What were the single biggest move and non-move for FOSS in 2008?

Forum: LinuxTotal Replies: 9
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Scott_Ruecker

Dec 31, 2008
9:39 AM EST
What do you think was the one thing, event or equivalent thereof about Linux or FOSS that took the biggest leap forward and what was the one thing that you think stood still or moved backwards in 2008.

I do not mean the one thing you love about Linux or FOSS and the one thing you hate. That would be predictable, boring and not nearly a challenge worthy of the heavily wrinkled brains such as our readers possess. Or something like that..;-) You can only pick one for each, that's the hard part. No lists, no love-ins, flame-outs, flame wars. Just one of each and why, bang bang. Got it?

This is a chance for us to share what we think what was the news in 2008. I could have come up with some list like everyone does around this time of year but why read my list (or theirs) when we can make our own? It will end up being a poll of sorts if enough people respond and trends start to develop.

It will also serve as a window onto what the part of the Linux community that visits LXer thinks was the news in 2008. It will allow us to share in the obligatory end of year 'reflection and introspection' thing together too. I'm getting the warm and fuzzies right now just thinking about it..ok not really but you get my point.

I fully realize the danger I have put myself in by asking the readers of LXer for their serious opinion on something, knowing full well I'm going to get it. ;-)

So think hard people, because I refuse to accept answers like "All things Ubuntu!" and "Microsoft sucks!" got it?
number6x

Dec 31, 2008
9:59 AM EST
More mainstream computer sellers shipped Linux.

  • Dell started in 2007, but has kept up the sales even expanding its line up of pre-installed Linux
  • Asus EeePC line
  • Acer Aspire One
  • MSI Wind
  • HP (sort of)
  • Lenovo (stumbled, but still kind of sells Linux)


  • Many Linux users still prefer Linux centric OEMs like ZA Reason and System 76. I bought a Pogo Linux workstation several years ago. These smaller Linux centric system builders have the expertise and commitment that some of the big guys lack.

    However, I still think 2008 was a major shift in how large computer sellers viewed Linux.

    A bridge was crossed and nobody fell off or drowned or was retaliated against by a certain company in Redmond Washington (no I don't mean Pogo Linux from Redmond Washington).

    Either that or Linux on smart phones.
    tuxchick

    Dec 31, 2008
    10:01 AM EST
    I think there has been a steady trend into the 'free as in freeloader' mentality, and the big players in Linux are ignoring the issue entirely. Canonical have done a great job at popularizing Linux and attracting new users, and a lousy job at educating all those refugees from Borgland on the most important principles behind FOSS. It seems that the Fedora team are the only ones that even try. Mandriva, Mint, Mepis, PCLinuxOS, and so forth are all about who can stuff the most proprietary crud into Linux. You can hardly mention RMS or the FSF without stirring up a well-worn and predictable chorus of idiotic criticisms.

    Going hand-in-hand with FAIF is the growing corporate trend of using Linux and distributing it in a wide range of products, but don't dare say the name "Linux".

    The good news is, thanks to a hardy few who stand their ground and don't compromise, we still have a few meager liberties and personal protections. Thanks to PGP, OpenSSL, OpenSSH, Tor, OpenVPN, the SFLC, the FSF, and so on the five or six people on the planet who don't want to cave in to Big Brother still have some options.
    dinotrac

    Dec 31, 2008
    10:36 AM EST
    TC --

    I know you don't like "free as in freeloader". Sure, it would be bertter for everybody to take an active role in making FOSS better, but...

    free as in freeloader is better than not taking part, because

    network effects are about numbers, not mentalities.

    Vendors who want to sell hardware develop drivers or open APIs because the numbers are too big to ignore. Job opportunities open up because there's enough of the stuff to make people feel confident -- in the stuff, and in their abiltiy to hire help/support.

    So -- there is a real silver lining.
    jdixon

    Dec 31, 2008
    1:24 PM EST
    Best: The Asus EEE and the flood of netbooks (most available with Linux) it started.

    Worst: What TC said "...the growing corporate trend of using Linux and distributing it in a wide range of products, but don't dare say the name "Linux"." Can you say, Dell?
    Steven_Rosenber

    Dec 31, 2008
    2:27 PM EST
    Here's what immediately comes to mind (in no particular order):

  • Dell ships machines with Ubuntu
  • Netbook market emerges, mostly uses Linux
  • Linux-powered Google phone begins challenging Apple's iPhone
  • Cloud computing, powered by FOSS, begins world domination
  • Gnash gives FOSS users hope for a Flash equivalent (OK, that's a stretch, but I'm free-associating at this point)
  • Debian coding error that hobbles OpenSSL is discovered, garments are rended, then problem is fixed
  • Sun jumps into FOSS pool and aims for Linux market share with OpenSolaris on the desktop
  • Companies like Asus pledge increased cooperation with FOSS developers (if anybody can name any more companies doing this, please do so)
  • IBM aims to counter Microsoft by promoting Linux and other FOSS apps

  • dinotrac

    Dec 31, 2008
    2:31 PM EST
    Best -

    Driver and kernel advances made both my wireless card and a pci-e lan card no-brainers.

    Even Bester --

    Netbooks with Linux -- Wh[EEE]!!!

    And more besters --

    Not free software but:

    Adobe releases 64 bit flashplayer -- for Linux only BBC releases linux iplayer

    Bestest and Greatestest of all:

    Vista Vista Vista -- and

    Microsoft Mojave -- an advertising campaign predicated on the proposition that Vista is so bad that you've got to lie to get people to try it.



    gus3

    Dec 31, 2008
    3:05 PM EST
    The best thing to happen to FOSS in 2008 had to be Jerry Seinfeld convincing BillG to wiggle his butt. It did nothing to convince people to buy/use Vista; quite the contrary, it showed how desperate and disoriented M$ is.
    Sander_Marechal

    Jan 02, 2009
    3:40 AM EST
    Worldwide: The best thing to happen is probably the Netbook rage which is largely fueled by Linux. The worst of last year is probably the Debian OpenSSL vulnerability.

    On a more personal level: Last year I've put more people on Linux than all the years before combined. The biggest downer for me this year is probably that I couldn't keep my dad on Linux. He bought a Vista laptop :-( Saving grace: He has agreed (after some pressure) not put it on the internet. He's going to use it strictly to digitize his photo collection using his new Epson photo scanner and will surf the web using Ubuntu.
    TxtEdMacs

    Jan 02, 2009
    7:59 AM EST
    A question.

    Why is it necessary to have an increasing volume of fear mongering (seemingly) from all sides from the so-called tech. media; who or what is behind the drive?

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