Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux History page.
Six years ago Red Hat Linux 2.1 was released.
Three years ago (November 19, 1998 LWN): Trolltech announced that the Qt library would be released under an open source license. That license, the QPL, was truly open source, but remained controversial anyway. The Qt licensing issue didn't really die down until the library was relicensed under the GPL in 2000.
Bruce Perens warned about the danger of trojan horse software. Three years later, there have been very few trojan incidents, but the danger is probably more real than ever.
Stable kernel 2.0.36 was released with the first known application of "holy penguin pee." According to Linus:
This, btw, is not something I would suggest you do in your living room. Getting a penguin to pee on demand is _messy_. We're talking yellow spots on the walls, on the ceiling, yea verily even behind the fridge. However. I would also advice against doing this outside - it may be a lot easier to clean up, but you're likely to get reported and arrested for public lewdness. Never mind that you had a perfectly good explanation for it all.
Digital Creations released the source for their Principia product. Principia, of course, became Zope, arguably the first big Python "killer app".
The Linux Journal Editor's Choice Awards went out...the product of the year was Netscape Communicator, the "most desired port" Quark Xpress, and the best new hardware was the Corel Netwinder. Some awards just don't stand the test of time...
Slackware 3.6 was released. Both Red Hat and SuSE announced support programs for their distributions. Red Hat hired Matthew Szulik to be the company president.
VA Research (now VA Linux Systems) received a venture investment from Sequoia Capital, and Netscape purchased "NewHoo," which has since become the Open Directory Project.
FUD of the week:
Linux may be a great way for computer-literate individuals to get under the hoods of their computers for little cost, but it's nothing more than a convenient form of protest and public relations for the major software vendors that plan to support it. If nothing else, the Linux community has an influence beyond its numbers, and getting on its good side might help sales elsewhere. As long as Linux remains a religion of freeware fanatics, Microsoft (and other NOS vendors) have nothing to worry about.
Two years ago (November 18, 1999 LWN): The first Linux Business Expo happened as part of Comdex in Las Vegas. The Linux Professional Institute completed its first certification exam, finally.
SuSE 6.3 was announced - though it was not due to hit the net until December. Mozilla M11 was released.
Rumors were circulating of a new company to be formed by GNOME hackers Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman. Red Hat's purchase of Cygnus Solutions was confirmed. VA Linux Systems decreed that its IPO would happen at $11-13 per share - rather short of the $30 that it eventually went out at (but far higher than today's price).
Scary thought of the week:
I don't think people realize just how close we came to a Microsoft-dominated Web. If Microsoft, having trounced Netscape, hadn't been surprised by the unexpected strength of Apache, Perl, FreeBSD and Linux, I can easily imagine a squeeze play on Web protocols and standards, which would have allowed Microsoft to dictate terms to the Web developers who are currently inventing the next generation of computer applications.
Advogato hit the net.
Digital Creations (now Zope Corporation) hinted at how successful free software companies might look and operate in the near future. They secured a $12 million funding round at a time when venture capital was scarce.
MandrakeSoft hired Bastille Linux security guru Jay Beale as Security Group Director. A position he has retained.
IBM released the source for OpenAFS (a version of the Andrew File System) under its "IPL" license. IBM also released the first "reference implementation" of its Enterprise Volume Management System (under the terms of the GPL).
Netscape 6 launched.
A scan through open source chat rooms such as Slashdot.org reveals that most users who tested the software say it is still full of kinks and bugs and are already looking forward to the release of Netscape 6.1.
"... barriers to the adoption of open source software persist", wrote Michelle Head at LinuxNews.com.
The health care industry would seem to present the perfect challenge for open source design: one would think that an organization requiring a stable, secure operating system able to manage a number of different types of data with complete integration and the kind of ease-of-use most physicians need would have open source written all over it. But the health care industry's information technology status remains largely in the Dark Ages--even as healthcare's growing complexity cries out for cutting-edge technology solutions.
One year later one burning topic at the recent National Summit on Future of eHealth Application Development was:
What is the role for standards, open source software, or public domain approaches to eHealth development? What changes (e.g., structural changes, incentives, funding) are needed to jumpstart and sustain such approaches?
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.
November 15, 2001