This is the "one big page" version of the LWN.net 2006 Linux and Free
Software timeline; there is also an individual months view
Novell posts its Xgl code
We get in the situation where lots of people are sitting there with arms
folded, complaining about lack of a new kernel release while nobody is
actually working on the bugs. Nobody knows why this happens.
, bringing this work out from behind closed
Linus releases 2.6.15, fifteen years to the day after he bought the
machine on which he first developed Linux (announcement).
The Free Software Foundation announces Gnash, intended to be a free
Flash media player. Someday. (Announcement).
Coverity receives a grant to perform audits of free software from
the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Another banner year has passed, with Linux once again proving
its superiority in the area of crappy wireless (WiFi) support.
Linux oldsters love the current state of wireless, because it hearkens
back to the heady days of Yuri Gagarin, Sputnik and Linux kernel 0.99,
when getting hardware to work under Linux required either engineering
knowledge or luck (or both).
John Linville takes over the Linux wireless stack, bringing a new
level of energy to Linux 802.11 development.
CERT releases its 2005 vulnerabilities list which purports to show
that "Unix/Linux" has three times as many vulnerabilities as Windows (list, snide LWN response).
Novell releases AppArmor under the GPL (press
Mono is added to Fedora Core thanks to a promise of protection from
the Open Invention Network.
Microsoft's FAT filesystem patents are upheld - for a while (article).
The first GPLv3 draft is released
The Linux kernel is under the GPL version 2. Not anything else. Some
individual files are licenceable under v3, but not the kernel in general.
And quite frankly, I don't see that changing.
The "Digital Content Protection Act" enters the U.S. Congress; among
other things, it would have enshrined "customary historic use" of media,
giving a veto power over any new technologies (article).
The ghost of software patents begins to stir in Europe, though, by
the end of the year, it remains just a ghost.
Andrew "Tridge" Tridgell wins the 2005 Free Software Award (announcement).
The Rockbox iPod port produces audio (announcement).
OSDL accepts a set of proposals from the kernel development
community on how it can better serve that community (proposals).
SeaMonkey 1.0 is released, keeping the old Mozilla suite alive (info
The ReactOS project suspends development for a code audit among
fears of contamination from proprietary code (announcement).
Kernel Traffic author Zack Brown calls it quits
But some people will still say "But couldn't you have discussed it with
the community before doing it?" No, we couldn't. If we had, it would
either not have happened, or it would have sucked. It's inevitable. It's
not a problem with the GNOME community, it's a problem with communities
in general. The wisdom of crowds only works in situations where there
are clear right and wrong answers.
after seven years of
Richard Stallman refuses to endorse the Creative Commons, claiming
that some CC licenses work against freedom (interview).
Debian founder Ian Murdock becomes CTO of the Free Standards Group
An alpha Second Life client for Linux becomes available;
unfortunately it is not free software.
Oracle acquires Sleepycat Software, gaining control over the Berkeley
DB database (press
In the world we're living in right now, no one can make small, cheap
consumer electronics without our software. Our pre-market clout, our use
as a raw material of manufacturing, is now large enough to bring an
industry coalition into being.
The KDE Project elects its first technical working group (announcement).
Levanta and OSDL produce an "analyst" report on total cost of
ownership; surprisingly, Linux comes out on top (article).
The Linux Professional Institute certifies its 30,000th Linux
The Mare.D Linux-based worm makes the rounds but doesn't get very
Couldn't Novell have spent their money on
making SELinux easier to use? No, Novell chooses to split the user and
developer community. I am not sure what their goals are, but I feel this
hurts Linux and the open source movement.
-- Dan Walsh doesn't like AppArmor
Openwall GNU/*/Linux 2.0 is released (announcement).
Red Hat releases AIGLX, a competing GL-accelerated extension to the
X Window System (home).
Harald Welte complains that he can't keep up with GPL violations,
there are simply too many of them (complaint).
OSDL names kernel developer James Bottomley to its board, fulfilling
one of the promises made in January (press release).
Gentoo Linux 2006.0 is released.
The first dvdrtools release is made; it is a 100% free fork of
gcc 4.1 is released (changelog).
Coverity releases its first results
The fear is that a round of buyouts could undermine the ethos of open
source. Many coders volunteer their time, spending nights and weekends
testing bugs and writing patches because they see themselves as part of an
important, grassroots movement. Will that motivation remain if they're just
helping to fill the coffers of Oracle or other tech giants?
from its open source project
The proposed acquisition of SourceFire comes under governmental
scrutiny in the U.S. as a result of security concerns.
