Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux History page.
Six years ago: The Debian 1.0 release never happens after InfoMagic mistakenly puts a broken, development version on its CD as "Debian 1.0". The project, instead, goes directly to a 1.1 release.
Five years ago: Debian 1.2 is released. The distribution claims 848 packages, and 120 active maintainers. Debian releases came a little quicker in those days...
Four years ago: Linus Torvalds won the 1997 Nokia Foundation Award.
Three years ago (December 17, 1998 LWN): IDC reported that Linux's market share rose 212% in 1998, giving it 17% of the server operating system market.
Work continued toward the 2.2.0 stable kernel release. Linus, meanwhile, addressed the topic of raw I/O in Linux:
Quite frankly, nobody has EVER given me a reason that makes any kind of sense at all for supporting raw devices in any other way than we already do. Nobody sane uses a disk without a filesystem, and the insane people that do I feel we can and should ignore. Insanity has a way of dying off over time, when Darvin [sic] starts to look into it.
(The 2.4 kernel, of course, includes a Linus-approved raw I/O implementation).
The Debian Project adopted its constitution, which describes how the project operates. The project was smaller then; all of 86 votes were counted in the decision on the constitution. The first project leader election began, with Joseph Carter, Ben Collins, and Wichert Akkerman running as candidates.
Red Hat, meanwhile, launched its training and certification programs.
The GNOME project aims to emulate what is best about existing interfaces. "Microsoft did some things very well, and we're trying to learn from them," [Miguel] de Icaza says. At the same time, the project seeks to avoid some of Windows' annoying design peculiarities. GNOME users, de Icaza promises flatly, will not turn off their computers by clicking a button labeled "Start."
The Linux Mall announced the availability of the first stuffed Tuxes. "A huggable pal to have around, or a great bed partner."
IBM released the first version of Wietse Venema's "Secure Mailer," otherwise known as Postfix.
Two years ago (December 16, 1999 LWN) saw, of course, the initial public offering of VA Linux Systems. The company's stock shot up to close at almost eight times its (already increased) initial value, setting a record which remains unchallenged a year later. It was the high point of the Linux stock mania. Two years later, VA's stock stands at less than 1% of its first-day peak.
Internet mania reached new levels of frenzy Thursday as investors paid huge multiples on an initial public offering, giving a market value of almost $10 billion to a tiny company with powerful competitors, little revenue and no expectation of earnings in the foreseeable future.
LWN predicted a flood of Linux-related IPOs to follow. Needless to say, things did not work out that way.
VA had indeed gone out on NASDAQ -- and I had become worth approximately forty-one million dollars while I wasn't looking. Well, that didn't last long. In the next two hours, VA dropped from $274 a share to close at $239, leaving me with a stake of only thirty-six million dollars. Which is still a preposterously large amount of money.
The Bazaar, a free software conference, was held in New York. Attendance was light, and the event has not been repeated. At the conference, Miguel de Icaza was awarded the Free Software Foundation Award for his work with GNOME.
Bastille Linux 1.0.0 was released. Debian 2.1r4 came out. MandrakeSoft proclaimed that Linux-Mandrake 6.1 was Y2K compliant. Stormix released Storm Linux 2000.
Linus released development kernel 2.3.33 with the comment: "We're obviously not going to have a 2.4 this millenium [sic], but let's get the pre-2.4 series going this year, with the real release Q1 of 2000." He was flooded by those who claim the millennium wouldn't end for another year, and responded:
The fact that our forefathers were Pascal-programmers, and started counting from one does not mean that we have to continue that mistake forever. We've since moved on to C, and the change from 1999->2000 is a lot more interesting in a base-10 system than the change from 2000->2001.
Of course, there was no no 2.4.0 by the end of the millennium even by the reckoning of Pascal programmers...
Linuxcare closed a large investment round.
But Linuxcare wants to get its business in better shape before it goes public. The company isn't profitable and won't be for the next year as Linuxcare pays for aggressive hiring and expansion, [CEO Fernand Sarrat] said in an interview. Shunning the method pioneered by Internet companies, Sarrat is focusing on building up the business before Linuxcare goes public, instead of using the proceeds of an IPO to fund that expansion.
Of course, Linuxcare filed for its IPO just one month later...
One year ago (December 14, 2000 LWN): Amid great fanfare, FreeDesktop.org released version 1 of the "extended window manager hints specification." This spec was produced as a cooperative effort between KDE and GNOME developers.
Great Bridge announced its first boxed version of the PostgreSQL database.
While Great Bridge software will be widely distributed at no cost, the company will make money by selling value-added support services such as technical support, consulting and training. Great Bridge offers a suite of technical support packages for corporate end-users. Its Premium Support package provides one year of unlimited, 24-hour e-mail and telephone support from a dedicated engineering team. The Standard Support package includes unlimited e-mail support and limited telephone support for one year.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
NuSphere also announced a set of service offerings, these oriented around MySQL.
Linus released 2.4.0-test12, which contained an amazing number of changes for a kernel that was supposed to be near a stable release.
Conectiva released its port of the Debian apt tool which uses RPM as a package manager.
Sun completed its acquisition of Cobalt Networks.
If anyone had told me back then that getting back to embarrassingly primitive Unix would be the great hope and investment obsession of the year 2000, merely because its name was changed to Linux and its source code was opened up again, I never would have had the stomach or the heart to continue in computer science.
Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet.
December 13, 2001