Here is LWN's fourteenth annual timeline of significant events in the Linux
and free software world for the year.
In many ways, 2011 is just like all the previous years we have
covered—only the details have changed. Releases of new software and
distributions continues at its normal ferocious rate, and Linux adoption
(though perhaps not on the desktop) continues unabated. That said, the
usual threats to our communities keep rearing their heads; in particular,
the patent attacks against free software continue to increase. But,
overall, it was a great year for Linux and free software, just as we expect
(and beyond) to be.
We will be breaking the timeline up into quarters, and this is our report
on January-March 2011. Over the next month, we will be putting out
timelines of the other three quarters of the year.
This is version 0.8 of the 2011 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 13 timelines and some other retrospective articles
going all the way back to 1998.
Linux 2.6.37 is released (announcement, KernelNewbies summary, Who wrote 2.6.37).
It is no longer vital to work to keep Emacs small. Eight Megabytes Ain't
Constantly Swapping any more.
-- Richard Stallman
No more H.264 video codec support for the Chrome/Chromium browser as
Google focuses on WebM support (announcement,
The Hudson continuous integration server project forks due to
fallout from Oracle's acquisition of Sun. The new project is called
Free software's awfully like sausages - wonderfully tasty, but sometimes
you suddenly discover that you've been eating sheep nostrils for the past
15 years of your life.
-- Matthew Garrett
LibreOffice makes its first stable release, 3.3 (announcement,
OpenOffice.org also makes a 3.3 release (new features,
The FFmpeg project has a leadership coup, though it eventually
resolves into a fork in March, which results in the Libav project (LWN blurb).
Amarok 2.4 is released (announcement).
Nice to see it gone - it seemed such a good idea in Linux 1.3
-- Alan Cox won't miss the
Mark Shuttleworth announces plans to include Qt and Qt-based
applications on the default Ubuntu install (blog post).
Xfce 4.8 is released (announcement,
linux.conf.au is held in Brisbane, Australia despite the efforts of
Mother Nature to inundate it. Organizers were quick to move to a new venue after catastrophic
the conference came off without a hitch. (LWN coverage: Re-engineering the internet, IP
address exhaustion, Server power management,
The controversial Mark Pesce keynote, 30 years of sendmail, Rationalizing the wacom driver,
and a Wrap-up).
KDE Software Compilation 4.6 is released (announcement).
Bufferbloat.net launches as a site to work on solving networking performance
problems caused by bufferbloat. (LWN blurb, web site).
The last IPv4 address blocks are allocated by the Internet Assigned
Numbers Authority (IANA) to the Asia-Pacific Network Information Center
(APNIC), which would (seemingly) make the IPv6 transition even more urgent (announcement).
If you're wondering why people don't follow your instructions to help you
with your project, go hit your local library and check out a cookbook. Bake
something you've never baked before. Then, while eating it, open your
documentation again and take a look at it with this in mind.
FOSDEM is held February 5-6 in Brussels, Belgium (LWN coverage: Freedom Box, Distribution collaboration, and Configuration management).
Eben Moglen announces the FreedomBox Foundation as part of his
FOSDEM talk. A fundraising campaign on Kickstarter garners well over the
$60,000 goal. (LWN article).
Debian 6.0 ("Squeeze") is released (announcement, LWN pre-review).
The Ada Initiative launches to promote women in open technology and
culture (announcement, LWN coverage).
Nokia, our platform is burning.
-- Nokia CEO Stephen
Elop foreshadows the switch to Windows
Nokia drops MeeGo in favor of Windows Phone 7 (LWN blurb, Reuters
GNU Guile 2.0.0 released. Guile is an implementation of the
Lisp-like Scheme language (announcement).
The MPEG Licensing Authority (MPEG-LA) calls for patents essential to
VP8, as it is looking to form a patent pool to potentially shake down
implementers of the video codec used by WebM (announcement).
A Linux-based supercomputer is a contestant on Jeopardy. IBM's
"Watson" trounces two former champions (New
York Times article).
Realize that 50% of today's professional programmers have never written a
line of code that had to be compiled.
-- Casey Schaufler
Python 3.2 released (announcement).
FreeBSD 8.2 released (announcement,
Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) 9x is held in Los Angeles,
February 25-27 (LWN coverage: Unity, Hackerspaces, Distribution unfriendly projects, and Phoronix launches OpenBenchmarking).
Canonical unilaterally switches the Banshee default music store to
Ubuntu One (original
Mark Shuttleworth's view)
Red Hat stops shipping broken-out kernel patches for RHEL 6 which
causes an uproar in the community and charges of GPL violations. It
actually happened earlier, but came to light in February. (LWN coverage: Enterprise distributions and free software and
Red Hat and the GPL; Red Hat statement).
The vendor-sec mailing list and its host are compromised (announcement, LWN coverage).
Golden rule #12: When the comments do not match the code, they probably are
-- Steven Rostedt
Scientific Linux 6.0 is released. (announcement).
The Yocto project and OpenEmbedded "align" both in terms of
governance and technology, which should result in less fragmentation in the
building of embedded Linux systems (announcement).
Linux 2.6.38 is released (announcement, KernelNewbies summary, and
Who wrote 2.6.38).
openSUSE 11.4 is released (announcement,
Linus Torvalds starts loudly complaining about the ARM kernel tree,
which leads to a large effort to
clean it all up (linux-kernel post, LWN article).
If it's some desperate cry for attention by somebody, I just wish those
people would release their own sex tapes or something, rather than drag the
Linux kernel into their sordid world.
Torvalds is unimpressed by the Bionic GPL violation claims
Fraudulent SSL certificates issued by UserTrust (part of Comodo) are
found in the wild (LWN blurb, article and follow-up).
Android's Bionic C library comes under fire for alleged GPL
violations, though it appears to be a concerted fear, uncertainty, and
doubt (FUD) campaign (LWN article).
Microsoft sues Barnes & Noble over alleged patent infringement in
the Android-based Nook ebook
reader (LWN blurb and article).
The worst part about Comodo's letter to the public was how they claimed
that they never thought a nation state would attack them. If that's not
part of your threat model, what business do you have being part of Internet
Firefox 4 is released, marking the beginning of Mozilla's new
quarterly release schedule (announcement).
Google chooses not to release its tablet-oriented Android 3.0
code, because it isn't ready for both tablets and handsets (LWN article).
The Monotone distributed version control system releases its 1.0
GCC 4.6.0 is released (LWN blurb, release notes).
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