The Ubuntu "Dapper Drake" release is delayed six weeks to better
help make a distribution which can be supported for five years (rationale).
Wikipedia hits 1,000,000 articles (press release).
Mandriva reports a €590,000 quarterly loss and lays off staff -
including founder Gaël Duval (quarterly
Debian stable release manager Martin Schulze quits
Oh, and women don't fall for the "I hack kernel stuff" line. I was lied to.
in frustration over his
dealings with the rest of the project (goodbye letter
The VMI virtualization interface is proposed as a way to support
multiple virtualization technologies under Linux (proposal).
The first Xara Xtreme source code release happens (Article).
The OpenBSD project starts a fund-raising drive, noting that OpenSSH
development could be threatened (release).
Red Hat reports on one year of RHEL 4 security responses, something
few distributors do (report).
The 2.6.16 kernel is released (announcement).
Open source has an unprofessional appearance, and the community
needs to be more business savvy in order to start to make inroads
in areas traditionally dominated by commercial software vendors.
The OSDL technical advisory board is launched (announcement).
Fedora Core 5 is release (announcement).
Mandriva One is released (press release).
Gaël Duval launches the Ulteo project and announces his intent
to sue Mandriva (weblog
The Mozilla Foundation announces plans to donate funds to the
community (ZDNet article).
Daniel Wallace loses his suit against the FSF; he claimed that it
was anti-competitive (press
OSDL launches a "fellowship fund" to support open source developers
Eric Raymond takes Fedora to task
In return for all
the free development work they get, it does seem to me that it's part
of Red Hat's job to shoulder risks like these -- and that Red Hat
hasn't held up its end.
AVI. Quicktime. ASF. MPEG. DVD playback. Flash. Java. These are
*not optional* in 2006, any more than the ability to read Microsoft
Word files in a word processor is optional...
for not supporting DVDs and
proprietary codecs (rant
OpenWRT revokes Sveasoft's license, alleging GPL violations (article).
Red Hat announces that there will be no Fedora Foundation after all,
citing the company's need to keep control over the project (announcement).
The SCO Group fails to obtain the Unix Systems Laboratories
It's so hard to write a graphics driver that open-sourcing it would not
-- Andrew Fear,
Nvidia software product manager
The Software Freedom Conservancy is launched (press
The Linux Professional Institute adds Ubuntu certification (announcement).
Kaspersky Labs announces a cross-platform virus alleged to infect
both Windows and Linux systems (announcement).
The world fails to end.
Kubuntu.de goes on protest
Noting that at the outset of this case or prior to its filing, it
was expressed to the media and others that SCO possessed evidence
regarding the misappropriation of source code. At this point, don't
you have enough evidence to go forward in that regard or, to be
candid about it, does it constitute fishing at this point?
demanding more resources from Canonical
The wireless networking summit is held in Portland (report).
Anthony Towns is elected Debian Project Leader (results).
Python 3000 development begins (announcement).
Red Hat acquires JBoss for $350 million (press
I have come to a conclusion that every new release of software is
distinctly worse than the other. Why? It's because the fat lady can't
sing. There's a natural tendency to add stuff. Suddenly
it [becomes] like a very fat person-uses most of their energy to move the
fat. We've gotten to the point where we have to completely rethink.
Debian adds support for the AMD64 architecture for the upcoming
"etch" release (announcement).
The free JMRI project is sued for patent infringement (article).
The Freespire distribution launches, being a no-cost version of
Scott McNealy steps down as Sun's CEO, making the way for Jonathan
The Linux Power Management Summit happens
I don't think we can "relax" our firewall
implementation and retain trust.
OpenBSD 3.9 is released (announcement).
PC-BSD 1.0 is released (announcement).
Coverity finds a major X.org security hole (press release).
I believe the 2.6 kernel is slowly getting buggier. It seems we're adding
bugs at a higher rate than we're fixing them.
-- Andrew Morton
The US Federal Aviation Administration saves $15 million by
switching to Linux (press
Devicescape releases its 802.11 stack under the GPL (press
The OpenDocument format becomes an ISO standard (press
SUSE Linux 10.1 is released (announcement).
You can fight back against this trend by only using software that respects
your boundaries. Boycott companies that don't honestly serve their
customers, that don't disclose their alliances, that treat users like
marketing assets. Use open-source software -- software created and owned by
users, with no hidden agendas, no secret alliances and no back-room
-- Bruce Schneier
SGI files for bankruptcy protection.
