[LWN banner]

1998 in review

This is version 1.0 of the 1998 Linux timeline. Thanks to input from many of you, many omissions from the previous version have been fixed. For those who have seen the earlier version, check out the changes page to see what got added. The permanent site for this page is and will remain:


We're still looking for input for the final version of this page, which will be part of the January 7, 1999 issue of LWN. Please drop us a note with your suggestions for additions to this page.

This page was produced by Jonathan Corbet at Eklektix, Inc. Contributions have since come in from Zachary Beane, Christopher Bohn, Mark Bolzern, Malcolm Caldwell, Victor Chang, Alan Cox, David Damerell, Joe DeVita, Gael Duval, Sammy Ford, Emmanuel Galanos, Jason Haas, Hans ? (hzo), Tres Hofmeister, "Kerberus," Alexander Kjeldaas, Matthias Kranz, Barry Kwok, Erik Levy, William Mackeown, Rick Moen, Olivier Müller, Hartmut Niemann, Rodolphe Ortalo, Rich Payne, Kelly Price, G. Branden Robinson, Greg Roelofs, Daniel Roesen, Seth David Schoen, Dan Shafer, Lewis Tanzos, Jarto Tarpio, Henri de la Vallée Poussin, Moshe Vainer, Steve Wainstead, David A. Wheeler, Micah Yoder, and James Youngman. Many thanks to all of these folks!

You may jump straight to the month of your choice: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, or December.


The Linux Weekly News begins publication. The very first issue, dated January 22, was a just a tiny hint of what LWN was to become. Since then we've gotten better at it, and the Linux world has gotten much more complicated. It has been an interesting adventure.

[Netscape] Netscape announces that they will release the source to their browser under a free software license. This almost certainly remains one of the most important events of the year; it opened a lot of eyes to what Linux and free software could provide.

[RHAD] Red Hat Advanced Development Labs is founded. It has since become one of the higher-profile places where people are paid to develop free software, and an important component of the GNOME project. RHAD is able to attract developers like "Rasterman" and Federico Mena Quintero.

The Stampede Linux distribution is announced. Actually, this happened in December, but the news took a while to spread... Stampede positions itself as a high-performance "real Linux hacker's" distribution.

Word gets out that parts of the blockbuster film "Titanic" were rendered on Alpha machines running Linux. This was another important step in the "legitimization" of Linux - everybody had heard of The Titanic, and some of its success seemed to rub off on everything associated with it.


[Qube] The Cobalt Qube is announced and immediately becomes a favorite in the trade press due to its high performance, low price, and cute form factor. Cobalt's Linux engineering is done by none other than David Miller, source of much that is good in the Linux kernel.

[prize] The Linux user community wins InfoWorld's technical support award; Red Hat 5.0 also won their Operating System award. But it was the tech support award that truly opened some eyes; everybody had been saying that Linux had no support. This was the beginning of the end of the "no support" argument.

[opensource] Red Hat announces that their installation support staff is running behind. They are a victim of their own success, and ask for patience while they get their act together.

Linux according to Jesse Berst
"I think it's great if you are willing to promote Linux to your boss. As long as you are aware of the risk you are taking. The risk of getting fired." (Feb. 16).
"Is a Linux takeover likely? Give me a break. Of course not." (June 23).
"I personally think Windows NT will be the mainstream operating system within a few years." [...] "My belief: Linux will never go mainstream" (Sep. 9).
"I've always said that Linux could become a serious challenger to Microsoft's Windows NT." Sep. 28).
Eric Raymond and friends come up with the "open source" term. They apply for trademark status, and put up the opensource.org web site. Thus begins the formal effort to push Linux for corporate use.

Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman win the EFF Pioneer award. The award recognizes their contributions to electronic freedom. Strangely, all mention of this seems to have vanished from the Electronic Frontier Foundation web site.

Caldera 1.2 is released. Unlike Red Hat, which had been shipping libc6 based systems for some time, Caldera sticks with the tried and true libc5.

The OpenBIOS project is launched, in the belief that no system is free if it depends on proprietary BIOS code. A web page is set up for the project.

[GGI] Major battles rage over whether GGI belongs in the Linux Kernel. GGI, the "Generic Graphics Interface," seeks to produce a better defined, better supported interface to video cards on Linux and other systems. Interestingly, GGI had made no request for kernel inclusion at this time. No resolution was reached, but better communications with a number of kernel hackers did result from this episode.

