The year of the penguin

Linux boomed in 1999, gaining attention for itself and the open source development model in both the mass media and the business world. ZDNet News brings you the highlights

It has been a momentous year for everyone's favourite open-source OS and all-round Microsoft-crushing phenomenon. What with the emergence of Linux distributions and application suites for the desktop as well as the skyrocketing market valuation of Linux companies, even the most fervent of Linux advocates would not have forseen the openly developed and free operating system could have come so far over twelve short months.

Does Microsoft owe you money?

At the start of the year, Linux users showed the world that Windows is not the only flavour of OS by marching on Microsoft's headquarters and demanding refunds for copies of Windows 98 packaged with PCs.

Microsoft porting Office to Linux?

Just a couple of months later Microsoft appeared to have forgotten all about this little row and rumours began to circulate that the software giant was considering the seemingly unthinkable possibility of porting its Office suite to Linux.

Jesux hoax uncovered

Even stranger rumours began to appear around the Web shortly afterwards, concerning another Unix clone designed for and by technological Christians called appropriately enough "Jesux". Sadly this was no more than an elaborate hoax, although it is not quite as fantastic as the apparently quite genuine British Harrix operating system, which also seems to have been largely inspired by Linux.

Linux to face off against NT again?

The rivalry between the Microsoft and the devout followers of Linux reached a head in July, when the two operating systems duelled to the death in lab tests. Accusations that the contest was rigged and the appearance of numerous spin-off competitions meant that no clear conclusion was ever reached and it all got rather tiresome actually.

The Queen goes open source

Back in Blighty, Linux was gaining quite formidable momentum, with even our beloved Queen apparently declaring her undying love for the principles of open-source programming and software development.

Linux hackers miss IPO boat

It is impossible to mention the past year without reference to the Red Hat IPO which started off the current open source stock market fever. As this story shows, the flotation affected the coders behind the Red Hat distribution very differently from the businessmen at the company's helm.

Britian's first ever Linux expo

Britain's first Linux show, held at Olympia, highlighted the growing amount of interest businesses are currently showing in the open-source operating system. The event was even graced with the presence kernel hacking guru Alan Cox who discussed all matters Linux with ZDNet.

Linux hijacks Windows NT show

Ay caramba! Linux fever is now gripping the nation and the UK's annual Windows NT show is unexpectedly hijacked by the open source phenomenon. One NT software retailer apparently confessed to having turned to selling copies of Linux under the counter at the event.

Microsoft publishes 'Linux myths' page

Apparently enraged by this extraordinary irreverence, Microsoft decided to publish perhaps the most disliked Web page in the history of the Internet: "The Linux Myths Page". To the extreme annoyance of Linux fans, this page made some quite bizarre claims criticising Linux for its instability, insecurity and expensiveness.

Linux becomes peoples' choice in China

Another astonishing turn of events was discovered as it emerged that Chinese educational, administrative and even government institutions are signing deals to run server-side Linux applications. The motivation is apparently not just the cost-efficiency but also the community ethos of the open-source movement.

Eric Raymond: 'What I intend to do with my millions'

The year finished off appropriately enough with Eric Raymond discussing exactly what he intends to do with the millions of dollars he has made spearheading the development of the open-source model as not just of enormous importance to the technology industry, but also a serious force in global business.

Take me to the Linux Lounge.