Linux is first mentioned in the mainstream press. Wired magazine features an article titled “Kernel Kid”, by Seth Rosenthal. He writes: “So, is Linus going to become the Bill Gates of Finland? Maybe not. He claims to be 'by no means a good student' and is in no hurry to graduate since 'Linux has taken a lot of time from my studies, and I like the work I have at the University which keeps me alive.”'
Randolph Bentson reports on the world's first vendor-supported Linux device driver in Linux Journal. Cyclades gave him a multiport serial card in exchange for developing a Linux driver for it.
A major tradeshow and conference take notice of Linux. Open Systems World features a Linux track, hosted by Linux Journal. Two days of seminars include Eric Youngdale, Donald Becker, Dirk Hohndel, Phil Hughes, Michael K. Johnson and David Wexelblat as speakers.
Linux Expo, the first Linux-specific tradeshow and conference series, launches, thanks to the folks at North Carolina State University and in particular, Donnie Barnes. Speakers include Marc Ewing, Rik Faith and Michael K. Johnson, among others. Linux Expo snowballs and becomes the most popular and well-attended annual Linux show for the next several years (after three years Red Hat takes over organization and becomes the major sponsor). The price for entry into the exhibit hall and a pass to the conferences? $4.
First “Linux virus” discovered. Called Bliss, it actually works on any UNIX-like OS and offers a helpful—“bliss-uninfect-files-please” command-line option. Alan Cox points out that Bliss “does not circumvent the security of the system, it relies on people with privilege to do something dumb” and reminds users to install digitally signed software from trustworthy sites only and to check signatures before installing.
“In fact it's probably easier to write a virus for Linux because it's open source and the code is available. So we will be seeing more Linux viruses as the OS becomes more common and popular.” —Wishful thinking from McAfee
Linux Weekly News begins publication with Jonathan Corbet and Elizabeth Coolbaugh as founders. The very first issue, dated January 22, was just a tiny hint of what LWN was to become.
Netscape announces that they will release the source to their browser under a free software license. This almost certainly remains one of the most important events of the year; it opened a lot of eyes to what Linux and free software could provide.
Red Hat Advanced Development Labs (RHAD) is founded. It has since become one of the higher-profile places where people are paid to develop free software and an important component of the GNOME Project. RHAD is able to attract developers like “Rasterman” (although only for a short time) and Federico Mena-Quintero.
The Cobalt Qube is announced and immediately becomes a favorite in the trade press due to its high performance, low price and cute form factor. Cobalt's Linux engineering is done by none other than David Miller, the source of much that is good in the Linux kernel.
The Linux user community wins InfoWorld's technical support award; Red Hat 5.0 also won their Operating System award. But it was the tech support award that truly opened some eyes; everybody had been saying that Linux had no support. This was the beginning of the end of the “no support” argument.
Eric Raymond and friends come up with the term “open source”. They apply for trademark status and put up the opensource.org web site. Thus begins the formal effort to push Linux for corporate use.
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader asks the large PC vendors (Dell, Gateway, Micron, etc.) to offer non-Microsoft systems, including systems with Linux installed.
Linux is covered by the US National Public Radio news, marking one of its first appearances in the mainstream, nontechnical press.
O'Reilly holds the “first ever” Free Software Summit, featuring Larry Wall, Brian Behlendorf, Linus Torvalds, Guido van Rossum, Eric Allman, Phil Zimmermann, Eric Raymond and Paul Vixie.
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