The Linux General Store opens; this is "the first walk-in Linux store." (Web page here).


[Learning tree] Learning Tree, International adds a Linux administration course to their lineup. This course is offered frequently in the U.S. and Britain. "The quality of Linux software has improved dramatically, making it a low-cost, reliable, supported computing platform appropriate for the business environment."

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader asks the large PC vendors (Dell, Gateway, Micron...) to offer non-Microsoft systems, including systems with Linux installed. (See InfoPolicy Notes).

Sun offers 70% discounts for people interested in "upgrading" from Linux to Solaris.

[Debian] [Sendmail logo] Bruce Perens, once leader of the Debian project, quits entirely in the wake of disagreements on how the project should proceed.

Sendmail, Inc. is formed by Eric Allman, in an attempt to make money selling sendmail support services while keeping the basic sendmail code free.

John Kirch releases his "Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus Unix" paper. This paper remains one of the best advocacy pieces out there, and should be required reading for anybody contemplating deployment of either technology.


[Mozilla] The Mozilla source code hits the net. Netscape throws a huge party. The code is downloaded all over the world, and people start hacking. New features, such as strong encryption and a Qt port, are added almost immediately.

Linus makes Inter@ctive Week's "25 Unsung Heroes of the Net" list. He is in good company, joining names like Steven Bellovin, Van Jacobson, Peter G. Neumann, and others. April was maybe about the last time that Linus could be said to be an "unsung" hero.

Linus announces Linux 2.1.92 and declares a 2.1 feature freeze. The announcment goes as far as to say "...there are probably still bugs with some of the new code, but I'll freeze new features for the upcoming 2.2 kernel." This freeze turned out to be rather slushy, to say the least.

The Open Group announces a new licensing policy for the X window system. New versions of X will be proprietary and only available to paying customers. They immediately withhold some security bugfixes from general distribution. XFree86 decides that it can not live with the new licensing, and declares its intent to go its own way.

[NPR] Linux is covered by the U.S. National Public Radio news, marking one of its first appearances in the mainstream, non-technical press.

O'Reilly holds the "first ever" Free Software Summit, featuring Larry Wall, Brian Behlendorf, Linus Torvalds, Guido van Rossum, Eric Allman, Phil Zimmermann, Eric Raymond, and Paul Vixie.

The Linux Weekly News daily updates page debuts. Despite LWN's intent to keep the its weekly focus, the daily page eventually exceeds the weekly newsletter in traffic. The Linux events calendar is also announced.

Linus 3.0 is announced; the birth of Linus's second daughter causes great joy, and substantial disruption in kernel development as all work stops and many patches get lost. Some grumbling results as it becomes clear just how dependent the entire process is on Linus's continual presence.

RH support partner logo [Avalon] Red Hat announces their commercial support program, based on a worldwide network of "support partners," of which Eklektix, Inc., the producer of the Linux Weekly News, is one.

The Avalon Beowulf cluster at Los Alamos goes on line and immediately powers itself into the list of the fastest computers on the planet.

Eric S. Raymond publishes "Homesteading the Noosphere" on the web; This paper gives his view of how economics of open source software can work.


Kernel hacker Alan Cox goes to work for Red Hat.

Bruce Perens proposes a new Linux distribution (proposal here) based on his experience with Debian. This distribution never comes about, but much of what's there later gets folded into the Linux Standard Base project.

[Project Heresy C|Net's "Project Heresy" starts a high-profile attempt to work using only Linux. The result was a long series of articles and "radio" programs, all on the Project Heresy page.

Sun Microsystems joins Linux International.

[Google] The "Google" search engine pops up. Not only is it one of the best search engines around, but it's based on Linux and features a Linux-specific search page.

Sm@rt Reseller reports that Oracle and Informix have no plans to support Linux. "In fact, many doubt that Linux-no matter how stable or how cheap-can ever compete in the corporate marketplace alongside the well-funded Windows NT and Solaris." (article here).

[SuSE] The SuSE 5.2 distribution is released.

[Corel] Corel formally embraces Linux. The Netwinder products are featured, and they pledge their support for the Linux system.

The Association Francophone des Utilsateurs de Linux et des Logiciels Libres (AFUL) is formed in France. AFUL promptly becomes a force in French computer circles.

O2 Big databases start to arrive. Support for Linux is announced by Computer Associates for their Ingres system, and by Ardent Software for their O2 object database.

