloaf).
Ian McAlpine, one of the group of volunteers who produce the magazine every month, had this to say.
Looking back on Year 2 of The MagPi, the magazine has continued to grow from strength to strength. The MagPi is produced every month by a geographically dispersed group of volunteers and authors whose only motivation is to share their knowledge. By all accounts it shouldn’t work, yet here we are on our second birthday having just released Issue 23.
With an average monthly readership of 150K, The MagPi has had to evolve out of necessity. For our readers the visible change of our evolution came in issues 10 and 11 with the introduction of a more professional layout style, but one which provides a consistent template that allows new volunteers to learn Scribus quickly. With the increasing number of hits, our website at www.themagpi.com also got a significant refresh.
Behind the scenes there have been many changes. We moved from using Dropbox as a document repository to Git, which also has the added benefit of source control. Internally we have a bespoke “Magazine Management System” (MMS) which helps us manage the content of each issue, who is the article author, layouter, tester and proof reader, the state of progress of each article plus it tracks all the tickets for each article. The MMS is also the repository for the final PDFs which it merges automatically and uploads to Issuu.com every hour.
Our second year also saw the introduction of sponsored advertising. This was somewhat controversial. The MagPi is a community driven, peer-reviewed journal and it will always be available to download for free. But we wanted to also make it available as a printed magazine. We have been careful to limit the advertising in each issue, but it is with thanks to those advertisers that we are able to make printed editions of the magazine available each month. Additionally, we averaged 32 pages in each issue in our first year, but this has increased throughout our second year to 48 pages. Some issues of The MagPi have also been translated into Chinese, German, Korean, French and Spanish.
Ignoring our first year, in just this second year alone there have been a staggering 67 different authors who have produced over 100 articles. The MagPi exists because of these authors. There is also a core group of folks across the world who volunteer a huge amount of time every month to deliver The MagPi; William Bell, Bryan Butler, Tim Cox, Colin Deady, Matthew Judge, Ian McAlpine, Claire Price, Aaron Shaw and Ash Stone. There are many other unnamed volunteers and we thank them all for their help every month and for helping The MagPi to grow.
Finally thank you to you, our readers… without your support the efforts of everyone involved would be wasted. We hope you keep enjoying and reading The MagPi every month.
This month being a birthday month, there are a few special items in May’s issue, including a competition to win £2000 of kit. Thanks to all of you at The MagPi from all of us at the Raspberry Pi Foundation: we’re incredibly grateful for your support, and we’re always amazed at what you achieve every month.
You’ve been a great asset to the community & hope you are around for many more years. I’ll buy MagPi a pint when it’s old enough to drink :)
Do you know, I believe *all* of them are. MagPi folks: if you happen to be in New York, the drinks are on Scone.
i’ll start saving up, well john will as it’ll be his piggy bank i’ll be raiding. Think it’d be cheaper to just buy a brewery and let you all loose in it :)
This is great- like always.
I have NEVER won a MagPi competition- now it is MY TURN to win :-)
Thanks for the great magazine!
To all those behind the MagPi magazine – do remember to keep focused on quality over quantity. As someone who bought every single issue of every single magazine associated with the BBC Micro (back in the day), I gradually became more and more disillusioned with the ratio of advertising over content. Sure, advertising can be helpful, but don’t let it distract from the main aim of MagPi, which should be to get articles in front of readers.
Similarly, watch out for over-enthusiastic ‘code dumps’ – code for code’s sake doesn’t necessarily teach anyone anything. Sure, if you can get someone to physically type code and commands in at the keyboard, they learn more by ‘doing’ – but they will learn less if they have to wade through columns of code to achieve something.
Somehow, you need to establish at which point the code becomes ‘too much’ and, at that point, you simply divest the code off to the ‘net for later download.
Anyhow – I’m off to read, download, and print for posterity, the latest issue.
Hence why we said controversial about the advertising above.
