On the Desktop
Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux History page.
Four years ago: Miguel de Icaza announced his intention to create the GNOME project.
Also announced was the egcs project - a version of the gcc compiler suite which was intended to move a bit faster than gcc itself. Four years later, gcc and egcs have merged back together (with egcs having the upper hand). GNOME and KDE, of course, have done no such thing...
Three years ago (August 20, 1998 LWN): It appeared the Linux Standards Base might be in more trouble, as Bruce Perens' departure from the project was quickly followed by the announcement of two competing efforts. The Linux Compatibility Standards Project was announced as a collaboration between Debian and Red Hat to build a written specification on the "right way" to build a proper Linux system. It was designed to complement the LSB and guide application developers on how to build their applications for compatibility with multiple Linux distributions. Only the timing made this look like a competitor to the LSB, though. It was designed to be complementary and was eventually folded into the LSB.
Not so innocuous was the announcement of the Linux Standards Association. As opposed to the community-based LSB, the LSA was designed more like traditional commercial standards organization; members were corporations that paid money. The content was not to be made available for free, founding members would have veto privileges and the initial website was created with Frontpage. The announcement was greeted with outrage on Slashdot and indifference from the community. The LSA didn't take long to collapse, and nobody has tried this particular idea since.
Red Hat announced its "Rawhide" distribution - the first Red Hat development version that was explicitly made available on the net.
Two years ago (August 19, 1999 LWN): Red Hat shares jumped from an initial (split-adjusted) high of $26 after their IPO to a new level, $40 per share. Predicting many more public Linux companies to come, LWN announced its Linux Stocks Page and the LWN Linux Stock Index to track the performance of this sector as a whole.
For the umpteenth time, someone paved paradise, put up a parking lot. For the thousands of Linux coders who've build the utopian open-source movement - offering free help to create a free operating system - the IPO of Red Hat Software was a sure sign of Wall Street cutting the ribbon on the new Linux mall.
A Debian "potato" freeze was proposed for November 1.
The Internet Auditing Project released the results of a year-long scan of the Internet. This ad-hoc project searched for sites with previously announced and fixable security vulnerabilities. For example, out of a list of 10 well known vulnerabilities, between 1 to 26 percent of the sites with the given service installed were running a vulnerable version. They likened these vulnerable systems to "wounds" in the Internet, indicating wide-spread illness.
The project recommended the creation of an "International Digital Defense Network" to pro-actively search for vulnerable sites and work to get them to close their vulnerabilities. Discussion on the topic did not seem to take off and there have been no efforts in that area, to our knowledge.
Meanwhile, Magic Software took some real grief for the two live penguins it brought to the LinuxWorld show floor. It seems the animal rights activists weren't too pleased with the idea...
One year ago (August 17, 2000 LWN): The GNOME project went for the headlines with the announcement of the GNOME Foundation, Sun's adoption of GNOME for Solaris, HP's planned shift to GNOME, and a hype-laden press release on the project's bright future. It was, perhaps, the most prominent bit of news out of LinuxWorld last year. ZDNet even wrote an obituary for KDE:
In the end, one side had to win. And in this zero-sum game, that meant the other side had to come up empty. So it was that the folks in the Linux community supporting the GNOME desktop user interface had cause for celebration on Tuesday after winning support from 13 companies and industry organizations.
It's evident a year later (as it was then) that the rumors of KDE's death were rather premature. After all, one of the nice things about free software is that it is not a zero-sum game.
Debian 2.2 was released. It remains the current stable Debian release, and will continue to for some time, until the "woody" stabilization process completes. Also released was the second (and, presumably, last) edition of Corel Linux. Finally, Stampede Linux 0.90 was released. That project isn't dead quite yet, but we're still waiting for 0.91...
The Motley Fool sounded off on intellectual property:
The reason Red Hat has been so much more successful than, say, Caldera Systems, is that Red Hat sees what it does as a service, and Caldera sees its intellectual property as a product it can control.
The article remains worthwhile reading a year later.
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.
August 16, 2001