Editors’ Note: Happy 10th Birthday Linux Today!

by Carla Schroder
Managing Editor

Ten years and going strong is quite an achievement. In
that time LT has survived the dot-bomb and many changes. The
archives have been maintained and are still available, which I
think is pretty amazing– you can go all the way back to the very
first Linux Today story:
Apache 1.3.2 is released
. Check out the Talkbacks to that

“Time travile *is* possible. I am posting a comment to
the first Article on Linux Today from four years in the future!
Happy 4’th LinuxToday, four years from now. 🙂 “

You’ll also see a familiar name, GreyGeek, who has been haunting
these hallowed halls almost from the beginning. It’s nice to see a
lot of familiar names as I cruise through these old stories. There
is a simple trick to finding the old stories: the URL for the very
first one is linuxtoday.com/stories/0001.html. Of course the poor
thing gets squeezed through a gauntlet of redirects, but you can
increment the story number to see those original stories.

LT’s physical appearance was different then. I’ve also been a
regular reader almost from its inception, though I don’t recall
what it looked like back then. The
Wayback Machine has partial archives
, though it looks like a
few page elements might be missing. It was founded by Dave
Whitinger and was a successful independent publication until he
sold it to Internet.com in 1999, which was later acquired by
Jupitermedia. There are no flies on Dave; he went on to start
several more successful ventures, including Dave’s Garden and LXer.com. Dave’s Garden is huge; it is one
of the largest and most successful gardening sites on the Web.

Since then Linux Today has seen a number of editors pass
through, but I’d say the two with the most lasting impact were
Michael Hall and Brian Proffitt. Both are calm, rational men who
don’t hop up and down in panicky freakouts with every new crisis,
but just plow their way through and take care of business. Maybe
they freak out later. Me, I like to get my freakouts over with and
out of the way. At any rate they’re wonderful role models, so when
I’m sitting here fuming with a mad desire to stab someone between
the head, I ask myself “What would Michael or Brian do?” I go ahead
and sharpen a knife just in case, but most times that’s as far as
it goes.

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

But I digress. To me ten years seems like a long time, and things
should be different. But some things never seem to change:

Linux enters the desktop arena
, it is inevitable that Linux GUI
alternatives will be compared to Microsoft’s Windows GUI
environment… The fact that I have purchased and installed a
commercial software product on my computer does not give the
commercial software developer or vendor the right to use my
computer for their marketing purposes. The Windows desktop
environment, installed on the majority of the planet’s computers,
has turned into the world’s largest billboard.” Abhijeet
Chavan, March 22, 2000

year will see Linux finally crack the lucrative desktop market

as more commercial software vendors tool up and cash in on the
operating system and kernel developers improve graphical interface
integration says cult hero and Linux founder Linus Torvalds.”
Rodney Gedda, 15/01/2004

At the risk of being
, though, I’m going to go ahead and say it: 2008
really could be the year of the Linux desktop.” Joe Brockmeier,
November 15th, 2007

It seems that people want a big dramatic change, but as with
most things, change is incremental and depends on continual,
ongoing effort.

Here is a tech support tale from 2000 that was all too common
then, and is still too common now:

Over the
course of the two-hour installation
, I learned a lot from the
installer while I tried to pump him for information about how the
service worked once a connection had been negotiated.

Linux, it turns out, is “DHCP based, which is incompatible with
TCP.” Furthermore, Linux “doesn’t have the power to handle the
fastest connections.” Oh, he allowed, it might cope with a 384k
connection, but the 1.5 meg service I’d ordered would slaughter

“Funny,” I said, “I write about Linux and I was never aware of
this limitation.”

“Oh, yeah,” he replied, “Linux is like that. Of course, it’s
been about ten years since I used it, but it can’t be any better.
It’s just sorta built like that. You wouldn’t be able to surf the
web with it anyhow… it can’t handle graphics. That’s why I’m
Microsoft certified now… I’m one of a special group that got to
beta test Windows 98 for free!”

He’s one of a special group, all right.

Good Things Don’t Just Happen

It is good to remember that good things don’t just happen; they
take a lot of work and time and talent. I’m probably not the only
grumpy oldtimer who views the rampaging hordes of Linux noobs,
drawn largely by Ubuntu, with an askance eye. On the one hand, all
the growth and excitement is good. But on the other hand they’re
bringing a lot of bad habits with them. They’re caught up by free
as in no cost, being cool, and don’t understand free as in freedom.
They make demands as though they were entitled to everything right
now (I have some embarrassing memories of doing that myself), and
don’t understand about being part of a community where there is the
expectation that everyone can participate in some way. This is a
radical concept when the dominant vendors in the personal computing
world are all about controlling and micro-managing what customers
can do with their own property. Giving something back doesn’t have
to be a big dramatic thing– I think the two most important things
an inexperienced Linux user can do are to pass on what they learn
to other noobs, and to support a helpful, polite atmosphere
wherever they participate.

As usual I find myself rambling on too long, so I’m going to
wind this up. Thank you all for being Linux Today readers and
supporters, and I hope to celebrate LT’s 20th birthday with

All-Time Top 10

Note: Beware of Suits Bearing Code

Linus Torvalds: And oh, btw..2.4.0 is out

Joe Pranevich — Wonderful World of Linux 2.4 (Quite Nearly There

Linux Hackers Crack Xbox Console

UPDATED: Richard Stallman — Boycott Amazon!

Joe Pranevich: Wonderful World of Linux 2.4

Stallman on Qt, the GPL, KDE, and GNOME

Red Hat:
ext3 information

Guest Column: Will Open Source Lose the Battle for the Web?

Spec.org: Second Quarter 2000 SPECweb99 Results [Linux beats
Windows 2000 in benchmark]

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