The TurnKey blog: where do we go from here?

When we started out a few years ago the scope of posts was very limited. Only news announcements, once every few months. The idea was to keep the signal to noise ratio down. But then a couple of years later we added tags to the blog and that changed everything because it meant we could offer a just-the-news feed to those who wanted it while opening up the blog to a broader range of subjects. Gradually the scope of the blog expanded until it included pretty much anything interesting we came across in our TurnKey adventures.

Initially posts on the blog that weren't directly related to TurnKey bothered me somewhat, but then I realized so long as there is a decent overlap between the type of people who might be interested in a post and the type of people interested in TurnKey, we shouldn't be too worried about going wide.

After all, if someone is interested in just news announcements they can sign up for the newsletter or the TurnKey news feed and they won't miss out on any important project update.

Also, the way I've come to see it, the borders of TurnKey are fuzzy and ever expanding. TurnKey isn't really about the stuff we make. That's just a means to an end. A way of lowering the bar enough that empowers as many people as possible to explore what GNU/Linux and free software has to offer. Not just in the technological sense but also the community around it. The developers, the users, the people that are the heart of soul of this strange and unintuitive phenomena of gift culture.

Also, TurnKey doesn't and couldn't exist on its own. It's just one organism in a tightly-woven ecosystem where all the parts are dependent on all others.

The relationships with other communities is multi-dimensional, but here's one example branching:

TurnKey -> Debian -> Linux -> Free software -> Computers / networking -> Technology.

All of that stuff is related to TurnKey and if you write about any of it it is likely to interest people who are also interested in TurnKey, and hence serve our purpose.

It all comes down to who you are writing for and why.

On one level, it would be preferable for stuff that goes on the TurnKey blog to be closely related to TurnKey, but mainly because that makes it more likely that our audience (e.g., regular blog subscribers) will be interested.

On another level, only a small amount traffic to the blog actually comes from regular subscribers. Mostly people reach blog posts when they're searching for something specific. The majority of these strangers immediately "bounce" elsewhere but there's also a small minority that discover TurnKey serendipitously that way, which is good for the project.


OnePressTech's picture

Hi Liraz,

Just feeding back that I find the split between content on the blog and content on the forum to be in line with industry norm.

Is there something that triggered this introspection? Low access numbers...something else?

From my perspective I read and interact with the blog more than the forum. For me the blog is about vision and strategy and significant newsworthy items (security issues, new feature releases, etc). The forum is about tactical issues which I will access and contribute to on an as needed basis. Equally important but for different reasons. Perhaps you could add a tag called Vision? I would be interested in that.

Your recent blog post regarding your view of the big brother trend and how you and Alon started TKLX in 2008 to help democratise society was enlightening, uplifting and significant. It sounds like you have a bigger vision, though, than the TKLX blog can perhaps handle! It's not clear that the techie, appliance crowd, are necessarily the active societal engineers as you and Alon are.

Just one man's two cents worth :-)



Tim (Managing Director - OnePressTech)

Liraz Siri's picture

Hi Tim,

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the blog side of the site. Also, I've noticed you are a very methodical, strategic thinker. I haven't come across too many people like that. It's a unique perspective that I have often found quite illuminating. Usually people miss the forest for the trees.

Another more childish reason I appeciate your feedback is that you are often the only one engaging back. The whole "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it" bit. Sometimes I have to check the access logs just to make sure people are reading this stuff. They are. It's just that for most there is a yawning chasm between passive consumption and interaction.

With regards to your question, there was no specific trigger. It's something that has been building up for a long time. The realization that there is more to this than the numbers. That we need to develop people, not products. That the values and community are more important than any specific thing we make and the transient benefit it creates.

Also, if you're a creative person, you enjoy expressing yourself. Most of us in the developed world live in societies of abundance and after you get past the basic needs the desire for self expression and actualization can become pretty strong.

The term 'societal engineer' made me smile. I don't think we have pretensions at that level (yet). What I'm hoping is to do my small part to be an influence for good. The greatest good for the greatest numbers that I have the means to help.

Imagine if we all did our little bit to make the world a better place. Each in his own way. It used to be that you had to be a king or at least very rich to make an impact. Now anyone with a good idea and the willingness to put it out there can make a dent in the universe. I think that's what TurnKey is really all about at heart - a tool for amplifying the good free software and the Internet can provide.

I agree 100% that there seem to be overarching trends that impact the story of free software. Some bad some good. It's up to us to tilt the balance in the direction we want the future to take its course.

Like Alan Kay would say - the best way to predict the future is to invent it.

Cheers, Liraz

PS: sorry for the slow response time. It can all get a bit overhwleming at times.

OnePressTech's picture

Hi Liraz,

Yup...people read what you write...and appreciate it too.

You are a thoughtful man with good insights in life and good intentions for life...rock on :-)


Tim (Managing Director - OnePressTech)

Liraz Siri's picture

Hi Tim

Why thank you. I agree with the subject of your last comment. A man needs just enough tangibles in his search for meaning. The rest is all intangible, but no less important. We're here to do more than survive and climb the social ladder.

For what it's worth Alon and I both deeply appreciate your support and insights throughout the years. To be honest they usually deserve a more thoughtful response than what I have to spare in between juggling way too many balls in the air.

Hopefully I will always find a quiet pause or two in my week when I can reflect on the food for thought you have given me. FWIW, we have you to thank for referring internally to the next major version of TurnKey as TKLX, and also for the strategic analysis you provided regarding the direction technology seems to be developing that is guiding the design decisions behind that drive.

Cheers, Liraz

OnePressTech's picture

Thanks Liraz...glad I could help. You guys give so much it's nice to be part of your community and give something back in return.

Looking forward to TKLX Mark II :-)



Tim (Managing Director - OnePressTech)


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