The Linux Core/Layers project was announced and became the first in a series of attempts at creating standards for Linux systems. The Core/Layers page still exists, but this project is no longer active in this form.

"But Linux is a communist operating system in a capitalist society. Its popularity is going to lead toward its fragmentation....The big problem with Linux is that it has no apparent direction. It's in the right place at the right time, but its 15 minutes are nearly up." (PC Week, May 22).

The Linux Weekly News moved to its own domain at lwn.net.

A proposal goes out to create the Linux Standard Base (LSB) project. This proposal, signed by a large number of Linux luminaries, was discussed at Linux Expo and formed into a project, with Bruce Perens at the head. Numerous editorials were written and posted on FreshMeat; the list can be found on the LSB web page. The LSB then disappeared from view for a few months.

And, yes, Linux Expo was held; a good time was had by all.

Red Hat 5.1 was released and immediately started accumulating rather more than the usual number of updates (partly as a result of the Linux Security Audit program). There was talk of "Red Hat 5.1 service pack 1" as a result. 5.1 did eventually stabilize into a solid release.


"First, let me say that I am uniquely unqualified to write about this week's topic. Like most of you, I've never used Linux....Linux has a snowball's chance in hell of making perceptible inroads against Windows." (The infamous John Dodge hatchet job, PC Week, June 8).
The Open Group offers the possibility of Unix 98 certification to Linux at the Uniforum meeting. The resulting press release says "Since the Linux OS is proving to be increasingly stiff competition for NT in this marketspace, it's in the best interest of all Unix vendors for Linux to get branded so that it may compete more effectively and keep the low end UNIX 98-compliant." Very little is heard thereafter.

The Gartner Group says there is little hope for free software. "...these operating systems will not find widespread use in mainstream commercial applications in the next three years, nor will there be broad third-party application support."

[Wilbur] The Gimp 1.0 is released. This long-awaited release of one of Linux's highest profile tools did not disappoint.

Stable kernel 2.0.34 is released after a long prepatch series.

[Beowulf] The Beowulf web site shuts down temporarily due to concerns about U.S. export restrictions. Suddenly anybody can create a supercomputer, and people are getting worried. See this Dr. Dobbs article for some more background. Shortly thereafter the site (www.beowulf.org) is back up as if nothing had happened.

The Datapro study comes out showing that Linux has the highest user satisfaction of any system; it also shows Linux to be the only system other than NT that is increasing market share.

"Like a lot of products that are free, you get a loyal following even though it's small. I've never had a customer mention Linux to me." (Bill Gates in PC Week, June 25).

[Netwinder] Corel launches the Netwinder DM with this press release.

Debian 2.0 goes into beta test after numerous delays.

[Adaptec] Adaptec reverses its longstanding nondisclosure policy and announces support for Linux. The initial deal was with Red Hat; other distribution vendors have since then announced agreements with Adaptec.

The Chinese Linux Extension project begins; this project is doing a Chinese localization of Linux. (Web page (mix English/Chinese) here).

IBM announces that it will distribute and support the Apache web server, after working a deal with the Apache team.


The Silicon Valley Linux Users Group holds "The Great Linux Revolt of 1998", turning Microsoft's Windows 98 product launch celebration into a Linux publicity event at two high-profile retail outlets.

Not content with that, The Silicon Valley Linux Users Group Launches Windows 98...on a rocket.

The UK Linux Developers' Conference is held in Manchester (basic web page here).


Rumors of a merger between Caldera and Red Hat circulate. It hasn't happened yet...

The desktop wars rage as KDE and GNOME advocates hurl flames at each other. Linus gets in on the act, saying that KDE is OK with him. Those who are feeling nostalgic can head over to this Slashdot discussion just to see how much fun it really was.

In this context, KDE 1.0 is released. The first stable release of the K Desktop Environment proves popular, despite the complaints from those who do not like the licensing of the Qt library.

NC World magazine shuts down with Nicholas Petreley's devastating criticism of Windows NT. The article, (still available on the net), concludes that Windows NT 5 (now "Windows 2000") can only be an absolute disaster.

Stable kernel 2.0.35 is released.

The Internet Operating System Counter goes online and finds, after querying hundreds of thousands of hosts, that Linux has the largest web server market share of any operating system out there. The results are available on the Internet Operating System Counter page.

LinuxPPC 4.0 is released.

