The year kicked of with Intel putting faith in Linux instead of Microsoft with its new breed of Web appliances. The Trillian project -- to get Linux ready for Intel's high-end Itanium processors -- also gathered momentum with major Linux distributors signing up. IBM also took a major step toward Linux announcing that all future product ranges will be Linux-ready.
January also saw the launch of Crusoe, a much-hyped mobile chip developed in part by the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds.
LinuxWorld, held in New York in February, showed that Linux was maintaining momentum. Intel and others showed off 64-bit Linux source code for the first time, VA Linux bought up open source startup Andover.net and Torvalds criticised Hollywood for attacking those distributing source code which allowed DVDs to be played on Linux.
A boost for European Linux fans was that SuSE, developed in Germany was voted best distribution by attendees to the show. Cebit in Germany was also the scene of Linux developments, with Samsung demonstrating Yopi, a handheld computer running Linux.
At the other end of the scale in March IBM revealed a low-cost supercomputer powered by Linux. The following month it furthered its commitment to high-end computingannouncing that servers would come pre-loaded with a variety of flavours of the operating system. Another month and another Linux announcement from Big Blue, which promised to deliver superclusters Linux-ready.
In the summer, European Linux groups stepped up their opposition to plans to introduce software patenting in Europe. The groups claim such a move would particularly damage independent open source programmers and companies. At the UK's own Linux expo, premier programmer Alan Cox called on the technical community to protest against the introduction of such rules. The EuroLinux Alliance voiced similar objections.
The procession towards Linux on handheld computers seemed ever more likely in July, when IDC predicted that Linux will be found in many future devices.
The San Jose LinuxWorld show held in August showed further evidence of the importance of Linux to high-end users with both Intel and AMD pushing their respective 64-bit microprocessors to Linux developers. Also in August, various technology industry players -- including IBM, Intel, Hewlett Packard and NEC -- reaffirmed their commitment to Linux by announcing a laboratory dedicated to introducing Linux to big companies.
In October, the fortunes of Linux took another twist when Microsoft bought a stake in struggling rival Corel. Corel has created versions of its desktop applications for Linux and even launched its own version of Linux. The deal lead to the conclusion that Microsoft might consider incorporating Linux into its .Net strategy. It has since, however, emerged that Corel may be keen to sell of its Linux arm to gain more cash.
The year has nevertheless ended on a high Linux with the long awaited new Kernel 2.4 -- expected anytime -- is already being promoted in some quarters.
Linux is too much
Big Linux distributions packed with thousands of apps are likely to leave the average desktop user dazed and confused. Todd Volz has a message for the Linux vendors: If you really want to give Windows the boot, your OS has to be slick, quick, and slim. Because, after all, too much is... just too much. Take me to the Linux Lounge. Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet News forum. Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read what others have said.