Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Linux History page.
Four years ago: Red Hat 4.1 was released.
Inaky Perez Gonzalez announced the beginning of the Linux USB project. This effort was eventually abandoned after Linus created a USB implementation of his own, but not before it had made considerable progress and influenced the ultimate shape of Linux USB support.
After the Netscape announcement broke in February early 1998 I did a lot of thinking about the next phase -- the serious push to get "free software" accepted in the mainstream corporate world. And I realized we have a serious problem with "free software" itself. Specifically, we have a problem with the term "free software", itself, not the concept. I've become convinced that the term has to go.
While the term "open source" has certainly found acceptance, "free software" has refused to go. Both terms are commonly used, but supporters of "free software" are adamant in their dislike for "open source."
Dave Winer, meanwhile, read The Cathedral and the Bazaar:
If Kleiner-Perkins starts a Linux Fund, you'll know! If there's money, there may be software. If not, I don't believe there will. Great programmers cost a lot of money. That's pretty hard to work around. I don't think the Linux people really get that yet. To potential investors, in my opinion Linux would be a good bet, but not with the GPL assumption. It will do well if money is available, both from investors and eventually from customers.
Three years later, the "GPL assumption" is stronger than ever.
Two years ago (February 11, 1999 LWN): Security bugs in pine, wu-ftpd, and ProFTPd went without updates from most Linux distributors for several days; some vendors had not updated their security pages for months. LWN called for distributors to get security updates out within 24 hours of the announcement of a vulnerability. Two years later, most of them do exactly that. (Exception: we're still waiting for a bind update from Turbolinux...) This situation has certainly improved.
Dell announced that it would start selling (a few) systems with Linux installed.
People will note that I do not use the term "open source software" that many others use. I've been using the term "free software" for many years, and I don't think that "open source software" is an improvement.
Richard Stallman is nothing if not consistent.
One year ago (February 10, 2000 LWN: we reported on our experience at LinuxWorld:
With very few exceptions, anybody who has been active in the Linux arena for any period of time is in a good position. If you have code, technology, revenue, or readership, you probably have numerous options to choose from. Almost everybody who wants to cash in is able to do so. A rising tide lifts all boats, and this one is rising in a hurry.
The tide, of course, changed a little over the last year.
VA Linux Systems announced an agreement to acquire Andover.net. The deal valued Andover.Net at almost $1 billion - twice what the combined company is worth now.
Any unbiased appraisal of this merger, however, will yield one difficult but inescapable truth: The camaraderie and high spirits engendered by Linus and his band of programmers will soon be replaced by the same rancor and factiousness that permeates the rest of the capitalist world. And Slashdot, which is so highly revered by its readers and those who know its mission, will soon lose its trust, reputation, and standing. The deal has dealt the much-heralded geek community and its open-source development model a terrible blow, one from which it may never recover.
Atipa announced its acquisition of EST, LinuxMall announced a merger with Frank Kaspar and Associates, and Corel announced a merger with Inprise. That last one, of course, never happened...
Speaking of things that never happened, the Linux Fund announced that it would soon file for an initial public offering of stock.
The development kernel release was 2.3.42; the results of the (then) Trillian Project - the IA-64 port - were just being merged into 2.3.43. IBM announced that it would contribute its JFS journaling filesystem to the Linux community.
The Debian new maintainer process opened up, finally. Red Hat announced the beta version of Red Hat 6.2:
This is no ordinary pig! Stand back folks, he's large and live and ready to rumble. This pig is knocking back CPU loads of 99 whilst having tea and crumpets with Pooh Bear. This bad boy eats Lizards for breakfast and spits out kernel patches. Approach with caution, he could be dangerous!