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See also: last week's Linux History page.
Three years ago (October 8, 1998 LWN): We asked "what will happen to the Linux VARs?" Dell and Gateway and even IBM were making noises about getting into Linux and it looked like life could get harder for companies that sold Linux-installed computers. Three years later, the landscape does look a bit different. VA Linux is out of the hardware business. IBM is in, installing Linux on everything from laptops to mainframes.
One expects negative press from a Microsoft publication. This was one of the kinder quotes:
Companies such as Caldera Inc. and Red Hat Software Inc. are Linux distributors selling various products that leverage Linux?s many outstanding attributes. The products carry what seem like mythical price tags, such as Red Hat?s $29 price for its Extreme Linux. Of course, there is no support for the product other than that found on Internet chat groups. -- Bill Laberis, ENT
Nowadays the Red Hat Professional Server edition will run $180 for a box set and you can subscribe for all the support you want.
Upside has changed its tune since this was written:
The arguments are both noble and na´ve. Linux has a cult-like following, matched only by that of the Macintosh OS and OS/2. It's a modern Unix! It's stable, superior, enriching! It's gonna get creamed. -- Richard Brandt, Upside.
Oracle8 for Linux went up for free download. For a long time Linux supporters had heard people say that "when Oracle is available for Linux" they'll know it's serious. It was serious.
Two years ago (October 7, 1999 LWN): Sun announced the release of the Solaris source code - under the Sun Community Source License. That source release still hasn't made much of a splash.
Microsoft came out swinging with its Linux Myths page. That particular page has disappeared, but our response is still available. Microsoft did have reasons to worry:
And so we find ourselves in the middle of a revolution. We find ourselves choosing the way our computers will behave, the way they will run. It is an easy change, and, for many, a quick change. Learning a few new ways of opening and closing programs and spending an hour studying new commands is easier than spending all weekend every six months or so trying to get a computer running again. Making choices is easier than living with regrets. This is the lesson that Bill Gates, the $100 billion founder of Microsoft, will learn over the next 12 to 24 months. He and his company have to make some choices. It's a tough time. Linux will not go away and Microsoft cannot buy it, since it is not for sale. (It never will be for sale, because it is an Open Source operating system, available to everyone without charge.) Since it can't be bought, Linux won't go away. To Bill Gates and his increasingly shrinking band of followers, Linux is like the unwanted guest. It won't leave. -- Al Fasoldt, Technofile
Meanwhile, some people figured out that ssh 1.2.12 had been published under a free software license. People grabbed hold of it, and the OpenSSH project was born. OpenSSH is now the standard version for Linux systems.
Red Hat 6.1 hit the FTP servers, though the boxed version wasn't due out until October 18. The power pack edition of Linux-Mandrake 6.1 also became available.
LinuxForKids.org was launched.
One year ago (October 5, 2000 LWN): Corel and Microsoft entered into an alliance to work together on ".NET". This was no ordinary alliance, though, since Microsoft bought almost 25% of the company in the process. This pronouncement from the Meta Group was carried on C|Net's News.com:
Corel currently plays an important role in Linux. Many other Linux companies look to it for its skills, tool sets and the work it does on key Linux committees. Therefore, Corel can be a valuable ally for Microsoft in Linux, allowing Microsoft to influence key questions, such as how the user interface, setup and deployment will look and function.
We think the folks at Meta overstated Corel's role and influence in the Linux world. In any case, Corel has since sold off its Linux division.
The current stable kernel release was 2.2.17. The 2.2.18 prepatch series was in the "bug squash" mode, and had a few small problems - for example, the PPC and Sparc architectures would not build. An official 2.2.18 release was still somewhat distant.
There were some complaints that the new Red Hat 7 took "bleeding edge" a bit too far. Particularly the compiler package, gcc-2.96 (the latest version of GNU gcc was 2.95.2) and the C library, glibc-2.1.92, though the current official release was 2.1.2.
New features like a largely-upgraded package system, kernel 2.4, enhanced USB support, and even out-of-the-box 3D support via XFree86 4.0.1 make Red Hat's latest look like a dream come true. Is it a dream come true, or Linux's worst nightmare? -- Duke of URL
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.
October 4, 2001