The Google search engine pops up. Not only is it one of the best search engines around, but it's based on Linux and features a Linux-specific search page.
Big databases start to arrive. Support for Linux is announced by Computer Associates for their Ingres system and by Ardent Software for their O2 object database.
“Like a lot of products that are free, you get a loyal following even though it's small. I've never had a customer mention Linux to me.” —Bill Gates, PC Week, June 25, 1998
“...these operating systems will not find widespread use in mainstream commercial applications in the next three years, nor will there be broad third-party application support.” —The Gartner Group says there is little hope for free software.
A Datapro study comes out showing that Linux has the highest user satisfaction of any system; it also shows Linux to be the only system other than Microsoft Windows NT that is increasing its market share.
IBM announces that it will distribute and support the Apache web server after working a deal with the Apache team.
The desktop wars rage as KDE and GNOME advocates hurl flames at each other. Linus gets in on the act, saying that KDE is okay with him. In this context, KDE 1.0 is released. The first stable release of the K Desktop Environment proves to be popular, despite the complaints from those who do not like the licensing of the Qt library.
Informix quietly releases software for Linux. Meanwhile, Oracle beats Informix to the punch PR-wise and makes a Linux-friendly announcement first, suggesting that they would soon be supporting Linux. Oracle promises to make a trial version available by the end of 1998, a deadline they beat by months. This, seemingly, was one of the acid tests for the potential of long-term success for Linux; a great deal of attention resulted from both Informix's and Oracle's announcements.
Informix announces support for Linux effectively moments after Oracle does so. Sybase later announces their support for Linux also.
Linus appears on the cover of Forbes magazine. A lengthy story presents Linux in a highly positive manner and brings the system to the attention of many who had never heard of it before. Linux begins to become a household word.
LinuxToday.com is launched by Dave Whitinger and Dwight Johnson. The site, later acquired by Internet.com, arguably becomes the most well-read and visited Linux portal of all time.
Microsoft's Steve Ballmer admits that they are “worried” about free software and suggests that some of the Windows NT source code may be made available to developers. The same month Microsoft goes on to list Linux as a competitive threat in its annual SEC (US Securities and Exchange Commission) filing. Speculation abounds that their real purpose is to influence the upcoming antitrust trial.
“For the moment, however, the company from Redmond, Washington, seems almost grateful for the rising profile of Linux, seeing it as an easy way of demonstrating that Windows is not a monopoly, ahead of its antitrust trial, scheduled to begin on October 15. That may be short-sighted. In the long run, Linux and other open-source programs could cause Mr. Gates much grief.” —The Economist, October 3, 1998
Intel and Netscape (and two venture capital firms) announce minority investments in Red Hat Software. The money is to be used to build an “enterprise support division” within Red Hat. An unbelievable amount of press is generated by this event, which is seen as a big-business endorsement of Linux.
Corel announces that WordPerfect 8 for Linux will be downloadable for free for “personal use”. They also announce a partnership with Red Hat to supply Linux for the Netwinder.
A report from IDC says that Linux shipments rose by more than 200% in 1998, and its market share rose by more than 150%. Linux has a 17% market share and a growth rate unmatched by any other system on the market.
“Microsoft Corp. will shout it out to the world when Windows 2000 finally ships. Linux creator Linus Torvalds announced the arrival of the next generation of Linux, version 2.2, with a simple note to the Linux-kernel mailing list.” —Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Sm@rt Reseller
Samba 2.0 is released. It contains a reverse-engineered implementation of the Microsoft domain controller protocols, allowing Linux servers to provide complete services to Windows networks.
Hewlett-Packard and Compaq announce plans to offer Linux-based systems. Later, Dell also announces plans to begin selling Linux-installed systems. SGI contents itself with providing information on how to bring up Linux on its systems.
Loki Entertainment Software announces that it will port Civilization: Call to Power to Linux.
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