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"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Interview with Ronnie Ko of 32BitsOnline

By Fernando Ribeiro Corrêa
This and other interviews are on the OLinux site

OLinux: Make a short introduction about yourself (carreer, job, name, age, and where you live)

Ronny Ko: I'm the Editor-in-Chief for I'm in my twenties and living in Vancouver, BC, Canada

OLinux: what was the group that started 32bits online and where they came from (how did they get united?)? this group had other online businesses by then ? what were the main ideas by then? who are they: can you describe them, their background?

Ronny Ko: The magazine was actually started as a home page. Back then, it was called Ronny's Review Page. Basically, it dealt with my personal software reviews. As more and more people came to the site, the number of contributors increased. As it grew and given its OS/2 nature then, I decided to name it OS/2 Computing! Magazine.

The amount of content that OS/2 Computing! was able to published was directly proportional to the amount of activity in OS/2. OS/2 was quickly losing ground to Windows 95.

Because of this, we decided to change to The focus is to be the best alternative technical publication anywhere.

OLinux: Describe your daily task and routine as an editor? What are your main news and articles resources: Are there many volunteers or instead how many employees work for 32? How hard it is to present a quality content every day?give us an idea.

Ronny Ko: It takes a lot of hard work. This is especially hard in web journalism. My job as Editor-in-Chief is to oversee editorial direction. Along with a dedicated team, 32BitsOnline is its people.

OLinux: How did evaluate since 1996? What was its initial focus in terms of OS and has changed? How often are upgrades (layout, new features) made How much editorial has changes since linux became a major player and drew attention from the world?

Ronny Ko: 32BitsOnline had already entered the Linux space before Linux became a viable solution against Windows in the enterprise space.

OLinux: How is 32 marketing strategy and key alliances to keep and promote itself on the internet?

Ronny Ko: 32BitsOnline strives to create key alliances but first and foremost, 32BitsOnline first responsiblity is to our readership.

OLinux: How profitable can be advertisement via Web? Can a website survive or have profits through advertisement?

Ronny Ko: If content is paramount on the web, then it is great but, the creation of original content take a lot of time and resources. In a world where success is valued by how much revenues a company generates, 32BitsOnline/Medullas is holding its own as a private company.

OLinux: Can you tell us about technical aspects: servers used, internet links, 32bits computing network, linux distribution and its programs used, databases?

Ronny Ko: We believe in Open Source. 32BitsOnline/PenguinApps are run on RedHat Linux servers. Database is based on MySQL with power outtage solutions built-in to prevent our service from being affected.

OLinux: How did 32 get involved with Linux International and how 32 works and helps this organization? How 32 bits online interact with GNU/Linux community? Does it participates actively in any other organizations?

Ronny Ko: 32BitsOnline strives to participate in every community event. By joining LI, we believe that a strong singular voice is more potent than each of our individual. Linux International was an easy decision.

OLinux: Does 32 take part in any important events like InstallFest, Expo and Conferences?

Ronny Ko: 32BitsOnline was a Media Sponsor in the last Linux World Expo. We're continuing to expand our support into other community events. If there are events which 32BitsOnline can sponsor, we welcome anyone interested to contact us at

OLinux: How do you see and project linux growth for the next five years? There are already an uncountable number of commercial, companies and community linux distribution. Do you this fragmentation and excessive number of options raises consumer's fear while choosing it?

Ronny Ko: It is true that today, there are major fragmentation in terms of the number of distributions. What I can see will be a trend towards consolidation whereby the smaller distributions will consoldate into larger ones. In my opinion, this will be the only way to present possible Linux users that there's "one" Linux. If you walk to your local computer superstore, you'll see countless distributions. If I'm new to Linux, how am I supposed to pick one distribution?

Techinically, Linux is extremely united. Linus Torvalds has done an impressive job in keeping fragmention in check.

With variety, consumers have excellent diversity. Much like nature, natural selection will eventually select for the strongest while the weaker will slowly die or consolidate.

OLinux: Talk about PenguinApps: when was it started and what is the main idea behind it? Does it heavy a good traffic: give us some numbers. how often is it updated?

Ronny Ko: PenguinApps is still a very new product. We realized very early on that Linux users needed a site in which software should be easy to find. PenguinApps is updated daily. But more importantly, it is a complementary sister site for 32BitsOnline. When users read an article, users can expect to be able to download the software right here from

Copyright © 2000, Fernando Ribeiro Corrêa
Published in Issue 55 of Linux Gazette, July 2000

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