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How Last Year's Linux Events Played Out This Year

Phoronix

Published on 15 December 2012 12:46 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix
1 Comment

With the year coming to an end, here's a look again at the prominent Linux news from last year (2011) and whether the milestones reached then still have an impact today.

Effectively this comes down to a redux of the most popular Linux news from last year and an update on each of the topics as it stands today. The most popular Linux stories on Phoronix from 2012 will be shared at the end of December.

The two most popular Phoronix news stories last year came down to the same topic: ending of the Linux 2.6 kernel and moving to Linux 3.0 (Say Hello To Linux 3.0; Linus Just Tagged 3.0-rc1 and Linus Talks Of Linux 2.8 Or Linux 3.0; Ending Linux 2.6). Well, there isn't too much to add to this particular topic for 2012. Linus Torvalds continues releasing new Linux 3.x major kernel releases and after enough of them in a few years time he'll move to Linux 4.x. This is just much cleaner than sticking to Linux 2.6.x as was done for so many years.

The third most popular Phoronix news article in 2011 was about id Software releasing the Doom 3 source-code (Doom 3 Source-Code To Be Released This Year). While in November of 2011 the Doom 3 source-code was put out under the GNU GPL, so far there hasn't been too much adoption. The ioquake3 (id Tech 3) engine continues to be more popular with open-source game developers and there isn't yet wide-scale use of the id Tech 4 / Doom 3 engine. I wrote about this last month in One Year Later, Open-Source Doom 3 Is Moving Slowly. Last month was also marked by the Doom 3 BFG source-code being released.

The next most popular item of last year was that The VirtualBox Kernel Driver Is Tainted Crap. Oracle really hasn't done anything to overhaul their VirtualBox virtualization software in 2012. Oracle did release VirtualBox 4.2 this summer, but it wasn't any major shift in this virtualization platform they received when buying out Sun Microsystems. Oracle also hasn't attempted to clean-up their Linux kernel drivers to get them in the mainline kernel. For those Linux users interested in virtualization, I continue to much more strongly encourage the use of KVM and/or VMware's products.

Next up was that Skype Goes After Reverse-Engineering. The Microsoft-owned Skype continues to go after individuals trying to do reverse-engineering of the protocol for this popular VoIP program in the form of cease and desist letters / DMCA take-down notices. There was some reverse-engineering progress made this year with the 5.5 protocol but still this project hasn't picked up any steam and there's no open-source version of the Skype client. Microsoft meanwhile released Skype 4.1 for Linux in mid-November.

Building The Linux Kernel In 60 Seconds was possible last year and remains possible this year. Last year this was achieved on a single-socket system by using an Intel Core i7 3960X "Sandy Bridge" Extreme Edition setup, but 2012 brought out Ivy Bridge. Intel's Ivy Bridge CPUs are even faster and thus the sub-1 minute build times is no problem even with the code added to the Linux kernel this calendar year.

The Linux 3.1 Kernel May Have A New Logo. It was a nice joke.

New GIMP Release Has Working Single-Window Mode. The single-window mode was a much sought after feature for the GIMP image manipulation program and was added to their development code-base last year. This year, GIMP 2.8 was finally released.

In years prior it's been a challenge in delivering open-source GPU drivers due to complexities of the stack. It also related to the challenge in Intel's Sandy Bridge driver. No fundamental changes to the Linux graphics driver architecture were made this year. In terms of hardware launches this year, Intel was basically spot on with their Ivy Bridge roll-out but their Haswell enablement for next year's hardware has been a bit iffy, AMD still doesn't have a good open-source Linux 3D driver for their Radeon HD 7000 series GPUs launched 12 months ago, and the Nouveau bring-up of Kepler is working but still a lot of unimplemented features.

It will be interesting to see what were the most popular 2012 stories on Phoronix, which will be revealed at month's end.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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