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Editor's Year-End Note: The Most-Read Stories of 2006

Jan 01, 2007, 00:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

According to Universal Time, it's just a few seconds after midnight, January 1, 2007. Another year has come and gone, and it is most definitely not the year I thought it was going to be. I, along with many other pundits, were pretty sure that at least one major OEM company would break ranks and start distributing Linux machines on a wide scale. That hasn't happened yet, and what a shocker when it was Microsoft itself that decided to put its toe into the penguin waters.

I think it is save to say that we are all waiting to see what will happen, no matter what your feelings on the Novell-Microsoft collaboration. I for one, have to publicly admit that at least one of my early predictions is not likely to happen: when confronted with Oracle's "Unbreakable Linux" plan and Novell's partnership with Redmond, I openly stated that Red Hat was going to be in for a world of hurt. Clearly, after seeing their last quarterly results, I was in error. So, while my early thoughts about the Novell deal were very pessimistic on Novell's behalf, I am withholding any predictions until more time passes.

Instead of predictions about the year ahead today, I am much better prepared to continue what has become a Linux Today tradition: the publishing of the most-read stories of 2006, with some commentary to put the decisions behind posting these stories in context. So here, without further ado, are the 20 most popular LT stories in 2006.

20. Linux Journal: Xen Virtualization and Linux Clustering, Part 1 (10909 reads)
Among all of the different media sources we link to, Linux Journal is one of the most trusted. This year's departure of Don Marti as Editor in Chief marked a change in the online editorial direction for the site, but the popularity of this story in early January reflects the quality of the work that does get posted on their site.

19. Computerworld Australia: Sun to Sink in the West? (10925 reads)
This is the only story on the Top 20 list that wasn't posted by me; it was posted by Contributing Edtior Rob Reilly in July when I was taking some vacation time. (Rob, by the way, just got a full-time job with a major defense contractor, and will be spreading the Linux gospel in his new office this coming year.) The title of this story says it all: another prediction of Sun Microsystem's sure demise. And while Sun could be doing better, it's clear that they're still going to be around for a while.

18. internetnews.com: Linux Desktops Get a Graphics Boost (11039 reads)
Okay, so Novell may not be high on a lot of holiday gift-giving lists right now. But back in February, they released Xgl and Compviz to the X.org Project, and the interest generated was pretty high. But then, stories about new eye candy usually get the reads.

17. Editor's Note: Diamonds and Rhinestones (11118 reads)
I came to LinuxWorld Boston. I saw LinuxWorld Boston. I left LinuxWorld Boston. There isn't going to be another LinuxWorld Boston. Don't blame me. Or thank me, for that matter.

16. ZDNet UK: Stallman Leads the GPL Off a Cliff (11164 reads)
I have often maintained that its important to hear what the Opposition is saying, in order to better counter their arguments. And John Carroll's column on how Richard Stallman and GPL 3 is going to ruin Linux is certainly as Opposing as you can get.

15. Editor's Note: Change or Die (11252 reads)
One of the events I attended this year was the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco. That one was fun, though the presenter from SAP chose this venue for an odd attack on some of the "immature" open source companies cometing with SAP--like SugarCRM and Compiere. I laughed, and picked his argument apart. Yeah, SAP, thouse little furry creatures running around under the dinosaurs' feet weren't going to amount to much, either. Wait, what's that big glowing thing falling from the sky?

14. DesktopLinux: Why Windows Vista Will Suck (11443 reads)
Hey, did you hear Vista came out this year? Did you care? My father-in-law asked me about it, and I pointed him to this excellent March article from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (whom I think we should just all call "Steve-O" from now on, for brevity's sake). Okay, so it was yet another "Vista bites" article. But this one was among the first, and among the best.

13. Notes from a Senior Editor: Elvis Linux Is Everywhere (CES Day One) (11863 reads)
Stories covering events were among the most popular in 2006, and this first report from the Consumer Electronics Show from Senior Editor James Turner certainly proved that. While not entirely about Linux, James' coverage wove our love of geeky toys with the industry's embrace of open source to provide an excellent travelouge of CES. Also voted best gratuitous use of a Mojo Nixon lyric.

