On the Desktop
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See also: last week's Linux History page.
Four years ago: The first Atlanta Linux Showcase was announced.
Three years ago (March 26, 1998 LWN): John Kirch's paper, Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX, was first published. This paper, written by a Microsoft-certified engineer, calmly and persuasively argued that Unix-based systems, and Linux in particular, were a far superior solution for many businesses. We all knew that, of course, but this paper reached a wide audience; it certainly deserves some of the credit for the explosion of interest in Linux in 1998.
The first draft of the Debian constitution was posted by Ian Jackson.
Why should a person who has never gotten beyond a GUI interface care about source code? Eric Kidd ran a survey of uses people have made of source code. You can find some interesting results here.
The current development kernel release was 2.1.90, with a big pre-patch for 2.1.91 adding things like BSD process accounting, a number of obscure file systems (including Solaris x86), and an unbelievable number of fixes.
Two years ago (March 25, 1999 LWN): CeBIT '99 was the leading event of the week. CeBIT is a massive tradeshow held in Hannover, Germany. KDE and the Linux community both won awards at the show, KDE receiving Ziff-Davis' "Software Innovation of the Year Award for 1998/99" (see their announcement), and the Linux Community receiving the CeBIT "Highlight" award for Software, one of four categories of their Highlight awards. This year's CeBIT runs March 22 - March 28, 2001.
LWN was the subject of a feature in the Daily Camera, our hometown (Boulder, CO USA) newspaper.
But some critics contend that Red Hat's business practices, under CEO Robert Young, are becoming heavy-handed and bad for the open-source industry. Most controversial, perhaps, is the company's decision to kick-start a Red Hat-specific Linux training and certification program, while community-developed efforts are growing in the hopper. Further flustering the hornet's nest is Red Hat's unenthusiastic reception of Linux standards, including a Linux Standard Base (LSB) project designed to keep various open-source flavors from diverging.
Kernel version 2.2.4 was released.
"Starbuck" was the code name for the not-quite-stable test version of Red Hat's 6.0 platform. Slackware 4.0.0-pre-beta was released.
The first (and last) annual ExtremeLinux track was announced for the Linux Expo in May 1999.
One year ago (March 23, 2000 LWN): Caldera Systems went public, with its shares doubling in price (to $29) on the first day. At the same time, VA Linux dropped below $80 and Red Hat below $60 - prices that looked relatively low at the time.
Despite the performance differences, Caldera plans to follow in the footsteps of other publicly traded Linux companies that have used their high stock valuations to acquire other firms in an effort to expand as quickly as possible...
Clusters were the news of the week. IBM announced the installation of a cluster, claimed to be the world's largest, at the University of New Mexico. LWN, meanwhile, got a look at the Jet cluster installed at the NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory in Boulder.
MaxOS Linux was mentioned for the first time in LWN. It rated a feature article, MaxOS: A New Linux Distribution from the Ground Up.
Pavel Machek posted a note to BugTraq about possible process hiding in the 2.3.X development kernel series. Meanwhile a Technocrat posting raised fears that 2.4.0 would be a "brown paper bag" release.
However, major packages won't compile on it. UDF has serious bugs, causing kernel hangs. In the 2.3.99 stage, the entire filesystem directory tree and initialisation code is being heavily re-written. The kernel configuration code is being re-organised. That is NOT where a program needs to be, when it's just about to be released as a stable package.
Little did Technocrat know that the 2.4 release was still rather distant; when it did come out, very few brown paper bags were needed...
As mentioned, the Red Hat 6.0 beta was code named Starbuck. This year people were playing around with 'piglet', Red Hat's 6.2 beta. Turbolinux, meanwhile, released the first version of its distribution for the IA-64 platform... which still is not available...
Upside profiled MandrakeSoft:
MandrakeSoft, the company Duval, Lemarois and a few other inside developers built up to take advantage of this phenomenon, has followed a similar trajectory, adding 50 employees in the less than a year. If anything, the company's quick ascent is a sobering indication that the Linux operating system market may be the easiest online marketplace to crash since amateur pornography.
The rumors were finally confirmed: Linux Expo was not going to happen in 2000. After many years as the premier Linux event, it had been overshadowed by the many other Linux conferences that had popped up. See Donnie Barnes' explanation for a good history of Linux Expo, and the reasons for its demise.
March 22, 2001