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See also: last week's Linux History page.
Five years ago: the Free Software Foundation, feeling left out of Linux, decided to call it "Lignux" instead. That one did not stick, however...
Four years ago: Alan Cox withdrew as the Linux CERT contact person:
I no longer have any faith in CERT nor believe it is the right way to handle the lamentably bad state of computer security today. It muddles along like some kind of comic book 3rd world security agency trying to hide the truth - the only reason we haven't had major computer security catastrophes on the internet is because nobody has lit the fuse, not because we have security.
It's not clear that the situation has improved a whole lot since then...
Three years ago (June 6, 1998 LWN): The Open Group stated that it would be willing to consider bending some of its rules in order to award its "Unix98" certification to Linux. The proprietary Unix vendors, it seems, had written off the low-end server market, and figured that they might as well help Linux fight in that arena. The certification never materialized, but that does not appear to have slowed down Linux much.
Version 0.8 of the proposed Debian Constitution was released.
Two years ago (June 3, 1999 LWN): The unpleasant "shrink-wrap software law" known as UCC-2B was reincarnated as UCITA. Two years later, UCITA remains an active proposal, though its progress seems to have stalled.
Red Hat Linux 6.0 upset many customers with its new, higher price. Red Hat answered the criticism by offering "Red Hat Core," which was offered at the older price ($40). People were not exactly encouraged to buy it, though:
You have been writing code for years and can recompile the kernel in your sleep....You know what you're doing and you know how it all works. In fact, you're one of the "gurus" who is most likely helping all your friends get into Linux. You don't need a floppy; you don't need help in getting started, and you don't need support.
"Red Hat Core" was also not available through resellers; it had to be bought directly from Red Hat. Two years later, Red Hat no longer follows this strategy; Red Hat Linux 7.1 is available for $40, or for slightly less from the usual resellers.
Linux IPOs were still in the future, but people were beginning to worry:
One factor to consider as VA ponders going public is compensating the myriad programmers who have contributed to Linux over the years.... If a company such as VA or Red Hat went public and made a lot of money off Linux, "What does that mean for all those people who've done a lot of work and don't necessarily" make money out of it? Will they still want to contribute to Linux? "That's one of the issues we're struggling with," [Larry] Augustin said.
Publicly-held Linux companies may have quite a few disgruntled stockholders, but their public nature does not seem to have created too many difficulties with developers.
Linux-Mandrake 6.0 was released.
One year ago June 1, 2000 LWN. The LWN this week in history section made its first appearance in the now defunct back page.
Richard Stallman stated that free software was unimportant for embedded systems:
I'm less concerned with what happens with embedded systems than I am with real computers. The real reason for this is the moral issues about software freedom are much more significant for computers that users see as a computer. And so I'm not really concerned with what's running inside my microwave oven.
The original article, which ran on GnuLinux.com, appears to be no longer available. RMS has since expressed more concern about closed embedded systems.
Linus released kernel 2.4.0-test1, just before leaving town for a few weeks. "It's not a real 2.4.0 release, but we should be getting closer." Not all that much closer - 2.4.0 was still several months away.
The Python development group, headed up by Guido van Rossum, moved to BeOpen. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but this arrangement didn't last all that long.
In Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, one of the paradoxes presented is that if people had proof of God, their belief would be fact-based instead of faith-based, and the loss of faith would cause God to cease to exist. The way Linux standards work, you've got to believe. If people believe, then standards are widely accepted.
One can only hope that the imminent arrival of LSB 1.0 does not bring about this sort of paradox...
May 31, 2001