On the Desktop
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See also: last week's Linux History page.
Three years ago (August 27, 1998 LWN): The short-lived Linux Standards Association had its biggest day in the spotlight when it publicly questioned the validity of the Linux trademark. That move forced the hand of Linus Torvalds and Linux International, and brought about an intervention by the lawyers. The LSA, in the end, backed down and started explicitly acknowledging the trademark.
At that time, trademark acknowledgements were relatively rare. The Linux International site did not have one, and neither did many distributions. After this episode, that all changed. Nobody really questions Linus's trademark anymore.
This was also the week in which the Linux Standard Base (LSB) and Linux Compatibility Standards (LCS) projects merged back together. Current efforts toward Linux standards continue at www.linuxbase.org.
ZDNet chimed in with some Good Old Time FUD:
Technically, Linux might be a reasonable choice, but what kind of company is going to rely on unsupported freeware or something that's supported by two tiny vendors? Rejecting Linux is a straightforward business decision. If it were supported by an IBM or a Hewlett-Packard, then that would be an entirely different matter.
Nowadays, of course, it's an entirely different matter...
Red Herring named Transmeta as one of its top 100 technology companies, even though it had no idea what Transmeta was up to.
Two years ago (August 26, 1999 LWN): Linux-Mandrake celebrated the end of its first year with two "Editor's Choice" awards from LinuxWorld, its first big equity investment, and the launch of its "Cooker" development version. LWN marked the events with an interview with Linux-Mandrake creator GaŽl Duval.
Jesse Berst thought that Sun buying StarDivision (creators of StarOffice) was the not the smartest thing he had ever heard of.
Hang on, give me a second? I'm thinking... I'm trying to decide if that's the dumbest idea I've heard this year.
Two year later, Sun has shown no signs of buyer's remorse, though StarDivision can not be making the company a great deal of money.
Caldera Systems and Red Hat were the first distributors to claim year-2000 compliance for their systems. It seemed important at the time.
Ted Nelson's long-hyped Xanadu system was released as open source this week, after well over two decades of development. It also seemed important at the time.
One year ago (August 17, 2000 LWN): The first round of the DVD case ended, with the MPAA a clear winner. Bad news for free software, especially in the United States.
The previous week's announcement of the GNOME Foundation brought out a rash of GNOME vs. KDE articles. The supposed war seemed to be mostly in the minds of the media, as most developers acknowledged that the competition had improved both desktops.
For a war that supposedly isn't, the battle over open-source desktops seems to be getting bloodier. It's GNOME vs. KDE. And even though many open-source backers are loath to admit the existence of a rift within their ranks on any software development front, sides are being taken and two distinct camps are forming.
The current development kernel release was 2.4.0-test7 and the current stable kernel release was still 2.2.16. vger.rutgers.edu died and was reborn as vger.kernel.org, moving from Rutgers to Red Hat in the process.
Eric Raymond took Linus to task for insufficient software engineering discipline:
I used to worry about what would happen if Linus got hit by a truck. With all respect, I still worry about what will happen if the complexity of the kernel exceeds the scope of your astonishing native talent before you grow up.
One year later, not a whole lot has changed with regard to how Linus manages kernel development. It seems to be holding together, for now...
Debian's "testing" distribution is now one year old. They're still testing it.
Transmeta filed for an IPO. Transmeta (NasdaqNM:TMTA) stock was at 2.76 at this writing.
VA Linux Systems reported revenue of $120 million. The company was still losing money, but was getting closer to profitable. Unfortunately things went downhill from there.
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.
August 23, 2001