How a love for open source led to the first Ubuntu magazine

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My open source story CC BY-SA 4.0.

It was late 2006 (if my memory serves me right), and I was still using Windows XP. Right around the corner, though, was the (now dreaded) Windows Vista. I really didn't like the thought of it, XP had been giving me grief, and I was just getting fed up with Windows' nonsense in general.

I'd tried Linux briefly in the past, but nothing serious. I had looked at Red Hat and Mandrake, but not really given it a go. There was a new kid, Ubuntu, that seemed to be creating a bit of a buzz, so I decided to give it a try via a live boot CD. It seemed OK, so I installed it.

GNOME was OK, but I quite fancied the look of KDE, so I installed the KDE desktop from Synaptic. Well, that'd didn't go down well. I now had two desktops and a 'Start' menu that was a mish-mash of Gnome and KDE applications.

I rebooted with a Kubuntu CD, installed the default desktop, and was much happier.

It was about six months later that I noticed a post on Ubuntu forums from someone who was going to start an Ubuntu magazine. It never happened, and one day I had the crazy idea that I would start an Ubuntu magazine. Needless to say the Ubuntu forums community stepped up to the challenge, and within days people were sending me articles.

It was via Ubuntu Forums that the name Full Circle was first suggested. It was also at this time that I made myself an unwritten rule: The magazine must be entirely produced using free and/or open source software. To me, it would be hypocritical to produce an Ubuntu magazine using anything other than FOSS. I settled on GIMP, LibreOffice, and Scribus.

Eight years later, I still use them in producing Full Circle magazine.

I stayed with Kubuntu for quite some time, but after having the great idea that I'd use an old machine for a NAS drive, I installed FreeNAS to a USB stick. Or, so I thought. Actually, I'd installed it on my hard drive completely wiping everything. This was, as I called it, the great HDDisaster of yesteryear. See the unfinished issue of FCM for that debacle. Of course, true to form, I had no Kubuntu DVD to boot from, and no backup. I ended up having to use an old Mint DVD from a magazine.

That got me back into my system again, and I managed to get everything reinstalled and my cloud backups reinstalled. I stayed with Mint until a new Kubuntu was released. This was short lived. Problems with Plasma 5, such as having to configure my tablet in a terminal (it's 2015, and there's no GUI for this?) forced me to give up on it, and I went full circle and returned to plain vanilla Ubuntu 15.04. My biggest worry with this was, of course, Unity. To my surprise, it's matured a great deal and is now very usable.

Is good old vanilla Ubuntu my permanent home? Only time will tell!

My Open Source Story

This article is part of a series called My Open Source Story. To participate and share your open source story, contact us at:

Ronnie is the founder, and editor, of Full Circle magazine. FCM is an Ubuntu Linux based, free PDF, magazine which has been running monthly now for over eight years.


It's a great magazine, you guys do good work with it!

I never knew there was such an online magazine. I am glad I am a member of the community. Great story and THANK YOU for actually having the gumption to put out a great magazine.

Ronnie, I know you're super busy, so I appreciate that you took the time to share your open source story with us! Always great to hear from you.

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