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The Most-Read Stories of 2007

Jan 01, 2008, 00:00 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

The end of 2007 has passed, for those who keep time by UTC, and that includes Linux Today. At the start of each new year, it is a tradition here at this publication to review the stories of the previous year that captured the most attention from you. This year is no exception.

Looking over the 20 most-read stories of 2007, it appears that the most important event of the year for Linux was actually the coming of Vista.

We all speculated that a bad release of Microsoft's flagship operating system would bring a bonus to Linux on the desktop. How right they were. No one, however, could have predicted how incredibly bad Vista was. So bad, that even once-cowed OEM manufacturers began to sell pre-loaded Linux machines. (To add insult to injury, they even started re-selling XP-loaded boxes.)

Vista's coming did indeed give a boost to Linux on the desktop, but it was the pseudo-stealthy inclusion of Linux on various popular devices (the OLPC's XO laptop, the ASUS Eee PC, and Everex gPC) that quite subtlely gave Linux prominence on the desktop. In some cases, consumers of these products may not have even realized that they were using Linux, which further shored up the point that the community was making all along: you don't need umpteen-thousand applications to be a great OS. You just need a few hundred really great applications.

But enough about that--there'll be plenty of time to talk about it in 2008. Here, then, are the top 20 most-read stories on Linux Today for 2007 (as of 1700 UTC on 12/31/2007):

20. InformationWeek: Microsoft Suffers Latest Blow As NIST Bans Windows Vista (13268 reads)
The first of many stories about government and private agencies issuing edicts preventing the migration of their XP machines to Vista. At first, Microsoft tried to proclaim this was just the usual IT conservatism, but soon there were too many bans to get away with that excuse.

19. Hoosier Penguin: An Escape Clause for Novell in GPL3 Draft? (13297 reads)
When version 3 of the GPL was being drafted, the draft that came out on March 28 had an interesting addition: a proposed grandfather clause in the patents section that would allow existing patent promise deals such as the one between Novell and Microsoft to remain valid. That clause garnered a lot of discussion on LT after I pointed it out in my blog.

18. iTWire: Vista: They Took Five Years for This? (13670 reads)
Sam Varghese over at iTWire has a reputation for scathing writing. When he took his knives to Vista, a lot of readers paid attention.

17. Raiden's Realm: Microsoft's True Battlefront Against Open Source (13671 reads)
The inclusion of Novell, Xandros, and Turbolinux in patent protection deals certainly gave us all the big clue how Microsoft was going to take on Linux. Steve Lake's blog entry struck a chord as he articulated what many already suspected.

16. widefox: Kernel Comparison: Linux (2.6.20) versus Windows (Vista) (13766 reads)
Not only was Vista's desktop cred questioned, but it's performance at the kernel level garnered comments as well.

15. Desktop Linux: Google Desktop Arrives on Linux (13766 reads)
Many users lamented the lack of Google Desktop tools for Linux, and in June they got their wish when Google finally released a Linux version. As time went on, the lack of a complete set of Google Desktop tools put some tarnish on this release.

14. Next Release of Ubuntu LTS Announced (14891 reads)
I don't often post original news on LT, but every once in a while I get a piece of information that I want to post right away. In this case, I posted this during Mark Shuttleworth's keynote address at the Ubuntu Live conference in July. Before he was done speaking, the story was live. Ah, the magic of the Internet...

13. Dr. Dobb's Journal: Open Source Soft Microprocessors (15363 reads)
Of course, some stories get a lot of reads and I am completely surprised. This one on open source microprocessors certainly fit that bill.

12. LinuxInsider: Terra Soft CEO Kai Staats: Rallying Around the Cell Processor and Power Architecture (16439 reads)
The fact that Linux can run on supercomputers remained of high interest to the community, and this well-read interview with Staats about his company's efforts in that arena proves it.

11. InformationWeek: Microsoft Exec Wanted To Mask Linux Report Sponsorship, E-Mails Reveal (17216 reads)
Hmm, Microsoft hires analyst firm to write a 2002 "Get the Facts" report. Firm wants to hide Microsoft's involvement, fearing charges of bias. Possibly the most honest thing IDC has tried to do yet. Too bad we had to find out about it five years later.

10. Editor's Note: Linux Bling With 100% Free Software (17600 reads)
Linux Today is mostly run by me, but I am also fortunate to have the assistance of writer/editor-extraordinaire Carla Schroder. The proof of her writing power is in this top-10 article about the pitfalls of proprietary encroachment in Linux.

9. Computerworld: Tech Pros Take 'Soft' Approach in Workplace (18367 reads)
Sometimes a gentle, cautious approach is the key to Linux deployment in the enterprise. A great case study in how to get past Linux resistance.

8. The Inquirer: Microsoft Admits Vista Failure (23501 reads)
Hyperbole in an Inquirer headline? Who'da thunk it? Still, this article gave witty insight into the market stagnation of Windows Vista.

7. Linux on Desktop: Thunar: Versatile and Impressive Replacement for Nautilus File Manager (25691 reads)
Despite the cooling of the desktop wars, there's apparently a lot of interest in the future development plans of GNOME. Now that KDE 4 is coming, and GNOME faces questions about it's role in OOXML, it will be interesting to see what 2008 will mean to the desktop conflict.

6. Editor's Note What Microsoft Fears More than Linux (31556 reads)
In May, I decided to take a look at how Microsoft's defense gives us clues to what they really fear: not Linux, but free software.

5. Editor's Note: The Next Hurdle for Desktop Linux (33737 reads)
With the coming of HD and online content, I wondered aloud if the DRM restrictions in the (then upcoming) GPL v3 might present another obstacle for desktop Linux.

4. LinuxQuestions: NdisWrapper: The Ultimate Guide (38862 reads)
Every once in a while, there comes a guide or tutorial that's well-written and very timely. The constant headache of Wi-Fi drivers on laptop Linux made this ndiswrapper guide a big draw.

3. Once More Unto the Breach: gapingvoid and Microsoft's Open Source Software Message (40822 reads)
When my friend and colleague Stephen Walli gives his two cents about the inner workings of Microsoft, people listen. As well they should: he used to work there.

2. Notes From a Senior Editor: A Close Look at the OLPC (52449 reads)
Right at the start of the year, James Turner filed his reports from the CES conference in Vegas. The most popular report from the field was this early look at the OLPC's XO laptop.

1. InformationWeek: FAA May Ditch Microsoft's Windows Vista And Office For Google And Linux Combo (94965 reads)
The huge number of reads reflects a direct link to LT from Digg instead of to InformationWeek. But, even adjusting those numbers out, this story would still be in the top 20. It's a solid reminder that Vista was a very interesting topic to Linux users. (And a note that socially driven sites are quickly surpassing editorial-based sites in traffic. Uh oh.)

The Linux community got a new vote of confidence in 2007. Let's see what it can do in 2008.