The year is winding down and while we have a lot to look forward to next year, what were the greatest Linux innovations of this year? This year at Phoronix, we have published over 325 articles, with most of them being Linux hardware and graphics reviews, and that is in addition to over 700 original news entries. After spending much time in considering what the "best" and most substantial Linux gains over the year have been, we have comprised a list of what we believe are the greatest Linux innovations of 2007 along with our reasoning behind these decisions.
Before jumping to the greatest Linux innovations of this year, we have a few items to first recap. Among the interesting events to have occurred this year for Linux hardware adoption was the shipping of OpenMoko, a "true Linux phone", as well as Dell beginning to ship Ubuntu Linux on consumer notebooks and desktops (Dell Loves Ubuntu, It's Official). In addition, Everex recently began shipping the gPC TC2502, which is an ultra low cost PC running a conceptual Google Operating System. Last but certainly not least, ASUS had shipped the Eee PC this year. This is all great for consumer adoption of Linux, but the fact remains that Linux still has a ways to go for penetrating the consumer PC market. Will 2008 be the year for Linux on notebooks and desktops? Probably not. However, looking forward to 2008, we believe that Linux on low-cost PCs and mobile devices will gain much traction, especially with big names in the industry standing strongly behind Linux.
When it comes to the Linux distribution releases this year, the Raleigh camp had pushed out Fedora 7 "Moonshine", Fedora 8 "Werewolf", and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. Though the distribution with arguably the most attention, Ubuntu, had seen the releases of Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn" and Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon", along with updates to the Ubuntu derivatives and the birth of Mythbuntu and JeOS. There are, of course, countless other Linux distributions to have been released this year.
KDE 4.0 was scheduled to be released this year, but then was delayed to a winter release, and then finally was pushed back into January to allow the developers more time to work out issues and do other polishing. Next month we'll be reporting live from KDE 4.0 release event taking place at the Googleplex. While KDE 4.0 hadn't made it out the door this year, this year was marked by maintenance releases of KDE 3.5.6, KDE 3.5.7, and KDE 3.5.8.
On the GNOME side, released this year was GNOME 2.18 as well as GNOME 2.20. Though it doesn't get as much attention as KDE or GNOME, the Xfce team had released Xfce 4.4, which has turned out to be an exceptional lightweight desktop environment.
Some of the important Linux desktop application releases this year included Google Earth 4, CrossOver Office 6, OpenOffice.org 2.2 / 2.3, Pidgin 2.0, Mplayer 1.0 RC2, Google Desktop, Adobe Flash Player 9, and GIMP 2.4.0. Also captivating the Linux and open-source communities this year was the release of the GPLv3 and the rise of IcedTea with the completion of open-sourcing Java through OpenJDK.
For Linux gamers, this year brought the release of id Software's latest first person shooter, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, which is a phenomenal Linux-native game albeit closed-source. For games where there is no Linux-native client, Cedega 6.0 was released with improved game support and other features. WINE has also been progressing steadfast this year. Unreal Tournament 3 was also released this year, but its Linux client has been stuck in Epic's legal department.
Now that we have recapped some of the major Linux highlights of the year, it's time to share what we believe were the greatest innovations this year.