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Editor's Note: Our Story Thus Far...

Jun 30, 2006, 23:30 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt

There is a gross injustice perpetrated on an annual basis, the neglect of a special date that I feel must be corrected.

I refer to of course, July 1, which marks the start of the new half of the year.

Oh sure, January 1 gets all the hype, the glam, the parties--but what does July 1 get? Bupkis. Is it fair that we fail to note that we are halfway around the Sun on this date? Is July 1 to be forever overshadowed by Canada Day? Or Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day?

I say no!

To right this injustice, let's take a look back at the past six months and rejoice in all the good news that has happened.

Some really good distros are out. C'mon, really, have you seen some of the new stuff coming out lately? Xandros, Ubuntu, openSUSE, to name just a few? Don't forget about simplyMEPIS and Fedora. Well, maybe Fedora, it's gotten a bit stale of late. These distros, and quite a few others, are ready to play. We can hand them to anyone--our mothers, our second cousins once removed, you name it--and they can be installed and ready to run in minutes.

Don't even get me started on the apps. OpenOffice.org? Still rocks. Firefox? I covered that last week (and I still think Internet Explorer should be destroyed in the name of humanity). Evolution? Nice to have a e-mail client that won't open every single virus that finds its way into your mailbox. Google's ports (native or WINE) gave desktop Linux a nice boost. Even on the server side, there are more configuration tools out there than ever, making it simpler to set up and run the good stuff, like Apache.

Proprietary companies are stalling. You don't hear very much about Software Assurance programs these days, or how Unix is better than Linux. Oh yes, there's the opportunity to "Get the Facts," but customers who have X dollars to spend right now are faced with an interesting choice: a product from Redmond that costs 1.3X or an open source product that costs 0.7X for product and support. Gee, that's a toughy. What we are left with is a sudden urge to schmooze with the open source concept. But don't be fooled. All of this talk of interoperability and sharing is a holding action until they figure out what to try next. Believe it.

Darl McBride hasn't said anything goofy lately. Of course, the big reason for that might be that his company's case is falling to pieces. Finally.

So, a few of the highlights of the past six months, on this New Half Year's Eve. What's next? Likely more of the same, as more developers than ever are shifting to work on Linux, both the platform and the applications. And, not to beat a dead horse, but I still can't shake the feeling that someone's going to buy Canonical and pull in Ubuntu. I still have my money on Sun, though you could make a good case for Oracle, too.

Let's wait and see on January 1, that "special" holiday.

Program Note: At the urging of family, collegues, and various mental health agencies, starting today and through next week I will be on vacation, returning on July 10. To observe Independence Day in the US, Linux Today will be inactive on July 3 and 4, resuming normal operations on July 5. Where ever you are, and whatever holiday you celebrate, may you and yours be safe and well. Happy Half New Year!