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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols Archive

The Five Distros That Changed Linux
Linux's history can be measured in both releases 2.0, 2.6, and so on, and in its major distributions, which brought these releases to the masses at large. Here's my list of the top five major Linux distributions that had the most impact in the operating system's brief history.
Who Really Makes Open Source Happen
What do Marc Fleury, president of JBoss Group, LLC, David Axmark, co-founder of MySQL AB, and Ian Murdock, chairman of Progency, Inc. and founder of Debian Linux have in common? They all agreed at an October technology show that open source software isn't made by thousands of developers, but by small groups of dedicated developers. Usually, according to Fleury, these groups number no more than ten.
The Other Open Source OS
Linux isn't the only open source operating system around. The Berkeley Software Distributions have been around longer and offer many compelling features of their own. See how the "other half" lives in this introduction to the BSD variants.
The State of Linux 2003
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It was, in short, Linux time.
Is Proprietary Software Doomed?
When I spoke to Darl McBride, SCO's CEO, the other day, he insisted that SCO's lawsuit against IBM isn't really aimed at Linux, but if "the Linux punch has been tainted, it's been by IBM."
Mandrake’s Down, Who’s Next?
Mandrake is belov'ed by Linux fans. Mandrake is a favorite of the Linux desktop crew. And Mandrake is on its way out the door.
Pass out the Cigars
As I write this, Red Hat has just gone into the black with a small profit of $300,000 on total revenue of $24.3 million. That makes Red Hat, by my count, the first Linux company to actually make money. The secret to their success? Red Hat Advanced Server (RHAS).
Oh, FUD!
Some days, I just want to reach out on Slashdot and just shake people. Recently, I've wanted to do that even more thanks to all the "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" (FUD) surrounding UnitedLinux and Red Hat. First things first. Both UnitedLinux and Red Hat are here to make money from Linux. And there's nothing wrong with that.
LinuxWorld 2005
LinuxWorld 2005 -- Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, announced today that Solaris 9 would continue to be supported on SPARC despite Sun's recent announcement that Sun Linux 4.0 would be the core operating system on all of its hardware lines.
Java is Linux’s Friend
Are you tired of people yacking about how Linux isn't a serious application server platform? I know I am.
Big Names in Linux
Let's talk about the big name Linux companies: IBM, Oracle, and Sun. Eh? What's that you say? Those aren't the top Linux companies? Think again.
The Last Unix Standing: Linux
As I write this, the hot topic on Slashdot (http://slashdot.org), the Linux gossip site of Linux gossip sites, is that the Vivek Mehra, vice president and general manager of Sun's Cobalt line (Sun's "baby" servers that run Linux), is saying that Sun is embracing Linux. A flood of opinions is pouring in: "This is great! Sun will move Linux into professional server markets!" "This is terrible! Sun will rip off Linux's best and leave the GPL in the dust." "At last, Sun has seen the light!"
The Old Ways are the Best Ways
You can only know a subject well by living and working with it. Indeed, I live with the technology I write about. While that usually works to my advantage, there are days like yesterday when the technology rears back and bites me.
All Grown Up
I'm fond of saying that Linux has moved from t-shirts and holey jeans to business suits. Now, I have more proof than just my own eyes. The May 6 issue of InformationWeek (http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20020503S0009) includes the results of a survey of business users. Guess what? They love Linux.
Getting the CIO to Make the Leap
You know Linux works great on servers. I know Linux works great on servers. But does your CIO know how great Linux works on servers? Chances are the answer is no.
Too Many Servers
Remember when the hot machine for running Linux was an Intel 486? Or a Pentium III? For most of us, single-chip Intel PCs are still the computers of choice. It's what we play on, what we work on, and what we develop on.
Want to Make a Living from Linux?
So you want to make a living from Linux, do you? Well, it can be done, but it's not easy. Linux continues to gain in popularity, but someone qualified as a Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) still has a much easier time finding a job.
The Quiet Revolution
Some readers have written to me to complain about my negative attitude. Really folks, I'm not down on Linux -- I'm simply cynical about Linux. Of course, I'm cynical about all technology, so that shouldn't alarm anyone.
Windows Apps on Linux May Not Be Such a Great Idea
As I write this, many otherwise sane Linux people I know are going gaga over the idea of running Win- dows applications on Linux with Lindows. "It'll make Linux the operating system for the desktop once they can get Office XP running on it," gushes one of my friends.
Long Odds on the Linux Desktop
I like the Linux desktop. Let me explain further. I love the Linux desktop. When I got started in this business, the big interface debate was not between GNOME and KDE -- it was between Bourne shell and C shell. My personal favorite, Korn, hadn't even been born yet. You probably have your own pick. Unfortunately, no matter what we want, the market does not care. In fact, for most commercial purposes, the Linux desktop is dead.
Microsoft Wins! Everyone Else Loses
When the Department of Justice announced that it would no longer seek to break up Microsoft, it really wasn't important news. Let's get real. Microsoft was never going to be broken up. No, the real news was that the Department of Justice wasn't going to prosecute Microsoft for illegally tying Internet Explorer to Windows 95.
Will the Last Linux Firm Please Turn Out the Lights?
At first, Linux developers were all about the purity of free software. Then, for many of them, it was all about becoming millionaires. Now it's just about trying to land a new job before their Linux company bites the dust.
It’s Not Your Linux Anymore: Get Over It
Once upon a time, there was a community bound together by the dream of free software and building a real Unix-style operating system. But, despite the best efforts of Richard Stallman and others, that's all it was -- a dream -- with only a few bits and pieces (the GNU programs) in place.