Lawsuits, patents, copyrights... it seemed a never-ending legal
battle surrounded free and open source software. And while these
stories were widely read, LT readers chose other topics of interest
to focus their attention, too. Find out what your most
popular stories were in 2004 as we enter the new year.
10. XFree86 License Causes Distros to Rethink Plans
When David Dawes changed the license of XFree86, it caused quite
the stir in the community. Licence 1.1, many maintained, would make
the prolific X environment incompatible with the GNU General Public
License. Dawe's change was earth-shattering for the environment, as
distribution after distribution halted further updates of XFree86
and then later began adoption of the X11 environment as a
9. Groklaw: More Changes in the New [SCO] SEC Filing
SCO continued to be one of the most-read topics on Linux Today
in the beginning of 2004, when this story was posted. Now, as this
year draws to a close, many journalists and analysts are wondering
if there's any life left in this company's story. Meanwhile,
Groklaw marches on.
8. PR: Novell Announces Evolution 2.0, Release of Connector for
MS Exchange Under Open Source License
If Firefox was the unexpected smash hit in the open source
software world this year, then Evolution 2.0 was certainly the most
popular expected application to hit the virtual shelves in
2004. Evolution 2.0 had a (very) few birthing pains, but quickly
became a strong asset to the open source on the desktop
Steve Ballmer is still capable of flinging FUD whenever the
occasion arises. Lately, however, his rhetoric has died down, as
Microsoft tries new subtler approaches to keeping its customers
(oddly enough, none seem to involve actually improving their
products or their tyranical relationship with customers). In this
instance, Ballmer's amusement over Munich's alleged migration
problems was sharply silenced by Munich's eventual full committal
The patent fights in Europe, the Microsoft "Get the Facts"
campaign... so many things to choose from as fodder for those of
the humorist bent. But above them all, the juiciest target was
certainly The SCO Group. This mock Web page got a lot of hits and,
hopefully, a lot of laughs.
After huge success with Linux on their server line, IBM made big
waves in the entire technology commmunity when they announced a
plan to either port or fully emulate Microsoft Office to the Linux
platform. While the progress of this produce remains very vague, it
did signal the start of IBM's 2004 push--both in sales and
marketing--for Linux on the desktop.
Red Hat has seen a lot of commercial success this year, this
much is certain. But their credentials in the Linux community are
far lower than they have ever been. Painted as the villian by
former friends and competitors alike, Red Hat continues to be the
flagship distribution for Linux while enduring the slings and
arrows of many. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols analyzed the situation
and came up with his own answers to all of this ire.
The private lives of coders often plays a key role in the
development of popular open source software. Debian takes part of
its name from Ian Murdock's wife, and Samba gets seriously tested
by chief developer's Andrew Tridgell's spouse, as indicated in this
announcement. One wonders what Mrs. Torvalds contributes to the
One of the most theorized issues in 2004 was the open sourcing
of Java. As the debate began, guest contributor Ganesh Prasad
entered his own arguments for why Sun should release the code for
Java. As it turned out, Sun would later make peace with its old
adversary Microsoft, and plans for a truly open Java fell by the
wayside. For now.
Linux Today seemed to be the center of a lot of media and
commuity attention this year. An event that has the potential to be
most far-reaching of all was the decision by CMP Media to block
Linux Today's links to excerpted articles. The use of copyrighted
material under fair use practices is a long-established methodology
for many Web sites, both in and out of the "formal" media arena.
CMP's decision to block incoming traffic was puzzling, made the
more so by later CMP requests to essentially redesign Linux Today
in order to link to their content. In the end, Linux Today
continues to avoid linking directly to CMP content, particularly on
CMP's US sites.
Many other media outlets gave us their support, both public and
private, which helped assure us that this was not the beginning of
an alarming trend.