Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux History page.
Five years ago: Red Hat released Red Hat 2.1 for the Alpha architecture; this was the first official Red Hat release for that processor.
Red Hat also (in this message from "firstname.lastname@example.org") announced its fancy new web site, that was even "SEARCHABLE!".
Four years ago: Ulrich Drepper released the first, experimental version of glibc 2.0. Thus began a long and sometimes painful (but worthwhile) transition.
Three years ago: in a brief note to comp.os.linux.announce, an ambitious, if not too smart, little company called Eklektix announced an online publication called the Linux Weekly News. The first issue hit the web on January 22, 1998, though we got a bit more serious with the January 29 issue.
Netscape announced that it would release the source for Communicator 5.0. At this distance, it can be hard to remember the impact that announcement had; at the time, it was a huge thing. It was the event that made a lot of people aware of free software. The pace of events picked up thereafter.
Of course, three years later, we are still waiting for that stable browser release. But, while we wait, projects like Galeon and others have made good use of Mozilla's work.
SunWorld introduces Linux:
One of the biggest drawbacks to Linux in business is old-fashioned FUD -- fear, uncertainty, and doubt generated by the Linux freely distributable model. To a lot of people "freely distributable" equates with "unsupported" and "hobby quality." In fact, Linux is neither.
...but they take care to point out that it isn't Solaris.
Two years ago (January 28, 1999 LWN): The long-awaited 2.2.0 kernel release hit the net on January 25. No formal announcement was made, other than this rather terse note on the kernel.org site. Linus did announce that 2.3.x was not going to happen anytime soon, and that it was not time to start sending in patches. One patch had to go in quickly, however, once Dan Burcaw pointed out an easy way for any user to crash a 2.2.0 system.
Linus also said that 32-bit Linux systems would never support 4GB of memory. Of course, 2.4.0 does exactly that... Perhaps his crystal ball isn't so infallible after all.
Both HP and SGI announced plans to support Linux on their hardware. Back in 1999, this sort of thing was still a big deal.
Somebody broke into ftp.win.tue.nl and replaced the source for the TCP wrappers package with a new version that contained a back door. The problem was found within hours, and, apparently, no sites were compromised as a result of this change. This episode pointed out a real vulnerability in free software, however, and helped motivate the use of signatures on source packages. It is probable, however, that few users check signatures even now, and a repeat of this sort of attack is almost certain at some point.
What happens when Windows programmers start to switch to Linux?
Barring a sudden, unforeseen bursting of the Linux bubble, we're about to see the nontechnical aspects of programming take center stage like never before, not even when the rise of the IBM PC brought mainframe programmers to the desktop, or even when the Y2K fiasco made legions of programmers learn (or relearn) Cobol. From the standpoint of individual programmers, this will look like yet another standards/mindset war, with coders once again serving as both foot soldiers and the short term prize. The difference is that this time there will be a distinct cultural aspect to the war, and if we're lucky, the outcome could be a significantly more competitive industry.
One year ago (January 27, 2000 LWN): Caldera, Red Hat, and Turbolinux all announce that they will ship IBM's Java implementation with their distributions, leaving Sun out in the cold. Sun, instead, announced the availability of "free Solaris 8," complete with source code.
In a move aimed at Linux, Sun said it will announce Wednesday that it is making the source code for its new Solaris 8 operating system "open." Webster's has lots of definitions for the word, including "not sealed, fastened, or locked." But when you dig into the details of Sun's announcement, you'll find that what it is offering doesn't come close to meeting the dictionary's definition, let alone that of the open-source movement.
SGI, meanwhile, released its OpenGL implementation under an open source license.
DeCSS hacker Jon Johansen was detained for questioning regarding his role in the cracking of the DVD encryption system.
Lineo shipped the 1.0 version of its Embedix embedded Linux distribution. The Debian project ran into a little snag when, halfway through the nomination period, nobody had stepped forward saying they wanted to be the next project leader.
The Journal of Linux Technology was announced by VA Linux Systems and O'Reilly & Associates. A year later, though, only two issues have been published, the latest being from April, 2000.