"IBM, Informix, and Sybase also have no intentions of releasing versions of their databases on Linux, company representatives said." (InfoWorld, July 6)
[Oracle] Oracle announces support for Linux in this press release. They promise to make a trial version available by the end of 1998, a deadline they beat by months. This, seemingly, was one of the acid tests for the potential of long-term success for Linux; a great deal of attention resulted from this announcement.

[Informix] Informix announces support for Linux on almost the same day with a press release of their own.

The SVLUG/Taos "Future of Linux" panel is held featuring Linus and numerous other luminaries. (Writeup here). Among other things, this conference is where Intel first started making serious noises about supporting Linux.

"When I heard that Steve Ballmer was promoted to the office of president at Microsoft, I couldn't help but wonder if he was being set up to take the fall when Windows NT 5.0 proves to be a catastrophic market failure and Linux supplants Windows NT as the future server operating system of choice."
(Nicholas Petreley, InfoWorld, July 27).
[Forbes cover] Linus appears on the cover of Forbes magazine. A lengthy story presents Linux in a highly positive manner, and brings the system to the attention of many who had never heard of it before. Linux begins to become a household word. (Yes, it was the August 10 issue, but it came out in July).

The first release of the Mandrake distribution is announced. Mandrake is a version of the Red Hat distribution with international language support and KDE added.

Stampede distribution 0.86 is released.

Debian 2.0 is released with this announcement. It is a huge distribution, containing over 1500 packages and requiring at least two CD's to hold it.

MkLinux distribution DR3 is released, announced thusly.

Caldera releases Netware for Linux 1.0 (product info here).


The EiffelBase library is released under an open source license; this library had previously been proprietary. (Info here).

Red Hat announces (again) that their installation support staff is running behind (again). Their note on the topic asks for patience while they get their act together.

The Open Source Initiative is formed by Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond, Ian Murdock, and Tim Sailer (Russ Nelson and Chip Salzenberg join the board a month later). Its purpose, among others, is to manage the "open source" trademark.

Richard Stallman calls for the creation of free documentation for free software in this message to info-gnu.

[GNOME] GNOME 0.25 is released; this release is codenamed Drooling Macaque.

The Linux Compatibility Standards project is formed as a cooperative venture between Red Hat and Debian. This project (announcement) was formed out of an increasing frustration with the progress of the Linux Standard Base, which was having trouble finding consensus on its goals.

Bruce Perens then leaves the Linux Standard Base project and, for a while, dropped out of the free software world entirely.

Software in the Public Interest (SPI) chooses its new officers, recovering from the departure of most of its board. The new folks are Ian Jackson, Martin Schulze, Dale Scheetz and Nils Lohner; here's their announcement on the subject.

[LSB] Red Hat puts out a paper on why they do not like the Qt license and why they will not be including KDE anytime soon. The paper is still available on Red Hat's web site.

The Linux Standards Association appears out of nowhere and claims that they will produce the real standard for Linux systems. The LSA draws almost universal condemnation and slowly fades out of existence, but not before generating a fair amount of press saying that the Linux community is hostile to standards. One good effect of their presence may have been to help drive the Linux Compatibility Standards and Linux Standard Base projects to merge back together and get serious about producing something.

"Organizations should not consider deployment of NT v.5.0 prior to 2001. We believe organizations are better-served in the interim by evaluating the costs and benefits of using alternative products and not waiting on NT v.5.0 to emerge from 'vaporware' status."
(Gartner Group, August 11)

Red Hat makes the development version of their distribution available as "RawHide".

"Personally, I think open-source software needs a grown-up to step in and lead it without all this petty bickering."
(Nicholas Petreley, InfoWorld, August 24).

Michael McLagan, a founder of the LSA, challenges the validity of the Linux trademark. Linux International responded with a bit of lawyer action, causing the withdrawal of the challenge and the insertion of trademark ® symbols on the (now defunct) LSA web site.

Kernel 2.1.115 is released; Linus calls a code freeze, for real, this time. Sort of.


The Linux Internet Server Administration Guide project starts up with a page at lisa.8304.ch.

Linux Magazine France debuts as "the" French print magazine on Linux (information here).

Stackguard/Immunix 5.1 is released. StackGuard is actually a version of gcc modified to protect against stack overrun attacks; Immunix is a version of the Red Hat distribution built with this compiler.

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer admits that they are "worried" about free software and suggests that some of the NT source code may be made available to developers.

[SuSE] SuSE 5.3 (English version) is released.

