Linux and BSD users unite for “Windows Refund Day”. They visit Microsoft, hoping to return the unused Windows licenses that they were forced to acquire when they purchased a computer system bundled with the OS.
“Like a Russian revolutionary erased from a photograph, he is being written out of history. Stallman is the originator of the Free Software movement and the GNU/Linux operating system. But you wouldn't know it from reading about LinuxWorld (Expo). Linus Torvalds got all the ink.” —Leander Kahney, Wired magazine, March 1999
The first LinuxWorld Conference and Expo is held in San Jose, California. As the first big commercial “tradeshow” event for Linux, it serves notice to the world that Linux has arrived; 12,000 people are said to have attended.
Linux Magazine debuts, bringing some additional competition to the Linux print business. Later, other magazines rise and fall including Open, Journal of Linux Technology (JOLT) and Maximum Linux.
VA Research buys the Linux.com domain for $1,000,000 and announces plans to turn it into a Linux portal. Microsoft's rumored bid for the domain is frustrated.
“...please imagine what it is like to see an idealistic project stymied and made ineffective because people don't usually give it the credit for what it has done. If you're an idealist like me, that can ruin your whole decade.” —Richard Stallman on GNU/Linux
Al Gore's presidential campaign web site claims to be open source. That claim is gone, but the site still claims: “In the spirit of the Open Source movement, we have established the Gore 2000 Volunteer Source Code Project; www.algore2000.com is an 'open site'.“
HP announces 24/7 support services for the Caldera, Turbolinux, Red Hat and SuSE distributions. They also release OpenMail for Linux.
The Linux FreeS/WAN Project releases a free IPSec implementation, allowing Linux to function as a VPN gateway using what is now the industry standard.
“But the mere fact that there is now an official SEC document that includes the text of the GPL serves as fairly astonishing proof that the rules of the software business really are being rewritten.” —Andrew Leonard, Salon
“Those two little words—open source—have become a magical incantation, like portal in 1998 or push in 1997. Just whisper them and all will be yours: media attention, consumer interest and, of course, venture capital.” —Andrew Leonard, Wired
First Intel IA-64 “Merced” silicon. Although Intel had given simulators to several OS vendors, Linux is the only OS to run on the new architecture on its first day. The Register headline: “Merced silicon happens: Linux runs, NT doesn't”.
SGI announces the 1400L—a Linux-based server system. SGI also announces a partnership with Red Hat and begins contributing to kernel development in a big way.
Red Hat's initial public offering happens; a last-minute repricing helps to create difficulties for people participating in the community offering. The stock price immediately rises to $50; a value that seems high at the time.
“For the umpteenth time, someone paved paradise, put up a parking lot. For the thousands of Linux coders who've built the utopian open-source movement—offering free help to create a free operating system—the IPO of Red Hat Software was a sure sign of Wall Street cutting the ribbon on the new Linux mall.” —The Industry Standard
Motorola jumps into Linux announcements of embedded systems products, support and training services, and a partnership with Lineo.
Sun acquires StarDivision; it announces plans to release StarOffice under the Sun Community Source License and to make a web-enabled version of the office suite.
“'Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp. in Burlington, New Jersey is spending $1 million or so to buy 1,250 Linux-equipped PCs from Dell, but it won't pay Red Hat a dime for support', says Michael Prince, chief information officer. 'I suppose Red Hat's business model makes sense to somebody, but it makes no sense to us', he says.” —Daniel Lyons, Forbes, May 31, 1999. Then in September, Burlington ended up purchasing support from Red Hat.
The first big Linux stock rush happens. Shares in Applix more than double in volume, reaching nearly 27 million shares—three times the 9 million shares that are actually on the market.
SCO trashes Linux in a brochure distributed in Northern Europe: “Linux at this moment can be considered more a plaything for IT students rather than a serious operating system in which to place the functioning, security and future of a business. Because Linux is basically a free-for-all it means that no individual person/company is accountable should anything go wrong, plus there is no way to predict which way Linux will evolve.”
Stock in Red Hat hits $135/share. The price seems unbelievably high at the time.
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