Here is LWN's fifteenth annual timeline of significant events in the
Linux and free software world.
2012 has largely been business as usual. Software and distributions
continue to be released at an astonishing rate; some distributions have
risen in popularity as others fall. Linux continues to appear in more and
more places, from embedded to high-performance computing. And, though Linux
still has not conquered the desktop, it (in the form of Android) seems to
have conquered the phone market and to be well established on tablets. The
usual threats to free software continue to lurk: patents and technological
measures such as UEFI secure boot. Nevertheless, it has been another good
year for Linux, and the prospects for the coming year(s) seem bright.
We will be breaking the timeline up into quarters, and this is our
report on January-March 2012. 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 2012 timeline. There are almost certainly
some errors or omissions; if you find any, please send them to email@example.com.
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.
If you'd like to look further back in time, our timeline index page has links
to the previous timelines and some other retrospective articles
going all the way back to 1998.
Weighing all that up, I don't think it is useful to set
our goal on "getting Android to use a mainline kernel" - that isn't going
to happen. Rather we should focus primarily on "making it *possible* to run
android user-space on mainline".
-- Neil Brown
Linux 3.2 is released (announcement, KernelNewbies summary, LWN merge
window summaries: part 1 and part 2).
The Apache Software Foundation releases Hadoop 1.0 (announcement,
Microsoft confirms earlier fears about UEFI secure boot by requiring
vendors to lock down ARM devices (LWN blurb).
Scribus 1.4 is released (announcement, LWN
So, I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again:
Yes, you are special and unique, just like everyone else.
The next person who says the "embedded is different" phrase again, owes me
a beer of my choice.
-- Greg Kroah-Hartman
After nearly two years' work, the Mozilla Project releases the
Mozilla Public License 2.0 (announcement,
The Tizen project releases a set of source repositories and an alpha
SDK (LWN article).
systemd v38 is released; this is the first release containing "the
NSA releases security-enhanced Android (LWN blurb).
linux.conf.au is held in Ballarat, Australia, January 16-21 (LWN
coverage: A Samba 4 update; Addressing the failure of open source; The past, present, and future of Ubuntu on
ARM; Jacob Appelbaum on surveillance and
censorship; An LCA 2012 summary; videos).
Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) 10x is held in Los
Angeles, January 20-22 (LWN coverage: Robots rampage; The trickiness of the education market; The road ahead for automotive Linux and open
One always got the feeling that somebody was steering
GNOME, but it wasn't clear who. When it started, I thought it was Miguel
and Nat, then Novell, then Redhat. Now it has that floaty, determined
meandering that the best mass open source projects have. From a distance,
everyone seems to be constantly bickering and regretting the next steps;
but the steps get made, and slowly everyone adapts to them. GNOME feels
like a nation now.
FreeBSD 9.0 is released (announcement,
An X.Org Server flaw that allows screen-lock programs to be
bypassed is disclosed; the bug is quickly fixed (LWN coverage).
GDB 7.4 is released (release announcement).
The KDE project releases KDE Plasma Workspaces, KDE Applications,
and KDE Platform 4.8 (LWN blurb,
HP announces a roadmap to make webOS open source by September
(LWN blurb, announcement).
Cinnamon 1.2 is released; this is the first stable release
of Linux Mint's fork of the GNOME Shell (LWN article).
I really urge people to think about openness and freedom,
two amazingly important concepts, beyond the boundaries of simple software
licensing. Licensing is important, and we take it pretty damn seriously
.. but we ought to look at bigger picture and really think about how to
make our digital tools open and free in all sorts of ways.
Greg Kroah-Hartman moves to the Linux Foundation (LWN blurb).
ownCloud 3 is released; LWN looked
at this personal cloud system in January.
Linaro Connect Q1.12 is held in Redwood City, California,
February 6-10 (LWN coverage of the
FOSDEM '12 is held in Brussels, Belgium, February 4-5 (LWN
coverage: Multiarch on Debian and Ubuntu; The Wayland display server).
The Document Foundation announces that it will be based in
Canonical ceases sponsoring one of their employees to work full-time
on the Kubuntu project (announcement).
The book Open Advice is published under a CC-BY-SA
license; the book consists of a set of essays with advice on
contributing to FOSS projects
SUSE, the oldest of the current commercial Linux distributions,
turns 20 this year (IT
World article, TechWeek
Robyn Bergeron becomes the new leader of the Fedora Project,
succeeding Jared Smith (LWN interview with
LibreOffice 3.5 makes its third stable release, with the project
starting to settle into a 6-month release cycle (announcement; LWN article).
Wayland protocol and Weston compositor 0.85.0 are released (announcement, LWN article; The
The Android Builders Summit is held in Redwood Shores,
California, February 13-14 (LWN coverage: Android and the kernel mainline).
Fellow Anti-mergers, I understand the pain and anguish
that systemd has caused you personally, and your families. Your hopes and
dreams crushed, by someone with all the charm of a cheese grater across the
knuckles. Your remaining life tainted by this putrescent subhuman who
forced himself upon your internet.
Despite the privation we have all endured, please find strength to stop
this nightmarish ravaging of our once-pure filesystems. For if he's not
stopped now, what hope for /usr/sbin vs /usr/bin?
-- Rusty Russell
Canonical announces Ubuntu for Android (LWN article).
VLC 2.0 is released (LWN blurb).
Adobe ends separate distribution of its proprietary Linux Flash
plugin used by the Firefox browser (LWN blurb and later article on Flash support on Linux).
Mozilla announces a deal to
start shipping HTML5-driven smartphones by the end of 2012 (announcement,
The proposed /usr unification causes gnashing of teeth in some
quarters (LWN article).
MINIX 3.2.0 is released (LWN article).
Buying DRMed books is voting with your wallet for a
system that criminalizes those that insist on living in freedom and will
screw us all in the long run when DRM is the only choice we are offered and
removing the DRM is difficult, unsafe, and illegal.
-- Benjamin Mako Hill
PHP 5.4.0 is released (LWN blurb;
The GitHub repository site is compromised (LWN blurb).
Wine 1.4 is released
Vagrant 1.0 is released (LWN article).
X.Org Server 1.12 is released (LWN article on the XInput multitouch extension in
The Open Invention Network announces an expansion of the range of
software that is covered by the group's patent license agreement. (LWN
Google releases the LinSched scheduler-testing framework (release announcement, LWN article).
Programming is not just an act of telling a computer what
to do: it is also an act of telling other programmers what you wished the
computer to do. Both are important, and the latter deserves care.
-- Andrew Morton
bzr 2.5.0 is released (announcement).
Gnuplot 4.6 is released (announcement).
Cinnamon 1.4 is released (LWN blurb).
Crossroads I/O 1.0.0 is released (LWN article on this ZeroMQ fork).
The Mozilla project decides to support the H.264 video codec
(LWN blurb and article).
Patch verification occurs in an artificial bubble of
software run/known by kernel developers. It can take years before the code
is exposed to real life situations.
-- Christoph Lameter
Linux 3.3 is released (announcement; KernelNewbies summary; LWN
merge window summaries part 1 and part 2; LWN development statistics article).
GCC 4.7.0 is released; the project is now 25 years old (announcement).
LTTng 2.0 "stable" is released (LWN coverage: part 1 and part
Current trends are: for every 1000 patches sent there's
maybe one patch that has a tad too much information in its changelog - but
instead offers good entertainment in the changelog so it's still perfectly
fine. 990 patches have too little information. The remaining 9 are just
-- Ingo Molnar
The GNU C library steering committee dissolves itself, one of
several events that signal a change in the governance of the project
(LWN blurb and article).
Version 1 of the Go programming language is released (LWN blurb).
GNOME 3.4 is released; this is the second major update of
GNOME 3 (announcement).
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