Here is LWN's thirteenth annual timeline of significant events in the Linux
and free software world for the year.
In what is becoming a fairly standard pattern, 2010 brought various patent
lawsuits, company acquisitions, new initiatives, and new projects. It also
brought new releases of the software that we use on a daily basis. There
were licensing squabbles and development direction
disagreements—all things that we have come to expect from the Linux
and free software world over a year's time. Also as expected, though, were
the improvements in the kernel, applications, distributions, and so on that
make up that world. Linux and free software just keep chugging along, and
we are very happy to be able to keep on reporting about it.
Like last year, we broke things up into quarters, and this is our
report on the final quarter, October-December 2010, though there may be an
addition or two for December. The previous quarters can be found as follows:
This is version 0.8 of the 2010 timeline. There are
almost certainly some
errors or omissions; if you find any, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LWN subscribers have paid for the development of this timeline, along with
previous timelines and the weekly editions. If you like what you see here,
or elsewhere on the site, please consider subscribing to LWN.
For those with a nostalgic bent, our timeline index page has links
to the previous twelve timelines and some other retrospective articles
going all the way back to 1998.
Smeegol, an openSUSE-based version of the MeeGo UI, is released. The
project soon runs afoul of MeeGo trademark issues (announcement, LWN trademark
issue coverage and Smeegol review).
When you build software in Java and the JVM, you are being locked into only
running it on a platform controlled by a single company - Oracle. Oracle is
working to maintain this platform control, by refusing to remove the field
of use clauses in the TCK, effectively preventing Apache Harmony from ever
being able to ship a real release. The lawsuit against Google also confirms
Oracle belief about using their control of the platform aggressively.
The LLVM compiler project releases version 2.8, including major
improvements to the Clang C++ support and two new projects: libc++ and LLDB
The Software Freedom Conservancy appoints Bradley M. Kuhn as its
full-time executive director (LWN blurb and interview).
Red Hat settles a patent case with the patent troll Acacia, but
shares no details of the settlement terms (InternetNews blog
The Utah Open Source Conference is held in Sandy, UT (LWN coverage:
Learning from failure, Inexpensive audio/video
recording, and Applying open
Security measures should report to the system owner -- not to the ISP
or the manufacturer. The owner of the machine should determine which
software it's appropriate for it to run. This whole idea of
collectivist "approval" of your computing environment gives me the
Microsoft VP Scott Charney suggests barring computers without a
"health certificate" from the internet as a way to fight botnets and
other internet security threats. Of course, those certificates would have
issued by Microsoft. (blog
Ubuntu 10.10 ("Maverick Meerkat") is released (announcement).
Debian welcomes non-packaging contributors as project members in a
landslide vote: 285-14 (vote
The Open Document Format Plugfest is held in Brussels, Belgium to
discuss interoperability between ODF-supporting applications (LWN coverage).
faithfully reproduce the bug that arithmetic on integers greater than 2^53
silently does something stupid, then your implementation of the language
The AsbestOS bootloader, which allows Playstation 3s to run Linux once again, is
The Free Software Foundation announces a hardware endorsement
program to distinguish hardware that "respects your freedoms" (announcement, LWN coverage).
Linux 2.6.36 is released (announcement, KernelNewbies summary).
The first ever GStreamer conference is held in Cambridge, UK (LWN coverage).
The 2010 openSUSE conference is held in Nürnberg, Germany (LWN
The state of openSUSE, The future of LibreOffice, and
Making testing easier).
There is not one out-and-out success story of a company building a great
high-quality custom user interface on the standard Linux stack, except
Android, which is hardly a model of collaborative software development.
Mark Shuttleworth announces that Unity
will be the default desktop for 11.04 ("Natty Narwhal") in preference
to the GNOME 3 Shell (ars
The Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) announced a merger with the Linux
Foundation at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe
(ELCE), which was held in Cambridge, UK. (CELF/LF merge blurb and ELCE coverage: The state of embedded Linux and
The Yocto project for easing embedded Linux development is announced
at ELCE (project home page).
A plugin for Firefox that sniffs web application credentials from
wireless networks, called Firesheep, is released (LWN article).
MeeGo 1.1 is released (announcement).
The 2010 Kernel summit is held in Cambridge, MA (extensive LWN coverage).
