Via Boing Boing, Alex Steffen at WorldChanging reports that the Whole Earth Magazine has ceased publication:

Whole Earth magazine – spawn of the amazing Whole Earth Catalogs, source of the WELL, first to mention in print the Gaia Hypothesis, the Internet, Virtual Reality, the Singularity and Burning Man (or at least so the legend goes), the place where folks like Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly and Howard Rheingold found their voices, and where a whole generation of young commune-kid geeks like myself learned to dream weird – is no more.

This is sad news. Sometime in the early eighties, I found a copy of the Whole Earth Catalog at a bookstore, took it home, and practically learned the whole thing by heart. I wrote down a long list of book recommendations, and on my first trip to the Bay Area in 1984 I went to several Berkeley bookstores and to the original Whole Earth Access shop, then shipped back about 100 Kg of books. I also drove up to Sausalito, to the Co-Evolution Quarterly (as it was called then) offices, and subscribed to the magazine – and came back several times over the years to renew.

Later on the magazine underwent some name changes – first to Whole Earth Review, then to Whole Earth Magazine – and several editorial and ownership changes. Its financial situation had always been uncertain, and at some point I neglected to renew my subscription. I did buy the Last Whole Earth Catalog, and then the Millennium Whole Earth Catalog, with the white cover, and it still is prominently displayed on the bookshelf behind me.

For myself, at least, the era of print magazines is practically over. Back in the eighties I regularly bought at least 30 magazines each month – now I’m down to one regular (Wired, whose print edition still is oddly much more interesting than the online version), and the occasional magazine bought for reading on the plane. Whole Earth Magazine’s online edition, too, somehow couldn’t recapture the magic. Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools is more successful in that, but has a narrower focus.

Let’s hope someone finally figures out the magic formula to bring the magazine back to life.