Code is ruled to be speech. On April 4, 2000, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit published its decision regarding Peter Junger's challenge to the Export Administration Regulations that prevented him from posting information on the Internet that contained cryptographic example code. Most critical in the ruling: “Because computer source code is an expressive means for the exchange of information and ideas about computer programming, we hold that it is protected by the First Amendment.”
Andy Tanenbaum releases the the Minix operating system under the BSD license. Had Minix been open source from the beginning, Linux may never have happened.
SuSE releases the first supported Linux distribution for the IBM S/390 mainframe.
“Approximately 140 distribution companies exist across the globe. We believe all but the top five will be bought, will go out of business or will be relegated to insignificance. Market-share leaders are currently defined around geographic boundaries. Red Hat has the largest global brand recognition and leading North American market share; SuSE leads in Europe, Turbolinux leads in Asia, and Conectiva leads in South America.” —Keith Bachman, an analyst for WR Hambrecht, predicting in The Red Herring
Commercial considerations help prompt the relicensing of MySQL under the GPL. Now the two freely available databases that are widely used in the Linux and Free Software communities, PostgreSQL and MySQL, meet the Debian Free Software Guidelines and the Open Source Guidelines. In addition, Progress Software forms a new company, NuSphere, just for the purpose of supporting MySQL.
“In a world of NDA-bound business agreements, Debian is an open book. In a world of mission statements, Debian has a social contract. At a time when commercial distributors are striving to see how much proprietary software they can pack into a box of Linux, Debian remains the bastion of software freedom—living proof that you can have a fully functional and usable operating system without needing any proprietary code.” —Evan Leibovitch, ZDNet
Sun announces that StarOffice is to be released under the GPL. The code is going to be reworked, integrated with Bonobo and GTK, and released as a set of reusable components. StarOffice will also be reworked to use a set of open XML-based file formats.
Oracle's Linux-based internet appliance system hits the shelves. The “New Internet Computer” (NIC) is the latest result of Larry Ellison's long personal crusade to make non-Microsoft systems available to the world. It's aimed at people who only want access to the Net; as such, it's essentially a $199 (without monitor) X terminal.
Reports first appear that SCO may be purchased by Caldera. Later in 2000 Caldera and SCO announce their intent for Caldera International to be formed from Caldera's existing operation and two of SCO's three divisions.
Ted Ts'o steps forward to become the new 2.4 status list maintainer. Alan Cox was doing the job until he said that it was time to “find someone else to maintain it”. Ted Ts'o responded to Linus' subsequent call for a new status list maintainer.
HP, Intel, IBM and NEC announce the “Open Source Development Lab”, which makes large hardware available to Linux developers for benchmarking and testing.
“I'm a bastard. I have absolutely no clue why people can ever think otherwise. Yet they do. People think I'm a nice guy, and the fact is that I'm a scheming, conniving bastard who doesn't care for any hurt feelings or lost hours of work if it just results in what I consider to be a better system.” —Linus Torvalds trying to change his image.
The RSA patent expires, allowing for secure web transactions without proprietary software.
Trolltech releases the Qt library under the GPL, putting a definitive end to a long-running and unpleasant license flame war.
The CueCat fiasco begins. Digital Convergence attempts to shut down programmers who have written Linux drivers for its CueCat bar code scanner. The company has given out large numbers of these scanners for free, expecting people to use them with its proprietary software and web site. The threats cause the drivers to become marginally harder to find for a short period, after which the company declares victory and moves on.