The thing is, all of our adverts are relevant, and often are bringing news of new products etc that a lot of people wouldn’t have heard of, and putting them on a world stage. So it is a win-win-win for reader, advertiser and us.
We do our best to ensure quality. With thorough testing and proof reading. We think that is perhaps the most important aspect of the magazine, especially for use in schools etc.
If you ever have any constructive criticism (or praise) then please do let us know – we make the magazine for our readers and we need your feedback to keep improving. And if you have any time to help with the mag, we always welcome new volunteers :-)
Enjoy the issue!!
We occasionally get people saying (and I paraphrase, but this is the heart of it): “I can’t believe you market the Raspberry Pi! Hype and advertising are evil!”
Without *some* marketing (and even we at the Foundation don’t do much; we’ve never bought advertising space, for example), you don’t get far today if you’re trying to run a business. The MagPi folk don’t take a salary, and if they didn’t take advertising they’d run at a loss. Who’s going to pay for that? It’s not you, Niall; and it shouldn’t be the people who spend their evenings and weekends writing for, editing and typesetting a free magazine that more than 100 thousand people read every month. None of us here at the Foundation see any philosophical difficulty at all with the MagPi taking relevant, useful advertising; in fact, we think it’s a good thing. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good-enough.
Please don’t misunderstand me – I *fully* support what the MagPi is achieving, and I *totally* appreciate that this is very much a “for love” project.
I take my hat off to everyone who is involved – and wish I could find time to contribute (just ask Jonathan B what my ‘master plan’ is to make more time!!)
The point I was making is that I remember how, in the days of the Beeb Micro, all of the magazines started to become hugely ‘bloated’ by advertising. I even remember that you would be reading an article, would get to the bottom of a page, and would encounter that horrible (turn to page xx) message – that would tell you the next yy pages were going to be full of adverts, ‘inserted’ into your mind without permission!! It was like modern TV – only in paper form.
And those magazines were subscription issues!!
Aaron, of course there is a fine balance, and you seem to be doing it *right* – the advertisers in The MagPi, of course, *are* relevant – I use them myself!!
If you manage to keep the ratio close to what you are running with at the moment, no-one will complain!
Fear not, Niall. The content always takes priority.
We do have a sort of internal ratio (not an exact science, because we have to have page numbers in multiples of 4 for our printing method) that means we balance the ads with the content.
Hence why the page numbers every month now stand at over 40 instead of the original 32… We have added adverts, but also added more content too. I feel your pain on the TV stuff. Maybe they should replace all the adverts on TV with Raspberry Pi related adverts… Then I would look forward to watching them :-)
Genuinely, thanks for the feedback. If you do ever think we get the balance wrong, please let us know… But we hope that will never happen.
Thanks for reading too… Without our huge readership, we wouldn’t be able to attract much advertising at all.
To the MagPi team – happy birthday! It’s been an amazing two years and you have been an essential part of it. Thanks for everything :)
(N.B. It’s me! Clive Beale! But something is bust and my login ain’t being picked up :( Still – wanted to say thanks :D)
It’s amazing to see a picture of my band Meta-eX Live Coding in a nightclub in Antwerp on the front cover! Happy Birthday MagPi!
It’s equally amazing to look at your lovely face and not hear bleeps and bloops. Curiously soothing. ;)
Aahh, it may seem silent, but the bleeps and bloops have been coded for ten thousand Raspberry Pi users to evaluate and play in unison. An army of Live Coders is born!
Sonic Pi v2.0 is superb and a huge step forward. With Issue 23 MagPi readers can experience it early before it hits Raspbian.
Wow! Two years already. Keep up the great work!
Congrats to the MagPi. It’d be nice if they could update us lot over at Kickstarter though. We’ve been waiting over a month for an update now ;)
William H. Bell
Apologies for the delay. (The only person with access to the kickstater account and the shipment details has been unexpectedly indisposed and unwell.) All kickstarter orders have been printed and shipped to our distributor. We expect that our distributor will start shipping early next week. We will be following this closely.
HapPi Bitday! [\?/]–?
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