12. NewsForge: Linus Says No to GPLv3 (12122 reads)
GPL version 3 was supposed to be the biggest thing since sliced bread. It still might be, but don't try running that past Mrs. Torvalds' boy Linus. His public commentary about the fitness of the upcoming version of the GPL started a firestorm of community debate about the nature of the license.

11. Community: Open Scrutiny of Open Source Code (13096 reads)
When Coverity announced they were going to get a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to implement automated testing of various open source projects, the staff at one of those projects, Zmanda, contributed this column touting the fact that Zmanda had the lowest error rate per lines of code among the projects Covery tested. Sure, it was a cheerleading session. But you know what? I think all open source projects deserve a little time in the sun.

10. Editor's Note: Google May Hold Big Key to Desktop Linux (13246 reads)
Here's what I wrote in January 2006: "Jiminy crickets, the next thing we'll hear is that Google's going to launch a space probe and become the first Internet search engine on Ceti Alpha V." Here's the headline from December 19: Google Reaches Far Out For Users," a story detailing Google's partnership with... NASA. Dear Chris DiBona: feel free to send payment to my favorite charity, the Susan G. Komen Foundation. :)

9. Community: GNU and Communism--Labeling for the Dumb and the Dumber (13278 reads)
My favorite articles are the one submitted by you, the readers. I would happily take more of them, like this one from Hans Bezemer that deconstructs the "communism" label quite handily.

8. Editor's Note: Get the Facts Yourself, Redmond (14452 reads)
A "white paper" report on an "OpenOffice.org" deployment supposedly gone wrong is put under the microscope. The verdict? Redmond needs better fact-checkers.

7. Notes from a Senior Editor: Google: Best... Keynote... Ever! (CES Day Two) (15131 reads)
More from the CES, where open source, cool electronics, and Robin Williams apparently put one a darned fine show. Look for more CES coverage coming up this month from our intrepid Senior Editor.

6. Editor's Note From the Road: When Everyone Wins (15484 reads)
I got a chance to go to SCALE 4X this year (where I met Hans Reiser for the first time) and came to the conclusion that we need more community shows like this one. Whether it's SCALE, Northwest LinuxFest, or the Ohio LinuxFest... if there's a Linux community show near you, go.

5. Community: Why There is Better Driver Support in 64-bit Linux Than 64-bit Windows XP (18380 reads)
Not so much an opinion piece as a review of 64-bit Linux, this community contributed article from Gary Sims revealed that in this area, like so many others, Linux definitely excels over Windows.

4. Google's Picasa Painted to a Linux Canvas (22340 reads)
The nature of LT means we don't get "scoops" very often. I will just as happily link to someone elese's story if they have it first. But in this case, early news from Google was very welcome. And, judging from the response, not just welcomed by me.

3. Editor's Note: Tipping Point Ahead (28218 reads)
The news was underreported, but it was very significant: according to the Spring 2006 North American Developer's Survey from Evans Data, by the end of the 2006, it is expected that the number of developers expected to be working on Linux will match the number of expected Windows developers. Starting this year, 2007, the number of Linux developers is expected to exceed Windows developers. It's just one survey, but I am confident that its a good sign of things to come.

2. Morton Gets Googled (29000 reads)
All I did was e-mail Andrew Morton a question about a totally unrelated matter, and he mentioned he was just starting a new job at Google that day. Even a old-time newspaper editor from Indiana is going to jump on that. The story becomes that much more significant when you consider that just four months later, the organization that really pays Morton's salary (and Linus Torvalds'), the Open Source Development Labs, downsized significantly. Changes within the OSDL are definitely going to be something to keep an eye on this year.

1. Editor's Note: Beware of Suits Bearing Code (84994 reads)
And the story that blew them all away this year was the July 28 column I wrote surrounding the demise of the OpenDarwin Project. To me, the closure of OpenDarwin was an important lesson in how far corporate involvement in community projects should be trusted. Many of the Linux readers of the article saw my point, but the OS X readers who Dugg the story seemed to think I was trashing Apple. Sensitive folk, those Mac users. The allegory, I think, still stands.

And there you have it, the 20 most read stories on LT in 2006. They may not all be the most important stories, but they are the ones you liked the most. Thank you all for making this another growth year for LT, and I look forward to seeing what the next 365 days brings.

Happy New Year!

Brian Proffitt