Novell announces its "device driver process," essentially a
backporting service for vendors (press
Sun changes the licensing for Java making it a little more
distributable but not free (yet) (press
Kororaa Linux suspends work to review GPL violation allegations
related to the packaging of binary-only drivers (announcement).
XM Radio is sued by the record labels for allowing users to record
transmissions (EFF dispatch).
Debian developers begin to wonder how Java was accepted despite
issues with the new license (article).
Greg KH releases the first Linux Driver Development Kit
In fact, I was so unhappy about being forced by the
RTSJ specification to do this insane thing that I wanted to make sure
that if it were ever used, it would set a TAINT flag to warn people
that just about anything unsane could have happened, and the system's
stability was at the mercy of the competence of Java application
so we can
have one just like Windows does (kit
X11R7.1 is released; this is the first modular X release (announcement).
Intel donates a Swing/AWT implementation to the Harmony project (announcement).
The Open Invention Network acquires three new patents to be used in
the defense of free software (Groklaw).
The European Commission says explicitly that software cannot be
patented (FFII dispatch).
The FSF launches DefectiveByDesign.org to fight DRM (announcement).
Ubuntu is gaining a ton of momentum.
It is arguably one of the most
important--if not the most important--Linux distro out there.
-- Sun CEO Jonathan
Ubuntu announces a SPARC "Niagara" version of its upcoming 6.06 LTS
Parts of the Forgent JPEG patent are thrown out in court (press release).
The first FreedomHEC conference happens in Seattle, next to the
WinHEC event (web site).
Ubuntu 6.06 LTS is released
I'd be wary of pursuing just the "women in GNOME" issue, because many of
the same things put off far more than just women. Running around
shouting "pants off" is not, for example, very compatible with the
Japanese cultural expectations.
with a promise of support for five years
Red Hat launches Mugshot (site).
Google Earth for Linux is released under a free-beer license (article).
Libranet Linux shuts down, several months after the death of its
Ethereal becomes Wireshark after its lead developer changes jobs (announcement).
These movements are at their most efficient while building hidden
information plumbing layers, such as Web servers. They are hopeless when it
comes to producing fine user interfaces or user experiences. If the code
that ran the Wikipedia user interface were as open as the contents of the
entries, it would churn itself into impenetrable muck almost immediately.
The first working OLPC model is demonstrated.
The 2.6.17 kernel is released (announcement).
The Linux filesystems workshop is held (report).
The Taiwanese government mandates Linux compatibility for desktop
Novell names Ron Hovsepian its new CEO, replacing Jack Messman (press
Most of the SCO Groups claims against IBM are thrown out by the
FireStar sues Red Hat for patent infringement
Digging in your eye-sockets with a fondue fork is
strictly considered to be bad for your health, and seven out of nine
optometrists are dead set against the practice.
So in order to avoid a lot of blind git users, please apply this patch.
in code acquired with
Microsoft announces initial OpenDocument support in the form of a
translator project (press
The Software Freedom Law Center pronounces OpenDocument safe for use in
free software (press
release). But they didn't actually look for patent problems.
GnuCash 2.0.0 is released ending a long wait (announcement, review).
I've had the misfortune of talking to a lot of different IP lawyers over
the years about this topic, and every one that I've talked to all agree
that there is no way that anyone can create a Linux kernel module, today,
that can be closed source. It just violates the GPL due to fun things like
derivative works and linking and other stuff.
Kroah-Hartman, OLS keynote
Trolltech becomes a public company (press
The 2006 Linux Kernel Summit is held in Ottawa (report).
SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 is released (press release).
Fedora Legacy ends support for Fedora Core 1 and 2, almost nobody
notices the difference (announcement).
India declines to participate in the One Laptop Per Child project.
The GPL license and the Free Software Foundation make sense to me if I
assume that the purpose of the GPL license is to force the redistribution
of all source code and to prevent commerce that does not include the
unencumbered redistribution of all source code. The FSF recommends that you
assign your copyrights to them, so they can insure your software "freedom."
If the FSF succeeds, all source code will be GPL licensed and controlled by
the Free Software Foundation; and all Laws regarding software patents and
copyrights will be rendered ineffective.
The MEPIS distribution releases full source to address GPL
compliance concerns (press
The second GPLv3 draft is posted (draft). The first LGPLv3 draft is also
Pervasive software bails out of the PostgreSQL business, stating
that it cannot compete with the available community support (open letter).
AMD and ATI announce their intention to merge.
Marcelo Tosatti retires from 2.4 maintenance having managed releases
2.4.16 through 2.4.33 (announcement).
The Extremadura (Spain) government decides to move to Linux (announcement).
fwiw, I recently took a position with Google.
