FOSS Force is a nifty blog that covers IT and the open source world. Christine Hall, managing editor of FOSS Force, openly wonders if The VAR Guy can remain anonymous, engaging and responsible now that Penton Media -- a 1,300 person company -- has acquired The VAR Guy and his parent, Nine Lives Media. Hall even suggests that Penton's buyout of The VAR Guy won't be good for FOSS. Ahem... The VAR Guy would like to reply.

Dear Christine Hall: Thanks for reading The VAR Guy. You are raising some important questions about editorial freedom, editorial quality and the future of journalism. In a recent blog post, you wrote:
"Now would be the time, if the new masters with Penton want to maintain The VAR Guy’s credibility, to put a name and a face on the writer of the blog. If they want us to see the site as an actual source of opinion uninhibited by a secret agenda, like the mixing of editorial and advertising content, they need to show us some transparency and they need to do so sooner rather than later."
Sorry, but The VAR Guy's cloak of secrecy remains in place. Forever. But please give The VAR Guy a chance to explain why.

Our resident blogger has written about the open source and closed source software worlds since 1992. The VAR Guy's own Website launched in January 2008, and has emerged as the leading IT Channel blog. By remaining anonymous, The VAR Guy gains far deeper access into the IT Channel. A few examples from recent weeks:

Maintaining Trust?

But how can you and the rest of The VAR Guy's readers trust an anonymous blogger? The simple answer: Clear disclosures about sponsor relationships. For instance, The VAR Guy has always listed his sponsors -- from day one -- so that readers can make their own judgments about The VAR Guy's business relationships. Yes, sponsors write monthly guest blogs. And they are disclosed as such.

If you read something on The VAR Guy that seems to pander to sponsors then please post a comment or send The VAR Guy an email (TheVARguy [at] NineLivesMediaInc [dot] com). The VAR Guy cares about reader perceptions. And he wants to maintain your trust.

It's Not Open Source vs. Closed Source

Going forward, The VAR Guy will offer a mix of open source and closed source coverage -- as he always has.

Imagine this: The VAR Guy's home office includes a MacBook Pro, an Ubuntu Linux netbook from ZaReason, a Dell workstation running Ubuntu, and a Lenovo IdeaPad running Windows 7. The VAR Guy also has a Samsung tablet running Android, and an Apple iPad (version 1; our resident blogger didn't open his wallet for iPad 2).

But here's the thing: The VAR Guy won't get caught in a religious war between open source and closed source. Instead, he judges each piece of technology on its business value. If Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) gains ground on VMware, The VAR Guy will report it. But if Microsoft gets a big win against Red Hat Enteprise Linux, The VAR Guy will report that as well.

Generally speaking you can count on the following from The VAR Guy and his team:
  • The VAR Guy himself will write about closed source and open source.
  • Contributing Blogger Christopher Tozzi will continue to cover Ubuntu and open source related issues.
  • Contributing Blogger Dave Courbanou will continue to cover Apple, Windows, Linux and mobile issues.
  • Senior Contributing Editor Charlene O'Hanlon continues to oversee day-to-day content on The VAR Guy.
  • Site co-founders Amy Katz and Joe Panettieri (who the heck is that guy?) did not sell this web site and exit. Instead, Katz and Panettieri continue to drive The VAR Guy's overall business and content, respectively, forward.

Dollars Plus Good Editorial Sense

Yes, The VAR Guy is a business that generates sponsored revenue. But that's been the case since January 2008, long before Penton Media acquired Nine Lives Media and this web site. And going forward, The VAR Guy expects to greatly benefit from the talented marketing, SEO and business leaders at Penton.

In the meantime, please give The VAR Guy a chance to maintain his voice and his editorial quality. And if you see quality slipping please raise your hand, post a comment and demand that we get things right. The VAR Guy appreciates your time. And your readership.