And please also don't top-post. Being the antisocial egomaniacs we are,
people on lkml prefer to dissect the messages we're replying to, insert
insulting comments right where they would be most effective and remove the
passages which can't yield effective insults.
-- Tejun Heo
Fedora 14 is released (announcement).
Stormy Peters announces that she is leaving her position as GNOME
foundation executive director to work at Mozilla on the open web (blog post)
Our real problem with tracing is lack of relevance, lack of utility, lack
of punch-through analytical power.
The Linux Plumbers Conference is held in Cambridge, MA (LWN
coverage: LibreOffice and code
ownership and Life after X).
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 is released (press
The Apache Software Foundation issues a warning that it will stop
participating in the Java Community Process if the TCK tests are not made
available to it; access to the TCK has been promised for some time (Apache
Operating systems written by normal people rarely end up with desirable
The first MeeGo conference is held in Dublin, Ireland (LWN coverage:
Visions of MeeGo, Beyond mobile devices, MeeGo security high-level view,
MeeGo security framework).
AMD joins the MeeGo project (press
Novell agrees to be acquired by Attachmate, while selling off 882
patents to a consortium owned by Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and EMC (LWN blurb and article).
Security through bad mouthing the messenger for raising the issue is normally reserved for government ministers, IMHO it has no place here.
-- Alan Cox
GNU's Savannah project hosting site suffers a SQL injection attack
that reveals users' encrypted passwords (LWN blurb).
CentOS struggles with its efforts to release its rebranding of RHEL 6 (LWN
Novell puts out a message to assure those worried that Attachmate will
retain the Unix copyrights even after the acquisition closes (brief message).
A generic anti-harassment policy for open source conferences is
developed in the wake of numerous sexual (and other) harassment
incidents (LWN article).
Unfortunately, my government does not agree with my definition of
winning. They think that living in fear and trying desperately to keep us
all 100% safe while flying is the most effective way to fight terrorism. It
reminds me of a boss that told me he liked it when people lived in fear of
being fired, they worked harder. I told him being fired held no fear for
me. When you live in fear, you do irrational things - like sending millions
of people's shoes through an xray scanner every day.
The Linux Foundation publishes its annual kernel development report (announcement).
The openSUSE "Tumbleweed" project to create a rolling release is
announced (announcement, LWN coverage).
A Linux client for the Ryzom MMORPG is released (LWN article).
The GRUB bootloader accepts code to support booting from ZFS and
releases the code under the GPLv3, without a copyright assignment (LWN article).
KOffice forks (or splits) and becomes the Calligra Suite (LWN article).
The Hudson continuous integration server runs into Oracle interference
when trying to change its development infrastructure in yet another
example of the software giant not quite understanding free software
communities (LWN blurb).
Also, anytime you are creating a new commit with the same changes as
another commit, you are destroying `git blame`'s ability to tell you who to
flog publicly. And as we all know, public floggings are the lifeblood of
software development teams.
Google announces the availability of Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread"),
along with a software
development kit and a new flagship phone: the Nexus S (2.3
announcement, Nexus S
announcement, code release).
Matt Asay announces his resignation as Canonical's COO in order to
join a mobile web application startup (blog
The Yocto project has a two-day summit in San Francisco involving 40
members of the embedded Linux community (LWN coverage).
An allegation is made that the US FBI paid to have a backdoor put into
OpenBSD's IPSEC implementation, though it is still unclear whether
there is any truth to it (LWN blurb, update from
Theo de Raadt).
The obvious choice would be 'yugo', to honor fine eastern European
solutions for mobility.
Ikonen suggests a name for Debian's MeeGo packages
The Apache Software Foundation resigns from the Java Community Process
executive board as it previously warned that it would over the
availability of the TCK tests (LWN blurb).
Richard Purdie is named as a Linux Foundation fellow to work on the
Yocto project and other related tools (announcement).
Several projects announce that they have become licensees of the Open
which collects patents for the defense of free software projects (LWN
blurbs: Gentoo, The Document Foundation
(LibreOffice), and KDE).
FOSS.IN announces that 2010 will be the last year it is held; it has
been the premier
free and open source conference in India over the last decade or so (LWN posting).
X11R7.6 is released (announcement).
Openwall GNU/*/Linux 3.0 is released, which marks the ten year
anniversary of the security-enhanced Linux distribution (announcement).
to post comments)