[Caldera] Caldera splits into two separate companies. "Caldera Systems," under Ransom Love, now handles the Linux business, while "Caldera Thin Clients" does the embedded systems. (Press release here).

"The Linux community, a temporary, self-managed gathering of diverse individuals engaged in a common task, is a model for a new kind of business organization that could form the basis for a new kind of economy."
(Harvard Business Review, September)

SuSE stops international shipments of their 5.3 release after installation problems turn up for a small percentage of users.

[UDI] The Uniform Driver Interface (UDI) project bursts on the Linux scene with a suggestion that maybe Linux developers would like to produce lots of drivers for the UDI interface. A free reference implementation for Linux is promised, but enthusiasm among the Linux community seems low.

SuSE announces their "Office Suite 99" product, which is a bundling of ApplixWare, KDE, and other good stuff. This product gets a fair amount of attention as possible competition to Microsoft on the desktop.

[DB2] IBM announces support for DB2 under Linux. (Press release here).

[Sybase] Sybase announces support for linux (Information here). Sybase makes their database available for free download directly from the distribution vendors. With this announcement, Linux has an essentially complete portfolio of database products.

"I haven't been able to find any examples of customers requesting Linux"
(Dell Spokesman T.R. Reid, in Inter@ctive Week, April 28)
Dell has been selling Linux-installed systems to large customers for some time reports Inter@ctive Week. This comes as a surprise to "small" customers who have been trying to get Dell to sell them Linux-installed (or at least non-Windows) machines.

Neomagic allows the source for the driver for their video hardware to be released to the XFree86 project and freely distributed. This driver, developed by Precision Insight under the sponsorship of Red Hat, had previously been available in binary format only.

The Open Group backs down and releases X11R6.4 under an open source license, thus ending a sad chapter in the history of free software. It is also rumored that TOG has little, if any development staff working on X at this point, meaning that it may not matter much which license they use.

Microsoft lists Linux as a competitive threat in its annual SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) filing. Speculation abounds that their real purpose is to affect the upcoming antitrust trial.

[CLUE] Canadian Linux Users hold a nationwide Installfest with great success. Summaries, pictures, etc. can be found on the Installfest pages.


Intel and Netscape (and two venture capital firms) announce minority [Intel] investments in Red Hat Software. The money is to be used to build an "enterprise support division" within Red Hat. An unbelievable amount of press is generated by this event, which is seen as a big-business endorsement of Linux.

Intel joins Linux International.

Net pioneer Jonathan Postel dies, depriving the world of a much-needed leader in the middle of the domain name debate.

The International Kernel Patch is introduced, providing cryptographic capabilities in a way that does not run afoul of obnoxious national crypto export laws.

GNOME 0.30 is released; LWN published a review of this release.

Linuxpower.org hits the web. This site has since become a good source of Linux articles and tutorials.

[eCos] Cygnus releases a real-time embedded operating system (eCos) under an open source license. (Press release here).

Red Hat finds some security problems in CDE and drops it immediately as a supported product. The note they send out makes a big thing of the fact that CDE is not open source software, and thus not easily fixable.

Caldera 1.3 is released. This version includes Sybase, KDE, and StarOffice 4.0, but sticks with libc5. Caldera also announces Linux administration training courses.

"Gateway Inc., which has been doing certification tests with Linux for six months, most likely will install Linux across its enterprise server line next year.... Red Hat's Young expects six of the top 10 PC server makers to offer Linux on their machines by next March."
(PC Week, October 5).

[LinuxToday] LinuxToday hits the web providing another source of constantly updated Linux news. This is the first of a number of new Linux-related web publications that start up over the next month.

Tensions explode on linux-kernel after Linus drops a few too many patches. Linus walks out in a huff and takes a vacation for a bit. Things return to normal, of course, but some people get talking. It becomes clear once again that the Linux kernel is getting to be too big for one person to keep on top of. Some ways of reducing the load on Linus are discussed, but nothing is really resolved.

The "bootX" utility is released, and makes life much easier for PowerPC users.
"For the moment, however, the company from Redmond, Washington, seems almost grateful for the rising profile of Linux, seeing it as an easy way of demonstrating that Windows is not a monopoly, ahead of its antitrust trial, scheduled to begin on October 15th. That may be short-sighted. In the long run, Linux and other open-source programs could cause Mr Gates much grief."
(The Economist, October 3)

Oracle8 for Linux becomes available for downloading; at 142 MB it is not something to be done lightly.

