Linux Timeline

 
May 1998

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.

June 1998

``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.

July 1998

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.

September 1998

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.

October 1998

``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.

October 1998

A confidential Microsoft memorandum on Redmond's strategy against Linux and Open Source software was leaked to Eric S. Raymond. Raymond, with his own added commentary, releases the memorandum to the national press over Halloween Weekend. Because of all of the press surrounding the story, Microsoft was forced to acknowledge the now-infamous Halloween Document's authenticity. This was the first time the public heard Microsoft admit Linux was becoming stiff competition.

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Have you released the compiled list ?

Thorsten's picture

The 150th issue is still released, but I can´t find the compiled list with all Linux events from 2002. Will we the the list next time?

Can you make a continuation? like Linux Timeline II

Sprik2323's picture

I think the continuation would very interesting.
Like SCO's Unix and Linux copyright claims, etc.

MCC Interim Linux

Anonymous's picture

MCC Interim Linux distribution, was made available to the public for download on the ftp server of University of Manchester in February, 1992.

Re that Microsoft print ad,

Lawrence D'Oliveiro's picture

Re that Microsoft print ad, another, larger version is here: <http://www.ao.com/~regan/penguins/>, along with a parody rejoinder.

Infamous Microsoft print ad

Lawrence D&#039;Oliveiro's picture

I had a hunt around for that (in)famous Microsoft print ad you mentioned from October 2000. Here's a copy still online: <http://quartus.net/msad/>.

No mention of the switch

Allen Garvin's picture

No mention of the switch from a.out to ELF? The first port a non-intel system (it was DEC alpha, right?)? SMP support in the 1.2 kernel, when it started becoming more than just a hobby OS?

A bit weak on the early big events, I'd say.

-- Allen, linux user since November 1993

Small correction

Stephan's picture

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.

I'd like to correct this statement. Samba was technically not developped via reverse engineering, but by sniffing the network traffic. To many the difference may seem irrelevant, but it is in fact of significant legal importance. The Samba team has never used reverse-engineering for their work. See e.g. http://chaosradio.ccc.de/cre025.html Sorry a german podcast only (Interview with Volker Lendecke)

Other events: HAL & Ubuntu

Nicolas Kassis's picture

The day HAL was released should be remembered. HAL allowed a lot of the Ease of use stuff to go forward.

Ubuntu.

Nic

VMware for Linux

John Calburn's picture

I think VMware support for Linux in 1998 is a great milestone too.

Linux TimeLine - Yggdrasil 1994

Anonymous's picture

Major point missed in article - Summer 1994 - Yggdrasil makes Linux available on crdom. This was the first offering (that I know of) that allowed the average Joe to get his hands on Linux. I've still got my cdrom, boot disk, and (rather good) instruction pamphlet from Yggdrasil and the white box 386sx that I ran it on. Working for (then) Western Electric which had close ties to Bell Labs I had been using Unix at work for years but it wasn't until the Yggdrasil cdrom that I had it running at home. mmmmmmmmmm virtual terminals and a Unix like environment -- great memories.

August 1994 Walnut Creek -2 CD set SlackWare

Anonymous's picture

Bought this 2 CD set in Europe in a computershop, january 1995.

It saved me a lot of money because I only had a 14.4 k modem, like most people in those day's, so the early CD distributions played a very important role in the adoption of oss.

Slackware 2.0 , Sunsite, rsx-11 and mail archives
And last but not least everything about X Windows.

May 2003

Anonymous's picture

Researchers at the University of Chicago turn Sony Playstations into a Linux based supercomputer.

January 2003

Anonymous's picture

Rumors of SCO's intellectual property lawsuit plans surface. Two months later they file suit against IBM claiming breach of contract and theft of trade secrets. More lawsuits are to come.

What happened since Feb. 2002?

Open Source Blogger's picture

I'm curious why the timeline stops at Feb. 2002...it's been 3 years, something *must* have happened worthy of writing about.

November 1991

Joe Klemmer's picture

One fateful day a young guy came over to my apartment to visit. We'd met on the local BBS scene and he wanted to show me something cool. That guy was the inimitable and unparalleled Erik "the" Ratcliffe. The cool thing he came to show me was, of course, Linux. He brought with him two 5.25" floppy disks, HJ Lu's boot/root disks. We fired it up and played for hours. OC, we didn't have much to play with back then but just being able to do crap on a *NIX shell prompt was way cool.

Shortly after that day I started using my shell account from a local ISP to ftp files from tsx-11 and sunsite to put up on my BBS (My UnKnown BBS). At that time I was one of, if not the largest, BBS's that had Linux available for download. I had callers from all over the world downloading everything from MCC Interim, TAMU, SLS and Slackware.

Over the years I've met a lot of the big names in the community. I've even been complimented on my efforts to bring Linux, and open source in general, to the US Army. The last 3 or 4 years I've been forced to step out of the grind due to health reasons. But I still use Linux and open source for everything I do on computers. There hasn't been anything that I needed to do that I can't do with Linux and open source.

So now I'm just an old, crippled user hardly anyone remembers. But it doesn't matter. The ride was wonderful and the road to the future is wide open.

--
Indie Game Dev and Linux User
Contact Info: http://about.me/joeklemmer
"Running Linux since 1991"

Comment to Joe.

Michael Steen's picture

Right on, Joe. That's the spirit.
We do what we can and make the world a little better.

All the best,
Michael

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