Morton releases 2.6.18-rc3-mm1
The 64 Studio distribution launches (announcement).
Software in the Public Interest elects a new board (announcement).
SCO stock falls to $2.28/share - below its pre-lawsuit value.
We now think the benefits of accelerating innovation, opening new markets
and opportunities, and fostering creativity that the open source model
brings now outweigh the risks to compatibility. These risks are real, but
at Sun, we believe that the wisdom of the community has evolved to where
the market and developer community itself will act to demand compatibility
as a bedrock feature of any implementations based on Java technology.
-- Sun Microsystems
thinks we have grown up
Sun announces plans to open-source Java at last.
EnterpriseDB gets $20 million in venture capital for its
PostgreSQL-related business (press
Freespire 1.0 is released (press
Distributors start to move away from cdrtools in response to a
licensing mess there (article).
Novell's "community" distribution is renamed openSUSE (press release).
Fedora engages in a licensing audit to get all non-free code out of
RealPlayer and MySQL obtain Linux Standard Base certification; they
are the first applications to do so (press release).
Fast forward a year plus, and here we are. We're in a position where we
have, essentially, forked RPM -- and no one is willing to admit it. No
one is willing to take ownership of what we've done.
An ill-advised X.org patch breaks Ubuntu 6.06, not quite the
long-term support users had in mind (Shuttleworth
NetBSD founder Charles Hannum questions the future of the project
Gentoo Linux 2006.1 is released (announcement).
The gNewSense distribution launches as a version of Ubuntu with
binary blobs removed (press
Linus Torvalds never supported the Free Software movement. He sort of
accidentally drifted into making a contribution to the Free Software
community, but not because he ever supported our goals. And so he has
actually said that he is against our aims of defending freedom for all
users. What can you do?
Debian's Alioth server is compromised (announcement).
SanDisk MP3 players are seized at a trade show in Berlin as the
result of a dispute over software patent royalties (BBC).
A proposed update to the Creative Commons licenses runs into trouble
resulting from its anti-DRM provisions (article).
The "Citizendium" launches as a fork of Wikipedia; progress since
then is slow.
The 2.6.18 kernel is released (announcement).
Finally, we recognise that defining what constitutes DRM abuse is
essentially political in nature and as such, while we may argue forcefully
for our political opinions, we may not suborn or coerce others to go along
with them. Therefore, attempting to write these type of restrictions into
GPLv3 and then relicense all FSF code under it is tantamount to co-opting
the work of all prior contributions into the service of the FSF's political
A poll of kernel developers reveals almost universal opposition to
The Debian "Dunc-Tank" launches as an effort to raise money to pay
Debian developers (announcement).
Freenode founder Rob Levin dies in a bicycling accident (notice).
The Linux-ready firmware developer kit launches; the work is
sponsored by Intel (announcement).
Mozilla Corp. tells Debian to stop using the Firefox trademark;
Debian responds by switching to Iceweasel (article).
Mandriva Linux 2007 is released (announcement).
A court in Germany upholds the GPL against D-Link
Ultimately, we need to recognize that Linux is a 15-year-old kernel and
that there will be another technical development to supersede it
eventually. I can't say what that will be, but I think the best chance of
mobilizing individual contribution to it would be to use GPL 3.
-- Bruce Perens
Eric Raymond joins the Freespire "Leadership Board," having found a
distribution more to his liking (announcement).
The first draft of version 2 of the GNU Free Documentation License is
BusyBox maintainer Rob Landley quits as the result of a GPLv3
dispute in which Bruce Perens stated his intent to fork the project (article).
Slackware 11.0 is released
Every time a Red Hat executive asks "how many Fedora users
are out there?" and we answer "oh, somewhere between 100k and a few
million," we make it *that* much more difficult to defend Fedora from bad
Red Hat decisions.
Portland 1.0, a set of common interfaces for GNOME and KDE, is
BayStar reveals that Microsoft was behind the funding of the SCO
Group in 2003 (Groklaw).
The Kororaa distribution stops shipping proprietary kernel modules
after being accused of violating the GPL (announcement).
You would sacrifice freedom hoping to gain it back at a later date.
Has that retarded American ethos really now penetrated all the way
into the core of the Linux community? The last thing we expected was
a bunch of woosy traitors in our midst!
-- Theo de
OpenBSD leader Theo de Raadt attacks the One Laptop Per Child
project for developing device drivers under non-disclosure agreements
Hans Reiser is arrested on suspicion of murder (SFGate).
The Debian Project votes to release Etch on time despite lingering
firmware issues (results).
The project also declines to recall its leader.
Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth becomes the first patron of KDE (announcement).
The Linux Standard Base developer network launches (announcement).
Fundamentally, though, this is still free software in a proprietary
wrapper. The pricing may be different, but it's still old-school
thinking. I don't think anybody who will consider jumping to Ubuntu from
Red Hat will pause very long on the Oracle option.
Oracle launches a support service for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (press
Fedora Core 6 is released (announcement).
Firefox 2.0 is released (press
The SCO v. IBM trial is pushed back to September 2007 but we can
look forward to dispositive motions in March (Groklaw).
IBM launches a patent suit against Amazon (Reuters).
The first Emacs 22 pretest release happens (announcement).
Ubuntu 6.10 ("Edgy Eft") is released (announcement).
Novell and Microsoft announce their deal
Why would a company that depends on goodwill from a distributed development
community spend so much time bragging on how they have managed to
transgress the community's cooperation norms, and the spirit of the key
legal charter that reflects those norms, without violating the letter of
that charter? Most people who find loopholes just exploit them quietly
without putting up the "Open Letter: Neener, Neener, We Found a Loophole"
and "FAQ on the Loophole we Found (Neener, Neener)" web pages.
-- Don Marti
involving patent payments
in both directions (press
Josh Triplett becomes the maintainer for sparse, the static analysis
tool written by Linus Torvalds (article).
gNewSense 1.0 is released with an endorsement from the Free Software
Foundation (press release).
Adobe donates its ActionScript Virtual Machine code to Mozilla as
free software (press
Forgent stops asserting its JPEG patent claims (Groklaw).
Google pledges to donate $20,000 to the Samba project - every year
In a sense you could say anybody who has got Linux in their data center
today sort of has an undisclosed balance sheet liability, because it's not
just Microsoft patents. Because of the way open-source works, there's
nobody who's been able to do patent coverage or patent indemnification
The OpenMoko phone is announced; it is Linux-powered and runs nearly
all free software (press
Sun announces plans to release Java under the GPL, finally (press
Open Firmware is released under the BSD license (article).
The OpenBSD Atheros driver gets a clean bill of health from the
Software Freedom Law Center (announcement).
The Fedora Project holds a summit, deciding to merge Core and
Extras and extend the support period, among other things (wiki).
The first OLPC beta-1 systems arrive (photos).
Ubuntu announces plans to install proprietary drivers by default in
the upcoming Feisty Fawn distribution (report).
The Freedom Task Force launches as a way to encourage GPL compliance
in Europe (press release).
It's one of those rare "perfect" kernels. So if it doesn't
happen to compile with your config (or it does compile, but then does
unspeakable acts of perversion with your pet dachshund), you can rest easy
knowing that it's all your own d*mn fault, and you should just fix your
Red Hat announces plans to move to the New York Stock Exchange (press
The 2.6.19 kernel is released (announcement).
The Free Ryzom Campaign launches in an attempt to buy a free
multiplayer online game for the community (announcement).
Mozilla agrees to work more closely with Linux distributors
The Free Ryzom campaign represents a unique opportunity for the free
software movement and the emerging free gaming field. A fully free
MMORPG (massively multiplayer online roleplaying game) engine and
client/server architecture would allow the development of a myriad of
universes, each one evolving its own philosophy and unique content - but
sharing in general technical improvements.
-- the Free
Software Foundation kicks in $60,000
Firefox releases (article
The third Desktop Architects' Meeting happens in Portland (article).
Judge Kimball reaffirms the ruling throwing out most of SCO's claims
for lack of evidence (Groklaw).
OSDL lays off much of its staff; the remainder is to focus on legal
Novell states its intention to implement OpenXML support for
OpenSUSE 10.2 is released (announcement).
If people take our code, they'd better behave according to our rules. But
we shouldn't have to behave according to the RIAA rules just because we
_listen_ to their music. Similarly, nobody should be forced to behave
according to our rules just because they _use_ our system.
The kernel developers seriously consider banning proprietary modules
but back off in the end.
The FSF launches BadVista.org to highlight its complaints with
Microsoft's new operating system (press release).
The Software Freedom Law Center argues against software patents in
the U.S. Supreme Court (press
Red Hat announces an initiative to support RPM and retake control of
this important tool (announcement).
...because it's always a good idea to cut a release *before* you go out
to party and get drunk.
-- Linus Torvalds
finishes the year
Guido van Rossum worries about the Python 3000 process which appears
to have departed from the course he had in mind (message).
The Free Ryzom Campaign fails in its attempt to purchase the Ryzom
to post comments)