AFUL sponsors a French nationwide installation party, the reports indicate that it was highly successful.

Microsoft presents Linux as evidence that it does not hold a monopoly in operating systems; their release also claims that Linux was developed by "a single individual."

Larry Wall wins the first annual Free Software Foundation award. Larry, of course, is the developer of Perl and lots of other good stuff.

Debian decides to drop KDE from their distribution; their explanation cites worries about licensing issues.

Novell announces that they will port NDS to Linux in cooperation with Caldera.

[Allaire] Allaire announces that they will support Linux with "a future version" of their popular "Cold Fusion" product. (Press release here). This, evidently, is a product that quite a few people have been waiting for.

[Compaq] Compaq is reported to be ready to support VARs installing Linux on their hardware, though it does not plan to sell Linux-installed systems directly. [LinuxWorld]

LinuxWorld goes online, signalling the arrival of the mainstream trade press. LinuxWorld is edited by Nicholas Petreley, a long time supporter of Linux in the trade press.

Microsoft publishes an anti-Linux "open letter" in France in what was seen by some as a beta-test of a wider FUD strategy. The letter (in French) (or translated to English) went after Linux on several fronts, and was widely and easily refuted. The definitive refutation was probably this response from AFUL (also available in English).

Debian 2.1 goes into feature freeze.

France Telecom invests in Cobalt Networks.

The Mexican ScholarNet project is announced; this project will install Linux-based computer labs in 140,000 schools. (LWN coverage here). The project will be using GNOME heavily, and expects to contribute to GNOME development.
"What I saw at the Linux Showcase was enthusiasm, the likes of which I haven't seen in the PC industry for a long time. Sure, some of it was from guys in ponytails and T-shirts, but it was also from guys in suits. Academics and scientists, but also businessmen."
(PC Week, October 26).

The Atlanta Linux Showcase was a big success. (LWN coverage here).

Corel announces that Word Perfect 8 for Linux will be downloadable for Free for "personal use." They also announce a partnership with Red Hat to supply Linux for the Netwinder. [WineHQ]

Corel also commits to helping the WINE development effort, a major boost for this long-awaited project. (Note from Corel here).

[PHT] Pacific HiTech announces that they will bring TurboLinux to the U.S. market. They have long claimed to be the most popular distribution in Japan, and think it's time to head into other pastures. (Press release here).

Www.alphalinux.org goes live, providing a single site for Alpha-related information for the first time.

[AFUL] AFUL signs an agreement with the French Ministry of Education to support the deployment of free software in French schools. (Information (in French) here).

Kernel hacker David Miller gets married (pictures here).


Two internal Microsoft memos on Linux and open source software are leaked to Eric Raymond; he promptly marks them up and makes them [ExtremeLinux] public. The memos acknowledge frankly the strengths of Linux and the sort of threat that it poses to Microsoft, and suggests some possible responses. The furor in the press was just as large as one might expect. (Eric's Halloween page has the memos, links to press coverage, and translations into a number of languages).

Extreme Linux makes a splash at Supercomputing '98, as witnessed by this list of events at the conference.

Linux has a high profile at COMDEX, though it was not the center of the show as some pundits had expected.

The "Eddie" software suite is released under an open source license; Eddie is a set of applications designed to help build high-availability clusters.

The proprietary I2O bus specification is opened up, so that Linux support can be implemented. One of the big nondisclosure threats to Linux is thus removed. (Press release here).

Red Hat 5.2 is released. This is supposed to be the last, stablest 5.x release before 6.0, which will contain the 2.2 kernel.

LinuxPPC 5.0 is announced; the actual release is set for January 5, 1999. (Info here). [Ext2]

Ext2 hits the net as another monthly Linux magazine.

Informix and Apropos deploy Linux machines in over 100 Jay Jacobs clothing stores. (Press release here). Linux has truly arrived in the mainstream corporate world.

Digital Creations releases Principia under an open source license; Principia is eventually rolled together with Bobo and Aqueduct to become Zope. An interesting angle on this release is that it was recommended by Digital Creations' venture capital investor (LWN coverage here).

The Silicon Valley Tea Party celebrates the opening of the Microsoft campus there. (Writeup here). [StarDivision]

StarOffice 5 for Linux is released, freely downloadable for personal use. (Information here).

Troll Tech announces that version 2.0 of the Qt library will be released under an open source license. This license does not satisfy everyone, since it leaves Troll Tech in a special position and requires that modifications be distributed as patches. As a result, though most acknowledge that the QPL is an "open source" license, the desktop wars fail to end.

Stable kernel 2.0.36 is released. (Linus's announcement here, release notes here).

OpenBIOS 0.0.1 is released (announcement here).

Slackware distribution 3.6 is released

Red Hat and SuSE both announce support programs at COMDEX. Both are aiming at the big-ticket "enterprise support" market. (SuSE's announcement here, and Red Hat's here).

Netscape buys the "NewHoo" web directory, and promises to make its database available.


Sunsite.unc.edu transforms into MetaLab.unc.edu to better reflect its purpose and to get away from Sun's trademark. It remains one of the primary Linux repositories and the home of the Linux Documentation Project.

The CLOWN project creates a 550-node cluster, aiming for a spot in the record books (Coverage here).

A fight erupts over the ownership of the "open source" trademark. Both Eric Raymond, in the form of the Open Source Initiative, and Software in the Public Interest claim to own the trademark. SPI has called for a "public comment" period on who should control the trademark; that period remains open as this is written.

[BSDI] BSDI announces the ability to run Linux binaries, giving users of Linux applications "a reliable, commercially supported operating system to run them on." The implication, of course, is that such a platform had not previously been available. The really interesting point, though, is that Linux now has enough applications to make other OS vendors envious.

Linus and Tove are guests of honor at Finland's Independence Day celebration. They get to meet the President and are voted "the most interesting couple" at the event. (Coverage here, click on "Äänestys" for pictures).

Red Hat hacker (and RPM culprit) Eric Troan gets married, no pictures (yet) available.

The Linux Kernel Archive Mirror System is established to better get new kernels out to the world. (Mirror page here).

The Linux Kernel History is published due to the efforts of Riley Williams and others. An almost complete reconstruction of all the released Linux kernels has been done. (Kernel history page here).

[Mandrake] [Gecko]

Mandrake distribution 5.2 is released.

Netscape's "Gecko" rendering engine is released. Gecko is the first high-profile product out of the Netscape/Mozilla open source development effort; it is a leaner, meaner, faster, more standards-conformant web page layout engine. (Press release here).


The "Yellow Dog Linux" distribution for the PowerPC is announced. (Home page here).

Corel announces a partnership with the KDE development team which will provide the KDE interface for the Netwinder. (Press release here).

IBM releases version 3.5 of the AFS filesystem for Linux (press release here). (An earlier version of AFS had been available before 1998, see the Linux-AFS FAQ for more).

Electric Lichen announces "Die Linuxbierwanderung" - the Linux Beer Hike, a Linux-training, Alps-walking, beer-drinking adventure in Bavaria next August. (Information here).

GNOME 1.0 enters code freeze and 0.99 betas are released.

Compaq releases a Linux driver for its PCI RAID controller, and it is under the GPL. (Press release here).

LibGGI 2.0 (beta) released (Announcement here).

IBM releases some software goodies under an open source license, including the Jikes Java compiler and Secure Mailer. They also put out the beta version of DB2 for free download. [Sun]

Sun opens up the Java license. It's still not an open source license, but things are headed in the right direction.

Sun announces support for Linux on UltraSparc systems

"The question is how to do it without exposing IBM and its partners," says one source familiar with IBM's plans. "With a general public license, there are some exposures with liability and how open are the patents if you modify the code. The best way to solve this is by cleaning up the license."
(Sm@rt Reseller, December 18).
Silicon Graphics joins Linux International and also announces support for Samba on their systems.

KDE 1.1 goes into code freeze and beta releases are made available.

IBM is said to be considering becoming a support provider for Linux according to some reports. They are held back by fears about patent and liability issues.

The first public beta of SuSE 6.0 is released (announcement here).

Reports say that Apple will start selling Power Macintoshes with Linux installed. [Corel]

WordPerfect 8 becomes available for download; it proves to be popular. (Information here).

The "LinuxPPC on the iMac HOWTO" is released, allowing users to get Linux on those stylish blue boxes. (HOWTO here).

The first pre-2.2 kernel is released.

A report from IDC says that Linux shipments rose by more than 200% in 1998, and its market share rose by more than 150%. Linux has a 17% market share, and a growth rate unmatched by any other system on the market.

Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 1998 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
Linux ® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds